chasingthecrazies

Chasing my crazy dream in the writing world…

QUITE THE QUERY: Pete Catalano and THE GRYPHON HOUSE OF THE FEARSOME, FRIGHTENING, AND FORMIDABLE September 4, 2015

Filed under: Blog,Publishing,Query — chasingthecrazies @ 7:17 am
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QuiteTheQuery

 

 

 

 

If you ask any writer about the process of connecting with their agent (or publisher), the majority will say the most difficult part was querying. Not only the actual process of sending out the letters/emails, but formulating the query itself. In fact, I’ve heard more than a few authors say writing their query took them almost as long as drafting their book!

 

 

Some people have the talent of being able to summarize their book in a few sentences. But for those who don’t, I wanted to provide a resource so writers could learn what works, and what doesn’t, in a query.

 

 

With that in mind, I’m pleased to share today’s successful query from Pete Catalano. This great query connected him with his agent, Eric Myers.

 

 

After reading about you on Publishers Marketplace, I would like to offer my MG urban fantasy novel, THE GRYPHON HOUSE OF THE FEARSOME, FRIGHTENING, AND FORMIDABLE, for your consideration.

 

 

In 1913 New York City, thirteen-year-old Connor McLaren is one of five apprentices at a failing creature catching shop. When Connor catches a boggart named Burnley, they devise a plan to take Burnley to the most famous landmarks in New York, release him, and then recapture him while some very frightened, very grateful people are watching . . . and lining up to hire them.

 

 

The plan is going well until a creature of enormous size and power smashes its way into an event at the American Museum of Natural History. The museum is nearly destroyed, and Connor and his friends must enlist the aid of H.G. Wells and his steam-powered weapons, and dinosaur hunter Barnum Brown to kill it. Should they fail, New York will be overrun and the creatures will either rule the world, or destroy it.

 

A book to be enjoyed by those that love fantasy, creature-catchers, and fast paced action, THE GRYPHON HOUSE OF THE FEARSOME, FRIGHTENING, AND FORMIDABLE is 48,000 words of Lockwood & Co. meets The League of Beastly Dreadfuls. 

 

 

 

Interesting Tidbit:

 

The main issue I’ve had with all the queries I’ve sent out up to this point was that my comp titles were always movies. The Sandlot, Home Alone, Despicable Me, etc. I loved the imagery they gave but Agents and Editors need to see how it compares to what’s currently in the market.

 

 

 

Pete CatalanoPete Catalano’s debut novel ARTIFACTS will be published by Month9Books. He is represented by Eric Myers of Dystel & Goderich Literary Management and his books are written for kids of all ages — and adults who secretly never grew up. Living in Charlotte, NC with his adorably funny wife and two neurotic, massive Old English Sheepdogs, he was a theatre major in college and tries to keep the ‘suspension of disbelief’ in his life as much as he can. He spends his free time watching HOME ALONE, THE SANDLOT, and ELF. For more on Pete, check out his blog or follow him on Twitter (@Pete_Catalano).

 

W.O.W. – Writer Odyssey Wednesday with Jody Holford September 2, 2015

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Stories of perseverance always stay with me. The ones where folks get knocked down time and again and still manage to brush themselves off and keep going. In this series I’ve featured a lot of success stories where people have been rejected yet returned to writing better – stronger. Today’s W.O.W. with Jody Holford is one of those stories.

 

 

 

 

Amy: When did you begin seriously writing with the intent of wanting to be published?

 

Jody: In 2012, I attended a writing conference with the intention of sharing my picture books. At the time, I knew nothing of how the process worked—getting an agent, getting published, any of it. When I sat down with an agent and she expressed interest, giving me her card and asking me to email her, I thought she was just being nice. But within the month, she’d asked to rep my book. While that relationship didn’t work out, my desire to see my work published began to really take root; it became less of a hobby and more of an actual goal.

 

 

 

 

Amy: How many manuscripts had you completed prior to the novel that connected you to your agent?

 

Jody: In total, over the last 3 years, Fran read three of my manuscripts. In that time, I worked hard to learn more about writing and the publishing industry in general. It paid off, as it was the third try that hooked her.

