Despatches From The Querying Trenches - May. A Guest Post By Kirsten Hesketh.

Posted on 8th June, 2018

It's the beginning of June and that means it's time for Kirsten to look back and tell us what went on last month.


And maybe it's time to change the series title from The Querying Trenches, Kirsten...?


* * * *


So now I have an agent, it’s all going to be a smooth-sailing, dream come true, happy ever after stuff …


Sort of ...

My agent, Felicity, is totally brilliant and lovely. Her editorial suggestions all make perfect, intuitive sense. All I need do is:

  • Streamline the first chapters so we get into the action more quickly.

  • Include a happy ‘before’ scene so we can see how far the protagonists fall.

  • Feed in one of the sub-plots gradually - rather than an info-dump at the beginning.

Then a final polish and off to the publishers.


This, of course, is what I should have done:

1. Read through my notes

2. First draft of changes

3. Edit and polish changes

4. Celebrate

This is what actually happened:

1. Brilliant! All makes perfect sense. And there’s actually very little to do

*goes shopping*

2. It’s all so blindingly obvious I should have thought of it myself. What sort of writer am I? Felicity must think I’m crap. I think I’m crap

*jet washes patio*

3. *Opens laptop. Closes laptop. Colour-co-ordinates wardrobe*

4. So, this is what they mean by ‘The Fear’. I can’t do this. I don’t know where to start. Oh God. And now Felicity’s going to be sorry she’s signed me up. It will be the shortest agent/ writer relationship in history. Everyone will laugh at me. I’ll have to move continents …

5. *Binge-attempts African countries quiz. Now know exactly where Burkino Faso is. V useful for future WIPs. Not that will have agent … *

6. * Eats body weight in chocolate*

7. *Chocolate hangover*

8. Maybe Felicity will make the changes for me if I ask really nicely. Maybe she could be co-author …

9. *Attempts quiz of 2013 USA baby names. Useful research for future projects. What kind of name is Genesis anyway?*

10. This is a disaster. I really need to get started

11. *Opens document and cracks on*

12. All this slashing and burning and killing darlings is very therapeutic.

13. It’s reading much better

14. This is fun!

15. *Celebrates with a Curly Wurly*

16. This new chapter is tricky. The word count is going up …

17. So this is what they mean by The Fear …

18. *Repeats cycle again*

19. *And again*

20. *And again*

Somehow, though, I’ve culled 7,000 words, added the new chapter and am midway through feeding in the subplot. So, maybe it doesn’t matter how you do it, so long as you get on and do something.

Onwards and upwards!

I hope you’re all having a magnificent June.


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Comments (31)

Brilliant Kirsten! Such an honest summary and so you😉 I find it fascinating to read your posts and truly heartening to hear of you on the path of your lifelong dream... I look forward to more posts as you go on your way. Well done you, lovely. Jane x
It's certainly not do the faint-hearted Charlene, yet somehow it is what I really REALLY want to do xx
So maybe writing isn't for the faint hearted. Best of luck!!
Aww, Cass, I'm not told I'm an inspiration very often …. and I rather like it! Thank you so much. Yes, I can tell the book is getting much tighter. Hope to see you soon xx
Kirsten, you’re both hilarious and inspirational!

This was such a fun read but also so uplifting, because, however you approach it and however long it takes, you are DOING it!

It must already have been a fab story for Felicity to want it, and you, so have faith in yourself and your ability. ❤️ Now you are just making it brilliant too!
Thanks Tara. Good luck finishing your RNA NWS submission. I was going to try and do the same for book 2 but I think I have missed the boat now I am concentrating on book 1 x
I'd like a Felicity, she sounds amazing! You sound like you're on the right I would be just the same (in fact I'm trying to finish mine for the RNA NWS submission and number 6 is a favourite). Good luck!
Chocolate is the answer to most things, isn't it, Jen?! Glad Kirsten's blog made you laugh.
I'm glad the post made you laugh, Jen, and thank you for your wise words. Can you also get an ice-cream hangover?! xx
Fab post, Kirsten. Thank you for my weekend laugh! More seriously, though, 'The Fear' never stops but it's always onwards and upwards. All good wishes with these edits...and note that when the book sells, this process will likely be repeated with an editor! Some of these steps also apply to reading reviews...e.g. 'chocolate hangover.'
Thank you so much Julie. What a lovely thing to say. I'm so glad you enjoyed the post xx
Yes, yes, yes Vanessa - absolutely spot on!! xxx
Hi Debbie, it's all so glacial I think you'll be able to read 100 books before mine - if it ever sees the light of day! Whole Nut, eh? I had you down of more of a Flake kind of girl xx
Hi Claire, Thanks so much for popping by. I'm fingers crossed that my book will get published …. eeek xx
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Julie. It's lovely to see Kirsten's career progressing, isn't it? And her sense of humour bubbles through, as always.
Best post yet, Kirsten - so comical yet real. I'm sure it will all be worth it in the end. Vanessa's analogy is spot on. A house is built brick by brick but there's always something that can be changed! Love hearing about your progress. Good luck with the next stage!
Vanessa, that is so true. What a brilliant way of explaining it.
Debbie, like I said just now to Claire - we're looking forward to reading Kirsten's book in the not too distant future. And I prefer fruit and nut.
Hi Claire. Thanks for dropping by. We're all looking forward now to reading Kirsten's book.
Nobody but NOBODY realises quite how long this all takes ... when I try to describe to a non-writing friend I say : I'm the architect and the architectural engineer and also the interior designer. The agent is property sales. She says: you know what, the kitchen needs moving 6ft to the left to make it on trend and we need another door there to make a side entrance and your lighting? Well, just re-wire it please. The switches aren't at all in the right place. Then, she beams sweetly, I think I can sell it.
Kirsten - the remark about a new title for your blogs was simply to reflect your new status as a writer with an agent. But you are right - it's now a different kind of querying.... once you have finished with the pressure-washer, that is.
Almost there lovely. Really looking forward to reading it. So get a shift on please because I'm about to finish my current novel. (Reading that is not writing). And good luck with the quizzes and chocolate eating. Small Cadbury whole nut please. Pretty please.
Kazzie, Catherine and Moira - so glad you enjoyed Kirsten's blog. It's a hoot, isn't it? As well as being completely true and recognisable to writers everywhere. I imagine the chocolate industry does pretty well out of writers.
I can't wait to read your book Kirsten x with a coffee in hand x
Thanks Moira. I'm glad you enjoyed the post and I'm so relieved that you felt the same! Phew. Not a total nutcase then! xx
Oh Sue, I've just seen your comment about the title of my posts. I did think about changing it from 'the querying trenches' but I was stuck for inspiration and I am still querying - it's just publishers this time! That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it! xx
Absolutely Catherine. And maybe paint too because in jet-washing the patio all the paint has come off the steps :-0 xx
Ha Kaz! I really can procrastinate for Britain but it's not so bad now I've got going! Glad you enjoyed the post xx
Fabulous funny and very true well done Kirsten. It is a difficult thing to do I know that only too well and the things your agent will tell You to do suddenly become blindingly obvious don’t they? I’ve been there! You can do this and you will have a fab book out there very soon. I can’t wait to read it!
Sounds like I should buy shares in Cadbury’s
Love this post, Kirsten. It did make me chuckle. Getting started is super scary, I'm sure, but glad you're enjoying the editing now :)