Posts Tagged ‘Writing’
Thursday, June 10th, 2010
swiss cheese, swiss chocolates, swatches, swiss knives and of course Roger Federer…so if I slack off a couple days, be patient with me.
A European trip of any kind requires meticulous planning, not to mention complete pre-immersion in said trip. Luckily, I speak French so I won’t be completely lost in the land with four official languages (German, French, Italian, and Rumantsch). English is the unofficial fifth language.
Looking for some inspiration for a new story! Woo-hoo!!
Monday, June 7th, 2010
Someone once told me if you want something, you have to go after it hard. You have to give it everything inside of you, otherwise, it’s not something you really want. Ok, I just made the last part up. But the first part’s true. The problem is that it’s no cake-walk.
I ask myself, why isn’t it happening like those stories you read about? Instant success! 7-figure advance! 3-book deal! Well, after a lot of research and internal soul-searching, I have come up with a few answers, some lame and some that actually make sense. The most logical (and written-about) one is that the publishing industry is still recovering from the economic fallout and publishers just aren’t signing like they used to. They just can’t afford to take the risk so they go with tried and true, and books/authors that will sell. And well, 7-figure advances only come if you’re famous. Um…skydiving off the Empire State Building anyone? That would be 5 minutes of fame that may get me in the door. Kidding (but not really)! Another answer is that everyone and their mother (and father’s sister’s uncle’s cousin) is writing about the genre I am in – urban fantasy/paranormal. Including traditionally adult authors who want to cash in on the hot YA industry – the only area still growing like wildfire, which makes it incredibly competitive. The other (lame) answer is that maybe my books just aren’t good enough – but of course, that’s crap. If you ever get to read my books, you’ll know they are the farthest thing from crap. *dusts shoulder off*
It’s funny because I actually had one editor come back to me and use specific language that I have used in this blog to review one of the books she published. Sadly, it was not a great review, and yes, I paid the price when I saw her lovely rejection letter. I really didn’t like that book though, and still stand by what I wrote. There’s going to be a publisher out there who loves what I have done as much as I do.
So what’s the point of this blog post, you ask? I guess maybe it’s a bit of a self-pep talk, a pull-yourself-together talk. Despite all of the adversity, I have to pull some gumption from somewhere, and keep persevering. Most writers know that Stephen King was supposedly rejected tons of times before he sold his first novel. But did you know Gone With The Wind was rejected by 38 publishers before it was printed? Or Dune by Frank Herbert was rejected by 23 publishers? John Grisham was rejected by 16 publishers for A Time To Kill. There’s a great blog post from blogger Rachel Zurakowski from Books & Such, Why Are Great Projects Rejected? Interesting read.
Check out this great link for some more inspiration, 50 Iconic Writers Who Were Repeatedly Rejected.
You are not alone, and it will happen for you. All you need is one person to believe in you, as much as you do. So go after it hard. You can falter, that’s human…but as the singer Aaliyah said, dust yourself off and try again. Don’t give up. And remember, you can’t wait for opportunity to come to you, you have to chase it, put your back into it. Make it a life goal, and make the changes necessary to commit to your dream. It’s your dream.
It’s my dream.
Sunday, May 2nd, 2010
I am guilty of not writing. I blog, I read, I’m even reading the Book Review in the New York Times. But I so have not been writing, and I really need to get back in the saddle. I think it’s because the new novel I am writing is more in the literary vein than it is fantasy so 1) it’s harder, 2) it’s not as exciting as urban fantasy is, and 3) I’m probably just lazy. I do know that I need to push through it because it’s an interesting story (or will be). I’m about 13,000 words in so it’s something and it’s really starting to take shape. I do need to get my arms around what I want to accomplish with it in terms of overall theme/message, and for the first time, I think I am going to need an outline. Stay tuned, I’ll keep you posted on progress.
On my two completed novels, we are still out to submission with Bloodspell, and I’ve sent a 3 page synopsis of the latest novel (a new series!) to my agent, Marly Rusoff. I am hanging in there! But writing is the best cure for waiting, so giddy-up!
Wednesday, March 17th, 2010
Hello peeps! Sorry about the delay on posting – we got hit by the storm this week in New York and only got our electricity back last night! So lots of catching up happening right now. Luckily, we weren’t hit by any trees but it did suck not having access to any electronics – sad commentary on modern times but a definite eye-opener!
Did get some more writing done and penned the outline to my fourth novel – this one’s a little more literary. Am about 2000 words in. So time well spent.
Tuesday, March 9th, 2010
Hooray! New novel finished! At this point as per my last post, it’s still in Anne Lamott‘s words a “shitty first draft” but at least it is done. Now for the hard part…as in editing the “crap” out. At 107,000 words, it’s pretty lean as far as YA novels go these days, but that means I can tweak without worrying about having way too many words.
Rule of thumb for YA novels is about 100,000 words for you would-be YA writers, or so I’ve been told by a slew of agents my first go-around.
