I haven’t been shy about admitting on here that I am a bit of a control freak, and I’m pretty fond of doing things by myself. Don’t get me wrong, if I absolutely need help with something, I’ll ask for it. But that doesn’t seem to happen very often. And lucky for me, I’ve passed this incredibly annoying trait on to not just one, but both of my children. I get so frustrated when Tootsie gives me attitude for helping her get her shirt on, or when Spud throws a fit because I switch his shoes on to the right feet. I know that in the long run it’s good to have independent children, but short-term, it can drive this mama crazy! But it has shown me the importance of reaching out for help for myself when the situation calls for it.
With my writing, I’ve learned how invaluable the help of a good CP is! I’m not lying when I say I’d be lost without mine. My CP helps with plot development, grammar issues, my constant neglect of question marks, and manages to keep me sane when I’m having a rough day. She is a lifesaver. She has helped me so much in my recent steps into writing romantic suspense. I’ve loved writing my WIP, and have probably annoyed the hell out of her by cranking it out at warp speed. I just haven’t been able to stop! I’ve been so excited about the story and my brain won’t turn off!
Besides writing romantic suspense, something else is different about this WIP. This time, I have an agent. Having an agent is a relatively new thing or me. I know that my agent is working hard to get my first MS published, but beyond that, I wasn’t sure what else I should be talking to her about. I didn’t want to be looked at as needy or unprofessional. I didn’t want to be perceived as someone who needed their hand-held when working on her WIP. And beyond that, my agent still seems kind of like some mythical unicorn that I didn’t want to spook, because what if she realized she doesn’t like anything else I did and would run back into the enchanted forest and never return? Okay, so I might be reading Tootsie too many fairy tales, but the main concept remains. I was too afraid to reach out and ask for help from someone who is actually invested in my career and wants to help me.
So, 51,000 words into my WIP, my agent asks me what I’m working on. I bust out a synopsis, send it over, and wait with bated breath to hear what she thinks. She quickly responds (One thing she’s excellent at!) that although I have some interesting ideas, my story feels more like two different stories and there’s a little too much going on. Punch to the gut! She gave me some ideas, and I responded with a new synopsis. Still not there. I respond with more ideas, until she recommends I create an outline using the romance arc. I took a couple of days to clear my head and really think about how I could get this book where we both wanted it to be. I wrote an outline, and she agreed I was on the right track.
Enter massive relief! In order to incorporate the changes we discussed, I had to delete about 20,000 words from my WIP. At first I was a little heartsick about this, but as I started rewriting these chapters, my excitement for this story grew tenfold! It’s way more suspenseful, the story is fast paced, and it’s just plain better! I sent my agent the first three chapters, and she thought they were great! Let me fall back in my chair and hold back my happy tears! If I would have reached out to my agent sooner, I wouldn’t have had to go through the stress of deleting and reworking so much of my WIP. She could have helped me flush out the best possible story a whole lot sooner!
Now that I’ve learned my little life lesson, it’s time to hunch over my computer and get back to work. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness or neediness, it’s a chance to utilize the talents and insight of people around you who WANT to help you! And as for my agent, she’s not looking like that mythical unicorn I was afraid would run away anymore. More like an incredibly helpful, professional woman who wants to push me to be the best writer I can be. I’m beyond grateful to have her in my corner.