::taps the mic:: Is this still on?

8 02 2010

Weather: Pending Snownarok! High: 30 degrees + SNOOOOWWW!

So yes.  I’ve been very lax in blogging lately.

Been working on revisions for the WIP, and considering how much I’ve been shifting and rearranging,  I swear I might as well have started from scratch.

But there’s the rub. When the epiphany hits on how to make the story work better, especially in line with the greater story arc, do you say, “Ah Well, I ‘ve already written 110K, and it’s pretty good” or do you dive in with the scalpels and bandages and antisptic and FIX IT , even though it might push your self-imposed deadline back? Yeah, it’s the latter, I’m afraid.

See, the story I had was good. But what I came up with is BETTER. More cohesive, more streamlines, better sustained tension and plot. Why wouldn’t I throw myself on the literary sword and do my damndest to wrestle it into shape?

Which brings me to something that’s been conking on my noggin lately. Before we had Twitter and Facebook and all the other blogs & journals, did writers suffer advice overload? I imagine the answer is there in the question.

I am so appreciative of all the publishers, agents and other writers that post and blog their experiences in publishing and dole out advice for all us newbie writers. And I mean that with absolute sincerity. The problem is there is SO MUCH of it out there. I feel sometimes like a teenager being taught to dance by 17 teachers at once. The steps are all there, but a lot of the teachers don’t agree in what order they go. However, this is not the fault of the teachers.  I think sometimes the innate insecurity that I feel as a writer on the verge of stepping into the publishing world causes me to seek out more information than my brain can process.

At some point, the information stops being helpful and starts being confusing and intimidating.  No new writer wants to make the egregious mistakes that show up on numerous “Top Ten Reasons I Won’t Look At Your Book EVER!” lists that pop up all over the net. At the same time, the sheer number of these kinds of posts can make someone new to the publishing industry seriously reconsider getting published at all. I have to admit, the articles and blog posts that most of us take to heart are the ones that show the statistics AGAINST our ever getting published.

Again, this is not the fault of the industry people or the authors who are trying to relay how difficult it is out there. But sometimes I wonder if the proliferation of all the negative and cynical articles outweigh the helpful info. Sure, we all want an unvarnished view of what to expect. Fluffy pieces on how everyone deserves to be published don’t tend to ring true, after all. But we are sometimes told, in seeming contradiction that we should write from the heart, write the book we want to write. And then we are told, but make sure you don’t write in this genre, or from this POV or include characters of a particular ethnicity or age. It gets a little confusing.

Ultimately, I think, at least for myself, that I need to focus on the WRITING. Make the story as polished and streamlined as I can. Proof it a number of times. Have someone objective look it over. Then send it out and hope for the best.

The internet has become both a curse and a blessing for writers. The availability of information is a wonderful thing, especially the advice from people who know what they’re talking about when it comes to writing and publishing. The curse is in the volume of the knowledge. Hopefully, like anything, we can learn to take things in moderation. After all, a good bit of info goes a long way.

Now playing: Three Days Grace – I Hate Everything About You
via FoxyTunes




8 responses

8 02 2010

Hon, I think you make a very valid point. Honestly, I don’t tend to read most of the advice articles because I end up feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Sometimes I do read some… I let my instinct and inspiration guide me. And ultimately, concentrating on the writing itself and being true to yourself, your vision, and your demanding muses is the key to progress, power, and success in storytelling. 🙂

Girl, it feels like AGES since I got to experience your worlds, so I hope at some point you’ll have a little something to share. Of course I’m a little behind anyway.. I say a little. ROTF! A LOT behind. I have still not written anything in white awhile, I’ve got some of Ruth new stuff to read still, and I’m sure there’s some new tidbits from Heather and Chris that will be ready for sharing soon, too. Hey, I aint complaining about the reading materials. Just with I didn’t need to sleep ’cause man I’d sure make great use of that down time. 😉

8 02 2010

LOL! I know what you mean! I have a stack of books & manuscripts on my bedside table that is like the leaning tower of Pisa at the moment. SO behind. I’ll have the new shiny version of When The Lights Go Down for you all to read soon. The plot is quite different from the initial one. I think you’ll like this more. 🙂 And I’m working concurrently on Dark of the Mirror and Carrion Dreams (Book one). Busy girl, I am! Oh and I figured out a way to work the Dream Fic into the Archive Universe. It’ll be epic.

