Little by Little All Your Sweet Dreams Really Do Come True

A few months ago I went to see the Australian phenomenon Tommy Emmanuel play guitar. Let me rephrase. A few months ago I went to see Tommy Emmanuel elevate guitar playing to a level I never thought imaginable.

One of the stories he told involved the phrase, "Little by little all your sweet dreams come true." When he said it, I was transformed. I couldn't get the phrase out of my head, nor did I want to. I changed the layout of my blog the next day to reflect this amazing and inspiring saying. I refer to it often at the top of my blog page, and I believe it with all my heart and soul.

My writing dreams are beginning to come true, and I'm deeply grateful and humbled. I promised I'd write about what it feels like to receive your first Editorial Notes from your shiny new agent and sign your first (and hopefully, only!) agent/author contract, and I do my best to fulfill my promises. So, here goes...

As far as receiving the Editorial Notes goes, it feels freaking awesome, that's how it feels... for about a week. Then it feels, well, kind of scary. And then you read the notes over and over again and smile because someone majorly awesome who can help get you published not only knows about your book, but about each of your characters and their motivations, quirks, and dreams. Not only that, but they care about you! They care about you as a person and about you becoming a better writer and about making your story shine. You look in the mirror and pinch yourself to make sure you're awake and not just having the best freaking dream of your life.

Then you get back to work.

That's where I'm at now: editing. Huh, this is eerily familiar, except with a little more direction. Correction: make that a lot more direction. Nice.

I'm sure each agent has their own style. My agent - the uber-wonderful Bernadette Baker-Baughman - sent me notes with a wide brush stroke. This is because we're working with a first draft. We decided together, that I have until the end of January to dig a little deeper into the story and get it back to her for a second look. At that point, she'll do a more thorough read and edit. I'm hoping the third time will be the charm, but that remains to be seen.

Some of the wide brush stroke topics included in her Editorial Notes were:
  • TONE
For example, TONE: Go darker, really dark. Or CONFLICT: Set up conflict right out of the gate, and she went on to make suggestions. This is precisely what I need at this point - to have direction and concepts to think about as I add color to the black and white sketch that is the first draft.

I said I'd post about what it feels like to sign the agent/author contract, but I don't know the answer to that yet. She emailed it to me in order for me to review it and ask questions, and the paper contract is currently on its way somewhere between Portland, OR and Philly. I'm sure signing it will be a thrilling moment. I'll do my best to keep my hand from shaking so much that my signature won't be legible.

I hope my experience helps you envision your own Editorial Notes and agent/author contract. If you believe and work hard, you will soon have your own version of this story to tell.

Lyrics from songs I wrote many moon ago:

Dreams... dream on - until they are no longer fantasy.


Dreaming dreams along the way
If you slow down you'll fall astray
Finding what you need in love
Knowing you'll soon rise above...

Dream on, my friends, dream on. And, always remember: little by little all your sweet dreams will come true.
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