Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Insecure Writer's Support Group: No Show, No Go


IWSG BadgeThe Insecure Writers Support Group meets online every first Wednesday of the month. Founded by  
Alex J. Cavanaugh, IWSG was created to support and encourage all writers in every phase of their work, from writing to marketing. Click here to join, and for more information. The website has writing tips and much more. 

Hosted in March by: 
Chemist Ken, Suzanne Sapseed, and Shannon Lawrence!
 

This month my focus has been on making a public commitment to pursue publishing and all that involves: researching agents and publishers, polishing, polishing, polishing my novel, formatting the manuscript, reassessing if a previous synopsis works (it didn't), and sending out queries. I haven't sent out one query yet! Okay, deep breath, deep breath. Maybe this is normal. You think you're ready, but then you discover half a dozen things you haven't finished. 

The big thing is I've reduced the word count from 96k to 84k. The goal is 80k, which is more in the ball park for this genre (contemporary adventure mystery-YA). I decided that I wasn't following the so-called rules for a first time novelist. No sense shooting myself in the foot with a higher than normal word count. 

In other words, I didn't want an agent to think I didn't do my homework. I saved the original just in case I'm asked to flesh things out more, and I didn't cut any scenes, just a whole lot of flab. One thing that stood out to me, since this is a novel for young adults, is that I had adults dominating scenes too much in spots. I can't write this story without the help of adults, but where kids step up to the plate, I gave them more to say, and adults less. I used contractions more, which also reduced word count.

But the lurking ever present worry is that I will not finish.....and this process will drag on forever. I've had similar starts out the gate, and I don't want this to happen again. I no longer have an outside job and haven't for awhile, or other time-threatening interferences, so no excuses this time. No excuses!  

No Show, No Go, as the saying goes. 

On a brighter note, I'm still at the start gate, digging my toes in the sand, trying to ignore the phenomenal talent on my right and left (focus, focus, focus), and waiting for the gun to go off. I haven't given up (another pattern in my past), and God willing, I would really like to believe that this time is different.  

Also, I like what editor Cheryl B. Klein (who was continuity editor for two Harry Potter books) has to say about the submission process. (Anyone else read her book?). It's really about finding "the right match," she explains. "It's like dating."

"But in fact we editors are just people, readers, like you, looking to make connections just like you. And that led me to the comparison I'm going to make today: The submissions process is like dating--an intensely personal endeavor where everyone is looking for the right match."  
(Cheryl B. Klein, Second Sight, 2009)
  
And again, my thanks to the IWSG community. I know it takes great effort and time on your part to pull away from your desk and busy life to share your writing journey, whether it's to seek encouragement and answers or to offer some yourself. I hope others debating the merits of this group will stop hesitating. But mostly, I wish everyone well.....Stay the Course _/)

26 comments:

  1. Hear hear! I just released a novel that took me so long to write that I almost threw it away at one point, I was so sick of it. But I didn't and the endeavor to reach the "finished" taught me so much, some things I could kick myself for, other things made me feel better about my writing/research skills, gave me such a sense of accomplishment that I can't wait to do it again. This was my second published novel. I didn't think I could feel better than when the first went out, but this second one made me feel better about myself as a writer. Keep going! It is so very worth the journey. Thanks for commenting on my blog!

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  2. Thank you, Lisa. It is frustrating but exciting to finally to be on the right path. I do feel I will get there this time. I regret it has taken so long, but as you say, much is learned in the process and this is so true with me. I'm still learning--just didn't realize it would be such hard work!

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  3. There are so many paths to take on this journey that it's a wonder any of us find one that works for us. You're doing great, so keep it up--one step at a time.

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  4. Thanks, Lee. I have to say that your recent success with your books is impressive and watching you grow as a writer has been a joy. I appreciate the encouragement and can't wait to join the team.

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  5. It can be hard to break out of the endless revision cycle (especially if you're a perfectionist like me!). Best of luck with the querying! You can do it! :)

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  6. Thanks. All the best to you too. The revisions have quite literally felt endless, with that constant nagging editor voice of mine that demands perfection.

