series monogamist

Whenever someone would ask me if I preferred movies or scripted television, I would always answer TV. Many would balk at this answer, certain that TV was the "mac and cheese" of the two art forms, but I loved the endless possibilities for plot and character development as well as the promise of near-weekly installments.
Film, though certainly admirable in its own way, involves a lot of waiting for very little viewing time and even if it's a film that has a sequel, that's just another long wait, often followed by disappointment. Plus, liking TV better doesn't mean I don't like movies, it just means if I had to live in a world with one or the other, I'd go with TV. Scripted TV that is--if it could only be reality TV, I'd probably have to go with movies. You can only take so much Speidi before your brain implodes.

As I've gotten older, it's become harder and harder to keep up with certain shows I enjoy, but the advent of TV on DVD has opened a wonderful new world where I can not only catch up on things, but watch episode after episode for hours on end, which let's face it, is OMG THE BEST WAY TO WATCH TV!

You see, when I like a show, it's not enough to tune in casually. I have to see every. single. episode. I think this compulsion started with my X-Files obsession back in the day, which lead to my All Things Whedon obsession, Veronica Mars obsession (I still cry over that show being cancelled. VM will live on in my heart FOREVER!) and, with the advent of TV on DVD, all of this has now culminated in me being able to obsessively watch back-to-back episodes of shows for which I didn't get in on the ground floor (Mad Men, Dexter, Big Love, The Tudors--I know. What's wrong with me, right?)

Anyway, lately boyfriend and I have been compulsively watching The West Wing, which we both missed the first time around. It's really fun to watch something uninhibited by week-long, or even season-long, waits (though it is occasionally inhibited by a need for sleep/work), but it's also dangerous. Watching a show that has fully run its course means there are easily-accessed spoilers online about exactly how it's all going to end. I'm sad enough just knowing that Sam Seaborn isn't going to stick around (I heart you Rob Lowe!), I don't need to stumble across an old review about how everyone is killed off in the last season (if you haven't watched The West Wing, I made that last part up... I think.)

Committing to a completed series on DVD means also committing to not cheating on it by looking anything up online and sometimes, when you have a boyfriend who is out of town on business on a regular basis, effectively putting the marathon on hold, you start to wonder if it would be so bad to just sneak a peek at what's coming up in the next episode or so....

Or maybe I can just start another series for when he's not around. I'm hearing True Blood is quite check-out worthy. The only problem is, what happens after I've devoured every episode of that? Do I wait for more on a weekly basis like the rest of the world? How can you expect me to wait when I've become so accustomed to just skipping to the next episode? How did anyone ever manage this? You've ruined me TV on DVD. I hope you're happy.

fast and furious (without cars or lameness)

Quick QQ09 update because things have been moving. Since my last update I've received two more partial requests and a few more rejections so I wanted to update the stats! A more entertaining and informative post to come soon (possibly even later today, though I'm trying to avoid the computer screen today because my contact lenses are suffering from a severe case of wonk).

Query Rejections: 16
Partial Requests: 6
Partial Rejections: 3

So yes, assuming my math skills are correct, I currently have 3 partials out there awaiting judgement, and the agents who have them couldn't be more fantastic! I'm excited, but absolutely desperate for that coveted full request...

just like that

Yesterday, I was hoping that *something* (a full request from one of my partials maybe?) good would happen to put the wind back in my sails and sure enough, something did. I received my 4th partial request! Very exciting! I am still VERY anxiously waiting to hear back about my other two partials that are out there, but having my 4th partial request come in was a very nice treat.

So quickly, here are the latest standings:

Query Rejections: 14 (most encouraging!)
Partial Requests: 4
Partial Rejections: 1

Now am I just waiting for that elusive full request to add to the list.... (to be sung) Come on full request! I'm ready and waiting for yoooooouuuuuuuuu!


again, i'm not lazy, just waiting

...and yeah, ok, a little lazy. And busy- the last couple of weeks (including weekends) have been pretty packed. I think things are slowing down though.

Still waiting on both partials. I wasn't really sure what to do about sending queries out while waiting on two partials, but after a two week break (during which I at least researched a whole slew of new agents to query), I decided to go ahead and send out four more queries today and I think I'll continue to take it slow from there.

I'm sort of freaking out because I realized I didn't put "Requested Materials" in the subject line of my partial so I think I'm going to send out a little status query soon just to make sure it didn't get lost in the sea of other query letters.

Continuing to keep fingers crossed like you wouldn't believe (I'm losing all feeling in my fingers... ) I promise I'll blog more when all this (particular) waiting is overwith and I don't feel so anxious all the time :)

happy belated b-day TLNTHC!

Many milestones to blog about this week.

First of all, I must wish my dear Chameleon (aka The Little Novel That Hopefully Can), a happy belated 1st birthday. It was on May 28th, 2008, as I lounged poolside at a resort in Cuba that the idea for Chameleon first came thundering into my brain. I couldn't write fast enough that day, not wanting to miss a single character detail or line of dialogue as certain scenes fell into place. We've come a long way my dear and I hope we continue on quite a ways more.

Secondly, I'm VERY excited to say that I've received my third partial request! Since I'm still waiting to hear back from dream agent #1 about my previous partial request, I now officially have two partials out in the world, trying their hardest to shine for two amazing agents. You go little partials! You can do it!

