Tuesday, May 15, 2012

U is for Unrealistic

In my ever-persistent quest to finish the A to Z challenge, I am going forth with "U."

First of all, shout-out to my 9 followers. Before I started this challenge, I had 2 - who were wonderful, don't get me wrong - but I'm so happy to see 7 more have joined the ranks. :) I hope I can keep you entertained, and my goal is to make this more of a dialogue than a shouting-at-the-world kinda thing.

Also, thanks to everyone over at the A to Z challenge for hosting this, and congratulations to all participants for taking it on. I know I've learned a lot.

Speech-esque stuff over. On to... oh, right. The depressing stuff. Heh. Sort of.

I just graduated from college, which is partly wonderful, but it's also sad because (amongst many other reasons) I'm on summer vacation now. And every time I'm on vacation, I have time to write and edit some more, and then I re-realize how desperately I want to share my writing with the world, and how far I am from getting to do that. Every unsuccessful submission - whether it's a query to an agent, or a story to a contest - makes me wonder if I'll ever achieve my dream of becoming a YA writer. I'm not talking about instant, quit-your-day-job success. I just want this to begin, and when will it? If ever?

Last summer, my brother and I read Divergent by Veronica Roth, and Insurgent just came out (I think I'll be reading it on a bus ride soon - review to come, I'm sure). In an interview on another blog (sorry, not sure which) I saw that she talked about the time writing Divergent in terms of months. Now, of course, she used phrases like "several months," but still. I've been writing, revising, editing, and re-writing my main WIP for eight years. I submitted my first query about four or five years ago. The farthest I've gotten? Once, last summer, an agent read the whole manuscript because of a contest I entered on a blog. She said I needed more character development, which killed me a bit because character development is my favorite story element. But, of course, she was right - and I know that because she's not the only one to tell me since.

So, I went back to the drawing board. I'm re-writing my beginning for the millionth time. I'm adding to beginning chapters, letting go of my hope that starting in media res is the best idea. I'm redeveloping my story.

It is Unrealistic to think that I was ready for an agent when I first queried.

Could I have known that? No, not really. I was young and naive, yeah, but people with dreams are often young and naive.

It is Unrealistic to think that I am ready now.

I have two critique partners I neglected in the fury of Senior Year. They are warriors.

It is Unrealistic to think I will never get published.

Last summer, I went from never having an agent request for more to an agent requesting a full MS based on the beginning. Yeah, she didn't go for it. But that was a huge step. So assuming I keep on this path, and that I will live to a normal life expectancy, at SOME point, SOMETHING will be in print. I've got enough determination and resources to make it happen.

I bet you do, too.

Focus and patience will be my best allies. Will I query too early? Will I write some stupid pitches? Yeah. Probably. But agents are born every day. I won't exhaust them all now, but in the age of the internet, the opportunities are endless. Quite literally.

Whether it is there or not, it is Unrealistic to try to see the end in sight.


  1. Even when our expectations are unrealistic, it's a good thing we have them. If we knew what we were really up against, we might give up! Every step we make is a step in the right direction, even when it doesn't seem like it. The path to success is windy, curvy, and twisted -- and people who are too realistic might stop following it!