Surely only my muse can say why it’s taken me so long to get to this point, but I am finally ready to step my YA story out into the world. After much soul-searching and researching, I’ve decided to send a query letter out to one agent instead of several and give her a chance to look at my novel exclusively for a few weeks. Why? Mainly because I believe my story will really strike a chord with her and I admire her passion for strong storytelling.
Do I believe in my work and the manuscript I have in hand? Yes. Could it be even stronger? No doubt. But I’ve polished it to the point where I feel it’s ready for review. At this stage, any more tinkering would be exactly that: tinkering. Far better to let my little heroine ride boldly forth and see where she finds a home.
I must admit that my first chapter is still bedeviling me. No wonder it was comforting for me to find out that Margaret Mitchell, the author of Gone with the Wind, had a very hard time finding the entry point for her novel, too. Scarlett was a flashy, feisty gal, but her tale starts in a tame, very low-key way and then builds. So does Wuthering Heights, for that matter — and a raft of other fabulous novels.
In any case, it’s heartening to know that I’ve got plenty of company when it comes to those tricky opening paragraphs. I’m feeling fine about where my story begins right now, but having some distance from it should help me see its strengths and weaknesses more objectively. I think I’m going to take Stephen King’s sage advice about letting go of a draft — and turn to something else for a while.
At long last, my little heroine and I are off to the races — and I’m very excited! So wish us Godspeed — and write on.