Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Always Write!

At times I have a problem silencing the writer. For example, I can be in line at the local supermarket and I’m studying the cashier. What kind of character would they be? What are their goals, quirks and weaknesses? In my mind I’m running dialogue between this cashier, who I’ve named Melanie, and her best friend. Melanie found five thousand dollars cash in her husband’s tackle box. She knew fishing couldn’t be that costly a hobby so why would he have this kind of cash? For two months straight they’ve struggled to pay the power bill, among other things, so why was he holding out? They must be after him again. She hopes they won't have to move.

The story is cut off when the cashier politely reminds me that I have to hit YES on the card reader to accept the purchase. I’m holding up the line. Again. Sometimes I get lost between where reality begins and fiction ends. It’s a thin, thin line. Inspiration is everywhere. The next great character could be sitting on the bench beside you at the bus stop.

For this reason, people sometimes view me as shy and maybe even a bit antisocial. When really they would be right, but not because I’m afraid of people or because I dislike people. Quite the opposite; I study people. They fascinate me. My family would simply say that I’m weird, but show me one writer who’s not a little, well, different. But, we’re okay with that. One of my favorite things to say is “I’m much better on paper.” It happens to be true. Most of the time I feel socially awkward, even a little out of place, because there aren’t many situations where I’m not writing in my head, creating dialogue to go with a new idea that just hit me.

Last year I had the amazing opportunity to hear Sandra Brown speak in Savannah, GA. She is hands down one of my favorite authors. So, when she said she can’t always silence the writer in her head I decided maybe it wasn’t such a problem after all.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Dreaded Query

It starts with hours of research. Which, as long as you’re a writer, you’re probably good at anyway. So, that’s a breeze. My go to website is http://agentquery.com/default.aspx . Most agencies have websites now, and you can find links to them directly from this site. Agents generally prefer your submissions by email, and a growing number will not accept snail mail queries at all. Find out which agents enjoy the same literary leanings as you, and then find out their submission requirements.

Query letters are clearly the work of the devil. They may be evil, but they are the necessary kind. They are your literary foot in the door. Stop by Publix and purchase a large supply of your favorite chocolate, or whatever happens to be your personal stress reliever, then research some more. This time focus on how to write the perfect a query letter. This one page summary of what you and your novel are about is almost as important as the manuscript itself. Do not ever take this lightly, and never send it without sleeping on it and revising, sleeping, revising.

This is a great list of some Do’s and Don’s to get started with: http://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/844651-How-to-Write-a-Query-Letter
Pick your query letter apart by word, sentence, paragraph. Make it the best, most persuasive, morsel you’ve ever written. When the agent finishes reading the first paragraph they should be salivating to read your book. Above all make the letter grammatically flawless and give it a reason to shine above the rest. This is the agent’s first taste of your writing. Make it a delicious one!

Happy writing!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hello World!

For a year I sat diligently at my desk, assaulting my keyboard and overusing linking verbs. Now, I have a novel that’s complete. Beginning to end. Written entirely by me.
Each word was placed with purpose. Every sentence was arranged and rearranged for proper impact. Without a doubt writing is a labor of love. Some days the page fills up before you even realize you’re thinking, but other days you watch the steady blink of the cursor for hours waiting for inspiration. Blank pages can be your best friend and your worst enemy.
It’s an extreme sense of achievement to complete a novel. Seeing the manuscript printed out, bound together was proof that, yeah, I can actually do this.
Turns out writing the novel was the easy part. Where to go from “the end” is really the tough part. No one ever talks about what happens to Cinderella after she rides off into the sunset with her prince charming. That’s a story worth telling. Well, only if her life is filled with intrigue, she remains the strong woman we know and love, and prince charming doesn’t get a beer gut. My own story following “the end” has yet to be written. That’s exciting and anxiety inducing. That’s why I’m sitting here writing now, telling the after story. I’m fairly certain my novel doesn’t suck. Some days I’m even convinced it’s quite good.
So, what do you do with both free minutes in your day once you’ve written your first novel, are steady working to get it published, and hard at work on your second novel? Start a blog of course!
My hope for this blog is a mutual, respectful and enlightening sharing of information that any aspiring author needs to know. Through my journey I hope to make the road slightly less rocky for another writer.