hit tracker Dave Shields Author Blog: Waiting for my baby

A journal detailing my efforts to launch my career as a novelist. The goals are to share info about succeeding in this field with other aspiring authors, to provide updates to the many supporters who have asked me for them, and ultimately to build the momentum necessary to assure success in this venture.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Waiting for my baby

Any moment now we will rush to the hospital. Since this is my third time through the process I don't think I'm going to get so excited that I forget to take my wife along with me, but you never know. We're still trying to think of a good name for our new family member.

Back to my story of how my writing career reached this point. When I completed the first draft of my second novel, a book that eventually became "The Pendulum's Path," I thought that I had constructed a masterpiece. Why shouldn't I? My friends and family praised it as if it was the best thing they'd ever read. Literary agents and publishers weren't so kind, though. They rewarded my efforts of tracking them down and mailing them large packages with a flood of rejection letters, many of them impersonal form letters. I couldn't understand why the reaction was so different.

That's when I got a lucky break. I'd changed career paths a bit in order to take a job that allowed me a little more time to write. I was hired by a company, Triton Investments, whose owners were believers in my dream and who gave me the necessary flexibility and resources to keep things moving forward. Shortly afterward I applied to join an on-line critique group that I'd come across on an Internet listing. Amazingly, they accepted my application and I was welcomed into a group whose members I am convinced are destined to change the landscape of literature. It's called NovelDoc, and I've been stunned at the talent time and again as I've critiqued their manuscripts. Some of the best books I've ever read are manuscripts these people are working on.

In Noveldoc I started to understand many of the reasons that the agents and editors had reacted so differently to my manuscript. Through the groups intense critique clinics I wrote and rewrote my manuscript. The critiques I received were often as large as the manuscript itself, and they were packed with incredible insight and advice. Simultaneously, I learned a tremendous amount about what worked and what didn't by providing the same sorts of critiques to fellow members.

I kept on sending manuscripts out to agents, and even though I continued receiving rejections in return, most of them were personalized and contained very encouraging words. I was on the right path.
Until Next Time,
Dave Shields


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