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  • MJ Carter

Alone Again, Naturally

Updated: Dec 20, 2021

It's been a long, long time since I've written anything here. And yes, I have a solid three-hanky excuse.

My wonderful literary agent and I have parted ways.

We connected four years ago over a middle grade manuscript I'd written about a New England village turned upside-down as it prepares and presents a pageant for the last surviving general of the American Revolution. I'd sent queries to agents five at a time. My thought was to test their reactions and adjust as I went along.

The first agent I emailed responded within a day, requesting a full. Within two weeks, four more agents asked for partials or fulls. I was in heaven. But then, the rejections rolled in. I will say that one top-notch agent was gracious enough to point out my story's biggest flaw. For this, I was extremely grateful. The others didn't say much beyond 'no thanks'. And I get that. Literary agents don't have the time to coach newbies like me. And they certainly don't get paid to hand out hankies.

Thanks to that top-notch agent at Writers House, I fixed my manuscript and forged on. It was query #42, (I remember singing 42nd Street,) that got me an agent. It was the marvelous Stacey Graham, now with 3 Seas Literary. She said that I got her at 'Lafayette'. It was mutual wow at first sight. We nearly got my story published. But, as they say, 'nearly' only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. I wrote other manuscripts that didn't connect with publishers, and a few that didn't connect with Stacey. Her successes were piling up in genres I don't shine in. It was time to say goodbye. Was that hard to do? YUP. It felt like snapping a dream in half.

Two months later, I'm proud to say that I'm writing again. Because I'm adjusting my old manuscripts, you could call it 'rebound' writing. But at least it's a start, right?

Here's to new starts. Happy New Year, fellow writers.

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