Am I A Writer? (Repost)

 

writerAm I a writer? You ever ask yourself that question? I do, and am still hesitant to tell people I write. I’ve never published a book. I’ve never been paid to write anything. As a matter of fact, my work was rejected because it wasn’t good enough. Side note-it really wasn’t good enough-I just didn’t know it at the time. I was too new to the game to know any better.

Becoming a writer is a process. You may have the desire and a great idea, but if you’re just starting out, you lack the skills and knowledge necessary to produce a successful piece of work.

Think of it like anything else you try for the first time.  Did you start out knowing how to tie your shoes, ride a bike, or read a book? No! You had to learn. They were skills you developed.

Being bad at something you really want to succeed at is part of the process. If you’re not willing to fail, stink, make mistakes, accept corrections and criticism, or seek counsel from experts, then you’re not likely to progress.–Jerry Jenkins

So when can you call yourself a writer? As soon as you’re willing to jump in and put yourself, or maybe I should say your ego, on the line.

If you’ve failed and are still writing, if you’re scared and are still writing, if you’ve stood up to a stinging critique and made your piece better by applying what you learned, if you’ve stayed at it despite that pervasive fear of failure, you are a writer.–Jerry Jenkins.

I hope this cleared up some questions in your mind. I, as mentioned above,  still struggle with the concept-I AM A WRITER 🙂

-Jan R

Am I A Writer? (Repost)

Why Do Publishers Reject Your Manuscript?

1e7cba28f25210164154825f3d16c176After I completed the first very rough draft of my manuscript, I couldn’t wait to send it out to literary agents. It was a great story and I was soooo excited. What if I got more than one offer. I am a realist but a very positive one and I new that story was great.

When I started getting rejections, I was dumbfounded. I couldn’t believe it. Well as I like to say-you don’t know what you don’t know-and I didn’t know much of anything about writing and publishing.

All I knew, was I had a great story and maybe it wasn’t perfectly written, but publishing companies have editors-right? The answer of course is yes, but that editor is there to clean up a mostly polished manuscript. Publishing companies don’t have the time or money to put in to tearing your story apart and rewriting it for you.

If you’ve ever submitted to a literary agent or publisher, you know they don’t want your entire manuscript. They want a small segment of your writing/story. A professional editor can determine if your work is worth their time within the first two to three pages.

So what are they gleaning from such a small segment?

  • Editors can tell within the first two to three pages how much editing would be required to make a manuscript publishable.
  • Are you grabbing the readers attention from the beginning?
  • Have too many characters been introduced to quickly?
  • Are you head hopping (remember only one POV character per scene)?
  • Is the setting and tone interesting?
  • Is there too much throat clearing (skip the description and backstory and get this thing moving )?

An editor can answer all of these questions within the first two to three pages. If you find yourself saying, “but they didn’t get to the good stuff,” then you need to put the good stuff at the beginning.

One of my rejections did come with notes. A gracious literary agent praised my premise stating that in fact it was a very good one, but the novel was not ready. The list of shortcomings included: grammatical and structural errors, head hopping (something I had never heard before), on-the-nose-writing(another term I had never heard), and the dreaded dragging dialogue.

She ended the list by encouraging me to not give up, learn my craft, and apply it to what I had written. I would like to encourage anyone else who has received the dreaded rejection letter likewise. Literary agents and publishers are not our enemy. They want us to succeed. When we succeed, they succeed. Give them something to work with.

-Jan R

Why Do Publishers Reject Your Manuscript?

So You Thought You Were Finished?

208-6I read a quote the other day and thought I would share it on my blog. I don’t know who wrote it, as a name wasn’t provided. It reads as follows:

A lot of times that first manuscript needs to sashay out stage left in order for the real blockbuster to break into the spotlight.

If you’ve been working on your novel for a while, you know exactly what this writer was saying. My current manuscript is so different from the original, and while it’s not ready for submission, it is sooooo much better than it was after the first very rough draft.

As a newbie, I had no idea the work involved in creating a masterpiece worthy of publishing. I wrote my book and sent it out. It wasn’t until I started receiving the rejections and the one response explaining why it wasn’t ready for prime time that the truth sunk in.

I did have a completed manuscript, a great story, but it was missing the bells and whistles, that something that would make it stand out. Of course, the fact that it was full of grammatical and structural errors didn’t help my case either.

I read another quote years ago that has remained with me and I’ve used in several of my blogs.

Get it done and then get it good.

Don’t expect your first draft to be the final, finished, ready to go version. It won’t be. Once it is completed, the fun begins. At least I hope you enjoy it, since you will be working on that manuscript for quite some time.

If you are new to the writing scene, I would recommend a lot of reading. Not just books in your preferred genre, but also how to books from credible authors. I’ve found some excellent blogs, and of course, the internet is invaluable.

I would also recommend courses on creative writing and writing fiction. I’ve purchased classes through ‘Great Courses’ that were excellent and inexpensive. I’ve watched webinars and also signed up for a workshop through Holly Lisle on ‘How to revise your novel’.

You don’t know what you don’t know until it’s to late. Know this, your first draft is not ready, and it’s up to you to research, learn your craft and get it done.

-Jan R

So You Thought You Were Finished?

Is My Novel Ready For Publishing?

images-4Enough already! At least that’s how I feel sometimes. I’ve been through my book more times than I can count. In my own defense, no one taught me how to write. I had a great story idea and decided to give it a whirl.

I thought it was ready and then real life happened.  My wonderful work was rejected by the five agents I sent it to. One of the them did see something promising and took it upon herself to provide me feedback about what I was doing wrong (there was a long list) and what I needed to do to improve my work.

I was totally humiliated. Grammatical and Structural errors are kindergarten stuff and completely unacceptable. Even I should have gotten those right. I could understand a little more my issues with head bopping and on-the-nose-writing. Those terms were totally foreign to me.  I wasn’t a professional novelist. I thought all you had to do was put words on paper and create a wonderful story that everyone wanted to read. And what was the deal with dragging dialogue? My people were talking. How was I suppose to know dialogue moved the story forward or had to have some significance?  I can’t believe I sent an agent such inferior work.

When you’re a newby you don’t know how bad your work is because you don’t have the knowledge and skills necessary to produce publishable work. You just think you do. While there may be a few prodigies out there, you probably aren’t one of them. Sorry!

Like myself and many others, you’re going to have to pay your dues and learn the craft. Then you will be ready to write that New York Times best seller.

I hope this got you newbies to thinking. After my slap in the face, I began reading ‘how to’ books, taking on-line classes, watching seminars and following blogs of people who were successful at their craft.

For the record just because it has taken me five years doesn’t mean it will take you that long. I lost some motivation after the initial rejections and took some time off. I regrouped, looked at the feedback I had gotten, and started educating myself on the art of writing fictional novels.

I would love your comments! I would also like to ask that you consider following me on this journey. It is my intention to provide you with useful information in every blog.

-Jan R

 

 

Is My Novel Ready For Publishing?