Pop a bottle of Champagne for me!

 1) Agent#1 requested the complete manuscript of The Runaway Courtesan!

2) Right now I would very much like to write an obscene word, capitalized, to describe my intense frustration. But instead I’ll keep my post Rated G. Anyway, today I slapped my palm over my forehead and cried out: ARRRRGGGGGG! So here is the story behind the tragic outcry: I was so busy this week I wasn’t able to send the full manuscript requested by Agent#1 right away. But I finally found the time today and hence went to the internet cafe to print my manuscript out. I triple checked that everything was correctly formatted. But I must have done SOMETHING wrong, because as the elephant-of-a-manuscript began to print, I noticed that some of the chapter headings were not formatted with the required “8 spaces down from the top”—but sometimes 3—other times 20—other times 10. Seeing some of the chapter headings at the very bottom of a page broke my heart. I wondered whether the agent would mind receiving a manuscript with bizarre chapter formatting. My agented friends/interning agent friends on Let The Words Flow warned me against it. So, I must spend another 30 bucks to reprint my manuscript properly. I will look at this as an investment. But after the initial frustration wore away, I became excited again. Whether Agent#1 signs me on or not, after reading The Runaway Courtesan, the very opportunity she’s given me of sharing my work with her is an honour in itself.

3) Yes, that is the photo of my manuscript, doubled-spaced, 311 pages long. Polished like it never was before. And so this leads me into my next rant of the day. I actually COULD have sent the manuscript to the agent right away. But do you know what caused the delay? While I thought everything was perfect, which was why I sent the rewrite of my partial to Agent#1 in the first place, my editor Val reviewed the last three chapters of TRC and was unsatisfied with it. I was like: Noooooo, I don’t want to know this now! But I’m glad I decided revise one last time. It was only after I read her critiques that I was able to see these chapters not through the eyes of the Omnipotent Writer, but as the Reader. From CH24 I was emotionally detached from my characters as I wrote. And Val picked up on this indifference in the flatness of my writing. And when I reread it with her edits in mind I saw exactly what she meant. It’s amazing how you can tell whether or not a novelist has her heart in her writing.

In the days that followed, scrambling to ready the manuscript as soon as I could, I went through one of THE MOST intense round of revising. It was one of the most frustrating, yet satisfying experiences I ever had. My schedule for last Thursday, Friday, Monday and today went something like this:

9:00am to 12pm-Write

12pm to 12:30pm – Eat Lunch

12:30pm to 8:00pm – Write

8:00pm to 8:30pm – Eat Dinner

8:30pm to 5:00am – Write

Very unhealth, I never want to go through this again. But I HAD to work this intensely because I needed to send the manuscript off within this week. It wasn’t all that tiring while I was working on my writing. I was having an adrenaline rush. So time flew. Yet, at the same time, it was emotionally exhausting. Like I said, the issue my chapters were having was that it was not emotionally engaging enough. So in order to fix this up I really had to put myself into the story. And the thing is, from CH24, The Runaway Courtesan gets pretty dark, with all its high drama. So from 9am until around 5am I was constantly forcing myself into the minds of either: 1) a socially condemned heroine in need of redemption, or 2) a tormented hero whose soul has been crushed by the woman he loves. Now I remember why I was so detached while writing these chapters. I think after getting through the previous 24 chapters, what with the characters tossing me about the emotional rollercoaster, by the time I reached CH24—I was pooped—I.did.not.want.to.deal.with.it. But I had to face up to it in the end. And now TRC is very complete at 86,000 words! I won’t be touched this story for the next several weeks because Agent#1 asked for an exclusive. This means I’m not allowed to query or send a partial/full of my manuscript to any other agent. I’m fine with that.

But then do you know what my editor says to me?–Go and work on my next book. *Faints* I think not, madam! However, I do have an idea for a new book. But it’s just too all over the place right now to begin writing. I need to develop it more. But I love the story idea, and it’s going to be another Regency noire. Now that’s all I’m going to say. Lips are sealed. I need time to get over TRC before I start a new book. Please tell me I’m not the only one who struggles to start a new book! I’m somewhat intimidated. So much work was put into TRC I’m almost afraid I won’t be able to repeat this feat.

