Have you ever read that book that broke all the rules? You know the one that wasn’t very well written, had all the –ly and –ing words that we're constantly told are taboo and will see your baby stuck in a slush pile forever? I just did and let me tell you I loved it! Once I got over the passive sentence endings and contractions that seemed out of place and weird dialogue of teenagers too cool for school, I really enjoyed the storyline and the general premise and mood of the book.
Lauren Kate’s ‘Fallen’ is a story that I thought would be about vampires or something paranormal since the blurb talks about Luce’s former lives and does she really want to know about her past.
‘Some Angels are destined to fall’ (You’d think I would have read the first line of the blurb but I didn’t even see it…)
‘Instant. Intense. Weirdly Familiar…
The moment Luce looks at Daniel she knows that she has never felt like this before. Except she can’t shake the feeling that she has… and with him – a boy she doesn’t remember setting eyes on.
Will her attempt to find out why enlighten her – or destroy her?’
Let me tell you that I really enjoyed reading this story but again, it had everything that I’ve been told lately in one form or another that publishers don’t want. It had parts in it that just seemed to hover for no reason, parts the story could have done without. Until the pieces of the puzzle started to fall and jam into place.
Anyway this post isn’t about good reads. Not really. Something else I’ve seen a lot of lately has been the ‘my work doesn’t seem to fit’. Fit what? Is there a mold for writers among the genres that your story has to follow a certain set of rules? Even the Harlequin lines don’t contain specific sets of ‘rules’ that are written in blood and concrete. Sure they have guidelines and each has its own kind of 'prerequisites' but they aren’t rules. I’m guilty of the same thing so many other new writers are and that is writing to a line. I’m not saying you should go off on your own and write down everything the way you see it. Blaze still needs sex, Presents still needs the sexy-as-sin Alpha and Historical still needs the facts and history.
I’m saying that maybe we need to write what we want first and foremost and then find a home for it once that baby is finished. It’s all well and good to want to get published and the quicker the better, I’m in the same boat, but what happens when you submit or enter a competition and the answer comes back ‘We already have stories like this’ or ‘We already have writers with voices similar to yours’.
Is it because I wrote to the ‘rules’? Who knows. So for 2010, my resolution is to write what feels good for me. I’m going to go with my gut and see where I end up. Now, I’m not one for making resolutions. Generally, I think they suck. Most people make their resolutions and goals with unrealistic expectations and don’t take into account outside forces. So I’m setting myself the goal of pleasing myself this year (you can stop chuckling and get out of the gutter now). My need and want to be published is as strong as it was in 2009, it’s even stronger. I really thought 2009 was going to be my year to shine but now, with only three days to go till another year ticks over, I’m not disillusioned enough to think the phone is going to ring with that ever elusive ‘call’ in the next 72 hours. But it won’t get me down. 2010 I’m going to work harder and work smarter and write the way I want to write. I’m going to be happy about my writing and my characters and my prose. But most of all, I'm going to enjoy every minute of it. I'm going to enter the Clendon, Little Gems, maybe Fire and Ice. I'm even working on a cover for the Little Gems cover comp. It's going to be a great year with lots of fun to be had.
What will you do? What are your resolutions and how do you plan to stick to them?
Till 2010, be merry and safe =)
Give up. Now!!
No. I'm not giving anything up. What I wanted to talk about this week is handling rejection and handling it like a pro rather than a five year old throwing a hissy fit.
Most of you in the writing community know the bruhaha that surrounded a highly publiscised writing competition that announced their finalists earlier this week. For those of you that don't, I'm not going to name names, lets just say it was a contest for a popular publisher looking for new talent. At least one of the winnners emerged as an already established writer having previously published with the house that ran the competition. As you can imagine once this news came to light, the claws came out and did some pretty heavy damage. At the end of the day the house was well within their rights and I congratulate the two winners and the runners-up. I got the standard, you weren't good enough email the other day but wasn't crushed. It wasn't the end of my world, I didn't cry for a week or let my claws loose like a bad loser and poor sport.
