that time I participated in wipmarathon


Marathon Goal: I just started working on my newest YA contemporary, currently untitled. I'm about 13k in and I would love to finish the first draft by the end of August. I'm shooting for somewhere between 65k-75k (I don't know, possibly longer??)

Stage of writing: Writing my first draft!

What inspired my current project: This is a YA Contemporary. I came up with the idea over a year ago and about a week ago it flooded my mind and I started working on it again. The inspiration comes somewhere from "Gilmore Girls" but a much darker version.

What might slow down my marathon goal:  My time management. Sometimes I can pump out 10k a day, others I'm lucky if I get a sentence.

that time revising really worked

So I've been working on my revisions for a while now. When I sat down to make the initial revisions, I was like "Oh, this won't take me long at all. I know exactly what needs to change." And the laugh that echoed 'round the world chuckled with great ferocity. Because I got about halfway through my super quick and easy revisions when I read an agency blog saying they were really sick of seeing exactly what I was writing. EPIC FAIL.

So I started looking at things through a crystal colored glass. I had an agent ask me for an R&R. She loved the main concept of my book and I thought "how in the world can I cut out the immortal creatures in my book to make the story work?" Long story short, I didn't have to cut them at all. All they needed was a makeover. Like a major, you were once a vampire, now you're a werewolf sort of makeover. DISCLAIMER: This book contains no vampires OR werewolves, but since I created my own immortal creatures, I'm being a super-secretive pain in the butt about revealing what they actually are.

So (and I realize that I literally start every paragraph with that, so just bear with me) I gave my immortal creatures a makeover. And I was terrified at first, because I was making my own mythology and brand of immortals. And I wasn't sure it was going to work. And I spent hours drawing how everything connects in my writing notebooks. And I MEAN HOURS. Like, lots of them. But last night, when I was in the shower (because I do my best thinking there - or in bed), the puzzle I had drawn myself started to fit together. A few misshapen pieces started molding to exactly what I needed them to be.

The circle of life that I created can finally close because there are no more loose ends or plot holes (at least I hope. My CPs will be the judge of that next week).

There was a time when I LITERALLY could not make a single change to my MS. In all honesty, I thought it was completely perfect, that not a single word needed to be deleted, not a scene taken away or added. But man, what a difference a little time makes. I've already cut over 20,000 words and IT FEELS SO FREAKING GOOD. I've actually cut more but since I've added some as well, 20k was my closest guess.

And everything about the revisions on this book make it a million times more unique than it ever was in the first place. And believe me, I thought it was SUPER unique to begin with. But now, it's evolved from an egg to a dragon that breathes blue fire (yes blue, because it's way cooler than red). BLUE FIRE. My MS breathes fire, because it's THAT much better that it was a year ago when I finished it.

So now, as I'm closing in on the last few chapters (and it's surreal getting this close), I feel such comfort and relief knowing all the pieces fit. All those hours I spent plotting out a rewrite of a book I'd already written will (hopefully) pay off. I've felt pretty confident about every book I've written, but my confidence in this book far outweighs any confidence I felt for previous MSs. And while I hope and pray that the agent that asked for an R&R and other agents will love it, my belief in this book is really the most important thing.

that time I waited 6 months to revise

Fourteen months ago, I finished my first YA book, an urban fantasy about fallen angels. I worked on it for almost a year, knowing this was the book that would put me on the map. And when I finished it, and went through a billion rounds of edits, I started querying. I queried for 3 months, got all rejections. Then in September of last year, I got two partial requests (happy dance), but they both rejected. I decided it was about time to stop querying. I was getting frustrated and wanted to work on something else, so I queried one more handful of agents and put my book about angels to rest.

In December, when I was knee deep in finishing my YA fantasy, I got a rejection letter from an agent (who I seriously adore) that said all these wonderful things about how unique my concept was, how good of a writer I was, but that there were just some things that needed to be changed. I didn't think much about it. Truth be told, I didn't even read the whole email, because all I saw was NO. And my only thought was, "there is nothing about that book that I'm willing to change right now."

So I finished my YA fantasy, queried, got 2 full requests which were rejected. I wrote two YA contemporaries, one of which I was absolutely positive would get me an agent. I won a total of five different contests with said MS but in the end, it was all rejections. So after I finished my second YA contemporary, I decided to revisit my angel book.

I rifled through my emails, trying to find that one email from that one agent in December. I remembered she'd suggested a few changes, and I wanted to see what they were. So I reread the email, and at the bottom of the email, the very last line said: "Please consider making these changes, and revise and resubmit."

So I remember feeling like the world's biggest idiot a month ago when I read that email. It felt like I was slapped across the face by Rapunzel's frying pan. After spending nearly a week thinking about the changes that needed to be made, I started working on revisions. I got through 20 of 27 chapters and was feeling really good about the changes.

BUT THEN, OH BUT THEN, I was on Tumblr, reading a blog of a literary agency I follow, one who does Q & A. And one of the questions they got was : What are you tired of seeing in YA? And the answer was something along the lines of: vampires, werewolves, and angels, where a girl falls in love with a mysterious guy.


So I panicked, freaked out. Pretty sure I went into cardiac arrest. One the one hand, I have this agent who asked for an R&R, but here's this agency saying, STAY AWAY ANGELS. So I called my trusted CP and friend, Brianna, because she ALWAYS talks me off a cliff when I'm just about to jump.  And I ran some ideas by her, and I just got this one idea that literally just started soaring. A great way to take out the angels, replace them with something else, and keep the unique concept of my book.

So, here's the thing, I'm so angry with myself for not reading through that email entirely in December. But ALSO, in December, I would not have been able to make the changes I'm making now, and this book would not be half as half as half as good as it's becoming with all the changes I'm making. So while it's been a while, and I hope this agent hasn't forgotten how much she loved my concept, I'm revising like a madwoman, back to my thought that this WILL be the book that gets me an agent. I REALLY believe that.

Waiting six months to revise a book that got you an R&R is really hard! But when you need to make significant changes, I think one of the best things you can do for yourself and your book is just walk away for a bit. When you work on something else, you improve your writing craft and you see what your first idea was missing, and it makes your revisions a million times better.

For all those of you in the revising boat with me, we won't let this ship sink. Godspeed to you all!

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