Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Looking back--stumbling forward

 Yes, it’s that time of year when we all look back at what we’ve done (or haven’t done ;)) and look forward to what we will do.

I was thinking about this past year for me as a writer-- it started out with heart break as an agent I really admired “loved my book” but had to pass since she didn’t think humorous fantasy would sell.  I disagree on that front, but I know agents have to do what they need to do to survive.  Then, an editor LOVED my space opera, said how awesome it was, etc…and that he was passing on it because he had too many equally awesome books signed up.

Those two actions really changed things for me.

One- it was nice, REALLY nice, that two professionals thought highly of my work.  Two- it really made me seriously think about self-publishing. My work was there, but NY wasn't.  I realized that money and pride were really the two biggest things holding me back- aka- self-pubbing right, takes money and my little child-writer voice wanted to be validated by having the full traditional package.

But I had been validated, and have been previously.  I am a writer.  Some may love my work, some not so much- but I AM a writer.  I started to believe it on the heels of two painful rejections.

At that time I picked March 1, 2015 as the start of my self-publishing empire.  I wanted to have excellent covers, find some awesome editors, and get the first three books in my humorous fantasy series out a few months apart from each other. (Which meant having them done well before publishing started ;)- hence the year "wait").

I’ll admit I’ve had some issues, really started doubting myself a few times. I kept marching forward, but there were plenty of stumbles along the way. But NaNoWriMo kinda kicked me back in gear and I am within a few weeks of completing the rough of book 2, have found an artist I really like and who will hopefully be able to make cover magic for me, and have been finding editors to help along the way.

Will I make it by March 1?  Who knows.  But I have faith I WILL make it.  And I will just keep writing and publishing on my own terms.

Happy New Year's!  Make sure 2015 is your best year ever- ON YOUR TERMS!  :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cutting a plot

As many of you know, I did another NaNoWriMo this year.  I was working on The Obsidian Chimera, the second book in The Lost Guardians series that starts with The Glass Gargoyle- aka the one with the drunken faeries ;).

I've been reading what I have so far, NaNo is so fast I don't really read what I write, and I have to say--it ain't bad.  In fact, it's feeling like a nice solid book baby!  

But there was one sub-plot that kept haunting me, and not in a good way.  It's an emotional thread and just felt out of place.  I still like it, I think, but after a few days thinking about it I've realized it doesn't feel right in this book.  This is a trilogy (or possibly a pair of trilogies) and the third book already has a darker feel (things go from bad to worse to worser (yes, it's a word- I say so ;)) so this thread might feel more natural there. 

I liked it when I added it in, and in theory liked it when I thought about it.  But when I read it, it just felt shoved in.  Plot-wise, it fits, there's nothing jarring about it.  It was just more at a gut level that I felt like I was already trying to find ways to work around it.

So, I'll be yanking the sucker out and setting it aside for possible inclusion in book 3.  I did already write the ending of The Obsidian Chimera, and the string does play a part there, so I'll have some fixing to do, but I already feel better that I'm removing it.

What about you?  Ever have to rip out a sub-plot or character because they just weren't doing it for you?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Today's post is more about writers and even non-writers, than writing.  It's about deciding who and what we want to be, then making plans to get there.

AKA- goaling.

Not making a goal, that sounds too stagnate and stationary, but goaling (yes, I made it up, it's one of the perks of being a writer- we make up words ;)).  Goaling refers to building a goal system that grows and changes as the goals change and as we change.

And yes, I'm looking at goals when everyone is in a holiday madness.  I hear you yelling, "I do that on January 1st!  Not now!"  But that's the great thing about goaling, it never ends and starts whenever you start.

The idea of making resolutions, hard and fast lists that most will lose after a few days, doesn't work for many folks- if they work for you- awesome!  Keep doing them.  But if they don't, I propose goaling as an option.  Now, you could start your goaling now- planning the up coming year, and just be in "training" mode for Jan 1.  That way you're kind of doing both and you'll possibly have a better success rate than the just starting/planning/ everything on Jan 1 folks.

How do you start goaling?  I'm glad you asked. :)

1)  Look at your entire life and see what's working and what you think could be better.  Write those down.

2)  Where do you want to be a year from now on all aspects of your life?  Write those down.

3) How can you make things better for others in the coming year?  Write that down. (yes, goaling is sneaky, because making things better or helping others actually makes YOU feel better this will help keep you moving towards your own goals.)

4)  Write down anything else you think might be helpful, cute, funny, or challenging in the next year.

Now look at those things, all your nice lists- make sure they include everything you want to move towards this year (you can do further if you want).  Start at the end goal- 12 months from now (or your start point if you are delaying it ;)).  I put it at the top of a big sheet of paper with twelve lines I use one of those oversized paper pads.  Then below it, write what would be where you would be the month before it, and so on.  At the bottom is your start point.  I do one sheet per goal.  Now you do have a list, but at anytime you are allowed to change that list.  Make a new one.  In fact, you should be reviewing the goals and steps each month at least.  List not working?  Revamp and move on.

The idea of reminding yourself that adjusting goals, or the path is allowed, removes the whole "oops- broke my resolution, might as well give up."  You CANNOT fail your goals as long as you keep moving and keep adjusting them. As long as you are moving forward you can't fail ever- you're just adjusting things.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

IWSG: Stop! NaNo recovery in process

Welcome to another installation of the Insecure Writer's Support Group!  This is a wonderful blog collection of writers for all over the world and in all stages of their careers who get together to share their writing hopes and fears- join us!

Today I'm talking about stopping.  Just stopping.  Not stopping, wandering away, and not coming back-- but take a step back in a project, surveying the work done so far, and then moving back on with it.

Yup- another NaNoWriMo has come, gone, and been won.  Now thousands of writers are left with these huge piles of words, friends and families who haven't seen them for a month, and possibly a serious caffeine addiction.

And no clue as to what come next.

I'm not going to go into the "don't send anything out for a long time" spiel-pretty sure all of you know that (if you don't-- just don't send NaNo work out until you've worked on it- A LOT).

No, I'm dealing with the weird feeling of having pulled that hand-break on the madness that is writing 50,000 words in 30 days and trying to get my brain to slow down.

For those who haven't NaNoed, it's sort of like you've been running everyday for 30 days.  No time to look at the scenery, or where you've been. You build coping mechanisms to get just one more mile out of tired legs and an exhausted spirit. You. Just. Keep. Moving.

