Thanks Jamie Rae for tagging me in the Writing Process Blog Tour.
Jamie is one of those cool people who does a little bit of everything and does all of it well. She's a great writer and her book, Call Sign, Karma will be released in 2015. I am lucky enough to call her my critique partner and friend. She's got incredible insight into what makes a story work, which is why her writing is so strong. You can find Jamie on
Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and also the following websites:
Jamie Rae Writes
Okay. Onto my own process...if you can call it that.
1. What are you working on?
Currently, I am outlining another novel connected to Angel's Lake, Minnesota, the fictional town I created for Forever Christmas, A Not so Lonely Christmas, and Falling for Home. Also, I just finished developmental edits on a medical romance titled, Dangerous Love, that I co-authored. Soon I'll be working on the next round of edits for that. It comes out in March 2015.
2. How does my work differ from others in the genre?
Hmm. I think my work is a combination of styles. It's not just romance, it's not just happily ever after-- it's a look at how hard it is sometimes to get to happily ever after and how, when you get there, it's not always what you envisioned, but somehow it's exactly what you want.
3. Why do I write what I write?
Because I'm addicted to happily ever after and "awww" moments. I re read all my favourite parts in books constantly. It's what I enjoy reading and it's what comes to mind when I start to write.
4. How does my individual writing process work?
The word process suggests something with organization. I'm not sure that I have an actual process. I read a lot. I get ideas. I then text the ideas to my BFF who tells me if the idea is ridiculous, overdone, has potential, or could go somewhere. I message with my friend and CP who is constantly supportive of everything, but also helpful and good at guiding me. Then I write. I write exceptionally fast when I have the ideas in my head. On average, it takes me a couple of months to write a book that I know where it's going. It's a bit longer if I'm struggling on the plot. I'm getting better at planning, though I do this more when I'm stuck on whether an idea actually has enough ability to grow into a novel. In writing, there's two labels: plotter and pantser. I am both. This reflects my personality as I find it hard to make decisions and am frequently on the fence about many things. When I'm writing, or awake, I have diet Pepsi close by. On average, during a writing session, I answer 3, 234 questions from my children who will suddenly need my attention when my computer is open. I always have Twitter and Facebook open, which is why I don't get more done. And I do most of my writing at the kitchen table. That's it. Not really a process, but that's how I roll.
Now...onto the others. First, I am tagging my co-author Kara Leigh Miller
Kara Leigh Miller is an author, an editor, and, to me, a great sounding board. I met her when she ran a contest through her website. The winner would co-author a book with her, a medical drama, and that book would be published by Anaiah Press, where she is a Managing Editor. Yes, I won. This is how I know, first hand, that she is a great writer, a patient co-author, and a very funny person. She's also a mentor in this years PitchWars! You can find Kara on Facebook, Twitter, and on her website. She has not yet succumbed to Pinterest but, eventually, she will fall prey to that as well. You can find out more about Kara's books on her website: Kick Start Your Heart Romance.
Up second is the lovely Joanne Macgregor.
Joanne is a both an adult and young adult author. I connected with her some time ago and found that she is so easy to talk to, so sweet, and charming, that it's impossible not to want to be friends with her. Recently, she's been promoting her psychological thriller, Dark Whispers. She has five young adult books out, including one titled: Harry on the Couch: A psychologist's reading of Harry Potter. You can find Joanne on Facebook, Twitter, and on her website.
For my third tag, a connection made through PitchWars, Jodie Andrefski
I chose to tag Jodie for several reasons (after I asked her, which probably seemed a little weird to her since I'd just "met" her): we have the same name (spelled differently), she loves dessert (that's my main food group), and she's a SPN fan (which I'm trying to not be too much of a scaredy cat to watch). The main reason, though, was because I'd connected with her through PitchWars and it reminded me how great the Twitter writing community is. She put up one of her #firstlines on Twitter and it was awesome. I commented and thus the mutual following began. Twitter is a great place to connect with others who share your interests, goals, and obsessions. Jodie is a Young Adult writer, as well as an intern at Entangled Publishing. You can find her on her website-- awesomely named 2000 Words, and on Twitter.
