Thursday, August 25, 2011

My Journey continues with my first Rejection letter.

I never would have guessed that writing the book was going to be the easy part. Like I said before, this is a learning process, and I'm still learning. I have been taking workshops on how to improve my writing skills to only realize that my book, I just submitted to publishers, was not ready to go.
I have received two great rejection letters. Yes I said great, because they were informative. The one letter was 4 pages long and it went into detail on my weaknesses and what I should do to rectify them. They even gave me links to workshops and articles they felt would help me.
Now that was a big surprise, I expected a feeling of dread, and head hanging shame from a rejection letter. These gave me high hopes for my novel.
I am in the process of finishing some much needed workshops (the reason for my absence),on POV issues, punctuation and grammar, and showing not telling. These are some series issues that are plaguing my first book and I am determined to master these complex issues and re-submit my baby, once she is ready.
I plan to stay in better contact with everyone and keep you up with my roller coaster of events.
With my workshops, editing first book, work on second book, (yes I am working on number two), and my day job that pays the bills. The hours in my day are stretched very thin, but who needs sleep, so expect some notes from me posted during the wee hours of the morning. :}
My goal is to have a contract by the end of the year, and I plan on achieving that goal. So let the long sleepless nights begin.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Back to basics.

When I decided to write a book, I thought that's what you did. Write the book. It will be perfect and everyone will love it. Ok, I wasn't that delusional but I did find out, the hard way, that I skipped a few basic, very important steps. What I learned during my journey through my first book is that you should:

1. Research. Learn the basics to writing, from knowing your genre to grammar and punctuation.

2. Have an outline of your story and make notes on your characters. (I spent many wasted hours going back to see details on a character that I should have written down. Duh! That was a no brainer!)

3. Know your way around a computer. (Another no brainer.) I depended on my daughter to fix my mistakes more than I care to admit. The most important thing she taught me, save, save. I had to re-type so many chapters because I did not have auto save on. I would hit a wrong key and have it all disappeared!

4. Have a critique group. I did not have one until I finished my first book. Once I had one I sent in a few chapters and was horrified by my results. They actually pointed out my mistakes, and suggested changes, how dare them. (Just kidding.) When I finished the book it was my baby and you get defensive when someone says something negative about your baby. Well I learned to take criticism because their suggestions were going to make my story better. Then I put on my big girl panties and grew a thick skin. They weren't there to hurt my feelings. They were there to help improve my writing skills.

4. Grammar and punctuation (I know I mentioned this) but it is soooo important, it needs to be mentioned twice. It has been a LONG time since I attended an English class, and I can tell you, I obviously did not pay close enough attention.

When I started this process I wouldn't have made so many mistakes if I would have gone back to the basics. But now, I'm done with book number one and working on two more. My editing is a smoother process and my critiquing buddies do not cringe when they see pages from me. It's not that they didn't like the story, they loved it. They just had a hard time reading past all the mistakes I made. My sister would tell me I was not allowed to send any chapters out until she read them first. Not that she wanted to help improve on my skills. She didn't want to be embarrassed that she had a sister who had no idea what to do with a comma Well I no longer embarrass my sister and I have learned from my mistakes. I know I will make more mistakes, and comma’s are still as issue, but I’m improving. So going back to basics is a step I took late, but I took it and I’m becoming a better writer because of it.