I hit the ground running after DFWcon just not in the way you might think.
I arrived back in LA late Sunday night and left Wednesday morning on an 8am flight to Hawaii with my husband and our youngest. A bit of rest, relaxation and recharging was in my sites.
So no immediate writing.
In some ways that was difficult and in other ways it was a gift. I fired off thank you notes to agents that I had spoken with and to the planners for the event.
And I digested what I had learned.
I also realized what I needed to do more work on before stepping forward. I know I want to work on my queries. I know I need to approach the changes necessary in my MG fiction. At first that seemed daunting.
In all honesty, I met with an agent at 9 am who turned me down, sort of. She asked to see my query and 10 pages, but also told me that I had written something she probably wouldn’t be interested in. I completely appreciate the open door but still…I wanted the standing ovation. Who doesn’t?
I was crushed.
But I persevered.
I went to my first class which was a read and critique and figured out in there three things.
- I need to move my story into modern day.
- I need to move the beginning later in the story.
- I wish I lived in Dallas so I could go to the once a week meetings run by this group.
Then I went to an agent panel and mused further changes and then went in to lunch.
Just before sitting down, I quickly approached an agent that I had been listening to in another class I took. I had liked his attitude, humor and personality.
He wants to talk further. He wants me to contact him and in one month with all the changes made I will do that very thing.
I then went to teach my “Writing Through Your Trauma” class. I was nervous, not about the teaching, but about the tech. I managed to get everything hooked up and when I looked up the room was standing room only. I was so grateful!
You can read more about that here: An Author at the Dallas Writers Conference
When Dad was trying to sell short stories he always made sure he always had a story in the mail so when he got a rejection(there were over 200 of then) he had hope. That story that he had just sent out was always a possible sale.
At the cocktail party I queried another agent who is interested in a book I am still on the first draft of and gave me a standing invitation to send it to her.
Since I taught the first class the next day I had time afterwards to eat lunch and take some other classes. Taking a lesson from my dad I also made one more agent query meeting.
I walked into that meeting. There were only two agents still having meetings at 3:30 on Sunday. The one I was meeting was wearing this:
I kid you not.
The first words out of my mouth were, “We are meeting for the first time and you are wearing that! I can’t believe it!” I am sure it was a sign. She also gave me some sage advice for the one final problem in my book. But when do you go to meet someone who is wearing a sweater with your last name on it?
I will be sending her pages and a query when I have implemented the changes.
So what did I learn?
- Keep meeting agents if you are at a conference. You never know what might happen. If the first one you speak to is interested, great…meet some more. If the first one you speak to isn’t interested, great, meet some more.
- Don’t get disheartened. This goes back to “You can’t edit a blank page.” The reason I can make changes to my good story is because it is written. Fixing is easier than you think.
- All of us want to have our audience stand up and cheer. I wanted it on my auditions when I was an actress and I wanted someone to say “What a brilliant idea. I want that book!”
At first I had no idea how to proceed. The way seemed foggy (ok a bit corny but look at that fog!)
While on my trip, I found my solutions to my book issues.
Not by working everyday. I know… I know… I shouldn’t say that! But, it was always in the back of my mind. And all the while, I was resting and recharging.
Suddenly it all became clear.
I discovered the changes I needed to make and how to make them. How one new change would add to a deepening of the main character’s relationship to the antagonist and how I can and will do this right away.
Sometimes all you need is a bit of a refocus or to go outside and see something different. Sometimes you need that recharging to take a few days.
The school year is tough on moms too, add to that a job, writing books, two kids, a husband, a dog, and a few college classes and I was as in need of summer vacation as my kids!