Monthly Archives: February 2013

Love your book . . . just not too much

This is the pep talk I’m giving myself these days while gazing into the mirror at my baggy undereyes.  

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Believe in your manuscript, but don’t get all OCD about it.  Manage your expectations and realize that it is most unlikely that you’re the next NYT bestseller.  Statistically speaking, you’re unlikely to get published, or even agented.  Just consider it all a learning experience.

Love your characters, love your book, do your best to query agents and be successful, but don’t love it too much.  Don’t see your manuscript as an extension of yourself, see it as just one small part of your creative mind.  It’s kind of like having children: you want the best for them, you love them, they’re a part of you, but they are not you.

And have fun!  The writing community is a really cool group.  How nice to have hundreds of new, like-minded friends to stress with commiserate with talk to.

Signed,

Pollyanna

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“Rejection”–Sung to The Tune of “Tradition” from Fiddler on the Roof

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O.K., O.K. I’m Jewish, and I love to sing show tunes. So sue me!

I’ve been querying slowly over the past month, with two full manuscript requests and a half-dozen rejections. Of course, the former feels much better than the latter–but even so, you’ve gotta keep a sense of humor about it all. This morning, a certain tune wouldn’t leave my head.

And now, here it is for you, in all of its glory.

[ALL CAST]
Rejection, rejection! Rejection!
Rejection, rejection! Rejection!

[AUTHOR]
Who, day and night, must obsess about our writing,
Query without ending, apologize to kids?
And who has the right to let us down gently,
To have the final word about our work?
The Author, the Author! Rejection.
The Author, the Author! Rejection.

[AGENTS]
Who must know the way to make a proper deal,
A fair deal, a kosher deal?
Who must shop the book and deal with all the authors
Thinking they wrote the Holy Book?
The Agent, the Agent! Rejection.
The Agent, the Agent! Rejection.

[PUBLISHERS]
In ’93 there were many more of us,
But now we’re only five
We know the market’s always tight.
We hope we’ll get it right.
The Publisher, the Publisher! Rejection.
The Publisher, the Publisher! Rejection.

[READERS]
And who’s supposed to buy
The books we see in stores?
Who knows what we will pick as the next
New York Times Bestseller?
The Reader, the Reader! Rejection.
The Reader, the Reader! Rejection.

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When Characters Take Over

I’m almost 7k words into my new work-in-progress, and I’m not exactly sure what to do. That is to say, my main character has just started controlling the weather, which was not something I expected, or planned on.

Before I started writing, I scoffed when I read authors say things about their characters taking over the story. “Show ’em who’s boss!” I always thought. But then . . . it started happening to me. More than once, in more than one manuscript. My characters did things that were surprising, even to me. In my two previous manuscripts, I went with the flow and incorporated the plot twists into where I was heading. This time, though, I am just not sure if what the main character has just done makes sense.

I’m struggling right now with how much I should let my subconscious (that’s what it is, of course–sigh–not my magical main character *actually* coming to life) dictate the direction of the book, or if I should keep on the straight-and-narrow with the plot I had sketched out just a few days ago.

I guess I’m inclined to see where I can go with the new direction, as sometimes these twists resolve themselves. If not, I can always cut it out. Though, ouch. It’s painful to already contemplate cutting where I’ve only just begun. Part of the process. Right?

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Critique Partnership: RIP

It’s not you, it’s me.

Last night ended one of the briefest relationships of my life, about a week and a half total.

I had been asking everywhere for a critique partner (CP). Who knew they were so hard to find? To my surprise, not one, but THREE wonderful writers ended up being interested in sharing work and feedback with me.

One in particular was ready to jump right in. I read her synopsis and thought, Oh No. Then I read some of her work and thought, Oh Yes! This girl has talent.

We exchanged a few emails, and it became clear that I’m quite a bit older than she, and also that our writing styles were a bit different. (Is her voice more authentic because she’s younger? Perhaps. Probably.)

Well, I was getting the feeling that we might not be clicking, but I was willing to keep trying.

I wasn’t entirely surprised, though, when I got this from her last night: “At this point in time I think our critiquing styles don’t match very well, so I’m not interested in exchanging any more chapters.”

I was surprised, though, at how much I cared. I found myself wondering: was it something I said/did/wrote? It was like that boy in fourth grade who sent me a note saying he liked me, and then in person ignored me! Sigh.

Of course, I don’t know this writer except via emails, so I had little to go on. I’m sure she’s awesome. More awesome than that boy in fourth grade, anyway.

Now that I have nearly 24 hours’ worth of reflection, I realize how grateful I am that neither of us tried too hard to make it work.

And in the meantime, my other two CPs and I have started a critique group, which is very exciting, and all three of us are engaged in the process.

So much of writing seems to be just figuring out where to best spend your energy: writing? querying? critiquing? thinking? tweeting? blogging? drinking? Hmm. Maybe not that last one . . .

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Followers

Right now I have one for this blog.  (Hi there!)  Several hundred more on Twitter, and a bunch on Facebook, not that I check there often.  I find it ironic that as writers we’re supposed to be innovators, leaders, creators: and yet, we all follow each other on social media.  How exactly is this supposed to work?  We’re taking turns leading, then following, I suppose.

Wow. I am so profound.  Blogs are good for navel-gazing.

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Why I started this blog

ImageOh, man.  I was told that everyone has a blog.  “My friend’s cats have a blog!” one of my writerly friends told me.  (You know who you are.)  So, here I am.  I have to be at least as hip as a freaking cat.  Can you yet tell I’m a dog person?

I caught the writing bug at age 9.  I wrote to Tamora Pierce way back then and told her I TOO would be a writer someday.  Someday was several–ahem–years later.  Now, I’m older, but no wiser.  The Muse has again entered my head, and she seems uninterested in ever leaving–at times driving me to distraction.

So, I’ll be interested to see who’s interested in me and my ramblings.  Thanks for stopping by!

p.s. the photo has nothing to do with me, or my blog, but I liked it.

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