Friday, September 24, 2010

The Perils of Putting Yourself "Out There"

The last two books I picked up, I put down before I finished reading. One turned out to be way more violent than I was comfortable with, while the other was poorly written with an inconsistent POV. They were both paperbacks, so somewhere, an agent and an editor both loved them. I wanted to love them. I didn't.

Readers will want to love my book, but some won't. Some will think it's crap.

That hurts, no doubt about it. Yet, as a writer, I have to be okay with that. Putting my words "out there" for others to judge is tough because some readers will love it and others won't.

I want to make everyone happy, but I can't. You can't either.

In the end, what matters is that you've done your best, gave it your all, listened and incorporated suggestions as you were able, and that you love the book. If, after six million rounds of revisions, you don't love the book you're left with, then you've lost your way.

You. Must. Love. Your. Book.

Get readers, get suggestions, get feedback. That's all good stuff. But if the world loves your book and you don't, you won't be happy. You wrote the story that was in your heart. Polish it, make it better, but don't lose sight of the story you love. Because "out there", someone else will love it, too.

How have you dealt with negative feedback? Was there ever a point where you felt like giving up because of it? What did you do?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Singing In the Shower

With today's blog post, you were probably afraid (or excited) to scroll down, in case I had photos. Ha!

I love to sing. I sing everywhere I go. In the car, in the shower, in the supermarket, at work. It's not because someone is listening, or because I have a recording contract and there are cameras following me around. I sing because I enjoy it.

I need to look at writing the same way.

This blog post from Writers Beware describes writing as "deliberate play", something you practice and enjoy doing. I can get so caught up in crawling toward the oasis of publication that writing loses its joy for me. I need to stop sometimes, forget about the WIP and just write for the fun of it, write to get better at it, write for me.

A commenter mentioned a book by Ursula LeGuin called "Steering the Craft" that has writing exercises. I think I'll pick it up.

What do you do to keep writing fun, and to get better at it?

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Matter of Perspective

This blog is dedicated to love stories- reading them, writing them, enjoying all sorts of stories but particularly those about love. I've used it to share thoughts on writing and publishing as I go through this stage of my life. Today, though, I don't want to talk about writing or reading. I want to talk about what's important. Love.

Love one another.

It's more than a commandment from Jesus. It's the core of all that matters. At this very moment, I have one friend facing blindness, another facing deafness, two facing death from cancer, some with marital strife, and more who are unemployed.

I get so wrapped up in "my book"- editing it, getting critiques, queries, synopses, rejections... on and on it goes, this obsession with getting the darn thing published. And yet what truly matters is loving people. I've been blessed to meet people through this journey, great folks on this blog, through Twitter, through Facebook.

Sharing life with one another is what matters. The good, the bad and the ugly.

So thank you, for being part of this community, part of my life. For being part of this love story. Life is hard-- no one doubts that-- and the only way to get up each day is to have people around you (physically or virtually) who care, who prop you up. Be that person for someone else today, if you can. And I'll do the same.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Where The Story Begins (or Should)

Have you ever had a friend tell you a story that started something like this...?

"OMG, you won't believe what happened. Last Saturday, Luke and I went out- wait, was it last Saturday or last Sunday? I got my nails done on Saturday, oh yeah, so it must have been Sunday- and we ran into this old friend of his from California- wait, or was it Arizona? He seemed really tan, so it could have been either one, I guess..."

And all the while, you're thinking "GET TO THE POINT ALREADY!" while keeping your smile plastered firmly in place. You were sucked in with the enthusiastic "OMG!" and then the story was derailed with a bunch of detail that you didn't need or care about. So what if it was Sunday or he was from Arizona? Tell me what happened! That's what we really want to know.

And yet, when we sit down to write a story, we think it's all-important to set the scene, to give the reader insight into the character, to bog it down with back story. And that's just what happens.

The story- the OMG story- gets bogged down in all that muck.

I'm working on edits now and am going to keep this idea in the forefront of my mind, to help with pace and YA voice.

How would this thinking help you in your writing?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tales from the Critique Trenches

In the spirit of 'show versus tell', I thought I'd demonstrate what it feels like to receive a critique.

Yep, it's about that pleasant. I have the good fortune to be working with two very different crit partners. Between them, they've given me some outstanding feedback that (once I incorporate it), is really going to make my manuscript shine. I can't thank them enough. But it still hurts like a... well, you know.

There's no way around the pain of critiques and editing. You just gotta do it. And if you survive, if you don't give up, then the book will be better because of the sacrifice. *sigh* Whimper fi! Hehehehe...