So here are the current QQ09 rankings:
Rejections: 12
Partial Requests: 3!!!
Partial Rejections: 1

I'm quite happy with these stats and I have to say, I've also moved into sort of a zen place when it comes to rejections, which is why today, I want to talk about a bit about my take on them and how it's changed with every one I've received.

I knew going into this process that I would be rejected. And no, I don't mean I knew in the way the dorkiest kid in school knows he'll be rejected by the most popular girl, but secretly hopes that movies don't lie and she'll fall for him anyway. I mean I knew because I work in publishing and I know how it goes and I know that every single one of my favourite authors have experienced rejection. I knew. I was ready. To an extent.

You see, though I was ready for the rejection itself, I wasn't really ready for the ensuing uncertainty. I thought that knowing meant I'd endure unscathed, but knowing you'll be rejected doesn't mean you can convince yourself to not take it personally. Even if you know you shouldn't, you do. At least at first. And, like I said, for me, it wasn't a matter of "I can't believe they rejected me" as much as it was a matter of, "Oh man, was I crazy to think anyone else would like this? What if I'm delusional? What if no agent is going to feel the same way about Brynn and co. as I do?"

But then the first request for a partial came and it was like a light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately, the partial was (kindly and encouragingly) rejected the very next day and I felt like I was back at square one. It felt good that somebody took notice (and to know my query letter, on some level, worked), but it wasn't enough to stop me from questioning the worth of my writing.

And then more rejections came. Many were positive and kind, which made them easier to read, but nothing was calming my fears that the story I'd written just wasn't enough.

Then, when the second partial request came, things changed. Not only was the second partial request from one of the agents at the top of my list, it also served as a form of assurance that calmed me into a new way of thinking about rejection. That second partial request was like a second kiss. The first might have been impulsive, maybe even a fluke, but the second, oh, the second means something is right.

Since part of my job is to reject slush unfit for our imprints, I have a pretty good base knowledge of the varied reasons a manuscript might be rejected. Almost everything rejected at my level is either horrendously written or completely wrong for our programs. I think somewhere in my brain, I began to equate rejection with something that was completely off-target, a conclusion which couldn't have helped my uncertainty, but what I had to remember was that in my job, I send rejections on behalf of a major publisher to people who didn't bother to read submission guidelines and the stuff I reject is only a small fraction of what we receive so the reasons I reject projects don't really translate into the reasons why an agent rejects them.

If something in my slush pile looks decent, I can pass it along to an editor for a second opinion, and they can send it out to a freelancer for a reader's report, if it's positive, other editors will look at it, and eventually, it might work its way up the totem pole. If it's acquired, recognition doesn't really go to the person who found it in a slush pile. At that point, it sort of belongs to the publisher, a good find by the team, and if it fails, the publisher will endure.

While a publisher as large as the one I work for has a wide variety of editorial making its way through many editors and imprints, an agent is one person, who can and should only take on projects that really speak to them. At the end of the day, they have to put their personal reputation on the line for you and that's a huge favour to ask of anyone, let alone an essential stranger. Unlike the slush decisions I make, their rejections aren't based on "this doesn't work" or "this might work". Those two thoughts only mean rejection for an agent. "This might work" isn't enough. It has to be "This is brilliant. It speaks to me and I can't put it down!", which, let's face it, is really subjective. It's hard to feel bitter about a rejection when you start to understand that it's really not necessarily you, or your writing, it's the agent and his/her tastes, and availability/time, and whether or not they personally can go out on a limb for you, again, an essential stranger. Even if your book is amazing, they don't owe you anything. It's either there or it isn't and that has no influence over whether or not it will catch the eye of someone else.

So yeah, long story short, twelve query rejections (so far) don't have me down. If anything, they've brought me to this twelve rejection calm, where I'm over the initial uncertainties and I've settled in for the long haul. I have no plans to give up on something I've been working toward and dreaming of almost all my life. Sure, it's very likely that the rejection blues will drop by for a visit whenever a new rejection shows up in my inbox, but they won't be staying long. I won't let them. Feeling down is fine, but feeling bitter about rejection isn't fair to the book I've written, the agents I've queried, or me, and I have three partial requests to re-read if I need a reminder that my writing has worth.

Nobody said this would be easy and I've accepted that. I'm ready for whatever comes next.

Speaking of what comes next, I've been working on my WIP a lot lately and I'm pleased with the way things are going. Unlike Chameleon, my WIP is intended to stand alone (I don't want to start on Chameleon II until I know what's happening with it). I realize it's a bit odd to post an excerpt from my WIP when I haven't posted boo from Chameleon, but here's a little something from the openining (tentatively titled All That Comes After):

Lying in the freshly cut grass, he doesn't look like himself. His eyes are all wrong. The usual dark brown is clouded like a stream of milk trying to find its way through unstirred black coffee.
And they're so still, so peaceful; unmoving, unseeing, but somehow staring at the brilliant sun in a way the eyes of the living never could.
If we left him here, would the grass grow tall around him, covering his pale blue skin in brambles as it drinks up the water trailing from the corner of his mouth? Would he become one with the lawn, enabling him to stay forever near? I can't bear the thought of someone moving him. Can't fathom a world where we'd ever allow tall men in respectful suits to carry him away, while we return to a life without him. He isn't theirs to take.
I reach out a hand to trace two lines down his pallid face, my trembling fingers drawing across his eyelids, closing them, and he's transformed. Only sleeping. But no, he isn't sleeping. This isn't even him.
Here lies my brother's body, yet, he's nowhere to be seen.