P.S. Thanks to everyone who has subscribed to my blog! It makes me very happy! *hint, hint*

P.S.S. Below is the soundtrack that got me through the last chapter of TRC. I’m also open for recomendations! I’d love to know what you guys are listening to while writing.

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24 Comments

Filed under The Runaway Courtesan, Thoughts, Writing

24 responses to “Pop a bottle of Champagne for me!

  1. Kim

    Oh. My. Goodness. That’s got to be the BEST photo in the whole word! It looks so professional and (I hate to sound suss) BIG! Haha, if I were you, I would show that mammoth thing to everyone I know and say, “Look, I wrote this!” and they would applaud and give thumbs-up. Good work, June (understatement?)!

    Like

    • I never knew it would be this big either! You should have scene my face as I was watching pages after pages after pages being printed out. Just when the machine stopped, I reached out to retrieve the stack, but then it began to print some MORE. I was just like…OMG. WHOLY. WHoaaaaaa. Poor post man who has to deliver this to the agent. And poor agent who has to carry this around.

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  2. Congratulations, June! What a huge accomplishment. And boy do I know just when you mean when you say by the time you finish writing for the day your emotionally/mentally exhausted. I think all writers get that way. I know I certainly do. I get to a point and I just have to walk away and watch T.V. or anything really. As long as it’s mind-numbing and I don’t have to think.

    I couldn’t help but laugh about the formatting of your chapters being all messed up. (been there, done that!) It’s maddening!

    Best of luck to you, June! And thanks for keeping us informed.

    xoxo.
    Cathleen

    Like

    • Watching a movie really helps. A no-brainer activity, so preferably a chick flick or something. My brain was totally fried!

      Oh man, that printing incident was just a nightmare. I felt so bad for all those trees…

      And it’s my pleasure sharing my bizzare moments with you guys. I should be the one thanking you for dropping by!

      Like

  3. Hello, lovely! Are you good and drunk yet? Good. Now, listen. What you have done is marvellous, and yes you need some time to recoup after all that. And to consider and let the ideas percolate. And you are exhausted, because writing is exhausting. Doesn’t seem like it should be so. You’ve been sitting at a computer after all for hours at a time. But I would be hard pressed to think of an activity more exhausting, more mentally taxing and emotionally demanding than writing a novel. Phew! You should be very proud of yourself. So go out and eat a piece of birthday cake for me and give yourself a break. You deserve it!

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    • You should know, eh? Plugging away at M&B right now I’ll guess! And rightly so. I want that story of yours in my hand as a book one day soon.

      I didn’t get drunk. I drank sparkling water that came from the tap. I was way to pissed off by the printing incident. Got me all knotted up. BUT today is the day I’ll celebrate once I send this baby off.

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  4. That’s wonderful! I’m so happy for you. Get some rest and enjoy the ride.

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    • I was wanting to get some rest…. But I’m sure you know that feeling where, if you have nothing to write, you feel at unease. So I just picked up a book and began to read–and ended up sleeping at 7 in the morning!!! And then I slept until 12pm. Woke up. And here I am not. So bad.

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  5. “But then do you know what my editor says to me?–Go and work on my next book. *Faints* I think not, madam!”

    I almost busted a gut when I read that. I’d say the agent thinks pretty higly of TRC if they’re already telling you to get to work on the next one. I really hope this goes well for you. But do take some time off before you start the next one. You’ll feel better about it if you do.

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    • Noo I wish it was her who said that to me! hahaha. I’d be all giddy and jumping around. Or maybe pulling at my hair and crying because it’ll take me months for my brain to function again I fear. It was editor Val who said that as a joke har har.

      Oh yes. I do need to relax a bit. It’s amazing how some writers can write two books a year. Whew.

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  6. Honestly I felt soooooo bad telling you that you had to reprint it, cause I know what a super pain that is, but I do believe it was the right choice.

    Starting a new novel is hard, you’re not alone. My problem is that I fixate too strongly on getting everything right the first time, and then I get stuck on chapters and don’t know where to go next. I’m so glad that you have a new idea though! See, I told you the curse was broken!

    I also feel you on the emotional part. Sometimes I feel like we have to go to places we don’t really want to, and hold our characters against us though they burn, in order to truly capture the emotional essence of what we need to get across.

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    • Definately, Savannah! It was really horribly formatted. I should have taken more care before printing.

