Monday, December 29, 2008

Confession # 6 - Editing is Harder than I Thought

I set the goal of finishing editing my novel before winter break ended and I had to start up college again. I'm still working 40 hours a week, however, so I only work in the evenings and on the weekend.

I found this great add-on to the Firefox Browser. It's called Leech Blocker, and you can configure it to block websites from yourself during certain times. Not only can you block the websites from yourself, but you can even block access to your preferences at certain times, so you don't fall into the habit of just turning off the blocker.

It's been enormously helpful in not letting me waste time. Even still, I'm only on page 50 of editing.

Page 50! Over three weeks! I have never edited this slow in my life, but for the first time it's quality, not quantity.

My agent (is it okay that I still get happy when I say that?) advises to bring the word count from 63,000 up to 80,000 words if possible. Right now I'm hovering at 65,500 because I add a new paragraph and delete the old paragraph upon which it was based.

I am also seeking a new title. Right now it's between Cristable and Antebellum. Cast your votes by commenting! So far, to the people I've asked in person, it's Antebellum by a 100% landslide. What is your opinion?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I am officially signed with the Bradford Literary Agency

Recently I had a wonderful reviewer go through the WW stories on Fictionpress and give them a hearty reviewing. I, reading these, and having given up on getting a literary agent, got inspired by these reviews to re-work the series and make it outstanding.

I was ready to get down to business.

The very next day, I received this email from a lit agency I had queried by snail mail back in July:

Hi Savannah,

I am really enjoying Woman's World! Would you mind please emailing me the full ms along with short synopses for the other 2 books in the trilogy? Thanks!

Now, it had been a long while since I'd heard from agents, and I'd had all rejects before, so I wasn't going to get my hopes up... but... no one else, having read a partial, requested a full manuscript. That was something.

So, of course, I sent her the manuscript. I also researched her and her agency. I saw a picture of her online, and something happened.

When I met my current fiancee, the moment I saw him it was like he was composed of more vivid color than his surroundings. He was just so /bright/. There was an instantaneous moment of knowledge that I /must/ get his phone number.

Call me crazy, but when I saw this agent for the first time, something similar happened: that spark of recognition. Nothing romantic, obviously, but perhaps the click of destiny?

Either that, or I was really more excited than I let myself acknowledge, but this felt right, like it /had/ to work.

The next day she wrote back with: Send me the next book, please.

Excitement mounting, I sent her Apostasy. And on the third day? You guessed it.

Finally on the third day she wrote me with this: I'd like to give you a call tomorrow for a bit of a chat. Can you let me know what time zone you are in and your phone number and a good time to call? Thanks!

This is a VERY GOOD THING. There were two outcomes, according to Either A) She wanted to tell me that she really enjoyed my work, but it wasn't ready, or just wasn't for her, or B) she wanted to represent me.

We scheduled a call for Friday morning. The hour came, my personal laptop and notes were set up in my office's conference room. She called. I took lunch break, went into the room, and closed the door.

Immediately I liked her voice. I don't like my own voice, and so am conscious of other peoples', and hers was lovely. I had done my research on her agency, which you should ALWAYS DO (see this article) so I was prepared to talk about her history, while she was just learning mine.

Her name is Laura Bradford. She told me she had spent the last three days doing nothing but reading my work. She loved it. It's got its flaws of course, but we were both aware of that. We discussed several things that had to change, and I was completely excited to begin working on it.

We discussed our personal histories, and her already signed writers at the agency, what her processes were, how publishing works, and then she offered to represent me.

She emailed me the contract (which I looked over, and contested a few points in email a few days later).

What you're supposed to do at this point is alert the other agents who are still considering your manuscripts that you have been offered representation so they have a chance to offer it too. I sent off four emails to agents who, to my knowledge, were still holding 'scripts. One no longer worked for the agency (juicy gossip, I'm guessing), one passed, and I didn't hear from the other two, so...

I signed it. On December 10th I officially signed my first agent contract and mailed it to her.

My family is thrilled and so proud, obviously, but I didn't have any jumping up and down moments. I wasn't 'excited' in the true sense of the word. I was very, deeply pleased, like a smug cat.

Yes. At last.

This is a moment I have been working towards for most of my conscious life. This it the moment I feared would never happen, the moment I knew I had to /make/ happen. Many writers go their whole lives without getting an offer. On the other hand, many get offers when they are not very good writers.

All in all, this is a wonderful opportunity. I'm taking the next month of college vacation to completely rework WW (for the absolute best, just trust me), and then we will begin submitting to publishing agencies. It could take as short as 24 hours to sell it, or it could take years.

Anyway, I had to tell, of course, my faithful reviewers at Fictionpress. You can keep up with me here on this blog. I'll try to keep everyone as up to date as possible.

Also, this allows for some wonderful learning opportunities. I'll be sure to share!


Drop me a review.

Copy and paste this review into the comment box if you don't want to write something personal, just to let me know you've been here:

Dear Savannah,

Congratulations! As one of your FP readers I am so excited to finally maybe one day see WW in print! Good luck!

-Reviewer X

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Why NOT be a Writer?

From, oddly enough, a website called

PS: The pattern of events as described in the above picture seems to be a pretty common theme among writers... who didn't make it.

