Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Renewed vigor and determination!

What can I do when there are too many ideas and not enough hours in the day?

I've been editing like a crazy person in both of my finished novels for the last few weeks, and I'm so pleased with the polished products gleaned from creative workshopping and suggestions! They are gorgeous and rich and flowing ... really something I'm going to be proud to share with everyone! Last week alone, I added probably 5,000 words at least in backstory to characters that I now see desperately needed to be anchored in the realm of Enna.

Alas, something has had to fall by the wayside, and that has been my Nano. What's a Nano? It's an exercise in writing I agreed to participate in for the month of November -- the goal being to begin and finish a novel of 50,000 words in the month. I began on a hot streak with 8,000 words in PAUSE – which I'm going to debut aloud at my Pre-Thanksgiving Writers Soiree at my house in a few weeks – but I haven't even opened the file in a week. Too many things going on! Not that I actually expected to finish the entire thing in a month, but I was willing to give it a show! Besides ... PAUSE is going to be about 90,000 when it's done, by my estimates, so 50,000 would barely have been half way.

Anyway, I've decided that this is the final straw! I'm kick-starting myself back into the habit of writing everyday that I was so proud of this past year, and it starts with the week of Thanksgiving! After the Soiree, I'm officially taking the whole next week off (with the exception of eating on Thursday and shopping on Friday) to indulge my creative streak and really let my muses out of their pampered little cages!

I've got so many ideas just bursting out of my head, from descriptions like 'he spoke like an elegant douchebag,' and places like 'the Cave Sea' that are begging for a new home! I'm also stocked up on great quotes and dialogue ideas, plus I have such a set direction to go in that I'm DYING to get moving!

Can you feel the enthusiasm? Seriously. Keep moving forward!

PS – I have a meeting today with a friend and former colleague of mine who, aside from being an amazing illustrator and author of 'The Rift' comic book series, is also the graphic designer for Sherrilyn Kenyon! How cool, right?

PPS – A dear friend of mine has announced plans to write a non-fiction book about her son, who has Asperger's (a high-functioning form of autism). She claims she was inspired by my writing to start herself, but we all know she's just an *amazing* woman and mom who makes her own life and those around her so fun! Her name is Elisa Leavitt -- remember it, because her story is going to blow up – that's how good it's going to be :)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Open Letter to Agents

If you readers don't mind, I'd like to take just this single post to address literary agents -- not because I hate them and would like to crush gingerbread men bearing their likenesses into a pulp of sandy crumbs and gumdrops, but because I have something important to say that I think gets overlooked.

Dear Agent,

I know you are overworked; I know you get thousands of query letters a month; and I know you reject 99.9% of them. I know you make your money off selling a writer's work, and I respect, understand and support your pickiness 100%. However, with much respect, I think you misunderstand us a little.

We are the authors who have the spine to write to you in the first place -- and in doing so, we *expect* rejection. It's inherent and inevitable, and yet you insist on sugar-coating your rejection letters as if pleasantries soften the blow.

We take our stories that we've worked on for months and we willingly package them to be flayed and torn apart. It's crazy -- insane! -- for us to be so excited, joyous and nervous about having our heart broken and our 'baby' tossed aside into a sea of rejects, but we're lying to you and ourselves if we can't admit to encouraging the rejection all the same.

However, that said, we do not care for niceties -- just give it to us straight. We do not need hollow rejection letters with encouraging sentiments telling us to 'assume' you're wrong. And, most of all, we do not want to read page-long generic form letters addressed to 'Author' explaining what you look for in a book with veiled references to how ours did not fit the bill.

That's just mean, and it's not in the least bit helpful, especially when, deep down, we already know you're not right. Don't assume we need your encouragement -- the encouragement of a person who did not see the value in our art. All it engenders is irritability, hurt and an underlying gratitude that you *didn't* find our story interesting enough to pick up, because I can't image anyone would want someone who doesn't love their story to represent it to a publisher.

But, this doesn't mean us writers don't like getting letters from you. On the contrary, it's what keeps us checking our inboxes every 15 minutes of every single day until we get a response.

What do I propose, then? A form letter is fine -- but skip the shallow well-wishes. If you're not going to be specific as to why *my* story isn't piquing your interest, then I would like nothing more or less than a 'Thank you, but your story is not right for me at this time. Good luck.'

So, dear Agent, I appreciate your effort to be helpful and informative in a generic sense, but when it borders on cruel, just skip it altogether, please.

Thank you, and good luck in your search for willing authors to represent.