Some of the best books you'll read are not out yet, written by authors you don't yet know, but one day will. Now it's their turn. Thank you for participating ladies.
I told myself I wouldn't enter anymore contests. I was done with this route, even though I've enjoyed them. The roads we travel have a funny way of leading us where we're meant to be-- or we just tell ourselves this so it feels okay to end up where we do. I didn't enter #PitchWars last year (though I did participate in Pitmad) so I didn't really know what it was all about. You can click the link above if you'd like to find out. Basically, it's an amazing opportunity to work with a mentor-- someone who knows the ropes and wants to help you strengthen your writing (your writing that has already been edited and revised--so not your first draft) and take it to a higher level. Today, on Twitter, I saw people asking, why a mentor would give their time? I knew the answer even before reading the many replies. The writing community on Twitter is amazing. I've said before that I've never known another industry where the "competition" is also your strongest support. These people want to see you succeed. When one person does, others are genuinely happy for them. It's an amazing thing to be a part of and the fact that the mentors are willing to give that back, is not surprising to me. This is just one way I've seen the writing community give back over the last two years that I've been part of it but there are endless examples from Street Teams to giving reviews to just giving you a boost when you need one. The organization and time that goes into these things is huge---if you haven't thanked Brenda Drake for providing these opportunities, you should. I always think that we're very lucky to live in an age where so much is at our fingertips. Because of that, and because I want to share too, as others have shared with me, I'm posting some links to the sites I'll be hanging out on while I pour over my manuscript obsessively to make sure it's perfectly ready to pitch. Good luck to everyone.
Writing tips at novelicious.com I just found this site via Facebook and Twitter but I like the tips and tricks.
Brenda Drake's website will be visited frequently because it gives all the details, plus has the link to all the mentors. Click those links and check out their sites. For real. Who better to tell you what they want than the mentors themselves?
A friend once sent me a small guide with excellent tips on how to go through your manuscript. It was from this fantastic and helpful site: Inspiration for Writers
I already saw this on Twitter today but this is a link to the site that helped me write my synopsis
Honestly, one of the most helpful things to do is visit sites of writers you respect. Most of them have blogs, tips, advice. Some of my favorite helpful sites are: Daily Dahlia (obviously) Jody Hedlund, Lauren Spieller, and Ava Jae
And if you still have questions, concerns, worries, or wonders, it is not as scary as you think to reach out to anyone involved and just ask. In addition to being rather funny and charming, the people you'll meet are extremely nice. Just like one of us. ;)
sub·jec·tiv·i·ty [suhb-jek-tiv-i-tee] noun, plural sub·jec·tiv·i·ties for 2. 1. the state or quality of being subjective; subjectiveness. 2. a subjective thought or idea. 3. intentness on internal thoughts. 4. internal reality.
I never know how much to say about anything because sometimes you learn lessons too late, after you've already made mistakes and I don't like the idea of wrecking something for myself before it even happens. Every rejection letter that you get probably has some variation of the phrase "please continue to send your work out as my opinion is subjective". You try really hard to believe that; to tell yourself, it's just not right for that agent. Sometimes though, it's hard to keep going when that subjective opinion seems to be shared by more than a couple. It's important during the times that you feel like this to reach out to the people that will push you forward. Also, to remind yourself why you write. You also have to keep telling yourself that it really, really, truly, absolutely IS subjective. Even though I let myself believe otherwise last week, here's a look at my week to show you how I was reminded.
Monday: a kind letter from an agent saying that I write well but she didn't connect. Okay, I can handle that. I can focus on the "you write well".
Tuesday: a "your work isn't right for us" letter. Okay. Fine. Played on Facebook, connected with writer friends to remind myself that this industry is subjective. Was asked to do a review by someone I respect immensely. Okay. Because I can write. Right?
