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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

At last! (and yet we're still not there)

Well, I'm sure most of you know from my Facebook page (Sarah Perry, Children's and Young Adult Author), I finished the first draft of DREAM GIRL.  Surprisingly, after 5 years of on and off writing, there was no fanfare, no blast of trumpets, no earthquake when I keyed in the final word.  In fact, I couldn't even celebrate with anyone because it was going on midnight and the rest of the household was asleep in their beds.  Even Facebook was a desolate place.  So I watched Youtube videos for the songs I'd listened to while writing and ate a victory bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream.  Then, with nothing better to do, I crawled off to bed myself.  Can you stand the drama?
So when is the book coming out? you may well be asking.  Ah, my friends.  Now is when the real journey begins.  I am now revising, as best I can, in between work, mothering, and a negligible amount of housework.  (Ask my poor husband.  A good housekeeper I am not!)  The struggle of revising has also been put a bit on the back burner as conferences approach.  In a mere 4 days, I'll be attending a conference.  The main attraction, for me, is that Jay Asher will sit down with me for 10 minutes to tell me if my first chapter has any merit.  He is the bestselling author of THIRTEEN REASONS WHY, which is, last time I checked, on the NYT Bestseller list at 59 weeks.
I also signed up for the big conference this summer and booked myself a manuscript critique for the first 15 pages + 1 page summary.  This will be another chance to get the work in front of an agent, editor, or other industry professional who can give me advice which will help me from looking more foolish than necessary when I'm really ready to query.
Oh, and did I mention I won a free agent query letter critique from Elana Roth of Caren Johnson Literary?  That was already enormously valuable.  Thanks to her, I now know that the part of my query that I thought was intriguing and compelling was actually vague and generic.
The bottom line is I feel things are going well with revising and that I'm enormously happy to have access to all this good advice before I start sending it out.  The more mistakes I can correct now, the better my chances of piquing someone's interest and moving to the next step.
In the meantime, let's all read THIRTEEN REASONS WHY and hope Jay has at least one nice thing to say before he rips into my chapter.