Thursday, January 13, 2011

Hope and Dread

Writer Bryn Greenwood describes hope as a beautiful butterfly that you follow, eyes in the sky, until it leads you right off a cliff. She inspired a few blog posts on the subject of hope this week. (You might surmise we aren't the cheeriest bunch right now.)

Tracey, Hope

Steven, About Hope

Bryn, Dead Butterflies

Here’s mine.

When I submitted my current WIP to my agent, I made sure that it was a complete draft because I was so sure she was going to terminate her contract with me. I knew if I had a finished novel, when she pulled the rug out, I’d have a nice soft manuscript to land on.

But I still had hope. I hoped she’d love it as much as she loved my first book. I hoped she’d have a dozen editors in mind who were dying to read it already.

Instead she terminated her contract with me -- not what I hoped, but what I dreaded. And boy, it hurts.

Ouch, there’s that cliff again, with me bruised in a heap at the bottom.

I’m trying to sort through what being agent-free means. After all, “agent free” sounds pretty good. “Free agent” sounds better. Now, I can look for a new agent who really, really gets me. Maybe I can sub my first novel myself to editors who never saw it, or my future powerhouse agent will love it and sell it with my WIP in a two-book deal. Yay! Hope!!!!

The reality is that I’m going back in the slush pile, and I’ll never make it through without hope. So yeah, I have hope, but along with hope comes dread.

That slush pile is high and steep, and I’m braced to fall off the edge.


  1. The problem with hope is that its opposite is despair, and that's no fun either. Without hope, we'd never move forward. Too bad forward sometimes means falling off a cliff.

    Good luck! You know we're rooting for you!

    (I think I'm going to start calling myself agent-free. It sounds better than unagented or formerly agented. :-p)

  2. I like the term 'sadder but wiser'. Perhaps that's what happens to those of us who go through agent divorces. The hope still lingers, I don't know if it's POSSIBLE to get rid of it completely. But knowing 1st hand how tough it is to get an agent to even glance your way takes a lot of the shine off of that hope.

  3. I don't think I'm despairing but I'm not sure I'm actually hoping. Wanting? Yes. Wishing? Yes. Hoping? Not today. Maybe tomorrow.

  4. I love the honesty in your posts, Kelly. I know what you mean about hope. Ours is a guarded hope. It has to be. We want it and we wish it, as you said, but it's sometimes too scary to hope we'll beat the odds again. That's where I think perseverance comes in to rescue hope. We just keep going, keep writing, and keep helping each other. The journey becomes fun, even if it is a hike up Everest. At least you are among friends. :)

  5. Kelly, I'm certain that you will find another agent. The first one wouldn't have signed you without merit.
    Stay positive!

  6. Great post, Kelly. This is certainly a difficult situation and there are no guarantees except if we do nothing. I guess therein lies the benefits of Hope.

  7. Ahh, Kelly. I feel your pain. Mine is duller now, since I've had distance in my agent divorce. But you are in a great place with a new manuscript to press onward with. And of course, we will there there, by your side, to keep you from falling over the edge.

  8. ((hugs)) Hang in there. My post yesterday was about patience and hope and courage and perseverance. We're all in this together, and we're with you every step of the way. :-)

  9. and this is why I love the writing community so much :) Because the friends you meet along the way are there to cheer for you when things are good and are there even more to support you when things aren't so good. I have no doubt you'll find another agent. Only, of course, if you keep on looking ;-) We'll all be there to help shore up your hope when it falters. Thanks for the post :)

  10. Kelly, I am sorry to hear that but I have all faith that you will find someone else, a better agent for you and your career path. I am praying that your hope stays afloat and that your query stands out from the other in the slush pile. (Hmm, I'm going to pray that for myself, too, ha!)

    -Good Luck!!!

  11. Hope floats and so does great writing - your book will make it to the top of the slush pile very soon! I'm betting on it. :)

  12. Soooo sorry. As a friend of mine once said to me, "Just because you're prepared for it to happen, doesn't make it feel any better when it does."

  13. life without hope would be unbearable

  14. Wow, what a heart-wrenching post!

    Thanks for sharing your story. Best of luck to you! *hugs*

  15. Agents often don't work out, it's tough but true. I think this is a great opportunity for you to now be free of worry and just get that book as awesome as you can make it, then find the RIGHT agent who gets you!

    Good luck, not that you'll need it. It might take time, but if one agent saw promise, others will too. (Speaking as someone who left an agent and found another one, I know this to be true!)

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse


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