Monday, November 9, 2015

Swallowing the bitter pill of querying

Whoa. Yep. I'm still alive. I have to say things are coming into view. I'm not sure how much that makes sense. Maybe I'm maturing (who would've thought). I see things differently now. Some things are less significant while others take priority. Still not understanding?

When I started my path to publication, I was wide eyed and believe it or not, optimistic. Well, as optimistic as a pessimist could get. I wanted to belong and be respected. I blogged and felt like part of a community. It supported me and I felt as if I belonged. I gather with locals and engaged in writerly conversations. Deep down, I wasn't sure if I was this writer everyone kept saying I was. I went through the motions, writing and revising, critiquing and being critiqued. All because I wanted to be published. I wanted my book in print. I knew it would take long. "At least ten years," many would say. I guess my na├»ve nature was like a mask. It only pulled over a false sense of belonging. I heard stories both good and bad about the whole industry. I researched the business and followed the trends to know what was out there. I scrolled on Twitter more than I like to say, which bombarded me with more information than I wanted to know. I never said I was an expert at anything and maybe that was my problem. I always felt below. I wrote four books in four years (not that any of them are good). I pushed myself and broke down a lot. I fought depression regularly, which held me back. And I posted it about it on my blog more times than I like to admit. Yes, embarrassing. I took things to heart and felt deep guilt that I wasn't cleaning a room or that I was taking time away from my kids to write. But I wanted to query.

So I did. To date I've queried three times (3 books). Over 150 rejections. I did have a few partials and fulls, but so far nothing. Now, I know my story is not one of woe. Many have had worse. I know, because I hear the tales. I hear how horrible it can get. What I want to stress is to not let it get to you. Easy for me to say, right? Not so much. Querying has crumbled me. I'm a person who needs validation. I thought I could get it through querying. That I could actually get something that would say that I was a good writer. I relied on the professionals to determine if I was worthy or not.

Since I wasn't getting anything other than--"it's not right for me" or "it's not sellable," I began to wonder what was wrong with me. Do I suck that badly that they can't even tell me? It's a blow that for those with weak confidence, can throw you so far into a hole, climbing out of it doesn't seem worth it. Let's face it, in my mind, I'm only going to continue to get rejected. The thing is my story isn't that sad. I do have a couple of poems published and my crit group can't be more supportive. They are awesome! It's me. It's something that I have to over come to get through it. Querying can leave a bitter taste in you mouth. One that you don't want to taste again because it has made you sick over and over. But it's one you have to overcome to continue.

It made me not want to write for a while. I'd open up documents and shut them. Like I was mad at them for not being good enough. The problem is I love those stories. I needed to believe in them. I needed to get better. I've distanced myself from many things that I used to enjoy in the writer community. I think I needed to reconnect with why I love writing in the first place. It's the story, the character, the idea of traveling somewhere that may or may not exist. I must swallow that bitter pill and get over what querying can do. Fill it with sweet candy (preferably chocolate) and immerse myself back into the worlds I love. Look at querying as just a stage. If they don't like it, they don't know what they're missing.

Have a great day!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Believing

So it's been a while. I have no excuse other than I'm finding myself. Does that even make sense? I've been trying to figure myself out for a while especially my writing self. As with all journeys, my path has been a rollercoaster and continues to be. When I first started taking this seriously, I was wide eyed and probably had more confidence in myself than I do now, which is not much. I've learned along the way that that's only part of the puzzle. I've struggled to find my place, which leads to me not having anything to say or repeating myself like I am now. The one thing that I needed to grasp is to believe. You know the cat poster in THE LEGO MOVIE. Yes, believe. If you don't have it in your heart that you can, you won't. It can be a difficult thing to do especially for someone like me.

Along the way on this path, I've written and rewritten, cried and did happy dances, got many critiques, cried some more, received many rejections, didn't want to talk about it, but the one thing I don't think I was consistent with was believing. There were times, but it wasn't a feeling I always possessed especially in my stories. It was hard to sometimes because I'm always getting rejected. Seems understandable, I guess. But the thing is --if you don't believe in the story, it won't believe in you. It will show. Some of my stories are hot messes because I was changing them to fit the market or an opinion. I didn't believe in it. I didn't back it up and stand up for what I was trying to do. This turns into learning how and what you want and only taking the advice when you know it will improve the story. Some have told me if more than two critiques address a problem then listen. It's advice I've known for years but haven't implemented myself. I was too scared that I wasn't experienced enough to know.

