Thursday, November 17, 2011

History (even the European kind) Repeats Itself

In the 16th century, Priest and theologian Martin Luther, growing tired of the hypocrisy and indulgences he saw rampant in the establishment, nailed his complaints to the front door of Castle Church of Wittenberg for everyone to see. This act caused widespread upheaval and finally reformation, forever changing the course of Christianity.

Let it never be said that I didn’t learn anything in A.P. European history.

I have a slightly interested editor (can I get an AMEN?). She likes the overall idea of my book but wants to see some big overhauls to the meat and potatoes of the story before she thinks it is publishable.

The problem? Much like the lazy Catholic church of the 1500’s, I am a little stuck in my ways. My words, my storyline, they all look okay to me.

The solution? Be Martin Luther.

I’ve made a list of everything that needs to change. It’s posted on my wall. I’m ripping my story to shreds, burning it down, and see what rises up from the ashes. Nothing is sacred. The chapters are getting reordered, new storylines are being added, even some character names are changing.

There can’t be reformation without major upheaval first. Here's to upheaval!

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Slap and a Kiss

“You look really great for someone who just had a baby.”
“Persistence is definitely your virtue…most people would have given up by now.”
“Wow, that’s quite an outfit! I really admire your courage.”
A compliment followed by criticism. A slap and a kiss.
I got a rejection letter today.
Slap.
BUT it was a personalized rejection letter.
Kiss.
Yes, a rejection is a rejection. But my manuscript caught someone’s attention enough that they didn’t just send a form letter. They took the extra time to give me some constructive criticism and even added the tiniest of compliments (amidst the list of everything not right with the story).
A slap and a kiss.
So I’m taking my victories where I can. And I’m counting this a victory.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Discipline

Disipline: The ability to do a boring thing over and over again.
Like read your finished manuscript over for the fourty-fourth time looking for ways to improve it. Like combing the internet to find the agent of your dreams who may just think your manuscript is the story of their dreams.
Like reading ridiculously confusing submission guidelines eighteen times to make sure your submission to publisher x is perfect.
Like jogging thirty minutes up hill each day to lose the baby weight...Well, that may just be me...
Here's to the pursuit of discipline. Even if we don't get our stories published any time soon, at least these exercises in seeming futility will build up our endurance to be able to put up with just about any task...which includes doing 200 sit-ups each day to make the pregnancy pooch go away (just me again?)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Manuscript Preschool

Me: So, Husband/Mom/Dad/Best Friend who-know-nothing-about-writing-but-are-the-only-people-I-trust-enough-to-show-my-manuscript-to, how did you like the story?
Them: It was awesome! I loved it!
Me: Great! So, do you have any feedback for me?
Them: Nope.
Me: Really? Some feedback would really help to strengthen the story...
Them: Nope. It was great.
Me: Please? Pretty please?

The conclusion: Giving your manuscript to someone who, A. is too close to you to be objective and, B. doesn’t know much about the writing process has NOT been helpful (ego-boost from all their positive comments aside...) So I decided to get my nerve up and join a critique group. I was matched up with another author and we traded manuscripts over email.

I loaded my little manuscript and with great trepidation, I hit send and it was whisked away from me into cyberspace.

It was kinda like dropping my little boy off at preschool for the first time. Is my little manuscript going to make friends? Is it going to get picked on? Is this stranger going to absolutely hate it and kick it in the mud on the literary playground?

So I am sitting here, waiting to hear back from this stranger (who is MUCH more qualified to read a manuscript being an author herself) to see what she has to say. As a mother of a manuscript, this is scary stuff.

So, good luck out there little manuscript. Be good! For the love of all that is holy, PLEASE be good!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bad brain! Bad!

I just had a new baby a month ago. Life has been crazy to say the very least with a three-year old and a newborn. So you can imagine my disappointment when I finally get my husband to stay home with the boys so I can go running and plan the next few chapters of my book, and my brain decides it has absolutely no intention of planning anything.
Actual transcript of me on my run:
Ok, so the hero comes and...
Ugh, I can't believe Mark McGrath got kicked off of Celebrity Apprentice before Gary Busey. That guy's a total nut job!
Anyway, the hero comes and...
Huh, I wonder how long it's gonna take to fit back into my regular clothes if I keep running 3 times a week...
Hey! Focus! The hero...
Did I forget to pay the water bill yesterday?
Yes, I probably forgot. So the hero comes and...
How many cookies can I eat without undoing all the work I am doing on this run? What if I just eat the chocolate chips and not the actual cookie?
Ok, I give up. No book planning today.
This was a pretty bad case of misbehaving brain. I'll chalk it up to the sleep deprivation. I am hoping for a good night's sleep soon so my head starts waxing literary again. Either that or I hope my sleep-deprived hallucinations start making for good story additions.