What’s Another Two Weeks?

As I may have already written, I queried a publisher about my novel, Saving Eden, back in September. The editor invited me to send the first 3 chapters, synopsis and my bio, which, of course, I did.

In December, I received a very enthusiastic response from the editor telling me: Wow! great read. A tight, page turner, etc. (Gina blushes).
He asked if I had already sold the story. (I wished). If I hadn’t already placed it, he would love an exclusive on the full MS. He said he’d like to take the MS to committee “early next year”. He preferred it via e-mail attachement. So, it was out the next day.

I e-mailed him a month or so ago and was basically told, this process takes lots and lots of time and to stop checking my inbox.

Well, I figured it’s been over 3 months since I sent the full MS. If I never check on it, I may never hear back. Perhaps he didn’t even remember that he had the ding-dong thing.

I e-mailed him the other day and expected to get a quick rejection letter just for bothering him, but luckily did not. (I’ve noticed a pattern when I request an update on work an agent/editor has had a long time I usually get a quick rejection. I think it makes their life easier that way. But have I learned my lesson? Obviously not.)

The editor answered and said an outside reader had just finished the MS and he wanted to send it out to one more. I should drop him a note in 2 to 3 weeks. May as well be 2 to 3 years. That’s the way it feels.

He didn’t give any indication whether reader 1 liked or hated it. That can’t be a good sign.

But, it can’t be a terrible sign that he’s sending it out to another reader. Can it?

God willing, I’ll be going to a writer’s conference in April and a representative of Westbow will be there. I think they too would be a great fit for my work. So, I’ll wait until the last minute to bug him again. I’ll need to know if I should be pitching my book at that conference.

Last year at the same conference, I felt sure that next conference, I would be up at the podium sharing my success story. Maybe I still will be. Maybe not.

It seems in life, things start to happen when I let go and let God. And I have in a sense. I’ve finally handed it over to Him. He knows what’s best for me. This publisher may reject my book, only to have it picked up by a bigger publisher. Or, it may not be for my best to have this book bought at all.

Only God knows and His plans for me are always better than those I’ve made for myself.

Cook Soup Before Serving

When I wrote my first novel it was as though I were possessed. I woke up most morning s around 4:30 and wrote until the kids woke around eight. I’d finished the rough draft in about six weeks.

And man, was it rough.

I spent a year and a half rewriting it.

My second novel was going to be different. This time I belonged to a writing critique group and I planned to edit as I went. I tried to write an average of one new chapter a week, while editing the previous chapter as suggestions came through the crit group.

This was working quite well…until now.

I am about 130 pages into book number two and it does read quite polished. But I’ve lately gone through a bout of writer’s block.

Something isn’t right and I can’t figure out quite what it is yet. The more suggestions I get from my group, the less sure of my story I become.
Sometimes in writing, the worst thing you can get is feedback. And that time is before the story has been worked out. I’m not sure where I want to go with it and the more outside suggestions I get, the more off track of my original vision I get.

One of the things I’ve read time and again is to write the book first before anyone else’s eyes ever see it.

I didn’t think that was the way to go for me. But as I sat considering throwing my computer out the window in frustration. I think maybe that’s right.

I haven’t ironed out my plot, subplots among other things and these ideas need to stew in my mind without others adding their spices to the pot. Afterall, the final recipe will have my name on it.

Once the first draft is finished, back to critique group it will go.
And my editing friends will make my concoction so much more palatable than I ever could have without them.

The Best “How To” Books on Writing

Tonight the UPS truck stopped at my house and dropped off a small brown package.

I got a new book!

I don’t know if all writers excited at the thought of reading yet another “how to” writing book.

I can’t get enough. I don’t think I’ve ever read one and not gotten at least one morsel of new knowledge from it.

Here are just a few titles I’ve learned much from:

1. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers (Browne and King)
2. Noah Lukeman’s The First Five Pages
3. Stephen King’s: On Writing
4. The Marshall Plan
5. First Aid for Fiction
6. Handbook of Short Story Writing (Volumes I and II by Writer’s Digest)

I’ve read so many and each one brings something new. How to books are great for learning but no more so then reading novels in ones chosen genre.

Who would you rather operate on you: a surgeon whose read about an operation or a surgeon whose seen it?

I know what you’re thinking…I’d rather have one whose actually performed the surgery! Ahh….and that’s the other component to learning to write well…sit down and write.

Critique Groups: CYA

Many years ago, I went to the mall with my Dad and noticed a large woman with her skirt tucked into her pantyhose. Her grannie-annies were showing. Dad did what any decent person would do, he tactfully told her.

Did she thank him?

No, she swatted him with her suitcase of a purse.

You think if he sees another lady exposed he’ll speak up? I doubt it.

What’s this story got to do with writing? Plenty.

When I joined an on-line critique group I didn’t expect much. I got everything.

Having others look at your work and then tell you what’s wrong with it, is embarrasing and painful. But you get used to it. The how to books I’ve read describe accepting criticism on your work as “hugging the cactus”. It’s a good analogy, one we all need to embrace.

My critique group is a small on-line one that has been by far the most beneficial to my growing as a writer.

They don’t let me walk around with my fanny hanging out. And when they tell me I’m exposed, I don’t hit them. If I did, they might never tell me again.

The publishing world can be a cold place, especially if you’re getting a draft like that!

So, when someone tells you your work is less than perfect, don’t swat them. Say thank you, smooth your skirt out, mention the catcup stain on their sweatshirt and move on.

There are two ways to get attention:
1. writing excellence
OR
2. walking around with your butt hanging out.

Join a critique group and CYA.

(One on-line group is Yahoo’s Kingdom Writers but there are plenty others. Just google to find one right for you.)