 

 

 

 

Amy: How laborious/frustrating was the query process for you?

 

Jody: I used to think my process was more unique than others, but I don’t know that it was. I was quickly agented, before I knew how hard it was to get an agent. That lasted less than six months, which put me back to querying (new genre entirely). I briefly signed with someone else in between, but feeling more confident about my understanding of the agent/author relationship, I knew it wasn’t right for me. It was hard to take that step and I queried for almost another year before Fran signed me this summer. It’s the waiting that is hard—the getting your hopes up and not letting rejection push you back so far you’re unwilling to try again. So, I guess, on a scale of one to “I’m never writing again”, there were times when it tipped both ends and times it was right in the middle.

 

 

 

 

Amy: Publishing can be a very difficult business. What do you think has inspired you to keep writing through good times and bad?

 

Jody: Honestly? People. My husband. My best friend. My daughters. My mom. Good friends. People I’ve really connected to via FB and Twitter. Without those people, even agents that rejected but ultimately encouraged, I wouldn’t have kept going. It becomes less about the writing sometimes and more about the process. You can get lost in the process and forget why you started. There were many times I just didn’t know if I had anything left. They assured me I did. They’ve read my work, talked me down, talked me up, listened when I needed them to, didn’t listen when I said I was quitting. I cannot stress how important it is to have people in your life who care enough to tell you the truth (preferably in a way that won’t rip your heart out of your chest). I am so incredibly lucky. Which is why, if I ever get rich (ha-ha) I will buy them all matching buddy bracelets.

 

 

 

Amy: From reading your website, I understand you’d been talking back and forth, and sharing stories with your agent, Fran Black before you signed with her. How did that unique relationship come about and how did you know she was the right fit for you?

 

Jody: This question makes me very smiley. When I parted ways with my first agent, I’d switched from writing PB to writing romance. Fran was one of the first agents I queried with a story called Sweet Seconds. She ultimately rejected it but she was just so straight-forward about it: she said, “I really like it, it’s a really nice story, but I don’t think I can sell it right now.” When I reached out to send another, she was completely receptive. I’ve actually sent her four manuscripts. On the third, she was, once again, completely upfront. She said my words just weren’t digging deep enough. She said she thought I could do it, but I hadn’t done it yet.

 

And because I couldn’t wrap my head around how to do it but knew I was improving with every story, I sent her my latest one. She emailed and said I was off to a good start. She did that more than once—updated me to let me know where she was at, even before she signed me. And I loved/love that. Then she emailed and said she really liked it and was going to do some research and she’d get back to me in a week. Before the week was up, she emailed and asked if I could talk. I actually planned not to say yes during that phone call because I had the book out with other agents, one of whom was trying to read quickly because she knew I was close to getting an offer. But there was Fran, phoning my house with her perfect New York accent and straight-up, no-nonsense words and I couldn’t help it. She’s honest and upfront and she won’t tell me she likes something if she doesn’t. She communicates and, as an obsessive-anxious person, that means the most. And that’s what sealed it for me. On agent appreciation day on Twitter, when she wasn’t my agent yet, I thanked her because I felt like she’d supported my journey from the beginning—good or bad, yes or no. So. To be completely corny, she had me at ‘hello’.

 

 

 

Amy: If you were giving a keynote speech at a writers conference, what would be the most important piece of advice you would share?

 

Jody: I would want people to know that everyone’s journey is different, but it’s also the same. You need to surround yourself with people you trust—which unfortunately takes some learning the hard way about who you can’t. You have to be able to reach out to others and understand that those authors you admire, the ones you feel like you couldn’t be in the same room with because you’d embarrass yourself—they’ve all been right where you are now. It takes courage to keep going after someone tells you your work just wasn’t right for them. It takes courage to reach out to people you admire and say hey, I’m struggling and I don’t know why. It takes strength to listen and hear their answers and to improve your craft. Writing is an industry where there is room for everyone to succeed. Success comes from working hard, surrounding yourself with good people, giving back, and continuing to move forward even if you trip along the way.

