tamela_j: (Want to be a Writer)
Yep. Still feeling editing anxieties. Now though, they have manifested themselves in a deep and horrifying panic about characters and getting back to the place I will need to get to if I'm going to be spending time with them and tinkering with them to make them better. This is not a new fear for me, especially for this particular story.

Getting nostalgic for my characters and their beginnings, I pulled out the very first draft, what Chuck Wendig would call the zero draft as it was written during NaNoWriMo way back in 2004 (holy shit!). Anyway, I found this little note that I wrote to my characters even back then:

Okay Tim, Nomi I have to tell you something and you’re not going to like it. I’m starting to come to the realization that you might have picked the wrong person to tell your story. I’m sorry, but I might not have the talent to pull it off as great as it should be. I will do my best, as always, but I must prepare you for the realization that my best might not be good enough.

So, from the beginning I worried about treating them right, doing justice to this amazing story I feel sometimes that they gave me responsibility to tell.

No pressure guys!

And true, I’m not as artsy-fartsy as I used to be and don’t give the power to the characters that I’ve created and blame/give credit to an arbitrary “muse” for my inspiration or writer’s block anymore (or as much as I had in the past). But still, these characters are special. It took me a long time to create them that way and an even longer time to work out their issues, foibles and bad behaviors, you know, the things that make them human.

In 2004 these characters lived so vibrantly and richly in my mind and for years after I called them up regularly to add to their story, to finish it and then to edit it. Now though, it’s been a very long time since they’ve been prevalent in my head space. I’m terrified that I won’t be able to bring them back to the forefront where they need to be.

Part of me wants to go and start tinkering now, while I wait for the editor to get my manuscript back to me, but another part thinks that would be a really bad idea. What if my editor’s suggestions don’t work with the changes I make independently or I wind up wanting to tell a completely different story? That would be BAD.

Or, and this could be even worse. What if while re-reading, I like them less, what if there are fundamental things wrong with them that I hadn’t seen those years when I loved them so very much that they were a part of my every thought? OH GOD! OH GOD!

*deep breaths*

Great, now I’ve talked myself into being terrified of even reading the story again. Believe me, that was not the purpose of this post. Not even close. Let’s move on.

So, what should I do?

Options:

Read it in random chunks. This will familiarize myself with the characters and their mannerisms and characteristics without stressing me about the plot and setting and all those other pesky bits that are a freak out for another post.

Rely on what I remember. I haven’t forgotten them of course, the goal is to bring them from my ever present subconscious to my immediate consciousness. So, if I take what is always there and actively think on them again, that would be a good step. Easy to do too, so that’s a plus.

Fanfic this shit. Hey, I’ve done it with other people’s characters that I love for fun and to tinker with aspects of my writing, so why not do it to my own? Take them and put them in new situations, tell bits of what happened before or after the actual story. Missing scenes? Sure, the book is full of them. Or, OR, since I’m really into crossovers right now, hmmm, maybe Naomi gets a certain letter from a certain school of Witchcraft and Wizardry? ♥

And finally:

Freak out some more. This will, of course, be happening whether I want it to or not. Maybe though, I can keep it to a minimum? Let’s hope. In the meantime, what do you do to get back into a character’s head?
tamela_j: (Commas Save Lives)
As I sit here and patiently wait for my first round of edits to come back from my editor, I thought I'd ramble on a bit here about the editor-writer relationship. Anything to help swallow the mounting panic as I try and remember that the life of a small press editor is chaotic and their time is stretched among many projects, not just tearing apart my book. Hopefully this time will be used to bolster my confidence that it's all going to be brilliant and not that the editor is spending a huge amount of time trying to sort out all the ways in which I suck.

Breathe Tamela, breathe )

♥♥
tamela_j: (It mocks me)
Found this Gonna Try Motivational site on Twitter and thought I'd give it a try. This is my first goal.

For me, I'm putting it here to bully myself to get it down. For you, well, think of it as a warning. ♥

Stay tuned.
tamela_j: (It mocks me)
Augh! Why are summaries so hard?

So, now that people know that I have written, finished and am having a book published, after their "YAY! That's awesome!" is the question that stops me cold. "So, what's it about?"

Um...

Uh...

Well...

*blanks*

And it's not that I don't know what it's about, I just have a hard time gauging just how much the person asking really wants to know. You see, I've been to a lot of writers' events. I've seen people's eyes glaze over when they very innocently (and a bit n00bishly) ask, "What's it about?" and are then subjected to a 15 minute description of this person's book. I've seen that "Save Me" look so many times. I've given that "Save Me" look so many times. It's not that I didn't want to know and was only being polite (okay, sometimes that's EXACTLY what it is) but there's a difference between "What's it about?" and "Tell me every detail of your latest book, including what influenced it and if there will be sequels."

