Monday, September 20

Susan Mihalic: Five Things I Learned Writing Dark Horses

Susan Mihalic: Twitter.

I checked out the website of each firm, where representatives defined what they wanted in the way of a question, and called the ones I thought were the finest fit for my manuscript.

I like revising and modifying, which is excellent, due to the fact that my agent and I went through round after round of modifications. I brought Dark Horses in at a sleek 98,000 words and provided a manuscript my representative might offer– and sell it she did, approaching precisely the ideal editor at precisely the right publisher. My editor requested additional edits, which added a little to the word count (I got to put back some material I d deleted), but my representative had actually been so strenuous that at this point, modifying felt like play.

Clearly I hadnt left all my delusions behind me. Have you seen the dragon in the kitchen area?

Your path is yours, not ANYONE elses.

” With your next book, you will not need to listen to your agent and your editor,” a single person stated.

One midwinter day in 2007, I received a rejection letter from Yaddo, where I d used for an extended residency. I would have declined me, too. I d composed only three brief chapters– later combined into a single very first chapter– of my WIP. Seemingly, the “P” in “WIP” means development, but I d made little of that. I started composing Dark Horses in the early 2000s, but for years at a time I didnt touch the manuscript.

Fifteen-year-old equestrian prodigy Roan Montgomery has actually just ever understood two worlds: inside the riding arena, and outside of it. Both, for as long as she can remember, have actually been ruled by her daddy, who demands strict obedience in all areas of her life. The deformed power dynamic of coach and rider extends far beyond the stables, and Roans relationship with her father has long been inappropriate. She has actually been able to compartmentalize that dark aspect of her life, ruthlessly focusing on her ambitions as a rider heading for the Olympics, simply as her dad had actually done. Her developing relationship with Will Howard, a boy her own age, expands the scope of her vision..

” Do you even feel like its your book any longer?” stated another.

We write in an imperfect world.

In which I discover a representative.

Excellent editors, representatives, and review partners do not want to make your story theirs.

Im making my launching at age 59. Do not write yourself off– and do not let anybody else write you off, either– just since of your age.

A little daunted, I regrouped and sent it to a buddys representative, and exactly the very same thing took place. After another solid year, another hook hung from my car door.

Susan has actually worked as a book editor, curriculum writer, composing trainer, and freelance author and editor. It has gotten starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Book List, and Library Journal. Susan lives in Taos, New Mexico, where she loves riding her dream horse, Goldmark, on the mountain trails.

In the review group Ive run for 20 years, I advocate observing feedback that resonates and ignoring feedback that doesnt– however this works only if youre sincere with yourself. My agent had an eager editorial sense, and I d have been foolish not to listen to her.

I like revising and editing, which is great, due to the fact that my representative and I went through round after round of revisions. I was trying my finest, but something wasnt clicking. To my long lasting appreciation, she hung in there with me. Finally, when I thought I d produced the very best possible manuscript, she stated, “Cut it by a third, and after that Ill read it.”.

I brought Dark Horses in at a smooth 98,000 words and provided a manuscript my agent could sell– and offer it she did, approaching precisely the right editor at precisely the right publisher. My editor asked for additional edits, which included a little to the word count (I got to put back some material I d erased), but my representative had been so strenuous that at this point, modifying felt like play.

Now deeply daunted and in possession of 2 worthless hooks, I put the manuscript away for a year. At the end of that year, four years had actually passed because I d completed the first draft. What was I making with my life? Did I or didnt I desire to be published?

Dont be discouraged to find you arent even near to being ended up.

Welcome to the sim-sub (simultaneous-submission) path. I took a week off from my day task and developed a spreadsheet with nearly 100 agents on it, most of them obtained from the pages of Poets & & Writers. I went to the website of each firm, where representatives specified what they wanted in the way of an inquiry, and called the ones I believed were the very best suitable for my manuscript.


Only you can write your story, however regardless of whether you take the conventional path to publication, youll need to recognize between guidance that sounds real and advice thats off the mark. Know what to let go of, even if youre attached to it.

Likewise, understand what to hold on to. Idea: It wont be as much as you think. Good editors, representatives, and review partners do not wish to make your story theirs. They want to help you make your story the very best it can be.

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I will never ever remain in a “30 under 30” roundup of impressive young writers.

At the crossway of a commercial page-turner and urgent survivor story, Dark Horses combines the searing styles of abuse and strength with the engaging exploration of female strength.

First, why wouldnt I listen to an agent and an editor I trust? They want a book that will sell, therefore do I. Second, its more my book than ever, forged by criticism and modification that burned away everything that wasnt the story.

The Yaddo rejection was a dash of ice water on any dreamy idea I d had of one day completing my book. If I awaited all those ideal conditions I believed I required– a stretch of continuous time, a book-lined study (you understand the one), no day job, no financial stressors– I would never complete this book or write any other. I would need to write in an imperfect world.


I called an old publishing acquaintance who was now a representative. Of course I might send out the manuscript to her. She read it and informed me to cut 100 pages and send it back to her. I did. And– oooooooooo, children– she was never ever spoken with again. There was only a hook dangling from my car door. A year passed, during which there were a couple of life-giving, hope-raising messages in which she promised my revised manuscript was next in her TBR pile, however in fact I d been offered the hook.

I made a deal with myself that day. Each evening when I got home from the day job, I would consume a quick supper of cereal (best author kibble) and after that write. At the end of 5 days, I d made more progress on the manuscript than I d made in years. It felt good– so I chose to do it the following week, and at the end of two weeks, a routine was formed. Thats how I completed the book, writing for 2 or 3 hours every night and delighting in write-a-thons on the weekends. I refused invites for drinks after work, supper, coffee, and other social activities. Nobody else will make your writing a concern. Only you can do this.

Her reply: “Yes, due to the fact that Ive currently invested more energy and time in this than I would if I didnt mean to represent you.”.

By the end of the week, I d found my agent. When we spoke on the phone, she asked if I wanted to revise. My reply: “Absolutely, but if I do … will I ever hear from you again?”.

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