Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Testing the waters

I am school teacher, well, when I'm not being a mother that is. I substitute teach at the local middle school I used to work at before having my son. Having just finished at young adult trilogy that has been rejected by a few agents, I decided I'd test out my work on my target audience.
My friend's class has about 11 kids that were willing to read my work and give me some honest feedback. It's been awesome. So far the kids are loving it, but they have had a few things to say about character development and the odd scene that bugged them. When they have finished all three books, I'm going to pull them aside and interview them further on their thoughts.
Now granted, these kids are not seasoned writers. I understand this is not a professional critique, but I am finding this a really helpful exercise. I agree with the things they have mentioned and totally understand why they have given me this feedback. I'm looking forward to sitting down and undergoing a big revamp before starting to query agents again.
I guess what I'm most excited about, is that if the kids are bounding up to me at recess begging me for the next book then I might just be on to a good thing.

Staying in touch

I'm sure you all do this already, but I'm going to write about it anyway.
Time only allows me to follow so many blogs, but I have found five that I try to check most days and I am learning so much about writing and the business. There is a wealth of knowledge out there from people who know what they're talking about. It is totally worth making the time to read what they have to say.
Not only am I refining my craft and storing away useful tidbits of information, I am also getting to know these agents and discovering their style. It helps with querying. When I'm choosing who to query next, I take the time to read through their blog. It tells me exactly the kind of query letters they like, the genres they have the best contacts for. It also gives me a really great idea about the kind of person they are and whether they would be a suitable agent.
I know it's tempting to rush onto another agent when you receive that rejection letter, but I think it's worth taking the time to research an agent thoroughly before asking if they want to represent your work.
To the bloggers I regularly follow - thank you. I so appreciate the time you take to write your blogs and give us writers a chance to improve.