It’s about 11:07 p.m. Argentinian time. The temperature? Upper-90s, at least. Hot enough that sitting inside with the overhead fan whirring full-force and the window wide open isn’t enough to stop the sweat from pouring off my forehead, dripping down my cheeks and ears and neck.
I told some of my pals on Facebook about this, but I received a response from my fourth literary agent query (first was Andrea Brown Lit Agency, second was the agent who represented Hush, Hush, and the third I can’t even remember). Her name is Alyssa Henkin, with Trident Media Group.
It’s been over a month since I emailed her back with the full manuscript of Fire and Brimstone (from The Devil’s Throne series) and, as she requested, The School Under the Mountain (a middle-grade adventure/thriller). So maybe all that Argentinian sweat isn’t totally due to the Argentinian heat.
In preparation for more agent queries, especially now that my potential deal with Raintown Press isn’t looking so good anymore, I’ve dived back into Fire and Brimstone despite the fact I’ve tried very, very hard to leave it behind me. It was my first YA novel, and the first full, completed work of my adult life. I’ve revisited it three times: the first time was right after writing it, the second time was right after writing the sequel, Demonology, and the third time was when RainTown Press requested a copy of the full manuscript for evaluation (and halfway through the third book in the trilogy, The Devil’s Throne).
Boy, was that third time a painful experience. There were many, many tears when I realized how miserable my old work was, now that I’d grown so much as a writer. And now I’m preparing to visit that experience all over again. This blog post is less of a commentary and more of a therapy.
Part of my apprehension is that despite all of those tears and all of those re-writes during the last revision, I’ve grown even more now. I’m writing full-time, churning out short stories almost twice per week, working on an upmarket women’s novel, and planning out a dozen other future ventures. I’m reading scenes from Fire and Brimstone and tearing myself apart over them. The dialogue is awkward, the pacing is off, the tension is low–how could anyone like this book, not to mention an experienced literary agent?
I have one solace, though: my dear cousins, two girls at the ripest age of consuming YA fiction. One is twelve and one is fifteen, and just before we left for Argentina the twelve-year-old gave me a double-thumbs-up and a stellar review of Fire and Brimstone.
Sometimes, that’s enough. I know the parts of the book that need to be reworked and changed; if I can just keep her glowing review in my mind, maybe I can stop from letting my self-confidence eat me into a fetal ball of tears.