Thursday, April 22, 2010

I'm going to rant a little because I'm a bit tired of other people's whining. (Not you, of course.)

If you are a good writer, you can write anything.

And when I say anything, I mean anything. A query letter. A play. A screenplay. A poem. A novel. A marketing flyer. A blog. Whatever.

Whenever you switch genres, it's like switching strokes in swimming. The principles are the same for all strokes: you push the water and you move forward. Everyone has a stroke that's strongest, but if you understand the principles of the thing, the physics behind it, the methodology, and you have some basic skills, you can swim anything. With training you get faster, push more water, move more efficiently.

But don't tell me that because you stink at butterfly you can't swim. You just need to practice. Sure you may look all floppy for a little while, but you'll get better. Unless you whine and don't do what you're supposed to do.

To switch back to writing....

Let's say you're writing a novel. You push through. You put your words in. You train. You read and understand the concepts that make up a 'novel'. You finish it.

Congratulations, you've learned and developed one particular, difficult stroke. You've learned to put one word after another. You've learned how to hold a reader's attention and how to braid plot points together. You've done a bazillion little things that have made you a better writer!

And let's say you want to sell that novel. Great! Time to query.

Time to write a letter.

What? You've finished 500 pages of words and you can't write a one page letter?

To this I say: (pardon my French) Bullshit.

You can still put words down, in their correct order, in a way that is both interesting and vivid. You can use spell check, exactly like you did for that other batch of pages that you wrote. You can edit and revise. You can hold a reader's attention and braid plot points together, and you can put one word after another until you're done. Sound familiar?

That's right. It's just a different stroke. You will not drown. You will not fail. Just do what you know how to do.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Need a New Mentor of the Month!

Call for entries:

Which author should I focus on for April's Mentor of the Month? Who do you think I can learn from? I need an author with at least three pieces of work that I can read over April and discuss ticks, tocks, and whatnot.

Rejections, How we love them. Or not. Whichever.

Two rejections on short stories so far this year. Which is down from most years because I've been focusing so much on novels (thus have not created new stories), and a few of my stories have already been picked up, so I do not have the stash of short stories that I used to. This equals: nothing to submit.

It's not surprising to me that these rejections are of the form variety...after all, you get what you give and I have not given my all to revisions of the stories I've sent out recently. I'm viewing this as a lesson to learn: must revise and then send out or I am wasting everyone's time--which I already knew but I kept my fingers crossed hopefully, nonetheless.

(I was just hoping to fool some of the editors and get published and then not have to worry about them anymore--all writers are like this and we hate hearing it from the editors who know it. Know-it-all editors. Humph.)

[Side note: I am not usually That Writer. Normally I only send out pieces that I know are working like they should and my return has been generous--both in acceptances and personalized rejection letters. I was just in a mood.]

Since I haven't posted my goals for this year, this is a fitting time because I'd already determined that short story writing would be a part of it. So goals 2010:
1. Rough draft of La Llorona done by July 31--and this is an important one because Bransford expressed interest in seeing the progress of said WIP, so I must, you know, progress
2. Rough draft of The Line by about the same time
3. Work on short stories for rest of the year
4. Play around with a screenplay...gotta mix the genres up, ya know?

Seems crazy ambitious since I'm intending on going back to school in the fall as well. But that's how I roll! Who would like to roll with me?

Wait, I didn't mean to put it that way....