Welcome to Criteek Week, where I ride the coattails of the success writing friends have had and gloat about how I've read their now-agented manuscripts! First up, we have Kate Scott, represented by
Connection: Feb 2011, through Natalie Whipple's Critter Match Making
Manuscript read: Feb-March 2011
Agented: August 2011
Yay! Welcome, Kate! First, tell me, how did you start writing?
I've been making up stories ever since I was a little kid. Honestly, I
enjoy daydreaming a lot more than actually writing. But occasionally,
I dream up stories that I like so much I feel like sharing them, and I
write those down. I've been actively writing for about five years.
And now for the critique-ish questions! How many sets of eyes did you have on this manuscript?
I showed my manuscript to five other people during the revision
process. Three were other writers and two were non-writers who are
Lucky me got to be one of them! How long did you spend revising? How many drafts did it go through? What’s your revision process after receiving critiquing notes?
It's difficult to say exactly how many drafts I did, because I tend to
do a lot of revision as I go. The beginning of the book was basically
on it's third or fourth draft before I actully finished the last
chapter. Once I'd made all the changes I knew I wanted and actually
typed the final sentence, I passed it off to other readers. I then
made more changes based upon the feedback I got from readers, but
again I don't know if every edit can really be called a new draft or
As for the time question. It took me about two months to finish the
first draft (which did involve quite a bit of revising as I wrote). I
then spent about three more months making changes based upon feedback
I got from readers. There were several long gaps in my writing during
those three months while I was waiting to get feedback from readers.
After receiving critique notes, my revission process is to read all
the notes. Make all the changes I agree with, and ignore all the
changes I don't agree with. Sometimes I will also choose to make
changes that weren't suggested by a critique but that were somewhat
inspired by other comments I recieved from a critique partner.
Ohhh, I like that-- "inspired by other comments." I like how you look at it as a living process. What was the most helpful piece of critique you received?
I don't know. While I always appreciate feedback both positive and
constructively negative, I never take any of it all that seriously. So
no one piece of advice has every had a major impact on my writing.
When you began to query, what kept you sane?
I was super lucky and met my agent at a confrence. So I didn't have to
go through the whole query process. I am now out on submission and
staying sane for that is a challenge. The main thing I'm doing is
trying not to think about it. It's easier to be patient when the thing
you're waiting for isn't your primary focus.
Ohhh, not querying sounds wonderful! And yes, I can agree--submission is even worse! And without querying preparing you for it, it must be awful! What was the biggest transition that came with agented life?
Shifting from thinking of writing as a hobby to a second career. I'm
still struggling with this a bit. I like writing better when it's
something I do for fun than when I write with the expectation that
someone is someday going to pay me for my words. Still, I'm not going
to turn down a publishing contract.
Lol! I don't think many of us will! How did your agent’s notes differ from other critiques you had received? Did you two do much revision together?
My agent gave me very limited notes. It only took me half an hour to
pick up all of her comments. The biggest difference between the notes
she gave me and the notes I got from other readers/writers, is that
they were all super spot on and seemed like huge lightbulb moments as
soon as she said them. Most of her comments were little things like
dropping one sentance worth of foreshadow in chapter two so a major
plot point in chapter seven doesn't seem to be coming out of left
field. I think it's hard for the average writer to notice those types
of needed changes, but they enhance the final story a lot.
Yes, agents are brilliant like that! I'm convinced they aren't human :) What are you working on now?
I have a number of different ideas that I'm playing with right now,
but so far I'm not sure if any of them are going to be my next "book".
Thanks for your lovely answers, Kate! It was wonderful having you to kick off this week. Good luck on submission!
Lovely readers, make sure you're following Kate's blog and twitter, and be sure to check back tomorrow to hear from the amazing Lauren Billings!