Friday, January 31, 2014

Friday Fun

HI ape-friends!

Yvie here . . . well, not really. Today I'm at the vet for a teeth cleaning and for removal of a bump on my eyelid.

I am not happy.

Like I'm going to look at the camera when I have to go to the vet



But that is no reason why you can't be happy, on this wonderful beginning of the weekend. And off we go with the fun!


 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 


 




Wednesday, January 29, 2014

In Which I Set Goals

(Wednesday Weirds will return soon, for those of you who are frequent WW readers. Yes, you.)

We're well into January now, which means it's time for me to lay out some 2014 goals.

Things are a bit different this year, of course. I have an agent now (MUPPET FLAIL!) Which means this is my first year in awhile when querying something or other won't be on my list of goals. Which also means I have to come up with some new ones.



Also, I'll be tackling my MFA, and will have duties for that as well. I'm going to try to avoid any MFA related stuff on my goals, because I HAVE to do that, so it's not really fair putting them on the list, if you follow.

Anyway, here was my list from last year.  And now onto my list for 2014


1. Write a new novel. We have to work on something new for the MFA, but actually finishing the whole thing is what I'm going to aim for. I'd really love to finish it before my second semester, but we'll see how things are going and how crazy my life is.

2. Write at least two short stories. I've been sitting on two that I want to write and I originally planned on doing them while I was querying ATR, but it turned out I didn't query it very long so I didn't have the time. So now I want to make the time to get these buggers written and hopefully submitted somewhere

3. Read 105 books. I somehow managed to read 103 last year. Was it a fluke? No frickin' clue. So I guess we'll find out in 2014 if I can do it again. Aim high or go home, I guess.

4. Look into teaching a class. For awhile now I've thought about teaching a query letter workshop at The Loft, our local writing center. But I've never been a teacher and I have no idea how to put together a lesson plan or anything like that. I'd like to spend some time figuring out the logistics, so I can maybe put in an application this year or the next to teach some query skills in the future. Just trying to pay it forward and all that junk.

5. Redo our basement bathroom. Not a writing goal, obviously, but our basement bathroom needs a complete overhaul due to water damage. It's a very small bathroom, but we've never done drywall before so there'd be a bit of a learning curve. Of course, as always, our motto is "I could do a lot of things if I had money."  *nods head seriously*


That seems like a fair amount of goals. I thought about putting Revise ATR with agent Mollie on there, but, like the MFA, that's less of a goal and more of something that's for sure going to happen, so it felt a bit like cheating to include it.

So there you have it! How about you? What are some of your goals for this year?

Monday, January 27, 2014

In Which I HAVE AN AGENT!!!

Guys. GUYS!!!!

SERIOUSLY!

Okay. Wait. Let me calm down and back up a little. I'm just so excited because since I started this blog, alllll the way back in 2010, I've seriously dreamed about writing this post, guys. THE POST.

The I GOT AN AGENT POST!!

Because I did.

And this is how I feel:




I honestly wish I could dance this well

 
Okay, so let's tell a tale, a tale of queries and revisions and offers. But first, we must go back to a conference. (prepare yourself for a long ass post)

Wait. One more dance:



 


In NaNoWriMo 2011 I wrote the first 50k of ALL THAT REMAINS. Then I put it aside for a year because it was fighting me and I was working on something else. For NaNo 2012 I finished the last 50k of ATR and I loved it and decided I would take my time revising this one. And I would take a class to workshop it. And I would not rush.

In October (2013) I attended the MN SCBWI conference, which was fun and awesome. I had signed up for a MS crit from either an editor or an agent and I was assigned to the editor. But instead of giving me a crit, she mostly just said that she loved my first five pages and that she wanted to see the full of ALL THAT REMAINS.

Which was amazing and great. I told her that I planned on querying because I wanted an agent and she agreed that an agent would be the best way to go. And then she did something awesome--she told me if I wanted to, I could use her name in my query. So I did.

I began querying on Halloween. I sent 2 out, got 2 fulls, and then sent out a full batch of 10. My goal was to query through November, take a break in December, and then start up again when I was done with my MFA residency in mid January. Also, I had a new strategy with this MS: I was going to start off by targeting agents who had read previous manuscripts of mine.

