Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Guilty. Thankfully not of all of these.

How not to begin your novel, as quoted from professional literary agents.  Link to full article here on the Write Life

“The [adjective] [adjective] sun rose in the [adjective] [adjective] sky, shedding its [adjective] light across the [adjective] [adjective] [adjective] land.”
Chip MacGregor, MacGregor Literary
“Characters that are moving around doing little things, but essentially nothing. Washing dishes & thinking, staring out the window & thinking, tying shoes, thinking.”
Dan Lazar, Writers House
“I know this may sound obvious, but too much ‘telling’ vs. ‘showing’ in the first chapter is a definite warning sign for me. The first chapter should present a compelling scene, not a road map for the rest of the book. The goal is to make the reader curious about your characters, fill their heads with questions that must be answered, not fill them in on exactly where, when, who and how.”
Emily Sylvan Kim, Prospect Agency

“I hate reading purple prose – describing something so beautifully that has nothing to do with the actual story.”
Cherry Weiner, Cherry Weiner Literary

“Many writers express the character’s backstory before they get to the plot. Good writers will go back and cut that stuff out and get right to the plot. The character’s backstory stays with them — it’s in their DNA.”
Adam Chromy, Movable Type Management

Winterspell, by Claire Legrand

I can't wait to get my hands on this book.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

I love my writing and I'm scared you won't

Last night I re-read a scene I wrote last month and squealed over the guys I wrote. Not because I wrote them into existence (even though that's exciting) but because they're swoonable! The kisses were thrilling and the settings were dreamy and I wanted to curl under my quilt and read about Derek for hours. Because I love the story.
As much as I'm in love with my stories it's scary when I run into my friends that know I'm approaching the end of my rough draft and say they want to read it.


This is when the Rachel in my head chants develop a thick skin, develop a thick skin, because A) of course not everyone will like it, and many will probably hate it, even my best friends, and B) I want to publish, which means a lot of people will read my stuff. Which means a LOT of people will hate it. Depending on how well it publishes some people may blog about how much they hated it.

For example: Twilight. I loved those books and fantasize about telling Stephenie Meyer that I don't care what everyone else seems to think--that I love Edward and Bella and yes yes yes I have re-read their story and will again and again. But when as a reader I'm hesitant to mention how much I love Twilight, how must the author feel? People say they hate it and question my taste in literature-- what does that say about the person who made it?  Twilight is a huge joke worldwide, and does anyone think about how Stephenie Meyer feels when they whine about her books? I know, I know, she's laughing all the way to the bank.

Stephenie Meyer's the paramount success author in YA romance. She's also a Mormon mom, just like me, who started writing during naps and crazy hours of the night because that's when she had the time. Like me.

Naturally I think about what would happen if the stars aligned and my characters became as famous as Edward Cullen (which is impossible. Like when people say something's the "next Harry Potter" it's impossible because nothing will ever be so big again) but the idea my stuff could be big scares me.

But that's not going to happen to me, really. Heck, I'll be lucky if I ever get published. (I will, I will, I have to believe I will...)

I'm just trying to manage the fear of handing something so emotionally and mentally revealing  into the hands of people I know and speak with everyday. They'll know its what I dream about and how I think and I'm scared of what they'll think of me. I'm scared! I'll admit it.

I want to revise my book to death before I let anyone see it. And I will-- don't get ancy thinking you'll get to see it for the next six months-- I have to let it sit before I even work on it myself-- and I'll probably clutch the manuscript white knuckled while you pry it out of my hands just to read the title.

*phew* I have to lose all my pride and let go.

Which should be healthy, no? Wish me luck.

Monday, February 3, 2014

"He's a Very Nice Prince"

Tomorrow The Selection Stories comes out, complete with the first three chapters of The One and I am so excited I may not be able to sleep tonight. Kiera Cass, here's hoping I get to see you at a conference someday.  I'll try not to gawk like a super-fan or say anything embarrassing, though I can make no guarantees.

The Selection series has been my obsession for some time. It is so choice. If you haven't read it yet I highly recommend picking it up.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

I'm only 62.7% insane for doing this.

