After failing to make the cut on sunVsnow, I figured some work might be needed. So I made a plan:
1. Obtain some critical feedback
2. Make some changes
3. Identify the agents and
4. Submit some queries
Then I put my plan into action. That was two weeks ago. My first stop was to visit the lovely group of people who frequent the Sub-It Critique group on facebook. I posted details of the story and quickly got three happy volunteers to read AF:O. I sent out the copies of the manuscript and waited nervously for a response.
Now writing is hard, but giving out your story and waiting for feedback is insane! Constantly checking mail, expectation of damning reports, lack of sleep cos everyone is in a different time zone, then.... The first response:
A positive! Fantastic news and some great feedback for me to start thinking about. As part of the process I thought about trying a different perspective. Switching from 3rd person past tense to 1st person present. I rewrote the first chapter hoping it wouldn't work... But it did. It transformed parts of the story so much for the better! Oh well, a full rewrite was needed.
Then the second response came in, another glowing positive! And shortly after a third very positive critique! So, armed with my feedback I set out on rewriting the whole novel in a new perspective and bringing in some huge changes. Not least was a fully revamped ending. The best part of this was it made me read every word and check every verb and piece of dialogue.
After two weeks of hard work, and writing in the evenings, I had a finished product. Each of my readers was eager to see the ending and give some extra feedback, which has so far been positive again.
The next stage was to trawl some agent websites and pick just those whose target novels were firmly in the same range as AF:O. I'm still working on this and have sent out half a dozen queries so far, but hoping to add to this over the coming days. I may even do #pitmad this coming weekend for some extra nerve wracking hours.
Waiting for responses to my queries is actually easier than the responses to the read throughs. I know now that there are people out there who seem to really like both my writing style and the story. So it is hopefully just a case of finding the right agent and the right publisher!
New updates as soon as I have them! Wish me luck and keep writing :)