On the advice thing? I’m finding I’m starting to spend more time reading articles on how to write & get published than I am on WRITING, which is defeating the purpose. I may do an “Off the Grid” week soon, just to get my brain back to some semblance of focus. LOL!
Can’t wait to read whatever you work on next, honey!

8 02 2010

I had that problem once. I basically turned off everything because it became a noisy static and I couldn’t get anything done. Once I ignored everyone’s advice, I actually got some work done and characters became lively. I decided to just enjoy writing and not worry about the publishing end until the ‘time comes’.

When I was done with the first manuscript, a friend was reading it and passed it on to a publisher.

At that point I knew what I had heard, read, etc., was useful, however, the best way to learn anything is to experience it. I learned more about those times the manuscript was picked up and then the company fell apart than I have ever learned from articles, despite the fact that the articles are helpful in many ways and are written with the best of intentions.

Everyone has a different experience with writing and publishing. Mine will be vastly different from author A, Publishing company X, and so forth. So that’s just my opinionation. I finally have an opportunity to write again and am taking full advantage of it, which means more readin’ materials soon. 🙂

9 02 2010

After twenty years of just writing the scenes that would pop in and out with the fleeting momentary inspirations and saving the complicated task of figuring out how it all would fit together in some sort of plotline that remained only in an amorphous overall story arc in my head alone, I let myself get intimidated by the idea that I would show it all to a critic/publisher/editor someday and have to abide by their opinion.
So, I left it in my head. I gave over the few choice scenes to Nada, for our own enjoyment and that was that. I didn’t have time to try and be a real writer. Not the kind of writer that I had always envisioned, taken from visuals of an intellectual with a study and wine glasses, or the film equivalent, typing like mad on a computer while having some romantic adventure. I’m not one of those people. I just make up stuff.
But, the words of those that had always inspired me would nag at me to pursue it, to keep going no matter what ‘informational article’ or interview I came across that would dissuade me from wanting to be a writer. I tried not to even think about the publishing prospect because that would most certainly curb my artistic outlet. (I don’t see my stuff ever being taken seriously by a real publishing house, not enough to be paid an advance or contract or anything…which is why I did it with self-publishing.) Stephen King says, Just Tell the Story, don’t worry about editing or pacing at first, just tell it. Editing comes later.
In order to make all the various incarnations of characters and plots emerge from the chaos of old notes and form onto the paper, I had to stick to that advice. Otherwise, I couldn’t have finished it. When my husband asked when I was going to send in, I was torn and afraid. The fear of rejection or of being told to change elemental parts loomed again and this slowed the progress.
In order to “make it sellable”, would I have to change it until it is no longer my own story or vision? The articles and advice on How to Get Published, or those stating how Not to do it rather, certainly intimidate me. But, as people who simply write for the love of creation and writing, should we take them to heart? I don’t know. I have to file the info away in the “that’s good to know for later” pile and move onward if I ever expect to get anything on paper.
I’m reminded of a friend from high school, a poetess, who asked me why I wanted to write stories. I had said at the time, “So people can read them.” To which she had asked, Why is it important to you if someone else reads them?
At that I had stopped, uncertain. But if asked that first part now, I probably would have said, “I’m writing this stuff so that I can read it; because I haven’t found it anywhere else.” And if we can please ourselves (who are usually our worst critics), then we have done something, right?

2 03 2010

You made my day with your tweet today, and I wanted to come over here and say so, and here I find this lovely post of yours. I quite understand. I have been, still am, and likely will continue to be entirely overwhelmed by the publishing industry and everything in it (opinions certainly included).

