Stuff and fluff.
I’m so sorry it’s been so long since my last post… I have to say I actually forgot I had a blog!
First things first. Only one more week to go until the results of the Fire and Ice contest are revealed. I am quite literally sweating blood that I’ll be third and won’t be requested at all but then such is life. Avon is proving to be a very, very difficult publishing house to be noticed by. Which brings me to my second. I’m on the hunt for an agent. I think it’s time I took a big girl step and stopped mucking around with baby ones. I know I’m probably not supposed to declare this fact to the world but I figure it can’t hurt. I would like to say that I’m doing it the right way and only querying one at a time. I know it will take about a hundred years but I want to start my career off the right way and pissing people off by sending off bulk submissions definitely isn’t cool. So I’ll keep you posted on that front. I’ve only ever queried two agents before and both were obviously not keen but I am and that’s all that matters.
Some of you already know about Brenda Novak's diabetes auction but I want to mention this is happening again and very soon. It starts beginning of May and can be a writer’s best friend if you have some cash to splash on a very good cause. I have several family members who are insulin-dependent diabetics, including one very brave little girl who has daily injections so this is a cause close to my own heart. Click on Brenda Novak and I’ll redirect you to her site. Last year I got bumped and outbid in a big way which on one hand is great but on the other really sucked. Anyway I’ll let you check it out for yourself. And make sure you have a look at the contest Brenda is running this year for the first time. Should be great if you can be the one who wins it…
Now to the idiot of the month awards. This one goes to me! I uploaded an Ikea kitchen plan to my USB stick and then popped it in my handbag and walked out of the house without a care in the world. It wasn’t until two days later that I realised my USB was gone. And I mean GONE! I called every shop I walked into, I’ve scoured the car and checked places it could have slipped or fallen but it’s gone. So anyway I want to say to you… BACK UP EVERY DAY. I did my last one in January so I only lost about 40k but it’s enough to really make me sad. All the effort and time wasted because I was lazy. I’ve tried everything and recovered about 20k but it’s not the point. Don’t make the same mistake I did. Back it up and do it regularly. Now instead of forging forward, I have to back pedal and rewrite some of it before I forget where I was going and how I got there.
So to this end, I’m off to try to get some work done in between cleaning the brothel that my house is slowly becoming and setting up the toy room so my kids can be at the other end of the house while I write (and clean).
Have a great weekend and good luck with the bidding!
Ooh, ooh look! Something shiny!
I had a fantastic idea for this post and then after 'she's shouting at me' and 'Aghhhhhh' and 'mummeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee' I forgot what it was :(
Such is life... So instead I want to ask other authors who are kind enough to read my blog, what you have to do in order to cull some of those precious words you spent hours tapping out, perfecting and then polishing to within their lives?
I have a contemporary that I wrote in about two months. 55,000 words from begininng to end, one of those stories where the characters write it for you rather than me sweating bricks over where it's going and how it's getting there. Anyway, when I was editing the final MS, I discovered the ending I beamed about was so anti-climactic it nearly made me gag. So I did what any budding author would do. I backtracked until I found the place I went wrong and things turned sour but then I asked myself why I did it. Why, after all the bricks and everything, did I tell myself it was okay to have a mediocre ending? So off went the last fifteen thousand words.
I hate it when you thought you were done and everything was hunky dory only to sit back and see the dreaded word count mocking. Then you need to search in that little black hat for the ever elusive rabbit, coax him far enough to grab a hold and pull the little blighter out.
Damn, lost my train of thought again... Miss four is going the toilet and then she yells out 'mummy, I'm going to practice my whistle every day'. For other mother's out there, you know when your child is in the bathroom you absolutely cannot ignore what they scream at you no matter how inane it might be... But then I had to ask her to scream it again because at the same time, Miss two came up with a party blower and told me she was going to practice too. *sighs* can't wait for the playroom to be up and running.
Anyway, back to the ending. It has seriously taken me six months (that's all I'm fessing up to) to finish that last fifteen thousand words. In fact, I finished the historical I was working on, polished it, plotted the next one, wrote twelve thousand words on it and then wrote twenty thousand on another contemporary. You see, I suffer from 'somthing shiny' syndrome. That shiny new idea or new story starts to distract me from what now resembles a beaten dog. Let me explain that before the PETA people start knocking my door. Metaphorically speaking, sometimes after you've read through the MS ten times, I start to feel like I'm 'beating a dead dog'. I'm the kind of person who can usually only read a story once (I know I've said that many times) so when I already know what happens and how it ends, I find myself skimming over parts but in the final edits, that signals death for me. So then my story starts to feel boring and I enter this kind of pergatory where because I think the story now sucks. I start thinking, well, why does it need an ending if it's boring and crappy anyway?
