Saturday, August 4, 2007

And a Giant Woohoo Was Heard Throughout the Land . . .

I have an inspiring story for you. On May 30, 2007, a new student (friend of Cindy, one of my first Intuitive Writing students) emailed to say she wanted to sign up for my online writing course. I always have a phone conversation with new students to find out where they are with their writing at the moment. In our first phone call, my new student, Beth, told me that she had been stuck in her current novel for a long time. She'd started it in November 2005. She was hoping to get unstuck and finish the draft by September. Or she might just have to give up on this book. Maybe it wasn't going to work out.

Now, it's a huge bummer to be stuck, as I'm sure we can all appreciate. But my feeling is that being stuck is neither serious nor permanent. I told her Beth she was closer to being finished than she thought, weeks away, not months. I remember that at this point, she sounded a bit frustrated by my lack of understanding. Maybe she hadn't explained the situation correctly; I didn't seem to get it. No, I told her, I got it. I sent her the Intuitive Writing course materials. Beth was skeptical but willing, and she started June 1. She pieced together lots of drafts of the novel to make a coherent whole. She wrote some some new parts, smoothed transitions between old ones, and moved parts around. Looking back at her emails, she comments that this process is "SLOW" (in all caps). I'd have to disagree with that description, because 2 1/2 weeks after she started, she reached the end of the draft. She sent it to Cindy to read. Cindy gave Beth some helpful comments. By July 2, Beth had made changes per those suggestions and sent the manuscript to a publisher.

While she was waiting for the publisher, Beth thought it might be helpful to have an agent. She found a good candidate, queried, and submitted. On Thursday, that agent declined to represent the novel. That's really too bad for the agent, because on Friday (yesterday), the publisher bought the novel, and today a contract is on its way to Beth.

Just in case you ever feel stuck, remember it's not serious or permanent.


Cindy said...

What a great story! It is wonderful for Beth, of course, but also a testiment to how well your Intuitive Writing course works.

Heidi said...

Wow! Thanks for this story - it makes me think that we ALL can have our woo-hoo!