Tuesday, January 11, 2011

How The Story Changed

So I was sitting there at the SCBWI Western Washington Conference, scribbling out a query, when author Suzanne Young plopped beside me and said, "Let me see that." I didn't know Suzanne at all (everyone else at the conference did), but she had sparkly eyes and a ginormous smile, so I slid her the scribble.

It was magic, what happened next. Suzanne whipped out her Jedi Query-Sabers and slashed through my little paragraph: whoosh, wham, zoom. In five seconds flat, Suzanne passed the paper back to me.

And there it was: a much tighter, cleaner query that was way more reflective of my story's voice, character, and plot!

I had called my husband from the conference, lamenting that I didn't know the genre to query Drain as. I had already sent out a couple of letters: YA Paranormal, YA Paranormal Romance, YA Thriller, YA Suspense...

A few weeks later, Holly led me through an exciting revision. There were three big things that took two months. Although Holly didn't ask me to rewrite the end, it happened anyway.

After I signed with her, one more little revision added clarity, richness, and depth. There was more magic, more character motivation, more plot (thanks to my incredible writing group, which has NO SHORTAGE of plot ideas).

If that query were to be rewritten now, it would be entirely different. Instead of YA Paranormal, Drain is more literary, more superhero story than anything else. I still wouldn't know what to call it. Mmmm... How about "published???"


Suzanne Young said...

OH, how I've missed you! :-) And you forgot to mention that you were my partner in crime the entire conference. Fun times, fun times. :-) Hope to see you soon and read that FANTASTIC book of yours!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Okay, Jennie . . . so is "published" a wish or a teaser? Spill it, girlfriend! :-)

Shannon O'Donnell said...


I can't find your email addy.

Will you email me at mrso_d at yahoo dot com?

Anonymous said...

happy b day jennie!

anjie said...

Yeah, yeah, yeah. But how was your birthday???