It’s Wednesday.  I think.  Possibly around 3:00 in the afternoon.

Funny how traveling forward and back through time zones – plus a pesky time change courtesy of Daylight Savings – can throw you for a loop.

But today is Wednesday.  And I feel normal.

That can mean only one thing: it’s time to get back to work.

Let’s begin with an Agent Update.  About ten days before leaving for Washington I sent queries and chapters to the five agents I met at the San Francisco Writer’s Conference and one agent selected at random (I read their blog).

I’ve had three responses so far:

  • An almost instant “no” via form letter from Blog Agent.
  • A “no” via personally written response.  This agent love the idea, told me I was a skilled writer but it had an “old fashioned sensibility” that wasn’t quite right for their audience.  I emailed this agent back to thank them and to tell them I was working on the tone.  They are right, quite frankly.
  • A “no” via personally written response.  Again, this agent loved the idea but found my dialogue so dreary she had trouble turning the pages.  OUCH!  But you know what?  They had a point.  I emailed back and had a response back the next day:  they’d like to see the work again after a bit of polish.

Polishing a manuscript never ends, does it?  I put When We Come Home away for a while and began work on Green Acres.  When I returned to it I could clearly see the problems with dialogue as well as the tone. The manuscript is, at points, stodgy.  Ew.  We can’t have that.

The dialogue is not a big deal for me. I love writing dialogue.

But the tone?  I have struggled with the tone since I began the project.  I blame my obsession with being historically accurate. My writing voice was starved of oxygen for the sake of making certain the correct radio program was playing in the background on a Sunday afternoon.

Thankfully, each new read-through is a little less painful.  As the layers peel away the characters begin to tell me where they should stand, what they should be doing, what they should say.  But clearing the “stodge” will take a bit of time.

Still – I’m not worried.  I’m going to take it one page at a time.  One word at a time if I have to.

As for the agents, my game plan is to send five queries every month or so.  Each ‘no’ is one response closer to my ‘yes’.

And as for Washington?  Wow.  I’m still processing.  Still trying to put all the moments together like one great big mental jigsaw puzzle.  The one thing I know from my week in Washington is that I owe these incredible women the best writing I’m capable of.  And that’s what I plan on delivering.

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