|Posted by Joy Moore on March 5, 2014 at 4:15 PM|
The story of Comet began its life in the middle of 2010. In the process of writing, I fell in love with a word. Catawampus. It plopped its way into the manuscript and refused to leave.
So began the twists and turns of my steep learning curve.
Right away the personalized rejections started to roll in. They included comments such as:
Never say you are a new author.
Do not tell me your critique group loved it.
We would like see more from you as you grow.
You did not put in a SASE so we are mailing you our rejection from our own postage.
This story needs something quirky.
This story needs an unexpected twist.
I paid for a critique from my SCBWI regional advisor and multi-published author Connie Heckert. She helped greatly and the rewrites began anew. Once again, the manuscript was sent out into the stratosphere.
One evening, while eating out, conversation was flying around the table about the need to scratch itchy spots. With that the idea for a quirky factor was born.
Months passed and I paid for a critique at a SCBWI conference. A well-known author Jill Esbaum helped me with the critique. She told me that the story almost made her cry.
The rejections continued. Still, I didn’t give up. Words flowed through my body. They filled my head. They bonked back and forth to get out.
About a year later I won a free critique from the generous Jean Reidy. She had this to say. “Who and what is this story about? If you had to summarize your picture book in one sentence, what would you say? I ask this, Joy, because that one sentence summary is used at multiple levels of the publishing process – to pitch an agent, an editor, an acquisitions team, a sales team, on a book jacket. What would that pitch say? I tried to come up with a pitch for your story myself and found that there were actually several stories going on here. Is it about an itchy fish? Is it about finding your way home? Is it about bravery and encountering the beast? Is it about friendship? To say it’s about all these things will get you into trouble, because you have less than 500 words to tell your story.”
I took her critique to heart, applied her suggestions.
Then I receive a request from MeeGenius for edits. They told me that the word catawampus could not be used as a noun. I thought they wanted me to take it out. So I did.
Finally, in January 2014 WIGGLE-WIGGLE, SCRATCH-SCRATCH, ITCH-ITCH-ITCH debuted. When I saw the finished product, I had another surprise coming. They had put my much loved word, catawampus, back.
It had been close to three years from the time the story was first written till the time the contract was signed. The manuscript went through major upheavals. A fare sum was paid to get it polished. Will it equal out in the end? Time will tell. What have I learned in the interim? Patience. Professionalism. And always share the credit.
I hope you can check my story out.