Until you stop.

That stopping is sort of a shock.  You knew it would end, in fact often times you were praying for it to end.  But when the end comes it's a bit of a shock.  You can keep trying to move forward at that same breakneck pace (and kudos for you if you can- I hit 50,000 two days early and did NOT keep going ;)), or run away screaming swearing to never write again, or stop and take a look at what you've wrought.

So this week I'm stopping.  I'm taking a breather, trying to put my head around what I did, and make plans for moving forward.  I was a NaNo rebel this year, I have a timeline for three books to come out next year and was already about 24,000 words into the second book in the series when Nov 1 rolled around.  So my 50,000 for NaNo was on top of the 24,000 already created.  For those of you who don't think in word counts- that means right now I'm at 243 pages total (what I had plus NaNo) out of a probably 330-350 page book.

I'm now starting at the beginning and doing a "what do we have here" edit. Not a heavy edit, but just trying to catch mistakes, make notes on characters and sub-plots, and give my brain time to process what it created during 30 days of madness.

I have to say so far, I'm pleasantly surprised :).  I'm enjoying going over the chapters this way and will get back to writing at a more normal pace once my review is done.

But there is still a little part of my brain yelling, "What's the word count now?!  Must write faster! No reading!  No editing!  MOVE IT!"  I know from past years, as November moves further away that voice will die down.  But right now I just smile at it, thank it for the awesome words it created, and continue to stop and smell the story :).

Happy IWSG day!  And if you NaNo'd whether you won or not- congrats!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Stories within stories

Everyone tells stories about their lives, about who they are, about who they wish they were or who they think others wish they were.

Our characters should do it too.

Humans (or human behaving aliens/paranormal creatures/superheros ;)) tell stories about things that happened in their lives for pretty much two primary reasons.

1)  To connect with others.  If you share a bit about yourself, you are inviting the other person into your world, sort of like a window display.  How much you share, and what, determines how close you and the other person are and at what stage in the relationship.  Too much too soon could kill a romantic or even just friends relationship.  Too little too late can make the other person feel you don't open up to them and again kill things.

If I want someone to think I'm adventurous, I might regale them with tales of my one skydiving jump, or that many of my ex-boyfriends were musicians (both of which sound far more adventure some than they were- ok, the jumping out of a plane all by myself was adventurous ;)).

If I want someone to think I'm smart, I might talk about my time in Mensa- ok, that would be a lie, but you get the point.

Most story sharing isn't that pointed though, people aren't always calculating what they want the other person to think.  Most of the time something in a conversation triggers an emotional response and off we go with a story.

2)  However, the second reason is more controlling. Sometimes either insecurity or ego step in and people create, rehearse in their heads, and repeat stories which reinforce a persona they wish to project.  These can be complete fabrications or simply an embellishment of what really happened.  "Did I mention the 30 times I've jumped from a plane?  Lemme tell you about time 12 where....."  I've jumped once, but if being adventurous was part of the persona I wanted to project, and I felt insecure around this person--that one time may have jumped-LOL-to 30.

Braggarts will often do this as well, and oft times for the same reason- insecurity.  Eventually, the made up and rehearsed stories become real to the teller.  They've told it so many times it is real- to them (Gollum and his "birthday present" anyone?  ;)). What would happen to someone with a rehearsed set of lies, both internal and external if a new person in their life burst those lies?

The same with our characters.  What does your character share with others?  What don't they share?  You could show alot about how a character feels around different people by the changes in the story.  Do they lie to everyone simply because they feel inferior?  Are they trying to cover up a failing?  Do they fear their friends won't like them if they know the real them?

All of those things and more can be shown by designing the stories they tell.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

NaNo Haters

We're right at the half way mark (ok a bit short) of NaNoWriMo, that annual marathon sprint for writers across the globe.

This is my fifth or so NaNo and every year I'm shocked by other writers reactions.

There is a lot of vitriol flung at NaNo out there and I just don't get it.  Yes, I agree that agents and editors have reason to fear it- I'm sure they get slammed in December by folks sending in NaNo works that are still raw and bleeding from November.  But for every over excited clueless one who does that, there are probably a few hundred who don't.

Some folks slam it because they feel it is too rushed, an emotional burden in an already too fast industry.  Ummm, yeah.  No one was forced to sign up, and bailing on it won't destroy anyone's future career.  I admit I was a bit perplexed by that one.  I think the post writer was trying to make a point and just threw in anti-NaNo statements to make it catchy.

Others attack it because it is "encouraging mediocre or worse writing".   Many writers are dirty draft writers- aka we write fast and messy and clean it up as we go along but mostly on the back end.  I personally only know ONE writer who writes an almost clean draft the first round.  They are a serious plotter, and polish each sentence before moving on.  Most writers, even plotters, aren't like that.  Multiple drafts are part of the game. So why should it matter if my rough draft was born over one month or three?  No matter how slow I write, I will need to edit and do revisions galore.

I don't understand why people feel the need to bash something others are enjoying and might actually be getting their writing kicked up a notch.  The only thing I can figure is these naysayers need to feel involved somehow since there is so much talk about NaNo in the writing community.  They are trying to show their moral and professional superiority to us shlebs out there doing this crazy (and in their mind useless) thing.

I have one thing to say to those people- Bite me.  Not professional nor morally superior, I know.  But it does get the point across.  If you don't like something- DON'T DO IT.  You don't need to mock, slam, or insult the people who do like it to make you feel superior.

If you are doing NaNo this month- WRITE ON!

If you are not doing NaNo this month- STILL WRITE ON!

Writing is a tough and oft times lonely field- we should be supporting each other, not passing judgement and bashing each other.  *diving off the soap box now*

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

IWSG: Ideas for sale?


Welcome yet again to the one and only Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday! Writers from across the globe join forces to seek out and support each other on a monthly basis.  Check it out!

Now on to our regularly scheduled blog :)

Ideas for sale.  Ok, not for sale so much as I would like to find out where they come from.  As in what invisible entity is selling these crazy ideas for my books to my brain.

This idea of ideas came as I speed through last night's NaNoWriMo word count.  I'd had a vague idea of what was coming up ahead in my story earlier in the day. Not too far, mind you, just the upcoming scene.  Then, as I was chugging along, a brand new set of ideas took over and completely changed the direction of that part of the story.

