Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What a Differene A Week Makes

Wow - it's true. Time is good for a lot of things. It gives perspective and lets levelheads start to come through. Wow, what a week.

Besides the action packed stuff (Val was in an electrical storm, Val was trapped in an elevator, Val was almost in a drunken brawl at the airport), the thing that's changed everything the most is that I got that teeny, tiny bit of validation I was looking for.

I know, I know, we shouldn't pull our worth from other people and all that matters is your own opinion but, come on, I'm a writer, that can't ever be 100% true. And when I was feeling down I gave my book to someone to read and they loved it. As in couldn't put it down, stayed up all night reading it, sent me an email at 2am to tell me how much they enjoyed it loved it. As in sent me a really long explanation on thier opinion and quoted parts of my book back to me loved it. As in is making their husband read it loved it. Gotta say, that is just the best kind of loved it that you can get.

And that inspired me to reread my book a little bit and rediscover what I loved about (dude, I totally forgot I was kind of funny) and reaccess what my genre is (though I still have trouble calling it romance because it does not end that way but romanitc comedy I'll take). And, well, yeah - I have reread that email more times than I care to admit out loud. *guilty look*

Ahh, but what a difference a week makes . . .

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sleepless Nights

Wow, I must really be out of it - it took me 3 days to figure out what my insomnia meant. 3 DAYS!

I get intermittent bouts of insomnia when my life is off. Hasn't happened for awhile (which I guess is a good thing) so it totally didn't dawn on me that the fact that I can't sleep is all my fault.

Now I just have to figure out what it means - but that ain't too hard to do either. It's about my book. About how I'm not writing and too worried to get on with it. But realizing this is a good thing because this morning I took a shower, got back into bed, and tried a different approach to my query letter. Didn't finish and don't really know if its any better (I swear, this query letter thing is going to kill me if I let it) but it made me feel better.

So I've made two decisions - one, that I have to keep writing, something, anything everyday and not don't because I'm afraid it's bad because, well, first drafts are always bad, and two, that I am not going to make my arbitrary June 15th deadline. I wrote my story and I reread my story and I fixed things here and there but I didn't really edit my story like it should truly be. I have to spend more time with it, make some hard decisions, and then it'll be ready to go out. My new goal is before summer ends so once summer hours are over I should have everything good to go. And that's a deadline I'm going to make.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Critics and the Like

I think I'm in the middle of learning a lesson. I guess the question will be if I'm actually going to learn it.

I've been struggling for some time now (understatement of the century, right there!) with this whole beast of getting published. I wrote a novel - yes. I love that novel - God yes. And I am fully aware that everyone in the world is not going to, that literature is art and art is always subjective. I know that I'm going to get more nos than yeses but all I really need is one yes and I'm good to go.

But it suddenly dawned on me that I may not be ready for this, that I might be completely out of my league here. I'm not a research girl, I don't love to hunt for information, and I already wrote my novel so why do I need to look into what sells? But that's all stuff that you got to do if you're serious. I'm supposed to be serious, right?

I signed up for this "class" through the FWC which pretty much is me sending my query letter to an agent to read and critique - a little polishing if you will. But I'm finding that there seems to be a hell of a lot of coal left and I'm not even sure if there's a diamond inside that's worthy of this. I'm starting to think that this whole exercise is more like finding a husband than an agent and, well, this perpetually single 27 year old certainly has mastered that skill, hasn't she?

It's not like you just need to find someone that takes interest, you have to find someone that takes enough interest and sees enough potential to hunker down for the long haul. Trying to write a letter to communicate why you're awesome and worthy is like writing a dating profile (I tried that and failed miserably - there's a reason why I write novels and not vignettes or poems, okay) with everything worth knowing there. But there's a lot more worth knowing about my novel than the first summary line can tell you.

So anyway, I sent my query out and got it back with revisions. I tried my best making them but I was super confused - I followed the instructions in her book and checked all the samples and then she gives me advice that never popped up before. I agonize, I attempt, I send it back. When I get her response I find out that she hates my hook and doesn't think that it can sustain a whole book and that I can't claim the genre as "literary fiction" because that is an agent's decision and I wrote a romantic comedy.

What else did she say? Don't know - can't bring myself to read the rest. I stared at the unopened email for two days and then when I opened it I read two lines and closed it again. I went through the requisite feelings: denial (Screw you, I'm brill ant!), anger (How the hell can you tell me it's not literary fiction from four sentences in a letter about my book, not even my book itself, huh?), bargaining (Maybe it is a romantic comedy? I could change that for an agent.), depression (It's horrible! I can't write worth a damn! Why did I even try this again?), acceptance ( . . . . yeah, I'm still in depression, haven't really gotten here yet).

If this was like finding a husband, what would happen next? Well first I'd have to bump into some available agent at work and then, if Betsy has her way, obsessively myspace/ facebook stalk them until we can figure out if they really are an agent. Then I'd screw up the courage to write the query and I'd get back a response that says either um, they don't have time for any new books or should interested until they saw the length of my book and then blow me off. Hmm, this isn't sounding very good here either.

Because here's the deal - I can't not be a writer. It is, was, will always be, everything that I am. I can wear disguises for awhile (like the ones I'm sporting now of unaffected observer, obedient office drone, and content procrastinator) but it's never true. I have too many ideas floating around my head, too many words just dying to be written down that I can't NOT do it. But maybe I'm stuck to always be a writer, never an author, never with the title published.

I'm starting to worry that this is flute lessons all over again. I never thought I was great at the flute but I thought I was adequate and no one ever told me otherwise - years and YEARS down the road it came upon me one day that I truly sucked at playing the flute. I worked really hard at it and determination helped me power through but yeah, I was bad. Is that the same as this, just a few years away from looking back and realizing I'm living a kind of cruel delusion.

Lots of people showed interest in the beginning of my book and I think they liked it but I've handed it out to people like those guys in Vegas with the stripper fliers and only two people have finished it (one of them because she was reading it as I wrote it). Maybe it's too much to take in one sitting. Maybe it's not good.

Maybe my hook can't sustain a whole novel . . . but dear God, where the heck do I go from here?