“And now, June Hur, reporting live from the trenches…”

 I received an email response from Literary Agent#1. I was expecting her to reply via snail mail. So when I saw her message, I went: OH MY GOD. My cousin, who was in the other room, thought I’d gone mad. Anyway, Agent#1 said that my story was the only one in a “very large stack” that had interested her …BUT (yes, there is always a “but”!!!) she wrote that she would be interested in my work if I made my heroine (Amanda) pure. This meant that Amanda couldn’t be a prostitute but perhaps a maid at the brothel.

Throughout the following hours I paced about pulling at my hair. To no longer make Amanda a prostitute, I feared, would undermine the very theme of my work: redemption. I went through a brutal love/hate relationship with this idea of rewriting my story. Loved it, because I knew it was possible, knew it wouldn’t be too hard to change, knew it was my only hope of winning over Agent#1.

But…  

Everything turned out so well. My gratitude goes out to Val-Rae and Bennetts (he has published a wonderful historical that must be read by anyone who loves Regency history – press release). Val helped me realize that the rewrite might actually strengthen my story, and she gave me all the reasons why, and now I am convinced that she is right. Bennetts helped me realize that my theme of redemption would not be undermined by the change. A lady who is forced to work in the brothel, to live day to day under the constant fear of being abused, would leave her as traumatized. With all the “head-images” of the deprived underworld she must witness daily, of the degradation she must suffer, Amanda would still be a woman in need of redemption.

Some of you who have been following my story for two years now might be furious to know that I’ll be changing Amanda into a maid. But I assure you, the story is still pretty much the same. Amanda will still be the same person.   

Anyway, the rewrite is almost complete. The changes I needed to make, albeit difficult for the first two chapters, were surprisingly easy for the rest. I will likely be sending my work to Agent#1 sooner than the “few months” I requested her to give me. Val and I made a deadline for each other—that we would get our work finished by February 11th

P.S. Don’t forget to check out my latest article posted on Let the Words Flow: How to Make a Book Trailer in 10 Easy Steps. And, speaking of which, don’t forget to participate in our Book Trailer contest! It ends on January 22nd!! The winner will receive an ARC of SING ME TO SLEEP by Angela Morrison, a bag of confectionary goodies (i.e. candy), and a query letter and/or first 3 chapters critique of your work by the LTWF contributors! If you don’t want the query letter critique—or if you’re not at that stage yet—you can opt to receive a signed copy of PRADA AND PREJUDICE from LTWF’s own Mandy Hubbard!

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17 Comments

Filed under The Runaway Courtesan

17 responses to ““And now, June Hur, reporting live from the trenches…”

  1. June! That is so exciting that you’re hearing positive things on the partial front!

    Honestly, I’m intrigued by this change. You’d think as a loyal fan of RC that I’d be upset that Amanda’s storyline may be changing…but I’m actually not at all. It’s rather unexpected, more subtle. In some ways she’s even more debased–she’s cleaning up after prositutes. Does it get much lower than that? (I’m sure it does, but I prefer not to think about how!)

    Best of luck as you revise! Let me know how it goes…and I’d love to read, as always 🙂

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  2. The “partial front”–i like that; it accords well with my entry’s title!!!

    And thank you SO much for your comment. Your words meant a lot to me. “In some ways she’s even more debased–she’s cleaning up after prositutes. Does it get much lower than that?” This is what I’m trying to keep in mind whenever I get that pang of remorse over the changes I’m making.

    Thank you!

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  3. That is fantastic news, June! It is really tough to make those kinds of changes, but deep down I think we all expect we might have to do something like that. Keeping my fingers crossed for you.

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  4. Yes, it is very difficult to undo a vision one has built on for the past two years. But sometimes, for the sake of marketing, sacrifices much be made. *sigh* oh well. This is something to learn from, as I will likely encounter rewrite requests in the future that will be even more difficult for me to accept

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  5. Congradulations, I’m so excited for you! *Does the happy happy dance to commemorate the occassion.* I know it’ll hard and even a little heartbreaking to make the changes to the story…but on the plus side, you’ll get a chance to revisit old characters. Good luck!!!

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    • Yay, Rika! Haven’t heard from you in a while. How’s writing going? Eh, I should just check out your blog to find out! You had best be updating that page often! hehe

      Anyway, thanks for your kind words. I need all the luck I can get!

      Like

  6. WOOHOO! Congrats! Alas, sometimes sacrifices have to be made… good for you for coming to the decision you felt was best. 🙂 I have to ask, though… why does the agent want her to be ‘pure’?

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    • I was bewildered myself when the agent asked Amanda to be “Pure”. But I believe it is due to marketing issues. My story isn’t quite the Avon Historical Romance a.k.a steamy bodice-ripper. A courtesan, in this market, is popular–because courtesans are sexy. But my story has always been more on the side of an “inspirational” novel–somewhat. Also, Amanda isn’t even a courtesan–she is a prostitute–(only a courtesan in a symbolic way)–so this is a turn off to a lot of people, because with the term prostitute, a lot of unpleasant images are evoked. Which is why I think I’m receiving so many rejections from other agents, or so another says

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  7. Becca

    Hey there,
    I left a comment for this entry a couple of days ago, just wondering if it got…censored? Let me know and I can write it again-or not!
    So excited for you!
    BK 😉

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  8. Hey Becca!

    No idea what happened. Either your comment didn’t get through, or I must have done something to it–though, for the life of me, I don’t know what it was I might have clicked. So, if you don’t mind, could you rewrite the comment? You’ve got me curious 😀

    Like

    • Becca

      Okay, phew…:D
      My first comment was that I’ve actually been following LTWF for awhile and appreciate what you ladies are doing for us aspiring authors!

