Saturday, March 26, 2011

So, I KILLED the narrator!

Calling all writers!!!! 

I want to know your biggest hurtles and how you overcame them.

I just made my second biggest decision, I scrapped my finished 400+ page, 80,000 word manuscript and started over.

Ugh! I know.

But I heard the same thing enough times, to not want to EVER hear it again!!!!!

"You're a talented writer, but..."

"I like the concept-didn't fall in love with the pages."

"I didn't get the narrative tone."

So I KILLED the narrator!

I am rewriting it in the first person.

Here's a sample if you're interested...

And please, oh please, tell me I am not alone!!!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What the Hell is Writing In My Own Voice?

Painting by Sally Touch-Moser

Ah well, another day - another rewrite. I had a few things that were really bugging me about my manuscript, it took me forever to realize what it was. And the thing that made me figure it out was actually the words that hurt me the most. "I like the concept of the novel. Unfortunately, though, I don't think it is quite right for me. The narrative voice did not really work for me, I did not connect to it as much as I had hoped, thus, I am stepping aside for an agent who will." An agent commented that he didn't identify with the voice in my writing. Of curse, I felt like he was saying he didn't like the way I spoke, because after all I am the narrator. Until I remembered something my husband said to me months ago when I read him a few pages "it doesn't really sound like you. It's good but..."

My biggest mistake was taking those things personally and not listening. When I finally heard what they were both saying, I was able to give myself permission to write in my own voice. I don't know why I'd been afraid to before now, maybe I thought I was supposed to come with this magical writer's voice. I don't know, but when I looked at my manuscript with new eyes, I saw it. I was lost in there, only pieces of me were coming through the pages.

I decided to take it a chapter at a time and find me, strengthen my voice, my words and tell my story - my way.

My mistake had been to follow some imaginary leader instead of forging my own path.

Baaaaad idea. I've ripped apart four chapters so far, and I love them! Once again, learn from my mistakes and give yourself permission right up front to be you and write in your own way, not by how some book or teacher tells you to write.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

YA Pitch Contest

Great pitch contest for Children’s and YA writers. Ammi-Joan Paquette from Erin Murphy Literary Agency is currently closed to submissions but she’ll read your pitch, if you follow this link and the directions.

It’s only open to the first one-hundred-fifty entrants. So hustle, it’s filling up fast!!!

Good luck!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

What NOT To Do at a Writer’s Conference!

As promised, here’s my list of what NOT to do at a writer’s conference.

1.      Don’t miss your scheduled writer’s pitch!

Adam Friedstein, with Anderson Literary Management, graciously still allowed me to pitch and even requested pages. He read my material quickly and though it didn’t work for him he had these kind words for me “You're a talented writer - I really enjoyed the read.” Well, with compliments like that, how can I be sad? 

2.      Don’t be afraid to approach agents - but have your elevator pitch ready!!!! 

I sat petrified with the other chickens far away from the agents at the party, while Lindsay Cummings got out there, with her perfect elevator pitch and sold it! She got five requests for FULLS (you go, Lindsay)!  After my arm was twisted by this petite dynamo, I did awkwardly approach one agent at the party and stumbled my way through a too-long description of all the things my book WASN'T about, but he did request some pages and a synopsis out of pity. Dr. Uwe Stender had this to say in his rejection… “I like the concept of the novel.  Unfortunately, though, I don't think it is quite right for me. The narrative voice did not really work for me…” OUCH! Just yank that Band-Aid right off!

3.      If a workshop is full, push your way in anyway.

I don’t do well with crowds or small spaces and I chickened out when I saw how packed the synopsis class was. I ran away in search of another option and found myself nodding off in a tax-workshop. I don’t know about you, but I pay someone else to do my taxes for a good reason. I DID learn valuable information though. Write down my mileage (all millage from the beginning of the year to the end), keep a log of where I’m going and the miles I use for research, conferences, crit groups etc. and keep receipts for lodging, computers, and food at events or groups… and then give it to my tax professional.

My advice? Go to a conference, don’t follow my mistakes and have fun! I had such a great time. Made some amazing friends and memories, and I learned things I shall never forget.