Jul. 4th, 2015

la_belle_laide: (yanyan)
Today is July 4th, and I took the dogs to the beach, set up the pool filter (again) and tried to see to it that it'd be swim-ready at some point before September. (Even though it's like, 60 degrees today.) My Mom is off from work today too (it's a Saturday; I usually work mornings / afternoon, but we're closed for the day.) Callum picked some peppers from his garden and basically walked all around while I cut back bittersweet and such. Haku came outside, but Sano heard fireworks and just cowered by the door until I let him back in.

La la. But it's really July 2nd that I want to talk about, because that's the day I got THE CALL and I want to write all of that down!

So, we set the time to chat at 2:30, and of course I sat there pissing myself until that very second, when she called at 2:30 on the nose. I told her up front I was nervous on the phone and she said that was all right. I was like, “Haha nice day today, haha *sweatdrop* what lovely... weather and all, haha... hahaha...”

With The Call (always in caps like that, seriously,) sometimes it's an offer of rep, and other times it's “I like this and that aspect, but can you edit it hugely and send it to me when it's done, so I can consider it further?” and sometimes, “I like your style, do you have a different book I can look at, and you can email me when it's done and I can consider that one?” So I was pretty unsure where this was going.

She asked, “Do you want me to just launch into my thoughts on Blueshift?” and I said, “Please do.” She said, “First of all, I am really into time travel...” (“Oh, cool! Me too haha, haha, hahaha!”) “And more importantly, I love this book.” (“Oh! Wow! Thank you so much, hahaha, hahaha!”) “I really liked the world you built.” (Silent relief; I've alternately heard “too much world-building” and “the world is too vague” from other agents. This stuff is truly subjective.) “The beginning could use some tightening up; it's rambly here and there, a few scenes don't seem to have much of a purpose on the first read. I understood their meaning after I finished it, though. But it could still use some tightening, close a few loose ends, things like that.” (“I can totally do that.”) “There were no entire chapters that I would cut – just minor things.” (More silent relief.) “The ending was my absolute favorite part. That's when I really couldn't put it down.”

Which surprised me, and totally delighted me, because I have always LOVED my ending, but have been told that it's too open-ended, and you can't leave it like that because people want definite answers, and / or you have to have a happy ending. I was really pleased that she was into that. She said she loved the entire second half.

“Make those two lead characters hotter for each other in the beginning, though. I wasn't buying their relationship until close to the end. I felt like they were more like best friends, or just loved each other as people. It needs more heat and passion.” (“I can do that, for sure.”) (This also clued me in to how astute of a reader she is, because in fact, in the first draft, the two characters were related and she completely picked up on that. I was like, “Damn, she is good.”)

I asked her if she had thought of any editors or publishers while she was reading it, and she gave me the names of two editors she had considered, who are also into this sort of thing.

Then she said, “I do really like the book—I would not be on the phone with you right now if I didn't—but time travel stories don't do well as first-releases, so I also wanted to talk to you about anything else you might have?”

So I told her about the one I did for NaNo, which is an extreme first draft right now, and although it has a beginning, middle and end, and a plot, with characters, and subplots, but that I hated the ending, had left two characters sort of blank so far, and had to completely re-draft it. I had written down my short pitch for that book, too, which I had planned to read: “Blue Sphere (working title): a medical examiner, her physicist associate, and her psychic best friend survive a neurological epidemic and invent a machine that can hold a person's consciousness after death. With the help of a disillusioned cop, they have to escape the corporation who are willing to murder them to get their hands on the machine. “

But it sounded so clunky as I started to read it that I just sort of wandered from it. “This medical examiner and this physicist, these two women—I haven't really fleshed out one of them yet—they invent this machine out of synthetic neurons” etc. I went a little more into the plot than just that little blurb thing up there.

And she said, “That's what I want. I want the lady scientists. Here's my idea: Let's finish that, and pitch that one, first.”

(Thank flipping GOD I wrote that book, god damn!)

Me: “Yeah! Sure. That's cool. I have that one on my mind, actually, so I can dive right back into it. I have a really great critique partner. She does not hold back at all. She tells me the absolute truth about her thoughts, and she's an excellent writer; she has an agent of her own, in fact, and a book out on submission.” (“That's what you want in a critique partner,” she said. "Keep her.")

So by this point, I was thinking it all sounded good, but I wasn't entirely sure if this was going to be a “get back to me when you finish it” kind of thing.

But then she said, “Just to be clear, this is absolutely an offer of representation.”

Me: *voids bowels* “Oh! Yay! I'm so excited, hahaha, how wonderful!” (I actually said “yay.” >_< )

She went on to say that she is really excited about both books, but really wants to lead with the “lady scientists” one. (“After that one comes out, then it will open the doors for the time travel one.” I liked that “after it comes out” part, like, a lot. Made me feel really confident in that.)

She is an editorial agent, so she said that she would be more than happy to offer critiques as I wrote it, once I was comfortable with sending it to her. She said she understood that a lot of authors were protective of their first drafts. I said that I wasn't protective of it, exactly, but that, let me be clear: it's just not good right now. I explained that it was a NaNo, that it was a sprawling mess at over 100K words (“I like a first draft to be too big rather than too small,” she said,) and I was scrapping the ending and re-writing the last 4 chapters or so from scratch.

She said, “That's okay. I'll wait for that one. I'm not offering to rep just one book, like, Blueshift or nothing, and that's it. I'm offering to represent you as a career author.”

So, there was no, “get back to me when you're done” or anything. It was an actual offer, like, “let me send you the contract in case you have any questions” offer.

My deadline to accept is July 16th. I've sent out my “nudge with offer of rep” to other agents who have queries, partials and suchlike. You sort of have to wait for them to get back to you before diving into anything like this – it's only polite. But I really, really liked what she had to say. I am so stoked that she loves Blueshift because the truth is, so do I. I love that stupid book. I had a blast writing it. I think other people should read it. ^_^ I loved the ideas that she had and I was so stoked that she was into the “lady scientists” book. So it really looks like I'm going to sign that contract on the 16th.

I hope it's not bad luck or bad form to share this. It links to my FB, but I mean, my FB is private, so. So I hope this isn't jinxing anything. I am just so, super excited and I wanted to put this all down.

And now! Once Callum wakes up, then I'm going have a shower and go over to Chrissie's house for dinner, so the kids can play together for a bit and she, Mom and I can chat away.

I need to stop worrying about what can go wrong, and start being happy with what is going right! For once, I'm going to do that!

ADDENDUM: I also told her, full disclosure, hey, I was a pretty prolific and semi-well known fanfic writer across various fandoms. She asked, "Oh, which ones!" and as I was listing them and got to Final Fantasy, she was like, "OH WOW, I probably read those!" She said it was perfectly all right to have fanfic still out there, that as long as I was comfy with it, so was she and so was the agency. (This agency is extremely pro-fandom. So yay!)

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