I had a very large request rate. A lot of requests is normal for me, but this was different. This was also no rejections. Even with a lot of requests on the other manuscripts, I still pulled in the Rs. But not this time. For awhile I had an almost 100% acceptance rate on my queries. I even broke my rule and queried a few agents who had only rejected me in the past, and even they requested. For a brief moment, I thought about pulling out of the Baker's Dozen contest, but my family convinced me otherwise.

I got a partial request in mid Nov. Then that agent bumped it up to a full. And she tweeted about me, guys. That . . . that was a crazy moment. That she was so excited to read the full that she had to tweet it.







In early December, the same agent sent me an email that she wanted to call and talk revisions. She raved about ATR. She comped it to an amazing book that I lurved (*cough* LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA *cough*). And she wanted to give me her revision notes asap because she was pretty sure I would get an offer from another agent soon. And her revision notes were great, so I dove in.

And then I got 3 more R&Rs within the same week. Now, I'd had R&Rs before, but these were different. They were exuberant. There were phone calls and excitement and more agents telling me that I would most likely get an offer from another agent soon.

One agent only wanted to see revisions on the first few chapters. A kind of "feeling me out" sort of deal, to see if I could actually pull the revisions off. And that I wasn't crazy.

So I dove into those first, because they'd be faster. I sent them back to her a week before my MFA, but this agent was still out of the office because of the holidays.

Then, the day before my residency, when I'd be in lectures and workshops and readings for 11 days straight, all day, this agent said she wanted to call.

I thought it would be an offer. So I managed to skip some of the non-required readings, and took the call in a classroom.


And she offered.





And my new MFA friends freaked out in enthusiasm and excitement and congratulations and that night we went to a Korean restaurant/bar and performed some major karaoke.

That night I nudged everyone who had the MS, including the 3 remaining R&R agents and the few queries I still had out.

I had another offer a few days later. I actually had dinner with this agent because she happened to be in town, visiting in-laws. The dinner was lovely and I had a great time.

Then I had another offer. And another. And by this time the residency was over and I had just a few days to reach out to agent clients and do some final research before I had to make a decision. But during this time the offers still came in.



 

But, when it was all said and done, there was one agent that just struck a chord with me. When I was finished speaking with her on the phone, I felt excited to get to work. It was my gut telling me she was the one.

I am happy to announce that I am now officially repped by: MOLLIE GLICK! Of Foundry Literary + Media





I'm so excited to get to work on revisions with her.



Me, signing the agent agreement

 

Twin baked me a cake!


It was butter pecan. And it. was. delicious!!

So. The Numbers, since I know some people love the numbers (I know this because I am a numbers person. I love reading the "I got an agent" posts and I love seeing the stats)


Queries sent: 25
Query rejections (before the offer): 3
Partial Requests: 3 (2 bumped up to fulls)
Full requests: 14 (including the bumps)
R&Rs: 4 (3 stepped aside after the offer)
Number of Offers: 7


But, I think it's important to remind people that, yes, even though those stats are pretty awesome, this is after 2 other queried manuscripts. I've been querying almost steadily since 2011.

So here are some quick stats on those, because I want to remind people that sometimes it takes a lot of work and patience to reach this point. And there's no shame in it. I loved every step of the journey, both the ups and the downs, because it meant I was putting myself out there, that I was working hard and trying and I knew trying was the only way I'd reach my goals.


GLIMPSE OF ANOTHER SHORE
Queried for 8 months in 2011 and 4 months in 2012
Queries Sent: 96
Partial Requests: 1
Full Requests: 17


BREAK FREE
Queried for 6 months in 2012 and 7 months in 2013
Queries sent: 106
Partial Requests: 5 (three bumped to fulls)
Full Requests: 11 (not including the bumps)
R&Rs: 3


So. There you have it. over 200 queries in 3 years. 48 manuscript requests. 7 offers. 1 agent.

Thanks for reading and for being awesome. Because you are.
 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

In Which I Return

So, I'm back from my MFA Residency!

And it. Was. AWESOME!!

Guys, guys! It was so great I can't even. I made so many cool new friends. I mean, check out my class!

from left to right, Top: Gary Mansergh, Josh Hammond, Zachary Wilson
Middle: Jessica Mattson, Jennifer Wilson Coates, Kate St. Vincent Vogl, Anna Dielschneider
Bottom: Brita Sandstrom, Me.

