The much-needed kick in the pants

So, this past Friday, there was a little event on Twitter:

Basically, authors were invited to craft very short pitches for their books and Tweet them for agents and editors (and other authors) to see.

Funny enough, just the night before, I tweeted the following:

Slowly learning to redefine my novel. Have decided it’s a Contemp Teen Chick Lit retelling of Snow White that picks up where the story ends.

So when I saw #PitMad happening, I immediately* honed and tweeted my pitch:

YA: Contemp romance retelling of Snow White picks up where the fairy tale ends when she discovers Prince Charming isn’t so charming. #PitMad

And then I waited.

And waited.

And about 45 minutes after I tweeted my pitch, I tweeted the following:

After submitting to #PitMad, it feels like the end of Greek Week when you’re just HOPING a house wants you to pledge! (shaking)

Well, it’s true.

Anyway, a few hours later, I happened to check my pitch tweet and discovered that two people marked it as a “favorite”: an editor and an agent.

And that meant that two people wanted me to submit a query letter and my first ten pages.

Yes, it was time to freak out.

This meant I needed to polish my query letter. It was largely done, but I was just waiting to share/discuss it with my writing group for feedback. But there was no time to lose; there were industry professionals requesting my first ten pages, and I wasn’t about to blow this opportunity because I was a little gun-shy.

Then right before lunch, I saw that my pitch tweet was “favorited” again – and this time, the agent wanted a query letter, a detailed synopsis, and the first three chapters!

Okay… It was definitely time to freak out.

You see, my synopsis was far from ready. My query letter really was basically finished; I just made a few changes here and there and sent it out. But my detailed synopsis? How does one take a 55,000-word novel and condense it into roughly three pages (double-spaced)? It certainly doesn’t help that there doesn’t seem to be a Detailed Synopsis Rule Book out there like there is for query letters.

But I plugged away at my synopsis, carefully hacking away at anything that wasn’t completely essential to the plot. And while I worked on it, my pitch tweet got yet another request – this time for a query letter and my first three chapters! (The agent was very kind and let me know a synopsis wasn’t necessary.)

And so, at about 3AM yesterday, I submitted my fourth query, months before I would have told myself I was “ready” to shop my novel to agents. And these weren’t the unsolicited queries I dreaded I would have to make, either.

I was able to submit requested material.

This Twitter Pitch Party was the kick in the pants I needed to take the next step.

So the full manuscript request I received as a response to one of my queries while my 5-year-old was in his guitar lesson? Apparently, that’s what I needed to finish editing and give myself the permission to say, “It’s good enough.”

And now I have a query letter I’m happy with, a detailed synopsis that I like, and a full manuscript that is presentable (only because I don’t know that it will ever be perfect). And I have a compelling 144-character pitch, too!

At least this means I can freak out about other things now.

* In this case, “immediately” means after I had a minor freak-out moment, ran through worst-case scenarios in my head (which was that no one would respond to it), and decided that I’d rather be snubbed rejected than never know.

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