Saturday, October 23, 2010

The CreATION Process From Idea to Bookshelf

1) Inspiration: Wow, this idea is so awesome. My muse totally loves me and I can't believe I never thought of it before. I am SO gonna write this story so it sings! *does happy dance around the room*

2) Perspiration: Ok, this is harder than I thought it was going to be. I can't think of the right words, the dialogue is not coming out right, I feel like I'm dragging this thing, kicking and screaming, to the end. Oh right, and then I've got to edit. And edit. And edit. I'm gonna need another drink.

3) Elation: It's done! I did it! I can't believe I set my mind to it, I powered through, and I made it. It sparkles, it shines, it's the best story that ever was. Yay me! I so totally rock.

4) Aspiration: I hope hope hope hope hope hope everyone else loves it as much as I do (though how could they not, since it's clearly amazing). I'm going to send it off to multiple agents and I'll have to pick among many who'll call me to offer representation. Hmmm... maybe I should be looking at which one is best with foreign rights negotiations, 'cuz it may well come down to that.

5) Constipation: It's been months of agonizing rejections and no one wants me. Sure, there are still agents left I haven't queried yet, but could that many agents be wrong? I mean, really, I probably totally suck. The story sucks, I suck, everything sucks. I don't know why I wanted to be a writer. Well, maybe if I changed that one thing...

6) Determination: Repeat steps 1 through 4.

7) Desperation: A full request! I got a full request! From a real, live agent! Oh, please please please please please love the story....

8) Expiration: I've died and gone to heaven! The agent's on the phone, saying she loved it and knows just the right editors she wants to send it to. I can't believe it's really happening. Wow, I'm a little light headed and-- wait, why am I crumpled in a pile of drool on the floor? *picks up phone* Yes, I'm still here...

9) Deflation: What? You mean it needs some more work before we send it out? Okay... Repeat steps 2 through 3. Send it out to editors, repeating step 4 (and likely step 5), then steps 7 and 8.

10) Celebration: I'm holding it, I'm signing it, you're buying it. It's finally happened. *grabs a tissue so my autograph doesn't smear on the page* Yes, I'm fine, it's just... *hugs total stranger buying my book* Thank you- what's your name?-Minerva Mingles. Cool name, maybe I could use that in my next book...

And, as they say in the music biz'... Take it from the top, boys!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

That Awkward Question

If you're a single girl of child-bearing age, the dreaded question is likely to be, "So, are you dating anyone yet?" The cringe-worthy question that makes you want to scream, "It's none of your damn business!" You probably want to wear a sign that notifies the world that asking is not necessary; if and when that time arrives, you will make sure they all know.

For an unpublished writer, the question becomes, "How's the book thing going?"

Admittedly, if you are in my close circle of friends and family, I've spent countless hours boring you with every bump on the emotional rollercoaster, so you are not the person asking this question.

It's casual acquaintances, mostly, who ask it in a friendly way, knowing that it's important to me, that it's cool I wrote a book, feeling like they're bonding with me by asking. One word: Don't.

It's not that I don't appreciate your interest, it's just that responding causes me pain. Where do I start? That I'm chewing my fingernails, waiting for the rejections to come, that I live with the constant fear of not being good enough, that I should move on to the next big thing but am paralyzed that the next one won't be any good either? What part of that do you want to know? You don't.

So I smile and say, "Good," because you're asking the equivalent of "How are you?" and it doesn't matter if I'm dying on the inside, it's not really worthwhile to go down that road with an acquaintance.

So if you know an unpublished author, wait for him or her to bring up the book. If you're in the inner circle, it won't take long. If you're not, you'll be doing that person a favor by asking about something--anything--else instead.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Planting, Then Uprooting Seeds of Darkness

I am reading Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instrument series (they are fab- check them out). The YA paranormal books feature demon-killers who have a variety of tricks up their sleeves, one of which is a "witchlight": a smooth rock that fits in the palm of your hand that casts a strong light when the demon-killer (aka Shadowhunter) wills it to. At one point, the author refers to the witchlight as a "seed of darkness".

It got me to thinking about the seeds of darkness that we all have within us, things that we lock away, that we're ashamed of, or that we're insecure about, things we don't want other people to know.

Seeds of darkness make characters interesting.

When a character has a deep-rooted insecurity, it colors the way he sees the world, the way he reacts to good and bad; it becomes the basis of his motivations. Exposing these seeds that you've planted in a character forces him to confront the things he'd rather keep hidden and either triumph over them or be dominated by them. Because we all have seeds of darkness within, we can relate to the pain the character is going through, which brings us closer and makes us fall in love with the book.

When you're working on character development, think of what seeds your hero or heroine has rooted down deep inside, what insecurities, failings, fears, and worries make up his or her past. Then think about how you can bring those to light and force a confrontation. You might be surprised to find the process ends up being cathartic for you as well, as I have.

What "seeds of darkness" can you think of that we can saddle a character with? Share your thoughts so that we can glean ideas!

Monday, October 4, 2010

#amDONEediting- Squee!

I finished editing my young adult paranormal romance, Between, and got through the final read-through tonight. It's as spit-polished and shiny as I can, in my humble human condition, make it. So now I set off toward the path of querying agents. *gulp*

Before I swim too far into those waters, I just wanted to take a breath, have a celebration with my blogger buddies, and enjoy the moment. Thanks to all of you, for your comments, for your support, for keeping me going when there was all tunnel and no light.

I loves ya! :)

And if you have YA agent recommendations, please shoot them my way. I'll be doing my homework and can always use helpful info from the writing community.