Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday Fricassee

My stomach drops a little every time I think about the folks who are feeling disappointed this morning because they haven't made it into the Baker's Dozen adult group.  For as much as I've had happy tears in my eyes this morning over the jubilant email responses I've been receiving from the winners, I'm also painfully aware that not everyone has been afforded this particular warmfuzzy.

I've already talked about reasons Jodi and I say no.  It sucks, but it's part of this journey.  If anyone feels the meaning of "no" deep in her gut, it's me.  (It's I, actually, but that sounds ridiculous.)  You all know how long I've been at this thing.  Many of you have been waiting for my Big Announcement.  Some of you may be wondering how the heck I can have been agented for this long (it will be 4 years next month) and still not have sold anything.

Yeah.  I wonder that, too.  But it is what it is.  This is my journey.  I like who I have become because of it.

If you need a little pep talk today, read this fabulous article by Julie Butcher. (Talk about perfect timing.)

So Jodi and I have less than a week to finish up the YA and MG entries.  WE WILL PREVAIL.  We've got 2 more 2 1/2-hour sessions to go to get through the entries, and then 1 final session of about an hour to cull through the maybes and come up with our final list of 35.  It's a wonderful excuse to spend time with my beloved Jodi, for sure.  And to have things happen, like Jodi's sticking a ferret's cute face up close to the FaceTime screen, so that I squeal and reach for its nose, only to accidentally disconnect our FaceTime session.  Or to thoroughly embarrass my husband by announcing to Jodi that he is currently standing just off-camera scratching his butt.

Good times.

Anyway!  YA/MG winners will receive emails next Friday.  (And please add facelesswords(at) to your contacts to avoid the spam trap.)

As for me personally?  I'm still drafting on schedule.  I've got 45,500 words now, and may I just say that I don't think I've ever rambled so much in my life?  I'm not sure what's going on, but by this point in my word count, I should be well into Act 2 of my plot arc.  And I am just now getting into it.  I really don't have plans to write a 135,000-word story, so obviously I'm going to have lots and lots and LOTS of tightening to do.  This is driving me crazy!

Has it ever happened to you?

I'm guessing that I'm just needing to flesh out a lot of things -- particularly character relationships, as well as plot and worldbuilding.  Honestly, I'm beginning to feel a bit exhausted.  Is this story bigger than I had originally planned?  Or am I truly just churning everything out so that it makes sense right from the beginning?  I'd like to think it's the latter.  All along, I've seen this novel as a stand-alone; I don't want it to grow to epic proportions.

But, hey.  Sometimes these things happen on their own.

So that's me.  Plugging along as always.

Oh, I almost forgot!  I'll be doing a drawing this weekend to choose a winner from all those who commented on our genre mash-up.  I'll also post the finished story (it's a bit scary-crazy).  The prize:  A 3-page critique.

(And if you didn't make it into the Baker's Dozen and you'd like me to critique your first 3 pages to let you know why your opening isn't quite working, email me at authoress.edits(at)  It's $18 with a 1- to 4-week turnaround.)

Happy weekend!


  1. I entered #NoQS and didn't make the cut. It sucked, and I was bummed. I was also motivated to do something about it, so I sought the advice of some great professionals, and as a result of that advice, I did a lot of rethinking, reworking, and redacting of my manuscript. Then I entered #bakersdozen2014. And made the cut. And it is awesome. I am still such a new kid on the block when it comes to this business, but at least I've learned that these little setbacks are valuable, and I hope those who didn't get chosen for this contest keep reworking and rethinking, too. Not to make light of the importance of talent, but I'm pretty sure a huge part of getting published is determination and persistence. At least that's what I'm hoping...

  2. I have the opposite problem. My first drafts typically clock in around 40k. My second drafts I start adding more descriptions, more , maybe an actual subplot and they lengthen out to 60k or more.

  3. As a 4 time reject (that's gotta be a record), let me offer a piece of advice to the freshmen who've entered and haven't made the cut--this is not the end, it is one contest. I blogged about this very thing. You have to take rejection as it comes, because this business is SUBJECTIVE and not everyone is going to get a YES. Everyone that entered wrote a book, AND THAT, IN ITSSELF, IS AMAZING. Be proud of yourself, for writing a book, for finishing it, and for having the guts to enter it. Wallow if you must, but not for long; you have the the road to publishing to get back on. <3

    HUGE thanks to Authoress and Jodi for the consideration and their time!

  4. Great advice, McKenna. Persistence in the face of rejection is key, but oh, the process is so painful; it helps a lot to talk openly about rejection with other writers. It helped me, too, when I began to understand that rejection and long delays were normal parts of the book-writing world. Thank you, Authoress, for your comforting words on this topic and for the link to Julie Butcher's excellent article.

    (And btw, I wrote about 500 pages on my most recent MG novel before I even determined what it was about; I called it "excavating for the golden nugget." Once I nailed my theme, I was able to outline and streamline; this took a couple of years.)

  5. Hi Authoress,

    I didn't make the cut for Baker's Dozen last year, but the critiques leading up to it strengthened the opening pages. The rejection stung, but it told me there was still work to do and I revised again, and again... I finally signed with an amazing agent last month, but doubt it would have happened without the feedback I received from your contest.

    Thanks for all you do to help your fellow writers!

    Here's a link to Dahlia Adler's recent post, "It's Not Just You." Very comforting and encouraging!

    Best wishes, Authoress!

  6. Thank you for sharing the struggles of the journey with us. Your words inspire perseverance. Thanks!

  7. I love hearing about your writing, remembering when you were stuck earlier this year, Authoress. Best wishes with your manuscript and with the editing rounds here.

  8. I'm sure Authoress's real name is actually the Queen of Nice. Thanks very much for keeping on keeping on and talking about it.

  9. It's always interesting to hear about the different experiences writers have with drafting, and what you're describing is the method I was taught to use -- that is, practically free-writing and just letting everything flow out in that first draft. I wrote about this on my blog last year, and I talk about separating the 'muse' from the 'editor', and the advantages I've discovered in using that approach. (It also seems to prevent writer's block.)

    And since I find it far easier to cut than to go back and add anything, I feel that "just churning everything out so that it makes sense right from the beginning" is the way to go. So I always expect the first draft to be considerably longer than the finished manuscript will be.

    In any case, I'm glad you're enjoying the process and getting a lot done. :)

    Re: the BD selections, I'm curious how much you and Jodi took into consideration what the participating agents are looking for. I confess I was a teeny bit surprised that my entry wasn't chosen this time, since I thought it had a catchier logline (although I know it wasn't brilliant!) and the story probably has a broader appeal than the book I got in with last year. However, when I went through the list of agents, it appeared that no more than six or seven out of the twenty-one (counting the ones who said they were open to anything) actually rep my genre! So I was wondering if that could have been a factor.

    Frankly, it's disheartening that I keep running into the same issue. It's one thing when you're a young writer and know you still have a lot to learn, but it's different when you've been writing for years and gotten enough feedback from knowledgeable readers to know your writing is strong enough, but the problem seems to be that very few people are looking for the kind of books you write. :(

    Of course it's always toughest to deal with things you simply have no control over. And not to criticize Julie Butcher's good advice, but, sadly, drowning one's sorrows in ice cream, cake, and chocolate can never change anything about the situation! (Other than one's shape, of course -- but that change won't exactly be an improvement...!) ;)