Well, this is embarrassing.

So, it appears, ahem, I haven’t posted a new update on this page in more than a year. Well, I’ve been busy! Well, sort of. In a way. After a fashion.

I haven’t, sadly, been busy writing. I was working on it, and it was very tedious – much more so than the first draft I wrote. And around Memorial Day, I just got stuck, and … well, I ALLOWED myself to get stuck. And I didn’t get un-stuck until Labor Day. Since then I’ve written a chapter and a half, which is no great shakes, but it’s something. I’m finally moving again.

Since I last posted, I also got more active with the Columbus Sisters in Crime chapter. It was Sisters in Crime, Columbus, Ohio (yes, that’s SiCCO for short), but we’ve since rebranded into Buckeye Crime Writers. That website is my handiwork; I took the time to learn how to use WordPress properly functionally, and got that going. I’ve even taken over the Facebook and Twitter feeds. It still has some bugs to be worked out, but I’m getting there.

Anyway, that’s where things are for now. Thought I would, er, attempt to catch things up!

Time to get going again

So, my plan when I created this blog was to keep it updated pretty regularly as I got going through the writing process. And then, I got stalled. I got close on a couple of queries, but ultimately got turned down, and came to the conclusion that I need to make some more revisions. And then I wasn’t quite sure where to start, and then I got laid off, and real life became suddenly more important. I have since spent months looking for work, then found a new job, and a new career, and have spent several months getting settled into that. Add in raising a toddler, and, well… the excuses came easily, I guess. But, I’m getting the itch more and more lately. My dilemma now is which of three choices to make.
First is to make minimal revisions and start querying again. That’s the easy way, in some ways, though I haven’t even read what I wrote for nearly a year now, so maybe not.
Door number two involves going back and doing a rewrite. And frankly that might be the best option, because I’ve thought of some improvements I can make. (Though I haven’t necessarily written those ideas down, so that’s a problem.)
And the third option is to scrap it and start something entirely new. I’m not sure how I feel about that, to be honest. I mean, a new project would be fun, of course, but I think I would feel like the last one either wasn’t finished, or just wasn’t very good. And maybe it wasn’t very good; it was a first effort, after all, so that’s not really something to be ashamed of. And yet, I think it would still bother me.
It’s probably going to come back to that rewrite. Now, to remember what those improvements I had in mind were. It’s annoying, because one of them really felt like a eureka moment, too… well, I guess if it was that good, it’ll come back to me. I hope!

Update

Well, there’s not really an update; I just realized I haven’t updated anything in a few months! So, for now, I’ve stopped sending queries. I’m making some minor revisions and will start again soon, but my day job (or unexpected lack thereof) is taking precedence at the moment. Hope to have more to say soon!

On to the next?

So, I’m still querying agents on my book. One has a few chapters of it now, so crossing fingers there; she seems pretty cool. In the meantime, though, I’ve been pondering what to take on next. I still might try one of these short stories, but the turnarounds on them can be pretty quick. I was all set to submit for one of them, had the story all ready (in my head, at least), and then saw that the deadline had already passed. Typical, eh? So, I’m about ready to just sit down and start writing again, a new book. I don’t quite know yet what it’ll be about, but that’s how I did the first one, too. And after reading Stephen King’s “On Writing,” it appears that’s a method he uses quite frequently, which makes me feel a whole let better about it. 🙂

While I’m waiting…

So this part of being a writer is challenging. Tom Petty had it right; the waiting IS the hardest part. I’ve sent various materials to various agents and I’ve resisted the urge to endlessly tweak the book for fear that I’ll tweak something good right out of it. I haven’t fully started another one yet, though I have some ideas.

In the meantime, though, I’m toying with submitting some short stories. I’m learning that there are various publications that take short story submissions, sometimes themed, and pay a few bucks for the right to publish it. Once I started looking for those, I was almost overwhelmed at how many options there were! Anyway, if I do that (and if any get accepted), I’ll keep you posted.

Still plugging away

Well, hello there! I realize I haven’t been keeping this up lately, and that’s largely because I haven’t been keeping ANYTHING up lately; work has been particularly busy these last couple of months. So, here’s the quick update.
I’m still looking for an agent for my book. There for a while I was busily seeking agents, with 10-20 active queries out there. One of them did ask for the full manuscript, and I got so excited that I sort of stopped sending new ones out. It turns out that was a mistake, because the agent ultimately passed. In the meantime, my active list dwindled down below five as other agents either passed or just didn’t respond by their self-imposed deadlines.
I do begin to see why some writers see this part of the process as rather soul-crushing. I get it; I’ve had my own self-doubts about whether what I wrote is good enough. To be honest, it’s probably the first time since a particularly rough English class in high school that I’ve written something and not gotten pretty good reviews. Oh, there have been articles I’ve done in the past that people didn’t like who let me know about it, but rarely did anyone suggest it wasn’t well-written; they just didn’t like the content for one reason or another.
Anyway, I’ve started sending queries again, when I have time – which is to say, I’ve sent two in the past week and identified a few more agents to contact. Also, thanks to a friend in NYC, I have a couple of other folks to contact who might be able to offer some additional insight, so we’ll see what happens there.
So there’s my update.
Sincerely, A Frustrated Writer

So, I’m a bit confused.

When I sat down to write a novel, my goal was to write something unique. My goal was to write it my way, and to tell a story I hadn’t already heard somewhere else.

Yet, it seems many agents are quite set on comparing you to other authors. Some want mashups (“This is Stephen King meets JK Rowling! Only be more obscure than that so we know you’re paying attention”). Others seem to want re-tellings; familiar stories told in new ways. (One had an example of a Cinderella story retold as a cyberpunk story. Yeah, really.)

In some ways, I guess I don’t get it. That doesn’t feel original to me. Now, I freely admit that I decided to take the plunge in part because of a King novel I was reading at the time. And I’ve told people that’s sort of my comparable (in format/genre, anyway, not that I’m comparing myself to one of the most successful authors of all time!). But it just feels a bit strange. I didn’t set out to be Stephen King. I can’t be him, or any other writer out there. I can only be me. People will either like my writing, or hate it. I can live with that.

The other thing that gets me is that agents seem to want to know that you’ve read obscure authors in your genre. I first started finding that, and panicked. I don’t have a lot of free time to read these days. I haven’t read a horror novel by anyone not named King or Koontz in probably 10 years. Why should that disqualify me? That doesn’t mean I can’t write.

Anyway. I guess that’s my rant for today. 🙂