Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tool. Yes, I am one.

Way back in the summer of 2005--when first the stories I wanted to write would not leave me alone--I had a lot of naive ideas about what the publishing industry was like. Here are a few of my misconceptions:

1) THEN: SIMILAR IS OKAY. COPYCATS ARE COOL.
NOW: IF I CAN FIND NOTHING THAT COMPARES, THEN IT'S A KEEPER IDEA.

That summer, when I was naively typing away, I thought the world WAS looking for something to replace the soon-to-be ending Harry Potter series. And I thought it was great that my book was similar (in a few ways). The truth is when you are a novice you unintentionally/unconsciously copycat. (I did anyway.) And it's not okay. You have to find your own voice, learn your craft, and be an original. This was a hard lesson. And I'm embarrassed to say it took me a long time to learn it. And a lot of reading. There are hundreds of books out there that need reading to make sure you are an original.

2) Then: REVISION IS TURNING SPELL CHECK ON.
Now: REVISION IS LIKE TRYING TO RUN A DECADE-LONG MARATHON BY SCOOTING ON YOUR BUTT.

Okay, so maybe I'm being over dramatic, but the concept fits. I like editing, always have. But to rewrite feels like self-cutting. I don't like it. I don't want to lose a single, precious drop... uh... I mean word. But I must. (Rewrite that is, not cut myself.) And so I revise little by little, taking a lot of time until the sentence/scene/chapter/book fits. This is the butt-scooting where eventually something productive comes out of the effort. Again, I have more--so much more--to learn in this area. (And I haven't even begun to think what it might be like with editors, copyeditors, and such.)

3) Then: FINDING AN AGENT WOULD BE EASY.
Now: I MIGHT NEED A NEW EMAIL BECAUSE MY INBOX IS ALMOST FULL.

Again, I'm being over dramatic. I've really only had a few rejections on Courtesy and Patience, and almost all personal, but I never would have realized that it took more than a few bites, a few full manuscript reads, to find an agent who was passionate enough to see the project through. Here, I'm definitely still learning too. I'll let you know if I ever see the light at the end of THIS tunnel.

4.) Then: I DON'T NEED CONNECTIONS, MY WRITING SPEAKS FOR ITSELF. SO DO MY CREDENTIALS.
Now: IT MIGHT NOT BE WHO YOU KNOW, BUT FRIENDS HELP.

Sure I went to the same college as Stephenie Meyer. Sure we live in the same state, but I don't know her. And I likely never will. So stop asking, world. But through online resources I've "met" a few incredible writers, all obsessed like I am with getting published someday. It's so humbling to find out how many people write, who will go the distance and not crank out one but several novels all in the hopes that one will stick like gum to the minuscule publishing window of opportunity. These people come from all walks of life and many have had surprisingly successful careers in other areas before the writing bug affected their brains. I love receiving their guidance and support!

5.) Then: IF I CAN'T GET A BOOK IN HAND BY 2010, I'LL GIVE UP.

Now: HOW DO I GIVE UP?!

Writing has become such a big part of life (like it used to be before graduate school), that I can't give it up. There are stories that need paper, ideas wanting to be shared, and most of all, the zen that comes into my life when I've written at least a little. And then there's the euphoria of finishing a first draft. Writing has become my release and I just have to write. There's no stopping the habit. (Unfortunately for my family and housekeeping.)





So there are my TOOL confessions. A bit jaded I know, but right now I feel like the only tool in the tool box. I'll get over it in a week or two. For now have fun laughing at me and my prior mistakes. Er... I mean WITH me and my mistakes....

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Will Work for (Good) Food

My husband might not write novels, but he understands about deadlines and the need to sometimes just regurgitate a draft onto paper. (Though I make sure he remembers his dissertation was shorter and took less time than mine.)

