Tag Archives: work

Sunny side – down?

Yesterday I received a response from an agent the very same day I sent the query. Wow, what a first! It sounds a little crazy, but despite the fact that it was a rejection, it’s a huge relief to be able to move on in search of another agent.

I must admit, I had thought this agent would have been perfect for me. She handles both mid-grade and YA (I’m having difficulties determining which category my story falls into, perhaps more on that later) and even mentions specific interest in other-world stories.

I feel as if my query is very well written. So I am definitely in that phase where I feel as if the story sucks. It has to suck. Why won’t anyone at least read the manuscript? Oh, because the manuscript probably sucks too.

I had a lot of faith in this project and it’s very difficult to not lose that. But to be honest, I haven’t had that many rejections. I haven’t even sent it to ten agents yet. So… buck up, hey?

If you’re not sure how to feel after reading this post, it’s because neither do I! Ha!

P.S. I entered a contest to win scholarship for the Backspace Writers Conference in New York. Winning is based upon votes, which will open March 5th. You can see my entry now; just look for Entry 20!


Spam poetry

For the past couple days, I have been drudging through dreaded blog comments on the company website. It has been backed up for nearly two months, due to a shortage of resources.

Spam comments are always intriguing to me.  Does spamming a comment box really pay off, when most, if not all, companies have an approval process for their comments? I have no idea, but there is sure a lot of effort put into it.

To amuse myself, I wrote a poem using only spam terms from received comments. It’s mostly nonsense, but I thought I’d share it.

Bleak coloration connected

Create a stencil by cutting out the lines
I think it’s still Crabtree,
but he has been quiet since that non-catch on the first drive.
But then there was also this damaged brother
Consequently, so santa appears to be cited
thoughtless holocaust.
Goodness and treason,
trudged, torpedoed soul
Hunted, owned
The severe now want
considerably more why and vanity

Who knew spamming could be so emo?

Nerves and doing it wrong

After experiencing the most minimal of minimal fender-benders yesterday, I found myself incredibly nervous driving to work today. The solution? To ditch my friends tonight (sorry Leanne!) and hole up in my home, under a dark blanket, away from cars, with the last few chapters of my manuscript to finish line-editing.

I’m down to those last few days. Those last moments before I finally have a polished ‘script, for the first time in my life. Before I finally get to start querying for a (gasp!omg!) agent. How does it feel?

It feels unreal. It feels like I’ve been stretching out these last few weeks, procrastinating the first (second? third?) big hurdle in getting this darn book published. It feels like I’ve forgotten everything I’ve read and learned in the past few years about query writing and the publishing industry.

It’s hard for me to do things wrong. I’m one of those crazy people who inexplicably would rather give up than fail (though in my old age, I’m starting to realize that the former is the same as the latter). I’m not any sort of perfectionist, but I hate disappointing people, disappointing myself.

So what happens now? What happens when I finally sit down and finish the last of my edits and start querying and just… flop? Go no further? Find out these last 2.5 years have been for naught?

*Deep breaths* I guess we’ll find out. In the meantime, I’m just going to keep delving in blogs and articles and everything else I can find about writing.

Like this New Yorker article, about how writing is hard.

Or this scary Janet Reid blog post, about building platform before you even find an agent… um, eep?

Flows like blood

Every time I’m browsing my favourite industry blogs for inspiration or tips or mostly information, I get stuck on this one poignant post from The Intern.

The concept of replacing what is lost is not a new one to me. I’ve misplaced/deleted/lost plenty of passages before, sometimes full chapters. There was one time in which I wrote a section of one of my novels twice, without realizing it, and compared them side-by-side to find them equally dynamic yet completely different.

But The Intern’s post definitely helps keep things in perspective. If you truly are a writer, than writing/replacing/recreating words is as natural as life-blood. It’ll flow, when the time is right, and there are far worse things than honing your skill by starting something new or touching on the same sections more than once.

Communicating is not on auto-pilot

Slang is not just poorly-spelled jargon.

One of the most interesting things about working or being friends with individuals who speak English as a second language is that I find myself phrasing things differently. There are some people to whom I consciously phrase things in a particular way right off the bat, and others whom I might have to re-phrase to explain myself.

In an odd way, I think that even though I might be particularly natural at this because I’m a writer, it also strengthens my writing.

