In dreams begin insecurities…

I just submitted my young adult novel to a publisher.  I think I might throw up.

A few years ago, when I was slightly stupider, I queried several publishers with my novel, then a 130,000-word behemoth.  Now, thanks in large part to the awesome and adverb-hatin’ wonder-women of my critique group, it’s a slim 80,000 words.  I feel like I’ve worked the thing to death, and at least for now, I’ve reached a point where I’m not sure what else I’d change about it.  That’s good, maybe, right?

So I’ve decided to send it back out into the harsh, cruel world again.  Baby, you’re just like your mama.  Expect to stand by the wall a *lot*.  Expect to fall in love several times for every publisher who so much as accidentally looks your way.  Make friends with rejection.  It will make you stronger.  And, because underneath all my cynicism, I’m a romantic, I believe that you’ll find the real thing.  Or one of your younger sibs will.  I’m not gonna be too picky.  And hey, you’ve lost a lot of weight, and in this shallow world, that can’t hurt.

So it begins.  The agony of waiting.  The self-analysis.  The self-bludgeoning.  Suddenly I’m struck by how little the voices in my head have changed since I was in high school.  “They’re judging me.  They’re going to hate me.  Or worse, they won’t notice me at all.  I’m going to die unpublished.  Why does everybody like Stephenie Meyer better than me?  Maybe I should have joined the Mormons.  Does this insecurity complex make my laptop look fat??”

But, in the end, I’m a sucker for the thrill.  There’s something seductive in the uncertainty, because possibility is the biggest seduction of them all.  So get out there in your skinny jeans, little novel, and shake what I gave you.  I gave you my best.  Well, I think it was my best.  I hope it was.  Maybe it wasn’t.  Maybe…

Maybe, just maybe, I should cut myself a little slack.  After all, there are other fish in this crazy sea.  And I’m a prom survivor from way back.

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11 thoughts on “In dreams begin insecurities…

  1. I love you, Brenna, and I love WH. It was perfect at whatever length you gave it to us in (after day one of my adverb-hating ways I’m sure your book lost about 1500lbs :-P) but since we don’t live in a utopian world where word count doesn’t matter as long as the story is engaging, we’re left dwelling for countless hours over which branches need pruning. Even though after even we feel lighter once we’ve reached our goal word count, the original isn’t as daring as the actual original. We, as readers, will never know just what the authors before us had to let go of in order to meet their quota and be accepted by an agency, and no one who reads our work will ever know what may have been there before the final draft. In a way, it’s like our own little secret that we know something they don’t about the stories we have written. In the end, don’t be insecure. Your writing shows no insecurities, so why should you?

    • I love you, Sue, and I love the idea you’ve planted in my head of all the words cut by all the writers in all the world. Whoa…it makes me a little dizzy thinking about that! And I love thinking about it as a wonderful secret, too. Thanks so much for your help with my book. I am 100% sure that it would not be half as strong and clear and real without your careful reading, no-nonsense cutting, and fearless honesty.

  2. Dear soul-sister, no matter if it’s this baby or one of its younger sibs to be published first, it just strutted into that publisher’s hands tonight with confidence, because you gave it exactly what it needed. You weave words together that give hope and invoke wonder. I love you, I love your words, and I love your stories. And I’m confident that you and your babies are well on your way to finding the real thing.

  3. I haven’t read your novel, but I know your work and I’m sure it’s amazing.

    And as a con goer, I’ve met some hard core Stephanie Myers fans, and trust me, these are not the fangirls you’re looking for.

    • Hope–thank you, so much, for supporting me in so many ways, over so many years. If I could get some fangirls like you, that would be amazing. Maybe they will knit little stuffed versions of my characters….And maybe someday, I will peddle my wares at Dragon Con, and we can happily geek out together.

    • Thanks, Lori! And you’re copyrighting your music–that’s fantastic! I’m so amazed by your music-writing brain. That’s a kind of creativity that I can’t begin to fathom, but I’m deeply thankful for it.

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