Blog - The Starving Novelist
The Starving Novelist
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!!

"Writer's block is the psychological or social condition in which a writer temporarily loses the capability to continue writing, whether through losing inspiration or confidence in his/her creativity, or through other personal difficulties. Writer's block - Origins of Writer's Block. True writer's block can be closely related to depression and anxiety, two disorders that reflect environmentally-caused or spontaneous changes in the brain's frontal lobe." - Encyclopedia.

Well, now it all makes sense.  I'm about four pages into my next novel, and I feel like I've hit a brick wall.  I know exactly why too.  My confidence has taken a nose dive.  I received a rejection in the mail the other day on a partial submission, and it crushed me.  I can handle a rejection based on just about anything- the storyline, the plot, the characters, blah, blah, blah.  BUT, criticize my writing?  That is a shot below the belt.  Everything else can be fixed, but if someone tells you they don't like the writing, what can you do? 

Now, I will be the first to admit, the first chapter of my novel isn't my favorite.  It was the first thing I wrote after all.  I was actually told by another agent that the first chapter was a bit "off-putting to the reader."  Personally, I love some off the writing in that first chapter, but at the same time, there are parts that kinda/sorta make me cringe too.  I've decided to wait and see what kind of feedback I get from the two other agents that have submissions, and then I'm going to rewrite the entire first chapter.  If I can . . .

Of course, my fear is that it's just not an awkward first chapter.  What if it's my writing in general?  What if I'm just not good enough?  The fear is paralyzing.  That is what is causing my writer's block.  It's so bad, I could barely bring myself to write this blog entry.  I know, I know- "you have to have a thick skin," "write what you love," and "don't worry, just write."  Knowing and doing are two different things though. 
I'm getting there . . . slowly but surely.  I've started to get my writing playlist ready for my next novel (music is VERY inspirational and important to me when I write), and the character sketches are underway.  My playlist for this novel will include a lot of Tori Amos.  My mc in this book is a very strong, driven and intelligent woman; and I needed music to reflect that.  Also, the emotions that come through in Tori Amos's music are very similiar to what my mc feels- at least at the beginning of the book. 

The Fine Line is still sitting on the sidelines.  Sometimes I feel  my novel is like the girl sitting on the bleechers at a high school dance,  just waiting for some good looking guy to pay her some attention.  She's kind and pretty- maybe not as drop dead gorgeous as the Homecoming Queen, but special in her own way.  Just like my book, her time will come. 

I did recieve a very nice rejection from the agent  I wrote about below.  She offered some constructive criticsm, though some of it was so vague I didn't really understand it.  That's fine though.  Any time I get something more than a "Sorry, not for me," I'm happy.  I still have a full and partial out.  I'm trying to stay hopeful and positve, but I must admit, the rejections are starting to get to me.  Not so much the individual rejections, but the sheer quantity of them.
I have decided to take a break from the querying process.  In the past month and a half, I have sent out 54 queries.  I have gotten 20 rejections, one partial request (rejected), one full request (response pending), and 32 no repsonses.  I know, I know . . . I'm not supposed to get discouraged- just keep on trucking!  Right?  Except for the fact that I can feel the life getting sucked out of me everytime I sit down to do it.  I was also starting to slack off.  Sure I'd peruse the agency's website and make sure I sent my query to the right agent, but that was the extent of my "research."  I no longer checked to see what books he/she represented, or what the agency's commision rate was.  I even commited the query cardinal sin- I sent one out with the wrong agent's name on it.  Yep, I was suffering from query burn-out.  So, I have decided to take a sort of sabatical.  I'm not in the right frame of mind to send out queries right now.  I'm not giving up, just giving my spirits a much needed rest. 

In the meantime, I am doing some major brainstorming (or in my case- daydreaming) for my next novel.  After going through this process of trying to get published, I'm feeling very confused on which route I should go.  I REALLY want to make a living at writing, so do I write what's "in" and popular?  You know, put my own two fingers on the pulse of america?  OR, do I write what's inside of me . . . the stuff that oozes naturally from me?  Young Adult is a popular genre, but the idea of going back to high school, even if just mentally, makes my skin crawl.  Oh, and there's always vampires, demons, wizards, and werewolves . . . hmmm . . . RELAX, that was a joke!  Seriously, there's got to be a life-span on that stuff. 
I still have about a month left before I start on my next novel, so maybe some wonderul idea for a book will just come to me . . . maybe in a dream . . . (some Stephenie Meyer humor there).  I have an idea in my head that keeps shifting and growing, and no matter how many others keep popping into my head, this one seems to overwhelm and take over all those little ideas, so maybe this will be the one.  When it comes down to it- I am who I am, and I can only write what's inside.  No matter what, a book can't be forced, and as a writer, it's my duty to give it that sense of honesty.