Monday, December 17, 2012

I Have A New BAFF

(That stands for Best Author Friend Forever)

By Michael Seese
I hope my previous cliffhanger wasn't too cruel. So...

About two weeks ago, I blogged about a wonderful opportunity created by author Brenda Drake called "Pitch Wars."

She had come up with the idea to pair agented writers and publishing industry interns with aspiring writers. On her site were photos and links to the blogs of 31 mentors. We (the aspiring folks) were allowed to choose three, and send them a query plus five pages. They all chose one to work with.

So I sent off three copies of Nightmares.

Late last week, I received an email from Brenda. The body of the message was a cut-and-paste from an email from Fiona McLaren who, to be completely honest, was my first choice. It began


OK, to paraphrase Renée Zellweger from Jerry Macguire, "You had me at wow."

Now, if you'll recall a post from this summer (of course you don't; here's a link if you want to look it up) I decided to rearrange Nightmares to put the action sequence first, whereas previously the novel started with a dream... a lame dream,
to use my wife's word. (And she was right, by the way.) Of course, even though I buried the dream a little farther on, it was still lame. So one night I revised the dream into this exercise in stream of conscience. In short, I made it sound like a dream.

That prompted me to put the dream back at the beginning. And that is the version I submitted for the Pitch Wars.

Fiona went on to say

In the end, I thought in the scope of this competition, this would be too tough a piece for me to work on with you.

Bummer! But...

There is a wonderfully surreal element to your writing style and there is definitely plenty of originality in your sample pages. Your unusual and quirky style appeals to me a lot. I would like to extend the invitation of working with you outside of pitch wars on this.  If you're interested, you can email me.

Um, yes!

This just keeps getting better and better. So I wrote back to her, thanked her about a billion times, and explained that I had two versions I could send. She replied and said to send both. So I did.

About a day later, she got back to me.

ACTION based query ALL THE WAY.  Seriously, dude.  WOW.  Why didn't you send me THAT version? You have such vivid action and fantastic characterization.  And you set the tone of what type of book you have.

Did I already say it keeps getting better and better? Then it keeps getting better and better and better.

She did offer up a suggestion which will require a bit of work. When I moved the action sequence to the beginning, I took advantage of a small lull in the plot line to put in the backstory which originally had been at the beginning. Fiona said that much backstory in that place killed the momentum, and suggested I pare it down and sprinkle it throughout.

So that's what I'm doing right now.

And that's why Dragons & Dungeons may have to wait.

Keep your fingers crossed, friends.


  1. Crossing, crossing, and crossing. Wow! What great news. I'm really happy for you.

  2. That's wonderful! So happy for you. I love to hear stories like this. Gives me hope. :)

    1. Thanks. I'm teetering on the line between irrational giddiness (Should I write my Pulitzer acceptance speech now?) and grounded reality (This is no different from an agent saying, "I'm intrigued. Send more.")

      Check back for updates.