That happens a lot to us pansters, we never know completely where we're going, so we often jump the rails.  And writing at the accelerated word count of NaNo even makes it worse.

But this time I really thought about it.  About all of the times that I zigged in my story instead of zagging.  Where I brought forth one character and let another fade away.  What happens to all those other stories?  the other ideas we had that just went "poof"?

Back in the day, before I realized I really am a pantser, I'd try plotting.  More notes of ideas really but still, I'd lay down some ideas, then go off writing only to come back to find my ideas had totally changed. I still find notes jotted down that are light years away from where my story ended up and I find myself wishing I could see how that "other" story would have turned out.

I like where my stories have ended up in the past, so hopefully the same will hold true with my current WIP- but it does make me wonder about ideas. And where they go when we don't use them.

Have a great IWSG day and if you are NaNoing -good luck!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Month of Dangerous Writing

Yes, it's that time of year again!  The air is crisp (even here in San Diego- FINALLY), the are days shorter, and there's fun and madness everywhere-

IT'S NANOWRIMO TIME!!! *Cue a bunch of writers dressed in hammer pants dancing in sync*

For the uninitiated, NaNoWriMo (or just NaNo which is easier ;)), is a world wide event where crazy writers join forces and agree to write 50,000 words (about 170 pages for me) in the month of November.  

That is a hell of a lot of word slinging!

Why do we do it?  Hello?  "Crazy"?  ;)  But there are some great benefits too.

1) It really pushes you and challenges that don't kill you make you stronger.

2) You get to commune with other crazy writers through forums that are local or based on your genre- I have some great writer friends I met through NaNo a few years ago- locals I never would have known otherwise!

3) It will send that pesky internal editor to an early grave.  Or at least a month long vacation.  You need 1,667 words a day to hit the goal (and no- I don't recommend counting on doing huge counts later in the month to make up ;)- keep things as steady as you can!) At that pace you CANNOT edit.  

4) Awesome bragging rights.  Ok, so many folks will look at you and say, "You did what again?"  But deep inside they are filled with awe for your mad writer skills and determination!

So those are just a few reasons why you want to do this, here are a few tips:

1)  This is FUN- keep that in mind at all times.

2) Pretty sure the household can survive with less you for a month- make your family your support crew so they don't resent NaNo or forget who you are.

3) You will want a support crew-LOL.  Grab friends, family (see above) or new folks you meet on the forums- but don't do this alone!

4)  Check out other sites for planning and strategies- one of the best I think is Alexandra Sokoloff's blog :

5) Reward yourself!  Food and booze is fine, but you don't want to be drunk and trying to write, nor in a sugar coma.

6) Never, EVER, delete words in your WIP.  If you really hate some little devils, change the font to white.  You won't see them, but they will still be in your word count- trust me, around Thanksgiving time you will need them.

Ok- so what about you folks- anyone who has done NaNo have some more tips?  Questions newbies joining for the first year? 

Come join us!  Or at least check it out ;)

By the way- that blue block in the right corner of the blog?  That's a NaNo word war with me and some friends (yeah- I'm mandreas- hard to figure out, right?  ;)).  This will update our word counts as NaNo progresses- so come back often and see how we're doing!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Becoming a Time Lord

Ok, not the Whovian style- I don’t think you can just sign up for that. (Not that being a Time lord in that sense wouldn't be fun, I really do want my own Tardis ;)).

 But I’m talking about becoming the Master (using it gender neutral here, folks) of your time.

As writers, we never seem to have enough time.  Some of us have evil day jobs (or even not so evil ones), some have families, some both.  Whatever the case, writing takes A LOT of time, and there never seems to be enough to go around.

Recently, I started getting up earlier (5am) which gives me two and a half hours to do all the usual morning tasks and extras before I leave for EDJ (evil day job ;)). I’m a morning person, so earlier is better, but it does take some getting used to to develop the habit. I have noticed that I like getting things off my plate before work- makes the start of the day less hectic and gets some stuff off the to do list.

Now, my first two of weeks doing this, I wasn’t doing my writing.  I would do blogs, other things related to it, but not writing.  For me this worked well since I first needed to get back in the habit of 5 am –then get into writing before work.

But last week and this week, I've been writing.  Usually hitting 500 words a morning, I keep track of my daily goal (1000 or more) on a spreadsheet where I can put in my current word count at any point and see how many words I've done and how many to go for my daily goal.  It may be silly, but that little Excel sheet keeps me moving (just 86 more words!  Almost there!).

Getting up early seems to be helping me control my time better.  I don't have a choice about when I go into my EDJ, but I do have control of the time around it. By building in time to get something done early, I’ve freed my mind from worrying about my evening goal.  I still have one, but it’s reduced and less scary ;).

Another thing I'm doing to get more out of my time, is trying only to watch recorded TV shows and limit myself to two per night.  I can easily slip into TV junkie land, so I need to make sure I’m watching what I really want to watch and not just surfing through re-runs. Besides, if they are recorded I can miss all the commercials ;).

I've also found that telling myself what I will be doing for the day/week and keep reminding myself helps.  I’ve found that if I commit to myself, “Tonight, I’m making muffins for work”, or  “Tonight, I’m getting in an extra 500 words”, I’m more likely to finish the task.  In my head it is a done deal, a reality. When I plan things out more I suddenly seem to have more time, since I’m spending less time puttering around thinking about what I should do ;).

Now that I’m on the TimeLord train, I’m looking for more ways to save it and find it- please post your best time tricks!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Birthdays and Celebrations!

When we create worlds and people to man them, we're creating ENTIRE worlds. Every little aspect is new to our specific world view--even if it's something we see everyday. Now granted, people who are working with our world, or variations of it, do have a nice base to work from, but they still have to build in what aspects to accent and show.

But for us building new worlds completely from scratch, we have a lot to deal with.

World building can be fun, painful, or somewhere in-between.  Some writers spend YEARS (I kid you not- they scare me) building their worlds before they write one word of the story.  I do wonder if, at that point, the world building has become the story.  Other folks are more like me at the pantser end of the gene pool--even world building is more of a "as you go" project. We have ideas, more of a feel for a world than hard and fast definitions of everything.  As the book progresses more rules fall into place.  (I know that is making all you plotters squirm ;)).

