First Rejection Out of the Way

12 04 2011

Yesterday I heard back from the publisher I’d sent out my novella to and they took a pass on it. I’d like to say I’m surprised, but I’m not. If you’re going to try writing to publish, you’re going to get rejection. And I knew going in that this story may not work on its own as a novella, it’s probably going to work better as part of an anthology, so that’s going to be the next step in its evolution. I had to try to see if it could be published on its own first, just to see if maybe it would work.

Bait is a little creepy and I knew it may not work as a mainstream work, so now I’m looking over Halloween anthology calls for submissions, to see what would be the best fit. We’ll see.

I remember reading in Stephen King’s On Writing, which is one of my favorite books on writing and he describes about impaling his rejection letters on a spike on his wall and when it became full, using another one. So really, one is not a big deal, especially when I figured it was coming.

It doesn’t mean you don’t start questioning yourself, your writing and whether you can actually write well. But, I’ve been writing long enough and been reading books on writing for too many years to let me talk myself out of continuing. Even if I never get published, I’ll still write. This rejection is just one of the milestones when you try to write for more than yourself.

And now, back to work. Because if there is one thing I’ve learned from all the things that have happened in my life, both good and bad, is that you have to keep going to get through it or get it done.

“Successful writers are not the ones who write the best sentences. They are the ones who keep writing.  They are the ones who discover what is most important and strangest and most pleasurable in themselves, and keep believing in the value of their work, despite the difficulties.”- Bonnie Friedman

Switching Hats.

9 03 2011

Now that my novella submission is off to the publisher, it’s time for me to switch hats to editing mode.

My friend, Shae Connor, has written her first novel length romance.  I’ve been a first reader for it, and now I’m doing one of the last edits. It’s a completely different mindset from writing. I’m finding I have to stop myself from changing word order a lot. There is nothing wrong with the way it’s ordered, it’s fine the way it is, it’s just not the way I’d word it.

That’s the unsung skill set of the editor isn’t it? Unless it’s going to clarify or add something to the narrative, you can’t impose your phrasing on it. It needs to sound like the author, not me. Now that I’ve acknowledged that, hopefully it will fade to the background in my mind.

It was  gray, drizzly and dark day today, though brightened considerably by a delivery. Books! Two of the books I ordered online from Indigo/Chapters online came today. Stein on Writing and Story Engineering While I do most of my reading in ebook form these days, I make an exception for books on writing, or reference books in general. There is a comfort in being able to note, flag and highlight the things that speak to me and that’s something that I don’t get from doing those things in digital form yet.

There is something to be said for being able to hold the physical book in your hand for reference. See Big Name Publishers? I buy actual books too. I’m also not murdering kittens because I consume ebooks.

It seems the publishers are slooooowly getting up to speed with that. I was watching the iPad 2 announcement last week and one of the first things they announced was the iBooks update and 100 Million books have been downloaded and Random House has finally been added to the iBook store.

Now if only the publishing industry as a whole would realize that the 100 million ebooks is  great thing.  People are reading and that can only do good things for the publishing industry. Love or hate the iPad, it makes purchasing the ebooks very easy and more of an impulse purchase than having to go to a physical bookstore. It’s something that Apple is very good at, making it an easy end-user experience to purchase content. They did it for music, they’re doing it for books and next up looks to be magazines.

I’m hoping with the recent release of the subscription model information that we’ll get more magazine content from the iPad from both mainstream and under appreciated zines that are out there and hard to find in the physical world.  You know, once the publishers have another freak out about how Apple is going to kill their industry. Again.

Speaking as and end user on this, just wake me up when the cat fight is over and I can subscribe to the magazines I want. Until then, all I’m going to hear is the trombone teachers voice from the Peanuts cartoons.

Reading on the iPad



So Far, So Good. (Also, why I should not be allowed loose in a book store)

4 03 2011

I’ve received my manuscript back from two of my four readers and so far it’s mostly small fixes where I’d forgotten apostrophes, or dropped an ‘s’ off of a plural word. Seeing as my last sweep through it, before sending it out, was after 1 a.m., that’s not surprising.

I’m still waiting for the other two. Shae is doing formatting and beta, which is a more intensive job, so that’s the one I’m most curious about . Hopefully it will be back this weekend and I will have her novel edit to send back to her at around the same time.

Yesterday I was doing a karmic debt repayment and driving a friend of my mother’s to the city I live in and back to my hometown for her weekly chemo treatment.

My mother lost her license for a year due to her brain tumour and subsequent surgery, so whenever I’m able to drive someone for their own treatments, I’m more than willing to lend a hand, or a car, knowing that loss of control and independence is sometimes worse than the actual cancer to some people.

While I was waiting for her to have her appointments and treatment, I was able to run errands of my own and then spend some quality time in a book store.

I combed over the writing section and found some that looked interesting.

Sol Stein’s Reference Book for Writers

I was introduced to Stein by my friend Kat who has his Stein on Writing, which I’ve also ordered online, since it wasn’t in the store.

I’ve started to read the reference book and so far I like the way it’s laid out. It’s in an A to Z format of different parts of writing. It’s structured in a way that if you wanted to refer to a certain part, that you can get the information that you need in a concise way, be it information or inspiration and then get back to your writing. I’m looking forward to getting and reading Stein on Writing, everyone I know that has it just adores the book.

I’ve had an idea kicking around in my head for writing about the journey that you go on when your parent has a brain tumour and all of a sudden you are the one taking care of the person who took care of you. I’m still torn on whether the narrative should be non-fiction or fiction. I think a little of that hesitancy may be because I’ve very rarely done memoir writing. I found a book that looks like it will give me a good idea of the process.

Old Friend from Far Away by Natalie Goldberg

The last one I picked at the book store was also the heaviest, but it looked to have a little of everything that I wanted to know. I follow Writer’s Digest on my twitter account where they offer tips and links to blog articles that are relevant to the writing process or what agents and publishers are looking for.

Besides the Stein on Writing I have another on order.

Story Engineering by Larry Brooks

It’s a new release and I’m always looking for ways to increase my storytelling ability. I tend to meander too much when getting from one plot point to another and I’m hoping this book will give me ideas and tools to tighten that up.

So, it looks like I have a fair amount of reading to do. As I work through them, I’ll post what I thought of them and what I found useful, if for no other reason than to leave myself digital crib notes on which book I read that chapter about that thing that I need to know right now. It’s the bane of my writing when it happens, usually derailing me for a good half hour as I search for the book or article that my mind has convinced itself it needs immediately and cannot continue writing without it.

Now, Mr. Stein, you and I have a date over a cup of coffee.