What If and Why Do You Write?

Just the other day I had my last Chapter meeting for RWA until September. We had a panel of speakers give us the low down on their pros and cons of traditional publishing, hybrid publishing, and self-publishing. It was nice to hear their opinions of publishing and how things have changed so much since 2008.

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One of the gals in my group mentioned of how one of her manuscripts had been pitched to an editor without her knowledge. She didn’t find out about it until she received a nasty letter from the editor that broke her heart. Even though she knows that the editor does not like Romance, they were so negative about the book in what she felt was an unprofessional manner and sent the manuscript back anonymous.

What do you do when this happens?

You go to your peers and vent about it. Your peers will understand. As a writer, your peers are other writers.

Then we asked her if the negative comments were of any consequence to the story as in bad editing or story line or what not. When she couldn’t come up with any damaging statements about the overall writing, we told her to toss the critique aside. It only means that the person who wrote that was in a sad sort of way that day and they knew it. That was why they wouldn’t sign their name to the critique.

 

Why? Why Write?

 

Have you had bad critiques or reviews? Have they bothered you so much that they have torn you up inside? Should you let them get to you?

I think not.

If they were constructive then you will know it. They will point out the issues with your story, and not point to a person with a bad attitude. Even if it is just one useful line in the whole damning review, it can become helpful to you instead of hurtful.

A pro about self-publishing is that no matter what, you hold the power to revise your stories as many times as you see need fit. There is a big learning curve to overcome when you choose to become a self-publisher of your own work. It will take years to understand every aspect of publishing.

So when you do get that damming review or critique you should look at it and decide if it contains one ounce of constructive criticism. If it does, learn to swallow your pride and use it. If it does not, don’t pay it any attention and know that for all it was worth, the person that wrote that was probably having a bad day.

If you can’t let it go then you need to ask yourself why. Why does this one person’s opinion bother you so much? Should it really matter that much to you to make you feel sick inside? It is just one reader, right?

Then if you are still unable to see constructive criticism then you need to ask the next question.

Why do you write?

Are you out to try and please every person you have ever met? I certainly hope not. Where is your identity if you do so? We all have reputations that will remain with us for the rest of our lives. Are you going to be the one that takes your book and hit the one star reviewer over their head? I certainly hope not. I bet you are better than that.

Image Courtesy of Microsoft

So why do you write?

What are you trying to do? If you are in this for the money then you need to find a different profession. Go be a doctor or a lawyer. Wait, aren’t they switching to writing too?

Anyways, I write for my own entertainment. I like to amuse my own brain, create worlds, create people, monsters and creatures. I like to play the What If game. I like running different scenarios and seeing which one holds the most excitement. How can I make myself chuckle?

There are only a few writers who are going to be Nora Roberts, Huey Harvey, or Amanda Hocking. It happens but not to the extent that some people like to believe.

They say that even the advances from the traditional houses are getting lower.

 

So if you are being bothered by rejection after rejection, ask yourself why.

But most of all, ask yourself why do you write?

When you can answer this question, you will see your perception of that negative blurb change as you drop your defensiveness and look at your work with the same magnifying glass that the readers hold in their hands.

 

My ROW80 Check In:

Writing slow and steady, but I am getting somewhere, finally after struggling with letting one single word out of my brain since NaNo. We will see if I decide to skip NaNo this year. It will all depend on whether I can finish writing Sleeping on the Beach before November rolls around. You can follow my first draft on Wattpad. See the link in the side bar.

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Borrow a Prompt to Spark Your Muse

Photo courtesy of Microsoft

Writing Prompt:

Your neighbor starts a brush fire in his back yard, only to have it get out of control. He goes to look for a fire extinguisher and finds out that he doesn’t have one. So, he runs to the store to buy one. When he returns he discovers his house is on fire.

Over the NaNo and on with the #ROW80 Update

Thanksgiving is over, and the turkey is dwindling, NaNoWri Mo is over.

Were you successful with the NaNo Challenge?

I wasn’t. I never expected to finish on time anyways. But I was fine with that.

After writing almost 15k words on The Dubious Heir I must say I kind of like how it is shaping out.

