Friday, September 27, 2013

Making Annalee a liar

Being given constructive criticism is hard for me. In fact, I will admit that it is one of my greatest weaknesses. Most of my family and all of my friends know this. My mom almost always starts her advice with something along the lines of "this is just my opinion, but..." because she knows if she doesn't, pretty soon I stop listening. I never really realized I did this until I had children, and when it hit me, I tried really hard to open my ears and learn to not take things so personally.

That being said, I have to admit I was very, very nervous to submit the entire manuscript of MOON DAUGHTER to my critique group in August, especially since I rushed to finish the last few chapters. Two gals at the group encouraged me to just put it out there. The entire group had a month to read, edit, and enjoy all 30,000 words of it.  As judgement day approached, I tried not to dwell on it, reminding myself that every criticism would only help me to grow as a writer, and make my story stronger and more market worthy.

Still the day of, my body began to tremble like it always does before I have to perform (read public speaking, performing, interviews, etc...). I kept telling myself that everything was going to be okay.  I face-timed my friend and confessed that I was certain they were going to tear me apart.  She laughed and reassured me.

Of course, once the critiques began, I couldn't take notes fast enough! Not only did I get confirmation for some of my concerns, but some wonderful advice for some parts I knew needed work but had no idea what to do with. Lastly, I was complimented on my imagery. Anya even quoted some paragraphs she fell in love with and told me not to change them. All in all, I learned so much!  Since then, I have altered the first seven chapters a lot, made Annalee a perpetual liar to make the lesson she learns at the end that much more significant to the reader, and made Mom more prominent and Annalee more concerned for her feelings.  Oh and thank you to Roland for giving me the PERFECT name for this novel, which I will reveal soon.

 Do I dare give you all a tease page to read? Comment below to convince me! :)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Evolving with each second guess

As a new writer, its common  to doubt my abilities. Rejection is part of the writing experience, or so says every person involved in the industry. But when I haven't gotten much positive feedback from professionals, it can be disheartening. Another rejection email for MOON DAUGHTER caught up with me on the road to California this weekend. Three out of four may be a good batting average, or so my husband encouraged me, but I can't help thinking its only a matter of time until the fourth arrives.  I chided myself for this mental attitude and began troubleshooting the possibilities.

The three rejections could mean one of several things: 1) my story is horribly written or I didn't get the moral/ plot arc clearly enough written to engage an agent or publisher, 2) My query letter is weak and doesn't give the story enough enticement, or 3) I am just not getting it to the right agent at the right time.  And I believe all three are relatively correct. So I have taken a step back and am just going to await some critique before I rewrite it AND I am going to keep growing the list of agents I will send it to when it is pristine.  In the meantime, SAMANA'S FLAIR is taking form a few scenes at a time. I am really looking forward to start sharing some of them with my readers!