Friday, April 29, 2011

Furry Friday — Write Bravely, aka the KY Rolex Edition

That’s right folks, the Kentucky Rolex Three Day Event is happening right now in Lexington. It’s four days of the toughest, scariest horseback riding in the United States. But these horses and riders face jump like this:

And this:

Without fear. With the determination that they will get over and move on to the next.

As writers, we need to be the same way. Sending out your work to critique partners, beta readers, and eventually agents and editors is scary, scary business. But you’ve got to face it bravely and head on, determined to get past one hurdle and move on to the next. What have you got to lose?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Furry Friday — Write With Faith

Since today is Good Friday, I figured faith would make an appropriate. If you’re an aspiring writer, like me, you already write with faith. You just might not have thought of it in those terms.

The simplest definition of faith is the belief in something of which there is no proof — guarantee, if you like that word better. To break it down further you can say it’s belief in the unseen, whether it be God,  ghosts,  or even a government which  has the best interest of its people at  heart (snark, snark).

Writing for publication is tough business. Day after day we write and read, revise and write some more, over and over again in the pursuit of validation for what we’re doing. I’m not talking about writing for the love of it here — that type of writing is easy. There’s not a single first draft of anything I’ve written which I didn’t love. That’s what the first draft is all about, loving the story and the act of creation itself.

Writing in faith comes later, when you’re revising and start to worry how this reader or agent or editor might react to this scene or character. Faith becomes critical when the inner critic starts whispering that everything you’ve written is crap, mundane, or been done before. This is when you’ve got to believe in things unseen.  And here’s how you do it — keep writing.

Think about it. It’s just like trying to lose weight. You work out, you eat right all in the hope — the faith — that sooner or later those pounds will come off and you’ll fit in those skinny jeans again. You can’t see the pounds coming off. They just do, sooner or later. So long as you keep at it. So read, read, read, write, write, write, revise, revise, revise. That validation might be unseen, but it exists. You’ve just got to believe and never stop.  

Keep looking up…

Friday, April 15, 2011

Furry Friday -- The Write Kind of Crazy

I've read a lot of blog and twitter posts lately in which literary agents explain that sometimes they reject a project simply because it's not right for them. When I read these, I think -- well duh. Of course. Why else would you reject it? But I get the feeling these explanations are being done in self-defense, as if the aspiring writers they're telling this to don't believe the agent's sincerity. Poor agents -- seriously -- I can't imagine how crappy it must feel to get nasty emails on a regular basis from total strangers. I mean, don't you think they feel bad enough just from having to say no all the time? They are people after all. And from what I gather, pretty normal and nice people, too.

I'm certain the problem here is that writers (and most creative types in general) are a bit crazy. It's sort of a prerequisite. Like Uncle Stevie writes in Bag of Bones, a writer is someone who's taught his [or her] mind to misbehave. If that ain't the definition of crazy, I don't know what is.

However, writers have got to be the right kind of crazy. We should be insane creatively, not socially. I think the most telling clue I've read to this is in a recent blog post at Miss Snark's First Victim: Agent Kate Mckean writes about how she wanted to represent this book by a new author, but she had a big question that needed answering first -- "was the author sane?" She goes on to say that sometimes writer's aren't. In other words, I think there are moments when the agent is really saying, "It's not the work, it's you.
Don't be this. Don't be the wrong kind of crazy. Don't stalk people online or send them nasty emails or pictures of your kid's kindergarten graduation. Save the crazy for the story. Let your crazy be cute and fun and charming. Like cats. Cats are definitely a bit insane, but 99% of the time, it's the right kind of crazy.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Epic Follower Blog Contest

Okay guys, this is my first attempt at a twitter-sized pitch. Here goes nothing!

Title: Dusty Everhart and the Nightmare
Genre: YA contemporary  fantasy
Word Count: 77,500

16-yr-old Dusty is a Nightmare who must identify a murderer at her magical high school by following clues in her crush’s dreams.


I'm guessing we're allowed to edit as we get feedback? I'm hoping so. Here's a second option, although I'm not sure I like it better. Gosh, this is so hard/fun/challenging:

16-yr-old Dusty is a Nightmare who derives her power from other’s dreams. Now she must find a killer through clues in her crush’s dreams.

And because it's Furry Friday, here's a cute kitty pic to get us through the weekend: