Friday, October 29, 2010

Declines and Nanowrimo

I didn't want to spoil the beauty of my 100th blog with an update of on my ms submission. So I waited a few days to soften the impact. I had my first official decline from a publishing house through Carolyn. She asked if I was crushed over not getting on with this particular house.

Short answer is "No." Longer answer is "It would be nice to get a Yes right out of the gates and avoid the whole rejection process." The thing I find kind of funny is the fact that the word "decline" is supposed to be less painful than "rejection". Last I heard, they mean the same thing. Though I suppose that rejection has more of a throw away attitude to it. Now the editors are putting my ms in a folder nicely instead of chucking it across the room and into a large paper shredder. Oh come on you can laugh at that. :D You gotta laugh, its the only response to these sorts of things.

For those of you doing NanWrimo, I too am taking the month long challenge and if you'd like to buddy up to me I would be glad to have you there. I got real creative and used my Twitter account name. So you can find me under "queryaddict" and I hope to see a lot of you there.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Rifting Aragon at Surrey 2010

This is my 100th blog post and I wanted it to be, well, epic is the only word that comes to mind. Seeing as I just came home from SiWC and am full of inspiration from all the wonderful speakers, I thought that perhaps instead of being epic on my own, I would let someone else do it for me. Namely, Robert Dugoni who gave THE most epic of all speeches. Keep in mind that this is as close to it as I could come with my faulty memory.

"When looking at the publishing world and trying to break in, for those of you who are still trying to make it past the front gate, its like looking up at the Black Gates of Mordor. Like an impossible task with talk of publishing houses cutting back, e-pubs taking over and the recession hitting hard. But I would say to you this,

Writers of Surrey! My brothers and sisters. I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of writers fail, when agents and editors forsake us and we break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. By all that you hold dear on this good earth, I bid you to write. An hour of rejections and shattered pens may come when the Age of writers comes crashing down, but it is not this day. This day, this day we write!"

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Leaving on a . . . ferry

I'm off to Surrey International Writers Conference tomorrow morning and I am PUMPED! After the success of my stint at the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference in July, I can't wait to dive back in, this time without the buzzing voice in the back of my head that sounds vaguely like a zombie with an English accent:

"Must get agent, must get agent, must get agent. . . "

Phew. Its quite the relief that for the moment the only people I'm trying to impress are the editors . . . . . Oh crap.

Well, so much for that initial theory. Let the games begin either way. I won't be back until Sunday so don't expect much on the blog unless there is a major development. Here's hoping! :)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Cursing the Muse

A few days off of writing is all I can handle, my muse seems to be in overdrive right now, which I guess is a good thing. Though I must say, the least he could be is more courteous of the fact that I have a job, a husband and other responsibilities on my plate beside writing. Ah well, could be worse, I could be hanging out in "Block City."

I finished my ms three (3) days ago and already I'm back at it with another series as I promised to give myself at least a week away from the Chronicles Series. (Which actually was supposed to be a week off of writing the next book in the series, but I've been outlining already.)

So I've gone back to a piece I'd written not quite a year ago. One that initially was intended just for a writing group piece (a Christmas piece of all things) but has started to really get my attention lately. When discussing possible projects after my first series is completed, this seems to be the one that people are most interested in seeing.

I also need something to take with me to the Surrey International Writers Conference for the Blue Pencil Session wherein you get to sit down with a well known and published author (In my case I'm sitting with Robert Dugoni) and they read a bit of your work and give you some feedback.

If you want to check out the rough, rough copy of my piece I'm thinking of taking and am currently editing the heck out of, check out my website and go to the short stories section and click on the tentatively titled, "Cursed". Or just click on my link below.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Upon Completion of a Manuscript

It's done, it's done, it's done!

I finished book # 2 of my Chronicles of Sin series at about 8am this morning. A huge relief that A. I could finish a book in a relatively short period of time including the first round of edit/revisions, B. it looks like its at the very least as good as the first book if not better and C. I can now pitch that I have the first two books completed and not just in an outline form.

The weird thing is, I don't know what to do with myself now. I'm waiting to hear back from Carolyn if I should continue on this series and start #3 or if I should start a different book altogether. But its been so long since I have done anything with available time but write, I feel a little lost.

So I've started to play on the Internet, looking up goofy, goony things. There is some seriously funny stuff out there, laugh out loud and make people stare at you funny stuff! Let me share a few of the pictures I've found with you. My favorite is the last one :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Writers and Money or is that Oil and Water?

Earlier today I tweeted that I was wanting to do a post on the average salary of a writer, started doing some research and got scared. Someone tweeted me this,

"It should scare you. Writers are getting hit HARD with this economic decline. Sad, but true."

Crap, that was depressing. So, I decided to go to Publisher's Marketplace and see what I could find there. Surely, someone must be making money as a writer? Perhaps they just aren't talking about it, perhaps they like their privacy? This was my hope. And here are my findings. Make of it what you will, it buoyed my spirits up and gave me a light at the end of the scary publishing tunnel.

