Category: The Waiting Game


Away they go, off through the intertubes, and who knows what will become of them?

Safe travels, brave queries. May your reception be warm and encouraging.

First, Probably Not The Last

I got my first form rejection today. Last autumn I submitted my book to Harper Voyager’s open call for unpublished works, a month after I’d finished the first draft.

I was surprised at how not-upset I was. I’m notoriously thin-skinned, after all. I take very nearly everything personally.

I fully expected rejection. Thousands upon thousands of people were submitting, and I rushed through editing my first draft in order to get it in on time. I also wrote my first query letter with absolutely no research beforehand. “Still,” I thought, “I’ll be sad when that rejection comes.”

I totally wasn’t. It was a very nice form rejection, actually. It didn’t say my book sucks. It didn’t say I’m a terrible writer. It didn’t suggest a career change. And so I feel emboldened, ready to try again somewhere else, with something that’s changed so much from what I enclosed in October.

I may be singing a different tune when I have a hundred form rejections under my belt (although let’s be optimistic and assume I’ll never amass that many), but for now, I’m actually weirdly proud of that rejection letter. It means I submitted my book in the first place. That’s kind of a really big deal for me.

And Then A Funny Thing Happened

I’ve been almost entirely preoccupied with Callie, Matthieu and Dane for nearly a full year. The three of them fill my thoughts constantly. So I was surprised recently when, at the back of my mind, another voice appeared. She was quiet at first, stealing into my thoughts every once in awhile when the others were silent, but over the past month or so she’s been gradually getting louder and more insistent. I’m here she says. Listen to me for a bit. And I do. I find I’m listening to her a lot.

She’s a funny one, this girl. A bit of an enigma. She tells me lots about her childhood, but little about her present or the trials she’s facing. She says we’ll talk about all that later, but in the meantime, there are things I ought to know…

Callie was kind enough to give the kid a few pages of my time today (she’s not enjoying having her early days re-written, it seems) and just like that, this girl-without-a-name became real, a person on paper, instead of a hint of an idea in my mind. There are a few things I need to get down before she’ll settle back into her quiet corner, waiting until Callie et al. have said their piece. The funny thing is, I don’t even know where she came from. It sure wasn’t the lightning bolt of inspiration I experienced with The Unravelling. Maybe she was born of discarded bits of other ideas. Maybe she’s always been there. It’s pretty clear at this point that she’s not leaving.

Now I find myself with a whole new tree of folders in my writing directory, a fresh set of topics to research and a document to store stray ideas as she feeds them to me. There’s monsters, and magic and a giant identity crisis – all the things I love in a story. I’m intrigued by all this – it’s a completely different process from what I’m used to. Callie’s story is so driven by music and I see and hear her in things all around me. This is like little whispers from the ether I have to strain to hear.

Is it possible to be working on two completely different books at the same time? Is that even wise? I might be about to find out.

Fear and Excitement

That pretty much sums it up. I just submitted The Unravelling to Harper Voyager’s open call for unpublished novels. It’s the first time I’ve sent it off anywhere, and I’ve been editing and revising frantically for the past four days to have it done in time. It was a little scary to click the ‘submit’ button (and super-annoying after I worked myself up to it yesterday only to find that entries were no longer being accepted, but that was resolved today, whew) and send my heart’s work off for strangers to pick apart.

To do so I had to write my first query letter as well. Wanna read what I sent? I’d love opinions and critiques so I can improve on it.

Attn: Agent X:

In the heart of Montmatre, Paris, touch-phobic songwriter Callie Kincaid’s best friend is murdered by a terrifying creature, triggering a cataclysmic series of events and forcing her to team up with enigmatic alchemist Remy Dane to discover the root of her fears and the powers behind them as the fabric of the world begins to unravel.

The Unravelling follows Callie’s quest to avenge her best friend’s killing in a world that’s increasingly falling apart. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tidal waves have killed millions in the past month, and the disasters aren’t natural. The creatures terrorizing Paris seem to think she has something they’re looking for, but as far as she’s concerned she’s just a normal girl who happens to be able to sense the emotions of others when she touches them. Under the tutelage of Dane, Callie begins to learn to harness the abilities that have hidden behind her phobia, but is she strong enough to overcome her fears and find the key to ending the chaos that has overtaken the world? The Unravelling, complete at just over 100,000 words, is the first of a three-book series that continues with The Unseeing, currently a work in progress, and The Unknowing, outlined.

I’m a freelance writer whose work has been published in The Calgary Herald, The Calgary Sun, Avenue Magazine, Resorts Magazine, Birth of a Mother and many others. I have also worked as a scriptwriter and researcher for the nationally-televised non-fiction series Taste! The Beverage Show, Wine Basics, Beer Basics and Spirit Basics. The Unravelling is my second novel.

Thank you for your consideration,

Nicole Bross

What do you think? Would you want to read this book?

(if you happen to see a spelling or grammatical error included in the above, please, please don’t point it out, I’ll be crushed and will obsess over it endlessly)

(the letter wasn’t actually addressed to Agent X either, that’s just my place filler for a real person’s name)

The Slump

I suppose everyone goes through it – that period of time where you just don’t want to write anything. Mine’s about one week in right now, and my not writing has really bled into my everyday life. I haven’t been all that enthusiastic about anything, frankly, and not sleeping well either. Whether that’s caused by my break from the keyboard, or is the cause, I can’t be certain, but this past week hasn’t been pretty, let me tell you.

I think a lot of it had to do with my not being too certain on the outcome of a scene that I’m in the middle of. I left it off right before the turning point because it was late and I was tired, but then I began to second-guess what I’d originally planned. I just wasn’t feeling it. So then I thought of an alternate outcome, but that felt even worse to me. Although it would be maybe more satisfying to readers in the short term, it didn’t fit with the overall story arc and would have made things a lot messier down the line. So I’ve been stewing, going back and forth between Option A and Option B, feeling impatient to get to the next bit after this scene, which I’m very, very certain about.

Then Secret Option C snuck into my head yesterday, right when I was at my lowest point and frustrated over my inability to make up my mind. Secret Option C uses elements from both Options A and B, with a completely different outcome than either of them. It feels right. And now if I can step away from the blog for a bit, I’ll get down to writing it. I’ve missed these people. I want back into their world.