Friday, July 29, 2011

Waiting - Laura's 10th Circle of Hell

I finished PERFECT 10 in June, just a few precious days after summer vacation started.

Finishing a book always kind of sneaks up on me. I type the last line and think, "Oh my god. That was it. That was the end." (Yes, I type the last line last. I have Methods. I do not stray from those Methods. But more on that shortly.)

Then I sit there in shock for about an hour and message Erin or my friend and beta, Ann, on Skype and say, "I think I'm finished. Will you read it and tell me if I'm finished?"

(And I have to ask because even though I know when the book should end, there's always so much more in my head that I want to say.)

It takes a few days for the shock of finishing to wear off, and then I'm ready to work. I comb the manuscript once myself for spelling and grammar, and Ann does a round for me too. Then the hard part begins. Massive revisions. Tightening the writing, strengthening the characters, heightening the emotions. Sometimes it's as simple as removing all those pesky adverbs. Sometimes it's as difficult as merging scenes or completely rewriting. With PERFECT 10 I actually wrote out a giant chart, labeling each scene in each chapter. Then I defended it. If the scene wasn't necessary or it had the same purpose as another scene in the book, I dealt with it.

I moved quickly on this one because LeakyCon was coming up in July. Not that I didn't do a thorough job, I just worked my ass off. I didn't want to have something unpolished if I made connections with the agents there.

And I feel I did. So I'm sending queries out and waiting. You know, there are so many difficult things about writing. The actual writing itself, the sting of criticism, the fear of rejection.

But I think probably the most immediate thing for me is the waiting. It's all too easy to sink into that cliched pit of despair. (Cliches exist for a reason, and I defend my right to use them, albeit sparingly.) Every day you don't hear a response becomes another reason to suspect that the manuscript, the idea, the writing, etc etc etc just isn't good enough.

I'm at a point with my writing where I feel genuinely confident with it. I trust my voice, I trust my pacing, I trust that the characters in my head and the plots they've given me are rich and complete. I take criticism in stride now. But criticism is concrete. Unanswered responses are not concrete, and they tend to bring out your worst fears.

One of my dream agents, Sarah LaPolla, tweeted a link the other day, and just in the nick of time for me, so I thought I'd share. It's a blog by one of her clients, Michelle, and it gives you a few reminders to take to heart during this limbo period. It's a most excellent blog, and I can't wait to see Michelle's work on the shelves. (I'm especially looking forward to her book about Vincent Van Gogh, which she hasn't even started yet!) Do yourself a favor and read this post, and stick around for a while. She's got lovely thoughts on writing:

The Patience of Writing 


Monday, July 25, 2011

Catch Up

What did the fast tomato say to the slow tomato?


Let's play.

In the past month since we last posted anything, things have been kind of nuts around here. We're talking majorly ass over teacup.

First and foremost, Erin and I did a presentation at LeakyCon2011 called "Just Keep Swimming." It was a motivational talk for authors who are suffering from I-suck-itis. It went really well, and the participants seemed to really enjoy sharing their experiences with each other. We have tons of info leftover from that presentation, so if you couldn't make it to LeakyCon, never fear! We will be sharing that here on our blog as well.

Secondly, Erin was an especially busy bee at the Con. She also did an AMAZING presentation on alchemy in the Harry Potter series. It was riveting, and I'm not just saying that because she's my partner in crime. Glued to my seat, I was. I'm sure if you beg real nice she'll be happy to share info from that as well. She also taught a yoga class every morning, and I got to enjoy that class when I wasn't suffering from con fatigue.

As a result of Erin's popularity, she sold a lot of copies of her book, THE DARK WHISPERS, and also a book of Harry Potter essays, HARRY POTTER FOR NERDS, which contains her fabulous essay as well. And I bet that even if you're not nice but still have some cash, Erin would be more than happy to supply you with a copy of either. *grins*

As for me, your resident ex-Slytherin-slash-Hufflepuff-in-training, I finished my book. I'm in the revision process at the moment (read: otherwise known as the "tear your hear out and wail" process), which is just the constant state of things and will be for a while. And yeah, I may or may not be sending out a few queries. Cross your fingers for me.

So...that's what's new with us.

What's new with YOU?