All these numbers are for the last 12 months and include all categories, international rights and foreign rights.

1324 deals were made where the author earned $1-$49,000 with the top earning genre being Fiction followed closely by Women's/Romance.

233 deals were made where the author earned $50,000-$99,000 with the top earning genre being Fiction followed by Children's/YA.

194 deals were made where the author earned $100,000- $250,000 with the top earning genre being Children's/YA followed by Women's/Romance.

99 deals were made where the author earned $251,000-$499,000 with the top earning genre being Children's/YA followed by Fiction.

138 deals were made where the author earned $500,000 or more with the top earning genre being Children's/YA followed by Fiction.

And these numbers don't cover EVERY single deal out there, just the ones that show an amount of money made. So what does this tell us? Well, here are a few more numbers. 1302 deals were made under the Children's/Ya section. 342 were made in the Women's/Romance and in Fiction there were 1433 deals made.

Why you may ask, do these numbers make me feel better? 1. Books are still being bought, lots and lots of books. 2. The top three money makers are genre's that cover a lot of peoples MS's including my own. 3. Just knowing that it is possible to make good money at this very subjective business gives me hope. I for one, believe it is possible to make it as a writer.

Do you?

Friday, October 08, 2010

Calvin and Hobbes on Writing

I love Calvin and Hobbes, it is one of my favorite comics for so many reasons. But this one is by far the funniest when it comes to writing.

I'm sure you've read books like this, books where the author is trying hard to sound smart, intelligent and highly educated but they come across as pompous, irritating and desperate.

Calvin here of course is just being his difficult self, trying to make his teachers life a little more complicated and get a good grade in the process. Maybe that's why the smarty pants writers write the way they do? To get a good grade (win an award) and impress the teacher (reviewers).

Me, I'd rather write a book that all the kids (readers) like and forget about the teachers (reviewers), after all, its not the reviewers that make you a NYT best seller.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Too Many Ideas

I had a question regarding my last post, Coming up with your Story (which I also realized had a typo in the title uhg!). The question was from @liannebrooks on Twitter and may have been in jest, but thought I would answer it anyway, if for nothing else than a fun post.

What do you do when you have TOO many story ideas? The very first thing you need to do is drop to your knees and thank God you have this problem. More than once I've heard that people have "only so many stories" in them. So if you have an abundance, be grateful.

Second thing, write them down, all of them. Even those that seem silly or not even a full story idea but just a scene or a character, you'll forget them if you only keep the idea in your head and not on paper or on file.

And if you're really struggling with this overflowing river of ideas, pass them on to someone else. Yup, you heard me, if you don't want to write them down or use them yourself, help one of those struggling writers who used up all their story ideas already. But really, I doubt it if you'll ever have to use this step. And if you do, keep me in mine, I can always use a good idea. ;)

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Coming up with your Story

"How do you come up with ideas for a story?" I have heard this a great deal lately, in fact, it happens to me at least a couple of times a week from clients.

One of the (I think) most common ways to come up with an idea is the "What if?" game. What if there was a zombie Apocalypse? (Resident Evil) What if a great white shark had a taste for human flesh? (Jaws) What if this world was just a computer generated reality and we were plugged into it (The Matrix). Of course, this isn't the only way to come up with an idea.

People watching is fantastic and something my writing group is looking forward to doing. Go spend an hour in front of Wal-Mart and watch the people heading in and out. You see someone and begin to wonder why they are smiling, or frowning, or whistling to themselves. If you have a mind like mine, its a reason that leans to the dark side. That man is smiling because he just got away with murder. Or that woman is frowning because she's come from the doctors office and she found out she's pregnant with twins and she hasn't had sex for six months so how the hell did it happen? Watching people can allow you to give them a history and a story that sparks ideas.

I love brainstorming with other like minded individuals. They don't have to be writing the same genre as you either. In fact, I had a brainstorm session with a gal today who writes mysteries. I write urban fantasy and yet we were able to get a really great idea together for her to start her novel. It took a forty-five minute walk and we had a portion of her story put together and all because we talked without restriction, kind of like free writing where there is no judgment, just words.

I have phenomenal dreams, ones that leave me gasping and sweating with the realism of the characters and situations. I have pulled from those dreams complete series, story lines and screenplays that are yet to be written. be sure to have a book beside your bed because as I'm sure you know, the dreams fade quickly and with them, the possibilities of a story.

Other peoples stories are also a great way to develop your own ideas. I do not mean taking Stephanie Meyer's sparkling vamps and throwing in a sparkling zombie and calling it your idea. I mean, listen to old people's stories, think about what would have happened if grandpa hadn't made it home from the war and maybe what really happened to him while he was on the front lines. Truth, life and fact are FAR stranger than any fiction you could come up with on your own. Use these stories as springboards and run with it. Just be sure to change grandpa's name!

These are a few ideas that I have used to begin my story lines. What do you use? All of the above? Or something entirely different?