Some deep thoughts on this Saturday…
You may have noticed that on my left sidebar I posted a word count widget. That is to show how many words I have written for my sequel to my first manuscript I call Darkness. I am in the midst of writing Darkness #2 and the amount of words I have written is around 50K. Everyday without fail, I will write 2K no matter if I am feeling up to it or not. Surprisingly the first 25k or so came out of nowhere. I was on a roll. Now that I am right smack in the middle of my WIP I have slowed down.
My writing creative process is not planned out. I have many scenes running through my head and when I sit down and type away on my laptop, I try to the best of ability to get them on paper. I treat each scene like those choose your own adventure books. Did anyone read them when they were younger? If my character decides on a certain action, they must choose “A” or “B”. It reminds me of that scene in the 1986 fantasy cult movie Labyrinth when the heroine Sarah finds herself in front of two doors. She must choose one so she can continue on to castle to save her baby brother who has been capture by the evil Goblin King. She isn’t sure which door is the right one to pick, but she makes her decision anyway, because she can’t just stand there and give up.
Sometimes I get to a point, and I think other writers feel the same way where they want to give up. I am in that mindset where I refuse to give up. Lately there have been some personal road blocks where I am being pushed to give up.
First the positive: The reason I have begun work on my “sequel” is because I received positive feedback from an agent. So far I have sent query letters out to seven agents. I have received six rejections. One of them asked for a partial. Now I know a partial may not be a big deal. The agent may read the first fifty pages of my manuscript and pass. But then the agent may love it and ask for the full. With that in mind, I am trying to be ahead of the game and started working on my second book in this series I have planned. I hope to reach 85-90K but the end of April. Some may think it is a daunting task, but I am up to the challenge.
Now the negative: Lately there has been so much talk about the publishing industry and their woes because of the economy. When I saw this post about the end of the advance on the Guide to Literary Agents blog, I was a bit depressed. I asked myself, especially as trying to make it as a published author, what is the point of spending hours upon hours of writing knowing that your work may not be appreciated enough with the monetary value you are expecting? I asked a few people and one put it into perspective for me. You write because you love it, not necessarily because of the rewards. I want to receive something for my dedication and the product I have created. But does that mean in money or just the thrill of walking into a bookstore and seeing you book on the shelves? Or perhaps knowing that people have read your work and enjoyed it? Again, it is all a personal preference. Right now I would love to be in Audrey Niffenegger’s shoes with her five million dollar advance.
As with any job, and yes, I treat my writing as a part time job, you need to do your research. This may take hours upon hours of figuring out who you can turn to for advice. In the television industry where I work, many get their jobs by who they know. It is called networking. Some will slip a person’s resume to someone on behalf of a relative, an alumnus from their college or an old working buddy. I have been very lucky because in the eleven years I have been working in this industry, I have never named dropped or asked someone to forward along my credentials. Every single job I worked at was because of luck or my experience.
The publishing world is so very different for me. I find myself not sure how to ask for advice. I feel there are some lines you just can’t cross, even if you are friendly with authors, editors, agents and people who work for a publisher. Surprisingly many are very helpful. I showed my query letter to a few authors, and they went out of their way to give me feedback to make it sound better. The same goes for my WIP. I was shocked when one author told me to send my first three chapters to her so she could give me feedback. She went above and beyond. The same goes for those who helped with my query and even my synopsis.
The agent I sent my partial to is also the agent to an author I am friendly with. I didn’t feel comfortable about telling the author who the agent was that I sent my partial to. Again, I felt that was a line I could not cross. It seems when it comes to an author and agent, that is a sacred bond. How could I ask an author to put in a good word with their agent for me? I may think my work is great, but what if the agent thinks it horrible? Then the author is in between a rock and hard place because they supported me.
Unfortunately I had a bad experience with an author who I assumed I was friendly enough to ask for advice. I sent her my query letter for some feedback because again I thought we were on friendly terms. We have shared emails and I have posted on her blog many times. Her response to my request was very upsetting. Part if the problem in her eyes was that I compared my manuscript to hers, which I felt was the sincerest form of flattery and respect. Perhaps she was offended that I dare compare my work to hers, because after all I am nobody. She went onto say that because I review, I better be careful because there are authors out there that won’t be supportive for me as a published author because I may have given them a negative review of their work. From that situation I was a bit bitter and I felt I failed in some way.
But then I took in stride and came to the conclusion about something else. The funny thing with the on-line world and with the people you interact with there is that you may become close with whomever because you share countless emails about each other’s lives and what not. You begin to assume things. I can’t help but raise the question how can someone be “BFFs” with another person on-line if you have never met one another? I admit I have made some great relationships with so many on-line. I am even going to see one great on-line buddy and they even live on another continent! A word or warning- those on-line relationships may not be lasting, especially when and if you finally meet face to face. So was the case when I went to RWA this past July. My overall experience was fabulous. I met so many spectacular people. I also assumed some things, especially about certain authors that I have a great on-line relationship with. I thought when meeting these certain authors, the way we would act toward each other would be very much the same as when we shared emails or in other forms of communication. That was not the case. I went out of my way to introduce myself, so very excited and nervous. They on the other hand treated our introduction very differently. They were polite and nice, but other then the initial introduction, that was where it ended. My assumptions were so very wrong. I felt like I was shafted. Again this was another learning experience.
I try to place a positive spin on everything that happens to me because what is the point in harping on the negative? So is the case with my writing, the on-line community that I am involved with and those who give advice, but needed and unneeded.
Sounds a bit scary, right? I can’t help but always return to my special mantra when I find myself down and things become a bit too hard to handle. As I have said countless times before:
For those who say to you, you can’t; well I say, yes I can.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Some deep thoughts on this Saturday…