I started my first manuscript in 2008. It was shortly after I'd discovered Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series (little late to the game on that one J). Now, say what you will, but those books inspired a lot of people. Over in my profile description, you'll see that J.K. Rowling got me reading, but it was Meyer who made me think, "Hey, I can do that! I can write a first person POV for teens that'll rock people's socks off!"
Yeah, not as easy as it sounds.
The biggest things that held me back could be narrowed down to two facts: 1) I didn't know how to write transition. In other words, I had trouble skipping anything, thought I had to write every hour of every day and every action of my characters. Those were dark days O_o. 2) I was afraid to write romance. That one seems particularly ridiculous to me now. All three of my completed MSs have a romantic element, but back then it terrified me. I guess I thought people would laugh or that my take/what I thought was romantic wouldn't resonate with others.
Anyway, back to the point. Book 1 was a YA paranormal that took me two years to write. I queried too quickly, got tons of form Rs, had my confidence beaten to a pulp. Each rejection was like a punch to the gut, but I learned a lot. Part of my problem was I could never nail the query for that particular story (not to mention the saturated YA paranormal market). I didn't sell it as good as I should have. Novel 1 was my baby; I still love it, still think readers would enjoy it, haven't read a paranormal yet tackling the mythology of the book. But as much as it pained me, after 50+ Rs, I knew it was time to write something new.
Book 2 was a YA romance murder mystery (catchy right? J) that I wrote in less than a year and had agents requesting left, right and center. I knew I'd done it this time. The query killed. Book 2 was original, nothing else like it out there. The writing was better, the characters more realized, the mystery/romance combo a real winner. But then…I got my first R on a full. And my second, third…you get the picture. Though some of those were personalized, and I got a lot of compliments on my writing, there was still something missing.
Then came the idea for Book 3. It was like the heavens opened up. *cue angels singing* I outlined the story in a single night, sat down and wrote the book in about 5 months. Seriously, it was like magic. The process for this story (ironically a YA romance) was so easy, so certain. It probably sounds dumb, but Book 3 just poured out of me. There was very little work involved. It was fun and funny and romantic. Who knew I had it in me??? I sure didn't J
When I started querying, I got requests faster than I ever had before (most of those for the full). Even when the inevitable Rs rolled in, I remained confident in my characters and the story. What's funny is even with all my belief and sureness, when I got my first Revise and Resubmit, it all came crashing down. I continued querying, tried not to lose faith in the other agents who had my book, but I knew I'd fail. This would be just like Book 1 and Book 2. I was never going to find an agent. My awesome characters would never see the light of day b/c I just wasn't good enough.
The pity party was in full swing when I got an update email. The first I'd received form an agent--and she hadn’t even had my full a month! It was so considerate that I liked her immediately, but I didn't want to get my hopes up. Her comments were complimentary, but I'd heard it before. There was no way I'd be lucky enough to get an agent--especially not a nice, considerate one. Then a few days later, I got the call. *Cue angels again* J
During that call (the week of Thanksgiving), several things happened: I realized that this agent got my story, that she loved my characters as much as me. She had ideas, real concrete ideas, on how to take the manuscript to the next level. She was the one I wanted to rep my book. Hands down, no questions. I wanted to work with this lady. Literally when she said the words, "I'd like to offer you representation," the volume on the phone went out (of course!). So I sat there kinda dumbfounded, thinking, "Did she say what I think she just said?!?!?!?" Still, don't know if I heard her right, but the contract's been signed and I've got my first edits, so I'm just going to go with it!!!!!!
So, that's my story!!! Ninja Girl's Best Thanksgiving EVER!
Hope you all have a very Merry Christmas, full of great books, great surprises, and even better people! The vid below is how I feel. See the little girl with the dark hair and green dress?? Yeah, that's me doing my happy dance J