My lawd, the month or so between when I first submitted and now has flown by! It seems like only yesterday I got the email from Stephanie saying she wanted to be my mentor.
Now, I want to just briefly tell you about my PitchWars story. Maybe one day I'll go deeper into detail, but for now I want to give you an overview of what happened. I sent Stephanie my manuscript, she read it over and took copious notes, then sent me a letter telling me exactly what was right with my book but also exactly what was wrong.
Don't get me wrong; she did in the BEST way possible! And I totally love her and thank her for every single thing she told me. My book was good, but it could be so much better, and you know what? She was 100% right.
So I took her advice to heart and practically rewrote my book in thirteen days. Thirteen. Days. I rushed to get it done because I was on Christmas break and knew I wouldn't have time to do it when my semester started back up. And so I jumped completely out of my norm and sent chapters as I wrote them to my crit partners (Anne, bless your heart for reading as quickly as you did; Julie and Melody, you guys rock; Sarah, you're the best for keeping me sane) so they would be perfect by the time the agent round came.
And, by my blood, sweat, and tears, I've managed to create a book that is so much better than it could have ever been. So, without further ado, here is my entry!
If you like Supernatural, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Indiana Jones, all three collide in my YA epic fantasy about a pirate and a runaway bound together by a curse: A SEA OF HOLLOW HEARTS
And here are my awesome Team Phantom Pirate Universe teammates!
Julie's fantastic YA paranormal is inspired by Phantom of the Opera, with gorgeous, haunting writing: ELEGY
Melody's thrilling YA sci-fi makes me feel like I'm watching James Bond, if he were a teenage spy who hops between universes and has to team up with her ex-boyfriend: STRANGE ATTRACTORS
It's surprisingly hard picking a song to share every week. I just have so many to choose from that I want to simply shove them all at you and say "LISTEN." But that would be overwhelming.
Anyway, PitchWars is this Wednesday! EEP. I can't believe it's so close! The time has literally flown right by, and I feel like I've just waved as it passed. It's amazing how quickly it can go.
Without further ado, here is your Monday Music selection! It is called Phaedra by Michal Cielecki. This song has the ability to make me feel so many things, even when I'm listening to it without working on my pirate book. The flow of it just fits with the book, making it heartbreaking and beautiful and you should just listen because I'm not doing it justice.
Right now, I feel incredibly frantic and panicky because this is my last semester before I graduate with my Associate's degree, and I am taking an incredible amount of classes. Only some of which will be fairly enjoyable.
Life as full-time college student is exhausting, especially when working and trying to start a writing career and attempting to figure out what the hell I'm supposed to be doing next and where I'm supposed to go. I have knots in my shoulders the size of bowling balls (because knots in my shoulders is how my body deals with stress) and can't sleep without the aid of sleeping pills because I have too many things running through my mind to ever quiet down.
And today is only the first day of the semester. Only the first. Day. Pardon me while I go curl up into a ball.
Without further ado, here is your Monday Music! This one is called Jewel of Africa by West One Music.
Do you ever have those days where you have to remind yourself (almost constantly), that everything--and I do mean everything--in the book world is slow? Because when I'm on Twitter, I happen to scroll through and see agents talking about new clients, new mss, and I get sort of like this:
But I need to remind myself to stay calm, stay collected, because I want my best book to go out to the world, in the best way possible. I have to remind myself that I'm not the only one biting their nails as they stare at their book and think, "Please, please, someone like this! My blood and tears and sleep have gone into making this book beautiful. PLEASE."
I mean, on a totally different side note, Sarah J Maas (her books...go read...now...coherent...what?) waited TEN years to get Throne of Glass as effing perfect as it is.
So yeah. There's my first reminder of the day to KEEP CALM because good things come to those who wait. Which is very true, because now you get your Monday Music, the first of the new year. (See? Waiting is good.) This week's selection is the Main Theme of the Assassin's Creed Black Flag game. If you know my book, you'll know why I kind of love this song with a passion.
I hadn't been planning on writing this post, but as I sit at my desk with the blinking cursor on my Word doc and the window is open with sun streaming in... I felt like I should share my thoughts.
It's not often I blog about much. I find other people can say what I want about writing craft a lot better than I can. I'm a better story-teller than teacher (sorry, Mom). But this doesn't have so much to do with craft as it does with the life of a struggling writer.
To recap, in December, I entered the PitchWars contest hosted by Brenda Drake. I almost didn't enter, but I scanned the mentor's wishlists and figured, "Well, why not?" And believe me when I say I am so glad I did, because not only did I get picked by the FABULOUS Stephanie Garber as her mentee, but I also got some awesome teammates who have become spectacular friends.
PitchWars is the best thing that's happened to my book--maybe even to me--in a VERY long time. Stephanie told me my book was good and my characters were interesting, but she also told me I could do so much better. And it's funny... It wasn't until I got that wonderful(ly lengthy) letter that I had even considered whether or not the story I was telling was the one that needed to be told.
And so I sat back and began looking at my story--really looking--and came to the conclusion that I had only begun to scrape the surface of my world and my pirates. And so I've begun revising this story, so much so that there are parts of it I never imagined I could write. And it takes a long time, and it's a lot of hard work, and sometimes I sit staring at my computer wondering why I'm forcing myself to endure this month of living in my writing cave, where I keep doing this to people I love:
But then I remind myself why I started to write, and why these characters speak to me, and why I want my words to go out into the world. Books have helped me through thick and thin, because they allow you to escape from whatever you happen to be living through and live someone's life, where they take control of it and leap.
And that's the most important thing. Because books and their characters can give you strength when you can't find it anywhere else. I fully admit to channeling my inner Peeta when I have to get up in front of people and present. And you know what? It helps. Because if characters in a book can get through hard times, why can't you?
So my advice is to look up authors you love. Roam through their blogs, find their stories about struggling to get an agent and the waiting woes, because more often than not they will have shared it at some point. Find a supportive group of fellow writers who will be there to reply to lengthy emails about wanting to murder characters or who will demand you share the story behind a cryptic teaser tweet.
Stop comparing yourself to other writers who may/may not have more success than you. Stop stalking agents' Twitter feeds. Remind yourself of why you started writing and why you chose these characters to write about. Sit down and WRITE.
I promise, it will get better by the end. And if doesn't, you haven't reached the end.