New worlds will have new holidays and celebrations too.  What do the people in this world you've created celebrate?  Harvest? Spring?  The coming of the cool season?  Birthdays?  How do they celebrate them?

Today is my birthday and that's what got me thinking about all of my worlds and my characters.  I haven't built in a single birthing day reference, celebration, ceremony, or hootenanny to celebrate any of their birthdays.  If they celebrate them. Some cultures may not count the birthday, but another day years down the line.  Maybe it's bad luck to celebrate a birthday.  The options are pretty open.  But somehow my characters ended up without anything.

It wasn't conscious, just something that I didn't do. But it's wasting a great chance to show insight into my characters and their worlds.  What events are celebrated, and how, says a lot about a culture and individuals.  While it shouldn't take over a major plot point, or even a secondary one, it could add some depth.

So, I'm going to be looking for celebrations in my books from here on out- maybe even give some characters some suitably dramatic birthdays ;).

Thanks for coming by!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

It's all about making people dance....

Actually, it's about manipulation.

All art, whether it be writing, acting, music, film, painting, drawing, etc, is created with the idea to manipulate the recipient in some way.

We want to make them feel something, evoke an emotional response that is directly the reaction of their psyche to our work.  And as consumers of art, know we are being manipulated.  We listen to a favorite song because it lifts our spirits.  We have "Comfort" books and movies that we read or watch on a regular basis because they bring out positive feelings. We watch a scary movie at Halloween to get into the spirit.

That is all well and good and the nature of art. It's why we do what we do and why we listen to music, watch movies, and read books. Where it gets sticky is when the creator manipulates with a sledge hammer.

This can happen in any format, and is often the result of the creator not being confident in their work, or in the case of a long time series or TV show, feeling they need to "shake things up".   TV even has a nice little term for it- jumping the shark.  Came around when the show Happy Days decided to liven things up late in their run by having The Fonz jump a shark.

It didn't liven them up, but did make them a catch phrase (and not in a good way).

More recently TV shows are doing this by killing established characters.  The actor wants off, or someone else wants them off, so they ratchet up the emotional  level, then kill them.  See my previous post on killing- if it's not essential to the story, and there was another more logical way to complete said story- don't do it. Don't let me as the reader see the strings being pulled.

I know I am being manipulated in my emotional reaction to what I read, watch, and listen to, but I want it to be subtle.  When it's done with a light touch, the reader gets pulled in and easily finds themselves reacting to the work appropriately- aka they dance the way you want them to. But when things are too over the top, too much for shock, or you find yourself wondering how to get that character on the water skis to jump that shark, there's a problem.  When people see the manipulation, the "man behind the curtain" it ruins the magic.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

IWSG: Fearless Writing

Welcome, yet again, to another chapter in the Insecure Writer's Support Group saga!  For those of you yet unawares of this group- it's a monthly chance for writers from all over to gather and share our hopes, dreams and fears.

Join us!

Today is about fear and loathing ...

Fear is helpful when you are running for your life from a crazed wild animal or ax wielding lunatic.

It's not so helpful when you are trying to write a book.  Or a series.  Or launch a writing career.

First I suppose we should define fear:

  1. 1.
    an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

The definition doesn't sound like something that should affect writers.  We're sitting in our own space, most likely not under threat of bodily harm, yet we all most all experience some type of fear about our writing.

Even though we are clearly not under physical threat--as used the in definition above--we could be said to be operating under mental threat.  What will happen to our livelihoods when we fail?  Or, if we're still holding our day jobs, what will happen to our sense of self when we fail?

Note I say WHEN we fail.  We will fail, it's the nature of what we do.  If we approach our writing fearing that we'll fail, we're already making things worse.  Accept it.  You will fail.  I will fail.  If we've been at this a while, we've already failed many times.

But fear can cripple a writer. And not just fear of failure- but fear of success.  Perverse as the human mind is, we can even fear both at the same time.  These fears can stop us from writing or can make us find so many folks to get feedback from that we kill our work.

So how do we move beyond fear when we write?

First, like I said above- accept it, embrace it, make buddies with it.  Maybe make a little fear doll to sit next to you when you write.  Acknowledge it every day. YOU control it- not the other way around.

Second, make notes of what scares you at that point.  This will probably change at different parts of the process- so acknowledge each one during its time.

Third, follow that fear to the ground.  What would be the worse thing that could happen if what you fear is true- comes about?  Now go over the top with it.  Will the world still stand?  Friends and family still love you?  WILL IT STOP YOU FROM WRITING?

Fourth, tell your fear you are doing it anyway- and get back to writing, editing, pitching, or selling- whatever stage you are at- hug your fear, and move on.

The only way to be fearless is to embrace your fears and let them make you stronger.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

What puts the umph in your motivation?

Today I'm calling all of you creative types and asking you to share what keeps you motivated.

Whether you're a writer, musician, actor, artist, jewelry maker, craft maker, baker, whatever- what keeps you going?

Having a creative dream isn't easy, we often aren't paid for the "Journeyman" level work we do, and even past that level most of us won't be making enough to survive on.  Friends don't always understand what you're going through, they don't realize (for writers) that no, you can't just slap a bunch of words together and call it a book (ok, you can- but it's not going to be anything anyone aside from those who love you enough to lie to your face would want to read ;)).

Creative works take time.  A movie lasts a few hours, but takes years to make.  A CD could be listened to fairly quickly, but could have taken a year or more to craft.  Books are read with varying speed, but never as slow as it takes to write them.

And your friends, family, loved ones, pets--don't always get that.

The industry for creative ventures is small and often brutal- spitting out victims in huge numbers.

Yet some folks muster on.

So, I'm asking folks what keeps you going?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Killing them not so softly

Today’s all about death in our books and the books we read.  Now, I’ll freely admit I’m not a huge fan of characters I care about being killed (yeah- not a Game of Thrones fan ;)).  I know some folks like death in their books (readers and writers) since it lends realism.  I’ve lost enough people close to me that I don’t need that kind of “realism”-- hits a bit too close to home.

That being said, I have been known to bump off a character or two and there have been books that didn’t become airborn (aka being through across the room) the minute a character was killed.  I didn’t like it, but I could see where the author was coming from.

What I REALLY hate is when a character is killed for no real story or character reason- or a reason that could have been plausible even without the death (yes, I am still traumatized by Joss Whedon- love the man, but won’t forgive him for Wash).

I just finished a book that I would have recommended- right up to a gratuitous killing of the character’s parents…right in front of her….after they’d just gotten back together with her after a two year estrangement. Yeah….no.
Part of the problem was the character had a chance earlier to save them- she knew they were in danger, drove out to get them- then decided it was better she didn’t.   Even though she knew the Big Bad had her parents’ address.

 The second part is that it didn’t really seem to impact the character.  This was an “origins” story, and as such could have used the deaths early on to motivate the character (Batman anyone?) but where it was placed it did nothing but shock the reader (and in this case, piss this reader off). Injuring the parents and having a dramatic reconciliation would have a had a much bigger character impact- especially since the character really didn’t respond to the loss.

I know not everyone is as sensitive to death as me, I’m a wimp and I admit it.  But I still believe that as writers we have to make the big events count- we weaken them, and betray our readers, when we just dump them in for shock value.

What's your take?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Repetition, repetition, repetition!

I've been thinking about repetition and writing alot lately.  Mostly since I started reading a book in my print book to be read pile when my kindle went wonkie.

This author (not a new one, and no, I won't point fingers or say names) likes to repeat things.  A lot. It's an interesting story and a great premise.  I even like the character, even if she's a bit predictable (the only thing that really separated her from most urban fantasy heroines was having a child- then the author swept that away- but that's an annoyance for another blog ;)).

Anyway- what is killing this book for me is repetition.  She points out a fact or observation the character has.  Then ten pages later, it pops up again...then again a few more pages.  That combined with a very  "lots of words but getting nowhere" style of writing has made it very difficult to keep reading. I feel like I'm reading in circles just a slight change in location.

So why do writers repeat things?

Repetition can actually be a good tool when used properly to connect the reader with the world or characters.  Going back to a favorite haunt for the character, seeing a friend of theirs from time to time, subtly repeating a theme.  All of those help to make a cohesive whole world for the reader.

But sometimes writers use it out of laziness or fear.  Laziness in that while writing the writer fails to go back and fix repeats that happened while writing the rough draft.   Having them in there  is understandable- it takes so long to write a book it's easy to forget what you wrote six months ago.  But not spotting them in later drafts, or worse, seeing them and you (and the editor) thinking it's ok ain't so good.  It's not ok, it's a waste of words and reader time.  And boring.

Fear comes from thinking the reader didn't get it the first time.  If you tell me what the relationship is between two important characters once- I pretty much got it.  The only time it should be brought up is if there is something new to add or something changes.  If you want to reinforce something find more creative ways to do it than just repeating what you said 50 pages ago.

So that's my rant about repetition- what about you? Annoyed by it?  Deal breaker?  Don't really notice?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

IWSG: Better on the other side?

Happy First Wednesday of the month!  If you've read this blog for any time at all, ya know that means it's Insecure Writer's Support Group day!  This is a group of writers from all over the world who join to support each other- join us!

Ok, onto today's post :).

First off, let me identify myself- my name is Marie, and I'm a Pantser (cue- "Hi Marie" here ;)).  Pantser just means I write by the seat of my pants- aka I don't plot.  Now pantsers can range from the Bradbury type of just opening a window and just seeing where the characters go to an almost plotter type of pre-plotting but not really mapping it all out.

I'm soundly in the free for all, just trying to keep up with my character's end. 

And while I have finished a number of books that way, there is a tiny part of my brain (which grows louder and more aggressive when I box my characters in somehow) that says the plotters might have an easier way of it.

I did try plotting once.  In fact, as I type this I'm looking at a nice big cardboard tri-fold, broken up into acts and scenes with lined colored post its covering half of it.

Yup- half.  I found that I ran out of steam, and even though I have the major climax points in the later half, the first half just didn't work so I never finished.  That book is waiting for an overhaul as I've got it so out of wack in terms of a "blah" plot that I can't move forward without a serious re-write.

And yet--I still look at my plotter friends with more than a little tinge of envy.  It just seems like such a more efficient way to write, so streamlined and clean.  And cool office supplies!  Ok, let's face it, one of my favorite parts of my trip into plotter-land was the lined, colored post-it notes.

I'm sure, somewhere, there is a plotter who wishes they could be more pantser like. And while I do still think it might be better of that otherside, I think this is who I am, and how I write.

So chime in- plotter?  Pantser?  Plantser? Where are you on the scale and do you envy the other side?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

All about the big bads...

Before I launch into today's post, I wanted to point out the new look of the blog.  If you go visit my website, you can see that they match-LOL ;) (by the way, a not so subtle point being made that I NOW have a website!)

I'm very excited about the new look and am extremely grateful to Rae Monet Designs for the awesomeness!

Ok, on to the post :)

Characters always have to have something to push against, something or someone who is stopping them from their goals or creating the problem they feel they need to rally against. For my genres those antagonists are usually Villains.  Aka in Buffy-speak "big bads".

Villains can range from Cardinal Richelieu of The Musketeers (BBC TV show- my newest obsession ;))- he's evil, completely bent on ruling the world, and yet is out in the open.  Everyone except for the king, know he's an evil man (they just may not realize how evil ;)).  Yet because of the circumstance, they can't do anything to complete stop him and at many times have to work alongside him and even save his life. He is an awesome villain.

This is the up close villain in my book- he/she is RIGHT there, a constant aspect of the protagonist's life. These are often hidden ones, where they come on as a good person, but the reader finds out they aren't--eventually so does the character.  Sometimes these don't work however, as they need a fine balancing act as to why the character isn't catching on.  Like romances where the thing keeping a couple apart is made out of bad misunderstandings, this can fall flat. But when done right, amazing.

Now the up close villain won't always work- especially in my genre (they are great for political intrigue though!).  So, at the other end we had the shadow villain.  These beings are rarely seen except through the destruction their minions cause.  A powerful force moving behind the scenes to turn the world--or at least their corner of it--in their own favorite hell.  Sauron from Lord of The Rings would be the classic example of this one.  He doesn't even have a body! Yet his power and influence is strong and the destruction he causes through others is massive.

I'd say those are the two extremes on villains, and I know there are many more.  But all villains think they are the hero of their story, they can't be bad just to be bad (unless they are a sociopath and those are quite different in my book ;)).

