Saturday, December 29, 2012
This happens to me sometimes. I was in the middle of editing the first book in Elaine's series, cleaning it up and trying to get it ready to send off to publishers and/or agents, just getting all my ducks in a row, when suddenly, I stopped.
I'm serious. I just stopped.
This happens sometimes. And there's really nothing for it but to plaster my face into the pillow and wait until it passes.
Usually, this means I've got ideas coming, and that's what it meant. I've got a really, really good beginning and ending to a book, but that's it. Like three paragraphs. I don't even know what happens in between.
My life is weird sometimes.
Friday, December 28, 2012
But I've been going through and fixing things like dialogue tags, minor punctuation, fixing "showing" versus "telling," all the stuff that my fiction editing professor helped me with over this past semester.
Basically, that decision to switch to an editing minor was a fantastic one.
And who says you don't learn anything in school?
Monday, December 24, 2012
Monday, November 19, 2012
Mind you, not all of this will apply to every writer.
But some might, so if you're interested, keep reading.
1. The "alone time." You may not know what started it, but she does. She has something that she needs to work out in her head. Maybe it's a new plot line or something interesting to throw into her characters. But in the same vein, maybe it's that she's trying to figure out you and this new plot development in her own life. Whatever it is, she's thinking about it. And then writing about it, usually. If you find her in a corner with a bag of chips and her laptop, don't try to move her. Don't try to talk to her. Maybe just get her more chips. She's probably running low.
2. The myth of being written about. Oh, the ego of the writer's significant other. She is probably not writing about you on purpose. Maybe she notices something you did and thinks it fits very well with something her characters could do. That's how she operates. She takes something in the real world and pours it into hers. That being said, if you do see something of you, just quietly appreciate it. It means she's paying attention. Don't boast that you are that character; that's her baby and it's weird to be dating her baby.
3. Communication in writing. She is very good at writing down her thoughts. She's meticulous, in fact. Every word, every inflection has a purpose. So when she doesn't say immediately how she feels or what she thinks, it is not because she does not have anything to say. She just has not found the words for it. More often than not, her affection is shown by notes or action; she is better at that.
4. Giving you her time. If a writer is putting aside hours out of her day for you, she likes you. Her time with you could be spent writing. Or organizing her thoughts. Or getting new pens. (Pens are important, by the way.) Or learning new recipes while she battles writer's block. Or doing anything else. But she is spending time with you when it is not "alone time," and what she chooses to do outside "alone time" is very telling of what her priorities are.
5. Spontaneity. She can be spontaneous, but you can't. She is driven by her whims, driven by a desire to write when the fancy takes her and run out into the world when the words stop flowing. She might wake up at the three in the morning and write until morning. (You might find her in her dining room still wearing her pajamas later that day with bags under her eyes but with a triumphant smile.) Or she might burst out of her room and start making food, cleaning the house, playing games, or fingerpainting. There is really no telling what a writer will do when she is not writing, since all that energy has to go somewhere. But you? You can't be spontaneous. What if, heaven forbid, you try to surprise her in the middle of a writing frenzy? What if she is sitting in the corner doing nothing because she is plotting the antagonists' demise, and your ice cream run would be a distraction? Give her at least fifteen minutes to put a bookmark in what she was doing so that she can save that story file for later.
6. Reading her work. If she offers to let you read something, it means she trusts you enough to share a piece of herself. Treat it with respect. Tell her it's beautiful, but also tell her why. Tell her what you think; be sincere. She wants to know what you think of this piece of her. If you ask to read something she's written, be prepared for a "no." Maybe she will let you read it, but maybe it is not yet "perfect." This is a piece of her, after all, ad she doesn't want you to see it in its ugly drafting stages. That would be like going out in public in her pajamas! (PS: She might actually go out in public in her pajamas, but this is only an issue during writing frenzies, so be aware.)
7. Mood swings. One minute, she'll be totally in love with you. The next, she acts like you don't exist. This is normal. Be careful giving your heart to a writer; she doesn't know what to do with it. Look what she does to her characters! She stomps on them and treads them under her feet and kicks them over the finish line until they are polished and perfect. And she doesn't want to do that to you, but she also can't control you or your feelings and background. What is a writer to do with this force beyond her control? Sometimes, she has to retreat and regroup with herself and remind herself that this is not a story.
8. Unpredictability. Disregard everything I've just said. Don't expect any of it to be true. That's the thing about dating a writer. Just when you think you've got her figured out, she might end up sitting upside-down in an armchair eating ice cream while she brainstorms when clearly her usual method is to stand in front of the fireplace and stare at the bricks. She's always changing and evolving as her stories and characters change, and there is no telling when a new fancy will strike. Be patient with her. Love her quirks. Point them out to her and tell her they're adorable.
