First of all, the latest on The Horrible Smack Down of my Self-Esteem...er... I mean The Agent Hunt.
You may have guessed it--more rejections. I'm trying to look on the bright side and note that the latest batch (that had sample chapters) are more personalized, with comments like "you are a strong writer" and "there's some good writing here." However, they're always followed by the huge, ugly BUT... But the story doesn't resonate with me enough, but it's too solidly middle grade, but I don't feel I'm the right one to represent it, but... but... but...
My natural optimism pokes its head up very slowly and cautiously. "At least the rejections are helping you get the yard work done, since you take out your frustration on the weeds," it says.
"Oh, shut up!" I growl and try to hit it with a weed the size of a newborn sporting thorns that would penetrate a Kevlar vest.
"And you still have two full manuscripts out there," it reminds me as it scampers back into hiding.
And my optimism is right. I still have a couple irons in the fire, so I won't give up on finding an agent for this story just yet. But I'm feeling the pressure to get cracking on the next story, despite it's attitude. (See last week's WIP Wed. post.)
I've been spending the last week getting to know my characters. There are all kinds of character bio worksheets out there, as well as the idea of just sitting down and freewriting whatever pops in your brain about them. The worksheet approach and the freewriting approach work okay for me, but I thought I'd try something new, and it's been working great! I even have 16 index cards in a neat little pile with scene ideas just from getting to know my characters. (Note: I've tried the index card plotting idea before and it didn't work, but I'm trying it again one more time.)
So what wonderful character development scheme is working? Asking them questions. Questions about their compelling need, their work and play, who they love and hate, what traumatic things happened in their past and what they hope for the future, etc. I wish I could say I thought this up on my own, but I got it from author Holly Lisle. I liked her free tips and articles so much I bought her Create a Character Workshop and it's working for me. There's no way I go into as much depth as Lisle, but I'll discover more about my characters as I write. That's part of the fun.
I think I need just a few more days getting to know the main characters and then I'll be ready to get serious plotting and writing. And then I can actually put some progress on that word meter in the side bar. So my goal for the next week is to finish my preliminary character development and be working on plotting milestones. *crossing fingers* That's assuming no more major appliances become possessed (the hot water heater and I are about to come to blows).
I'm also wondering if I can work on two books at a time because I have another story demanding attention. This ones pretty pushy, too. We'll see.