Feeds:
Posts
Comments

After writing Remembering Jane, I wanted to get it published.  After all, isn’t that the point of writing – to get published so others can read your amazing work?  I didn’t know what the best route was, so I contacted Random House.  Within a day or two, they had replied to my inquiries with a simple suggestion.  Check out the Writers Market. 

I had absolutely no idea what they were talking about, so I did the obvious thing.  I googled it.  A long drive downtown and fourty five dollars later, I had myself a shiny new copy of The Writers Market – an awesome book.  I flipped through it, not even sure where to begin.  This single book contained everything I needed in order to get myself published (or so I thought).  I went first to the lists of publishers out there and immediately began jotting down their requirements.

I bought a roll of stamps and some of those giant yellow envelopes and began sending off queries and sample chapters.  I marked my calendar with the dates I expected to have responses by, and sat back anxiously awaiting what I knew for sure would be success. 

A few weeks passed, and I received that first rejection letter.  Okay, that stung a little, but everyone gets rejected at least once.  Even Stephen King wasn’t immune to the “No Thanks” from a publisher or two. 

Then I received another and then another “No.”  All in the form of a standard “Form Rejection Letter.”  Clearly I had done something wrong.  Not all publishers could say “No” to a surefire success. 

I pulled up my book and read through it.  Wow, it was amazing how after only a few months, I had forgotten a lot of what I had written, and what’s worse, it wasn’t written all that well.   Sure, it was still a good story, but there were so many things that could be better.

So now what, I asked myself.  What do you do when you receive countless “No’s” from publishers regarding something you poured your heart into?  You keep on trying.  I’m not sure if that’s the right answer or not – but it was for me. 

I had moved onto another story, trying to keep my nerves from taking over me as I awaited the remaining rejections from publishers that I knew were coming.  I decided now was the time to focus on something different and I could go back and work on “Jane” again in the future.  The time away would gain me some perspective. 

After a year away from “Jane,” I think I’m ready to go back.  As I read through it now, I find it even worse than I had a year ago.  I guess that means my writing is getting better.  It’s true what they say, practice makes perfect, and with each new story I write, I find my skills a little more sharp, a little more intact. 

I saved each of the rejection letters I received in my attempt to publish Remembering Jane.  They serve as a reminder that even though my friends and family may tell me my story belongs on a shelf in the book store, there are many out there – the many who hold all the cards – and they have a very different opinion.  One much more critical and hard to stomach.

My second book, currently titled Remebering Jane, was written during numerous lunch breaks and in small snatches of time here and there when I found a moment to sit down and write.  Not all the writing was done at a desk, table or even somewhere you’d expect a writer to write.  Much of the story was written while stopped at red lights, or in waiting rooms.

After my first attempt at writing a novel, I decided that this time, I would do it right.  I researched the proper way to create characters, develop plot lines and even draw out a unfailing plot line.  I wrote pages upon pages of notes, filled notebooks with character descriptions, motivations and personality profiles.  I outlined the story from beginning to end.

I wrote Remembering Jane, beginning to end in less than two months.  It was a rough two months and many times I found myself questioning whether or not I had what it took to be a writer.  Was I good enough?  Could I do it?  With two small children at home depending on me, I couldn’t give up.  I pushed through every doubt, every moment that I suspected I had writers block, and I turned out a 60,000 word story.

Proud of myself, I quickly sent copies to my parents, my sister, my friends and eagerly awaited their responses.  I knew they’d be enthusiastic and though I had my doubts, thought for sure they’d like it.  After all, I liked it – didn’t I?

Within a month, they results were in.  I had a hit (with some modifications and a few minor adjustments.  Okay – a lot of edits).  But the point was – they liked the story.  It wasn’t going to be a best seller – not by any stretch of the imagination, but with some work, it could definitely sell. 

I spent a month editing, working out loose, and sagging plot lines and making the characters more real.  Without a second’s hesitation, I started the road to authorship…

My first book has no name.  I’m not even entirely sure you can call it a book.  Finished at just over 15,000 words, it’s really quite pathetic.  Too long to be called a short story, too short to be a novel, I’m not sure where it stands.  The idea was hard come by, but after reading numerous Young Adult books (the best books for reading when you have little to no time for reading) I wanted to contribute something of my own to the genre. 

I spent weeks trying to decide what to write about, who the characters would be and what they would be doing.  All that thinking got me thinking – this is hard work.  Who knew? 

Finally, with a rough idea of what I wanted the main conflict in the story to be, I was ready to begin creating my characters.  That, I think, was even more difficult than coming up with the initial idea.  The problem wasn’t so much creating the characters, as coming up with clever names that really meant something.  Names that said something about the strength of personality in each of the characters.  To this day, I still don’t know if I succeeded.

Working directly on my PC, i began typing.  Page after page, line after line, the story came to life.  A girl named Hailey, moves from place to place with her widowed father, but finally end up in a small town deep in the moutains.  She gets a job, makes friends and everything is fine, until she starts having strange dreams.  Dreams about a witch and a magical crystal.  Feeling weird about it, she never says a word to her friends, but continues on, going to school, and working in the local grocery store.  Then on a field trip to the abandoned coal mines, she is confronted by her teacher, who turns out to be the witch from her dreams and is seeking the magical crystal – which Hailey of course has.  You get the point. 

All in all, it’s not a bad story, although it is missing a lot.  A lesson I have learned – Characters in books have much more than a single conflict within any given story.  A lot of times, as a reader, we read straight through conflicts without thinking twice about them – but as writers, we have to be very aware of each incident. 

As a new student in a High School, there are bound to be issues.  You don’t just show up and make friends and live happily ever after.  There’s always someone who doesn’t like you, or some guy you absolutely adore but can’t have.  There’s a subject you just don’t get, or a dance that you really want to attend – but your dad says no.  Millions of things could crop up.  You just have to know when to shove those conflicts in, and make sure there are just enough to keep it interesting.  A good book is like a recipe for the perfect apple pie.  You have to have enough apples, enough sugar, enough cinnamon and bake it for just the right amount of time.  Too little or too much of any one thing, and it’s ruined.

Hello world!

I first realized about three years ago that I wanted to be a writer.  I always appreciated the written word, and as I sat behind my desk, writing yet another technical manual for my “at the time” job, I said to myself, “Why not write a novel?”  So I sat down, pen and paper in hand and started writing.  In a matter of weeks I had my first manuscript. 

Just like any other aspiring writer, I thought this was the greatest story ever written (well, maybe not the greatest, but definitely a close second).  I knew nothing about the publishing world, so I googled it.  Gotta love the age of technology.  Well, I didn’t find anything on how to get a publishing company (i.e. Random House) to buy my book, but I did find several companies willing to charge me to publish.  Yeah, that didn’t seem right to me either.

So I put the book away, went back to my technical manuals and moved on with my life.  A year and a half later, I gave up the world of Technical Writing and moved on to the vast and exciting world of Software Testing.  Well, now that I no longer had all that confounding “How To” stuff clogging my mind, I figured it was time to pull out the manuscript and really figure out how to get it published.  As I read through it, I couldn’t help but think… this is the worst book ever!

I shelfed the book, where it still sits to this day, but I started a different one, and within two months had yet another manuscript.  Again, I wasn’t sure how to go about getting it published, so I contacted Random House and started the great journey to authorship.  I’m still not there – not officially, but I haven’t stopped writing.  Not yet – hopefully, not ever.