And I don't know if it's BECAUSE of his understanding or lack thereof, but he's holding me to our bargain about getting a rough draft of the new work in progress (WIP) done in 30 days. Now, I think he should cut me a little slack because I've been (a) editing like crazy on Courtesy and Patience, since both agents who requested it came back with a kind no and (b) outlining the WIP because I couldn't just go with wherever it took me like I had hoped.

So technically (in my mind) the deadline should be June 4th. And if I can write 2k a day, I can have a rough draft done by then. Albeit a REALLY rough draft. So far I have only 7k written on it, but the characters are coming easy, there's not much world building, and it's a short book. Besides, June 4th feels like a natural deadline since that is the last day of Kindergarten and I won't have as much time on my hands after then. Anyway, don't you think my husband should extend the deadline? Please say that I'm right!

Oh, and about the book? It's Young Adult (YA) contemporary. I don't like to put any other genre labels on it more than that, but just for any (are there any?) inquiring minds, it's the Beatles book I might have mentioned before. A SMART romantic comedy. And I'm looking for any research: do ya'll have any favorite romantic comedy movies, especially ones with band/music lover themes? Or books, CLEAN Young Adult books about teen girls, romance, and rock music. Any good ideas?!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Incidents I know some day I'll laugh at, but for now...

I would say this only happens at my house, but I'm sure people with kids can relate:

This morning it took 10 minutes of chasing The Boy, or AKA The 2 Year Old, around the house to get him into the bath. When I finally did catch him, his defense mechanisms kicked in and he proceeded to wipe his gooey, green, boogery nose all over my arm. Now, this wouldn't have been so bad if I had been expecting it, but I had no idea his nose was runny. Then while I was washing the disgusting sludge off my arm and his face, he peed on my feet. And I would have been upset about this except he looked down at his plumbing so confused, like, "How did that thing go off so suddenly?"

I almost laughed. Almost.

The upside? When I set him in the bath he said (for the first time ever), "I sorry, Mom."

Some day I'll laugh. Just give me a minute.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day Hype

Mother's Day is overrated. It's nothing more than a sick tradition started by the flower, chocolate, and card companies.
I mean really, why would we ever want to celebrate the person who has influenced ours more than any other human being? Why would we pay tribute to the woman who walked through the shadow of death to bring us each into the world, who laughed and cried over us, always thought for every moment raising us that we were the smartest/prettiest/greatest kid on the block?
Yep. That's Mother's Day. Such a hype.
...And I love it. And I LOVE being a mother!
And my gifts this year were more than I could have asked for:
1. 2 1/2 beautiful and intelligent children with the hottest and smartest dad in the world.
2. A gorgeous, new picket fence for my garden, handmade by that dad.
3. A clean sanctum sanctorium, ready for exuding creative juices all week.
4. A Barnes and Noble gift card. (That guy I married 10 years ago knows me so well! Still!)

5. The ONE John Mayer CD I've been missing in my life.

6. Gourmet food, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. (No, I didn't have to cook it myself!)

7. Homemade cards and kisses from two sweet, little people.

So is this materialistic holiday worth its hype?

For me, it's the one day I feel entirely appreciated and so, so, so LOVED!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Another Update

A side update from my pity party last week: Clutter is still my primary nemesis, effecting every aspect of my day. Here's my hidey hole where I USUALLY write:Note that my laptop is not even on the desk. That's because I can't fit it in this mess. I've been editing and working on so many other things that this garbage has become a pit in which no creativity can exist. Normally, my desk looks like this, which is not very clean, but liveable:



And so my goal for the day is to make my sanctum sanctorium a place for happy writing thoughts again. Then my new WIP can flourish in the Beatles' obsessed world I'm building for it. (Wish me luck, I'll need it!)


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Update

After whining last week, here's my update: The agent passed. But she did so with incredible compassion and offered to look at it again (or other things I had) once I made a few changes. And so, I set back to work! (It's a good thing I love this kind of work.)
In the meantime I think I'll make that agent one of these:



And maybe act a bit like this:


A small thanks for giving me hope in the nebulous business (to me!) called publishing.