Friday, December 31, 2010

A Royal Perspective

My Twitter friend @quickmissive (aka Kristina L. Martin) recently had an article published online (it's great- check it out!). This got me to thinking about publishing short stories and I found a helpful site that lists anthologies accepting submissions.

eChook is one of the sites that is accepting submissions for short stories. And get this: they pay $100!

Let's think about that for a moment.

I could write a short story between 750 - 2000 words and be paid $100.
I could write a novel between 75,000 - 100,000 words and be paid... um...
*does quick check online for typical author royalties*

7.5% on the paperback version, 15% of which goes to an agent (assuming I have one).

Exsqueeze me? Baking powder? Eh...huh?

*whips out calculator*

I'm no accountant, but it seems to me that I'd have to sell about 250 copies of my paperback novel (at $6.99 each) in order to make $100 on the book that took me six months to write and another year to edit.

Or I could make $100 on a short story that took me an hour to write.

Hmmm.... Methinks that Kristina may well be on to something here!

What about you? Had any short stories published? Is $100 the norm?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Get ready to go "Awwww..."

My sister-in-law sent me an adorable Christmas eCard that I had to share with my writing friends!

Warning: This video contains material of Serious Cuteness which may cause the softening of your features, a dreamy expression, wrinkles from smiling, and overall swooning. Please consult your physician before watching this video if you suffer from a condition that might be exacerbated by the above-mentioned side effects.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Just for fun

This fun site: allows you to make an electronic signature for putting at the bottom of your blog posts. If you're tooling around the net and feel like making one for giggles, check it out. Here's mine! As my grandma would say, "For fun!"

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Harry Potter Fan Fiction

The blog "In Time" is having a Harry Potter fan fiction blogfest and asked HP fans who blog to write a short piece based on the characters, set during Christmas or Thanksgiving. Sounded like fun, so here's my scene (note that we had to write ourselves in as a character- not the easiest task!):

Ginny Weasley lay in bed on Christmas morning with Harry sleeping beside her, his light snoring the only sound in the sparsely furnished room. She glanced at the clock on the wall, at the images of her family members, their location firmly set to Home. All but one. Fred’s image no longer graced the clock. A wave of grief rolled over her at the loss of her older brother, but she set her jaw tight, fighting back the tears that threatened. Christmas was supposed to be filled with joy and she had much to be thankful for. She placed her hand over her stomach, the flutter of the child in her belly chasing away her melancholy thoughts.
She rolled onto one side and brushed her fingertip over the lightning-shaped scar on Harry’s forehead. He blinked sleepily at her and she felt the familiar tug in her heart that had been there since they’d first met.

“Happy Christmas,” he said. She kissed him and replied in kind.

He stretched and retrieved his wand from the nightstand. “Accio Ginny’s gift,” he said to the door, which snapped open at his command. A brightly wrapped parcel came winging toward his face and he caught it with one hand as the door slammed closed, then handed it to his wife with an uncertain smile.

She unwrapped the present, instantly recognizing the Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes logo. Her chest clutched at the sight. When she pulled the string that dangled from the box, a life size hologram of her twin brothers, Fred and George, stood at the foot of the bed, dressed in Santa suits complete with pillow-stuffed bellies and red velvet hats.

“Happy Christmas from the Weasleys!” they chimed before Fred let go a loud whiff of air from his backside, which turned into flurry of snowflakes that swirled throughout the room like they were in the center of a snowglobe.

Ginny laughed as a tear slid down her cheek. “Idiots,” she muttered, her tone filled with love and longing. Harry squeezed her hand.

“I miss him, too,” he said, pulling her close. She buried her face in his chest and cried.

I could feel her emotions and desperately wanted to reach out to her, to assure her that the land beyond was a great joke shop filled with laughter and zaniness. I pressed a light kiss to the top of her head and she sat up, wiping her eyes. She squinted and reached out an unsteady hand as if she knew I were there.

With a wave of my hand, the snowflakes gathered to form the words "Happy Christmas Ginny! Love, Fred" before I slipped out of the room and on to my own Christmas celebration.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Fear of Failure

My co-worker has a sign in her office that reads "What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?" Lottery ticket buying aside, that question stuck in my head and something profound occurred to me today.

I am afraid of getting my heart broken again.

That's why I have not been able to write another novel. I have started and stopped several times. I come up with new stories, write a chapter and then stop. And, until now, I haven't understood why. The pain of rejection from the first novel has stolen my courage to get up and really try again because I'm afraid that I'll fail.

And that's just... well, sad. Now that I understand that's what's happening, I can look at it differently. I can take that fear and climb to the top of it, beat it down and conquer it. The fear of failure has kept me from jumping in and you know what?

I want to fall in love again!

I want to fall in love with new characters, overcome new obstacles and make my way to that happily-ever-after ending once more. I want to feel the rush when my characters start talking on their own, taking the story in a direction I hadn't considered, when writing comes to life on the screen.