The truth is I am. So I'm not a teacher or librarian or bookseller. I dabbled in my visions and took them to the next level. I have to believe that I can and that what I'm doing with my stories is what I want even if no one wants it. Believing does make a difference. It shows through in the writing.

How about you--have you learned to believe?

Have a great day!

Friday, June 5, 2015

While you wait

The thing about this business is there is a lot of waiting. I think that was the biggest and hardest part to get used to. Still is. I'm no where near having a book published but the waiting in the query zone is enough to make you rip your hair out then bang it against a wall. When I first when through this, I was a mess. I was on edge and I kept repeating that no one would like it. After thirty queries and no bites, I gave in to defeat. The next two times have been more manageable. There has been some interest and I prepared myself for the months and months of nothing. Still, my neurotic brain can't help but allow the pessimistic voice to creep in. You know, the I'm-not-good-enough thing. It's a human reaction or maybe it's the lack of confidence and daily reminder that it may be true. I have developed more of a thick skin about, in fact, I think I expect rejection more than I expect someone to say they like it and want to read more.

But enough about that downer. I don't want to start complaining because I've been in this long enough to realize it's all part of the game. The one thing I keep doing is writing. On with something else. I have been writing a fantasy, as you know, and it has been my biggest problem child. I started to get frustrated and discouraged with it. The problem is--the story will not leave me alone. I'm anxious to get the first draft down in order to let it sit before revisions. But when I sit to write it, I overthink it and ask too many questions so nothing gets done. This has happened to me before, but it usually doesn't go on as long. Finally, after much anguish, I decided to just let it sit for a while and go to something else. It's funny how things come back around. My frustration with this fantasy is I'm forcing myself to think too much about it. Where's the creativity in that? I'm pushing myself and that leads to bad writing. I was missing that joyous, giddy feeling I get when I write. That feeling seemed to fizzle at some point--between learning more about the business and pressuring myself. So what do you do?

Well, you either start something new or revise something that made you feel awesome at one point. Since no new characters were burning in my brain, I decided to revisit an old shelved novel that used to make me all smiley. I don't expect anything from it other than jumpstarting the happy fuzzies and hopefully getting me out of the funk I've been in. So far, it's working. I'm looking at it differently and moving things around, playing with structure to make it flow better. The characters are like long, lost friends. We're picking up right where we left off. It's comforting. I'm not sure what I'll do with it when I'm done. It had been queried at one point, you know the one with thirty rejections, but it'll make me happy to see it in better shape than it was.

How do you get out of your writing funk when you get down?

What do you do while you wait for your queries or submissions to be answered?

Have a great weekend!!

Monday, May 11, 2015

The respark

Whoa. It's been a while again. I apologize, but I've been writing a novel that's kicking my butt and it's finally flowing again. I go through these dry spells, which I should be used to by now. It's as if the well of creativity dries up and there's no rain in sight. A drought so to speak. It could be a burn out of forcing it to happen. I don't know. But I love it when it rekindles. It's like taking a breath of air after holding your breath for ages. Anything can do it. For me, sometimes a song, a movie, but my most recent spark is a book.

My good friend, Joanne Fritz, gave me a book called RUSH by Eve Silver. I've been sort of down with my writing. I don't write the norm nor do I write anything that's "sellable" but I like what I write, it makes my frowny face turn upside down. So when I can find something that allows me to see that what I'm doing is okay, my insides flutter and my brain restarts. It makes me happy so why get down. Taking breaks are fine, the brain needs to reboot.

Anyway, this book has everything I love--first person present tense, scifi, teenage romance with a "bad boy", short choppy sentences--it's the stew that makes my heart beat fast and my brain wanting more. There are some things that bother me about this book, but the pros outweigh the cons. I'm a sucker for these books and I took the bait--hook, line and sinker. I like to read many different things but when I'm in a slump, reading what you love to write can ignite a fire that makes you feel giddy. It's makes what you love to write okay. And I love it when it happens. It's that mountain moment making you crawl out of the deep crevice you fell into. It sort of a validation. Basically, write what you want to read and stick to it.

So have you had the moment of clarity?

