Guest DJ: The “Re” In Revising

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Guest DJ: The “Re” In Revising

viewprofileimageLet’s welcome another guest DJ to the writing party!  Patricia Florio graduated from Wilkes University with an MA/MFA in creative writing. She is the author of MY TWO MOTHERS, a memoir, and CUCINA D’AMELIA: MY MOTHER’S SICILIAN AND NEAPOLITAN RECIPES, published by Gina Meyers, Serendipity Media Press.  She has also published several short stories.  Patricia is a 2012 Norman Mailer finalist, and received a scholarship to workshop her latest memoir, SEARCHING FOR THE MAN IN THE GRAY FEDORA, in Provincetown, Massachusetts at the Mailer Center.

What You Think You Know!  by Patricia Florio

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Revisions are a way of life for a writer.  Just accept that fact and you’ll save yourself a lot of time and energy.  It’s exactly a lesson learned a few days ago when I received an answer from an agent.

Last summer, I was a finalist in the Norman Mailer 2012 nonfiction workshop.  While on location at Mr. Mailer’s home in Provincetown, Massachusetts with nine other writers,  we were introduced to an agent.  We had our “in.”

I had promised myself not to do anything foolish like rush to send out three chapters and a proposal until I felt comfortable I had  a finished product.  I took a whole year with my revisions, sometimes putting these chapters away, taking them out later in the month, and re-revising them again.  It’s the reworking, retooling, revising, readjusting, retelling of the story, even reselecting the order of the chapters, that makes the story move forward.

I really paid attention to every detail and then read my chapters out loud, sat down and wrote a proposal, not only for the prologue and three chapters I was sending, but for the entire premise of the book.  That’s what an agent wants.  Then I finally sent all 80 pages to the agent from the Mailer workshop via email.

A few days ago, I an email popped into my inbox from the agency.  SEARCHING FOR THE MAN IN THE GRAY FEDORA had been given to another agent for a second read.  Music to my ears as it had passed the first test.

And this is what Katherine (the second agent wrote):

“Thanks for sharing your work with our agency. Ike passed your writing to me for a second look, as I evaluate many of the new manuscripts here. There was much to admire in your voice and your premise, but we felt as though the narrative arc wasn’t quite strong enough; the storytelling felt, at times, jumpy to us. Of course, publishing is terribly subjective and another agent or editor may well feel differently.”

I took the words “much to admire in your voice and your premise” as a commendation for my hard work and determination.

And now the real work begins.

You can contact Patricia at patriciaflorio@aol.com and on Facebook here.

And if you have something to say about writing and would like to be a Guest DJ, contact me here.

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