Everyone was such a good writer. So good. We all read at student readings and I was seriously blown away by their talent. I'm not even exaggerating.

The workshops were great and wonderful, the lectures were awesome, I got my copy of I'M WITH STUPID signed by Geoff Herbach (if you ever get a chance to hear him speak, DO! He's hilarious), got to sit next to Kate DiCamillo (true story) and spoke with Jane Yolen (also a true story).

And I get to do it all over again in July!

We were assigned mentors for the next 5ish months and I'll be working with Anne Ursu, which I'm super excited about because she's awesome and cool and loves cats (as expected).

And besides the residency, some awesome crazy huge event happened too, which I'll be blogging about soon (soooooon).

I know, I'm such a blog tease. I don't mean to be, I swear, but I like to keep things close to my chest until things are more clear, you know?

Yeah.

Anyway, how have you been? Anything exciting or fun or different happen the last two weeks?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Insecure Writer's Support Group

Today's the first Insecure Writer's Support Group of 2014! Woo!




Tomorrow is my very first day of my MFA in writing for children's and young adults. It starts off with a 10 day residency (11 if it's your first semester) which includes readings and lectures and workshops and other awesome stuff I'm excited about.

I'm actually not really nervous at all. Anything I am nervous about is just logistics stuff, like lunches and dinners and whether I'll have time to work out in the morning before I go. But I know all of that will be resolved probably after the first day. 

Mostly I'm just excited to get going and meet a whole bunch of new, awesome writers.

I also have a friend from one of my classes last year who was also accepted to the MFA program, so it will be nice to know someone who'll be going through the same program as me. At the very least it means I'll already have one friend.

I dunno. I guess this isn't a very good insecure writer post, because I'm feeling pretty secure. I think. Of course maybe tomorrow morning I'll suddenly be nervous or scared or something. I guess we'll see.

But, because the residency is pretty much all day for 10 days, I won't be blogging at all until it's done. So I'll be on hiatus for the rest of this week, all of next week, and at least part of the week after.

Wish me luck!

Monday, January 6, 2014

In Which I Look Back At 2013 Goals

Another year, another list of goals met or failed.

Looking back at this time last year, these were the goals I'd made for myself for 2013:



2013 GOALS

  1. Revise All That Remains
  2. Query All That Remains
  3. Take at least one writing class before querying ATR
  4. Start another novel
  5. Lose weight
  6. Read 62 books
  7. Revise Break Free (again)
  8. Seriously consider getting my MFA


1. CHECK (mostly). So I did revise the crap out of it. Then I started sending it out. But, as these things work, I'm back to doing some revisions on it. All for good, exciting reasons, but still.

2. CHECK. I did indeed start querying ATR. On Halloween as a matter of fact. It's going really well, though I did take a short hiatus over December and probably won't start again until after my residency (or maybe not until I hear back from some agents. We'll see)

3. DOUBLE CHECK. I took 2 classes this year, a YA novel class and an advanced children's writing workshop. I met some great new people which has been one of the best parts of the classes

4. CHECK-ISH. I've written 15 pages on my next WIP. So, not a lot, but still. It counts I guess.

5. UNSURE Probably I should have written down my starting weight somewhere... But probably I haven't lost anything significant

6. HUGE CHECK I smashed my goal out of the water. As of writing this post I've read 103 books and I'm on schedule to finish 1 or 2 more before 2013 closes out.

7. CHECK It was just a small revision, but I still got it done.

8. BIG CHECK I considered it hard, applied and was accepted. My first semester and residency begins on Thursday, the 9th. I'm so excited! My workshop faculty for the 10 day residency includes Anne Ursu, which will be awesome. And I'm excited to see who I get paired up with for a mentor.


So, looking at all that, it seems 2013 was pretty successful. I have to think on some goals for 2014 (and the next few days/weeks could change things one way or another) but once I get back from the residency I'll make my 2014 goals list.




How about you? Did you meet your 2013 goals? Are you making goals for 2014?

Friday, January 3, 2014

Friday Fun

Hiya ape-friends!

Yvie here for the first Friday fun of 2014!

Yes. 2014 is looking mighty fine


Let's get this year started off right!



 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 

 
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