Monday, January 17, 2011

WRITING JOURNEY TOURNIQUET - Compressing the Wounds with Revision

So, I've been assigned the task of telling you all what I've learned on my writing journey, which will be an on going theme on my posts. First off, I've always loved writing, from when I was a little girl with my first stories of a bunny named Hairless to my NaNoWriMo project that I'm currently revising. Though writing is in my DNA, there was a large chunk of time that I didn't write--during the daunting years of being a single mother, working a high powered job, and raising two precocious boys. It wasn't until I remarried and could stay home with the boys that I returned to the written word. It happened when my new husband--tired of me being too clingy, I'm sure--asked if I had a hobby. I said, "Well, I used to love to write." And then I went about writing my first novel.

When I finished that novel, I was so excited that I did a quick revision and started researching how to get published. I found that I needed to query agents first and that required a query letter. So I wrote one that ended up being over 500 words long (I kid you not) and sent it out to all the agents listed on AgentQuery. The rejections dinged my email inbox so many times I had to put the delivery notice on silent.

The first of my posts will be about the querying process but today I want to talk about my first mistake. I should have revised my manuscript more. Revisions are what makes your novel pristine, and if you don't have a manuscript that is near perfect as you can get it, you shouldn't be querying it to agents. After you finish writing your first draft of your manuscript, put it away for a month. Then come back to it with fresh eyes and revise it. Don't stop there and query that version. Revise. Revise. Revise. Find some wonderful people (preferably fellow writers) to read your work and point out all that is wrong with it and then revise again.

You might ask, how does one get fellow writers to read their work? A great place to start is at the Query Tracker forum here . I love Query Tracker, not only do they have a great forum, but also you can track your queries from their site. You can post your query letter, first 250 words, and synopsis to have other writers critique them. There's AgentQuery here that has a forum and agent research area. Also, Absolute Write Water Cooler here has a wonderful forum. Blogging and joining agents' and  fellow writers' sites is a fabulous way to meet other writers. Make sure to comment on the sites. Joining twitter and following fellow writers and agents can be an invaluable resource as well. Just put your self out there and soon you'll have a passel of new writing buddies to share work with.

Don't get upset if someone doesn't like your work or says something you don't agree with, use what they say to make your manuscript shine. After all, what you send out into the publishing world will say a lot about who you are, and you want to be the best that you can be.

Until next time, keep writing and revising.

Brenda Drake is usually a stay at home mom with kids that are now ghosts. She's temporarily closing houses for her old company on a part time basis in Albuquerque for a few months. She writes young adult novels so she doesn't get bored since the kiddos are off running around doing their own thing now. She's currently querying one manuscript, revising another, and has a couple that she's buried in her back yard someplace where only the dog can find them, if he could still smell and see, that is. 
You can find Brenda on her blog


  1. Great post Brenda. Ha ha I love your bio, no more burying MS lol!

  2. Great article! We have a lot in common. I did the single mom thing and my current husband supported me while I completed a degree and after five years of working a high stress sales job, he is supporting me as I embark on a full time writing life. I look forward to following! :)

  3. LOVE QueryTracker! I learned so much from the people there--plus made a lot of good writing friends and crit partners!

    I queried way too early too! It's been over a year since I've queried and I'm still working on revisions, though, I admit on a different novel, LOL!

  4. I made the same mistake and queried my book too early as well. My second novel wasn't nearly as riddled and the editing process will take a lot less time.

    I'm still giving novel one another major edit before querying it again.

    Great post Brenda.


  5. Oh I had no idea I could post that on QT! LOL
    I knew about AW, though. But it's nice to know now! I'll spread the word! Thanks Brenda!

  6. Award Announcement: Check out the award I gave your new blog at You can claim your award on Tuesday!!:)

  7. Thanks, Kerri, I totally needed to bury them. Argh!

    Pam, I'm glad you stopped by - I'm pleased to learn of someone who's taken the same path as me - Thanks for the award! Cheers!

    Laura!! QueryTracker buddy! I'm Brenlee on QT - but I haven't been on in awhile. Thanks for stopping by.

    Michael - you are the best - thanks for always coming by and making my day!

    Monica - Hola - Cómo estás? - Baker Dozen winner! - Can't wait until your book comes out!

  8. Interesting stuff. I didn't know that about you ;o) I like learning new things. Love your bio. Thanks for the tips ;o)

  9. Amen to that! QueryTracker is the best!

  10. "What you send out into the publishing world will say a lot about who you are, and you want to be the best that you can be."

    Well said!

  11. Fantastic advice! I love the idea of revision healing the wound of rejection. Every writer should read this! It helps ease the blow of rejection. Thank you for that!

  12. Nice post Brenda :)

    Agreed, Querytracker is aweseome!