Thursday, August 25, 2011

Maintaining Enthusiasm During Yet Another Round of Revisions

Ra Lion in a box.  (Seriously, how cute is that?)
Last week I wrote out drafts for several posts outlining my Adventure with Agents thus far.  It's a multi-part series and one that I'm awaiting The Happy Ending to before posting.

I mention this because I'm back in the Deep End of the Revision Pool.  This time I'm working with a Different Agent who has asked for (surprise!) revisions.   She feels my MC is not only overshadowed by the strong personalities surrounding him, but he also feels a bit under-defined in general.  She's like to see my MC better defined.

In our initial phone conversation she referred to the changes she was requesting as being "deep rooted."  In a way, I suppose they are.  To me, though, bringing out my MC more sounds far less daunting than, say, revising the storyline because the plot doesn't hold together.  I know my MC well enough so writing more of his perspective and reactions shouldn't be too difficult.

The problem, though, is one of restoring the proper enthusiasm for the revision.  Weeks ago I had jumped back into BOOK #2 revising it to bring it to the standards developed over the last set of major revisions.  (Interestingly, most of those revisions were putting the story squarely within my MC's head)  I did this because I had considered BOOK #1 to be done.  Now, to re-open BOOK #1 and start re-re-re-re-tinkering with it yet again feels a bit exhausting.

A large part of this has to do with it all being done, once again, on spec.  The whole Not Really An Agreement Agreement is frustrating.  It's not that I don't understand the reasoning behind it:  Different Agent doesn't know me or the extent of my writing abilities and she doesn't feel the manuscript is at a point now where she can make me an offer of representation.  And, yes, I completely understand that  Different Agent is investing her time and energy without any guarantee as well.  It's just that, from my side of the monitor, I feel like I'm being pushed back onto the tightrope, blindfolded, and about to expend a great deal of effort, not knowing if I'll reach the other side safely or be knocked off by a gust of wind halfway across.

One good sign: Different Agent has responded to a variety of questions from me with the kind of prompt professionalism and encouragement that gives me hope.  She's even handled my overly-cautious-afraid-to-trust-again inquiries and statements without telling me, "Okay, I get it.  Now knock it off."   (To be fair, I did try to head that one off by sending an apologetic, "Honestly, I'm usually not this high maintenance!" email)

What are you working on and where are you with it?  Any surprises along the way?  Do you wish for surprises?

-- Tom