Wednesday, July 3, 2013

ISWG July WIP'ed Ink Wednesday

Happy 4th of July you beautiful guys and dolls!! Hope your week is going well and your holiday is red, white, and blue! If you live in the USA, that is. If not, Happy Day, to you!!

I love this time of the month, cause I get to share my thoughts and insecurities.

This month, however, I'm going to talk about a rejection letter that at first, made me sad, but after I read the accompanying critique, I was like WOW!!

See, no one likes rejections. But if a writer takes rejection personally and uses it against their reasons for being a writer, discouragements settles in followed closely by quitting.

Don't get to that point! I'm finally to the point where I know how subjective this business is and rejection is just a fact that I haven't found the RIGHT agent to represent my book. That's all.

So, since today is also WIP'ed Ink day, I thought I'd share my original opening to one of my manuscripts and then show you the notes and suggestions from an AGENT who gave me marvelous advice on how to wip my writing into pretty colors and ink tints!

Original:



Kallie Jenson hurried through the alley. She hated being late, even with the good excuse her alarm failed to go off. The electric outage only affected her apartment complex. Just her luck. The early morning hours offered limited light, but the streetlights already flickered as the night slipped away. She pulled a flashlight from her pocket. Under normal conditions, Kallie wouldn’t take the ally. But it was the quickest way to get to the school, where she worked as a tutor.
Last nights rain created puddles everywhere and she wanted to avoid as many splashes as possible. She hated wet shoes. Today, she was wearing her new hiking boots. As soon as she finished working, she planned to hike down by the lake. That is, if the rain didn’t keep her away. Thunder boomed off in the distance.
“I guess the storm will linger over through today,” she said. A shiver ran down her back. She loved storms. The envelope she carried needed to stay dry, so she put the flashlight handle in her mouth and slung her backpack off her back and fumbled with the zipper. From inside her pack, a knife glistened in the beam of her light.

New Version with notes: 

Kallie Jenson hurried through the alley. She hated being late, even with the good excuse her alarm failed to go off[p2] though it wasn’t her fault her alarm didn’t go off. It was just her luck: The electric outage only affected her apartment complex. Just her luck. The early morning hours offered limited light, but the streetlights already flickered as the night slipped away. She pulled a flashlight from her pocket. Under normal conditionscircumstances, Kallie wouldn’t take the alley. But it was the quickest way to get to the school, where she worked as a tutor. [p3] But these weren’t normal circumstances.
Last nights rain created puddles everywhere and she wanted to avoid as many splashes as possible. She hated wet shoes.  Thunder boomed off in the distance.
“I guess the storm will linger over through today,” she said. A shiver ran down her back. She loved storms. The envelope she carried needed to stay dry, so she put the flashlight handle in her mouth and slung her backpack off her back and fumbled with the zipper. From inside her pack, a knife glistened in the beam of her light. (see note below...)


 This is a great line. What would be fantastic is to open with this line – almost like the opening line of Neil Gaiman’s THE GRAVEYARD BOOK (which is: “There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.”) Bringing this to the front will hook readers right away because it creates so many questions: Why is there a knife in the backpack? What happened? What might happen? Etc.


 New Version:

Kallie Jenson hurried through the alley, a backpack slung over her shoulder. From inside her pack, a knife glistened. She hated being late, but it was her lot in life. She was always late, no matter how hard she tried to be on time. The early morning hours offered limited light, but the streetlights already flickered as the night slipped away. She pulled a flashlight from her pocket. Under normal circumstances, Kallie wouldn’t take the alley. But these weren't normal circumstances.
Last nights rain created puddles everywhere and she wanted to avoid as many splashes as possible.  Thunder boomed off in the distance. A shiver ran down her back. She loved storms
The envelope she carried needed to stay dry, so she put the flashlight handle in her mouth and slung her backpack off her back and fumbled with the zipper.

 My opinion:
 This still needs work. I feel like it is jumpy and choppy. So, it's back to revision cave I go...

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11 comments:

  1. This always happens to me when I get critique - first I feel really down and want to give up, then I leave it a while and the next time I read through it I realise that it's not so bad really, and that there are a lot of useful tips about how to make my writing better :)

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  2. Ah, yes, nothing like having a good editor have a go at it, eh? Besides writing, it's what I do for a living these days, so it's become second nature to tear everything I read to shreds. But let me tell you, there's nothing that will teach more about writing than having rock sold, well-experienced critique partners who will take your manuscript part word by word. I had 12 for my book, The Mistaken, and they were divers -- a lawyer, a paralegal, a college English professor, a college student, etc. Each had their own take and brand of critiquing and they caught almost every error so I wouldn't be embarrassed about an agent seeing a poorly edited ms. But it's a process and takes time. Keep on trying and you will find what you're looking for!

    Great post! I'm one of Alex's minions for the July IWSG. Nice to see you again!

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  3. That was cool the agent gave you those suggestions! Better than just a form rejection slip.

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  4. Thanks so much for sharing! Oooo, maybe I'll get up the courage to do this :) It's funny how small changes make such a difference. The revision is really good and just to get actual comments back is fantastic!

    Meredith
    Meredith’s Musings

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  5. I wrote about rejection today too. It stings but there's so much learning that can happen and then we face the next opportunity with more confidence. Go us!

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  6. Thanks for sharing this snippet!
    It's great that the agent took the time to offer suggestions. A good boost for the spirits.
    Writer In Transit

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  7. Love this, Beverly, and thanks so much for your thoughtful comment on my blog today. So glad to "meet" you.

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  8. That's a very helpful rejection and critique. I wish more agents could do that, but I understand they are very busy. I'm still hoping to find the RIGHT agent for my book too. :) Good luck revising!

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  9. It is an amazing critique! What I've learned through my many rejections is that receiving that kind of rejection is the biggest compliment, short of an acceptance. She believes in you and glimpses something great, otherwise she wouldn't take the time to encourage you. Go ahead, revise your piece again, but have faith that the light is peeking at the end of the tunnel. You are so close, and there is something great waiting at the other end!

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  10. I wish all rejections were like that! We would learn so much. :)

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  11. How fascinating seeing these notes! Thank you for sharing.

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