Tuesday, November 23, 2010

How to Keep Your Writing Dream Alive (or Giving Up is easy, but Not Giving Up isn't that hard either)

I am getting responses on my first queries, and none of them have been good.

I thought I dove into the querying process with my eyes wide open, understanding that it wasn't going to be easy; but I have to admit, those form rejections are hard to take - especially since they all seem to arrive in my inbox in the early morning, just as I sit down eagerly to tap out another scene in the sequel to said manuscript.

And poof, there goes my writing drive, my creativity, my belief that I can be published someday - cut down by one sentence that begins with "I'm sorry, but..."

And suddenly it would all be too easy. Just pack it in and admit it. I suck!

Giving up is easy. Slogging away to improve both my finished manuscript and to improve my craft so that my second novel is even better is hard. Way hard.

I read over and over how even the best, most popular and successful authors feel like this sometimes - or at least, they did at some point in their careers. Even J.K. Rowling must have felt the writer's angst each time she saw another blow to her confidence in the form of an agent's rejection. Until one day. There it was.

The golden ONE.

If a series about a boy wizard can fly, and a story centered around a selfish girl who falls for a sparkling vampire can make the hearts of teenage girls (and their moms) go all a-flutter, then my story has a shot, doesn't it? I mean, there's a girl, there's a boy and they are both searching for a way to be together even though their history hints that it's impossible. Okay, so there's a vampire too, but his race is more important in the next book. And besides, vampires are still very much in.

Or at least I hope that Agency The Gatekeeper is right!

Okay, talked myself back into this writing thing! See, that wasn't so painful, was it?

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Timing of Queries

Getting Past the Gatekeeper: The Middle Way: A new method of timing your queries

Because I am currently picking my way through agent listings on Query Tracker (and it seems that many of them are earning that little red heart sign) it was nice to come across this blog post. Whew. Take a deep breath. Cool my heels and all that.

Because of my Wannabe status, I do not want to query my top picks until I'm certain that my query package is great. I have received feedback in several critique forums telling me that it is essentially 'good to go', but no agent has yet seen it...Well, that's not true. After reading that one of my top picks was taking a Query hiatus beginning today until after the New Year, I sent my query off on Friday. I expect she was already on hiatus as of 3 pm on a Friday afternoon, and my query will not be read, but of course I can still hope that it made it under the wire...

Hope. That's what it's all about. I wish on a star every night and if its rainy I imagine a star to wish upon).

To be published...To be published....

The whole process makes me feel like I'm in the first round of auditions on American Idol, about to get up on stage in front of the scary judges hoping my song and dance will get me to round two.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Don't Look Directly at the Stars

Yesterday's planned beginning for my new novel was an epic fail. Or so I thought...

As I opened my shiny new (and blank) project in YWriter, I realized that there was still a huge promise left unanswered in my finished manuscript. I mean, HUGE. So huge that it threatened the credibility of the story (okay, so what's credible about a paranormal fantasy?).

So huge that I couldn't bear to address it.

Instead of at least attempting to solve the HUGE problem in the finished manuscript, I nitpicked through my outline for the first scene of the new one. I mean, how much time can you spend on a one liner description? ALL DAY, apparently. And I got stuck on a name for a new character. Really! As if that's important at this stage! Like puppies, characters often name themselves once you take the time to get to know them.

As I was disgustedly wrapping up my day's worth of (non) work, the epiphany came....

And suddenly there was the answer to the HUGE problem! I found three scenes in my finished manuscript where I could address it, and reworked the ending to include its fulfillment. Voila. In ten minutes (okay, thirty) the HUGE problem is solved.

Don't look directly at the stars. Sometimes, you need to focus on the surrounding black sky to see their splendor!