Wednesday morning: a "thank you for submitting to us but your work isn't what we're looking for" response to an email I sent YESTERDAY. Wow. Okay. Um. Maybe I need a new hobby? Or I can just read. All the time.
Wednesday evening: letter in the mail (like in an envelope and everything) from Blue Mountain Cards. The letter told me that one of the poems I had written had been chosen ("among hundreds") to move onto the next stage.
Moral? It really is a subjective industry. Overwhelmingly so. What can you do? If it matters to you, keep going. Keep writing. Connect with other writers because they have the same stories that you do. If you want it bad enough, you have to keep pushing ahead. Remind yourself of what you have done. Write it down and look at it so that the next time you wonder if you don't understand the meaning of subjective, you can read over this list of achievements and feel good. Because regardless of anything else, if you're writing, if you're connecting with other writers and improving, learning to be better, becoming better, then you are succeeding. And eventually, that persistence is going to serve you well.
As part of the release for Dahlia's novel, Behind the Scenes, she has asked that we share a little peek at what "behind the scenes" looks like for us, as writers. Every writer is different, not just in style and voice, but in how they plot and plan, the space they work in, maybe even the time frames they write in. For me, writing is a little like breathing; it tends to happen while I'm in the middle of doing everything else. I've heard rumors that some writers have a space for themselves in their homes where they go to write all the words. In my mind, these dreamy spaces have shelves full of books, a comfy chair at a beautiful desk, Maroon 5 and Matchbox 20 on shuffle and a door that CLOSES. In reality, however, my writing space looks like this:
What do you see? A lovely surface, yes. But it's my kitchen table. While there's nothing wrong with that, at all (I totally love my kitchen table), I can assure you, there are no doors that close the space off and give privacy or quiet. I've got a diet Pepsi beside me at all times. After 4 p.m. I switch to water. But diet Pepsi is my coffee, tea, whatever others drink to provide sanity and clear eyes. You'll note the little blue chair in the background. That's where my eight year old is supposed to sit and keep herself busy while mommy writes. My eleven year old is an avid writer as well and she works on the computer downstairs. However, my eight year old just piles her stuff on her workspace and, instead, shares mine. Sometimes I can put in ear buds so I have the music going, but this does lend itself to a lot of shoulder tapping to get my attention. Most of the books I'm surrounded by belong to my daughters, as mine are mostly on my kindle. And they're not on shelves-- almost everywhere, except shelves. Still, in the last two years, I've written Forever Christmas, A Not So Lonely Christmas, Damaged, Dangerous Love, and Falling For Home. So something is working. Maybe I'm just one of those people that thrives in chaos, though I really don't think I do. But I don't mind one bit typing away to the sounds of my daughters laughing, another episode of Good Luck Charlie, the dogs playing, my husband watching TV (sometimes the Good Luck Charlie episode that is on) or any other sound that says I am in my own home, surrounded by the people I love most, doing what I love to do. Whatever your space, whatever your method, if it works, why change it? Though, this doesn't mean I would turn down a beautiful office with patio doors opening onto a gorgeous terrace overlooking a lake. But for now, I'll make do with the kitchen table command station.
A couple of fun facts to amuse you and possibly embarrass myself:
1. My husband often walks into the room and asks if I'm okay because I am making odd faces at the computer. He says that I actually move my lips as though I am speaking the dialogue I am typing.
2. I rub my feet together constantly when I am sitting. I don't mean to. I don't know why. It's weird and I stop myself when I realize I'm doing it. Then I start again.
3. My daughters find it very funny when they look over my shoulder now and again and see the "F" word. They get a funny look on their faces and giggle.
and now for the Behind the Scenes you came for, let me tell you about Dahlia Adler's new book
High school senior Ally Duncan's best friend may be the Vanessa Park - star of TV's hottest new teen drama - but Ally's not interested in following in her BFF's Hollywood footsteps. In fact, the only thing Ally’s ever really wanted is to go to Columbia and study abroad in Paris. But when her father's mounting medical bills threaten to stop her dream in its tracks, Ally nabs a position as Van's on-set assistant to get the cash she needs.
