Monday, April 19, 2010

Learning the Craft

Books about writing books-- what a self-promoting industry. Ideally, I'd love to take a class, or pay somebody to edit my last manuscript, so that I could pinpoint my exact weaknesses. But alas, time and money are always an issue, right? So I'm trying to get close and personal with the library and check out some books on writing (which are surprisingly good because, of course, they're written by writers!).
Right now I'm reading a book on character development. The author tells the story about a manuscript he was writing and a challenge he came across while describing a certain character. Then he says, as a side note, "I still finished the book and got it published."
Oh, that I could have that as my side note! Just one simple sentence, yet it seems like such an insurmountable feat. Do people who write manuscripts really get them published? Obviously they must-- like I said, I've been to the library. I even know a few authors personally. But still, it's hard to believe it actually happens to normal people like me. Hmmm, maybe I'm too normal. Perhaps I need to develop a weird trait or habit-- like typing pathetic posts to myself about my longing to be published, for example.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Five Down, One To Go

Well, I got my fifth rejection yesterday (sigh). I've only got one more submission out there, so I'm nearing the end of the road on my poor first manuscript. The other day I realized I forgot to include a SASE for this last submission, so I may never get an official rejection letter from them anyway (perhaps I did that on purpose?).
On a happy note, I am LOVING my next story. Turns out that Middle Reader is my cup of tea (maybe it's because I have kids that age-- we're supposed to write what we know, right?). This is a story that I will go to bat for-- it deserves to be in print. Hopefully I can do it justice, because it really is a great/funny/sweet story. We'll see. : )

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Little Optimism

I got another rejection. This one, however, was an actual email directed to me personally-- not a form letter! Is it bad that I was excited about that even though it was still a rejection? Ha! Anyway, she said that she'd read the pages I'd submitted (another first--I'm pretty sure the others just read my query), and that it wasn't what they were looking for. She said that it was not a reflection on my strengths as a writer, but more about the current market trends.
Okay, this may be EXACTLY the same thing she told the 50 other rejections she sent out that day, but I took it as a positive step. My story is not original, this I know, but maybe my writing isn't as bad as I fear. She could just have easily had said, "look, you've really got a long way to go before this manuscript is anywhere close to publishable," right? Right?
I don't know if that's true, but that's how I'm choosing to take it. Who knew I was such an optimist?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Writing Class?

I had a writing teacher review the first couple chapters of my book. She gave me some positive comments, but she said that I'm missing some basic technical skills in writing fiction. I thought that the technical part of writing was my strong point. Hmmm. Although she was kind, it sounds like I have a lot of work to do. I have to remind myself often that I'm doing this because I enjoy the process, not because I have to get published. It's the journey, not the destination, right? I just wish I was a little bit better at the journey-- and I seriously wish I'd taken more creative writing classes in college when I had the freedom and the ability.
If only I had unlimited funds and time... : )
I guess it's time for me to look into a writing class. I don't even know what basic skills I'm missing, but part of me doesn't want to keep writing until I learn. I hate the idea of putting a lot of time and energy into doing something the wrong way.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Here We Go Again

Another rejection (sigh). To quote Dori from Finding Nemo, "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming..."

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Criticize me, please.

I sent out queries two days ago, and already I got a response! Sadly, it was a rejection. I'm fairly certain that he didn't read much more than the first few sentences of my email. Maybe I ought to take a look at those again and try to improve? I know there's usually no time for agents to explain why they aren't interested, but man I wish they would. It's impossible to objectively look at your own writing, yet it's so difficult to get an educated opinion. Writing seems like one of the only professions where people are out seeking criticism and can't get it!