On Monday, I posted about Kansas Missouri SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writer’s and Illustrators) Agents Day. As part of this event, you got a paid critique from an agent. Mine was with Adria Goetz from Martin Literary. She critiqued Drip by Drip, Cave Below, a nonfiction manuscript about a cave.
While she had positive things to say about my manuscript, she also had a big change that she wanted me to make. Parts of the manuscript were very lyrical. Yay, me! But there was also a lot of science. And I do mean a lot. She wants me to separate the two so that I have lyrical text and science rich sidebars.
I like this idea a lot. In fact, I like it so much that it is the way that I originally wrote People Pray. That said, I took the sidebars out of that manuscript at the advice of an editor who then passed on it.
This is one of those moments when I have a big decision to make starting with Drip by Drip, Cave Below. I can keep it as is – lyrical bits and science together. Or I can take Adria’s advice and keep the lyrical bits in the main text and separate the science into sidebars. Or I can just reduce the science which is not going to happen although I am going to create separate sidebars.
But I am also going to take Adria’s advice and use it to rework People Pray. Why? Because I’ve been invited to send that one in and I want it to be lyrical and full of the kind of information that will make it a great social science text.
Rewriting based on what you learn at a writing event. It’s never fast but if you take what you’ve learned and apply it? You’ve got a much better chance of getting your foot in the door and finding an agent.