Work in Progress #27: Waiting To Find A Publisher For My Emily Post Biography (The Sequel!)

Emily Post A writer’s life is full of surprises. As it turned out, my agent didn’t come back with either of the responses I described in my last Work in Progress blog. Instead, she suggested some revisions. They were pretty major revisions: Re-writing the last chapter, putting in more material that would appeal to the junior high/high school audience for whom I’m writing, explaining historical events more fully.

This is the point where a group of writer friends can really make a difference. I shared the manuscript and the comments from my agent with my writers group and asked for feedback. One thought a prologue would help to whet the appetite of young readers, especially since Emily Post is a name they might not recognize. This felt like a great suggestion but I made three passes at it and every one of my “prologues” read like jacket copy. I shared my frustration with another writer who confirmed that she liked the prologue idea but thought I should make all the other revisions first, then return to the prologue. Another great suggestion.

As I stewed about how to insert more bits that would appeal to young readers, I realized there was already a lot there but it was buried by parts that weren’t so very appealing. So I started cutting again…ruthlessly. Whole paragraphs fell away and, in one instance, three quarters of a chapter. It hurt to cut those precious words I had worked so hard on and researched so carefully but when they were gone, things were clearer, livelier.

I re-worked the first chapter (still avoiding that prologue!), cutting some unnecessary bits about Emily’s parents and beefing up two childhood incidents that really set the stage for the way she thought about all of life.

Suddenly some mumbled words I hadn’t quite processed from the writer who’d suggested a prologue flashed through my mind. I couldn’t recall them exactly but I remembered the gist of them and they kick-started the prologue for me. I wrote it quickly and was finally happy with it.

Several weeks of work went into this latest revision before I finally hit “send” again. And now I’m waiting. Again.

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Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge, Author

Connie Nordhielm WooldridgeBiography | View

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Connie is an experienced speaker and presenter who enjoys sharing her passion for writing and her experience as a writer with readers and writers of all ages. She has presented to students, community, civic and professional organizations, writing groups, library audiences, and seniors – wherever book lovers gather!
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