NaNo said I averaged about 400 words a day. I can live with that kind of average. It is a doable average. At that rate, I should be done with the first draft by the end of February. This story marks once again, uncharted waters. This is a story where the censoring filters are to be shut off. An Adults only story that I am writing for sheer fun.

I like trying new things. You never know what you might learn from just trying. Maybe a new concept, new idea, a different form of voice.

Writers are always evolving. Each new story can take them into another direction.

So, it’s been awhile since I last did ROW80 check-in. I can report a total of 400 words written for today. Most of my Christmas shopping is done – does that count? Oh right, writing, not wrapping and shopping. It is just one more distraction out of the way.

New goal, for the week. 400 words a day. If I try writing 400 words a day for a week, who knows maybe I will get back into the daily writing habit I had over a year ago. I just need to stay away from World of Warcraft if I want to succeed.

How about you? Did you finish your NaNo?

How about your Holiday Shopping?

There were some pretty decent deals over the past week.

I wonder what kind of deals they will have for Cyber Monday?

Sunday Scoopful and #ROW80

Can you believe it is already the third Sunday of the Month? Where did the days go? Next week is Thanksgiving.

Being the third weekend of the month means that yesterday was the third Saturday of the month, and it was the day my other writing group meets. The Monadnock Writers’ Group meets every third Saturday of the month from September to June at the Peterborough, New Hampshire town Library, downstairs. For all but two months, we are entertained by a speaker, a guest who shares tidbits about what it means to be a writer. We have had screenplay writers, poets, artists, photographers, and others who have something to share with the art form of writing.

This weekend we were visited by Judson D. Hale, Sr., The current editor-in-chief of The Old Farmer’s Almanac and Yankee magazine and is Chairman of the Board at Yankee Publishing. He shared tidbits of what an editor faces when it comes to submissions. He gave many example of queries he has received over the years and why he told the person no and why he said yes to a story. He said it was all in the blurb or tag line of the story on whether or not he found the story to his appeal. If the story line sounded boring he would say no, and if they gave him a blurb with juice to it, he would say yes. It wasn’t the subject matter that made the difference it was all in the way it was presented.

Judson had some genuinely excellent points, and he shared his witty humor with us along with some of his favorite quotes.

So who is doing NaNo-ing?

*raises hand…

ROW80 Check In:

I’m still NaNo-ing. Yep, that’s right. I haven’t given up hope just yet, even if I missed writing a few days this week.

Remember, my best is writing a first draft in 90 days. So, if I can beat that best, then I win my own personal goal, even if I don’t finish the work in progress in due time to make the NaNo goal.

Today I am happy to report my 5k for today. I might finish the first draft by the end of January.

I did have to go and revamp my plot outline before I could go any further. It is so helpful to have that plot point by plot point all figured out. The characters may not always behave the way you might want them too, but if the goal is there already for them to get to the rest of the character building falls into place.

It does not matter if your character is not as strong as you wanted them to be. They can still be kick ass and sweet and simple too. The most crucial thing is to make your characters likeable. Then you can pick the characters off one at a time if they don’t want to behave.

I must say, I can’t kill off characters as easily as Suzanne Collins did in Hunger Games. As I read her book I was miffed at how easily she was able to kill them, one after the other. In the end, I found myself saying – out loud – huh? Now why did she kill him off, I kind of liked him? He must have been a terribly crummy boy for her to do that to him.

Now I am learning the art of killing off characters (lol). At the 20% point of the work in progress, I have successfully managed to kill off one character. I wonder how many more characters that I can kill off by the end of the story.

Happy NaNo-ing and may your WIP treat you well for your next ROW80 check in.

Check out other ROWers by following the link below.

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Prophecy of the Claw – Orgarlan Saga

When the human from the far off land

Sets foot in Orgarlan

A dragon claw with a book

Will be afoot

One will take the dragon magic

To reek deadly havoc

Lives will be lost

At great cost

When the human from the far off land

Sets foot in Orgarlan

A human witch with a book

Will be afoot

One will take the witches book

To rule the peoples with a look

A deadly game will be played

To be won by a young maid

When the human from the far off land

Sets foot in Orgarlan

A human beast master with an uproot

Will be afoot

Phoenix fire of the night

Is the hope from this fright

Burn the claw

To stop this all.