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
An author-editor relationship is key in publishing, and the rejection letter is the beginning of that relationship—it is the only criteria an author has by which to judge a given publishing house or agency. While authors cannot overreact to rejections letters, editors must realize how their letters reflect on them and on their houses. The form of the rejection letter indicates to an author just how invested a publishing house is in a relationship with the author, even if this is not the editor’s intention. Therefore, more detailed forms of rejection letters are preferred to non-responses and form letters. In more detailed rejection letters, the most important part in terms of author relationships is the revision suggestions.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
So this year I'm writing a book about Nicholas Anderson. Yeah, I know that was way back a couple years ago but I'm revisiting it because I'm obsessed. He's my most favorite character of all time. Or okay maybe I have a slight crush on him I'm not really sure.
But anyway, I'm going back to before Secrets We Keep (which, by the way, I'm thinking about renaming Vulnerable because this new book is called Expendable). It's the story of Nicholas's security team and the way they discovered what brought them to the events of Vulnerable in the first place.
Friday, October 19, 2012
It's a wonder I'm not insane. I can feel my head going five different ways. I want to write. I want to edit. I want to query agents and publishers. I want to market what I have done. I want to write my essay on rejection letters. And I have ideas on how to proceed with each of these.
I'm so inspired, I'm paralyzed. I can't move forward on one because I want to do all of them. How 'bout that?
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
2. There is no substitute for reading every single word of your manuscript.
3. There is no substitute for persistence. A rejection letter is not the end of the world, so don't settle for anything less than what you want.
4. Put some distance between yourself and the book before you try to edit it. If you try to edit too soon after writing the first draft, you hurt. You're too attached still to get rid of things.
5. Sometimes you will write book that will never get published. These books are just for you, and if you don't have the drive to get it published, publishers won't jump on board, either.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
First of all, there are three different kinds of rejection letters: non-response, form letter, individualized rejection (sometimes accompanied by the invitation to resubmit).
The individualized rejection letter (which I'm arguing is the best of the three not only for the author but for the reputation of the house) has four key components: status of the author's submission, praise, reason for rejection/revision instructions, encouragement in future endeavors. It is the third component that makes the good letters better than the others.
I'll be arguing that houses whose editors take the time to write even a couple sentences of reasoning behind the rejection letter prove to the author that they have read their work and that they are competent editors who understand what can and cannot work in the publishing industry. They prove to authors that they respect their work but that they also know what good manuscripts are. This makes authors more likely to trust those houses and more likely to submit future works to this house.
A couple sentences, then, can establish the all-important "good impression" that you want to give authors. After all, that's where the money comes from, ultimately: submissions.
I'll be updating you on this project (and trying to post more frequently) but I think this should be fun!
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
I still remember the day I made my choice. I was sitting in class, learning about the difference between a dialect and a language and listening to a description of all the different ways people spoke. It was beautiful to me. I loved the melodies of their voices and the rhythm—the musical rhythm—of their speech patterns. Even their grammatical choices were sweet to the taste of my mouth as I rolled them over on my tongue. I was enamored.
As enamored as I was, though, other people were disgusted. I still remember the heat of the anger boiling up in my veins and clogging my throat as I watched the girl on the screen, the girl who was engaged to a Southern boy and broke it off when she heard his deep accent when they went to visit his family. I had seen that look before. It was the reason I had lost my own Georgia accent after three years in Provo. But when I heard it articulated, when I saw the way she looked down her nose at anyone who might think English could be spoken any other way, something inside me clicked. I understood. There was no right. There was no wrong. There was only the beauty of words and the way they could weave together to make stunning art. I am a descriptivist, a linguistic liberal, a bleeding heart; I am vehemently opposed to imposing “correctness” on others.
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Monday, February 27, 2012
Friday, February 24, 2012
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
The premise of the game is simple. You pick a card and pick a "would you rather" statement on the card, and the other people in the group have to guess which of the options you would rather do. It was fun until it was my turn and i saw one of the options:
If you were a writer, would you rather your computer crashed and you lose you life's work or someone stole your work and made a fortune?
It's a mark of how little this group understood my passion for writing that not a single person though I picked the second option.
It's not that I don't want to make a career out of writing. In fact, it's really the only thing I want to do with my life. So, yeah, I would be frustrated if someone stole my ideas and made a fortune. But at least those ideas would be out there! Trust me, I've had mild panic attacks when I had computer programs and almost lost all my writing. That's my life's work! I don't want to lose it to anything, and I don't really care who reads it or who doesn't. It's my passion, and I don't want to lose any of it, awful rough drafts included.
So I gained some insight about myself yesterday. I learned that I'm a very selfish writer and I want to keep all my books and ideas alive.
Friday, February 10, 2012
Thursday, February 9, 2012
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
So, if you look back far enough in my history, you'll know this story. But I'm assuming you're like me and don't feel like checking that far back and would rather I just tell it to you now. If you're cool enough to go back and check, it's probably more accurate, so good for you!