Greetings from Revision Land

It’s been almost two weeks since my last post, which is not surprising because I blogged on Jan. 5th, and Jan. 6th I printed off my manuscript. All 215 glorious pages of it.

(Also, I always feel compelled to defend my use of paper… look, I just have to. It’s part of my process. I love the environment. Also trees are useful. And I print my stuff single spaced. And I recycle. So. Um. Yeah.)

Since then, I’ve been reading through it and meticulously marking up every page with things that need to be cut, reworded, tweaked, etc. A few scenes toward the end need more complete overhauls, but I’m not surprised by that because the bulk of the book’s last 20-25 pages were just drafted in December.

During this period of time I’ve also had two readers finish my book. This is the first time I’ve ever had people finish reading one of my books, chiefly because I’ve had CPs drop off before they could read an entire draft (and haven’t let my husband near one of my drafts before).

I’m sure you’re dying to know how it’s going, and so I’ll tell you…

Kinda great?

The book is not done yet, and it’s not perfect, and it’ll honestly never be perfect. But I’m becoming increasingly satisfied with it. I legitimately think I’ll have it ready to query by my self-imposed deadline.

As of today, I’ve started typing in all of my changes. I’ve made it through six chapters. My main goal of this revision (beyond, obviously, fixing everything that needs to be fixed) is trimming at least 2,000 words… and hopefully more like 3K or 4K. That might be a pipe dream, but I WILL TRY.

I’ve also been reading a lot in the new year. Already in January I’ve gotten through the following: 101 DALMATIANS, WARCROSS, LABYRINTH LOST, THE RAVEN BOYS, and THE HATE U GIVE. I am currently (finally) reading TRUTHWITCH and PASSENGER.

That’s all for now! I’m off to work on this book and try and ward off the freezing cold. Seriously can’t feel my toes. Not even sure what toes are anymore. Or if I ever had them.

~Teresa

 

 

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2018, I’m Ready for You

I had about half a dozen brilliant blog posts planned for the beginning of the year. But I was still visiting home, hanging with family and friends, and so all of those posts disappeared into my brain, never to be seen again. Instead, this is likely to be one of those typical rambles. C’est la vie. 

I’ll start with my 2018 “resolution,” if we want to call it that… By 11:59:59 PM on December 31, 2018, I will have representation. (Hopefully well in advance of that… but at least by then.) There are, of course, a lot of other things I want to accomplish this year, but as far as professional goals go, that one tops the list.

To that end, I’ve begun my research of agents, cobbling together a long list that I’ll whittle down once I do a deep dive on each one. And all I can say as I start this process is thank God for the internet.

I’m also, of course, starting to work on a query letter, and revising my book. It’s in the hands of a few readers right now, and blessedly no one has yet to discover any massive plot holes or nonsense character gaps. It seems I’m down to fine-tuning, and I’m really excited.

The CP process this time around, coupled with my query-or-bust attitude, has made me realize a few things. There are a lot of reasons I have not queried up to this point. Not being ready and not having a book ready are the main ones. The other one is fear.

Most of my anxiety and self-doubt manifests in “What if I never get to be a published author?” I’m sure most of you can relate to that. Facing the idea of not achieving the only thing I’ve ever really wanted to do… well, that sucks. And it’s scary. And it’s hampered me.

But lately fear has been playing a different role in my writing life. A lesser role. I’ve been letting it run the show and I’m not doing that anymore. If anything, fear is propelling me now. I don’t want to keep myself back from this dream.

For me, these fearful years have been, in a weird way, a gift. Because if I had tried to query with any book I’ve written before this one, I know I would’ve failed. And those rejections might’ve gotten me to give up. I lacked the maturity I have now, the certainty in myself, to endure that. I wrote my first fantasy novel when I was 19, and it was terrible. I’ve grown so much as a writer, but if I had let anyone see that? Yowza.

I guess this all boils down to that trite comment: own your journey. This has been mine, and I think I’m finally about to hit the next road.

I had about a billion other things I was going to ramble about, but I’ve got a book to revise. Coffee to drink. Blankets in which to burrow (my apartment is frigid, y’all).

Happy new year, everybody. Work hard but don’t stress. You’ll get there when you’re meant to.

~Teresa

The 2017 Bookshelf Breakdown

The only real reading goals I had this year were to read more than I did last year and to read more diversely. Looking back over this list, I’m finding myself pretty pleased with it. There were some big gaps for 2017 releases, like THE HATE U GIVE (I am STILL on hold at the library for it, but that is a good problem to have) but that just means I’ve got reads to look forward to in 2018!

THE BOOKS

GILDED CAGE, Vic James
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, J.K. Rowling (reread)
THE READER, Traci Chee
THE OUTLAWS OF SHERWOOD, Robin McKinley
THE WRATH AND THE DAWN, Renee Ahdieh
AN EMBER IN THE ASHES, Sabaa Tahir
BETWEEN THE WORLD AND METa-Nehisi Coates
THE MARRIAGE PLOT, Jeffrey Eugenides (reread)
MY LIFE IN FRANCEJulia Child
LETTER TO MY DAUGHTERMaya Angelou
THE ROSE AND THE DAGGERRenee Ahdieh
A PUG’S TALEAlison Pace
THE PRINCESS DIARISTCarrie Fisher
BLOOD, BONES, AND BUTTER, Gabrielle Hamilton
LOVE, LOSS, AND WHAT WE ATE, Padma Lakshmi
FROGKISSER!, Garth Nix
RED SUITCASE, Naomi Shihab Nye
THE SUGAR SEASON, Douglas Whynott
VELVET ELVIS, Rob Bell
WE STOOD UPON STARS, Roger Thompson
COLOSSEUM, Katie Ford
WILD, Cheryl Strayed
CORK DORK, Bianca Bosker
BROOKLYNColm Toibin
THE GLASS CASTLE, Jeannette Walls
DELIGHTS AND SHADOWS, Ted Kooser
EARLY MORNING, Kim Stafford
BROWN GIRL DREAMING, Jacqueline Woodson
CARRY ON, WARRIOR, Glennon Doyle
THE RAGAMUFFIN GOSPEL, Brennan Manning
BRAVING IT, James Campbell
THE FIG EATER, Jody Shields
A PRAYER JOURNAL, Flannery O’Connor
THE LAURAS, Sara Taylor
JOY IN THE MORNING, Betty Smith
THIS SAVAGE SONG, Victoria Schwab
THE MOTHERS, Brit Bennett
GO SET A WATCHMAN, Harper Lee
YOU AND YOURS, Naomi Shihab Nye
A COURT OF WINGS AND RUIN, Sarah J. Maas
HOMEGOING, Yaa Gyasi
A TORCH AGAINST THE NIGHT, Sabaa Tahir
FROSTBLOOD, Elly Blake
MILK AND HONEY, Rupi Kaur
HUNTED, Meagan Spooner
THE FORGETTING, Sharon Cameron
THE DARKEST PART OF THE FOREST, Holly Black

THE STATS

Books: 47
Fiction: 26 (55%)                                     2017 Releases:  8 (17%)
Nonfiction: 16 (34%)                              Older Releases: 39 (83%)
Poetry: 5 (11%)

THE FAVORITES

 

 

 

Next year I’m really hoping to hit my goal of a minimum 52 books / 1 book a week. I’m pretty pleased at how close I came this year! But as always I want to read more next year.

Who has 2018 releases they’re excited about? I’ve got a few — along with an obscenely backlogged TBR list. So it goes. Too many books too little time is a problem I’m glad to have.

Hope y’all had a great year of reading! Let me know what your faves were.

~Teresa