Best Rejection Ever, and Grab Bag Extravaganza II

Hello friends and compatriots!

No news yet.  Still waiting on the Agent Train for my stop.

Although, I did receive what is to date, the best rejection letter of my life.

An agent I was really into requested my full manuscript.  That in it of itself warrants a !!!!  But the next email I received from them went something like this:

I cannot represent you.  Because I cannot finish reading your manuscript.  …Because it is giving me nightmares.

!!!!!!!! Holy smokes man.  I could not have asked for a better endorsement.  People who have problems sleeping are going to have a hard time reading about the near extinction of the human race due to mass insomnia… So I guess that goes for agents as well!

I’m going to look at horror agents now, because this manuscript is far more horrifying that I originally gave it credit for.  >:)

I’m also working on a new project which I will soon be able to share with you.  It will be presented in audio format, and has been great fun to work on so far.

Also, I added a link my in “Craft” links- this one to a blurb I wrote on reddit, about my planning process!  It has tons of links to various entries in this blog to elaborate.

SO meanwhile, because I really like that you stopped by, you beautiful resilient caribou, you astonishing display of peacock feathers, you stack of waffles, you, dear reader, I will add some fluff here.  Because I like sharing.  And laughing.

Want to get lost in Youtube watching cake-spinning videos with me?  Because they are *singsong voice* amazing!

My fav:

When I wrote this draft I was mega hungry, so a lot of this first bit is food related.  NOW though, I am stuffed FULL of waffles and have a Magnificent Sandwich (band name called it patent pending HG Bleackley 2014) waiting for me for lunch.  Chicken.  Brie.  Pear.  Hoooo man I am going to have to wait a while on that though… waffles are my world right now.

How about some pictures instead?

Nooooooooo

Something else!  Not cake!  Not food!

Wait for it…

.

.

.

WHOMMP

NOOOOOOOO ok how about- this is how dogs drink!

Ah yes, the rare 9-legged Plover.

And then sometimes, you’re like, no freakin’ way.

Banana!

That’s all for now folks!

Back to agent hunting.  And when I have this audio-project ready, you’ll be the first to know.

Cheers.

Heidi out.

I’ll take “Weeks Of Hard Work” for a thousand, Alex.

Well, revisions went swimingly.  It was two weeks of solid, hard work.  I went through each story (Sleep Over consists of 32 stories told from 32 different people; together, they tell a cohesive narrative) and figured out what I needed to do to make each one better.

Mostly this involved amping up the emotional stakes, making people’s reactions become more insane as they lose their sanity (obvious, right?), and further accentuating character’s awareness of the jeopardy they are in.

That last one was what was missing from a majority of the stories.  Jeopardy.  Without jeopardy, things just happen, and there’s no feeling of tension or peril.

Jeopardy is anticipated pain or loss.  The pain or loss must be apparent, as well as plausible; that whole era of villains tying women to railroad tracks was short lived, because the sensibilities of the time didn’t allow for the possibility of that threat could ever be realized.  Since it was obvious that the train would never be allowed to run over the captive, the peril was implausible and thus ineffective.

The character must believe that the jeopardy is real, that the pain or loss being anticipated could actually come to fruition.

As for the other part of that equation, the pain or loss must be anticipated.  Characters must be aware of the stakes at hand, they must fully realize the pain and loss in their future.  That’s not to say that some of the jeopardy can be unknown to them (nothing like a bad situation getting worse to amp up the jeopardy) but the character must have a base level of awareness of just how screwed they might be.

This was the main thing missing from my narrative.  I injected some of the earlier stories with known timelines of symptoms, and various terrible things which might happen, and then did callbacks to them in subsequent stories.

Basically, I just spent two weeks doing terrible things to my characters and making them fully aware of just how awful things will get.  Even with some large cuts being made, I ended up with 10k more words than before.  That’s 10,000 words of jeopardy.

I am taking a few days off to get some distance from it, and then doing a full read through to make sure I got it right.

I tinkered a lot with tempo, and it’s hard to judge the flow when you’re zoomed way in and working on edits like that.  Taking a few steps back and coming at it fresh should give me a better idea of the time flow as well.

So that’s writing for today.  Going splendidly.

In other news, my new kitten, Lemon, is a brat!  She throws little meowing fits if she doesn’t get her way (which is often- silly kitty, NO you cannot make a nest in those cables, NO you cannot eat that tinfoil, NO you cannot climb up there and knock everything off of our bookshelves) but she is learning.  Constancy is key, and we’re getting there, slowly.

Our other cat, Echo, is finally into having a friend.  She groomed Lemon the other day for the first time and I just about died of how cute it was.

Here is a neat video I found of an interesting filming technique:

So that’s all for now folks!  Thanks for stopping by.  Good times ahead for the S.S. HGBleackley ReaderSHIP!

Cheers.

Heidi out.

Kitty, Wild Gears, Rejection

First a video of my kitty playing!  She’s rather subdued when she reaches the end of her “running around” phase of playing.  When she moves into her “rolling around” phase, I really enjoy playing with her and her mouse toy this way.  Cutest!

Next up is some art my mom made with Aaron’s Wild Gears!  Holy smokes she’s been crankin’ ’em out.

Here’s a link to the full album.

My favourite piece of hers:

Intricate!


Photo of his newly-opened gear sheet, by Scott Bleackley:

And in writing news, I’m hearing back from literary agents.  The consensus is very positive- I’m getting a lot of “Great idea!” type comments, but so far all of them don’t feel like they’re the right agent to champion my manuscript.  *crosses fingers*  One of them has got to be the one.  I’ll keep looking.  I submit to really cool people, and it’s sometimes hard to tell if they’ll be into what I got goin’ on, but I’ve got to get it right one of these times!

Tonight: Ink Club!  I’ll spend the night researching several more literary agents I’d like to submit to.

This involves reading interviews they’ve done, looking up what people on Absolute Write Water Cooler have to say about them, and looking up their past sales.  It takes time, but it lets me know if I think they’d be a match for me and my work.

I’ll keep you posted, of course.  Thanks so much for stopping by!

Heidi out.

Titles Are Hard

You have to pick a title.  You can’t start querying without a title.

Did you get your friends to suggest some to you?

Wait wait, you started querying before you had a good title?

I feel like an idjit.

But now I have a better title.  I even wrote it in the book.  Why didn’t I see it.  Man. Outside perspective- it’s almost like it’s super important or something.

I am one of the four, for sure, like, totally.

In other news, I love my friends.

Sleep Over.  

 

Forest, trees.  Trees, forest.  There.  We’re all comfortable around each other?  Great.  Now let’s keep querying, but this time, you know, better.