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The Roller Coaster of Writing

When you’re waiting at the gate and it swings open and you rush forward, your sneakers squinching on the spilled strawberry shakes, and, frantic, you skim through your choices—this car, no this car—only to be forced by the crowd into a red-cushioned car where the attendant slams the bar in place and you test it as well—never trust anybody, not even your mama—before catching your breath and counting: one, two, three—and you’re off!

Here’s what you need to remember: you paid to ride the roller coaster. You love the roller coaster. You plan your trip to the park around the damn roller coaster. This is your choice. And it’s a good choice.

Two days ago, I began sending out query letters on The Bone Trench. I wrote about my editor’s reaction to the manuscript here. Gush, gush, gush—that’s the summary. She liked it; she recommended a few touch-ups; I performed the revisions; she reviewed my query letter, and we were off!

This morning, I got a request for a full manuscript from one of the queries I sent out yesterday. Yep. Less than twenty-four hours. Given this, you might expect to see me dancing a little jig in the living room, naked even. Except I’ve been on this roller coaster before with other manuscripts. Agents send enthusiastic emails requesting fulls . . . then never respond to my tentative “Hellloooooo?” that echoes into a deep, dark well.

I could be jaded. I could be blasé. But I choose to remember the thrill of the car climbing, the track clacking, the ascent cresting and hiding whatever lies beyond as my stomach clenches—wait, wait, wait for it: the ride’s about to begin.

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