Spending the extra time with Van turns out to be fun, and getting to know her sexy co-star Liam is an added bonus. But when the actors’ publicist arranges for Van and Liam to “date” for the tabloids just after he and Ally share their first kiss, Ally will have to decide exactly what role she's capable of playing in their world of make believe. If she can't play by Hollywood's rules, she may lose her best friend, her dream future, and her first shot at love.
Doesn't it sound awesome!!!!!!!!?
You can find it on Goodreads, Amazon, B&N, The Book Depository, and Indiebound just by clicking on the links provided.
There are so many things happening around me right now that are out of my control that it feels impossible to sit still and encapsulate how I feel about that fact. Twitter and Facebook have been abuzz with #yesallwomen and I want to weigh in but I'm not sure how to summarize all of my feelings so I basically just read the hashtags all week. Because yes, I think, all women, but I also think, all people. We all have a fundamental stake in being good people. To others and to ourselves. Every day, we should be the kind of person we would want our kids to be proud of, be the kind of person we want them to be. And if you don't have kids, then be the kind of person you'd want to be friends with. The kind of person that you would count on. One of my favourite quotes (ever) is "The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday." We get a blank slate every day to right wrongs, make better choices, be better people. Women and men. Kids and Adults. All of us.
Something else weighing heavy in my mind is the politics surrounding teaching right now. It's horrible. It's horrible to watch and horrible to be part of. When you become a teacher, you want to work with kids. You want to make someone's life, day, next ten minutes just a little better. You want to see them succeed, get over the hurdles, and achieve their potential. There are a lot of deterrents in that path. There are crowded classrooms, higher needs, budget cuts, and mountains of curriculum. That's not what bugs me though. And no, it's not the wage either. What bothers me is the overall shift I'm seeing that makes me think that people are devaluing teachers. Not all, maybe not even most, but some. Margaret Mead says “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." I love this quote and find it quite true. The flip side of it though is that a small group of people committed to making you see the negative can actually create change too. When I was growing up, I loved a lot of my teachers. There is an undeniable bond, for most people, between themselves and a least one teacher in their memory. While we were on strike today, we talked about who that one teacher for us was. For some it was their home economics teacher. Others, it was their Language Arts teacher. For me, it was my high school drama teacher. Whoever it was, it is very likely that you had a teacher touch your life in a positive way. Teachers shape us, spend time with us, watch us grow, notice when we surpass our own expectations, applaud us, push us back up when we fall. When I was little, we studied community helpers: police officers, firemen, doctors, and teachers. They were people you could trust. People that wanted to impact someone else's life in a positive way. We still matter because your kids will always matter. They are the next generation that will make choices based on the core values that we instill in them, together.
The last thing that is on my mind is the Book Expo of America. I'm an odd person in that I am intensely jealous of all the wonderful people that I "know" who are there now, walking the aisles with Rainbow Rowell, Neil Patrick Harris, Jeff Kinney, and so many more. I wish I were there. But then I think, what would I do if I were there? Most likely, I would freak a little at the thought of talking to these people. I'd be ultra nervous and quite certain that every wrong word ever invented would come out of my mouth at exactly the wrong time. I would laugh too loud and babble incessantly. Someone who was brave enough to say that yes, they were actually with me, would smile politely and yank on my sweater sleeve, trying to save the poor person I'm talking to. This is why my interaction is better online. The delete button doesn't work in real life. Which brings us full circle-- #yesallwomen, #yesallpeople because the delete button is not an option and we don't know what word or gesture, attitude or comment will impact the person around us, or how. We all matter. It's important that we not only remember that, but teach it to the next generation-- to your children, your friend's child. Manners still matter, thoughtfulness isn't out of date, thinking before you speak never goes out of style. And you really don't understand someone until you've walked in their shoes. So instead, walk beside them, without judgement, and just do your best to keep moving forward.
