Saturday, October 20, 2007

What's it all taught me?

In the two and a half years it took me to conceive, write and polish Healing Chiron, here's what I've learned:

1) Any bumbleskin can write a book. The hard part is crafting it into a story that contains not only good, fluid prose, but also the essential elements of a tale. Things like voice, stakes, bridging conflict - I never totally comprehended the importance of these things three years ago.

2) Don't tell anyone you're writing a book until it's at Borders. Avoiding this mistake is SO hard, but, dang, I want to vomit whenever I see certain people coming who know what I'm doing. "So how come I don't see your book at Walden's?" "What's taking so long? Do you need some addresses of publishers?" The absolute worst came when a relative pointed out that writing books is an excellent source of "Passive Income". Passive as in 'no effort required'....just sit back and collect the residuals. Gak. This, after I've poured over a thousand hours of effort into Healing Chiron. No discounted copies for him.

3) Patience reigns supreme. If writing it didn't take long, marketing it will. I got my first request for a full on July 24, and I remember hoping to hear back in a week. And why not? She only took a few weeks to say she liked the first 100 pages, and surely she goes through her fulls faster than her partials. Fortunately, three more 'request for fulls' have staggered in since and the days are moving faster.

4) Believe in yourself. Once your collection of rejection slips causes your manilla folder to bulge, it's easy to believe you've been delusioned about your writing. But don't let the bastards get you down. There's a reason you were put on this ball of dirt and if you think it's because of your writing, then you're probably right. And if that's true, then have faith....it's only a matter of time.

5) Know your inner motivations. The fantasy of seeing your book in print is a siren's call that leads to failure. As you craft your novel, if your focus is more upon being published and quitting your day job than it is upon creating something beautiful, well, guess what? You'll probably never be published...unless lulu counts. It's okay to dream, but stay focused on making your story the best it can be.

I'm sure I'll have more once I get a better taste of the publishing world.

5 comments:

Dwight's Writing Manifesto said...

Wow! Four fulls!

Congrats. That's fantastic!

Dead Man Walking said...

Thanks, Dwight. Of course, I forgot all about Rule #6...don't tell people you've got agents reading your manuscript!

Roxan said...

The rule about not telling anyone is excellent. Upon telling a friend who has a "gimme" family, including her husband, she immediately started figuring how much she was going to borrow from me when I got published.q

Dwight's Writing Manifesto said...

DUDE!

What the hell happened to your fulls?

Spill! Spill!

C'mon, it has been too long. Did you get signed?

Dead Man Walking said...

Nope, still waiting. No news is "not bad news", that's what I always say.