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Posts Tagged ‘writing’

What is a successful writing career?

January 24, 2011 7 comments

Hmmm?

What say you, blogger friends?

The thing is, it seems to be different for everyone.  Some people want to get rich, some want to just make a living, some want to win awards, others want to sell loads of books.

I’d like to win awards AND sell loads of books.

Okay, I’m kidding.  Well, sort of.

When I think about this sort of stuff, I always remember meeting Orson Scott Card, back when I was young and naive.  I had just read Ender’s Game, and my entire world (universe even) was altered.  It was a little workshop with my school – nothing fancy – but I remember being awed to meet an author of a book I loved.

He talked about finally getting a film deal for Ender’s Game.  I still remember how it seemed like that was his moment.  Like he figured if he could get this film made, and get it to do okay, he would finally have ‘made it’.  That was over ten years ago, and I haven’t seen an Ender’s Game film yet.  In some ways, it’s like Orson Scott Card never really ‘made it’ – he never became a household name.  Sadly, neither did Ender’s Game.

BUT.  I love this book.  Love it.  I was about fourteen when I first read it, and it still sticks with me.  It means something to me.  It changed the way I looked at the world, and myself.  It made me think about understanding, and love, and what makes us human.  It mattered to me. It still does.

If I can do this, I will have a successful writing career.  I will happily write advertising to pay my bills until I retire, and long as I can write a book that will mean, to someone, what Ender’s Game meant to me.

I want to write something that matters to someone.  It doesn’t have to sell loads, it doesn’t have to win awards.  I want it to mean something, to someone.

That is enough.

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The one super secret to excellent editing

January 4, 2011 8 comments

Ready?

(drum roll)

Save as.

No really.  Save as is your ticket to being absolutely ruthless.  It is your ultimate chainsaw for hacking out those passages in your work that are funny, cute, profound, and just lovely, but are sadly unnecessary.

I’ll give you a scenario.  You have a passage that you love, love, LOVE (i.e. you think this might just be the best, most clever little piece of writing you’ve ever put to paper and cutting out will give you a MASSIVE HEAD EXPLOSION!!!).  BUT, it’s not really driving your plot or character development (or, for you copywriters out there, does nothing to make people want to buy the product).

No worries.  Just hit “save as” and create a new version.  This can be your cut to the bone version.  And you can hack everything out.  It doesn’t matter.  Because you have your full version with all the lovely passages that you can’t bear to lose.  You’re not really deleting anything!  It’s so liberating!

Of course you’ll ultimately have to make the decision whether to include those lovely, though perhaps useless, bits.  But by then, you may find you’ve got a far better piece of work than you started with.

So the next time you need to do an excruciating edit, save a new version and hack away.  Believe me, your final will be better for it.

Categories: Copywriting, Fiction, writing Tags: ,

Pre-Resolutions

December 1, 2010 5 comments

So, beloved Rejectionist is holding a Participatory Self-Actualization Opportunity, otherwise known as a pre-resolution un-contest!  Hooray!  December resolution goodness!  Here are resolutions for ABlankWhitePage (ABWP):

1) ABWP will stop worrying about what others think of her (this is SO SO HARD you have no idea how much TIME and EFFORT ABWP spends worrying about what others think of her WRITING, her COMMENTS, her PHONE CALLS, even her CLOTHES.

2) ABWP will write at least 1 post a week (stop laughing Blogger-friends)

3) ABWP will be more honest: she will write what she wants EVEN IF IT OFFENDS PEOPLE, and wear what she wants (thank God she works as a copywriter), and BE HERSELF and if people don’t like who she honestly is THEY CAN JUST SOD OFF

4) ABWP will finish editing her MS (OH GOD SO MUCH STILL TO CHANGE AND REWRITE IS DAUNTING AND OVERWHELMING AND SHE HAS NEW DAY JOB AND NEEDS TO IMPRESS BOSS DO HER BEST…BUT SHE WILL NOT NEGLECT HER MS OR WIP because they MEAN MORE to her than AD COPY even if ad copy is mostly for good charities)

5) ABWP will spend at least 7 hours a week on non-work related writing EMAILS DO NOT COUNT for ABWP, but BLOG POSTS DO

6) ABWP will not make decisions based on fear, and if she is scared to do something but knows it would be good for her SHE WILL DO IT, BALLS TO THE WALLS

7) ABWP will acknowledge DAILY that she is an amazing WRITER, an amazing WOMAN, an amazing FRIEND, and an amazing PERSON, and she will stop feeling that she is NOT GOOD ENOUGH to get anything that she wants.