So what about you?  Who are the big bads you write?  When reading or watching tv or movies- who do you love to hate, or just hate?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Biggest peeves

I was thinking about things that annoy me as a reader, and that I'd really like to avoid as a writer.  Since all writers are readers, I thought I'd toss this out to all folks- writers, non-writers, pretty much anyone who reads books:

What bugs you and to what level?

I've noticed that the longer I write the harder it gets to read for enjoyment.  I get annoyed far to easily nowadays, and that annoyance is far more likely to result in me not finishing that book than it used to.

So what bugs me?

A character that I can't relate to.  If you have an amazing world, but I really dislike the main character- I'm outta there.  To be honest, usually this only happens with free books I get (aka- ones I didn't go out hunt down and buy ;)), simply because if I'm buying the book, I look inside to read a bit on the character.  Now, I can still be tricked, but usually that gets rid of those.

Flashbacks.  Ok, little ones might work if you can do them well-- but sometimes authors get way too into the flashback.  If the story from the past is that interesting- TELL that one!  My suggestion is use the flashbacks in small doses- let us see how the character is now, then show us bits and pieces of how they got that way.  I started reading a book years ago where I liked who I thought was the main character- only to find out two chapters in, that the rest of the book was about ANOTHER character completely in a flashback!  Yeah- that one went sailing into the giveaway book pile.

Prologues.  Not a fan, but not a book deal ender either- I just don't read them.  So, ya better hope they aren't needed for the story ;).

Stupid people.  I've raved about this before.  Making a character do something because YOU want/need them to, isn't the same as their behavior being a logical (or at least plausible) outcome of their current situation. Nuff said.

Focusing on stuff of no importance to the story.  Yes, you need to make your world real, but if you have the "book camera" pan on a vase for half a page, then don't have that vase be anything important later- I will hunt you down and pummel you.  As a writer you've just wasted valuable "reader focus" and you've also lied to your reader- both are a crime.

I know I have more, but those are mine. What are your peeves when you read?  And do you stop reading or muster on?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

So where to begin?

Just a short sort of blog today- more of a question really. 

Where do you start your stories? 

Yes, yes, I know--start where the protagonist's life goes sideways, where things jump off the rails, where it appears as if everything is going to spin into world class hinkiness.  Also, other fun tips- start with action and never give backstory in the beginning.

Now, I've seen stories that follow the rules and fail and break the rules and succeed (granted, rarely).  Given the types of books I write I do start with action.  But I recently realized I jumped the gun in one.  I dove into the main storyline way too fast.  It seemed logical when I was writing it, but now that I'm trying to fix the story (hmmmm- wonder why ;)) I realized I began too soon.

So what are your thoughts about beginnings- yours or others?  What do you love, hate, wish you had done yourself?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

IWSG: Freak out and throw things!

Ah yes, another entry in the once a month saga of the Insecure Writer's Support Group!  Once a month writers from across the globe gather to well...freak out and throw things.  Join us!

Ok, to be fair, not all of us are in the freak out and throw things mode, at least not all at the same time ;).  But right now that is a much better and more accurate assessment of my writing mind than "Keep calm and carry on".  I do love the original British motto, and it helps.  Sometimes.  Other times you just sort of want to freak out.  And throw things. And maybe scream a little.

Usually the epic geeky wonder of Comic Con San Diego gives me a boost of creative energy.  And it sort of did this year, I was gobsmacked as usual by all the amazing things folks are doing.  But I fear that may have collided with my current stress/overwhelmed state and created a perfect storm of "can't do nothing".

I have now managed to not write for over two weeks and heading solidly into week three.  I think it's a combination of stress at evil day job, but also a massive amount of self-doubt and being over-whelmed by trying to get the self-publishing off the ground and still taking hits from rejections from the few things I still had floating out in the trad publishing world. I want to do the self-publishing right, but being able to afford it all is freaking me out.  Putting something out there that looks like crap, freaks me out.  Pretty much my entire writing world is freaking me out right now.

So until I figure out a better coping mechanism (like any at all) I'll be sitting in my corner and throwing things.

Wanna find some more writers who are perhaps not quite as insecure as me today?

Go check some out!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Epic Fail

Look at this- it's a Saturday post...yup sssaaaattttuuurrday.  Not Wednesday like I usually do, not even Thursday or Friday.

Nope- Saturday.

So what should cause such a horror you ask?  Life.

Sometimes life goes sideways and while we mean to do something, we really really just never happens.

Our modern lives are very complicated when compared to people of the past, we have way too much silly stuff  bouncing around, trying to keep our balls in the air, and sometimes those balls fall, bounce around a bit, and get picked later.

Like a Saturday.

Which makes me think about chronic daily annoyances and stressors and our characters (ya knew I'd get to writing eventually ;)).  Now adding boring everyday ones "Sorry, couldn't save the world, had a day job to deal with." wouldn't add much to our stories.  But have we made things to cute and dry for our characters?  If they have a job- how does it affect their current "save the world or at least my corner" call to adventure?  Family?  traffic?  Shopping?  There are whole herds of boring everyday stuff that even someone on a space station would have to deal with.

Point is, to make things real in your stories, you need to have some real life "balls" hit your character on your head a few times.

What about you?  Do you give your characters a "real life" where sometimes the little things fall through?

Have a great week-end!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Turning tricks...

Today I’d like to talk about writing tricks. We all have them, whether they be for getting the work to flow, or jump starting a character, goosing a sagging plot, or keeping the writing fresh after a few books. And what works for one writer may work for others- so please play along!

I’d have to say my biggest “trick” is writing sprints, with NaNoWriMo being the biggest sprint of them all. Ok, in reality it’s a marathon, but it’s a series of sprints or it won’t work ;).

Sprints are my way of working past whatever part of my daily mundane life is interfering with my writing. You can do them alone, or with friends. I’ve seen pro writers shout out writing sprints on the hour or half hour on twitter. Folks join in, then report their count when the time is up. Sometimes the stuff produced is amazing- other times, not so much- but it’s SOMETHING- and it usually gets the juices flowing. Besides, everyone loves a little competition!

Another “trick” is jumping. Sometimes I’ll just have images for amazing scenes pop in my head- of course they are often nowhere near where I am in the story at hand. I usually follow through on writing them though- then during editing piece things together. It’s a great trick for when you feel like you’re stuck or the story is feeling blah. (And probably would give most plotters the hives, so if you’re one of them- don’t do it ;)).