And it's all there, in my head, just waiting for me to be brave.

*deep breath*

What about you? How do you conquer the fear of failure?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What Does It Mean to "Never Give Up"?

I've read some great comments on here and other blogs lately, writers supporting writers in the midst of publishing trials. A common theme is to "never give up". I've used the phrase myself (have a tag dedicated to it, as a matter of fact). But I got to thinking, what does that really mean?
What are we not supposed to give up on?

Is it the dream of seeing your book on the shelf? Some authors are perfectly happy with their eBooks being published and may never see their novels in print. Have they given up? Maybe that wasn't their dream.

Maybe the dream is to write professionally, as a career where you don't have to work another job, but can write instead. In the economy, some authors who had previously achieved this have had to find work (Sara Donati, for example). 

Maybe it's just that we're not supposed to give up on ourselves, whatever that entails. Don't give up the hope that you can achieve what you set your mind to, be it a novel in print, an eBook, a finished manuscript, a flash fiction piece, or even a full-time writing career. Whatever it is that you want, don't give up on getting it. Because giving up means you definitely won't get it.

Still, feel free to change your mind about what you want at any given time. ;)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Bare It and Share It

So if you read my last post, you know The Epic Fail that has been my writing journey to date. I won't lie; it is hard to reveal that. It's much easier to stay silent and pretend that all is well, that the big break is just around the corner. But in keeping misery to ourselves, we lose the opportunity to support one another.

Some other writers I follow have been doing some soul-sharing of their own recently:

Natalie Whipple declares 2010 the Year of Suck (you MUST read all the comments, too!)

Beth Revis discloses her permanent state of jealousy

Kiersten White talks about the pressures once you're published

Romance Magicians blogs about losing focus and the Blank Screen

Ted Cross wonders whether he should be writing for the market instead of his passion

I applaud all of these brave authors for putting the truth out there, for baring and sharing not just their highs, but especially their lows. Because we've all been down before, drowning in a pool of suckiness and damn-it-all-I-hate-this misery. When writers throw life preservers to one another at times like these, beautiful things happen (as evidenced by the comments on Natalie's blog post and this one, too).

Thursday, December 2, 2010

My OMG! story: The Epic Fail

Annie McMahon has been asking me for an OMG! story ever since I ran a post with that theme, so this post is for Annie. Not the OMG! story I hoped to write, but my story nonetheless.

This time last year, I finished writing the first draft of my novel, Between. I'd been working on it solid for about six months and when I got to the end, it was 188,000 words or about 800+ pages.

At the time, I didn't think that was such a bad thing, since Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series was a big part of my inspiration for writing it. If you've never read the series, many of her books top 800 pages without breaking a sweat. Why should mine be any different?

Speaking of Diana, I went to a book signing of hers in September of last year where she told the large crowd about how she became a novelist. She started writing, sent a few chapters to another writer she met on the Compuserve Writers' Forum who recommended she sent it to his agent. She did, calling it a "rather long historical novel". The manuscript was not even finished, but that didn't keep said agent from offering her representation and selling it to a publisher in a 3-book deal something like 3 days later.

So, here's me, at the time, coming to the end of writing my most awesome tome, thinking I just needed to follow in her footsteps. No problem!

So, here's me, a year later, realizing what an absolute fairy tale that was.

I bought Jeff Herman's Guide to Agents and Publishers, crafted a query letter ("I've just completed writing my first novel and am excited to share it with you!"), and promptly queried 30+ agents. Fail.

I did some research and learned my word count was an issue and the genre I chose was a problem (is it women's fiction, chick lit, romance, paranormal, fantasy, what???). So I cut the novel in two, did some revisions and sent it out once more. Failed again.

So I joined Authonomy, Compuserve Writers' Forum, started a blog and entered writing contests to get feedback and connect with other writers. Some people praised my work ("SO FRAKING AMAZING!!") and some people cut me down ("the writing is Meh"), while others offered helpful, specific feedback. I revised again. And again. More queries. More fail.

I checked out books from the library on writing. I changed the genre to Young Adult, worked with some crit partners, did a full revision, cut out all the yummy sex scenes, joined WriteOnCon, joined Twitter, joined Wattpad and queried again.

Fail. Fail. FAIL.

So one year after typing the last words to my brilliant manuscript (which, I'll be honest, I still think is damn good despite all the evidence to the contrary), this is where I stand. Loving my book, my characters and the story; hating the process, the emotional rollercoaster and the subjective nature of publishing.

OMG! This sucks. That's the OMG! story I have to share. Stay tuned as I plan to share other "OMG! This sucks" stories I've been reading on other blogs.

I may have lost the fairy tale but I have gained some editing skills and a supportive writing community.

Win! *hugs to you*