Monday, March 31, 2014

What's coming up?

Hey all.

I know most, many, or some of you are gearing up for the start of A-Z starting tomorrow. I'm not participating this year.  While I will be out and around checking up an all the fun I won't be posting here as much.  I know I'll have a book release/interview on the fifteenth.  (Drop by for that one, because it's an amazing book and I'm so excited to be able to blog about it) And I might  be posting now and again as I feel the need, but it won't be following a schedule. I'm going to try and do a big push and get this sucker out to beta readers by the end of the month. 

Hey, one can hope.

Happy April.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Are you a beggar?

In one of her posts (I don't have a link to the specific post. Sorry) Janet Reid said to writers "you are not a beggar at the banquet of publishing".  I mentioned this to The Engineer and said something about writing relationships being a partnership, that it was about trust.  He looked at me queerly and asked if that was what I really believed. 

I'm glad he asked becuase it made me think about it, but, Yes! I do believe writing relationships are a partnership. I want an agent and  publisher who look at me as an equal. It's about trust.  Trust between the reader and writer, the writer and themselves, the writer their agent and publisher.  I am not begging.  I'll keep querying an writing and improving, but I will not beg. This is a business relationship. How can I have the respect of the people I work with if I don't respect myself?

I've never liked the term 'gatekeeper' and I'm not fond of agents who use this term. In fact, I don't query them.  Agents don't offer to represent books they don't think are ready but that's more about business than about keeping someone out of publishing.  Do people look at med school or the MCAT as a gatekeeper?  Maybe. Are they upset about it? No. At least not if they plan on seeing a doctor in the near future.  When seeing a doctor we want someone we can trust with our lives.  It may not be as serious as heart surgery but when we pick up a book don't we want to know it's not going to be a waste of our time and money? Does that make us elitest? Or just practical?

I don't see agents as bouncers at a bar meant to keep out 'undesirables' I see them more as elevator attendants. The people who try to help us get to the right floor, but they can only take us to a floor inside their building.  If we need a floor at a different building then we need a different agent. Or maybe we need a ranch house with no elevator at all.  There are many paths to publishing, and just because one agent isn't right for us doesn't mean that they are throwing us out, it just means we need to try somewhere else, or polish up a little. Not all agents can sell all things. Just like I wouldn't want a podiatrist to do my open heart surgery.

We are not beggars, and agents aren't bouncers.  (In most cases). We just need to find our trusted partner.  I could compare this to dating and finding the 'perfect' spouse but that's a post for another day. Writing is an art, and it's subjective. Because we put our heart into it rejection can hurt. But writing is also a business, and unless we treat it like a business we'll never find the right floor, or the right elevator.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Self Lovin' Bloghop

This week Tara is hosting a Self Lovin' Bloghop.  It's really easy for writers to get down on themselves.  With the rejection we encounter, the fact that there's always a different part of the craft we can improve, it can be depressing. 

But there's  reasons why we're writers. Reasons we endure the solitude, the hours of work with no pay, the fact that our family and friends may not understand what we do. And those reasons are because we love it, and because we're good at it. 

Each of us have something we're good at. Did your English teacher exclaim over your descriptions? Do your beta readers Oooh over your characterization?

This week we're celebrating our skill as a writer.   

One thing I can do well is dialogue.  It wasn't always that way. I  had to work hard, but now it's comfortable and I get a lot of comments on how natural it sounds.  It feels good to own what I can do. To ignore all the things I'm still struggling with and say here, this is what I've learned.

What have you learned, what are you good at? 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Alphabet Soup

As part of his pre-school, mini-Engineer (aka Truck Boy) was filling out Valentine’s day cards for his classmates. He loved doing it and insisted on writing all their names himself. I noticed that while he could make all the letters  and knew what letters where in which name, getting them in the right order was a completely different problem. 

He’d start in the right place but if he ran out of room, or if he just wanted to, he would continue the name under the first couple letters, or above, or in front of. Because there was that nice empty margin to fill up. Upon occasion the letters could be scattered around in no order whatsoever.  Alphabet soup. 

It reminded me of a few of my early novels. They were a collection of scenes thrown together with no overall plot arc, no through line, and no rising tension. Just as my son needs to put the letters in the right order for them to make a name, I needed to learn to organize my scenes. First thing that should be done after finishing the draft and letting it sit for a little is give it a read and just look for the over all plot structure. Is the conflict set up at the beginning of the book resolved at the end? Is there growth and movement throughout the book, or is it just someone reacting to things thrown at him. 

If the scenes don't line up like the letters in a name then you probably have a problem. I just finished a structure draft of my current WIP. I’m super excited to see how this is coming together, and I can’t wait to move on to language, polishing, and really making my book shine.  I’m even looking forward to checking the grammar.  

Have you ever written an alphabet soup book? 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Library Book Sale

Every year our Friends of the Library group does a HUGE book sale.  I always make sure that I have the opening date cleared way in advance.  

When we entered the warehouse we looked one way and saw this

And the other way and saw this. 

It was a small year. Not near as many books as usual, still one can't help but get excited in a warehouse full of books. 

Seriously, if you live in or around Macon Georgia (I loose the term 'around' loosely. This is worth traveling for) you may want to start making plans for dropping in next year.