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Writing is not for Wimps

By On Feb 17 2010, 7:02 pm

I made some New Year’s resolutaions that involved doing more to further my writing career. Which means going out an finding professionals to tell me what my work is missing, why agents are continuously rejecting my stories. I get plenty of requests for manuscripts, so I must write a pretty good query letter, but the story itself falls down somewhere and ultimately I get the dreaded ‘not for us’ letter.

I went to a Mentoring Conference recently. I paid for a NY editor to look over 30 pages and my synopsis. I know everyone hates writing synopsis, but I’m not bad at it. Actually she said it was excellent. Except that it was too long. So I need to snip and tuck a little. I was ready for a fine NY tongue-lashing, for her to tell me all the ways my story was wrong, wrong, wrong. I had prepared for it, trained for it. But it wasn’t that bad. I agreed with everything she said, and she was really super-nice. The biggest change is that it wasn’t ‘YA’ enough. The editor thought it read like a tween novel, which is what I usually write, so not really that shocking. I need to, um, add some more Victorian teenaged sexual tension. Okay, I guess I can do that.

But something still doesn’t seem right. It’s definitely an improvement, but I just can’t put my finger on why my writing doesn’t seem as good as some of the books I’ve read. So I’m signing up for the NJSCBWI annual conference, taking a day and a half of classes on various subjects in the area of children’s writing. I’m going to give a first page to a reader and have agents and editors tear it apart. The first 15 pages of the WIP is going back to a group critique, for other writers to take me out for another round. I’m going to wrestle this puppy and until it’s ridiculously wonderful or I have no hair left. I’m going to cut and trim and make my characters go through horrible things.

It’s the book or me this time!

Writing is not for the faint of heart. In fact it’s pretty much a bloodsport. If you don’t have your thick skin on, don’t get in the ring, because in order to be good, you have to be willing to put take some hits, put it all on the line and have someone tell you it isn’t perfect. Because in the end, it’s not about you. It’s about the story, and about what readers want.

If you can’t do that, stay home.

The Masochistic Heroine

By On Feb 6 2010, 1:00 pm

I started thinking about masochist heroines not because of any fiction I’d read recently but because of some nonfiction—a book by a woman who’d been one of the multiple wives of a Mormon fundamentalist. She’d spent most of her life in grinding poverty bearing thirteen children and dodging her husband’s murderous relatives. I’m afraid my [...]

Short and Sweet…

By On Feb 1 2010, 1:00 pm

Short and Sweet Do you find yourself skipping over portions of books? Do you tend to buy shorter 200-300 page books rather than the larger tomes? Why? I asked myself that question a while ago when I finished a book by a well-known author. The book was over 500 pages and action packed from beginning [...]

Okay, so ask me…

By On Jan 18 2010, 3:40 pm

I realized, when looking back at all the past ‘Ask the Editor’ posts we’ve done, that we’ve never actually had an open ask the editor thread. So, instead of listening to me ramble on about the topic du jour, I thought I’d open today’s post to you. Is there a burning question you have for [...]

Christmas Memories

By On Dec 10 2009, 11:00 am

Normally when I blog over here I talk about writing or books or something related to those subjects, but all I can think about in December is Christmas and my birthday (which is next week, but I honestly don’t want to think about it because the number is freaking me out). (That sentence was way [...]

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