      Second, I noticed that my Covet trailer was given a shout outin the book trailer contest-it made me feel very special, but I of course was only copying you when I decided to make it! But also, does this disqualify me from participating because I would love to get a critique of my chaps from The Waiting Room. 😉 I totally revamped this book and changed the ending and want this one to be the book that maybe (just maybe…) snags me a agent.

      Lastly, I don’t think making Amanda “pure” is going to change much like you pointed out. It’s still going to be a fantastic story. One thing I thought of was maybe she gets sexually assaulted/abused at the brothel as a maid. That would add to her shame–but just a thought, I think she could still be brought pretty low just being a servent to prostitutes. I’m quite frightened by the fact that all the female leads in my stories have some sort of sexual trauma in their life and all the male leads have dead mothers. It’s definitely got to be the Psychiatrist in me that is so sick! :/

      Anyway, good luck with the rewrite-this goes to show we’re all going to see TRC on shelves someday!

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  9. Omg! So sorry! I thought you meant you had sent another comment, when your comment was already posted on the entry before this one. I think this was a case of confusion. Sorry for inconveniencing you there:

    This was my reply:

    “Oh my goodness! Long time no talk! Please, we must keep in touch! You absolutely MUST enter the contest. I don’t know WHAT i was thinking when I added your trailer up. I had no idea this might ruin your fun in entering the contest. But–I have my excuses! 1)Did not have any idea that you were following LTWF 2)I absolutely always adored your trailer. So when you enter the contest, mention that your trailer was used in my article, but that I said that you were in no way disqualified because of it. Well, you don’t even need to mention it. I’ll do it tonight. So yes, ENTER! And as for my story. Amanda turning into a maid… She gets sexually harrassed enough to feel dirty. As for assualted, which I’m assuming is a level above being assualted, I might allude to it somewhere in my story. Thanks for dropping by!”

    ANYWAY, I emailed my co-bloggers that day and so they all know. So make sure to post your trailer!!!!!

    And I CANNOT wait for Covet to get pubbed. I love the concept. So excited for you! Do you have a blog I can follow you with?

    Like

    • Becca

      So…yes, I never officially entered my Covet trailer. I’m horrible really, especially after my post about wanting to enter and blah blah, but it’s my self-defeatest ego that claims “well, what’s the point…” I’m excited to see what people entered though.

      Hopefully you’ll forgive me, but I’m about to go into a longwinded monologue in search of advice…

      Covet is a beast. It really is. I love that story, but my goal is to snag an agent first with a simpler love story (The Waiting Room) and then see what help I can get with Covet. When I think about revising it, it’s exhausting because there is so much research that has to go into this book to make it come alive. When I first wrote it, I was simply making up things in my head, but when I finished, I realized that I wanted it to be based in some sort of realistic historical setting, but I don’t know which time period! I thought of a Biblical setting, Persian setting, Medieval setting…

      No, no blog for me. There’s no time. I don’t even know why I’m under the illusion that I could even make it as a writer when I’m devoted to my medical career and my daughter and husband. Say I were lucky enough to get an agent, then what? I have to revise, revise, build a fanbase, promote, and all the while keep writing…is it possible? Are there super hero women out there that have done that? Maybe that could be a question of the week… 😉

      Feel free to respond in an email if you’d like, if not…no worries!
      I do enjoy keeping up with you and LTWF, so many fans backing you girls up!

      Like

      • I’ll reply to you via email as soon as I get some rest. Just got home from the movies. BUT while waiting for the movie to start I was thinking of all that I wanted to say to your very thought-provoking comment.

        Ah, who cares about sleep. I’ll reply right now

        Like

  10. Pingback: Of New Year Resolution(s) and Writing « June's Blog

  11. Elen

    I came across your blog while looking at “Let the Words Flow,” and I have to admit I was very disappointed by your post about changing the main character’s identity from a prostitute to a maid in a brothel. Let me first disclaim that I have not read your story, and so any conjectures are my part are based solely on I have read here.

    But.

    I read your explanation for why a maid in a brothel would be in need of redemption, but I sadly feel that you are selling yourself and the theme of redemption short. There are *worlds* of difference between living as a maid in a brothel and actually working in the brothel as a prostitute… and I feel that your story would be that much stronger if you kept your character Amanda as a prostitute – because who else needs more redemption? I would hope that there are other agents out there who would allow you to remain true to your original theme, because I think it’s very important. It speaks to your point more if your audience believes that anyone, even a prostitute, can be redeemed…

    Anyway. I just wanted to comment that I’m VERY intrigued by the story you’re describing but I hope you don’t sell yourself short. If that agent wanted a pure heroine, then she’s missing the whole theme – because pure people don’t need the redemption you seem to be discussing.

    I wish you luck with your efforts and writing!

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  12. Hey!

    I’m honored that you took the time to inform me of your opinion. Thanks for sticking up for Amanda the fallen woman. You’ve got me sighing with remorse again. I do like the whole symbolic image Amanda becomes as a prostitute. I’ll see how it goes. Agent#1 just might be able to see the importance of keeping my heroine a prostitute when she read the full manuscript.

    But the one problem I’ve encountered is the historical fact about what happens to prostitutes in the Regency era. One would have to suspend their belief to think Amanda wasn’t infected by a disease. Becuase harlots were exposed to lots of not-so-pleasant infections.

    But I do see your point. And that’s how I felt initially. I’m torn between the importance of “art” and “business”.

    Like

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