Anyway, among the comments on the publisher's blog were things like (I'm not actually quoting I'm just putting them in quote marks) 'It's competitions like these that make me want to give up writing forever'.
DO IT THEN!! If you can't handle one little rejection...
'Why would' the publisher 'do this when they said they were looking for new talent? Why put everyone through it?'
Because they can. Do you seriously think out of 540 odd entries that they had time to check every single persons credentials while they were reading the entries? Yes the winner was previously published with several different genre books but she had never pubbed with the line. She wasn't in contract. The competition was open to pubbed and unpubbed writers and authors. Do I think they shot themselves in the foot for next time? Maybe, maybe not. I think if they ever do something like this again, which I'm reasonably sure they will, perhaps they'll take some of the nicer comments and run two sections. One for pubbed and one for unpubbed. The truth is the calibre of writers will vary no matter where you go or what compeition you enter. If they didn't like your story or your voice, you were screwed from the beginning. Don't forget too, that they can't pick 10 people and say we loved your story, lets print it. Even the winner didn't win a contract. She won an editor for a year. How much of the year and what the editor will do for her is yet to be seen but what a fabulous opportunity.
To those who spewed their anger and disappointment, shame on you all. One of these bitter people actually went to the winners blog and hurled insult after injury. Do you think you ever have the chance to be pubbed with that house now? If you are thinking about giving up. Then do it. Do the publishing world a favour and stop writing right now. If you can't handle a rejection from a competition where you had a 540 to 2 shot of winning then you can't be in this game. All I've had so far is rejection after rejection. Have I cried? No way. I happen to know some very fantastic writers who suffered years and double digit rejections but they kept at it. They honed their craft, they perfected their voice to the line they were targeting, they worked hard at it and kept on until the rejections turned into contracts and a readership! If you don't have the passion to learn from this and move on, the you don't deserve to be a published author.
Another question I have is when did this become the only competition in the world of writing? Do these idiots know there other comps out there where your chances would be less than a hundred to one of winning maybe less than fifty to one? Nearly every RWA competition has a category section where the final judge is a line editor. You have more chance this way than you would have with the other one. How about opening your eyes to other possibilities out there. This one time, we weren't good enough. Doesn't mean on another day, against other stories, with another editor, you would have scored the same. This business is all about the right story, the right person, at the right time. Maybe the person who read yours didn't like the story, they may have hated your main character, maybe she had her period and was having a bitchy day. Who knows but who cares. Try again. Sub your story through the regular old school channels and see how you go. I currently have two out via snail mail to Blaze at HQN, I have a historical on the desk of a Kensington editor and a couple of comp entries out there but I also have a folder in my inbox full of rejections. Just two weeks ago I had two agent rejections in the same week. Was I upset? Damn right I was but they are the stepping stone. The go-between in the middle of me and the publisher. Just because they didn't think my story was top-notch doesn't make it crap.
I for one will never give this up. When I wrote my first story, by hand in seven Winnie the Pooh exercise books, I realised where my future lay, what my passion was and is, and I won't give it up because a couple of rejections. I'll start again, I'll take classes and go to conferences and ask questions until my big R turns into a contract and $$ signs. Rejection does not equal crap!
Anyway back to the business end, next week I will probably put off the post, depends where I am right after Christmas so until then, be merry, be happy and celebrate family and friends. You are alive, hopefully you are reasonably well and it's Christmas. Have fun! I will be =)
Warming the instrument...
Okay, so I was sitting in my kitchen this morning in my trackies and purple dressing gown with the white stars on it. I made a coffee but then realised it’s a decaf but I’m drinking it anyway. I went to type the name of a local department store into my Google search and spelt it so dyslexically (see another one) I wondered what was wrong with my brain. I was looking for the times to take my kids for a Santa picture. That should have told me something was wrong straight away.