So, I find myself doing the opposite by giving too little information. I find I'm okay with this usually, but there have been times when people look at me with the "And then what?" look. This look is still preferable to the "Kill Me Now" look, but there has to be a happy medium.

The major problem as I see it, besides that I am overly sensitive to looks people give, is that it is much harder to swiftly articulate the summary of a character based story then a plot based story. Again, not implying that my story has no plot. It's sick with plot, but just not easily explained plot. It's all about the characters and how the plot effects them, defines them and ultimately changes them. That's the part that's hard to describe without glossing over or giving too much away.

So, I could really use your help. I will give you a few options of the answer to the question (hopefully without giving too much of the plot away) and you can tell me which one sounds adequate without glazing over your eyes and causing you to scan for the exits.

Summaries )

Any of those work? A mix perhaps? Want more? Need more? Less?

What do you look for in a summary? What turns you off of a summary? More importantly, please feel free to share any secrets you have about writing them.

Please...
tamela_j: (Default)
You know what's even better then a good Fandom!Wank?

PUBLISHING WANK!

OMG! This shit is GOLD!

It started when an author at AbsoluteWrite.com discovered a writing competition that she brought to everyone's attention here. The contest is being held by First One Publishing. It is the most ridiculous contest ever, but when I went to refresh myself about it at the site, I saw that all the information had been taken down. Hmmmm...I wonder why... But thankful, the folks at Absolute Write have it all documented pretty much in the above thread.

Absolute Write is a great place for writers of all genres and levels to share information, share stories and also to snark. They had a great time snarking...and then Karen Hunter from First One Publishing came to school them all. And she kept coming and kept coming. What was awesome about that was that she went from super friendly and very thankful to the authors for telling her what needed to be addressed to really, really belligerent.

After reading her comments there, it became clear to me (and most there) what this "contest" was all about. It was to lure the n00b writer who wants to get published and thinks the reasons the publishers haven't taken their work is because there is a "system." Not because their stories are no good, but because they're not "connected." So, it's either pay 149. dollars to submit your work (which they know is AMAZING if only someone would truly read it) or you can spend THOUSANDS (according to First One Publishing) to get it self published. Plus, self publishing doesn't give you what First One does--self publishing won't supply you with publicity and marketing or send you on a tour. According to First One, they will. Sound good? No. Not to me either. But there was a time, a time where I didn't know what I was doing, a time that my writing had progressed as far as it is now (not that it still doesn't need work by any means) that this would almost seem like something to consider.

But wait. There are rules. Or, at least there were. This is where the Twitterverse and the Blogosphere exploded in indignation, warning and yes, more snark.

Janet Reid highlights Clause 13 here
Laura Anne Gilman (Suricattus) breaks it down a bit more here
John Scalzi tears apart Clause 13 and also this gem "In the event that there is an insufficient number of entries received that meet the minimum standards determined by the judges, all prizes will not be awarded."
John Scalzi again after First One took down the contest.
And finally, because a story like this can't have enough snark Evil Wylie's "Evil Contest"

So, I think we can all agree. This contest is a bad idea that hopefully died before it began. But please, if you need help sorting out what is a good contest/agent/publisher vs what is bad, please consult Writers Beware and Preditors and Editors

/psa
tamela_j: (Steinbeck)
After November's soul crushing defeats, I got it in my head that I was going to try to quit writing. Quit thinking of myself as a writer. Just for a month. Just to see what it felt like.

I got out my list of "other things" that I've had piling up in a closet: arts and crafts scraps I'd planned to sew together into something usable; crap ton of books that need to be read; my volunteer job of Slush Pile reader for The Battered Suitcase; also I applied for a job as an Editor at Crescent Moon Press (Cross your fingers and think good thoughts for me, k?) So I had THINGS TO DO!

I wouldn't even miss writing. Wouldn't miss staring at a blank page and wonder "what next," wouldn't miss reading blogs about publishing, about the craft, about what's new and trendy, wouldn't miss looking for journals to submit to and wouldn't miss those lovely emails saying, "Close, but not quite for us."

A big bit of this decision was made with the knowledge I had just garnered about myself that nothing I planned went as supposed and that by not writing, by purposely refusing to consider myself a writer that I'd be back at it within a week.

Well, it took a bit more then a week. And while I'm still not really WRITING, writing, I am thinking of it. Thinking of characters, about themes, about things that NEED to said, you know, in fictional form.

Oddly enough, I've also been thinking about putting myself out there again. It all started when a friend told me about this thing. Terrifying huh? And also sort of excited. And that was when I knew. I would ALWAYS think like a writer, I will ALWAYS be a writer. Some parts of being a writer means you don't write. You sit, you ruminate, you reflect.

I'll give myself two more weeks of that before I start to put any of those thoughts, ruminations and reflections down in story form. Until then, I think I'll just sit here and think of character and see if those characters have anything to say to me or better yet, to each other.

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March 2015

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