"All the world's a stage, and the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts."

- William Shakespeare

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

shake, rattle & roll

I don't think my dad realizes that when I walk around the house in a sweater with the hood up, hunched shoulders and the fluffiest slippers you can imagine, it means I'm cold.

But I am.

I'm very cold. And it's becoming a re-occuring theme all of a sudden. Which can only mean one thing...

Winter is upon us.

It's only two months (to the day!) until Christmas. Two. Months. Can you believe it? If I wasn't so cold, I'd be pretty excited. I mean, let's be honest - I've been listening to Christmas carols for a good three weeks now.

Still, as much as I day dream about hot chocolates and glistening sunlight on freshly fallen snow, my mind can't help but reverting back to thinking, "Why can't I feel my toes?!"

And this is me indoors. Which brings me back to my father.

I caught him outside the other day (when I managed to shuffle out of my room in my warmest sweater and pajama pants), just sitting on one of the muskoka chairs on our porch. I asked him what he was doing. "Cooling off," was his only response. The sad thing is, he hadn't come from a run or a work out - he'd just been working at his desk inside. But apparently the 'heat' was too much for him. The same 'heat' that makes me afraid to leave my bed in the morning for fear of frostbite.

Oh, the joys of having a father (aka thermostat controller) with an internal heater!

If you're wondering where I am this winter when you're out having a snowball fight or ice skating or snowboarding... I'll be cuddled up in my bed, too terror-stricken to venture out into the cold hallway and further out into the probably warmer outdoors.

Lucky for me I've got enough movies to last a lifetime and a new bar-fridge in my room, so I can afford to begin hibernating a bit earlier this year! Of course, you won't get rid of me that easily - my computer gets warm enough to roast marshmellows over... which is probably a bad thing, but it sure beats last year's 'middle-of-the-room-garbage-can-fire'! ;)

Keep it real!

Friday, October 21, 2011

good news!

So... I was trying to come up with an eloquent way of relaying this information to the world, but it's past midnight and I'm running on three hours of sleep and way too much chocolate, so my brain just isn't functioning. Therefore, all I can muster are the blunt facts.

Remember how I always drone on and on about being an aspiring writer? How I've written a novel, tried to market it to agents, given up, reworked it, started writing another novel, etc etc? Well, I got some pretty exciting news last week. But let me just rewind a little further so I can fill in any gaps first.

In April of 2009, I started writing a novel. By about October of that same year, I found out about a competition for aspiring writers where the winner walked away with a publishing contract, so I started working on my novel everyday and finished the first draft by December 22, 2009. The competition closed on the 31st, so I literally just made the deadline.

In April of 2010, I found out that I didn't win. Somehow, that wasn't enough to discourage me though.

Fast forward a few more months and my novel was on its fourth draft. I'd let a few people read parts of it and was starting to learn how to take criticism, but - more importantly - I felt it was time to give the idea of getting it published another shot. I found ten different agencies in Toronto and queried each one. By now it was almost the end of the year again, so the fact that I'd lost the competition had lost its sting and I was once again feeling hopeful.

But with the new year came rejection letter after rejection letter and my hopes sunk again.

For a while I chipped away at it, but it was drawing close to the two year anniversary of its beginnings and after two years - especially for a commitment-o-phobe like me - it was becoming more and more difficult to keep the passion alive. So I started working on something new, brushing my first novel off to the side.

Once in a while I'd come back to it and try to make a chapter more interesting or take out some needless adjectives, but as far as I was concerned, I had bigger and better things to worry about. It had served its purpose by sparking the realization that I was interested in writing, so if it did nothing else, that would be enough.

And then May 2011 hit.

I received an email from one of the agents I had queries months earlier saying that the synopsis sounded interesting, so they were requesting the first five chapters. Extactic, I looked at my first five chapters and realized they could be so much better - so I rewrote them and sent them off.

Of course, once I had rewritten the first five chapters, it only stood to reason that I rewrite the rest of them. And that's what I did.

Month after month passed and I hadn't heard anything from the agency who had requested my chapters, but I figured that was okay. I has now on the fifteenth draft of my novel and it was four hundred times better than the first few drafts had been, so even if the agency disappeared into thin air, I'd still be a happy camper.

Now let's jump to October 14th 2011.

I was sitting in my car, parked in the driveway having just come home from a long day at work when I decided to check my email on my (amazingly brilliant) iPhone. My inbox told me that I had an email from the agency I had thought must've just fallen into a black hole since I hadn't heard from them in so long.

I prepared myself for the worst. The, "thank you for sending us your chapters, but I'm afraid this book isn't for us" shpiel I'd gotten so used to reading.

Instead, I saw the most glorious sentence a writer could ever read: "I've read your first five chapters and I'd like to take a look at the rest of your manuscript."

I think I may have squealed. I'm not even joking.

Needless to say, the past few days have been spent making sure my manuscript is the best it could be, and as of last night, the manuscript has been sent off.

So it's back to the waiting game.

But it feels a lot more exciting this time. And a lot less hopeless.

Of course, getting an agent is basically still a part of the first step in the publishing process. If this agency decides to take me and my book on as a client, it still doesn't mean a publishing company will chose to pick it up - and then, of course, the book stores can chose not to put it on their shelves. So there's a long was still to go, but it's really cool that I've made it past rejection alley.

Anyway, I thought I'd mention all this in case anyone's interested in what the journey's like for a story to go from idea to book. If mine ever makes it as far as book, you can bet your bottom that the whole process will be recored on my blog. Beginning, obviously, with today. Though I have been taking you through a lot of the ups and downs in previous blog posts...

But I just realized how long this post is - and the fact that it's one in the morning and I have to work tomorrow - so I'm going to end it there.

Keep it real! :)