Just like athletes who warm their muscles, like singers who warm their vocals, like musicians who warm their instruments (I think), maybe I need to take the time to warm my brain? So this post is exactly that. I really want to spend the morning writing but if I open my document right away, the first page will be filled with crap. Already my fingers are flying faster and more accurately. Now all I have to do is think of some big words and then spell them right the first time round, then I’ll be set.
Tell me something? Is everything harder now that we’re less than two weeks away from Christmas? It is for me. My oldest is only four but this last term with her in half days of kindy was awesome. I never realised just how blissful the peace is when there’s only one to make the noise. But now, sadly, school holidays are upon us and for a lot of my friends, they’re going to be hit so much harder.
It’s times like these, when I’m handing over all my hard earned money to buy the presents, while I’m trying to find things for the kids to do that doesn’t send us bankrupt that I’m glad I stopped at two. And girls at that! Most of you know that I’m a supermarket manager by night and let me tell you, I feel sorry for you. I’m sorry if that’s condescending or mean, but those of you with boys, any amount of boys but especially the women who has four under five. Or those with more than four kids? I don’t know how you do it! I would be spending my time curled up in the foetal position pulling my hair out by the roots. Maybe it’s just me and I missed the boat when God was handing out patience. (I typed that patients and then typed tuped. Not warm enough yet.)
For the empty-nesters among us, do you miss the holidays? Or do you submerge yourself into your writing and cooking and enjoying the quiet before the storm? I like to think so. I don’t want my girls to grow up too quick and fly the coup but it’s busy times and impatient times that I dream about being on my own during the day, cosy dinners at night where my partner and I actually get to have a discussion uninterrupted and talk about something more pressing than how bratty the brats are. The whole time I’ve been warming my brain and writing this, they’ve had a huge fight over Upsey Daisy and now they are squealing running after each other. In a minute, it’s going to end in tears and blood, so I better wrap it up.
A piece of good news for you before I go… I’m finally a finalist in a competition. The Season Blog ran a pitching competition earlier this week so I pitched Scandal’s Mistress and it won. I move onto the next round, so my first three pages went out to Editor, Peter Senftleben at Kensington! I’m so excited. This is the first time I’ve actually moved onto the next round with my writing. I keep missing out by one or two or twenty.
So wish me luck as I wish you luck with your own successes as we dive headlong into the Christmas Season =)
What makes you smile?
Alright, so I'm lazy and didn't blog last week. I could blame it on work or the kids or something equally as time consuming like Facebook or a good read but the simple fact of the matter is, I've been lazy.
But this week, a couple of times I've caught myself smiling at something silly or laughing at something I've remembered out of nowhere in particular. So it got me wondering what makes you smile. Keep it clean, please!
I smile when I walk outside and the warm breeze envelopes me, the sun is shining, the birds are singing. It makes me smile when I'm lying in bed in the morning and I hear one of the kids singing to themselves or talking nonsense. When the cats are licking each other and one suddenly goes for the other one's throat, her teeth squeezing until the other retaliates. These are the everyday things that make me happy to be alive, happy to be a mother and an almost wife.
Other things that make me smile are the awesome comments I get from my critique group whenever I write something they really enjoy. Or when my oldest tells me she's going to write love stories when she grows up, just like mummy does.
As we head into the holiday season, drink too much, eat too much and be as merry as we can, make sure you smile a lot. If there is nothing in your life making you smile, step outside and look for something. Everyone deserves happiness at this time of the year. If someone smiles at you on the street, in the supermarket or while you're walking the dog, smile back. It won't hurt and it costs you nothing. In fact, stretching the muscles and exercising your face will burn calories =)
Next week I'll tell you all about the Christmas Pageant we're going to tomorrow and the kids Christmas party on Sunday with my father-in-law's work. Going to be chocked full of excitement and fun over the next few weeks. Have fun!
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.