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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Cardel

All but the Waiting

The most difficult part of being a writer is the waiting. At least, that’s what drives me mad. Not writer’s block. Not how competitive it is. Not rejection. Waiting. Maybe it’s the control freak in me. I don’t have any control over the waiting. You put yourself out there and wait for critique, then an agent’s response, then an agent’s read through, then the call, then the contract. And finally, after more revision and waiting for the agent to read the revision and prepare the proposal, you finally get to submit to publishers and wait some more. You go out to five or six at a time, and you wait three to six months for a response—if they don’t have a “no response means no” policy—before you can submit to five or six more and wait again.

What the heck are you supposed to do in the meantime? At the last conference I attended, the panel of editors and agents gave some good advice about that. To stave off insanity, I’ve tried to follow it.

1) Control what you can: Become a better writer every day.

2) Write something new.

3) Work on building your platform.

4) Give yourself deadlines. (critique groups, conferences, contests or actual calendar deadlines)

5) Make checklists. (outline chapter three, revise first chapter, write at least 500 words between 2-4)

6) Read good books in your genre.

Some days are harder than others. Hang in there!

“If you wait for inspiration to write you're not a writer, you're a waiter.” –Dan Poynter

Sorry, Dan, but all writers must be waiters. It’s a long, slow road to publication.


Query Tip:

The most important item to include in your query is suspense. You can provide a wonderful summary paragraph, but if the agent isn’t dying to know how it will turn out, they’ll probably pass. They get too many queries. They aren’t going to take the time to even read your pages, if they aren’t intrigued by your query. If the main character’s big choice is clearly defined, you must also clearly define the consequences: If the MC doesn’t make this choice, the world is going to end—his world, anyway, either literally or metaphorically because something bad—and preferably surprising—is going to happen. And that's what gets you a request.


“A writer is a gunner, sometimes waiting in the blind for something to come in, sometimes roaming the countryside hoping to scare something up. Like other gunners, the writer must cultivate patience, working many covers to bring down one partridge.”

–E. B. White


Book Reviews

Upper Middle Grade

VIRALS series by Kathy Reichs and Brendan Reichs

Tory Brennan, niece of acclaimed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan (of the Bones novels and hit TV show), is the leader of a ragtag band of teenage “sci-philes” who live on a secluded island off the coast of South Carolina. When the group rescues a dog caged for medical testing on a nearby island, they are exposed to an experimental strain of canine parvovirus that changes their lives forever.

As the friends discover their heightened senses and animal-quick reflexes, they must combine their scientific curiosity with their newfound physical gifts to solve a cold-case murder that has suddenly become very hot – if they can stay alive long enough to catch the killer’s scent.

Fortunately, they are now more than friends – they’re a pack.

Very exciting! Loved these characters!

Young Adult

Rot and Ruin series by Jonathan Maberry

Benny doesn't want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash, but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human.

Follow Benny and his friends as they leave behind the safety of their fenced-in town to search for the living in the world of the dead. Along the way they discover that the greatest evil they’ll face still has a heartbeat.

ROT & RUIN kicks off a four-book series and is the winner of dozens of awards including two Bram Stokers Awards for Best Young Adult Fiction, the Cybils Award, and many others. It is now in development for film and will also be a monthly comic from IDW Publishing. But it all starts here.

Suprising. Exciting. Sometimes sad. Gory in some places. Intense too.


The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

The story of Clare, a beautiful art student, and Henry, an adventuresome librarian, who have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-three and Henry thirty-one. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: periodically his genetic clock resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity in his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous, his experiences unpredictable, alternately harrowing and amusing.

Beautifully woven through time to come together in this heart-wrenching story that you won't want to put down. It is "R" rated. Explicitly steamy.

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