 

 

 

 

Jody HJody Holford lives in British Columbia with her husband and two daughters. She’s a huge fan of Rainbow Rowell, Nora Roberts, Jill Shalvis, and Emily Giffen. She’s unintentionally funny and rarely on time for anything. She loves books, Converse shoes, and diet Pepsi, in no particular order. When she has to go out into the real world, she’s a teacher. She writes multiple genres but her favourite is romance because she’s a big fan of love and finding happily ever after. Probably because she’s lucky enough to have both. For more on Jody, follow her on Twitter @1prncs .  On her website or on Goodreads or Facebook.

 

 

 

 

 

Monday Musings: You Are Your Brand August 24, 2015

Filed under: Blog,Publishing,writing craft — chasingthecrazies @ 10:19 am
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When I received my college degree in journalism I thought I had a pretty good idea about what I wanted to do with my life. I’d had an internship the previous summer and was lucky enough to get a job via that opportunity. With my little Honda loaded down one hot June morning, I drove the long eight hours to my new home and job in Los Angeles.

 

 

While the work was fun, and I met a lot of great people, I realized after a year L.A. wasn’t for me. I packed up once again and headed back to Arizona without a job, or a clue, about what I was going to do next. Luckily enough a few months later the stars aligned and I landed a dream job in advertising. Now to a lot of people the world of advertising seems glamorous (and it can be at times), but really it’s a lot of hard work, late nights, and many, many weekends if you want to get ahead.

 

 

One of my first tasks in my new job was to help with an account the agency had just landed. It was a start-up and needed the works: an introductory campaign, a memorable tagline, an eye-catching logo, etc. The work was thrilling, especially watching the brand grow from the bottom up. I learned how copywriters formulated what they wanted to say. How the client reacted, and most important of all, how the public accepted the company (and the brand). Later, I went on to work in marketing and public relations and saw branding in a new light. With established brands it was all about keeping the integrity of the image. How in each and every situation we wanted the public to view that company.

 

 

What does this have to do with writing you may ask? Well, it’s simple – like a company, you as a writer are in charge of your own brand. How you want people in the marketplace to see you. This doesn’t just boil down to what category and genre you write in, but how you portray yourself as a person to the public at large.

 

 

Social media provides an amazing chance for writers to build their brand. Through avenues like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram, authors can share ideas, lines from their works-in-progress, cover reveals, even buy links to their books. In earlier days the only way you could promote a book was via an end cap at the bookstore, or by snagging a good review in a newspaper or magazine. Now there are countless opportunities to promote yourself and your work.

 

 

While the world had opened up in this great way, it has also generated a broad canvas for writers to damage their image and brand too. Recently, I’ve seen authors go off on long, angry tangents about industry issues. Watched as frustrated writers trying to land an agent, skewer a name or two. Even those who are participating in contests go off the deep end when their work isn’t selected.

 

 

It’s easy to get upset. These are real issues that mean a great deal to us, but in any and all of these situations there needs to be a cooling off period. A time to type a nasty rant into that “Tweet” box and then use that lovely out called “save draft.” The key is to measure how much you want to share, knowing every word will affect your brand. Personally, I’ve stopped following certain writers, and no longer buy their books, because their messages have turned angry, and in certain situations down right cruel. I can’t think of a worse way to damage your brand then by ostracizing those who once believed in you .

 

 

In my opinion there are many great writers who use social media to their advantage. They use Twitter, Facebook, and even their own websites, to build their image in a way that keeps their audience begging for more. Their posts aren’t only about their work, but about helping other writers. Some even share writing tips and insider information on their own paths to publication. They are careful about what they share and how they share it. Sure, a few have had their own moments of fury, but in the end somehow they’ve circled it back to how it affects their work, and what they want to bring to their readers.

 

 

Personally, I have a very solid idea of how I want to brand myself. I went into writing knowing it was going to be a long, hard road. I’ve worked in many difficult industries and learned that if you want to succeed you have to keep your head down, take a few knocks along the way, and keep going. When I started blogging, and being active on social media, I knew I wanted to be honest about my journey, but also take a positive stance on the experience. Sure, I’ve had my moments when I’ve let my guard down and shown my frustration, but it was measured and thought out – always keeping in mind how I want my readers to see me.