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  7. Oh, I understand, I understand. I've made a lot of writing plans and I can't believe it's March already. And what do I have to show for it? Two half finished works (poetry) and now on top that I'm adding a six week class course and I bumped up my YA WIP to work on now for during BuNoWriMo. But I like your analogy of ignoring what's on your right and left, waiting for the gun to go off. Now it's off, all that we can do is keep running, don't remain rooted at the gate.

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Lidy. I wish you well too in your writing journey!

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  8. I think we all have that worry up until the point that we finally get published. I feel it myself. But as long as you keep pushing it will happen. Nothing wrong with that inner editor demanding perfection. But once your critique partners tell you you're ready, then go for it.

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    1. Unfortunately, I lost that critique group with a recent move. My WIP has however been critiqued a lot, so hoping this is it. My husband has a pretty good eye so may ask him to read one more time. Thanks!

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  9. Yes you can do it Sharon. I think it is about landing on the right desk, in front of the right person, on the right day. There is an element of luck involved (probably much like dating!) but the more we put ourselves out there, the more chance we have. Well that's how I like to look at it! Best of luck :)

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Suzanne. I hope it's more than luck, but it does seem we have limited control in the process. I'm determined to keep trying.

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  10. I cannot read your text. Dark against dark is difficult to read.

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    1. Feather, thanks so much for your comment. I've changed the colors and hope you'll come back and let me if this is better.

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  11. Nerve-wracking, but exciting! I'm only just now attempting to get a novel even remotely ready for queries, and you're right-- It's hard! Ha! Go figure. You are there though. Sounds like you're doing all the research and will be on your way. Good luck!!

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    1. Harder than I ever thought. Boy what a workout this has been. Stay with it too. All the best and Thanks for visiting, Lauren!

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  12. Kudos to you for editing your word count down...keep going you are almost there! Good luck in the submission process!

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    1. Thank you. You're the first to mention that. I just thought I'd lose out on some opportunities with that high of a word count first time out as a novelist. Trying to do my homework and hoping it makes a differenc!

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  13. And let there be light. Love the color change, Sharon. Love your insightful thoughts about word count. I received advice from a previous editor to significantly reduce the word count. My delete key was pretty busy for the next several weeks. Then I sent in the manuscript and was rejected. I took a huge risk and replied asking if they would provide feedback on why it was rejected. I was lucky. They responded to my inquiry stating that they were confused about a particular portion of the story. I realized that I had deleted way too much. I restored that portion and resent the manuscript. It was accepted. Good luck, Sharon. Blessings.

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  14. Now that I've started, the blog changes are 'officially' a work in progress....I may go even lighter and change the header. I'll see if anyone else comments. As for the word count change....yikes, I suppose that could happen. Sure hope it doesn't. I've saved the original just in case. Thanks for coming back. Really appreciate your comments.

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  15. That first step is always the scariest.
    There are many resources out there to help, so don't feel lost in the process. The IWSG site has a huge list sites that can help with the synopsis, finding publishers, formatting, and all that good stuff.
    Just remember to enjoy the journey!

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  16. Good to remember and I have already benefited from the site. The journey, yes, is amazing---possibly the best part of all :) Thanks, Alex!

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  17. Good luck with revisions and with querying! Good idea to keep the longer version just in case. When I cut anything from my novels I save that cut elsewhere so I have access to find it later if I change my mind. So far I haven't, but I have been able to use it in a different part of the book once or twice.

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  18. Yes, it's completely normal. It sounds like you're right on the brink. Just take a deep breath and take that step. I read a quote once, I don't remember who said it, but I taped it to my desk: "And if life only teaches you one thing, let it be that taking a passionate leap is always worth it. Even if you have no idea where you're going to land, be brave enough to step up to the edge of the unknown, and listen to your heart."

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  19. No matter what, have faith in yourself and what you have accomplished so far. Realize help surrounds you in blog land and trust your instincts. By creating this novel, you are farther ahead than many people who just thinking about writing one(that includes me)

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  20. Shannon - Thanks! I have thought I made need to add some back, so very good advice.

    Lori - Love the quote! I have felt from the very start that writing a novel takes courage.

    Birgit - Oh, I'm trying. Thanks so much. You have always been so supportive :)

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