Posts Tagged ‘manuscript’

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Car Crashes and Rejection Letters

April 27, 2014

Recently, I crashed my car—not hard, but still. Fortunately, I was driving in a parking lot, and although I did jam my thumb, no one was hurt. Needless to say, it was not my best day.

After I had driven home, I crumpled onto the couch and wondered why this had happened. Despite it being April, there was snow and ice. The other driver had admitted that he was driving too fast for a parking lot. It was early in the morning. My list continued to grow, wondering what lessons I needed to learn from the experience.

As I pondered a few answers, I noticed that my feelings and emotions were similar to those I’ve had after a rejection pops up in my inbox. My immediate reaction is shock, then anger, and finally, self-doubt. There are always questions. In the end, I move on.

Rejection for a writer is part of the process. I’ve written about it before. It’s important to hide under a blanket for a while, feel the pain and answer the questions. There are things to learn. Bad things happen. But we can move on. Rejection is simply a chance to do something differently and find the right answers. What an opportunity to sink onto the couch and discover something new for my manuscript.

And this round, there will be no car-crashing days.

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Pitch Checklist

October 21, 2013

I’m soon sending agents queries for my YA manuscript. It’s a daunting process. Am I ready? Is it good enough? Will someone like it? My answer to all of the above is YES. Of course, that hasn’t stopped me from wishing upon a star.

Here’s a checklist for the query letter:

-catchy (but not corny) opening

-simple yet sophisticated sentence structure

-strong voice

-brief synopsis

-book comparison and word count

-correct spelling and grammar

-professional credentials

-thank you

As for my manuscript, my checklist included:

-unique voice

-character growth

-plot development

-mystery and intrigue

-opening hook

-strong climax

-developed subplots

-edit and revision (like 200 times!)

Wish me luck!

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Summer’s Over? Say It’s Not So! Okay, Go Ahead.

September 16, 2013

No one likes the end of summer. Every year I fight its demise. But once I feel autumn’s breeze and watch the way Aspen leaves transform into pats of golden butter, I surrender. September in the Rocky Mountains is nothing short of fabulous.

For me, fall brings new energy, and my attention focuses on writing projects. This year there are new starts: I’m teaching at a community college, editing more work for others, and running new workshops. However, after a summer hiatus from working on my manuscript, I’m most excited about my renewed creativity and look forward to the revision process, even if it the 77th edition.

I recently finished reading IMAGINE, by John Lehrer. He researches the creative process by running experiments and interviewing people in diverse fields. A common denominator in his research is evident—highly successful creative people need a break.

Be gone, guilt!

The mind doesn’t function creatively one hundred percent of the time. It needs time to recharge, just like your body might after running a marathon (not that I’ve ever been crazy enough to attempt 26 miles on foot). After a rest, the brain is recharged and can reflect outside the box.

Lesson learned from my summer of fun? It’s worth it. The mind needs a rest. If you’re stuck in a rut, have writer’s block, or are too just damn tired to think, take a break. Results will happen when you return. Trust.