 

 

In the end, only one person can control your brand-you. Whether you are a seasoned vet, or just starting out, it helps to be mindful of how you want your readers to view you. In heated situations this may be difficult to remember, but if you want to be in the publishing game for the long haul, it helps to remember that every word, every image, is telling your reader something about who you are and how you write. Be mindful of what you share. In the long run, you will be much happier and so will your audience.

 

 

What about you? Do you think about your brand? How your readers see you? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Five Frenzy with Brent Taylor of Triada US, Inc. August 21, 2015

 

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If you’re like me, you toil for hours editing and fine-tuning the first pages of your manuscript. You look at the first lines to make sure they are compelling and tight. You examine the next few paragraphs hoping your MC’s voice is already taking hold of the reader.

 

The First Five Frenzy is all about getting an agent’s perspective on what works, and what fails, in those first pages of a manuscript. It’s tricky to get just the right balance, but I hope by reading each agent’s comments you’ll learn how to make your manuscript a shining gem that will be requested time and time again.

 

Today I’m proud to share Literary Agent, Brent Taylor’s perspective on what’s important in those critical first pages.

 

 

 

 

Amy: There is a belief among many writers that having a great first line is imperative to drawing in the reader. How important is a first line to you as an agent?

 

Brent: Very important. I am more forgiving for bad query letters than I am for bad writing samples. Because of the amount of queries I receive in a day, I have to move quickly – there are just so many other things going on. When I open a query letter, I skim to see the genre, category, and word count. Then, I jump straight into the writing. If a first line is weak, it’s not a good sign. That being said, I will usually suspend that prejudice and give it about five pages before I give up completely. If I’m really excited about the writing, then I’ll go back and read the query letter before requesting or rejecting.

 

 

 

 

Amy: Many times a writer is told to stay away from common openings like dreams, eating breakfast, riding in a car, etc. What are some common openings you recommend writers stay away from?

 

Brent: All of them. If you can describe something as “common” and “cliché,” then stay away from it. Of course, sometimes it’s not always that black and white, and you really have to stay true to your creative license as a storyteller. My best advice here is to just be really critical of where you start your novel. Ask yourself all of the questions: Does the story have to start here? Why does the story start here? Is there an alternate opening that makes more sense?

 

I see a lot of openings that are fine, but just not great. A great opening entices the reader with the voice or the writing, and then makes them ask questions about the protagonist and their circumstances.

 

 

 

 

Amy: When you’ve responded to a writer to request a partial or full manuscript, what was it about their first pages that piqued your interest?

 

Brent: It can be many things! Writing is very important to me as a reader and an agent, so a handful of good sentences alongside a fresh premise is usually what seals the deal that I’ll ask for a full manuscript. But sometimes I’m just intrigued to see where a story will go, or if I’m lukewarm about something, I’ll try to give it a chance and see if the writing and story take a turn for the better.

 

 

 

 

Amy: What are some common mistakes writers make in their first five pages?

 

Brent: Starting their stories in stagnant places. Placing the reader in scenes where there is no forward momentum.

 

 

 

Amy: What resonates with you most in those first pages? Voice? Pacing? Unique concept?

 

Brent: All of the above. I like books that are well-written, but also appeal to a wide, commercial audience. I want stories and voices that I’ve never encountered before. Pacing, however, is one of the biggest reasons I reject novels. If the writing impresses me, though, I’ll usually request a manuscript anyway, just in case everything clicks 25 pages later.

 

 

Brent Taylor joined Triada US, Inc. as an assistant to the agency’s founder in 2014. Prior to that, he interned at The Bent Agency. He represents a wide range of upmarket fiction for kids, teens, and adults: middle grade, young adult, graphic novels, women’s fiction, literary fiction, and crime fiction. You can find him on Twitter @NaughtyBrent.

