A New Direction

June 26, 2011

I thought a long time about what this blog could/should be. Now that I’m so old and my kids don’t listen to me so much anymore, I thought about all the things I know, and wondered who I could tell. So I revamped this blog to cover a number of topics, and if anyone is interested in any of the subjects I’m going to write about, tune in on the flavor of the day that interests you.

 Sunday, because it’s such a neat day (don’t you love Sundays? they always seem crisp because they start a whole new week, and most of the time, you can do what you want on Sunday) is carte blanche. If anyone wants to guest blog on any topic on that day, let’s do it. Just send a comment that you would like to opine on a given subject, and I’ll take your words from an e-mail and paste them up here for the world to see. (Granted, it’s a small world, but, it’ll get bigger.)

Otherwise, if no one wants to guest blog, I’m just going to do an Andy Rooney thing.

I have five computers, three desk tops and two lap tops. I also have an extremely smart phone, but I’m not counting it in this abundance of electronic power. Of course I don’t use all these computers, but they sit all around my writing room, waiting for me to boot them up, like the bench of players at a basketball game. They’re just waiting to be called in to score.

I could take some of these loyal players to one of those recycle places, but what secrets of mine are left inside those boxes? Are there some of my old manuscripts (I keep those too) hidden in the depth of those mysterious drives, even though I think I erased them? Are they really gone? What about indiscretions of one kind or another? Can you remember everything you told your computer? I can’t.  Maybe I’ll hold on to all of them a little longer.

Tomorrow is book day. What are you reading?

Sharon

Categories: Sunday - Carte Blanche.

I Have the Luxury of Time

May 27, 2011

Time is a luxury, ask anyone who thinks there are not enough hours in the day. Have you ever met anyone who had  spare time? Probably not. Yet we have all the time there is. I don’t have more time than you, and I don’t mean span of life, I mean hours in the day.

If you could do anything you wanted to do, what would it be? For me it’s writing. I work on writing and the business of writing 12 hours a day,  7 days a week. When I say I have the luxury of time, I mean that I can do what I love for twelve hours every day.  I could spend even more time writing if I wanted, but there are other things I like to do too. Most of the time I don’t have to do something I don’t want to do. That’s what I mean by luxury of time, spending it however you would like.

I didn’t always have the luxury of time, because of the choices I made. I chose to be a workaholic most of my life, first in the corporate world and then in my own businesses. I can’t rewrite those choices,  but I am going to make certain that I  am very careful of this most precious commodity for the rest of the time I am given.

Sharon

Categories: Ruminating.

Everybody is Telling Me Something DIfferent

May 12, 2011

A writer must be prepared to market his or her own work.  Even if a publisher decides to publish your work, the publisher still expects the author to do the heavy lifting.  They’ll get you into Barnes & Noble (as long as they’re around), they’ll book you on a tour (which you have to pay for) and they’ll hopefully get a review or two printed.  Then, you’re pretty much on your own.

So, start a blog, they say, collect fans interested in your work, they say, build a buzz, a following, some fans, some connections, some mentors, tweet and repeat. They say all of this.   OK, OK!

So I started a blog, but now I find that you’re supposed to write about something else besides your writing.  No one is interested in what number draft you’re on, which agent sent a rejection notice, or how frustrating the whole process is.  Or even what the process is. So, what should I blog about that will make people line up to read my blog, when all I really want them to do is read my book?  Is that ass-backward?

Any ideas?

Sharon

Categories: Ruminating.

I Finally Think I Know

April 11, 2011

the genre where my writing resides.  I was agent hunting again today and came across a blog that I thought was intelligent and thoughtful by a Michael Bourret, an agent with Dystel & Goderich.  In reading about what he was looking for on his agency’s web site he mentioned that he really was passionate about non-fiction, even though he was interested in YA (young adult fiction) so I read about what the other agents at the same company were looking for, hoping for a better match for my books.

