"If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under." - Ronald Reagan

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Go Take A Flying Leap

Ever wanted something really bad? And I mean, really, really bad…so bad that not only can you taste it, but you can see your dreams so clearly that you could give them a name tag and introduce them to your friends? I have a dream like that. I want to publish a book.

But this particular dream comes with some very scary steps. Writing the book actually seems easy in comparison. Because after it's all written? I had to let people actually read my book. Well, people other than my mom. And what if those people didn't like my main character? What if all my ingenious lines of dialogue came off as flat instead of funny? What if I used the wrong form of 'their'?

And some of that did happen. One person still refers to my main character as a major wimp (I'm looking at you, Betsy!), but that doesn't mean she isn't right. Along with the big scary process of reading my work out loud while others scratched through lines of perfection or didn't care about what shoes my characters were wearing or how long their flowing locks of hair are, I survived. I got hearts and smiley faces. They applauded my dialogue. What's more is that they have made me a better writer. Now, when I'm editing, I hear their voices in my head, telling me to get to the point, amp up the snark, or tone down the adverbs. (And I always use the correct form of 'their.')

As wonderful as my progress is, it's still not a finished book. There's another scary step to take. And this one is a doozy: sending out query letters. This is where I contact agents or publishers, tell them about my book, and then ask them if they'd like to read it, too. Many, many, many of these letters will be answered with a form letter saying "no, thanks." And that will hurt. It will hurt a lot, like if I offered them a portion of my soul, all chocolate-coated and gift-wrapped, only to have them smack it out of my hands and then stomp it to a mushy mess on the sidewalk. And I will have to be polite about it, dip the next piece of soul in chocolate and go on to another potential rejection.


But I'm still gonna do it. This year. Sometime. I've got months left. But it will happen. I'm just trying to be as prepared as possible, hence the group allowed to slash my manuscript and tying back together again. And I have beta readers that aren't actually related to me. A beta reader is someone who reads the manuscript as if it were an actual book, then gives the author feedback, like which parts were confusing, boring, exciting, intriguing, or just awesome. My book has all of those.

One more way to prepare for the offering of my truffled soul is to have an editor look over the manuscript. A real editor. Someone who dissects prose and plot for a living, not just a buddy who took some English classes in college. And I have a chance to do just that! Rachel from Fantasy Editing is hosting a contest (and I totally stole the Samuel Beckett quote from the contest page). The prizes are editing for a current WIP (author-speak for "work in progress") or a query letter. Entering is a sort of thrilling/scary process because it is taking another step.

And each step is bringing me closer to the edge. That's where I send out my queries. That's where I'll take my leap of faith.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Teaser Tuesday: the Goose Girl

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share a few “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I recently went to a writers' conference and got to meet several authors whose books I enjoyed. I was reserved enough to not gush all over them, but it was kinda exciting. While I kept my cool amongst Melanie Jacobson, Anne Perry, and Tyler Whitesides, if ever I get the chance to meet Shannon Hale, I just know I will swoon like a fangirl and look completely ridiculous. But her books really are that good. 

And because my version of events sounds lame, I'm using the summary from GoodReads: 
"Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, spends the first years of her life under her aunt's guidance learning to communicate with animals. As she grows up Ani develops the skills of animal speech, but is never comfortable speaking with people, so when her silver-tongued lady-in-waiting leads a mutiny during Ani's journey to be married in a foreign land, Ani is helpless and cannot persuade anyone to assist her. Becoming a goose girl for the king, Ani eventually uses her own special, nearly magical powers to find her way to her true destiny." 
Here's the Teaser:
The woman squinted at her and couched or, perhaps, laughed."You've got something in you, don't you, now?"
Ani creased her brow.
"Words, young thing. In you. More than you think, I think."
"is it magic, what I have?"
- pg. 121, The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

What are you reading? 

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