Archive of ‘On Writing’ category

The Querying Two: Literary Boogaloo

I told myself at the beginning of the year I would do more posts on this blog about the journey from starting my first novel OF FATES CONVERGED to (god willing) getting it published, but I don’t think I’ve really kept that promise. Actually the most effort I’ve put into this space since the beginning of the year is the SPN vs Buffy posts, which have been pretty great, but are not in the spirit what I had originally started this blog for. And I still haven’t even finished those, as I’m up to S9 of SPN.

And they have gotten more hits that anything else I’ve posted though, so…

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But I digress.

So where are we at right now with the books and the publishing and all that?

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The Many Lives of an Opening Line

A couple of posts ago, I discussed writing my second novel, THE LUMINOSITY OF BLACK and the need to return to the first one, OF FATES CONVERGED, for more edits. This includes a complete rewrite of the first chapter.

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Not something I was really happy to have to do again, but as my fellow writers know, it’s imperative that the opening few pages of your novel catch the reader immediately. This is especially so for the writer trying to query a novel for the first time. Nailing down the opening for FATES has been the most challenging thing I’ve dealt with in my extremely short writing career.

The Telegraph just released a list of some of the greatest opening line in literature. There’s a ton of great ones in there, but may favorite has to be from Stephen King’s THE GUNSLINGER . This line (and novel) blew me away when I first read it back in junior high and was one of the true drivers me wanting to become a writer later in life. Reading The Dark Tower, especially the first four books, was when I was first like ‘damn I real want to make something like this.’ So what is that great first line from THE GUNSLINGER?

The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.

So simply, but so perfect. The line does the job that it’s supposed to – it sets up the action forthcoming and hooks the reader with an interesting premise. Who is this man in black and why is the gunslinger chasing him across the desert?

Boom. There it is. Perfect.

Now I’m not saying I’m going to be able to craft an opening line or chapter of FATES thats ‘s great as the ones mentioned above, but I’ve will need to find one that’s engaging to the reader and gives them an attachment to the main character, Alexia Anarita right from the get-go. So I thought for this post, maybe it would interesting to take a trip down memory lane and see how FATES’ opener has evolved and where I’m at with it now.
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What I Did About Book Number Two

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Way back when I wrote a asking what I should do about writing my second novel. Would I continue the story of Alexia and company and craft the second volume of the FATES saga, or would I start a whole new story, in case FATES never saw the light of published day? This was coming off of a trip to , where I came to realize that FATES was not quite ready for prime time yet.

From the response to that post I got, the general consensus was to go with the new story. Far be it from me to question the wisdom of you, dear readers, so that’s exactly what I did. It was hard to step away from the story I had spent the previous three years writing, but I knew it needed to be done. And I really didn’t completely walk away from FATES, I spent a couple of months editing it again in the fall, trying to get it into a more publishable condition. In fact, I’m just about to go back to the grim task of editing FATES one last time before querying again. Please allow Jon Snow and Ygritte to express my joy as I prepare to descend into the Edit Cave once again:

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Yeah, not really looking forward to it, but one must do what one must do.

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The writer’s life can be a lonely one.

One full of solidarity that’s often just yourself and your words.

Not that it’s a completely terrible thing, quiet alone time can often be a writer’s greatest ally. But what I do find is that I don’t get to talk “the craft” very often in my day to day life. My day job is nothing related to writing, so there’s not really any opportunity to talk about my stories, my processes, the difficulties or or the triumphs I’m experiencing on a regular basis. Most of my talking about writing is done with my writer pals on Twitter – whom I love dearly, and don’t know where I would be in this crazy writerly world without.