All of this prodding and poking, revising and researching, is how I spend my days lately.  My agent is out there; he or she just doesn’t know I’m here.  One of the difficulties, at least for me, has been to describe where my writing fits.  If I can’t describe the genre, how can I identify who is looking for me.  When I came to the bio for a pretty young girl who lives in Brooklyn no less (I wonder if she ever shopped in any of my stores? That would be an interesting coincident, yes?) she mentioned she was really interested in ‘magical realism’.  Huh?  What is that I asked Wikipedia?  Bingo, I ran around the house like a crazy person.  The glove fit!

This is a quote from the long entry describing magical realism.  “Magic realism or magical realism is an aesthetic style or genre of fiction in which magical elements blend to create a realistic atmosphere that accesses a deeper understanding of reality.  The story explains these magical elements as normal occurrences, presented in a straightforward manner that places the ‘real’ and the ‘fantastic’ in the same stream of thought.”

At least I think I know,

Sharon

Categories: Finding a Literary Agent.

Submissions # 6 & # 7

April 1, 2011

Protocol demands you send out a query to a literary agent and then wait for a response for whatever time they tell you it will take for them to get to your query.  Of course, some won’t respond at all; in other words, silence is not golden, it’s a kiss off.

Response time is generally from four weeks to three months, or never. If I followed the rules, I would be able to query anywhere from four to twelve agents a year. So far I’ve cheated by sending seven queries out in 2 months. You’re supposed to confess if you’ve sent out multiple inquiries. Does that mean that the target agent won’t read your submission?  I am generally law abiding and rule following, but I’m also impatient.  And, I’m old.  How much time do I have?
 
So last night, I sent out two queries, one right after the other. I did some research, so I wouldn’t pester an agent that was looking for a cookbook with my ‘speculative’ fiction. Nevertheless, Donald Maass who is a renowned teacher of the craft and has his own agency,  and Naomi Akolekar from Spencerhill Associates both received my query.  Naomi received three chapters as well.  Every agent has a different list of requirements, and woe unto you if you send too much or too little.

Sharon

Categories: The Energy Collector.

I Finished Draft #9

March 31, 2011

Notice I didn’t say the final draft.  It’s harder and harder to keep plowing the same field. But every time I go back over The Energy Collector, I find another rock I missed the last time around.  Yet that’s what is required.  What a relief to sit back and say, at least for today, it’s finished.

Categories: The Energy Collector.

Am I Done Yet?

March 29, 2011

It’s not over til it’s over.

What I’m beginning to realize is that you’re never finished. I would imagine even after a book has been published, an author wants to scream – give me back all 50,000 copies! I have one more change I want to make! Do you ever want to stop tweaking your creations?  I know I still try to tweak the most important of my creations, my children. Stand up straight, honey. Don’t frown. He’s not right for you. And on and on.

Same with these books. I can’t stop and I can’t let go. Maybe rewriting your book is a substitute for not being able to rewrite your own life. Are the people in novels our alter egos? Probably. Karen my soul mate and main character in three books is a lot of the things I want to be. For one, she’s thin; another, she is fearless, another, she has a lot of hair.

Today I finish the final draft of The Energy Collector, again. Tomorrow is another thing.

Sharon

Categories: The Energy Collector.

Eyeballs on Your Manuscript

March 28, 2011

I don’t have any editors in my family, or authors, or publishers or English teachers.  But I do have very bright children and grandchildren who like to read.  You may have some resources like that available to you too.  Ask them to read your manuscript.

Of course you know they will either be too kind, or too critical.  But this is what getting some eyeballs on your manuscript will do for you:  identify typos; point out inconsistencies;  clarify weak story lines, just for starters.  By the questions they ask you may realize where you have more work to do.

My daughters just finished reading the  latest draft of my first novel, working title, The Energy Collector.  They had good suggestions on pacing, inconsistencies and incomplete story threads.  And they caught stupid mistakes too.  For some reason, when I want to type quick, I’ve been typing quit.  What’s that about?  Is there a message there?  Forget about it!  I’m not going to quit.  The trouble with Word is that it will notify you of  misspellings, but not usage errors.  Don’t give an agent or publisher the least excuse to throw your beautiful manuscript down in disgust.

Tomorrow is literary agent day.  Oh goody.

Sharon

Categories: Uncategorized.

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