Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A Drop in an Endless Sea of Writers


Hello all,

It's time for the February segment of the Insecure Writer's Support Group hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh.   

As many of you may know, I had partials out to two agents last month. Well, I finally received responses from them. The first one said she loved the fast paced opening, but thought the second chapter was too slow.  The next agent hated the fast paced opening.  With two conflicting expert opinions before me, I wasn't sure how to proceed next.

Luckily,  I happened upon an Agent One-On-One Boot Camp hosted by Writers Digest. I won't bore you with too many details, but basically the participants were required to attend an online workshop hosted by three literary agents. Afterward, the author submitted their queries and the first ten pages of their manuscripts for critique to an assigned agent.

Overall, I was very pleased with the feedback I received. The agent agreed that the second chapter was too slow and offered suggestions about how to fix it.  She also invited me to send her the first 50 pages if I took her advice.  Well, I'd be crazy If I didn't, LOL.

Although this is positive news, and I now know what areas in my story need improvement,  I often feel like a drop in an endless sea of writers.  The process is so nerve racking and daunting.  How do you all deal with it? I'd welcome any and all advice on how to weather the choppy waters until my book finds a home.  Guess I'll close for now.  Until next time, happy writing my friends.  



Wednesday, January 7, 2015

First ISWG Post of the New Year


It's time for the January segment of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Instead of discussing my insecurities this month, I've decided to begin the New Year on a positive note. In an effort to encourage reading in my household, and discourage my son's use of the "Idiot box," our family has set aside a reading  time from 9:30 -10:00 each weeknight. So far, knock on wood, it's really taken off. My son is half way through the Hobbit, and he's looking forward to beginning The Lord of the Rings.

As for me,  I have a job interview scheduled on Friday, and last but not least, an agent requested the first five pages of my MS. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Overall, I'm quite pleased with the way 2015 has begun. Now I'll head over to Alex's blog and check out how the other members are faring. Until next time my friends, happy writing.   

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Blogger Dummie needs help---PLEASE!!!!

Seasons greetings everyone,

I have an idea that will help a lot of self published and unpublished authors get ahead. However, I can't move forward with it until I figure out how to create a navigation bar with a link. I'd like the "idea" to show on the face of the Nav bar. Then when the reader clicks on it, they'll be transported to the sign up link. 

 I considered switching to Word Press, but wow!!! I think it's safe to say I won't be Forrest Gumping my way through that one. I tried finding the answer on youtube, but the instructors on the two links I chose, either smoked a whole bunch of crack before they began teaching the class, or they OD'd on their ADHD meds that day. Needless to say, I didn't take away much from their instruction. Any and all help/advice would be greatly appreciated. 

Sorry that my technology skills date back to Jurassic Park. I'm trying to at least get to the Dark Ages, LOL. 



Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Good Tidings-Insecure Writer's Support Group


Hello Everyone, it's time for the December installment of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh.  

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Aside from eating too much, mine was great. For those of you who  participated in NANOWRIMO, I also hope you accomplished your goals last month. I might try my hand at the mini challenge in April, when I begin writing my new novel.

I'm almost finished polishing my present work-in-progress. It's been a long journey, but it's finally time to move on. However, before doing so, I wanted to share some good news. After 26 rejections from agents, two recently requested partials. One in particular found my first chapter interesting and engaging. Since both of them had my query for nearly four months, it might be a while before I hear back. Still, regardless of the outcome, it's nice to know that my work caught the eye of two pros.

Enough on the writing front. Since I consider the holidays a time for reflection and gratefulness,  I wanted to thank each and everyone of you for your support over the past five years.  I couldn't have finished my novel without you. In closing, I'd like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a blessed New Year. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

ISWG-Lessons From A Humbled Writer




Hello all,
It's time for the October ISWG hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh. This month members are required to choose from the topics of writing, publishing or marketing and post about one. Alex will then incorporate our essays into an anthology he's working on.

I've decided to post on the topic of writing. After I completed the first draft of my novel, I was so proud of my story that I wanted to share it with the world. I posted it on an online writer's site, expecting accolades. Instead, the reviewers shredded the piece. I soon learned that my plot had more holes than you'd find in a warehouse filled with Swiss Cheese. The characters were one-dimensional at best, and there were enough point-of-view shifts to give a reader whiplash.