 

For submission guidelines, please visit his Publishers Marketplace page: http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/members/brenttaylor/.

 

 

W.O.W. – Writer Odyssey Wednesday with Brittany Cavallaro August 19, 2015

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Passion. It’s what drives us as writers. It can come in many forms: music, food, art, and of course, books.

 

What I love about today’s W.O.W. with Brittany Cavallaro is she used her passion for Sherlock Holmes to write a Young Adult manuscript where the main character is the great-great-granddaughter of the famous sleuth himself. The idea of taking one of mystery’s greatest detectives and transforming his adventures into a modern day tale where his relative is now the lead is fascinating. It’s this passion that made her book, A STUDY IN CHARLOTTE, a standout, eventually attracting the attention of an agent and editor.

 

Many thanks to Brittany for sharing her writing journey today…

 

 

At what age did you truly know you wanted to be a writer?

 

 

I knew pretty young. I was always scratching away in notebooks, writing poems about ridiculous things (I have an actual notebook filled with poetic dialogue between Mulder and Scully; I have no shame), writing stories. I was really lucky that my parents paid attention to what I loved to do and supported me. Because of them, I took creative writing classes in the summer and eventually applied for and won a scholarship to go to an arts boarding school. In a way, I almost regret my single-mindedness, since it would have been really fun to chase down some other dreams at some point along the way (painting! marine biology!), though I’m sure I would have come back to writing eventually.

 

 

When did you complete your first manuscript?

 

Not until my MFA in poetry, actually. I’d written quite a bit before that, but I’d never compiled my poems into a manuscript. As for writing novels, other than a misfire when I was in high school, I didn’t attempt one until my twenty-fifth birthday. I remember lying on the couch, thinking about the summer stretching ahead of me—I was, and still am, in grad school—and kicking around an idea for a scene set against Lake Michigan, at my favorite waterfront dive up in Wisconsin’s Door County, and I began to imagine the disaffected, badass girl that tended bar there. That became my first manuscript, and the one I queried agents with.

 

 

How many completed manuscripts did you query before one garnered agent interest?

 

 

I was lucky. The first manuscript I queried agents with landed me mine (the incredible Lana Popovic at Chalberg and Sussman). She had such smart, incisive ideas for revision; I felt like we were speaking the same language. I also showed her the first forty pages of A STUDY IN CHARLOTTE, which she was excited about too, and I loved that she was interested in my other projects. This was back in fall 2013. We’d been planning on going out with that first full manuscript but decided in the end that I should finish writing CHARLOTTE, which I did in six crazy, obsessive, caffeinated weeks. That other manuscript is in a drawer; I’m not really sure if I’ll pull it out again. Though I loved it, it was definitely a starter novel.

 

 

 

Are you one of those people who has an easy time writing a query or does it take several tries before you land on the one you want to send?

 

 

My first stab at a query made me sound pretty stupid, I think, but I was lucky to have some agented and published friends who were willing to help me whip it into fighting trim. I listed comps to things I adored (Laini Taylor, Buffy) but that, until I actually wrote a query, I hadn’t realized had influenced my manuscript as much as they did. Thinking about those influences was a really useful exercise when I sat down to revise.

 

 

 

I love how you talk about Sherlock Holmes in the bio on your website. Did you always know somewhere deep down you’d write something involving him one day?

 

Oh God, yes. I’m a passionate Sherlockian and have been since I was a kid, though the most recent iteration of that obsession took root about five years ago, when I rediscovered the stories, the wonderful BBC radio adaptation, and the Jeremy Brett Granda series all in the same summer. I sort of walked around in a Victorian fugue state for months. That period spurred my writing a Sherlock Holmes murder mystery in poems, because I loved the language of the stories so much and wanted to steal some of it for my own work. And then, as the television adaptations began to come out, Sherlock and Elementary, etc., I began to think more about the process of adaptation. I love both those shows, but I got increasingly frustrated that none of them were willing to cast the genius role, the Sherlock, as a girl. I started writing A STUDY IN CHARLOTTE as both a love letter to the original stories and as a fix-it to address that frustrations.

