Monday, November 19, 2012

How to Date a Writer

So I gave this some thought because I've seen a lot out there with different viewpoints, and I thought I would give my take on it as a writer.

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

Rejection Letters Research Abstract

And the project is slowly marching on!

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.