Defeated and sad, I slinked away from the critiques vowing never to write again. A couple of months later, I saw new characters lurking behind every stranger's eyes. During that time, it occurred to me that I missed the craft. I was as lost as a ship at sea, without writing to keep my creative compass straight. Before diving in to the second draft of my novel, I purchased several "how to books," and read them from cover to cover. I attended workshops and practiced. About six months later, I began the revisions on my story.  The reviews I received on the second draft were light years from the first. I've since written about twenty drafts and am in the final polishing stages (thank goodness). A couple of publishers have expressed interest in the book, and I'm presently waiting to hear back from them.

There are two things I've learned from my experience as a writer. First, never give up on yourself or the craft. Writing is a marathon not a sprint. It takes years to hone style and voice. Practice is key. Second, don't write for the sole reason of publishing. It's a competitive business. You're but a drop in a sea of writers. Even if you do get published, it will be difficult to eke out a living from the royalties. Essentially, the life of a true author is a calling, not a career. Write because you love it. Write because your will go crazy if you don't. If publication comes, great. If not, write-on. Until next time my friends, Happy writing.   

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

ISWG--Perseverance Has Its Rewards--For Once!!!!



It's time for another ISWG post hosted by the illustrious Alex J. Cavanaugh.  This is such a helpful group.  It's a place where a writer can vent  their frustrations about the road blocks they encounter on their journey to publication, without fear of judgment or condemnation. If you're interested in learning more, click on the linky above.     

Last month I experienced some serious query woes.  I was almost ready to throw my novel and the letter over a cliff and say,"To hell with it all." Then, some wonderfully supportive ISWG members talked me off the ledge, so to speak. For that I'm eternally grateful.

 After a few helpings of cookie dough ice cream, I slinked back to the drawing board, tail tucked between my legs and restructured my letter. It took about two weeks of hard work, maybe more, I stopped counting after the umpteenth draft, but I finally completed a well-written query (thanks to input from some of the ISWG members). At least I thought so, but the question still remained, would a professional agree?

There was only one way to know for sure, so I enrolled in a Master Class designed to help writers perfect their queries. The literary agent who taught it, dissected each of the students letters in front of the class. Although his critiques were tactful, he found problems in almost every submission. When my turn rolled around, I sat stiffly in my chair and waited for the ax to fall.   Much to my surprise, it never did. He told the class he wouldn't change a thing about it.  In fact, he said, "This makes me regret that I don't deal with adult genres."

After receiving ten form rejections from agents, it was soooo nice to know that I finally got it right.  Now, I understand the industry is subjective, but receiving that type of validation from an industry professional made my year. I hope this post doesn't sound too braggy, because that's not my intention at all. Instead, I wanted to share some good news for once.  It seems that too many of my posts are filled with woe is me's.  It's nice to write a positive one this month.  Again, I couldn't have found the strength to perfect my query without your support, and FWIW, it means the world to me.  Until next time, happy writing.



Wednesday, August 6, 2014

ISWG-What's A Writer To Do????



Another month has flown by.  Its hard to believe we're already in the throws of August's ISWG.  If you'd like to learn more about this wonderful group, click here: Alex's Blog.  

As many of you are aware, my book has been under review by editors from a couple of publishing companies.  It's been a little over a month since I submitted my novel to them. While waiting for a response, I began the querying process.  After receiving several form rejections from agents, I slinked away, teary eyed and discouraged, wondering "what's wrong with my query?"  I thought I 'd done everything right. I attended a pitch conference where I refined my story, posted the query on several writer's sites, and all the feedback was positive.   So what the heck????

One day, while whining to a fellow writer about my query, she suggested I take another look at Janet Reid's Query Shark.  I went in and read every single letter on her site and noted all her comments.  Come to find out, my letter read more like a synopsis than a query.  Needless to say the last two weeks have been devoted to revisions. I posted the new version of my letter on Query Tracker.  The problem is, it's difficult to get feedback. I crit others works, but they haven't been eager to return the favor. Since the premise of my novel is very different, switching between the sixteenth century Mayan jungle and present day, I need to know if the way I set up the plot/conflict works. It's difficult to lay out a complex book in less than 300 words.  I'm insecure that I'll never strike a balance.  How's a writer to know if it's right or not when she can't get feedback? If I send the revised version out to agents and it's still not catchy enough, then I've just wasted several chances.  What's a writer to do?  Any and all advice would be appreciated.  Until next time my friends, happy writing.

P.S.  I've considered hosting a query review day on my blog.  Basically, anyone who wants to participate can post their query and receive feedback from other writers.  If I can muster enough interest I would love to set it up.