Sorry if this was just straight up rambling, but I did warn you in the title that it was #allthethings
There are things I want to say and share but I can't. Not yet. But because I'm antsy, I want to share something so I'm sharing some of my favorite words and quotes by others via my pinterest board. Words have an incredible power to soothe, hurt, heal, inspire, build up, tear down, linger, and last. That's why how we use them, where, and when matters so much.
It's possible that last summer I may have had a little problem...an addiction of sorts...to all things contest and query related. In fact, there may even have been an element of longing to get noticed or validated. In addition to this, I was also suffering with need-to-write-every-single-second-so-that-I-don't-lose-my-chance syndrome. I believe I caught this from Twitter, where you can find writers galore, contests galore, and constant updates on which writer raked in the good news of the day. Like a good game of poker, it's exciting to be sitting at the table, trying your hand, and seeing if you can stay in the game. It's exhilarating when someone "calls" (or favorites your tweet). There's strategy and technique in crafting the perfect query letter, ensuring that your submission is strong. There's luck in finding the right match for yourself. But there's also the necessity of knowing when to fold. When to back down and realize that the stakes might be 'too rich' for you. It might even be necessary to walk away from the table. Until you're sure you can handle being there. Until you understand that it's not a high stakes, winner takes all game. And until you understand that you, may lose a lot of hands before you finally win.
When you start querying, entering contests, and "showing your cards", you learn what you're made of as a writer (and a person). It is not easy to go from the rush of someone wanting your work to the edge of your seat waiting for them to read it to the hard landing of rejection. It may build character but it also leaves a mark. It is incredibly hard to make yourself understand that they are rejecting your work, not you. Because of course, our work feels like part of us. If you can't face the reality that not everyone is going to love your work, that not everyone is going to want it, or you, even if you thought they might, then maybe you're not ready. Or at least, that is what I learned. I wasn't prepared for the slide down. The attention is wonderful and validating, but the time in between scoops out your self-esteem. And it becomes a cycle. If you let it. If you're writing to prove something or because you think you have to, then you're writing for the wrong reason and it won't be authentic. You have to write because you can't not write. Because it's part of you. If you feel this way, then you'll know, or come to know, that sitting out a round, standing on the edges for a bit, doesn't pull you out of the game. It just lets you breathe.
I sat out the last twitter contest and I thought I would be sorry but I'm not. I like the conclusion that I've come to in the last several months: if I slow down it will not make me disappear. If I don't get an agent, it will not make me stop. But if I had entered the contest, when I finally feel like, okay, I can just breathe and write at the same time, I would have thrown myself back into the cycle. And right now, it's not where I want to be. The point is, you have to know what your limits are, what you can handle, and what you can give. This leads me to my second decision.
I've decided not to participate in the A-Z challenge, which I think looks incredibly cool. Writing a different blog every day for 26 days is a fantastic way to be motivated, be part of something special, and be creative. And I signed up. I even chose a theme (a good one) and organized my drafts file to get myself ready. But then I asked myself, "why"? I have been welcomed into a small community of gracious, funny, and talented writers. I have a support system and a couple of critique partners that I respect. So was I pushing myself because I wanted to just play one more hand or because I felt that this hand would be a building block for the rest of the game. Right now, my building blocks include co-authoring a romantic suspense novel, waiting on agent responses to another romantic suspense novel, being a critique partner, and writing things that I enjoy. I'm putting less pressure on myself to do it all. It all sounds great...but this is how you burn out. It becomes overwhelming and emotionally exhausting if you push yourself past your limit or worse, if you don't recognize you have a limit.
Sitting out and opting out are hard choices as a writer. You feel like, even though everything is moving slower than you ever would have thought humanly possible, there's so much happening around you, without you. And it can become nerve wracking. A friend of mine said this week, "Unless you have an editor breathing down your neck, write for fun or what's the point?" I don't have to spread myself thin trying to be a part of every challenge and every contest. But last summer, I had myself convinced that I did. That if I didn't play every hand, that I'd lose for sure. Really, the only thing I was losing was sleep. And maybe some sanity but that may or may not be tied to writing.