      Yes, the curse is broken–somewhat! I have yet to see if I’m just not fooling myself. The horrible writer’s block always comes when I actually try to write it. Because, as you wrote, I end up trying to get everything write on the first chapter. Funny thing is, this wasn’t the case for me before TRC. I just wrote and wrote, pouring my heart out, not caring for anything. Just wanting to get my feelings onto paper (or screen). But after the experience of revising TRC so many times–I’m used to trying to perfect each chapter. I’m used to being more critical now, rather than sentimental. So when I try to write I’m held back by all these new habits.

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  7. Oh, yay! I still haven’t had to print anything–all electronic submissions thus far. My husband is a grad student with a massive printing allowance from the university, so I (erm) steal from his printing when I need to. Someday I won’t be so lucky! I know, formatting makes me want to scream. I think I’ve gone through and redone the formatting a gazillion times even though it’s probably only been three.

    And I love*love*love the Atonement soundtrack. It might actually work perfectly for the pensive, lightly tortured mood I need to get in for what I’m writing now. Plus I adore that the typewriter sounds feature in it–I remember sitting in the theater, entranced by the soundtrack and kind of not caring what happened on the screen as long as I could listen 🙂 Plus “Dear Lord and Father of Mankind” is one of my favorite hymns. What have I been listening to…hmm, popular music from the 1930s. Fits the period I’m writing about. That and Satie’s Gymnopaedies, which fits the mood.

    But really–look at that big pile of YOUR WRITING and think, I did that. And you should feel it’s quite an accomplishment, because it is. Congratulations!

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    • Oh lucky you! I would be in heaven if I could print as often as I wanted. I always restrain myself because I need to pay ten to fifteen cent per copy.

      Thanks for the hymn recomendation! I need to figure out more of what sort of hymns were sung in the Regency era… Huh?! 1930s?! Since when did you begins writing a book set in this era?

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      • I love hymns for some odd reason…I have a friend who’s made a study of hymns one of his hobbies, and told me about how many Revolutionary-War era hymns have melodies that were originally tavern songs! I think that “Jesus, Lover of my Soul” is one of those…can’t you imagine good churchfolk singing and thinking “wait, this sounds familiar…”? It probably depends not only on the era you’re writing about, but which denomination for what hymns were sung. A lot of the ones I’m familiar with from the period were written by Methodists (crazy Methodists!) so might not have made it into Anglican churches, for instance. Really interesting research idea, June!

        The new WIP…not exactly 30s–it’s post-WWII but the earlier music resonates with it for me for some reason.

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      • Melodies to a tavern song?! Huh?! Well, that certainly is very interesting. In one of the lectures I attended I learned from my professor that France’s national anthem was originally a song sung at the tavern…haha

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  8. You have the biggest writing adventures!
    But congratulations and good luck to you, hon. : )
    I’m planning on continuing to plow through tRC during reading week, finally!

    Also, I am completely in love with everything Atonement-related – have I mentioned to you that from a distance my Classical Mythology professor resembles James McAvoy? I think I have. But just in case, haha.

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  9. WOW. That is HUGE. But I’m a little too young to drink champagne but I will pop a bottle of lemonade in your honor.
    I am so proud of you June! Take a break, go out and celebrate. You deserve it ! ^_^

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    • Raven! Thanks so much for dropping by! I am uber happy to know that you’re happy for me hehehe. I’ll pour you a glass of grape juice, so we can pretend its wine, and look all sophisticated

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  10. geehae

    wohoo!!! good job june!
    so proud of ya! even if this opportunity falls through don’t give up! this is only the beginning and i’m so proud of you for taking the steps toward where you are now

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    • Unnee!

      I am definately going to keep my chin up even if I get rejected. I’m glad I’ve gotten this far. But if I do get an agent, and if I do get published, I want you to become my photographer! I’m using that one practice shot you took of me everywhere!

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  11. whoaaaaa

    is a very strong song, but when i listened I imagined to people in love that they must said goodbye, because they cant be together no matter how strong they love each other…

    or I just a coconuts????

    Like

  12. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    whoaaaaa

    is a very strong song, but when i listened I imagined to people in love that they must said goodbye, because they cant be together no matter how strong they love each other…

    or I just a coconuts????

    Like

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