Updated: Jul 3, 2018
If you're reading this part, and you're already a published author, please feel free to enjoy it (maybe?) but keep in mind this post is for those of us who 1. are not published, 2. don't know the business or people in the business to guide us, and 3. . . . I got nothing. My point is, this is just an excited post about getting recognition for something we worked so hard to accomplish. I am an over excited person (don't judge me). PROUD EXTROVERT HERE!
So, looks like here's where we left off! Yayyyy, Jeni picked me!!!!
Right! I feel like I should mention I'm a former professional volleyball player from Brazil, and former student athlete in the US, so I really work hard and make sure I savor every win. I have poured my heart and soul into this ms, and when the winners were announced, I automatically jumped into OMG-I-won mode (*insert Bohemian Rhapsody hum here), then I-need-to-work-harder, and consecutively must-make-coach-proud mode. My brain was already thinking about all the things Jeni would want to change. I had a brief moment of panic when I thought that she might want to change too much. But she'd picked my ms over 99 others, if she had visions for it, the least I could do would be to listen and be open to her ideas.
I'M SO EXCITED!!!
Shortly after Jeni reached out and asked if I would be available for a call later that day. I was instantly and pleasantly surprised. I'm not sure what I expected, but I don't think I expected a call. I thought maybe she'd send a few notes, or an editorial letter or something. But even if that was what she had planned, I don't think I let that happen (sorry Jeni). I just tried to scroll to the top of our conversation so I could post a screenshot of our original conversation, but I gave up after scrolling for 7 minutes, sorry guys. As most of you know, Jeni is the gif goddess, so our DM's are filled with them! She even yelled at me for not remembering Ragnar's name! Needles to say, I won't be forgetting that.
She called shortly after 5 o'clock and we talked things through. She hadn't Read the entire MS yet. She'd read the beginning, several parts in the middle and the end, and omgosh you guys, her visions were soooooo in line with mine, it was hard not to cry with excitement! We talked for an hour. She gave me new ideas that had my brain spinning, and coming up with new and amazing small scenes. She suggested some other stuff that was already in the MS and was legit excited when I told her that (vague, I know, but I don't want to spoil it here, lol).
Then I waited to hear back from her. By the end of the week she sent me the first pages. She said she just wanted me to have something (she must have picked up on my personality and known how much I was freaking out waiting, LOL). The greens and reds were vivid and bright, next to the pink comments, it all came together in a colorful work of art. It had to be some type of art because there was no way that could be my MS! I almost fainted.
It was so much you guys! I didn't even know . . . I was so lost . . . I thought I was going to cry. But her email came with a note:
" It won’t all be as intense as these pages; I promise."
Turns out, although it looked scary, it wasn't. She rearranged it like a 100 piece puzzle that had been put together by a toddler. The sentences and paragraphs she moved made the entire thing pop. She smoothed all the jagged edges I couldn't see. It was perfect!
I'M SO EXCITED!!!
Shortly after that she sent the rest of what was the first round of reviews. It really wasn't bad at all and I felt really good about myself at that point. But she brought up some good points that needed to be addressed. We moved a lot of stuff around. The biggest change we made was moving a plot from the middle of act 3, to the end of act 1. It was hard because the stitching had to be carefully done. We had a few more phone calls after that, and they all brought so much more to the table, Jeni became more like a guardian angel than an editor (score!).
We worked so well during the entire process! I always had this image that writers suffer at the hands of their editors, and sometimes they'll say things you don't want to hear, and I was prepared for all of it (she could not have said anything worse than what I was used to hearing from coaches in Brazil!). But it never happened. I know Jeni went above and beyond what the contest actually requires. I think we had two entire reviews in a week and three total. When all was said and done we still had a little over a week left. She encouraged me to enter #PitDark and worked her magic on my query so it would be ready. Then, together we crafted a dozen pitches! The night before we kept going back and forth to pic our top three. We shared a Gdoc and highlighted on our screens our favorite pitches. She ran her favorites buy her hubs, and I ran them by mine. We all settled on the top three, with out top pic being:
17yo Sasha is good at hiding her secrets—her age, her parents’ forbidden union, the gold in her veins, the slaves she frees. But when she makes friends & foes of African gods, her secrets become her strengths & she can’t hide anymore. #PitDark #YA #F
The pitch got a lot of attention during #PitDark, and #PitMad, and neither of us were really able to focus on anything else during the days of the events. When the #RevPit showcase went live, there was no holding back the tears of seeing my work out there, for people to see. The little fraction of what I saw filled my heart with so much love, I can't even imagine what it's like to get published. The support I've received from the writing community has made me love writing even more than before. I hope you all get to experience working with someone as sweet, knowledgeable, and hard working as Jeni. I hope that if I get published, my editor is as magnificent as her (hard to ask something like that, I know).
I hope this wasn't too boring. The process wasn't a sea of roses (is this a thing in English? It's a Brazilian expression). I did have times where I thought I had messed up the entire book by moving things around. It took a lot of brainstorming, and I'm sure that if I get an agent, they'll do a whole bunch more of that, and then the next editor probably will also. But the point is, I had someone amazing as in love with this story as myself. Having someone else (besides Hubs), talking about my story, or my characters, making it better was a magnificent feeling. The entire journey was amazing, even with the lows, and I'm so grateful for #RevPit, and Jeni Chappelle! In the end, I won so much more than a book revision, I found a dear friend in Jeni, I have learned so much, and made friends for life in the process. Love our #RevPit18Winner crew!!!
DID I MENTION I'M SO EXCITED?!?!?!
Valeu & Beijos!