I’m reminded of another anecdote from a close friend of mine – she had used the term “auto-pilot” to a friend who did not understand what that meant. Rather than rephrasing, she went on to attempt to explain what an auto-pilot was and how that could relate to the actions of a person.

It’s incredibly important as a writer to be able to rephrase yourself. To clarify. To cut out any unnecessary coloaquialisms that may not transcend properly beyond your own brain. It’s one thing to be poetic and purposely abstract, but another to completely exclude potential readers from the message you’re trying to get across.

I’m incredibly grateful that I’ve gone about my writing career as I have – I studied basic English and literature (where I expanded on my creative side), then became a journalist graduate (where I learned to be as concise and short as possible) then fell into marketing writing, where both come into play.

I’m also hoping that all of this experience will make me a good novelist, as well.

Oh, and about that… things are finished. Almost done with critique readers. Almost ready to query. Eep!

Fear of flying

Oh boy.

I’ve been talking a lot of smack about being nearly done my novel on this blog. I’ve even set deadlines, and adjusted deadlines. I’ve made promises, on here, and to my friends. Finishing a novel is always easiest in theory. You can have everything mapped out, everything planned to last detail, but nothing prepares you for the end.

I’ve reached the end. I’ve been there a few weeks now, with the final task of revising the last third of my book looming over like the unending rain clouds that seem to plague my city as of late.

Let me tell you what I wasn’t prepared for. I wasn’t prepared for the completely irrational fear of finishing. I’ve had the tedium of working on the same project for so long, the depression of thinking my crap isn’t good enough and the excitement of nearing the finish line. But I have never in this journey been afraid.

Until now.

I didn’t even recognize at first that what I was feeling was fear. When I finished the last of my chapters, I was surprised and then saddened when the sheer joy didn’t come. I knew I should have been elated, but instead I was left feeling rather anxious. Irritated. For no reason.

Over the past two weeks I’ve realized what that bubbling irritation was. I’m petrified of failing. I’m a chronic under-achiever – my higher-than-average marks always prompted me not to try in school. I am far more known for never finishing what I start. But this – to come this far only to face the free-falling chasm of what’s to come after one finishes?

I’m not ready.

This isn’t some story I threw together in a matter of months. It’s something I’ve meticulously crafted over the course of two years. Two years. What if that doesn’t even show? What if it’s just another sub-par novel that has little chance of being picked up? what if all of those hundreds and hundreds of hours have added up to merely something any monkey with a keyboard could write?

I don’t know if I can handle the rejection. I’m not talking about the inevitable rejection emails, I’m talking full-on realization that this one is just not good enough – it’s time to move on.

I’m paralyzed at the thought of handing out copies to the friends and family I asked to be peer-readers. I’m sick to my stomach knowing that a handful of chapters lie with a good friend, cousin and artist who, for some ridiculous and unknown reason, has volunteered to illustrate what lies within my pages. I’m stuck here at the computer, on the day I set to finish my revisions, typing to you instead of doing the work that needs to be done.

I don’t think I’ll ever be ready.

But that’s the whole point, isn’t it? Is anyone ever ready? One could argue that most people don’t even attempt their dreams. I’ve opened that door – I’ve started my attempt. What happens if there’s no bottom to this chasm after I finish this leap?

I’m never going to know until I try.

So here goes…

It totally takes time!

I just read a great blog post by literary agent Janet Reid on how good writing takes time and really wanted to share it.

She speaks about how some of the best writers took years and years to write their famous works. Some of her examples, like T.S. Elliot, surprised me. Others did not – it should take a large chunk of time to write an extremely long and arduous piece. Did you know that Tolkien took twelve years to write the Lord of the Rings trilogy? I used to think that was a long time, but when you factor in that he created an entire world and developed several full languages… it’s not so hard to believe.

In my neck of the woods, YA fiction, I believe that it takes John Green about two years or more to write a book.

The fact that good writing takes a long time is a interesting point-of-view, as other esteemed novelists, such as Stephen King, insist that to be a good author you must write something like 2,000 words a day.

I’m okay floating in the good-writing-takes-time boat – at the beginning of April, it will be two years I have been working on my novel! Eep! I’m looking forward to finally having something to show for all of my hard work and the hundreds and hundreds of hours. Something to show the people who said, “Well, you don’t have to write.” Maybe I don’t get paid for this job, but it is a job. And yes, I do have to do it!

Being a traditionally published author has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. What’s yours?