Sunday, June 20, 2010

I. Have. An. Agent!

It was the kind of call I'd been hoping and hoping for. She thought the revision was "amazing," the voice, "beautiful," the writing, "rich and deep."

I had to work for it. A few months ago, this agent had given me three big suggestions: make the story seem like it could or could not have actually happened, flush out the male characters and their subplots, make another stab at the overall metaphor. Then see if a new conclusion wrote itself.

And while she was suggesting, (and I was scribbling down every word,) I agreed with everything. The ideas were already flowing.

"Did she tell you to write a new introduction?" my husband asked sceptically.

"No," I told him.

But once I unravelled the whole end, I had to do the beginning over. (I know you know exactly what I mean.)

It was a lot of work. A lot. Hours and hours and hours and hours over days and days and days. While my students' research papers on terrorism were pouring in. While my boys had Fifth Disease. While Daney went on field trips.

I cried to my writing partner, Anjie. "I'm not living," I told her. "This story, it's all I can think about. I'm not a good mom."

"Stay with it," she told me. "Stay in the zone. If you feel the story, you have to go where it takes you."

My kids were understanding. And after a couple months, I was back in Starbucks with my incredible writing group, sharing the last five pages.


I love this agent. I love her. She knew this revision took hours and hours and hours and hours over days and days and days. I confessed that I was able to do it because my unbelievably supportive husband fed me. And shoved me out into the rain to take walks. And started the shower for me when I came back sopping wet and frozen, but ready to write some more.

I love this agent because she gets us writers. Because she says she loves my work. Because she was so right about all those suggestions. Because on top of all that awesomeness, she's a good person.

So there is That Call. From New York City. At six AM.

And it takes everything I'd ever heard it does. Tenacity. Revision. Hard work. Querying.

And patience.

It takes a lot of patience.

But I promise, That Call is so worth every speck of waiting.

12 comments:

Mary Brebner said...

CONGRATULATIONS!! *throws confetti* How absolutely thrilling for you. I love your story of hard work and perseverance. Good luck!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

OMGOMGOMGOMG!!! Jennie, that is FANTASTIC news - the best ever! Congratulations from the bottom of my heart, friend. I am so, so happy for you. You deserve it!! :-)

And yes, we are BBQing at our new house today! :-)

Robin Mellom said...

OH YES, Jennie!!!! I am SO excited for you!!! You've worked so hard...you are so inspiring. Can't wait to hear more about the novel (is this the one I read a while back or something different?)

Big, big hugs!!!

Kim Baker said...

Excellent news, Jennie! Congratulations!!
Was it someone from the conference?

anjie said...

Your perserverence and tenacity were incredible as you stood your ground in "the zone." You were so professional about the revisions, and I know your agent must have been astounded. Can't wait until it's snatched up by just the right publishing house -- and to get myself a signed copy. So proud of you, and so happy for you, too.

chasing empty pavements said...

YAY!!!! Congrats!!!! So happy for you!

Jennie Englund said...

Thanks oodles, all, for sharing my joy!

Robin, it's a different story. But that other one is still out there...

And Kim, it's not someone I met at the conference (we'd already had the first conversation by then, and I was revising, revising).

Will spill who I'm so lucky to have super super soon!

Kierah Jane Reilly said...

I was wondering when you were going to blog about it so I could pass on your good news!! Congratulations - so so so very excited for you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

prashant said...

Can't wait until it's snatched up by just the right publishing house
Contextual Ad Network India

Angela said...

Congratulations! What an exciting, wonderful achievement.

WritingNut said...

Wow!! Congratulations! I'm so happy for you! This is extremely exciting news!!! :)

Christy Raedeke said...

I couldn't be more proud of you, Jennie. You turned what was the darkest, most confusing point in your life into a beautiful piece of art. How many people can do that? I can't wait to see it on shelves, to hold it in my hands and think, I remember when I read the first chapter of this...

XOXOXOXOXOXOXO