8) ABWP will not procrastinate

9) ABWP will email her amazing mother (who will pass news on to her father) at least ONCE A WEEK (and will start saving pennies so she can fly home to visit)

10) ABWP will limit MASSIVE HEAD EXPLOSIONS to one a day wherever possible

And what of you Blogger-friends?

Twitter Fail

August 23, 2010 6 comments

So, I was all ready to get on twitter (for the first time in over a month) to rave about Serial Central, which is not a collaboration of serial killers, but rather an amazing new idea that gives you a piece of fiction every day, (rock on Lua, Miss Rosemary,Barb, et al), and then I saw this:

But then I tried again and it was all okay, so not that big of a FAIL after all.  But I got a screen grab.  And those last FOREVER.  Take that twitter.  Also, when I was on twitter I saw I had a direct message.  Ooh, exciting!  Someone randomly followed me (but, hey, that’s good right?), and as I must have been feeling rather welcoming, I followed back.  And this person sent me a direct message!  Oooh, the intrigue.  Imagine my disappointment, then, when I got this…

Huh.  So I thought about it a while, and sent this in return:

I haven’t heard back, so I guess he’s not in the extermination business.  Or maybe, like me, he only checks twitter once a month.  This is why I am anonymous.  But if you’re gonna send me messages on twitter, you’d better have a sense of humour.

Someone please send me something funny on twitter.  I’ll totally reply.  Probably a month later.  But still.

On rationalization and procrastination

Okay, so clearly it’s been a while since I’ve written a post.  And here’s a big list of all my excuses:

1) I was moving flats (clearly necessary to avoid stabbing, being devoured by mice, or similar)

2) I had to do work for clients (you know, the people who pay the rent in my new, non-mouse-infested flat)

3) I had to catch up with old friends (after many texts and emails with lots of scary capital letters and excessive punctuation using scary words like “intervention”)

4)  London has been sunny (okay, so I totally had to sit outside because London is NEVER sunny and this was perhaps my last chance to soak up and store some sun so I don’t die of vitamin D deficiency or similar come autumn)

5) I had to apply for jobs (yes, still, and some job applications are like NOVELS with the notable exception that novels are actually quite fun and interesting and job applications most certainly are NOT)

6) I had a MASSIVE HEAD EXPLOSION!!! and was, understandably, unable to write coherent sentences thereafter

So.  This is a lovely bit of rationalization.  And it isn’t good enough.  But I do this all the time, with this blog and–scarily–with my current WIP.  But there is no excuse for letting something that matters so much to me to slide for so long!

What do you think, blogger friends?  How do you beat the procrastination and rationalization bug?

Also…an aside: I wanted to give credit to Bill Waterson for the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip above.  Because, let’s face it, Calvin and Hobbes was brilliant and the “funnies” just aren’t the same any more.  But I couldn’t find an official site.  Best I can do is tell you to buy the books here. I have all the books.  If you don’t, you should buy them because they are amazing and you’ll smile for months.  (Disclaimer: I am not in any way affiliated with Calvin and Hobbes or publishers, booksellers, or similar but I totally wish I was because, as I said, they are amazing)

Ooh! ABWP is blushing a bright red!

June 24, 2010 8 comments

Well, gee.  And here I was all ready to write a snarky post about something or other.  And then I saw that I had been awarded this lovely little award by both Bethany (my first-ever commenter and blogger-friend) and Miss Rosemary!  Thank you, thank you to you both! Everyone should check out both their blogs.

Er, and so I am required to provide seven revelations (confessions) on the personage that is (behind)  ABWP.  Here goes…

1) I like to read silly, teen books like Twilight and Harry Potter but I only take serious Cormack McCarthy, Virginia Wolf, etc books on the tube.  Because people will see.  And I am too old to be seen reading Harry Potter.

