Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Okay, I'm back in the saddle again. I just dropped my manuscript in the mail to an interested agent. So now I wait with fingers, eyes, and toes crossed. I haven't been idle since my last post. I've been writing and making changes to the layout of this page.

In going through the manuscript again to make sure everything was as right as I can make it, I noticed that I had dialogue tags that really don't work. Instead of 'she said', I had things like 'she chided' or 'she answered'. I finally figured out what all of the books on writing mean. By adding these unnecessary tags, I am treating the reader with disrespect. If the statement preceding the tag is well written, then the reader will understand my intent which makes these type of tags not only redundant, but insulting.

The other thing I picked up while walking through the story is that sometimes what seems understandable and complete in my mind, may not be so in the written form.

Going over everything again before mailing gave me an opportunity to not only change these things, but is was also an opportunity to learn, concretize what I had read about writing. If you haven't picked up The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman and Story by Robert Mckee, run out and do so immediately. These two texts are the clearest I have ever read on writing. Lukeman's book is elegant in its simplicity and McKee's is complete in its explanation and depiction of story. Both are must haves for the writer's library.

It's time for me to get back to writing. I'll be talking to you again soon.


Monday, May 04, 2009

It's been four days since my last 'no thank you' and I'm still feeling discouraged. I know I have to get back to writing, but it seems too hard. Melodramatically I could say, "What's the point?" And the answer to that is, to keep at it so I will grow as a writer.

I know that's really the point, but sometimes it's hard to remember. Every time I send out another query or someone requests a manuscript, I get my hopes up. I try to keep it all in perspective, but the hopes rise anyway.

It's really good to have hope because that's what keeps me going. But the hope wanes when a decline comes. It causes me to question my abilities.

Having had a big name editor from a large house say that my writing is "very good" helps. But the frustrating thing is that if I write so well why hasn't anyone picked up anything.

I know the answer to that is "it's not what we are looking for right now." And my response is "Can you just hold onto it until later when you are looking for that?"One can hope and dream.

So here is what I think really happens. Each house has a list of what they are looking for and they swap the lists between them. They don't tell you who has what list and they don't tell you when the exchange will happen. And because of this list swapping, your manuscript is always one step behind, chasing the elusive list. With agents it's even harder to catch up because there are more of them.

One day my manuscript will catch up to that list, whether it's with an agent or a publishing house. The odds are in my favor if I keep writing and keep querying.

Now that this is off my chest, I think I feel better, so it's back to writing for me.