In the last year, my writing has become infinitely stronger. But so have I. By taking away the urgency, I've side-stepped the pressure that I was putting on myself. I've stopped telling myself I have to enter everything I can (though I highly recommend many of the fantastic contests and pitching events you can find on twitter). Instead, I'm telling myself to make what I do write, what I do query, the best it can be. In the process of slowing down, finding balance, and gaining some insight, I may even have become slightly less annoying to those who have to put up with me when I get a little too caught up. One of my favorite quotes is below. That's what I'll aim for. As a person and as a writer.
I am in no way an expert on anything...like anything at all. But I have learned a few things in the last couple of years that I wish I had known when I started thinking I wanted to get an agent or publish a book. Most of the things I've learned seem like common sense, but surprisingly, in the excitement of getting recognition for something that is so personal, we often forget what we know is just good etiquette. Along with that, I've fallen into a few 'things' that I've been fortunate enough to have far smarter people than I help me navigate my way through. So here's a pieces of not-advice-but-something-like-it from someone who is still finding their way.
If you wouldn't say it to someone's face, why would you say it online? You would absolutely think that this is just an accepted truth. However, the internet gives us a certain anonymity (or so we THINK) and there are times when people type before they think. Don't do that.
The only way you get better is by listening to the advice of others. Not everyone, but someone. You have to choose a tribe of people that you trust. That you know want what's best for you, will be honest with you, and can handle you at your worst. If you have people like that, who will read your writing and be brutally honest, with the best of intentions, then trust them. At least enough to truly consider what they're saying.
No agent is better than the wrong agent. This one sucks but it's true. These people are entering a relationship with you. Would you go into a bad relationship, JUST to be in one? There was a time I would have said yes, but as you get older, you learn to care more about your own well-being, Writing is no different. You want someone to be your champion and I am completely convinced (most days) that the right agent is going to be worth the wait.
As in life, envy gets you nowhere. It's easy to be jealous when you hear an announcement from other writers or from agents you stalk- I mean follow. But the thing is, you don't know their story. You don't know how hard their fight to get to where they are was and most of all, if they got there, then they probably had some pretty phenomenal writing. It's too hard to get somewhere in this world if your writing doesn't rise above. So they deserve it and it doesn't make you deserve it less. And, their success doesn't lessen your chances or your talent.
Go with your own style. I've been trying my hand at plotting and it just doesn't work well for me. For the co-authored book I'm working on, yes. But for my own writing, I just can't do it. At least not yet. I like to get lost in my writing and having to plan it all out first, throws me off track. I can always go back and edit and make plot points along the way. As much as I hate the term, I'm a pantser at heart. That's not right or wrong. It's just what works for me.
There's more. There's always more. But that's it for now. Nothing we do is foolproof. There's no list or step by step manual to succeed. There are things you can do to make the ride smoother but basically, you have to do what you should be doing in your life: be who you are, to the best of your ability and hope that good things come to those who wait...politely.
A few weeks ago, Kara Leigh Miller let me know that I was chosen to co-author a book with her through Anaiah Press. The news of this was very exciting and a little nerve wracking. How do you co-author? What if you disagree? Who writes what? Who gets the good scenes (the kissing ;))? What if your styles don't mesh? What if your pacing doesn't mesh? If you think that's a lot of questions, you should see how many pop into my head for something that requires me to interact in person. Or if I have to go out for the evening. Another story. It turns out that all of these questions were a moot point (not moo- though I, like Rachel, see an odd sense in Joey's thoughts).
Kara and I mesh very well. Our pacing aligns, we split the kissing scenes, we both write the parts we feel strongly about and the parts in between, and so far, a little bit of conversation back and forth allows for us to resolve things we see differently. It is a very unique experience to co-author with someone. I think it is similar to sharing a classroom. You feel a certain sense of ownership and protectiveness that you have to let go of. This is not an easy thing to do for teachers or writers...or women...moms...I may be in some serious trouble here.
