I had a mini-critique of my novel D4 last night (big THANK YOU to the committed, persistent writers who’ve been with me every step of the way). While there was some praise for changes well-made and some comments on changes that didn’t work, it is amazing how much of the central dialogue has remained the same since the very first draft – discontent with the ending. I have changed the ending three times, and while I feel I’ve gotten close to what I want to write, I still haven’t left with my readers with the satisfaction they crave. I don’t know what will change in the next draft, but it will soon be time to dive in again. I’m going to read D4 over to myself, give a few days to process, and then it’s back to work.
In the meantime, I was supposed to be researching agents. My mentor continues to tell me to focus on the craft, for I can’t pursue an agent without the draft that is the ultimate in what I’m capable of producing. But I feel like I’m floundering, meandering, getting lost in writing without any sense of direction or goal. He agreed it might be pertinent at this point to at least begin compiling a list of potential agents.
I find this task incredibly daunting. Perhaps that is why I’ve been procrastinating the research for so long. Where to begin? How to begin? Easier to put it off another day while focusing on my craft.
I’ve heard it’s useful to peruse bookstore shelves, looking for books like yours, and read the “acknowledgements” sections, since writers always thank their agents there. This is getting harder and harder to do, of course, as the bookstores keep disappearing. My mentor suggested that, just as it worked well for me to set up an amount of time, at the same time, every day, to write, I should also set aside a time each day for agent research, and I’m beginning to do this. I’ve brought up agentquery.com, and I’ve pulled my dusty Writer’s Markets from my shelves. As my grandfather used to say, “How does a man move a mountain? One stone at a time.”