Have a great week!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Little gestures

Gestures are things that can help or hurt someone. They can either make or break someone's day. In our writing these simple nuggets can show a character change or even just hint at it. In reality. What is reality? You know, day to day life. There are times when it's hard to figure out what to say to someone. In this world of constant information our brains can get overwhelmed, leaving us feeling unaccomplished and alone. There will always be the negative and positive, but today I'm going to stress the happy ones. A small gesture of kindness could change all of that. It could be as small as a "hello", or "how are you?" That could redirect someone's crappy day into something with more light.

For example, my week's been kind of yucky. Nothing in particular just everything grouping in my brain at one time. Monster 2 had a check up and I was discussing the eye therapies we were doing at home for monster's eye. I do my best but deep down the perfectionist in me doesn't accept it. I'm very hard on myself in that I always think I can do better or I'm not doing enough. I guess the doctor saw it in my face that I'm freaking out inside because I'm thinking this doctor will think of me badly. Instead, she put her hand on my knee and said, "It's okay. You're doing a great job."

Something lifted off of me, even if it's only for a moment. Someone understood. Someone saw my pain. It made me smile. For a moment, it allowed me to breathe. And I got a little teary eyed too.

As a writer, these moments are crucial. We tend to be introverted and are only expression is usually in words that drip from our hearts. The pace of publishing can feel like forever, not to mention, the inconsistency of it. We deliver words from our souls only to be put in a pit of rejection and opinions. It can get lonely, but one gesture can change that. "I understand" or "I know" or a simple smiley face can help get someone through it. Even if that person has gone silent or doesn't respond right away, a kind gesture could be the stepping stone out of their dark cave.

We can never know what another person is experiencing, but we can only be kind and put ourselves the best we can in their shoes. So whether your a writer with a fresh rejection or someone who is dealing with bullying or someone who is just overwhelmed with what life has handed you, look around you and see who is giving you a kind gesture and don't be afraid to reach out.

Have you experienced any kind gestures lately?

Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Some books to check out

Whoa. Has it really been that long? I didn't realize I haven't posted in a while. Well, things happen. Writing comes first so . . . Anyway, I attended two book launches over the past few weeks. Both these ladies are quite the awesome. So go and check these two books out.


Title: Blackbird Fly
Author: Erin Entrada Kelly   (who is awesome and super sweet)
Publisher: Harper Collins

Blurb:
Apple Yengko knows what it’s like to be different. She has a weird Filipino nickname, she’s the only Asian at her school, and she’s obsessed with the Beatles instead of boys. But her life doesn’t truly fall apart until she finds out she’s listed on the Dog Log—the list of the ugliest girls in school—and her friends abandon her. Suddenly she’s a social pariah. The boys bark at her in the halls and the girls turn the other way. Apple dreams of escape and resents everything about her culture, including her mother. She’s desperate to get a guitar so she can run away and become a musician like her idol, George Harrison. Apple is convinced that music can save her. And it might—only not in the way that she thinks.

NoneoftheAbove_Cover
Title: None of the Above
Author: I. W. Gregorio  (amazing lady who does it all)
Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Blurb:
What if everything you knew about yourself changed in an instant?

When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She’s a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she’s madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she’s decided that she’s ready to take things to the next level with him.
But Kristin’s first time isn’t the perfect moment she’s planned—something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy “parts.”
Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin’s world completely unravels. With everything she thought she knew thrown into question, can she come to terms with her new self?
Incredibly compelling and sensitively told, None of the Above is a thought-provoking novel that explores what it means to be a boy, a girl, or something in between.


So, I'm saying to go and pick up these great books. The launches were fabulous and the authors are pretty darn awesome.

How about you, what new books are you reading?

Have a great day!!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Opinions

Opinions. Sometimes they are hard to take. Sometimes they enlighten and empower. Sometimes they damage and hurt. As a writer, opinions are a daily occurrence. It's something that we have to learn how to deal with especially if they are negative. But that doesn't mean it makes it any easier to take. Sure our skin thickens, but when the opinions attack us, well, defenses will rise.

It seems as though opinions are easier to deliver via social media and reviews. People express themselves in all sorts of ways without a thought of consequence--without a thought of the other's feelings. It's like throwing stones at someone, but they are not right in front of you so you don't see them getting hurt. It's as if not seeing the other person's reaction makes it okay to say. I'm not saying we can't express ourselves or have an opinion. By all means, social media makes it easy to do and change can be made, but words can be harsh like a sword. They can jab into the hearts of many and the person holding the hilt will never know or understand how many hearts were stabbed.