Actually, I think I'm sitting in a pretty good spot. I am slowly learning that by releasing a bit of the need for control, I am becoming stronger in my writing. That process started some time ago, by taking advice from critique partners, agents, and industry professionals. By looking at strong examples of writing, particularly in areas I found were my weaknesses. Though writing is often said to be a solitary activity, I have not found that. Particularly when I have Facebook and Twitter open while I'm writing. Or if I write while my kids are awake. Good writing requires connecting with others, being open to opinions, criticism, feedback, change, and growth. Again, kind of like teaching.
Even when you spend your time planning how things should and could work out, they often don't follow the outline. This speaks to both writing and life. While I had my thoughts focused in one direction, I wound up on another path. This one is leading me to something I never anticipated and I truly look forward to seeing how it turns out. It doesn't change what I want for my own writing, but it has opened a different door that I think will make me a more versatile and well-rounded writer. That, and maybe it'll distract me while I wait for those other doors to open as well.
Writing has always been something that has come easily to me. I whip off genuine, personalized report cards in a day. I can write a blog post in under ten minutes. I wrote my first novel (without edits) in four weeks. When the story is there for me, it's not difficult to get it down on paper. That's not bragging-- it's just the way I've always written. Having said that, in the past, my writing has always been for me so it hasn't mattered that there were glitches in the plot or character inconsistencies. Now that I'm actively trying to make my stories stand out above others, to make my writing catch the eye of an agent, what was once good has to be spectacular. Good is not good enough and speed doesn't count for anything.
It's difficult to separate yourself from your writing long enough to see the faults and weaknesses. I'm okay with having them and I'm okay with fixing them but the thing that is hard for me is narrowing in on where they are. This is why it's so important to utilize the feedback that anyone, particularly anyone in the writing/publishing/editing/agenting industry, has to offer. The people that I have "met" in the last year through social media and because of putting myself out there as a writer, have been incredibly supportive and kind and positive. I feel as close to some of them as I do to some of the friends that live down the road from me. I believe you can establish strong bonds and friendships via social media and email. It's new age pen pals. The difference, however, is the personal element is removed so they can, perhaps, offer that extra bit of hard criticism you need. Why? Because even though they like all your statuses on Facebook and retweet your tweets, even though you chat more frequently with them than others who live a few minutes away, they haven't seen you cry when you get a rejection letter or laugh like an idiot when you get amazing feedback. They know you but they don't KNOW you. This can be a very good thing for a writer as it allows them to be a stronger critic. There's an element of detachment that comes with online friendship that can only be changed by actually physically meeting. And I hope that one day I get to meet some of the amazing people that have befriended me. In fact, I already have met some of them and it's a pretty awesome feeling when they're just as cool as you thought they'd be. However, until I meet the others, I can let that buffer level of detachment work in my favor. They can be just a little harsher than my best friend who has to put up with me being moody when she tells me what I know is the truth. If they don't want to deal with my irritation over pointing out something that needs fixing, they can move away from the computer. Trust me, my best friend can't. I will show up at her house cause I'm fifty shades of needy and clingy like that.
So the point is, I'm going to spend some time really letting the feedback wash over me, knowing that these people who are offering me pointers and suggestions, for some reason, want me to succeed. I've said it before but it bears repeating: writers are the most supportive, encouraging group of competitors you could align yourself with. I guess it's because there can never be too many books. Or maybe it's because the same story can be told a million different and compelling ways. Whatever the reason, the writer's I've met want every bit as badly as I do to succeed. But they fall over themselves with praise, feedback, encouragement, and their valuable time to make sure I'm right there with them.
For the next little bit, I will be drawing on them to help me make my work the strongest it can be. I will also be checking out as many articles, blogs, posts,and websites as I can. Here's what I'm starting with this week:
Any good sites you'd recommend for character development or building conflict? Share.