 

 

 

Can you give us a short summary of your call with your agent, Lana Popovic? How did you know she was the right fit for you?

 

I knew absolutely when I got her long editorial letter before I’d even signed with her. It was like she was inside my own head, but smarter. She was able to pinpoint what I did well and what parts of the manuscript were broken and needed fixing. I revised and resubmitted, and though I had interest from other agents, I sort of said ‘yes!’ the moment she called to offer me representation. It just felt like an incredible fit from the get-go, and she’s been my best reader, and my stalwart champion, since.

 

 

 

The writing process is grueling and querying even more difficult. What one piece of advice can you impart to aspiring writers to encourage them to keep working towards their dream?

 

Don’t be afraid to take a step back, if you need to, and recharge. After I finished the first draft of CHARLOTTE and a quick, intensive revision, I was sort of artistically useless for months. The best thing I did during that time was read for pleasure. I read everything, from the fantasy novels I loved as a kid to really fabulous new literary fiction, and I wouldn’t let myself analyze it critically or compare my own work to it. I just let myself enjoy it, and when I felt full and happy again, buoyed by all that reading, I was ready to go back to work.

 

 

 

 

 

Study in Charlotte

 

 

The last thing sixteen-year-old Jamie Watson–writer and great-great-grandson of the John Watson–wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s enigmatic, fiercely independent great-great-granddaughter, who’s inherited not just his genius but also his vices, volatile temperament, and expertly hidden vulnerability. Charlotte has been the object of his fascination for as long as he can remember–but from the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else.


Then a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Holmes stories, and Jamie and Charlotte become the prime suspects. Convinced they’re being framed, they must race against the police to conduct their own investigation. As danger mounts, it becomes clear that nowhere is safe and the only people they can trust are each other.

 

 

 

Brittany CBrittany Cavallaro is the author of A Study in Charlotte, forthcoming from Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins in March 2016. She is the author of the poetry collection Girl-King (University of Akron) and is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. She earned her BA in literature from Middlebury College and her MFA in poetry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Currently, she’s a PhD candidate in English literature at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She lives in Wisconsin with her fiance, cat, and collection of deerstalker caps. Find her at her website, brittanycavallaro.com, or on Twitter @skippingstones.

 

 

THE BREEDERS 4 – THE BROTHERS August 11, 2015

Filed under: Blog,Publishing,YA Fiction — chasingthecrazies @ 7:11 am
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The Breeders 4

 

 

 

I’m very excited to share info on the recent release in THE BREEDERS series written by my good friend, Katie French. In book four, THE BROTHERS, Riley continues on her mission to find her missing boyfriend and brother and unite her family for good.

 

“They tell me it’s for the good of humanity. That I’m saving our way of life with my body. They lie.”

 

Book Four in the award-winning, best-selling Breeders series.

 

Riley has survived madmen, deranged doctors, and false prophets. Her next task is uniting her family, which has been ripped apart by Nessa Vandewater, the Breeders’ enforcer. Her boyfriend Clay and brother Ethan are still missing. Only she can find them.

 

But on her way, Riley is stung by a scorpion. To ease her suffering, Auntie Bell shares the story of Riley’s mother, Janine, and how she escaped the Breeders.

 

Nearly twenty years in the past, Janine, an obedient Breeders girl, is nearing her seventeenth birthday, and the clock is ticking. She has two months to become pregnant, or she’ll be put out, sold into slavery . . . or worse. When her doctor informs her she’s infertile, she’s devastated. But some doctors lie, and one in particular seems to want Janine for his own . . .

 

 

THE BROTHERS is available for purchase now via Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Brothers-Breeders-Young-Adult-Dystopian-ebook/dp/B013COTMAO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1439300909&sr=8-1&keywords=Katie+French

 

Check out all the books in THE BREEDERS series here: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Katie+French

 

 

Katie2Katie French is the author of The Breeders series, a bestselling YA dystopian adventure available on Amazon. She’s a wife, mother, and teacher, but not always in that order. She’s represented by Amanda Luedeke of McGregor Literary. You can find her at her website, on Facebook, or Twitter.

