Monday, September 22, 2014

Writing Quirks

I thought that since you put up with all my other rants about writing, you might like to get to know me a little better. 
Here goes (no judging)

One thing I've discovered about myself during all my years of writing, is that I have developed some quirks that I don't think one would consider...normal.

I'm sure we've all got things that we do that we don't realize we even do. I'm sure I have some I still don't know about.

My First Quirk: 
When I'm editing, I liked to read out loud (it helps you catch your mistakes). But that's not the quirk...wait for it...Not only do I read out loud, but I usually end up going into a British accent...I am not British, but that doesn't stop me from fluxing my voice like i'm from London.

Second Quirk:
I read voices...or I should say "in voices".
While reading in a British accent, I lower or raise my pitch as if I were doing all the different character voices. 
Imagine how you would read a picture book to a child and you've got it, only I'm just reading it to myself. Haha

Third Quirk:
When I write longhand, I write sideways. As in, when I place a piece of paper on the desk, it is not facing vertical; instead, it is turned onto its side (horizontally) and I write from bottom to top.
Yet, when you straighten the paper, my writing is straight across and perfectly legible. 
(I've got skills)

Fourth Quirk:
When writing by hand, typing or editing, I end up tilting my head to the right; so much so that I've earned myself an impressive knot in my shoulder that I like to call Javier.
I have to catch myself and consciously think of keeping my head straight. 

Another Quirk:
My characters control the story. I just try my hardest to get it all down before they throw another twist at me. In fact, I wrote an entire blog post about it. Read it here.

Yet Another Quirk: (I know, I know)
While editing, I like to have something noisy in my hands. For example, a clicky pen or something with a snap on it; basically something to keep my hands busy with something that gives me the satisfaction of clicking. 
The sound doesn't register with me, after all, I'm editing, but it is not a lot of fun for anyone who happens to be around me. 

Last Quirk: (I promise)
And finally, I cannot sit in a computer chair like a normal person (with both feet on the ground and back straight). I prefer to type with one leg tucked under my other, until I can no longer feel it. Then I switch, having to bounce my foot up and down to regain blood flow, all the while squirming in my chair as i'm trying to edit.
Every time.

Well there you have it, a little glimpse into the chaos that is my mind.
Like I said, I probably have more quirks that I haven't realized yet. I think they are funny because I catch myself doing them all the time!

And I know I'm not the only one, so let's hear one of your quirks!

Friday, September 5, 2014

"Not what we're looking for..."

How to Deal with Rejections to your Queries for Publishing.

After hours of writing and editing, grooming and beefing up your story (essentially, your baby), naturally the next step is to put it out there.
It's a little nerve-wracking to trust your baby to take its first steps and be criticized and judged by perfect strangers who hold the potential to publish you and help you achieve your goals of becoming a world renowned author!

But what happens when that perfect stranger reads your queries or even your story and casts it against the rocks, turning their nose up at it and walks away?
Well, before you go postal, take a deep breath and realize that every big name author also started out as a nobody and went through countless rejections before their story fell into the perfect hands

As an aspiring author myself, there are a lot of things that I've had to come to terms with when my first query response returned as a "NO".

First of all, I had to accept that I might not be "The Shit".
After all the work I had put into my writing, I was positive that it was GOLD! Everyone who had read it agreed with me and my head was approaching astronomical proportions.
There was no doubt in my mind that I would be picked up immediately and by the end of the year, signing my second contract with my agent begging me to write a sequel (I know...).
The simple, heartless line, "Not what we're looking for", brought my Cloud 9 dreams to a screeching halt!
Surely this agent was out of their mind!
And then I received my next rejection...and then the next.
It's sad when your dream has to come down from naivety back to a reality based foundation. The magic of it all sort of dims.

"Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely."
-Henry Ford-

So, after a few days of wallowing in self pity,

I reevaluated, brushed myself off and realized that just because they said no didn't mean there was anything wrong with my story.
It wasn't that my story and I were "Not what we're looking for"; 
It was now, that publisher was "Not what I'm looking for".

