As some of you may have noticed, I took a little min-hiatus that ended up longer than I had hoped. There’s been a lot of changes in this writer’s house, all good. I’ve made a shift in my “day job” that should allow me more time for writing. I’ve also spent a very exhausting nine months growing another geek child. He now allows my husband and I to sleep more or less. As our new sense of routine is getting under control, I’m putting my focus back on my writing.
Death by Dragon was a big learning experience for me. Not just in getting the draft written using a new writing method, but in sorting out how critique groups and such work. I do feel like I have a better sense of how to make the process go more efficiently the second time around, that alone is a victory.
It’s easy to feel like an underdog in writing. Getting a book published is no easy feat, and I have never heard of a legitimate “shortcut” that makes it easier for anyone. Some might argue that many a celebrity lands a fiction book deal. Quite a fuss is made when this happens. What I don’t think a lot of people realize is that those books are ghostwritten. The celebrity comes up with characters and an idea and a writer puts them all together, but the celebrity’s name goes on the cover. The truth is that it takes a lot of time and work, and you often have to be your first and biggest fan.
Luckily for me, I love do love me some underdogs, in fiction and outside it too. Just last night I got to experience watching Veronica Mars on the big screen. Not only is it a story about the girl detective who was an underdog, but the whole process it took to get that canceled TV show onto the big screen was an epic tale of the underdog claiming victory. I can’t help but to find that just a little inspirational, and no, it’s not because the movie soundtrack playing in the background that’s causing med to say that.
One of the things that I hope this blog serves as is a writer’s journey to becoming published. I try to share what I’ve learned about publishing and writing in this corner of virtual space.
Right now, the first draft of my story is going to Beta readers. Beta readers check for things like plot and character. What works, what doesn’t, what might work better. Their job is not to correct my grammar and typos. A lot can change between a first and second draft. Pages or scenes can be cut, passages reworked. It’s not worth it to do the grammar and typo thing until you’re story and characters are where you need them. I’m getting good feedback and ideas from my betas. It is a time consuming process, however. Because my betas are other writers, I am doing a trade with them. I beta or proofread their stuff, and they beta my story in return. Ooo look, I used beta as a verb! How very Joss of me.
Proofreading is the part that always feels more mind numbing to me. This is the grammar, spelling, typo part of things. It can make you cross your eyes. It is important, I just think the story and character thing is more fun. But again, it is a trade I do with other writers which takes time. In the end, both should get you to a better manuscript though.
I think I now know what online dating feels like.
Over the past week I’ve been quite warmly welcomed into the MudPuddle and YARWA writing groups. They are an amazing group of people, seriously. If you are an aspiring author, I highly recommend a good writing group. If you write something that has a heavy level of romance and are not part of the RWA, go join. It is worth every dime you pay. Mark my words.
Finding a critique partner can feel very much like online dating. What’s your story about, this is mine. Let’s trade chapters to see if there’s interest. We’ll do a trial critique to see if we’re compatible. Running to go check your e-mail because you want to see what they thought because you want there to be interest in your story, if not, you’re doing something wrong.
It’s an interesting process but I’m really enjoying getting to trade with other writers. In the RWA, writers help each other become better writers. Better writing is more likely to lead to the golden ticket of a publication offer. I think it’s an awesome system and I wish I had found it earlier. Heck, I got the idea for Death by Dragon because of an RWA class I took. Jordan Summers, thank you for bringing it up at that writing panel at Phoenix Comic Con. It’s made a big difference.