March 28, 2011 § Leave a comment
I have a pretty thick skin. Being sensitively challenged, I often don’t understand the nature of offending someone. I really think you have to go out of your way to purposefully hurt someone, and I don’t think most of us are walking around trying to cause offense. Then there is the unintentional hurt. Which I think most people should be more understanding of. Especially in the case of friendships.
So how is it that I came to write a book that could so easily offend a huge population of people?
The short answer is, I don’t know.
I have to hope that agents, and editors, and friends, and everyone else reading it, will understand my intent. It’s not to offend, but to tell a story. A story that could very well be a true one. Researching the Identity Movement, and the Aryan Nation, wasn’t what I call a good time on a Friday night. It was informative, and shocking. There are still people in the world today that believe in this nonsense. There are whole groups fighting for a cause that is so ridiculous, it’s literally unbelievable.
Yet, it’s true.
My book it ultimately about choices. Choices we make based on fear, and the fear of choices that seem impossible.
It’s hard to make that shine in a simple query letter, with a premise that is so controversial, it’s almost unmarketable.
March 24, 2011 § 1 Comment
I compare finding an agent to being the ugly girl that no one wants to date. You do everything within your power to shine yourself up. You’re going to the gym, spending obscene amounts of time on skin care, makeup, nice clothes. You want your personality to shine through, and so you have your lines ready. You stand in front of the mirror and practice facial expressions, funny quips that you’ll share. All you need is a hook, and he’ll be yours. Then you’re pumping yourself up before the date, thinking “this is the one, we’re perfect for each other.” Maybe you’ve trolled all the dating web sites, done all the research. Maybe it’s just a blind date, a shot in the dark. Regardless, you’ve done everything you can to make yourself look great, and then BAM!
He doesn’t call, he doesn’t write. Your date was great, you thought you were really meant to be together. So you wallow for a minute, and then you think, “Ok that one hurt a little, but there’s other fish in the sea.” So you try again, and again, and again. Until you become numb to the pain, and you want to give up. He’s not out there, nobody loves me. The Ben and Jerry’s come later, the self doubt creeping in. Your girlfriends step up to the plate, they offer reassurance. “You’ll find him, I promise, he’s out there, you just have to keep looking.” So you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and take another good look in the mirror. Maybe you do something dramatic like plastic surgery, or botox (shiver). The point is you keep trying, you keep putting yourself out there, because someday, someone will love you.
March 19, 2011 § Leave a comment
I have friends that read a lot. A LOT, a lot. More than the average person I would say. I love people that read. I don’t even care what you read, it’s more about the understanding that exists between us. The complete submersion into another world, where books are like good friends. How it feels to stay up until 330 in the morning because you simply couldn’t put the book down. Those that would sacrifice food, sleep, and other bodily functions to finish one more chapter. Those are the people I find a kinship with.
So when I was looking for Beta Readers I didn’t have to go far. My friends were honest, my family critical, and my book club supportive. All great things to be, and most helpful to me. But they’re still the ones that love me. I need to expand my horizons a bit. Find strangers that are willing to really get into the nitty gritty of my book.
So I joined a writers forum for Young Adults.
Oh golly let me tell you. I realized going in that I would have to read the work of others. That I would have to make suggestions to them, if I were to expect the same courtesy. I guess what I didn’t account for, was the lack of originality.
I’m not saying that my writing, or book, is better than anyone elses. I’m saying that I would never be able to do the job of an agent or editor. NEVER.
You think I’m exaggerating don’t you?
It quickly became apparent in the forum I joined, that most of the writers were teenagers, or much older adults, trying to write for teenagers. I wish I could copy and paste here, but the forum doesn’t allow that, and I would never want to “plagiarize” (not the true definition of the word, but in spirit) anyone elses work. So instead, here are the conceptual ideas of the works I was given, before I yanked my own work off the site.
“Boy meets girl, she’s exceptionally beautiful and popular. He’s unworthy. Turns out she’s a mermaid.”
“Country catches a deadly virus and only a few people survive. There’s a safe haven if they can find it. They’re all teenagers of course.”
“Girl has special abilities that are rapidly becoming apparent on her sixteenth birthday. It’s a novel of self discovery!”
and my favorite of all. . . .
“It’s a fairy world and we’re just living in it.”
Isn’t that last one catchy? I made it up myself. She would have been better served using my one liner I think, then her own two page synopsis.
So there it is. I had one critique roll in before I pulled the plug on it. It was in text speak, which gives me a head ache to read (is it really harder to type in “you” as opposed to “u”? Really?). They wanted more romance angle. I don’t write romance angles well. I like gritty. I like heartache. I don’t like romance angles. (There is a romance angle in my book, just not of the burning bosom variety)
The moral of the story is, I’m sticking with my friends, until I can find an agent that will give me more valuable feedback.
March 10, 2011 § Leave a comment
Somewhere in my brain I know to use than rather than then.
So when I’m rereading my ms (manuscript in writers speak, I’ve been spending too much time in the chat threads) it is incredibly annoying to happen upon these little mistakes. Then I reread again and see something else. It’s a never ending cycle of tiny embarrassments. Not to mention it distracts me from my story.
Imagine my horror when I sent out my very first query today without emailing it to myself first.
For some reason I thought I could cut and paste the document I worked so hard on directly into the body of my email, and then send it out into the web universe. After all I type in NewTimes Roman. It should be no big deal right?
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
I copied myself into the email, and feeling excited at the prospect of maybe finding representation, I decided to open up the copy to gloat a little at my own self.
Horror of horrors.
The entire email was sent out in 8 point font. EIGHT. POINT. FONT.
I don’t have the best eyesight to begin with, but this was microscopic. I opened it on my phone and it was unreadable.
What have I done!?! and you can’t exactly resubmit to the same agent, with a “whoops, I’m so unprofessional that I sent you this unreadable query letter because I didn’t bother to proof it first by sending it to myself before emailing you!?!?!” No! You can’t do that!!!
Oh, my OCD is kicking in again. Now I know to forward the email after I’ve sent it to myself, and then deleted all forwarding information.