Monday, April 28, 2014

The Hard Part

Writing is easy. 

I just wrote that, see? Easy. Thought to fingers, it spreads out from a word or two to a sentence to a paragraph to a story, and there you have it.

The hard parts come next. 

Second guessing each sentence - is it good? is it clear? is it interesting? is it needed? 

Editing can be painful - line up all your children and decide which one is worthy to stick around for a bit. Which one will be culled for oblivion. Which one is not smart enough, not cute enough, not funny enough. Which one works too little? which one tries too hard?

(Maybe that's a bad example 'cause if I had 100K kids it may be easier to kick some out.)

And then, the whole selling thing. 

Chapters is a lie. Not really but try to follow me anyway... When I go into Chapters there are all of these rectangular objects that SING to me "Pick me! PICK ME!" It's not quite as bad as the SPCA cat room but close. What you don't see is the behind the scenes selling to get them there... The author had to sell the story first. 

1. To him/herself - is it good enough? If you think so, zip back a couple of paragraphs and see how that works out.

2. To an editor - is it good enough? And here's the tough part, the editor's job is to say "Well, not quite here, here and here," without handing the author that tiny bottle of WIP poison.

3. To an agent / publisher - is it good enough? Cause they're the ones that make it into that rectangular object in the first place. And they have a bazillion options besides that one story. 

4. To the readers - is it good enough? Even after a story is published the marketing and promoting is just beginning. Remember Chapters with the thousands of books screaming "PICK ME!"? how do I make my book sing loudest? 

Writing is easy. I sit at my desk alone with my cat and my diet Coke and push the thoughts from my head to my fingers and the story appears. I like the quiet, the solitude, the safety. But then I have to scrutinize it without squashing all the confidence with it. And once it's out there I have to find a way to yell PICK ME above the crowds, and drawing attention to myself on purpose? Not quite part of my introverted bio. That's where the hard work starts.


Friday, April 25, 2014

Real Writer Problems

So I've posted before that I don't always 'feel' like an author. And I've posted that my path to publication with Game Plan wasn't really typical. Now I'm at my desk again to write and instead I'm muddling through some other tasks and I'm thinking maybe this is what'll make me feel like a 'real author'.

I need to look into finding an agent... which is code for "send your heart and soul out at the mercy of the people to be squashed and burned". Okay that might be a little melodramatic, but it does look scary - instead of offering up one book for submission to publishers, I offer up myself and my entire work to one person. They can say 'no you suck'. Check that, they don't even say 'no, you suck', from what I can gather you submit and wait and if you don't hear from them you assume you suck. I might be taking the whole process a little too personally.  Other writerly types say the right agent is a must have, and actually the more I research the more I really like the idea of having a Super Agent in my corner... I just gotta find the right one.

AND I'm applying for a grant again. I had applied a few times before without success. There's only so much money to go around and I'm sure there's lots of deserving writers in Nova Scotia. Now that I've published one book, there are more opportunities so I'm jumping back in the game.

SO on this Writing Day Friday I'm not really writing - I'm researching and emailing and compiling supporting material and drawing up synopses and editing and everything else but WRITING my WIP. SO maybe that's what a real writer does?


PS, I was going to search for a picture that illustrated the chaos I tried to describe above, but thought a cute picture of my cat might work better because a cute picture of a cat ALWAYS works better. Here's my cat giving my puppy some love.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Finally Friday

Writing day Fridays... happy sigh. Kids are home today for Easter. We're having a lazy pj and screens day - not ALL day but a good chunk of relaxation. We're on the go so much, school, sports, music... when we have a down day I like to soak it up. So we're watching Good Luck Charlie and I'm going to  attack my USB - UntitledSecondBook that was declined last week. (By the way, I've chosen to use 'declined' in place of 'rejected'). The decline-tion (doesn't work in all contexts) included good suggestions and direction but I've got to figure out how to apply it to what I've got.  It's not straight forward... feedback says 'this isn't working' and it's up to me to figure out how to make it work. That how gets harder the more times a manuscript is edited and reviewed. USB has been through a couple of edits on my part, an editor, and then an edit with his suggestions so the big problems have been ironed out... the smaller ones are harder to tease out and fix.