It’s interesting though, every now and again I’ll unexpectedly meet someone in everyday life who is part of the greater community of authors. It’s always a pleasant surprise and awesome because there’s a certain sparkle you can see in someone’s eyes when you say to them – “Oh really? I’m a writer too!” There is a kinship there, even with a relative stranger, once you realize the two of you have both been through many of the same experiences trying to make it in the industry. You know you’ve both spent those long hours staring at the that blinking cursor, wondering if all the time you’ve spent writing this book, all the words you’ve poured out onto these pages, was really worth it, all the while still knowing deep down inside that of course it was. You know it was because you know there are others like you out there feeling the same way and now you’ve just met one of them!

Well that’s happened to me twice in the last couple of weeks, and both have been wonderful and affirming experiences.

My Moderately Triumphant Return

*Browses through Internet history*

Hey… what’s this thing in here with my name on it?

Oh yeeeeeeah… it’s that blog I haven’t updated since July!

*Clears throat*

Well, it’s a new year, why not a new blog post?

Right?

Right.

In all seriousness, I really do need to blog more. Originally, the whole point of this blog was to discuss my journey down that long hard road into the publishing world, but it turned out my first novel was not quite ready to begin that journey yet! Besides that little tidbit, the lack of blogging mostly comes from the fact that it’s often a toss up between writing a blog post or writing / editing one of my novels.

And guess what folks? The novel almost always wins.

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“The task of writing a novel can be a long and arduous one,” said every writer ever.

The process of taking the tempest of ideas inside of one’s head – all the wonderful storylines, lovely characters, thrilling plot twists – and transforming them into actual words can be grueling. It will no doubt be a great day for writers everywhere when someone invents a helmet that just allows bang your head against your keyboard until all of your awesome ideas just come tumbling out. Until that day though, the actual process of writing, however rewarding the finished product may be, will be a slow and difficult one.

That all sounded dreadfully pessimistic didn’t it? Don’t get me wrong, I love the process of writing and creative development, but it is tough. There is something about it though, especially when starting a new project, which brings unequivocal joy to my wordsmithing heart.

Word building.

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So You Wrote a Novel? Good for You. Now What?

OF FATES CONVERGED, my first novel, volume one of the sprawling fantasy epic I’ve had in my head for the last 15 or so years is finished. Months of retooling, editing, and all that good stuff, in the bag.The querying has finally begun in earnest (and I got a request for 100 pages already *does the Cat Daddy*), but the question that looms large is – now what?

This is the dilemma – should continue writing the sequel to OF FATE CONVERGED (tentatively titled OF AMBITIONS UNBOUND) with the hope that over the next months (or year, or however long it takes) that an agent will pick up this first volume. The thing is though, even if agent does pick it up, there’s no guarantee that it will be sold to a publisher. And then if a publisher does take it what if nobody buys it? What if it languishes – collecting dust on store shelves and unclicked into Amazon carts? What happens to the other four books in the series I have planned? Scuttled unceremoniously into the the endless of void of the Never-to-be-Read?

Deep breath.

I’m really getting ahead of myself.

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Yet Another Amanda Palmer Post

I reckon most of you have seen this already (it went viral on the Interwebs, as these things are wont to do), but here is the video of Amanda F’n Palmer ‘s TED Talk. She speaks regarding the sharing of an artist’s work and life experiences with his or her audience.

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Navigating the Mystifying Maze of Twitter

As I was coming to the end of the first draft of OF FATES CONVERGED, I began researching what tools I would need to start building my author platform, land an agent and (God willing) sell this damn book. After scouring many articles, the general consensus was that Twitter was one of, if not the, best outlets for building and marketing one’s author brand. I already had an account, but never once tweeted and was only following a handful of celebrities and economists (quite an exciting combo, I know).

I don’t know about you all, but when I was first starting to get my writerly stuff organized on Twitter, I was pretty lost. I had no followers, a book that was still in need of serious editing and revising, and no idea really what to say to the thousands of strangers that awaited me in the great wide Twittersphere. I once again read copiously of articles (Twitter for writers is a pretty popular topic for bloggers) about how to build a follower base, who you should talk to as a writer and what you should say. Even after all of the suggestions in these articles though, I still felt hopelessly afloat in a sea of hashtags and @ symbols.

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