Which brings me to my second point, just because one publisher didn't like my story, doesn't mean they all feel that way.
Agencies are bombarded by queries, so its easy to see why some publishers only want whats "hot". But who's to say you're not holding the next flame?
What may be less than entertaining to one may be gold to another!
Besides, the way I see it (and yes, I am selfish), I poured my heart, soul, time, blood, sweat and tears into my work. If that wasn't enough, it took every ounce of bravery to put myself out there enough to allow others to read it once it was finished and finally I believed in myself enough to attempt to publish it; therefore, I deserve an agent who will fall head over heels in love with my idea and characters. I deserve a coach who I can trust not to swindle me for a pretty penny, but to be excited about every new adventure.
So, I may not be "The Shit", but I do believe in myself and my passion for writing.
And with every rejection, it's one step closer to finding the right publisher for me.

Third thing that I've realized, I'm not gonna lie, those positive vibes are hard to keep up some days.
Especially on days when I am sick and tired of my 9-5 job and I know that writing has the potential to offer me a sense of freedom if I got good enough.
On those days, when I shake my fist at the Publisher Gods for not dubbing me their golden child yet or when I read a particularly horrible book and the "how did THAT CRAP get published when I cant?" jealousy chokes me, I have to ask myself, why do I write?
(This is actually a really good question to ask yourself when you find yourself at a tough point in your writing process and you're thinking about quitting.)
Why do I write?
If the potential for money was no longer there, would I write?
If I did not receive complements or praise for my work, would I write?
If there was no possibility for popularity or fame?
If there was no one else to read my stories, would I still?
Even if I could somehow tell the future (just go with me here) and I knew that I would never get published, ever, would I still write?
The answer is...yes. Always YES.

I started writing purely because I enjoyed it. Creating worlds, manipulating fates, watching a hero find himself, developing a bad guy, impossible all makes writing worth it to me.
When I first started writing, I would have kept all that magic to myself, only my best friend in middle school encouraged (cough...cough...blackmailed) me into letting her read my first story (that I never finished by the way), and I've been sharing ever since.
So, when the jealousy or bitterness is on the rise, I remind myself that I write for ME, because its FUN and I will continue to do it...probably until my fingers fall off.

The last thing that I've realized about dealing with rejection is to never give up!
Never. Give. Up!
I tried for three years and was just about to give up just before I got my first legit publishing offer for an e-book contract. Of course, I grabbed it with both hands.
When the contract fell through less than a year later due to reasons out of my control, I picked right back up and did it myself.
For now, I am self-published with two amazingly awesome books available on e-book and I have their sequels on the way! I love it!
Does that mean that I've stopped fishing for an agent or publisher?
I continue to query. I continue to write and edit and better myself, 
because writing is what I love to do!
And one day, when the stars align and the Publishing Gods call my name, 

I will be ready!

Now Available on E-book

"There is no Prince Charming"
Jennifer Carmichael, a lowly secretary and cynical romance novel addict, is ripped from her dull life when she wakes up to find that she is no longer in New York City, but held captive in a fictional world found within the pages of the strange book she discovered on the subway; a Medieval world where women do as they are told and all the men look sexy enough to eat. Jen's sharp attitude and fierce independence immediately attracts the attention of the Prince. He is everything any woman could ever want, a real Prince Charming. However, things are not always what they seem. Desperately trying to find her way home, but flung head first into the middle of a brewing war between the King and the Rebellion, Jen must choose what to fight for: the Prince, the People, or her heart.


With an uncle determined to control her life and more importantly, her inheritance by arranging her marriage, Alison Forbush sees no choice but to run from the life she knew. 
Her rebellion would spark a chain reaction that would not only change her life, but effect an entire kingdom.
Discovered, captured and imprisoned by strange creatures that inhabit an underground world where every shadow holds danger, Alison struggles to maintain her independence, especially when their fierce King takes an interest in her. 
She must ask herself if this strange world could hold everything she'd been looking for or, following her uncles example, was all of this Arranged from the beginning?