 

 

 

 

 

Monday Musings: What I Learned On My Summer Hiatus August 10, 2015

Filed under: Blog,Publishing,writing craft — chasingthecrazies @ 8:27 am
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It feels really good to be back to blogging again, although I have to admit I enjoyed the break. When I was thinking about what I wanted to say in this post, I came up with a very fitting title, but it was so long it wouldn’t fit in the header. Before I edited it down, the title of this entry was, “My Summer Hiatus: What I learned from binge-watching Veronica Mars, being nudged from the circle, and dropping out of social media.” A mouthful, I know. But really, this title encompasses everything I experienced this summer and what I want to share today.

 

 

Topic 1: Veronica Mars

 

 

vmgif

 

 

Three weeks. Three seasons. One movie. No joke.

 

My love for Veronica Mars knows no bounds.

 

From a writing perspective Veronica Mars is a case study in how to hit amazing storytelling marks. The character development was beyond incredible (P.S. – Keith Mars is the bomb!!) The thread of the mystery in each season was meticulous. But most important of all, even though the main storyline ended at the conclusion of Season 1, I was still dying to follow Veronica through her adventures and into the next season. This is a great feat in itself. How many first seasons have you binge-watched and then decided Season 2 wasn’t worth the time? For me, this has happened a lot.

 

For those writing a trilogy, VM is a great example of how to build interest in a story while still developing character. It taught me how to grow the personalities I’ve built, while still feeding off backstory. How to incorporate pacing and dialogue to draw in an audience. Oh, and how to create a smoking hot relationship. Hello, LOVE (Logan and Veronica!)

 

If you enjoy mystery, fast-paced storytelling, and are looking for a show with an incredible cast of characters, I highly recommend you watch Veronica Mars as soon as you can. As a writer, you will find it invaluable.

 

 

Topic 2: Being Nudged From the Circle (Why it’ll be okay)

 

Over the years I’ve made incredible friendships in the writing community. Like many friendships though they change over time. Some get stronger. Others fade away. When they fade away, it’s hard not to take it personally. You still want to be in that circle. To add value. Be asked for your opinion.

 

But sometimes people grow faster than you. Experience change. They find others who are on the same rocket ship toward success. It’s hard to admit you no longer belong. That your path may be slower. Realizing this may be the hardest thing to accept, but if you’re going to succeed you need to acknowledge that your friendship/skill set may no longer fit into what other people want or need. Accepting this is the key to moving on and finding others who are in the same place as you.

 

No matter what happens, it’s important to keep writing and reaching out to the community to make those all important connections.

 

 

Topic 3: The Highs and Lows of Social Media

 

As a blogger, social media has helped me build my reader base. Without Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr my posts would receive a lot less exposure. I’d be behind on industry changes, and clueless about new trends in writing. In many ways social media is important to a writer, but if left unchecked, it can also be harmful. Harmful? Yes, harmful and here’s why: social media exposes you to other writers’ experiences. And while many times this is a good thing, it can also create a sort of repressed anxiety and anger.

 

If you’ve been on sub as long as Writer A and they sell their book, you can’t help but wonder what you’re doing wrong. When Writer B just entered the query trenches, then quickly lands an agent, and you’ve been working at it for years, it’s easy to get down.

 

I know I’m always the one saying follow your own path. Don’t compare yourself. Everyone has a different journey. I still believe that, but I’m human, and doubt can creep in and be a seriously hurtful thing. Sometimes stepping completely away from the blitz of news and announcements can be a good thing, not only for your writing career, but also your mental well-being.

 

 

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(My happy place – The Hotel Del Coronado)

 

 

As you can tell, even with a break, I never stopped thinking about writing. What my time away proved was that at my deepest core I am a writer. Stories will continue to churn in my head no matter how hard I try to repress them. My hiatus taught me that my love of creating will always be there, but I need to give my mind a bit of breathing room in order to let it flourish!

 

 

I hope you all had a fantastic summer. Can’t wait to see what fall brings!

 

 

 

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 (My new favorite saying and life motto!)

 

 
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