The feedback I've received from the writers at Scribophile has been eye-opening. It's amazing how they can see what to cut when I can't. Within the first 2 weeks I trimmed 4,000 words from the first 3 chapters alone. If I continue at this pace, my finished book will hover around my target of 100,000 words.
Thankfully, my fellow writers have responded favorably to my story and connected with my characters, their struggles and their triumphs. This community of writers has proved invaluable in the revision process spotting my errors in point of view and verb tense as well as my excessive use of adverbs and exclamation points. Being critiqued also requires some thick skin, like the day one of my critics recommended I remove all the music from my book... even though my book is called THE PLAYLIST.
As I read through my critiques one thing became clear: I needed a major overhaul of my entire manuscript. I decided to put a pause on querying agents. I'd need a few months to get my book ready for publication, and to be honest, it was a bit of a relief not to worry about query letters for a while... and then I got a second email from a literaty agent "requesting materials". Isn't that always the way?
As I wait to hear from the agent, I'm trudging ahead with my rewrites. And if this agent passes, I will not be deterred. Her interest in my novel reaffirms that I'm on the right path. My mistakes and missteps have not derailed me from what I believe is meant to be. The day I hold a copy of THE PLAYLIST in my hands, I'll know my hard work has paid off.
So last night, as I strolled through Barnes and Noble with my husband and son, I pictured my novel snuggled between the novels of Jane Austen and Judy Blume. I could see the binding with my last name scrolled neatly and smell that new book smell. Believing is the first step! "She believed she could, so she did."