Lastly, if I have a difficult character I try to take them out of the context of my story and find out what they like in our world. What music would they like? How would they dance? What foods? Since pretty much I write characters not of our world, seeing them in our settings (in my head) often helps me get a better grasp on my otherworldly folks (besides it’s fun ;).

Sooooo- now it's YOUR turn- what are some tricks or "best practices" (to steal from the cubical world ;)) you use to keep your writing moving and growing?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

IWSG: Freaking out

Happy Insecure Writer Support Group Wednesday!

This is our day, once a month, for writers across the globe to scream and rattle their fists at the Universe- Join us!

I recently had some serious downtime, no internet, no TV while I was housesitting for a friend. No, she's not crazy, she just really likes things simple at home ;).

This downtime gave me the time to really look at the whole marketing/what-the-hell-was-I thinking aspect for going Indie published.

I kinda had a mini melt down.

There is so much to be thinking about and doing if one is going Indie.  Not only writing the best damn book you can, then keep writing those things at a quick pace, but the marketing, the editing, the hiring artists, websites, etc.

I lucked out and have an awesome website coming up- I won it at auction in the Brenda Novak Diabetes Auction and it will look amazing.  Which is about the only part of this madcap plan that feels anchored right now.

I can't find an artist- granted, I only tried one, but it didn't work out so now I'm freaking that I can't find an artist who gets my work and does market professional covers within my price range. 

I'm freaking out that even with editing, my books won't be "perfect". (I hear the laughing out there- yeah, yeah, no such thing as perfect- tell my primitive brain that!)

I'm freaking out about writing fast enough- I am fast- but I get derailed by bright and sparkling things...ok, by most things.  What if I can't keep up?

What if I can't figure out all the damn algorithms from Amazon?

I sort of feel like this photo of mine:

Like my goal is waaaaaay at that far end, and I might just fall through the rocks at any moment along the way.

Yep- that's freaking me out too.

I love that I am going to get my work out there, and deep inside I trust myself to do great books, and hire great folks to help me (ok, lack of money is freaking me out too)- I just need to get past all the fear.  And do it anyway :). 

Words of support welcome!

Want to find more IWSG blogs?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Suck it up, Buttercup

How many times have you heard, “I’d love to write a book/paint a picture/make a film/learn an instrument/learn how to weave baskets underwater, but I just don’t have the time?”  If you are someone who does any of those things, or many others (which also includes exercising, working out, starting a fitness plan), you probably hear it a lot. 
 It usually goes like this:
Me:  “I’m a writer”
Person at party: “Oh, I want to write, I just don’t have the time.” 
The implication being that obviously I’m doing something wrong since I do have the time and along with writing I am probably laying around eating bon bons and making daisy chains. The other person is ignoring the fact that I MAKE the time. (Usually)
 Time is like a vortex, you won’t have it unless you make it, unless you fight for the time to do what you must do for you.  This is the same if you have a day job, family, other time conflicts- you FIGHT for the creative time. You make your unmovable  obligations (job, family) then fit in everything else around them.  But you make them work.
That's sort of where I've been lately, evil day job taking over my soul again, and my little mental voice giving me excuses such as, "I don't have the time, I'm just too exhausted when I get home."
Well, I'm going to give that little voice in my head some hard advice, and advice I'd share with everyone who "doesn't have the time" (to write, paint, create, help a friend, whatever).
Yes. You. Do.
If something is important, you make the time.  The little time fairy has gone awol with the money fairy and they ain't coming back. Either you put your effort into making time (and yes, I'm talking to myself here as well--it's ok, I'm not sane anyway) or you shut up about it.  No whining, no bitching, no, "I'd really love too BUT...." You do it, or move on. 
People will always find excuses for why they aren’t doing what they really want, or what they think they should really want. Sometimes the excuses of not enough time are simply so the person doesn't have to face a hard truth.
But the bottom line is, we need to suck it up, make time for who we are.  Who we will be. 
 No Excuses.  (It's not just for jocks any more ;)).

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Readers get pissed when you lie

Happy Wednesday all!

Fairly short rant today, offsetting last week's long one ;).

No one likes to be lied to. Readers really don't like to be lied to.  I don't like to be lied to, and that's what I feel just happened with a book I just finished.

Writers can mislead readers, that's a big part of what we do--but we shouldn't lie.

In this case the author ( a NYT bestseller who is quite awesome even though I'm annoyed with this one book) set up a nice little paranormal mystery.  We had a small town with lots of who did what to whom in the past, murder, mayhem, possible satanic rituals.  Very well done.

Now comes the annoying parts- one- I figured out who the person behind it all way too early.  Two- I got it wrong.  Now I'm not mad I got it wrong, because I did get the right body- but the author did a body switch for a person of massive evilness in the main character's past. It was a cheat in my mind.

But what really annoyed me?  All of that "who killed who, who slept with who, why they did what they did", was all throw away.  ALL OF IT.  The evil one who took over the body was just trying to lure the heroine out. None of the people in that town meant a thing to the "actual" story.

So that left the reader (aka me in this case) feeling like I'd been working on a really great puzzle, then had all the pieces taken away because they didn't matter.

I was lied to by the author.

Now, like I said, this was a big name, very good selling author.  Will it put me off from all of her future books?  Probably not, I'll give her one more chance, but if this happens again, you betchya she's going into my "do not read" list.

Now what if this had been a new author?  Directly to the "do not read" list.  This was, in my mind, an awful thing to do to a reader and left a bad taste in my mouth about the author. 

So, fellow writers- DON'T LIE.  Nuff said ;).

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Freebies and thinking outside the box

Today I want to look a bit at the business side of writing- being as all writers are business people and Indie writers are even our own bosses.  (I really hope the self-publisher-me never has to fire the writer-me.)

I recently went to a convention, never you mind where, it could have been any show.  It was a full geek con: actors, artists, toys, and authors and books. LOTS of books. This convention had more writer interaction than some and a number of book publishers where there as well.

Two things really struck me in the marketing end of things.  My first observation was a tale of two publishers.  Both big names, both there with the idea to get folks excited about their books and grab new readers.

One publisher gave it all away- they must have shipped in tons of books as pretty much they were always running titles through their table- many times the author was there as well.  Smiling, chatting, signing, and putting that free book right in the hand of a reader.