I've seen opinions made that I may not agree with but they are made with respect. Each word is chosen to prove a point not attack and beat another. They make you think, not enrage. Opinions do make the world go round. It would be pretty boring if we all agreed on the same thing. Opinions make us unique, but we also need to have compassion. Saying your opinion is fine, but saying it with tack and poise will earn respect.

Just a little thought for today.

How is everyone?

Have a great day!!
 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Writing fears

So, I've been absent lately. Things happen. As I stated before, writing and life take over and that's what I've been dealing with.

My writing has me facing many fears lately. I'm digging deeper in revisions in one, which is a good thing. I can feel the character more and the added depth can only enhance the manuscript. Plus, I tend to like revising more than drafting. Don't ask. Digging deeper and living inside them, being them, connects the reader even more. I found this post:  http://writershelpingwriters.net/2014/07/3-steps-taking-character-deeper-anger/
It takes you deeper into your character on how they would react in anger. It's interesting and definitely gets you thinking.

Another way is by going deeper into who you are. Basically taking pieces of you and really soul searching. http://hollylisle.com/deeper-people-putting-yourself-into-your-characters/

But like I said, I actually enjoy that process. Revising. Drafting, on the other hand, is torture. It should be fun, and sometimes is, because there are no rules--you write without a worry. Well, there are little worries. I'm drafting a new project. I know the beginning, some middle parts and the end. All are written like scenes waiting to be placed together. Yes, I write out of order. I also have a line of the whole story. Sort of like very loose outline. I've change the start point and I think I've found it, but now I have to figure out what tense and POV.

You see, I'm a first person present tense gal, as I'm sure your know. I love everything about it. I love to read and write it. It comes naturally to me. And up to this point, my stories seem to call for it, but this new one may not. It may lean to a 3rd person past. It scares the you know what out of me. It's a challenge, which is not a bad thing, and I'm happy to take it on. The problem, I'm a perfectionist and the thought of royally screwing it up weighs on my conscious, freezing all creativity into that project. I love the story and it's the hardest story I think I've ever attempted to write, but the idea of the switch makes me so wicked scared. But that's how we grow and strengthen, right?  It's what keeps us going and sharpens our skills. I did attempt this once before and it turned out 3rd person present, which is crazy.

One of these days, I will take the plunge and write one chapter, but I don't know how to start. I'm tempted to completely start from scratch and write the story over. I'm currently 30,000 words in.  But something is tickling me to try it again. I have to put out my impatience fire and go forward.

Any 3rd person past writing tips? I do read novels written in this POV as well as other POVs so I plan to look at those for reference.

How do you overcome fears and well as impatience?

Have a great day!!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Don't overthink it

So lately I've been having this issue of overthinking everything I write. It makes my creative brain clogged like some pores are filled with acne. I really don't know how to get away from this annoyance. Each word I type is analyzed and torn apart. The voice of the character fades and I write and rewrite scenes on a daily basis. I guess you could say I'm writing, but I feel like I have to hold back. All the rules and advice slam me every time I sit and draft.

This all leads to overthinking and it's starting to overstay it's welcome. On one hand, it was helpful for me to slow down and think about what I was doing, really dig deep. I tend to fly through things, I'm a panster after all, so I thought if I take my time and really look at it, pick it apart, I wouldn't have so much later on. Like major changes in revisions. There will always be revisions, I know this, this is my fifth manuscript, but it's taking something away from the whole process. I'm not feeling fully immersed into the character. Before, the character lived in me at all times and I felt everything, now the character is just telling me things and it feels forced. This is not particularly a great thing. Sure I still have a story, but when you write first person, present tense, you better feel and see it always.

So, I've been getting super frustrated and cranky. I've taken days off and have read other books to see if separation was good. But when I come back to it, the analyzing returns. I want to write this book badly because I have another to revise and that requires going in deep.  I want to finish this first draft before jumping into the other one. The characters are different and I don't want to mix personalities.

I need some thoughts on this. Has this happened to you?

If so, what did you do to change it?

Have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What is the best?

So, I've been working on my whole deal-with-everything mode. As you can tell it's rusty and is still in the works. In order to make sure I keep my writing time, things get passed over like blogging. This led me to think about social media. I do take breaks from it for good reason (it can make you nuts and feel totally inadequate). But I started to think which platform people are on. It's not like I have a career to promote at the moment, but I do like to be on top of these things.

