Wednesday, August 11

How I Write: Week Nine – Am I Ready to Submit?

imageNope, I most certainly am not ready to submit. There are steps to be taken and courage to be built before my WIP sees its way into an editor’s hand. I do know what I need to do to get there though. Here’s my thoughts on getting into a submission mindset.
1. Revise, Revise, Revise.
This is where I’m at. I’m weeding out the passive voice, going deeper, and making sure that what was in my head is down on paper.
2. Getting Feedback.
Once I’ve put my WIP through its paces on my own and I’ve done all I can with these two eyes, it’s time to look for an outside opinion. This is a scary step. Sharing your WIP can be a very personal experience. Taking criticism can be difficult but I can promise you that 90 times out of 100, it won’t be nearly as bad as you expect, especially if you’re clear on your experience level and needs with the person you’ve asked for the read. Feedback is information you can use or discard. Take it as data and less as a judgment on your skill level. One way to get feedback is to enter contests. Many provide you with an opportunity to have your words read by writers, editors, and agents. You may not win but you’ll find out if you’re on the right track.
3. Synopsis and Query Letter Fun.
Synopsis writing is something of an art form. You need to distill your concept into a comprehensive, interesting three page summary. It needs to represent your story close enough to give the editor or agent a great picture of what your WIP in its entirety is about. The query letter is your opportunity to introduce your work and yourself.
4. Formatting
Research your publisher or agent’s guidelines and follow them meticulously. You wouldn’t want your work turned away because of something as simple as line spacing. Each publisher has their own set of wants or needs during the query process. Some will want a three page synopsis and query letter along with the first three chapters of your WIP while others may require the entire WIP.
As I enter the last stages of finishing this WIP and head towards submission, I know I’m making a large step in my writing career. It isn’t an end point, though. It’s another step, another move in the right direction. The day after I hit send or put it in the mail, it’s time to get back to the keyboard and on to the next story.
Click on the How I Wrote Logo above to find a listing of the other writers participating in this blog series.
Conquering the Dreaded Synopsis: A Series of Ten Lectures – scroll down on this page you’ll find Lisa Gardner’s lecture series on how to write your query letter and synopsis.
How to Format Your Novel or Manuscript – A bit of information on the general standard of manuscript formatting from Tamera Lynn Kraft. Of course, the publisher or agent you’re targeting may have more specific guidelines.
Workshop: Writing the Novel Synopsis – Sheila Kelly’s workshop on synopsis writing.
Nathan Bransford’s Blog  - If you don’t already follow Nathan Bransford’s blog, you might want to subscribe right this moment. Also take a moment to scroll down to the left and read “The Essentials,” articles on writing, querying, and submitting.
Contest Chart for Writers – Stephie Smith compiled this wonderful chart of contests for writers.


Ansha said...

Ooh, as always the greatest set of links!!! I'm off to check out the contest list!!! Thanks!

kaymcgriff said...

I love the links! I've already clicked on the contest list. Can you really write a novel over Labor Day weekend? Aaagg! I think I'll skip that contest for some flash fiction.

Post a Comment