The Starving Novelist
 
Most of you probably haven't noticed, but for my one or two loyal followers (lol- "followers" - makes me sound like a cult leader), yes, I've been gone a bit longer than usual.  Last week was crazy, well, crazier than usual.  My kids were out of school because of 'winter break' Monday and Tuesday, and I also started getting sick on Tuesday.  I went to the Dr.'s on Wednesday, and yep, sure enough, I had Strep Throat.  Note: when I get Strep Throat, I GET Strep Throat, meaning, it's not just a little sore throat mixed with a slight fever; it's my tonsil(s) is as white and swollen as a ping-pong ball, and I feel like death.  Needless to say, I could barely write a text message, let alone a blog entry.

To make everything 10x worse . . . I've been committing a big writer's no-no.  I've been comparing myself to other writers (eek!).  The funny thing is, I'm not comparing my books to theirs, but my life to theirs.  I'm reading their 'how I got my agent' stories or their bios, and all I can think is; 'I've never taken those classes, I don't have that degree, I don't have that experiece, I've never read those books, I don't belong to that group, etc., etc.  Seriously, I'm embarrassed to say I actually went to the library and checked out a Jane Austen novel, JUST because it seemed like every "serious" women's fiction writer has read Jane Austen.  Of course, I was bored to tears and only made it through the first chapter (barely). 

I know, this is bad and SCREAMS insecurity.  I kind of feel like I'm back in high school, and I'm looking at all the popular girls and mentally listing all the ways I'm not like them. 

I have to keep reminding myself that there are different paths that lead to the same destination.  True, I was not one of the "popular" girls in high school, but somehow I still managed to have some awesome friends, succeed in college, get a good job, and meet an awesome guy (my husband).  So, even though I don't like Jane Austen, I can't write a novel in a month, and I don't an MFA in creative writing; I can still succeed as a writer, and come hell or high water, that's what I plan on doing.
 
 
* I REALLY wish I could write faster . . . I'm so envious of those people who can write an entire novel in the span of three months.  Even if I had unlimited time, I don't think I could do this. Writing does not come easy for me; the words do not 'flow' from me like they do for some writers.  I often struggle with every sentence.  On average, it takes me an hour to write just two pages.  On a bad night, it can stretch to about an hour and a half :o( 

* I wish I could write as vividly as I imagine.

* I wish some of my best ideas didn't come between the hours of 11:00 pm & 1:00 am (when I'm trying to go to sleep).

* I wish I liked to read women's fiction.  I've forced myself to read some while I was writing The Fine Line, but I didn't really enjoy the books.  Is that strange that I like to write it, but not read it??

* I wish I could find another book/book series like the Twilight Saga.  I almost needed an intervention while reading those books.  Seriously.  I was ADDICTED to them- as in 12 step program addicted.  I read them every chance I got, and when I wasn't reading them, I was thinking about them (and suffering from withdrawal symptoms).   I've yet to get that feeling from a book since then (though I'm always looking!).

* And finally, I wish I could be a fly on the wall of an agent's office.  Actually, a bee would be better- that way I could sting them after they reject my query/ms ;o) 
 
 
Phew!  Revisions ARE DONE!!  I like my novel, and I think it’s pretty good, but honestly, I really don’t want to read it again- ever.  Of course there’s always an exception, as in revision requests from an agent, but I will not be taking it upon myself to go through it- no way, Jose.  This puppy has sucked up enough of my time.  I am ready to move on.  I want to pour all my creative juices into something new.

No, I am not throwing in the towel; I will continue to query.  I plan on spending a couple of days each month sending out queries, until I (a) get an offer of rep, or (b) have queried every agent who accepts women’s fiction (well, every legitimate agent).  The rest of the time will be spent writing.  YES, WRITING!!  Can you imagine?  A writer wanting to write?   Now that’s a concept ;o)

I have come up something totally new and unexpected for my next project.  November’s Rain is on hold (I liked the idea behind it, but I just can’t get excited about it to continue it right now).  Instead, I am going to step into the world of young adult paranormal.  I know, I know- me and everyone else, right?  If you’ve been following my blog, you might even remember me making a comment about how I would never write young adult, because just the idea of writing about high school made me nauseous.  Well, it still does, which is why the setting is summertime :o)  I’ve already mapped out the plot for it, and I can’t wait to start writing!!  I just have to figure some things out first, and one of those things is a very BIG thing- first person vs. third person.  The Fine Line was written in first person, which is my comfort zone, so I’m debating whether to stick with first person . . . or not.  Decisions, decisions!!

 
 
There are A LOT of really good websites out there for people who need help writing a query.  With this being said, I'm always AMAZED by how many REALLY bad queries I read on websites where you can post your query for critiquing (is that a word?).  Now, I'm not trying to be mean or condenscending, but seriously . . . come on.   I'm not even talking about the actual writing/wording of the hook/blurb (which even the best query writer can struggle with), I'm talking about the big no-no's: i.e., word counts that are triple the size of the average first novel, too much personal information, praising one's own work, odd formating, etc., etc.  I think having your query looked over (critiqued) is an awesome idea, but AT LEAST do some research before posting it.  It should be your personal best, and comments should help make it shine.  The people who volunteer their time to read over your query are there to HELP you, not write your query for you.

The REALLY scary part is when people who have NO IDEA what they're talking about offer advice.  Don't get me wrong, there are some people out there who offer REALLY good advice, and they know EXACTLY what they're talking about (these people have the patience of a saint if you ask me ;o)   However, I CRINGE when I read some of the advice.  For example, one person advised this newbie to open her query with a QUOTE from her book.  What?!?!?  Ugh, yeah . . . I don't think so.  I could be totally wrong, but I've NEVER seen this done before in a query.  I'm not saying not to listen to advice, but if you have any doubts- double check!!  Google is an amazing tool ;o)  Don't take all advice as gospel. 

On a final note, format is often a subjective thing (I see a lot of critiques on this).  Everyone says DON'T put genre/word count at the beginning of the query, but some agents request it this way!!  Always check the agent's submissions guidelines to see if they have a preference.