The other publisher had a lot of "stuff"....stickers and whatnot.  And while they had books out- didn't really give them away.  One signing was a raffle, another I saw had a sad looking author sitting next to a man with a credit card machine-aka- they were selling the books.

Guess which booth saw the most traffic by a landslide? The one giving away usually first books in series, designed to draw us poor saps into to buy more?  Or the one who raffled off some copies and sold others? (Yes, I was stalking them. ;))

Now, don't get me wrong, as a writer I know we need to sell our books.  BIG TIME.  But which publisher do you think made the biggest impact on those thousands of readers?  I have found many a new favorite author through free books at conferences. (I am very excited about some of the free books I got, as well as those I bought at yet a third publisher). 

Free books, especially when the author is there signing said free item of book lovliness, make an impact on a reader- more importantly it makes the reader connect with the author and the publisher. Many times I hear authors say they won't give away their work- we spend a hell of a lot of time on a single book, and now we're supposed to give it away?  But once we have a few books out there, we (as Indie authors) can do what that first publisher did- give first books away to bring folks in for the long haul. Traditional authors might need to be more creative, but they might be able to work in free novellas or other items.

Even when I got a book that really wasn't for me, I was so impressed by the author that I made sure to find a friend who would really like it- by meeting that author, and having him put that free book in my hand, I felt responsible for it finding a good home. 

The second observation from this convention was a group of writers going outside of the box in their panel.  They had a "writing" panel that wasn't at all about writing- but about the Taco Church (not going to explain it here-go search them out  Basically, they had a lot of fun, pulled in a fairly full room of readers (many writers, but we're readers too) who got to see them NOT talking about their books. But being witty, articulate and sort of goofy human beings.

And guess what that fun, non-book, interaction did?  Made me want to find those authors and see if their books were my cuppa tea. Again, a connection with the writer, even outside of the book world, really acts to make a connection to the reader and makes them seek the books- even when they aren't even sure what that person writes.

Ok, this post was long, and it rambled a bit- but the main points here were 1) for all writers- traditional and Indie to realize their readers are people, not "fans" and to think outside the box for ways to interact with them, and that 2) free is good.  As the editor at the freebie publisher said, "the first hit is free".  But once a reader gets hooked, ya got them!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

IWSG: Crossing that line

Happy Insecure Writers Support Group day!

Once a month, writers from across the land set forth to shout their fears, concerns, insecurities, and joys into the Universe- come join us!
Today I'm talking about crossing lines.  More importantly, crossing the great genre divide.
Knowing what genre you write in is fairly basic and something a writer really needs to understand.  Many an agent or editor has bemoaned the "mystery/romance/SF/historical/adventure" manuscripts they end up getting.  And sometimes it is difficult to narrow it down.  If you have a classical romance story, with classical romance characters and plotting- you're pretty safe in knowing you have a Romance.
But there are books that subtly combine genres. Sort of like a Reece's Cup, they take elements of two genres (don't really know if more than two would work- never seen one, but you never know!) and combine them into something stronger.
Now, the traditional publishing world sometimes is ok with this as long as it's clear that one element is dominant (the chocolate let's say) and they know which side of the bookstore to go in.  They will label that book in that genre and package it accordingly.
But what of those folks from the other genre (the peanut butters)who might really want a nice mixed genre book.
Here's where going Indie has an advantage- Indies can promote in both.  Example- SF/Romance.  An author may be in the SF section (Linnea Sinclair is a great example) BUT not only would SF fans like her books, but some romance fans might as well.  However, they may not realize such a hybrid exists since they don't go to THAT (aka SF/F) side of the bookstore.
But an Indie can market it under both.
Which is very cool.  But also, after years of hearing "one genre only!" from the traditional publishing world, a bit scary.
I write fantasy, space opera, and steampunk with romantic elements. What that last part means is that while my books wouldn't live in the romance isle, they all have romantic sub-plots that are really essential to the books.  All of them.
I work character first- meaning, the people pop in my head then I start figuring out the story and how I can screw up my people.  And couples are always there.
I love reading books like that- the ones with a great plot, fun adventure, awesome characters and romance. But, as I approach next year, and the launching of my fantasy with romantic elements series, I start to wonder if crossing the genres is going to work.  Well, I'll keep writing them- but will others buy them?  Love some peanut butter in their chocolate?  I sure hope so.
Want to find more Insecure Writers?  Go to the source!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Writers are the craziest peoples!

I would like to present a hypothesis today that we are crazy (at least in part) due to lack of definition in our field. IE- it's not completely our fault :).

For today’s demonstration I will present two scenarios with similar goals:
Graduate student (with thesis as the final “product”) and Fiction writer (with agent/editor/published book as final product)

We’ll start with the graduate student (Example is for a Psychology program- so don’t go jumping in my face that yours was different- work with me!)

Step one: GRE- ok for folks who haven’t experienced this little monster of modern day horror, count yourself lucky. This test is designed to measure skills you supposedly learned in your undergraduate studies (right ;)). It’s a messy test with no real validity (in terms of predicating success in graduate school) but it’s required for most programs. Point is- it makes it more difficult to get in (in theory ;))

Step two: You are accepted into the program. You engage in structured seminars that are aimed at creating, proposing, and defending your thesis. There are paid professionals there to guide you.

Step three: You design, propose, conduct (or research), and defend your thesis. Again, paid professionals send you back to the drawing board with concrete examples of what didn’t work. Repeatedly.

Step four: Thesis is successfully defended and goes on to live happily in the campus library (or submitted to an academic journal, but we won’t go there ;).

Step five: The graduate student graduates and much celebrating is heard throughout the land.

Step one: No test, no criteria, no nothing. You string words together, anyone can do it.

Step two: You flounder about, trying to find out the “rules”…find out there are three but no one can agree what they are. You go crazy re-editing your work every time it comes back from a contest or critique group…

Step three: You finish book, you send out queries and get form letter responses- when you get a response.

Step four: You repeat step three. Maybe moving up to “thanks but no thanks” letters with your name. Still not sure what you’re doing wrong.

Step five: You either start digging your way through the junk, to find ways of getting and understanding feedback. Through trial and error you find helpful writing resources and groups. You contemplate going Indie and all the hard work and funds that entails.  Or you give up.

Step six: You keep at it, what choice do you have?

The sad thing is, and the part that makes us crazy- is path two sounds better ;)

So what do you all think? Are we crazy? Or just devilishly clever?