Friday, April 27, 2012


We’ve all heard the saying that if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.

I’m not going to mince words.

Whatever you do guys, please, make sure it makes you happy. Money is fine and all, but if you’re miserable, the job will be another job and nothing more. It won’t bring you joy and it won’t bring you peace.

Since I think it’s safe to say that everyone here loves writing to the point of insanity, I’m going to gear this towards that, and say that writing is sometimes just plain hard.

It’s not always easy, but if you really love it, you’ll push through that. You’ll keep going even when it’s hard, because there is a light at the end of that tunnel.

Don’t believe me?

Ask a published author. I’m sure they’ll tell you that when they were just starting out, they didn’t think they’d make it either.

But you know what?

They did.

I’m going to end this post now, before I say something really stupid. :)

Friday, April 20, 2012

From the Trenches: Taryn: How to Get Published

How to Get Published

1. Decide to write a book.
2. Tell everyone about this book you're gonna write.
2b. Tell them they need to wait, like, maybe a year before they get to read it.
3. Open up your word processor.
4. Stare at blank page.
5. Write something.
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5. Repeatedly.
7. Repeat step 6. Repeatedly.
8. Search the internet for critique partners.
9. Don't click with those CPs.
10. Repeat step 8.
11. Send manuscript to CPs.
12. Panic.
13. Eat chocolate.
14. Receive by CP notes.
15. Cry.
16. Eat more chocolate.
17. Incorporate notes.
18. Repeat steps 11-17.
19. Write query letter.
20. Get query letter critiqued.
21. Revise query letter.
22. Repeat steps 20+21.
23. Research agents.
24. Query agents.
25. Eat chocolate.
26. Receive rejections.
27. Receive partial request!
28. Receive rejections.
29. Receive full request!
30. Receive partial rejection.
31. Receive rejections.
32. Receive full request!
33. Receive full rejection.
35. Sign with AWESOME agent.
36. Blog about it.
37. Get agent notes for revisions.
38. Panic.
39. Eat chocolate.
40. Revise.
41. Send revisions to agent.
42. Eat chocolate.
43. Agent returns manuscript with smaller line edits.
44. Eat chocolate.
45. Revise.
46. Send revisions to agent.
47. Get email saying "Looks good, we're going on sub next week."
48. Dance.
49. Panic.
50. Eat chocolate.
51. Repeat steps 48-50.
52. See pitch letter.
52b. See pitch list.
53. Organize your bookshelf by publishing imprint.
54. Dream of auctions and dollar signs.
55. Realize you'd be happy with ANYONE wanting your book.
55b. Even if it's only a $1000 advance.
55c. A $100 advance?
56. Go on sub.
57. Surgically attach phone and computer to your body.
58. Eat chocolate.
59. Frantically call agent every hour, wondering if you were forgotten about.
60. Get rejection.
61. Get "editor interest."
62. Dance.
63. Eat celebratory chocolate.
64. Get told there wasn't enough support from the house.
65. Cry.
66. Eat chocolate.
67. Get more "editor interest."
68. Hold your breath, because you're an old hat now.
70. Dance.
71. Eat celebratory chocolate.
72. Wait.
73. Finalize details.
74. Write a blog post about it.
75. Get editorial letter.
76. Cry.
77. Eat chocolate.
78. Revise.
79. Send off revisions.
80. Get more revisions.
81. Repeat steps 76-79.
82. Get line edits.
83. Repeat steps 76-79.
84. Get copy edits.
85. Repeat steps 76-79.
86. Get first pass page.
87. Marvel.
88. Get ARCs.
89. Marvel.
90. Start thinking about marketing.
91. Do interviews.
92. Plan author tours.
92b. Plan blog tours.
93. See finished copy of book.
94. Dance.
95. Freak out at typo on page 82.
96. Eat chocolate
97. Release day party!
98. See book on shelves at bookstores.
99. Pinch self--this must be a dream.
100. Realize you are published.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

FTT: Maggie -- How much description?

I've been mulling over this for a few days now, and since I'm late to post my From The Trenches, I figured now's a good time to get it out.

So, character descriptions. They're what let us know what a character looks like. (Duh!) I'm a visual person, so to me, they're extremely important. I like to know what to imagine when I'm seeing the scenes play out in my head. Who's throwing that axe? What do they look like? Who's saying that while waving their arms? How does this group of people look together?

While I think you shouldn't over-describe your characters (just like everything else, too much is too much!), I actually need the details. Height, weight, skin color, eye color, hair color. All those things are really helpful to me when I'm reading.

I've read a few books now that have gone quite a few chapters before they mentioned what their protagonist looked like. When they finally did, it was jarring, because I'd had to fill that blank, visual-less space with an invention of my own. Particularly when the novel's first person, we're right in our MC's head, it's SO easy to avoid how hard it is to describe them without the use of a mirror. But for me, I really need it to happen, within the first few chapters, if at all possible.

I need that visual.

Some of you may disagree. And that's what I'd like to know. How much should characters be described? Which parts do you think should be left to the imagination? How soon in a novel should a writer mention physical appearances?

Discuss in the comment box below! See you there!