But that's just me. I send it off to a CP or crit group and they come back with the always wished "more, more, more" and then I dredge the file out of the bottom of the USB, open it up and then remember that the ending still isn't there. So after fifty thousand odd words on other projects, I finally got my butt into gear and jumped right back in to the story. I'm on the last chapter, procrastinating again, but now I have incentive to get to the 'the end'. I'm not allowed to start the shiny new historical till this one is done. If I was really good, I would finish the twenty thousand contemporary as well but while I find myself in a hystorical (hysterical) mood I really want to keep the momentum going. So it's off to the coal mine for me *kidding* =)
So how do you, as an author, cull when you have to? And how do you work out what works and what doesn't? Is there a method?
Success and Envy.
I am an avid reader of other writer's blogs. I do this as a networking project but also I like to read about the tears, the laughter, the joys of other writer's journies on this merry-go-round that is getting published. With so much success comes the inevitable envy of your friends. I feel it everytime I open an email and see the 'woohoo' or the 'sqeeeeee' in the top few lines and know that yet another person has published or sold another book or won another conpetition but I also believe that everything happens for a reason. There are still so many things I don't know about being a published and successful author that I need to learn. I don't know I don't know half of this stuff but that is why I am with Romance Writer's of Australia and South Australian Romance Authors. It's why I cross half the country for the conference and attend one day seminars and road shows. It's why I read blogs and buy lecture packets.
Those who know me personally know I didn't finish high school, I got distracted by something shiny and dropped out. I think this journey is kind of like high school but without all the bitchiness and backstabbing. This time we all help each other to succeed. We offer amazingly insightful advice and commiserations, we chat about failure as much as we do about success and we are happy to do it. There are no worries about bra sizes, no pissing contests, no worries that we aren't advancing at the same rate as our friends. There is only an easy comraderie among people who are passionate about the same things. I don't know if it's like that for other people in these wonderful organisations but that's what it's like for me. Without their knowledge and support I would have sent out my very first pirate novel not knowing about POV, how long my chapters should be, that not once in the book do I let the reader know what kind of ship my characters are on or that you wouldn't have had oranges growing on the coast of what is now Brazil at the time the ship wrecked. Agents and editors would remember my name because they opened my attachment and laughed their asses off, if they got the attachment at all... The 'like highschool' part comes from the learning and the editing and all the little things that you probably wouldn't have spent the time on but are more important than starting the story in the first place. If you don't finish it, you may as well have never began...
Please don't be a person who lets envy or jealousy drive the creative process. Usually I would say do whatever works, whatever makes you tick, but in this case, I can't see envy getting you closer to the goal posts. It will come out in your words, in your dialogue, in your characters and their story. Take a minute (and a handful of choc chip cookies) to be envious of others but then tuck it in bottom drawer (not the one with your resting manuscripts) and forge on!
I wrote the following response on one of my several loops and it opened my own eyes as I wrote it. In the end I was going to delete it and leave it at that but then I decided sometimes words just need to be said...
'Getting a R means you had something you believed in enough to send out to all those agents and publishing houses (and that you finished it). Having your own blog means you have the confidence that you will one day get to where you're going. If you didn't believe that, you wouldn't tell the world about your failures today. Tomorrow, one of those R's will turn to a big fat pay cheque but there will always be someone out there that you watch who does better, gets paid more, sells more books and you will still feel like you do now. I only say this because I watch celebs like Angelina Jolie and I want that body, that money, that success (maybe without the psycho craziness) I watch the people around me getting contracts and publishing their books but they aren't me. They don't write like I do and they don't have to write with what I have. We are all unique and the only way to measure success is in your own eyes, not someone elses.'
I really feel at this stage that the reason it takes some of us so long to be published is that we aren't ready. Maybe the writing is right up there with the top sellers but that little tiny thing holding us back, that little thing we don't know we don't know, is the one thing we need to find out in order to grab the attention of an agent or editor.
Sorry to get so deep on this beautiful Easter Saturday morning, must have been dreaming I was Dr Phil again =)
I'm a published author but I'm still mostly stumbling about in the dark looking for the right paths so this blog is about that, though sometimes something will give the me the shits and I'll have a bit of a rant. I'll try not to be offensive but occasionally my mouth opens without asking my brain's permission so I'll apologise in advance.