So what’s this novel about? Yeah…I think it’s time for a hint. It’s about the apocalypse. Not 2012 style, more Lord-of-the-Rings-in-hell style. Pretty cool stuff – I’m excited!!
Wednesday, February 17th, 2010
I find the most stressful part of writing, although some may argue that sometimes it’s the writing itself, is the waiting. Waiting to hear back from an agent, waiting to hear back from an editor, waiting to hear back from a publisher…it’s excruciating. And then of course, probably even worse after all that waiting, is the dreaded no…the ugly kiss of rejection. Ok, so it’s more like a kick than a kiss, but that’s just semantics.
In my “day” job, I once had a boss who said – it’s a numbers game. The more cold calls you make, the greater your chance of getting an appointment, and ultimately getting a sale. Let’s apply: if you make 10 phone calls, you may get 2 appointments, and 1 second meeting (although 50% odds is aggressive). The chances that you will make a sale on that single second appointment is slim to none. Now, if you made say 100 calls, you may get 40 appointments, then 20 second meetings, then 5 VP level “buying” meetings, and 1 0r 2 actual, honest-to-goodness SALES.
This methodology can apply to getting an agent but it doesn’t really help in getting a publisher because you’re depending on someone else to make that sale for you, which means it’s out of your hands…hence the waiting game that you have zero control over. If you’re a control freak like me, that’s worse than torture. So you pretty much have to trust in the knowledge that the agent you selected you chose for a reason – because they are expert at what they do.
On American Idol last night, Ellen DeGeneres told one of the girls who begged to stay on after she’d been cut that “no” hurts now but it’s not the end of the world. Someday you’ll look back and say, that was just one no. She’s right. In almost any walk of life, rejection is unavoidable. But the silver lining in that is that at one point, if you don’t give up, it will just be your time.
Sunday, January 17th, 2010
Back to editing (see my last post on Slice and Dice Time). My new question is how and when do I know that enough is enough? Do I err on the side of caution or on the side of just-delete-it? I am finding myself in a curious spot, and my question is, can one actually over-edit?
Self-editing sucks because it’s like staring at yourself in the mirror and deciding which pieces of yourself to cut off or erase. So you start with the relatively painless things like a couple finger-nails, maybe an eyelash or two. But what about when you get to more major amputation? Like an ear or a knee, or even worse, an actual limb? I repeat. It sucks.
For the ‘literalists,’ my example above is an analogy. I’m not really cutting parts of myself. But that’s what editing feels like to me. Shakespeare knew what he was talking about in Hamlet, or in my case, the pain of editing versus the uncertainty of selling to a publisher. So I guess the moral of this post is, editing may be bad, but not getting published would be far worse.
Wednesday, January 13th, 2010
That “slice and dice” title doesn’t mean me or someone else, thank goodness. But it does mean that I have finally heard back from my agent after about four weeks on the manuscript (see last post – Nonstop Manuscript Editing). So basically what we are looking at is another round of editing before we go out for final submission. My agent calls it “literary liposuction” – trimming the fat.
I must admit that editing is probably one of the hardest parts of this whole process, after writing the novel of course. I mean you’ve gotten to this point after enormous amounts of self-editing and professional editing and all-other-kinds of editing, and guess what, it still doesn’t end. I keep telling myself that it’s for the good of the book even despite the tiny little question niggling around in my head – am I selling out? If you don’t know what I mean by that, check out my post on Teen Fiction for Dummies.
A friend of mine says what I am going through is the classic Ben Affleck/Matt Damon conundrum (except with books not movies) – it’s the difference between making a movie that you want to make (the art film) and making the movie that everybody else wants you to make (the safe commercial film).
Excerpt from Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back:-
Ben Affleck: You’re like a child. What’ve I been telling you? You gotta do the safe picture. Then you can do the art picture. But then sometimes you gotta do the payback picture because your friend says you owe him.
[They both take a beat and look at the camera]
Ben Affleck: And sometimes, you have to go back to the well.
Matt Damon: And sometimes, you do Reindeer Games.
So the moral of the story is if you don’t want Reindeer Games, at the end of the day especially for a first time author, you have to do the “safe” picture – which metaphorically-speaking means, “do whatever the heck they tell you.” When you’re John Grisham, you can write the alphabet for all anyone cares.
Lesson learned. I’m off to edit.
Friday, January 1st, 2010
1) Get published.
2) Write like a maniac!
3) Enjoy and treasure time with my children.
4) Be grateful for what I have and appreciate that the grass isn’t necessarily always greener elsewhere.
5) Work hard to achieve my dream.
Monday, December 7th, 2009
Just a quick note that I’ve finished my last round of edits on my manuscript, following some notes/comments from an editor (formerly of Harper Collins). I’ve just submitted it to my agent for review, and we will see what the next steps are. Looking to submission in January! Woo hoo!