2) I am terrified of rubber bands.

3) Orange is my favourite colour, and I have orange toenails throughout the summer months.

4) I am uncommonly short.  I try to hide this with the constant use of monster heels (which sometimes get stuck in the groves of the tube escalator) to no avail.

5) I drink pints far more often than gin.  (This is totally a financial decision.  I would drink Tanqueray and Tonic all the time if it was the same price as a pint.  Because gin is way more delicious.  But times are tough.)

6)  Sometimes I can’t sleep because I worry that this MS that I am writing will end up unpublished, unread, and unfulfilled just like my first MS that is now collecting dust in a corner.  And I wonder what my life will have meant, if I cannot do just this, this one little thing that I have always wanted and that I somehow use to measure my self worth.  This is when the gin helps.

7) The human behind ABWP is fairly quiet, proper, and actually kind of a nice person (hard to believe, I know) who cares about soft, mushy things like other people’s feelings (she is only kinda snarky to very special people who know her well).  This is kind of a secret.  Don’t tell anyone.

And now I get to pass it along!  Hooray!  I’m totally mentioning people who’ve gotten it already because I like them.  So there.

1) Lynsey May – She’s got a great perspective on writing, and also has a copy day job so can relate to a lot of my copywriting rants (always appreciated).

2) MilkFever – Lisa is great for encouragement.

3) Write for your life – good info on general writing and the techie stuff like podcasts

4)  Write-or-die – straight talking,.no-nonsense account on writing books

5)  Rachelle Gardner – for a literary agent, there’s a lot of great variety on her blog (hence the mention)

6) Lua – my 2nd ever commenter, and another faithful blogger-friend who consistently posts great content and is lightning quick responding to comments.

7) I’m using this as a combined re-thanks to Bethany, my first-ever commenter (yup, we hit it right off) and Miss Rosemary for the award (I know you’ve already got one, but you totally deserve it).

OH MY GOD I HAVE NO INTERNET!

June 20, 2010 4 comments

Okay, so obviously I have internet NOW, but I was without for a while and had to console myself by writing this OFFLINE in WORD:

OH MY GOD I HAVE NO INTERNET!  I don’t know how I am going to survive I cannot do anything when I am not on the internet.  I can’t even write stuff because I need the INTERNET to research stuff to write about.

HOW DID ANYONE SURVIVE BEFORE INTERNET?

MASSIVE HEAD EXPLOSION!!!

I believe these pre-internet beings (PIB) went to an ancient construction located in a central area accessible to all the PIBs in the tribe.  This primitive construction housed the history, the secrets, even the stories of their ancestors.   This construction was known as a Library.

The PIBs would gather reverently in the library to learn the secrets of generations.  It was a place of honour and respect.  Talking, laughing, and loud noises of any kind were strictly forbidden.  Special elders of the tribe would preside over the Library and swiftly punish any who failed to respect this holy place.  These elders were known as Librarians.

Librarians were keepers of much wisdom, and were revered among the tribe.  The librarians were responsible for many great teachings, and also held the key to ancient recordings of the history and stories of the PIB tribe.  All the ancient stories were documented into separate clusters of parchment and passed down through the generations.  These recordings were known as Books.

Books came in many forms.  Some documented the history of the tribe.  These were called Encyclopaedias.  Some kept record of the tribal language.  These were called Dictionaries.  Some told of the history of the chiefs, elders, and significant tribal members.  These were known as Biographies.  Others told of the myths and legends of the tribe.  These were known as Novels.

And all the PIBs dedicated themselves to writing and reading these books, which held the secret to both their past and their future.

And one day the peaceful lives of the PIBs were interrupted by the news of a new invention that would allow them to get all this history, all this knowledge, all these stories, without ever leaving their own dwelling.  Internet.

But instead of using internet to spread their knowledge, the IBs (Internet Beings) used the new invention to watch videos of cats playing the piano.

This is why my manuscript is only half-finished.  Stupid Internet.  I vow that from now on I will turn off my browser and work seriously on—

Oh goodie!  Internet’s back!  I wonder if anyone’s posted any good cat videos on YouTube lately…