Let the Great Agent Hunt Begin!


I finished revisions on The Swallow’s Spring during Christmas break, and tomorrow–MLK day–I am going to finish typing in the changes on the first 50 pages and send her out to the agents and editors who have requested see them.

At last. What a long haul! When I set out to do just one, last, quick revision in September, I did not think it would take so long. However, I think the recommendations made by Karen Ball, of the Steve Laube Agency, have definitely helped me to take the quality up another notch. Thank you, Karen! I know I feel the manuscript is definitely stronger. I can’t wait to send Swallow on her way!

And so, let the great agent hunt begin!


Revision? Done!

I did it! I may not have completed it in November, but I am finally done revising my novel and can now and enjoy the remainder of the advent season.

So, as I used to ask my students, (which drove them nuts, by the way) “What have I learned from this project?”

I used to worry my storytelling style was too simplistic. (I got a D on one of my first writing assignments at UC Berkeley—where I planned to be an English major! I’ve carried with me huge insecurities about my personal “depth” as a writer ever since.) However, I think I finally learned how to get some depth into my novel.


Well, first of all, as I’ve written before, my mission was to kill all telling. It’s amazing how much deeper a story reads when lazy, cheap-trick telling has been either eliminated or filled out with juicy showing.

Second, I took a hard look at my subplot. For a long, long time I thought my main plot was so complicated, I didn’t need a subplot. (I also, coincidentally, felt totally incapable of conceiving, weaving in, and writing a subplot.) But as I did my quick read-through in preparation for the revision, I noticed the story actually has a thin subplot. I also realized that this skinny little subplot has a powerful influence on my main character that I had never addressed in the novel. Indeed, its influence is powerful enough to impact the decision she makes that ends the story. And so, this time through, I fleshed out my subplot.

I am so excited about what these changes have done to my novel. I can’t hardly wait to get them all typed in and do my last quick read-through before submitting it.

Please, say a little prayer that my novel will find a publishing home.


Yesterday I reached page 129 out of my goal of reaching page 175.

I promised to share my main mission in this revision of this novel, and then last week on the day I intended to do it, forgot! Oops. In my defense, I was very busy revising.

So, what am I trying to accomplish in this revis-a-thon?

First and foremost: KILL ALL TELLING!  This includes: backstory and flashbacks, pure explanation, explanation of character motives, telling in dialogue, sneaky telling, showing and telling the same thing, and telling in internal monologue.

My objective is for my writing to be cinematic—visual, audible, and sensory through action, setting and dialogue.

I am also working on developing my subplot, which has meant writing new scenes, especially scenes that explain by showing the relationships between the key characters.

I have changed some characters’ names.

I am finally making some vocabulary selections on which I had been waffling.

I am making certain all scenes start with the establishment of setting so the characters are “acting” in empty space.

For my indoor scenes in particular, I am trying to do a better job of detailing the interiors.

I am slowing down the front end of the story because I had rushed it, originally, in my eagerness to get to act two and the climax.

And last, challenge of all challenges, I am trying to let my main character be more flawed. I have my own issues with flaws and imperfections that have led me to fear my flawed character might be unlovable. So I’m trying to screw up my courage and get real.

What kinds of things do you find you need to revise for?

NaNoReviseMo: Two Principles

It is Wednesday morning, November 3. Yes, I know you know that, yet it is significant enough that I must confess it before I write further. It is Wednesday morning, November 3, and I have not revised one word of my manuscript. Oh, I’ve been working on the novel, but not revising. Today, as soon as this post goes up I will begin.

So, what’s with the delay? As I look back on the past two days, two principles come to mind:

  1. Everything takes longer to do than you think it will.
  2. Nothing is as scary as you think it is if you’ll just use your rational, rather than your emotional, mind.

Principle 1: I thought before beginning the revisions I should update the Iseult binder. There was new information I needed to include this time around (some of which required research), name changes, character descriptions, style decisions, and a vocabulary/spelling sheet that needed updating. Piece of cake! I thought. I’ll just whip it all together Monday morning and I’m off writing. Not quite. I was still researching at 12:00 A.M Tuesday morning! However, as of 4:30 P.M. yesterday, the binder is complete (except three words I thought of this morning that I have to look up and write the precise definitions onto the vocabulary page). Today, I truly begin revising.

Principle 2 is a cheerier one. I admit, I have been intimidated by the thought of this revision ever since I committed to it. Oh my goodness! The WHOLE novel!

Tuesday, I at last looked at the manuscript to take the total page count and divide it up between the number of days I know I can work this month. What did that scary, burdensome, insurmountable challenge look like? 25 pages a day. Yes, that’s all. Doing only minor revising, I can do that in two hours. Even with scenes to add and others to flesh out, I can do that in a day!

So, yippee! I’m off and writing. This week’s goal? Pages 1-50, out of 200 total. I’m finally excited.

Gotta go!