Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Here's what I think I know:
That age-old pro writer advice to "keep writing" turns out to be absolutely true. I have been writing fiction since high school in the late '70s. It took me--off and on--thirty-five years to get my first story published. (Yeah, I'm a slow learner). Here's what I think: I stepped over some word or story threshold a while back, around 2003, and I said to myself, "ἐξαίφνης"--exaiphnês--"Suddenly!"--you know, like Platonists seeing the Forms after their intense fifty-year graduate studies. Okay, never mind. Let's keep moving. Somehow I just knew that I had finally written enough to feel right with what I was writing, all that writing over the years paid off, writing isn't the word-brawl it used to be, words flow more freely from my fingertips to the keyboard. Writing isn't easy--and probably won't ever be, but I don’t struggle as much with plotting, sentence structure, dialogue, words. What I write is never right the first time; it just feels closer to right than ever, and I'm a better self-editor than I've ever been. Because I write--write all the time. I completed SEABORN in January and since then, I have written three short stories, completed an 85k word YA fantasy SALTWATER WITCH (going to my agent next week). And I'm over 60k words into THE NEW SIRENS, sequel to SEABORN. NaNoWriMo, it's not just for November anymore.
Get rejected early, get rejected often. Get used to it. It sucks but it's going to happen a lot. I used to keep a folder with all my rejection letters, but gave up after I broke the 100-reject mark. It's nothing personal, and I even think it has more to do with mood and what music the editor's/agent's assistant is listening to at that moment, how high in the stack your manuscript is, how high the stack is, than anything else--especially if you feel that you're over the above writing threshold. That a writer "ought to be" published makes no difference. We all ought to be published. It just doesn't work that way.
I can't remember my first rejection letter, but I know it was a form reject, and it was in 1980. I do remember a rejection a year later from Andrew Offutt, then editing a fantasy anthology called Swords Against Darkness (Charles de Lint's first professional sale was in this anthology). Here's a scan of the letter Mr. Offutt sent me, rejecting my story (I can't remember the title), and here's one of the first posts I made on http://theophrast.us about that early rejection experience. I have great rejection letters from Jennifer Jackson, Rachel Vater, and others, real letters that gave me real hope. Rejection can be good.
Good writing is rejected every day, some small fraction of everything going through the post never makes it to its destination, butterflies are flapping their wings somewhere, causing all kinds of bad shit to happen to your manuscript, your query letter, your chapters--and agents and editors are the busiest people on the planet, and they have moods and attention spans like everyone else. They also have incredible talent for finding talent. We know this because there are successful writers out there--obviously--and some agent found them, some editor took a chance, some publishing house--big NYC firms and small presses--invested in them, wrote up contracts for those authors to sign, cut checks, spent marketing dollars on them, paid artists for cover art, paid type designers and cover designers and copy editors, blogged about the whole thing, went to cons and introduced their authors to other authors and industry insiders. We know this stuff happens. It's just difficult to know how or when it will happen. Uncertainty.
Writing, rejection and uncertainty can all be tied together and developed, handled, manipulated by you the writer to some extent. On the other hand, you can't do anything about time. Don't even attempt it. Time always has the upper hand because it's never ours, but someone else's.
I think it's the only thing you can't do anything about. Everything takes time, and in publishing, double everything. Learn patience--that's from me, the slow learner. I can't tell you how many times I've been writing a letter or about to write a letter--nice ones, mind you, fingers are on the keyboard, passion in my soul...and that's when I get something in the mail or email from the editor or agent, and in every case I've thought "whew!" I'm glad I didn't finish that email. Be lazy when it comes to following up on anything you send to an agent or editor. Wait it out and you will be rewarded.
There's my take on it. There's always another book to write. WRUT. Write on.
While I was writing my fantasy novel The Sarsen Witch, I didn’t think of it as a romance, so much as a prehistoric adventure about the intersection of the Neolithic and Bronze Age worlds, and the building of
Now, after many years, The Sarsen Witch is coming back into print. In the dramatic cover by Tim Lantz, Naeri appears as she does in the first pages of the book – “chapped lips, windburned face, lean hard-muscled body … a creature spare and strong and hardy as the gorse”.
On a trip to
Monday, October 29, 2007
I need to move quickly on the edit, though, because I'll be participating in National Novel Writing Month over November, and that takes a lot of time. I've been participating in NaNoWriMo since 2002; in fact, Clockwork Heart was my 2004 NaNoWriMo novel!
You can find me under DrDru at the NaNoWriMo site, and here's my personal update page, which describes previous novels I've written for NaNoWriMo. I haven't entered any information about my 2007 novel, yet. I will, I will! Soon. Tonight. I promise. It's going to be Indian-flavored weird fantasy in honor of the trip I'm taking to India in December....
So if you're a novelist or thinking about becoming a novelist, and you're not already signed up for NaNoWriMo, come join the fun! The goal is to write 50,000 words in one month, but there's no prize if you make it and no penalty if you don't. Why not try?
Hope I'll see you there!
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Anyways, Click here to go to youtube to see the Wind Follower trailer.
click here to go to youtube to see Sylvia's trailer for Amberlight
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Juno Books is a small traditional press which publishes speculative fiction -- fantasy-- with a focus on the female. Strong kickassitude women. Not sidekicks, not the hero's girlfriend, not a victim. A heroine in her own right?
Read about adventurous quests, dark secrets, light humor, deep desires, high imagination, mystery, metaphysics, magic, myth...swept into the past, taken to a timeless otherworld, set in the future, or happening right now. Juno publishes books that go beyond the ordinary and take the reader with them.
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