I think I’ve felt the most free and relaxed about the industry when I’ve noticed that there is no ‘one’ way to do this whole writing / publishing thing. Every single path and process has been entirely different, each of my friends has gone about it and continues to go about it completely different than me, with only one thing in common; persistence. There is no silver bullet, which may be maddening, yet, because it doesn’t exist, there’s no need to think ‘gosh, what am I missing?’ – it’s just as much of an individual path as any other ‘calling’ and earnest pursuit in life.

The other trouble about too many opinions is then books, stories, ideas, etc. become almost ‘built by consensus’ – and then a bit of that personal soul, that voice that only you could create, no one else, may get a bit lost in the shuffle, possibly diluted. Sometimes our own personal artistic instincts are so underrated but in the end so very, very important.

For years I struggled to get “Strangely Beautiful” into the marketplace because it was ‘a little too much of this genre’ ‘not enough of this genre’ ‘we don’t know where to shelve this’ ‘wouldn’t this be a nice mystery?’ (uh, no, it’s a fantasy…) ‘it’s a little too Victorian’ (uh, thanks, it’s set in Victorian England… *that was a for real rejection*) And at some point all this did my head in. But while I might have sold the ‘book of my heart’ that took me on a 9 year journey to publication earlier had I done any of those above things in quotes, had I tried to sort out that consensus, it wouldn’t be ‘my’ book, and eventually, I believe all of our best stories ‘will out.’ The market will find a well-crafted story with spirit and heart.

Every blessing and best wish on your own individual journey, may it be filled with your own particular brand of wonder.

2 03 2010

Leanna I’m sitting here blushing.

Thanks so much for that. I didn’t get a chance to talk to you, but I was at a couple of the panels you were on at DragonCon last year.
I have a copy of “Strangely Beautiful” at home that I am actually currently reading, so this is such a surreal full circle for me.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment. Your words are actually reassuring to me that I AM on the right path. Hopefully my current WIP will find it’s way into a publishers hands and thereafter onto a bookshelf later.

Hopefully I’ll see you at DragonCon this fall again!
Heidi Ellis (Raven1967)

2 03 2010

Dear Heidi,

Oh goodness! Well I wish I’d met you last year, however I’m thrilled that we’ve connected regardless, and I really hope you’ll come find me this year at DragonCon! This year I’m officially a Guest which makes me squealy-happy with fangirl glee. I was thoroughly overwhelmed with joy, freak-outs, and goggly-eyes last year (as it was my first DragonCon and no one can really prep you for it) and I can’t wait to go back. (I need to get my dose of hugging K-9)

Thrilled you have (and are reading) “Strangely Beautiful” – how very cosmic indeed!

I’m really happy my words could bring some validation to your path, and I hope you’ll keep me posted, as moving forward and continuing to put your work out into the world is always a success in and of itself, it’s a brave thing to do. I always worry that writing ‘advice’ sounds so cliche, however honesty and honest connections between writers can never be cliche. I truly wish you the best and send lots of good writing energies your way. We writers need our fellow travelers upon this winding road to hold us up, as the twists and turns are exhausting, and peculiar. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

PS I think you’re a kindred spirit in many things we both enjoy, so do come find me at DragonCon! I hope you love ‘Strangely Beautiful’ – from noting your musical interests I think it may mean something to you when I say the sequel, ‘The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker’ is dedicated to Ronan Harris, VNV Nation. 🙂


3 03 2010

Leanna! I will DEFINITELY seek you out! More than likely I’ll be attending panels on writing so we’ll cross paths at some point. I’m staying at the Sheraton so I’ll be con adjacent for the duration. 😉

So awesome that you’re a VNV Nation fan as well. We certainly do have things in common! 🙂

Will hopefully be blogging more. My first novel is with my proofreader right now and hopefully I’ll be shopping it to agents soon. Thanks so much for your interest, time and words!


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