Whatever you do, don't give up.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ed Ruscha: Paintings of Words

Writing is an art.

In Ed Ruscha's case, Art is writing.

Taken from his web site: "Ruscha has consistently combined the cityscape of his adopted hometown with vernacular language to communicate a particular urban experience."

In some, I love this work because he was creating a particular feeling or image with paintings/words that we as writers create solely with words. The paint is basically a snapshot of what paragraphs of words would look like, combined with a few key words to take your mind in the right direction.

Others seem to be just creative paintings of words, such as the one below:

One of his books, a roughly 600-page compilation of paintings of words is titled:

I love this title. I can't explain it. Perhaps it's the word 'styrene' (an extract from the sap of a styrax tree; it is used in synthetics such as rubber or plastic).

I love that someone could be called Styrene. What would such a person have done to gain a nickname like that? Is it because Styrax trees are very beautiful, and styrene sounds like a feminine name (Eileen, Dorine, etc.), and high concentrations of styrene are carcinogens for humans?

Call it a stretch, but to me it is for these questions that we are writers. Consider this quote by Thomas Berger: "Why do writers write? Because it isn't there."

I know what I'm putting on my Christmas list. This book belongs on my bookshelf.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Personal Languages

When I was in fourth grade I decided I needed my own language.

This was before I had heard of Tolkien, and far before Paolini even had the idea to release his dragonish mess upon the world.

And so I invented a code, and learned it, and because it is a code, not a language, I can fluently translate, read, and speak it today. I was a smart fourth-grader, and so I realized that I would have to rearrange vowels with vowels and consonants with consonants so that words didn't end up translating to: gbvtw.

I also realized that certain letters usually found in pairs (c,h,s,w,t) would have to stay the same to preserve their pair-sounds (so that ch, sh, wh, th, etc., didn't encounter the garbled situation described above).

My boyfriend insists this is a pointless activity because this code language has no real use in the world, but I love it because not only is it a great way to fake knowing a foreign language, but if I'm ever in a public place writing, I can switch over to code and no one will know what I'm really saying. It makes it a lot easier to be unselfconscious.

I told you this story because it ties in with today's awesome word:


An idiolect is a variety of a language unique to an individual. It is manifested by patterns of word selection and grammar, or words, phrases, idioms, or pronunciations that are unique to that individual. Every individual has an idiolect; the grouping of words and phrases is unique, rather than an individual using specific words that nobody else uses. An idiolect can easily evolve into an ecolect—a dialect variant specific to a household.

What's in your idiolect?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Stuff From Everywhere

Below is a list of things to inspire/entertain you:

1) Check out this video of how to print a book... in 1947.

Mercilessly borrowed from

2) Have I told you how in love with Strange Horizons I am?

Read their Fiction archives here.

It's all so dreadfully good I've ignored the rest of the site.

3) A Softer World co-creator Joey has just made his book 'Lockpick Pornography' available for free online.

WARNING: It's got a LOT of homosexual relationships, transsexuality, illegal activities including robbery and guerrilla political tactics, but this either a) doesn't bother you or b) you can get past it, this is a very creative, fun, hilarious read.

4) A list of the best opening sentences from Science Fiction books

5) Tress can communicate with each other! As a writer, you should be thrilled.

6) Cats have wings

7) Dictionary of Etymology

8) Lingual oddities: A map of the United States showing who says 'pop' and who says 'soda'

Friday, September 05, 2008

All the Books in the World

Using I found this interesting foreign comic (it's been translated) about a bookstore that carries every book in the world... except one.

View it on someone's livejournal here.

It asks if you're 14 years or older, but the content is entirely safe for work and all ages.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Everything Wrong with Eragon

It's no secret that I don't like Christopher Paolini.

Therefore, I was thrilled when I came across this list: Everything Wrong With Eragon

This is the list I've been wanting to make for years. Utter love to its maker LordSnow. ThingInTheCoat, you and I may just have to have a polyamorous relationship. ;-)


Also in cool news, this keyboard is a modern writer's new best friend.

I know there's this stereotype that writers have cats (and why wouldn't you want to?), but really, isn't the keyboard your most faithful companion?

Monday, September 01, 2008

The Worst Book Ever Written

It is my distinct UNpleasure to introduce you to the a candidate for the worst published book in the world: The Shadow God, by Aaron Rayburn.

<--Worst Book Ever Written

I'd make fun of it, but this reviewer has done a better job than I ever could.

Read his article here. Be prepared to laugh, to gasp, and to stare in shock that someone actually thought this book was fit to print.

Laughter aside, consider this a learning opportunity of what NOT to do.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Word Clock

To all who were concerned: Not to worry; I'm not gone, just was on vacation, and then didn't come across anything I thought you would enjoy... until this:

Word Clock

Basically what it is, is... is, umm... a clock... of words? It's kind of complicated, so just check it out.

Also, BOOK MOOCH. A cool site where you can trade books with people all across the country, for the small fee of paying your own shipping.


No news is, in this case, bad news. On the other hand, I haven't received nearly as many rejects as requests that I sent out, so there's hope yet. So far all but two agents have rejected the manuscript they rejected.

And so, I am facing the fact that I may have to do a complete novel rehaul, at least on the romance fantasy revolution novel. Which, no matter how many things I find wrong with it, is still first in my heart. Damn.