Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Preemptive Apology and Status Update

Since that whole preemption thing worked out so well for President Bush, I figured I might as well give it a go.

The agent with whom I'm revising my manuscript sent me his notes today, so I will be blogging far less in the near future. Apologies. (Well, maybe "far less" is a tad much. More like, I won't be writing as much when I blog and I will probably fall short of my usual award-winning excellence. Also, fewer links to pictures of Kool-Aid. Some of you are no doubt rejoicing.)

You're wondering about the revision notes, aren't you?

In list form:

1. They are excellent--helpful, thorough, full of specifics and probing questions. It's obvious said agent spent a good deal of time thinking about my story, which is awesome.

2. I did not write the above on the chance that said agent might read this. I am honestly very impressed with said agent's notes. (Of course, he probably should read my blog. I mean, it did win an award.)

3. The revision requests are somewhat daunting, but most of them are things I already sort of had a problem with anyway. Why didn't I address them then? Because I'm green and didn't want to hack up my manny based on something I read on an Internet forum. Now that someone who's read a bazillion (well, maybe not quite) manuscripts confirmed my fears/suspicions/whatever-you-want-to-call-them, I'm much more willing to hack away.

4. Basically, things break down this way: I've been asked to submit my revised manny by April 19. At that point, said agent will read it and make a decision on representation. He was very kind in telling me that I don't have to submit the next Newbery winner (good thing, too); he wants to see if I can use his notes to improve the story. I imagine there are people who 1. don't want to do this and 2. try, but fail miserably (and who knows? maybe that's me!)

Whichever way things fall, I'm pretty geeked. At best, I'll get to work with an awesome agent. At worst, said agent has given me some really good advice on how to improve the manuscript.


I'm chopping first, with the expectation that I'll be beefing up some other areas later. Word count went from 44,600 to 35,700 tonight. I went through about half the manuscript. Surprising discovery: Cutting whole chapters is kinda fun.

And yes, the rumor is unfortunately true. I turned 33 Wednesday. Eck.


Anita said...

I think you have a great attitude about this entire're not getting defensive about the agent's requests, you're just going for it. Good luck to you! Your experience is very inspiring and I can't wait to write a column about your book!

Paul Michael Murphy said...

I'm going to need to work out a "first to comment" prize just so I can send you something.

Perhaps you would be interested in The Story of Edgar Sawtelle?

I would love to get rid of it.

Jill Corcoran said...

Good Luck, Paul, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Kelly said...

I agree on your good attitude, also how cool that the agent took this time to help you through your manuscript! Good luck with the revisions!
Also, I bought that David Sedaris book for my mom, she loved it!
Lastly, I never watched Doogie Howser, but love Neil Patrick Harris on How I Met Your Mother.
Oh! Happy Birthday!

Lily Cate said...

Happy Birthday. You're the same age as Mr. Cate. And I will not tell you which Michigan team he follows...

Also, good luck with the revisions! 09 is looking good so far, huh?

And I had Don McLean's "Vincent" playing in the ol' earbuds when I popped over here- and saw a Van Gogh painting on your site. Funny. (Sedaris's cover art)

Tracy Edward Wymer said...

Good luck, PMM! Go after it. Great situation you've gotten yourself into!

Monica said...

33..... sheesh.. CHILD.. you are still a child.. why.. in my day.... oh screw it. happy birthday, dude.

and .... i'll miss you when you don't blog so much.

Anita said...

33 is going to be a great year for you.

And, HAH, the last thing I need is another book. My house is bursting at the 2x4s with books. What I'm really hankering for is some Kool-Aid.

Paul Michael Murphy said...


Good one.

Ben Esch said...

Very exciting stuff, Paul. Best of luck with the revisions!


chris said...

Wow, this agent must be like the coolest, most amazing, smartest, nicest person alive.

Happy birthday and good luch with the revisions.

Monica said...

appropos of nothing.

I was listening to CBC radio this morning, and there was this elementary school teacher who has his kids sit on exercise balls instead of chairs, in class. He says that it helps them pay attention, cuz they can't slump down in their chairs so much. And there isnt too much disruptive bouncing. (they're not allowed to bounce while lessons are presented, just when they're doing their work)
(thought you'd be interested)

when you were actively writing, how much time did you spend on it a day?

Paul Michael Murphy said...

Monica--If my students had exercise balls, I'd have to make a new rule: No throwing your exercise ball at your classmates. I also wonder how many parent complaints the guy had to put up with.

I don't have any hard and fast rules about pages, words, or time, but when I was drafting, I typically wrote for about two hours each night. I was more consistent with my first book because I knew if I didn't do it every day I'd start making excuses and then it would never get done. With the second book, I wrote more in spurts--three hours here, thirty minutes there, skip a day every once in a while.