Saturday, December 5, 2015

I Loved Your Revisions So Much, Let's Do More!

Ok, thank you very much, sir.  I think I have everything I need ... oh, just thirty more things!

At this stage of my query process, I'm working with an agent.  Query, partial, full, all received.  And now I've completed a first round of revisions.  A change to the ending and an adjustment to one of the main characters throughout.  The ending change was pretty straightforward and mostly just an expounding on what was already done.  The character change required many tweaks but also not an impossible task.

That was easy.  It's time to go get published now, right?

(awkward dramatic pause)

More months pass.  Check ins and responses occur.  The sun goes up, the sun goes down.  Flowers lose their spring blooms and the shadows grow longer across the lawn.  This agent has an obligation to existing clients that takes precedence over an unsigned client.  I understand that.  I appreciate that.  I'm even encouraged by that.  I want that to be me someday.  After another nudge, I receive a reply.

She likes it.  Still.  Maybe some more.  And now she's had a trusted beta reader weigh in as well.  Is this the equivalent of being vetted by the BFF?  Beta reader has some notes.  Agent has a lot of notes.  And as a tease, she makes mention of "the call".  This is new territory for me.  I've done revisions.  I've had nice things said about my writing.  I've never had mention of "the call".  

The agent is close to falling in love.  She just wants a little more.  And by a little more, I mean kind of a lot more.  But the notes.  Oh, the beautiful, detailed, notes.  This agent knows my book.  Her observations are insightful and probing.  She's seeing things I missed.  She has perspective and experience needed to see the holes in my plots.  She has a whetstone and a cleaver queued up for my darlings.

This rewrite is going to be a bloodbath and I don't even have a commitment from this agent yet to represent what's left over after the massacre.

But this in depth rewrite request is what I've been waiting for.  The agent has actually committed more than any signed contract can.  She's spent her time on this and invested herself in the process.   She'd called in other people.  These aren't just spelling and grammar edits, these are changes that get at the heart of the story, the characters, and the essence of the book.  The only thing left is to do it.

Am I able to do it?  Should I do it?  Will these changes make the story something it's not?  If after so much work it turns out I wrote the wrong story, should I be writing books at all?  And how much can I push back on any of these requests if I don't see eye to eye with their aims?

How many questions can I write in a row?  (Seven)

Come back again to find out how the rewrite went.  And if I ever stopped writing questions?     

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