At one point, blogging was the hot ticket and I was (if you look at my archive) blogged everyday. After a while, I ran out of things to talk about and felt as though I was repeating myself. I didn't have anything exciting to discuss nor did I feel like I was an expert in anything to help with anything. So, for me, my posts made a decline. It was hard for me to keep up. I did enjoy the community though. It was supportive and it felt like I belonged to something. But a lot of folks were in the same boat as me, I think, where they needed the blogging time to write. Makes sense.

Then there's Facebook. I tend to use this for more personal things even though I discuss my writing woes and triumphs, but for me this is more for close friends and family. At the moment, I don't need an author page so I'm not familiar with the success of that.

Let's jump over to Twitter. Fast paced to which I can't keep up. I do post things but I never know why. I can't stay on it long because it takes up a lot of time, and really, do people even care what I have to say. I'm not witty. At least, I don't think I am. Other than chatting with friends and posting my writing status, I will promote other people's books and put up links to helpful posts. Again, I'm not sure how much of a difference it makes in sea of constant tweets.

Now onto Tumbr. Um. I do have an account, but all I seem to post on there are links and some book promos for others. In fact, it confuses me a little. Maybe I'm too old to get it. Not to mention the time it takes to go through all the posts.

Google + ? I have an account but never use it. I think I did it to check it out, but haven't used it since.

So there you have it. This is what I've been on and I'm not sure what is working and what isn't. I know there are other sites, but I really don't want another time sucker. In fact, I'm trying to focus on writing more than anything else, but it is nice to discuss things now and again. I guess I want to hear from you.

What are you on and why?

What works?

Should more time be put into one at different stages of you?

I'm not sure of my blogging schedule. I'm sort of leaving it up to how my week goes. Fridays are starting to become more hectic than before so I may be posting randomly for a while.

Have a great day!!

THE INQUISITOR'S MARK by Dianne Salerni

The Inquisitor's Mark (Eighth Day, #2)

My good friend Dianne Salerni's new book, THE INQUISITOR'S MARK was released yesterday. I'm so excited for her! I'm really looking forward to reading it!! It's book 2 in THE EIGHTH DAY series.

Check it out!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Clearing out a holiday foggy mind

Happy New Year!! I'm writing a post. Yes, yes I am. Do I want to talk about goals? Nah. Everyone is talking about them. I want to talk about that cloudy head. You know what I mean. It's the holiday hangover and you don't know where to start. I did take a few weeks off from writing as I'm sure many people have. For me, it was mostly because of life things, but it was good in a sense that I could clear my head of the crazy schedule I tend to fall into. But now starts the whole getting-back-into-a-routine thing. Of course wrapping up in a blanket and laying on the couch with a bowl of chocolate sounds nice too, but there's work to be done. I do think it's important to have a routine and to stick to it. Vacations are great, but there's a life to get back to. Starting a routine or getting back into one can be slow and discouraging at times, but forging ahead and sometimes taking baby steps will help. Let's face it, you're not becoming a marathon runner overnight. If you are, I will bow down to you.

Yes, you will feel like your brain is foggy without a lighthouse in sight or that you may never get that groove back. But it does come. Trust me, it happens to me all the time. Keep in mind, the brain is a muscle and needs to be exercised. Of course, there is that rusty feeling. That's when you start to freak out and think you can never have an original or awesome thought again. I've been there. Actually, this past week. You may have heard me grumble. Wheels may squeal when you try and type. The words on the page might not make sense. It's like you're a small child learning how to write. It may also feel as though your story has blindfolded you and placed you in a dark room of nothing, leaving you grasping at air. It's okay. Your brain needs to be worked and molded back to where it was. Think about it. When you stop ice skating for years and then one day your child asks to go and you go out there and try--you wobble, but there is a familiar feeling. It may be distant, but after a few or more laps you get a groove back. You won't be joining Disney on Ice anytime soon, but if you started to go on a regular basis you would build that confidence and strength back. Again, Disney may not be in your future, but I think you get the idea.

Same goes for writing. If you take time off, coming back to it may make you feel like a fish out of water. Like you may never write again. You may read past manuscripts and wonder-- did I really write that? I can't do that. Oh, but you can. It may take time, but routine and challenging yourself will get you back into your groove and onto a new adventure.

I'm finally thinking like my old self again, well, almost, but I know it will come back. ;)

So, how was everyone's holiday?

Is your mind cloudy?

Have a great weekend!