Monday, November 28, 2011

It is done. Commence Phase Two.

(also known as old news to people who follow my Facebook feed.)

Redlisted is done. Finished. Complete at 80,000 words, it's finalized and I will work on it no more.
I have sent it out to two agents so far. I plan to send it out to one agent a week until I run out of agents to bother or someone indicates interest.
Some rather optimistic (or kind) friends of mine are all like OF COURSE it will be published. I am fairly sure that it won't be, at least not by a traditional publishing house. I am up against some pretty nasty odds and I will be shocked and amazed if anyone wants to pick it up.
Let's take a look at the situation.

This book has been edited by like seventeen people.
I think the final draft is pretty great, and I usually hate everything I do forever.
It's about vampires. Who doesn't like vampires?*
Despite what this blog may lead you to believe I have a fairly okay grasp of English grammar.
I spellchecked the manuscript and made sure to format it according to industry standards.
My writer's group seemed to like the first chapter after I rewrote it for the eighth time.
I don't think there are any plot holes!
I am psychotically dedicated to my quest for publication and will exhaust all options before giving up.

*No one likes vampires. In fact some agents are like "send us anything, AS LONG AS IT HAS NO VAMPIRES WHATSOEVER." Something about market saturation. Not like I didn't know that getting in to the project.
I have no publication credits.**
My cover letter is mediocre to embarrassing.
My synopsis is... Well the plot is complicated, it's not my fault.
Did I mention no one wants to pick up another vampire novel?

**I did write a short story though, and I'm trying to get it published.

Yeah. Vampires.
The truth is I didn't write this book because I thought it would be popular or get published. I wrote it because I felt I had to. They (who?) say that everyone has a story to tell. I don't know if I understand why, but mine was about the undead.
I know it's hokey. At first I was ashamed. "What is your novel about, Sara?" "It's... uhh... vampires." I am over that. We can't decide what is in our heart of hearts! We can only decide whether or not to acknowledge it.
I love this book and I will be its champion. I will give it the best chance I can in this crazy world.

In any case, I am mitigating my freakouts (somewhat) about the submission process and the looming spectre of universal rejection by working on another novel. It is not a sequel to Redlisted; it's an unrelated project. If asked to describe the genre I would say "dystopian dieselpunk fantasy".
Now watch there be a glut of that by the time I'm done with the damn thing.
No Sara! Don't be bitter. Who cares if a million books like mine are published tomorrow? I'm doing what I love and that is the most important thing.
It helps my sanity to know that I have another story in my heart. Maybe there are a lot more in there waiting to be discovered. Even if Redlisted gets rejected by everyone, I'll try again with what I'm working on now.

I expect nothing but I hope for the best.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


I have always been an anxious person prone to rumination and insomnia. I started getting panic attacks when I was in high school. Some time in college I went to a psychiatrist (once) about the problem (yes only once) and she told me I had Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I proceeded to do nothing about it. (I am 27 now and I have done nothing about it.)

Some people are anxious about social situations, or aspects of life over which they have no control. Not me. For the very most part I am anxious only about the things I have direct control over, or at least those I feel I can control.

For example:

I am anxious when I feel I am not doing enough to manifest my dreams or goals into reality. I'm not talking about the Secret or anything; I'm talking about good old obsessive hard work prolonged over anywhere from a month to forever.

I am anxious when I work too hard at a project which has the potential to fail anyway (given my own perception of failure).

I am anxious when I think I am forgetting something important, which is all the time.

My only other sources of anxiety revolve around competition and judgment. I am anxious when I submit my work (dance, writing, art, etc) to be critiqued or judged by others.

Having established the context of my neuroses I will now move on to my present day situation.

It is time for me to send Redlisted out to agents. Well, it's nearly time. The manuscript is 99.95% done. I need to do some line editing. I need to write a cover letter and a synopsis. And then I need to grow a pair and send it out.


I want to die.

I looked at one (ONE) agent listing on AgentQuery last night. AgentQuery was like, okay Sara, tell us what genre you want to submit for. And I was like open the drop down box and FULL BLOWN PANIC ATTACK.

AAAA! OH GOD! I want to submit a FANTASY novel! (kind of!) FIGHT OR FLIGHT!

Oh God there are lots of agents on this page. Okay let's look at one of them. Oh, she seems really nice from her blog but still I think she's secretly Satan and should I query her she will send me back a response something like the following:
Dear Sara,
Do the human race a favor and stop writing.
Agent Lady

Would I believe it if I got a response like that? I would like to think not, but realistically I would probably spend at least a day listening to "No Surprises" and feeling like I had wasted the last two years.


I thought about it some more. Bad idea.

I realized that the scariest outcome of this entire project would be if the book were actually to get published. Worse yet, if it were to be published and noticed by the general public. Because the idea of critics reading it and saying stuff about it--EVEN GENERALLY KIND THINGS--makes me want to crawl in a hole and die.

I am not just worrying about these things idly, I am physically shaking and my gastrointestinal system is in distress. I woke up in the middle of the night last night just because I needed to have an extra panic attack at 3AM.

All outcomes seem horrible, and I am consumed with fear of everything.

But really, honestly, in a sane world, the worst thing that could happen would be if I were to let these stupid neuroses get the best of me, chicken out, and not submit anywhere. That would be too sad and pathetic even for me.



I will do this even though I am terrified. I will do this even if part of me doesn't even want to succeed. Because I need to show myself that I am strong. And even if I fail I will have succeeded. Because I tried.