Saturday, April 12, 2014

100th post! - Good time to feel like a 'Real Author'

I've posted a few times about wondering when I'll feel like a 'real writer' or actually believe that I'm a 'published author'... I got another dose of that this week!

I was so lucky that Game Plan was picked up by Fierce Ink Press. Not just because they're awesome but also because it was the first submission I made for Game Plan. Literally.

Looks like my second novel will have a more typical course to publication - I got my email on Friday. I prefer the word "decline" to "rejection", don't you? But here's the secret: I looove my second novel. I love the story. I love the characters. I love the messages and the theme. If Game Plan was 'publishable' then this one is too. So I got a copy of Writer's Market that came with the online subscription and my attention will shift from my WIP back to my UntitledSecondStory. It needs a title. The decline email provided great feedback and suggestions so I know where I have to focus. I'm excited to get back in it!


Friday, April 11, 2014

Social Networking...

When I submitted Game Plan to Fierce Ink Press, there was one sentence in their submission guidelines that daunted me: "A word about social media and why we require it." which pre-empted a discussion about self promotion and online presence with Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, etc. I've had Facebook mastered for the past seven years. Probably too mastered if you ask those who aren't interested in what I'm having for lunch. Yes, I'm one of those. But I hadn't tried Twitter or Tumblr, mostly because I was intimidated.

Tumblr still confuses me a bit... I get the purpose but I can't grasp the community structure of it. I understand how FB and Twitter are laid out, but Tumblr is still a bit baffling. So, as Game Plan started to come together I signed up for Twitter and started Twitting about. 

Wednesday I joined in in my first Twitter Chat. Talk about confusing!!! It was kinda like that fuzzy drunk stage where you're sitting at the table with all your boisterous friends who are talking over each other and the background hum and music is competing with what they're saying and you only get every third sentence that anyone says and you can't figure out how one sentence leads to the other. But it's all super fun and you're having a great time and it doesn't matter that you're not getting everything. I piped up a few times and hoped I didn't make an ass of myself. I'm looking forward to trying it again!


BTW you can follow me on Twitter if you want to, @NSampson17 But only if you want to, I'm not forcing anyone into listening to what I had for lunch.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Getting organized

It's been a bit since I was able to concentrate time and energy on my WIP, so I spent today organizing it to remember what the heck I was writing in the first place. I came across a good deal on Scrivener, a writing software I had considered purchasing at full price, so it was an easy buy at half price.
Today I imported my WIP files and tried to separate and sort them in a way that might maximize the benefits of Scrivener.

It's an interesting process.

By it's nature writing is creative. But to develop a worthwhile novel, it takes much more structured discipline and organization than you would think. Even the most free flowing and organic stories need an almost mathematical formulated foundation.

So far Scrivener is helping with that; forcing my flighty right hemisphere to listen to my anal left hemisphere for once. I love the layout, the simplicity and functionality of it. I love the way it looks, the way it moves. I love the layers of explanation I can add. It's been a good process to review my WIP and pick up the scent of where the story was headed.

And that's why there's no procrastination involved. At all.


Friday, April 04, 2014

One of those moments...

So the Mooser and I went to Chapters to find some magazines (that's another story) and, as I have every other time I was in Chapters, I entered "Game Plan" into the search computer. BUT instead of saying "available to order" it said "1 available in this store". Um, what? So of course we had to go LOOK for it (which took longer than it should because my alphabetizing skills are terrible). Here it is:
How cool is that?

I mean, you could walk into Chapters in Bayer's Lake right now and buy that book! Unless someone else already bought it, in which case you can order it like before...

I was that close to buying it myself. I mean, it would be cool to have the first copy in stores, right? And maybe if I bought it they'd say "Hey, that book moved pretty quickly, we'd better order more" or something like that.

But Elliot told me to stop being lame and let's get going though not in those words. I think he said "Can we go now?" and said I shouldn't buy the book b/c it wouldn't be there for someone else, which is actually a very good point. 

SO, I left it behind in the store and left with my magazines as planned and a book for Elliot. We'll see how that goes.


#GoodDay Reviews

Charlie's Story on Wattpad

Game Plan on Wattpad

Nine on Wattpad

My other Distraction