Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Ramblin' Rodeo (or how I completely muck up the writing waters).

I am a promise breaker. I announced that I'd write three pages of gibberish each day for the past week. News flash: Didn't happen. Various (some contrived) reasons kept me from fulfilling my goal.

It's the "writing thang." Better put, it's me having great intentions, and then letting everything within mental peripheral range wipe out said "great intentions." Sometimes I think my writing muse has ADHD. When the writing urge strikes, there's always internal and external happenings grabbing my weak attention, or trumping any writing resolve I possessed.

For instance, late last week I had a phone conversation with a multi-epublished writer (soon to be in print, or maybe is already...). We spoke of the trials and tribulations involved in publishing, the importance of gaining a fan base, agents vs. editors, etc. After I got off the phone with her I sat back and felt the "publishing thang" slowly taking over my muse's drive. (I often wonder if possessing publishing knowledge is the poison or the cure - it's hard for me to assimilate.)

And then yesterday I received this literary agency's newsletter. Part of it answered a worn out dilemma I've had for years by describing how to figure out what genre to market my work (although to this day I still feel the publisher does whatever they damn well want). It said, "Get your genre right. Imagine walking in to a bookstore. Where would one find your book? In the romance section? Then, label it 'romance.' In the literature section? Label it 'commercial fiction.' " For two seconds I felt giddy, as if I just stumbled over the Rosetta Stone.

Reality then reared its ugly head as I further read on. The newsletter asked, "What is the defining event that occurs in the first 30 pages of your story which propels the novel forward?" further stating, "Make sure you include your book's defining moment as part of your pitch in the query letter."

Damn, I'm lucky if I can figure out whether I'm a plotter, a panster, or a crazed maniac who should never hold a pen. My muse withered with wonder, its ADHD enhanced.

I haven't lost hope for my muse. Soon it'll be strong enough to ignore all outside stimuli. Soon. Really. Maybe not today, but whenever the time is right...it merely packed up and took hiatus without leaving a clue as to its return.

Thoughts? Does publication and all the do's and don'ts of it seem daunting? Does your muse have ADHD too?

11 comments:

Edie Ramer said...

No, that doesn't have anything to do with my writing, except I am trying to make sure my book will have a commercial concept. Other than that, I just write it. The other stuff you worry about when you're ready to send out. And "commercial" seems to fit yours, from what I know about it. That's a great genre to write in. You'll have men and women readers.

Travis Erwin said...

I can write ten novels easier than I can market one which is probably why I've ye to sell one.

Kath Calarco said...

Edie, good advice regarding worrying when it's time to send work out. I know you cover a lot of bases before your work hits the mailbox. (You are my hero, especially after reading your latest blog at Magical Musings. Excellent!)

p.s. So you don't think I'm a maniac who should never hold a pen? LOL

Kath Calarco said...

Travis! Good to see you!

Yep, I'm with you, except for the "ten novels" part. But you're so right. The writing IS the easy part, which is what I have trouble with, so imagine me trying to submit. :(

Robin said...

I read somewhere that the basic concept of writing a novel is simple, but not easy. I think the same holds true for seeking publication. I look at this journey as sort of one step at a time and pretty soon all my steps will have been worth it. And along the way I'm trying to enjoy the process because the road can be a long one.

Good luck, Kath! You've got what it takes!

Kath Calarco said...

Great point, Binx, regarding the "long road." I'm so guilty of ruminating and ranting about it that I take all the fun out of the journey.

Thanks for reminding me that it isn't about the end of the road, but the one leading to it.

Erica Orloff said...

Kath:
I think, if you are a rebel like me, LOL!, then it helps to not think of it as RULES and more as COMMON SENSE. Think of yourself as reader. If you are 30 pages in and still have no real sense of a book and/or its characters, chances are you will put the book down. The reality is we like a story that moves forward. This doesn't have to feel like a rule-based world that confuses but just the good sense of decent storytelling--things you probably know already deep down.

Kath Calarco said...

Erica, me a rebel? :)

You make a valid point. Sometimes perception (mine) needs overhauling. I can be my worst enemy because I let the "rules" rule. I need to attack my writing from a reader's perspective more often.

...but first I have to start writing!

Natasha Fondren said...

There is a bit of me that enjoys coming up with ways to make money, so in that sense, no. BUT, and a BIG but, I've deleted all blogs that talk of how hard it is to get published. I don't read any articles along those lines. There's absolutely no benefit that I can see to myself at being "realistic" about doom and gloom.

However, with my YA, I keep throwing stuff away. So I must be feeling the pressure anyway.

If it's any consolation, Publisher's Weekly is giving me the impression that buying is up.

Kath Calarco said...

Natasha, I did the same thing as you. I dropped the doom and gloom blogs.

Great Publishers Weekly news, though. YAY! Here's hoping that publishers will start putting out real writing and stop with those frivolous books written by politicians, both former, present and wannabes. ;-)

Natasha Fondren said...

Yeah. It's fiction I'm seeing. Since that's all I look at, LOL! :-)