Friday, June 26, 2009

Man am I feeling discouraged today. I'm starting to wonder if I can do this writing thing. There seems to be so much I have yet to learn and so much I haven't figured out how to do. I can't believe that something that I want so very badly would stump me like this.

I wish there was a way to enter a discussion with someone who could give me real feedback on what I am doing. I belong to two critique groups. It's not that I don't value their feedback, but the majority of the attendees are in the same boat with me.

It would be awesome if I could enter a mentor relationship with a writing professional. Someone who could point out my errors. Not the obvious ones like typos, grammar, telling instead of showing, but the more subtle things like style, presentation, character depth. Or tell me when I'm getting closer.

I received feedback from professionals that say they like my voice, enjoy the story, I write well, but none of it has told me why it wasn't accepted. Then I got someone to tell me more specifically why they were not going to take the ms. That was extremely helpful, but here's the problem. As I make the revisions and corrections how do I know if I'm correcting it or doing more of the same things that hurt my chances? It's not like that person said, "send it back when you've made the corrections."

So I'm doing what I think is right and can only hope that it is. Once I've finished then it's off to the next professional. Who knows what they will think? I can only hope I get it right or they are willing to invest enough time to help me get it there.**GROAN**

Monday, June 22, 2009

My brain is foggy and I'm more than tired, but I just had to write about this. I had sent a manuscript to be reviewed (at the agent's request) by an agent. Needless to say that he didn't take. Otherwise I'd be floating too high to write.

Anyway, it was really worth the frustration and disappointment. He did something that no other professional has ever done. He actually commented on the ms. He started out by telling me what was right about the story. The list was pretty long. He finished by telling me what was wrong with it. Never before have I had such interest in my work that a professional would invest their time and energy to say something helpful. I have a clear idea on what I need to do to fix it.

Following this comment I enrolled in a extension course on fiction writing at the local university to make sure what I thought I had learned was really the 'stuff.' I was approaching the class with excitement and trepidation, but I knew that it would be helpful no matter what was taught.

Wouldn't you know it, the class was cancelled the night before it was to begin. Now I' really bummed. Oh well, I'll keep an eye out for another class like this and see what comes of it. But for now, I'll keep working on the manuscript with what I think is needed.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Here we go again. I heard from the agent reviewing my manuscript this morning. He said that he enjoyed it but he needed to pass. He encouraged me to continue querying it. I'm really bummed. There were things that he said he would like to have seen. So now I have to figure out what he means and then learn to do it.

I guess I need to stop writing for now and see if I can learn what it is that I'm not doing. The problem is I'm not sure where to learn it. I found a UCR extension course that I will be signing up for, hopefully I will get some information there.

I'm not ready to give up, but it's really hard to keep going. That's only in this minute. By tomorrow or Sunday I'll be back feeling that the task I have set myself is doable if I am willing to learn and find someone to learn it from. But today I am really bummed.

I guess I have to realize that only through this crazy process of being turned down and then improving my craft will I succeed. But I have to tell you that it is really hard. It is probably the single most difficult thing I have ever done. And I have a doctorate, for crying out loud.

That was much easier compared to this. In pursuit of the advanced degree, there were expectations and guidelines laid out. If you didn't understand what was being asked there was always someone to check with. You could even go the the prof and ask them to elaborate on their requirement. But this writing gig is something else again.

I feel like I'm shooting in the dark all the time. I am told by professionals that I write well, that my work is very readable, exciting, and has great tension. I need to figure out what is wanted in what he is looking for. When I'm not feeling so down, I will email the agent and ask if he wouldn't mind elaborating a little bit on his comments.

Maybe he will tell me and maybe he won't. All I can do is ask and he can't shoot me for that. He's not allowed to shoot me for anything. All he can do is decline to answer and if he does decline I haven't lost anything. So I'll give it a shot.