Well, I have to say that was a chore and a relief.
I have the contest entry sent off to Surrey. The entry for Jack Whyte’s workshop is sent and the entry for Janet Reid’s workshop is sent. They are both at the same time, but since entrants to Jack’s workshop is limited to twelve, the chances of me getting in are very slim. Even so, a person never knows until they try. Having said that, I think Janet’s workshop would do me more good, but I am going to copy notes from someone else if I don’t get to take it. Plus, I plan on taking some of her other workshops.
I polished the query, added a bit after reading Nathan Bransford’s take on query length. Mine was a little short.
Here is Janet’s workshop. Doesn’t it sound just luscious?
Here is Jack Whyte’s class. Since I decided this year I am going to get serious about writing, that meant I was going to dissect my darlings and learn how to put them together much more effectively. Minor characters don’t seem like a big deal, but they are part of the package that takes a work from all right to great.
That last master workshop I am taking will be this one. The tornado effect with Donald Maass.
I have an appointment with Paul Stevens on Friday at 11:30. I will slip out of my morning class to pitch to him. How can you not love a guy who wears plaid? I normally would not speak to an editor, but his background is just too perfect for TISD.
My Blue Pencil Café appointment is with Bob Mayer. Yes, I am excited, but nervous about both. I normally feel more comfortable in a situation like this with women, but these guys were ideal for my needs.
Classes for Friday I am taking are Write the Good Fight., Grabbing the Reader. and this workshop with Diana Gabaldon. This may be one of these theories that is beyond my comprehension. I know I certainly don’t do this consciously, but perhaps I should.
Saturday is another treasure trove.
Afternoon is Combining genres.
Of course, if I run into a friend who is going to sit in on one class and I can grab another then we swap notes, this could change.
In any event, it is going to be an awesome opportunity. Frosting on the cake will be meeting all the people I have known for years on the Writers’ Forum.
Now, while I am on a high, I’m going to spill my guts about Janet Reid. It’s my blog and fairly unknown so I can do that. I had hoped to get an appointment with her, but she is one of the more popular speakers, obviously. Paul Stevens and Bob Mayer were definitely top of the lists for me so it’s all good in the hood.
Beth Shope recommended I check out Janet’s blog. (I’m going to refer to her by first name even though southern manners insist I refer to her as Miss Reid or at least Miss Janet. No, marital status doesn’t matter. Sort of like Driving Miss Daisy.)
I have a lot of respect for her. She’s tough, knowledgeable and I truly believe she would go down fighting for you if she believed in you. I could live without her slithery assistant, but he’s a fuzzy snake, so I can tolerate him. Besides, the chances of me going to New York are slim and none.
Here is what might come as a surprise. I might be totally off base here, but I don’t think I am. I’m normally a decent judge of character even though I do tend to be too trusting. Janet comes off as fairly gruff and hard-bitten at times, but there’s a real soft spot for writers.
What? Janet soft on writers?
Nope, didn’t say that. I said she had a soft spot for them. Look at her query shark. Yes, she chews them up and spits them out, but what she points out is stuff they and we need to know. Getting back a, “I wish you the best with this,” rejection doesn’t tell us a thing except no.
If we are truly serious about not only writing, but also getting published, we need these hard truths. We need to push harder and get that manuscript shining. We have to search every single word in that query and make sure it works. We can go to a site like hers and search back through the archives to see what works and what doesn’t work. We can learn. The wisdom is there if we just partake of it.
I’m pretty sure she doesn’t need more queries pouring in, so she isn’t trying to give us these lessons because she needs the business. She loves publishing and the authors who create the stories.
So, anyway, here is what tickles me about her. Have you ever noticed how excited she gets about a query she loves or a new manuscript she fell for? She’s like a kitten chasing butterflies in a yarn factory. How can you not smile when she is completely surrounded by happiness? Her enthusiasm for the business is infectious. I love that. I love to see agents and editors who are still in love with the business.
Aside from that, she has a wicked sense of humor and likes cowboys. She obviously appreciates the finer things in life.
I wish she was more enthusiastic about fantasy. You can bet I would be adding her to the agent herd. How could you lose with a saucy agent like that going to battle for you?
To top it all off, I had lunch with Laura and baby Samantha today. Samantha is four months old now and her hair is far past her shoulders. It’s amazing. She was such a good baby and smiled through lunch. I thought her hair was going to be auburn and it may still be, but it’s much lighter now. Such a joy to be able to spend some time with her.
So, yes, this was a good day.