Sunday, January 23, 2011

Near Mrs.

I've arrived home feeling inspired and refreshed.  The decision to go to the Writer's Digest conference was the best one I could have made for my writing career, although it's a blessing and a curse all in the same breath.

Let's get the bad news out of the way.  I'm going to crawl into a cave with me, my computer and I.  I'm going to bond with my characters. I'm going to cut out the dullness that snuck into their lives.  I'm going to give them problems to solve.  I'm going to ramp up the tension.  Why is this bad?  Because I have a family and a career, and I'm already maxed out.  Something's got to give.  Sleep maybe?  I'm not sure yet, but I'm on a mission.

The good news.  I managed to see four agents yesterday.  Three asked for partial samples, and one asked to see the entire manuscript.  It was exhilarating to know that professionals in the field saw something in my story that piqued their interest.  And all of this was possible thanks to the new friends I met at the conference.

Joanna, you get all the credit for the many many pitch revisions.  I needed the outside perspective to remove the suckiness.

Mary, you get all the props for the title.  If the darn thing gets published, and even more, if they keep the title, you're right there on the first line with my mom, my family and my darling husband for solving the biggest problem I've had since I started this crazy journey.  If you flip back to my first blog post, you'll see that my book was called "Book Title" for the longest time.  I happily deleted Inertia and replaced it with Near Mrs.

Jennifer, Claire and Amelia, I loved our group, and I'm so glad you were part of it.  Jen, I'm glad you can now breathe like a normal person.  Anxiety's a witch with a capital B.  Trust me, I know first hand.

So, here's my pitch - the four sentences and two questions that went further to opening doors than anything else I did over the weekend:

Near Mrs. is a women's fiction novel about Hannah, a young ICU nurse who is about to settle for a mediocre husband simply because it's the next logical step.  The flimsy foundation of their relationship begins to crumble when she befriends Garrett, whose chivalry and willingness to listen give her a glimpse of what she doesn't have with her soon-to-be husband.  As she considers breaking her engagement, the sudden and unexpected revelation that Garrett is already married has her convinced that the perfect man who lives inside her head doesn't actually exist in real life after all.  Standing before the altar, the choice is hers to make.  Does she settle?  Or does she walk away from a marriage she knows is doomed to fail?

The funniest part was when the agents were telling me that they know so many people who this has happened to or is about to happen to.  I was thrilled that they could at least relate to what I was writing.  This also said to me, "There's a huge market out there for people who will want to, or who should read this book!"  The idea that they may actually pay for the ability to do so is a pretty cool side effect :)

I couldn't be happier with the outcome.  I'll keep you all posted on things as they progress.  You can live through the rejection letters with me and celebrate the positive ones with a real or virtual Cosmo, soda or some such.  And to my writer friends, Happy Revising!!!

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