So here's the thing. I'm committed to doing this, and I'm going to. But on occasion I think about my workload and get overwhelmed. Surely that never happens to anyone else.

I'm not usually overwhelmed by my writing career (it's the other stuff on my plate,)  but today I was (excuse the line of thought typing) thinking about: finishing the book and edits and betas and then trimming and edits and queries and agents and edits and editors and edits and...

...my other books in my head... and trilogy concepts I can't seem to figure out...


I've just finished Wings by Aprilynne Pike, and loved it. Craft wise it was the perfect novel for me to read. I read up on her and her publishing story and thought of my other author-inspirations and their stories and started to get scared. About my writing! Which is so much less overwhelming than the rest of my life. And I wasn't scared because I don't want to do this or don't think I can, but because it's... a lot of work and I'm slightly busy.

So I decided to kick myself with some self-affirmation.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Blurb Attempt, aka What my book's about in a rough sort of way

Authors are supposed to have a practiced back-cover-blurb (called a copy) description of their novel in case they run into an agent or editor and they want to pitch their work.
Eventually I will make one and it will be concise, intriguing, and fresh. Sadly it does not exist yet. This soooo does not count as a blurb I'll pitch with, but here goes a first attempt.
Auralie Rocher pretends the bronze statue of a World War I soldier is her boyfriend. She visits him everyday in the woods surrounding Petercove Preparatory Academy.  Surrounded by opulence and  spoiled classmates, Auralie obsesses over her dream of being the orchestra’s concertmistress, never dreaming someone could stand in her way.  
Immediately after the audition of her life, Auralie learns she has a fearsome inheritance, that the unspeakable tragedies in her childhood made her stronger than she could imagine, and that her boyfriend isn’t so pretend anymore.
He’s alive. And he’s in love with her. And still very, very bronze.
There's your taster of what I'm writing. No, it doesn't mention my intricate geology-based magic system, but them's the breaks, eh? 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

What's in a title?

Recently I learned that many authors do NOT get to choose the title of their books. Usually they have input and/or veto power, but they rarely come up with a title on their own.
This is comforting to me.  I’d rather not choose my title.
It’s impossible to decide on something. I need a title that will sell, but I also want something with atmosphere. I don’t trust myself to come up with one.
So far I’ve thought of Doughboy, My Bronze Boyfriend, and neither one of them is right. Not by half. So please ignore my bad titles, because I’m not really committed to them. I’m committed to my characters.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

How This Happened

When I moved to Austin, TX in 2012 I visited the library before buying groceries. True story.
I read a lot, mostly YA fiction. Once or twice I’d thought I could make a novel-length story of my own, but dismissed the idea. In March of 2013 I decided I could do it. I was good at writing, so if I combined that talent with a drive to keep working and learning and invested time writing my tush off… I would get published some day.
My mind needed a place to roam and frolic. I needed somewhere far away from my full-time housewife/Mommy of two children under the age of two job. My uber-fabulous, wonderful, brilliant and supportive husband encouraged me. Possibly his motivation grew from my literal loss of mental faculties and daily tendency to devolve into an angry creature children fear. Eventually  I learned I not only wanted this other way to spend my time, I needed it. And that made it okay.
So it began.
I watched Brandon Sanderson’s creative writing lectures onWriteAboutDragons, read dozens of writing craft how-to books, visited hundreds of blogs, found the podcastWritingExcuses, visited author panels, researched publisher’s market and how to snag agents, etc.
I plotted my first book. Not my decade-ago previous attempt resulting in ten pages of honestly horrible fiction, but an actual novel. Characters, scenes, and chapters were born BECAUSE I MADE THEM. Then I wrote them onto pages.
Suddenly I loved my life.
I tried NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month– you’re supposed to write 50K words), got 35,000 words in before everyone in my household got sick, and had to quit. But not bad for a person with my workload! I’m proud of myself.
Then I bought Scrivener. To be more precise, I begged my husband to get it for me for Christmas and he did. Thanks again, Dearest! My brain is much happier now. As is my laptop. Combined with Dropbox (try writing a novel when your files are spread across three computers and I guarantee an aneurism), my writing woes have shrunk.
All I need now is more time to write, or in lieu of such, more will to make the time to write. Wish me luck.