In my last post, I mentioned that I had just finished writing my second manuscript. I sent it off to a few agents and was fortunate enough to receive some excellent feedback from one of them. Yay, awesome agent, who actually sends out more than a form letter that says “sorry to send you this form letter.”
The first bit of advice was to walk away from the project for a while before I made her suggested edits. Okay, done. I’d already been away from it for a couple of weeks. What’s a few more, right? Yeah, we’ll cover that in more detail below. The next tasks recommended by this agent were to read as many ghost novels as I could and to watch as many ghost movies/shows as I could while I was “on a break” from my manuscript. Wait, what? You’re giving me permission to binge watch Netflix? And I can tell my husband it’s for “work”? Thank you very much, kind agent. So I did just that, watching both good and horrible movies, and ending with a viewing of the first season of American Horror Story.
The reading portion stumped me, at first. Now, I know that to be a better writer you need to read a lot. And I do. A lot. Goodreads has even become a bit of an obsession for me in tracking my reading habits. But, for some reason, I had it in my head that I’m not supposed to read the genre I’m writing while I’m writing it, in an effort not to “accidentally” steal someone else’s ideas or style. When I mentioned this to one of my writing group cohorts, she had heard the exact same thing, but neither of us could remember where. But we have this sneaking suspicion that we heard it in our creative classes back in the college days. After we discussed this topic in length, we both agreed that this agent makes more sense than our previously held beliefs. Thus, my reading in the genre of ghost stories began. As of today, I’ve read four books and have listened to one audiobook (this is how I always fill my time in the car). I’m also halfway through another book and just began another audio. I’m all about this kind of research. And that Netflix kind is good, too.
After walking away from the project for over six weeks, allowing for that much needed distance from something I was much too close to, I’m finally back to working on the latest round of edits to my manuscript. I cannot tell you just how thrilled I am to be reunited with these characters and this story. I’ve missed them more than I ever thought I would. I tried to work on other things over the last six weeks, but found it difficult to focus knowing that I was coming back to this project, again. I started a new novel, even producing a healthy amount of words in the effort (close to 10,000) before I realized my heart just wasn’t with that project, yet. So I put it on hold. I turned my attention to short stories, which, as most writers know, are more difficult to write than novels. I managed to complete one, although I wouldn’t call it a masterpiece by any means. But I made a promise to myself a while ago to write every day, and I made sure to keep that promise, even if it meant producing work I probably wouldn’t use for anything other than bettering myself as a writer.
As I continue on this journey to publication, I’ll keep posting about it here and will try to do so more frequently. For now, I’m going to focus on those edits and enjoy the reunion with my characters. Happy writing to you!