done. gone. poof. out of my hands.
the query letters are out!
and my stomach is already happier for it. come what may, the worst is over. i got no sleep last night, despite the whole ‘walk away’ malarkey i was spouting on friday.
actually, not in spite of. perhaps because of.
see, over the weekend i got more feedback from some of my readers, and was able to have some good conversations, and much as it pains me to admit, i took until this weekend to realize just how tightly i was hanging on to the wrong first chapter.
god that hurt.
i knew it, though. i knew i was holding on too tightly. and yet, still i held on. i’d fallen in love with an idea i’d started writing with. it was, in fact, my lodestone for the entire book. it was the first scene i’d written with Kelly, and it was a summation of who she was, what she wanted, and what she’d gone through. whenever i got lost in my revisions, whenever i got frustrated with the writing, whenever i realized i was manhandling the dialogue or the plot or the characters, i could go back and read this single page scene and everything would make sense again. no exaggeration.
the trouble, though, was i wanted it to bookend the whole story, working as an intro and exit. a potentially neat idea, but this takes more skill than i currently have. i knew it didn’t fit at the beginning, not really, but i couldn’t get my conscious mind to accept this.
so when feedback came back telling me what i already knew, i went into lockdown* for a little while. thankfully, though, my readers are honest souls and i was able to recognize this and get out of my funk before lasting damage was done.
so why am i babbling about this? because all this happened over the last few days. if i had decided to just send the query letters last week anyway, despite not feeling entirely ready, i would’ve made a terrible, terrible mistake. most agents are asking for at least the first page, now, and if i hadn’t walked away when i did, i would’ve started them on the entirely wrong foot. Talk about stomach-turning thoughts.
so, to my readers, i owe you an enormous thanks, and an apology which i willingly and happily give. thank you for being honest and for showing me what i wouldn’t let myself see.** i am in your debt, as always.
and now, to a full night’s sleep.
* well, okay, not lockdown, but definitely strong denial, all the while claiming that i was open to any comments. hypocrite. so much for outgrowing this baloney, eh?
** is it merely coincidental that the discussion in one of my classes today covered denial as an obstacle to critical thinking and effective learning? physician…