Yesterday was a bad day. The agent I wanted to work with rejected my stuff. I was sad. But then I looked at her website again and reminded myself that she really IS a romance expert, and I don't write romance. At all. I'd probably be better with a YA expert. And, reading her blog every day I've learned a lot, and, what's more, her site linked me to some other incredibly valuable sites, including other agents that, from their entries in agent guides, I wouldn't have considered, but reading their blogs I am interested. So that was hard, but okay. I have been praying that I get accepted by the right agent because, if my experience with OBGyns is any indicator, given the choice of many myself, I usually choose the wrong person first and have to change around--and that's not so easy with agents as it is with doctors.
Meanwhile, I've been reading online Novel Workshops by experts, and have gleaned some information that is consistently the same from everyone. Everyone agrees that the first chapter of the novel needs to have some serious action, and put the characters into the position that they can't turn around and go back. Everyone writes chapters before that, and you're supposed to delete them. So I went back to Poison Spindle and discovered that, lo and behold, the first chapter and the introduction have zero movement in them. And that everything that happens in them can be summarized in three sentences--which can be put into other parts of the book. So I deleted them. The other consistent advice that's given is that if you read a scene, and nobody moves and nobody feels anything but pretty good, cut it. Makes the book stronger. So I started going through and found bunches of paragraphs that actually DON'T move the story along at all. They are stagnant. Most of them could be re-written into a single sentence, or even a single adjective.
So the short of all of that is: I'm rewriting again while I research another set of agents to contact. The book was 100,000 words too long anyway, and I managed to cut out almost 20 pages from what was the first three chapters of the book--7,000 words gone, with no loss of action or character development. I feel like I did in journalism in high school, when I had to cut 500 word articles to 250 words with no loss of content. It actually makes the writing stronger, more clear, and more powerful anyway. Still contacting agents, though. I've found somet that I don't understand why I wasn't interested in them before--they seem more ideal than any on my first list. Perhaps because I needed to first submit to people who would say no while I learned from them what to do and what to do next.
To add to my bad day yesterday, I felt sick all day.
Caleb was sick, too, and ended up throwing up in the middle of the night. Luckily, for the first time ever, he made it to the potty, used it, and flushed it all away without needing my help.
Also, I went shopping (hard when you feel sick) and got $180 worth of groceries on sale for $100. I was tired, and the kids were fussy, and it was 11:30 pm when we finished and went to check out--and the system wouldn't take my check because it was tagged as "possible fraud or identity theft"--probably because I spent so much so late at night. No matter that I gave the guy my ID and everything. So I had to use a different account, and Mom bailed me out so that would't bounce. So irritating. I got it all straightened out today. I just hate it when people point out that I'm weird. I know it. I don't need to be reminded that nobody takes three kids grocery shopping at midnight to buy 50 lbs of frozen meat and 30 cans of soup. Duh.
Anyway, today is better.