Wot’s the use

Someone sent me this link about how long it took this author to get published, and (*whine oh how we FEEL YOUR PAIN blechh*) OMG it took her THREE WHOLE YEARS. Imagine! ! ! Six entire manuscripts had to be written! ! ! O, ze suffering! ZE tiredness of ze Typing Fingers!!! And she felt oddball because when she was invited to speak, the other authors’ tales went something like, “Oh, I sat down and felt like writing the Book of my Heart, and then I sent it off, and The Call came, and here I am with a jillion-book contract!” And she had to admit of her Herculean Long Struggle of . . . three years or thereabouts. *headdesk* *banging head* *that feels too good, so I’ll stop*

This only confirms my hypothesis further, the one about how if you don’t sell the first thing or second thing that you write, you’ve probably missed the window. If you’re of Generation Boomer-1 and you didn’t do your writing in your twenties and sell it, then you’re out of luck, as your entire mindset will not mesh with nor appeal to the new readership of agents and editors. I’m more than twenty years too late because I tried to fulfill the family’s expectations to succeed in a career of software engineering and get money, rather than chase the dream of publication back before everyone had a computer and thought they should write a novel or two. So THIS, too, is all Mama’s fault!! *gallows grin*

Agents always say *not* that I don’t have a command of the craft, but that “I just didn’t fall in love with it the way I wanted to”; indeed. I should’ve known, because I really am not that thrilled with the way people are/act, and I like being different. Why should my work be accepted when I am not accepted? Heck . . . that’s just logic.

Make my characters more lik[e]able, eh? By putting in little things like “awww” and “Save the Cat” stuff right up front, eh? Hmph. I don’t read ONLY likable characters. I appreciate characters who fascinate me. Maybe they’re complex. Maybe they’re my opposite and I hope for some insight through reading their (imagined) tales. That’s one of my stumbling blocks: I hear that my characters aren’t likable. Well, Pollyanna is saccharine. Characters who are always angsting about doing things just so are disgustingly fake. “I hate phonies,” says Holden Caulfield. I know that most of those goody-goody characters who never have a snarky thought and who’ve never snitched a piece of candy out of the Pick-A-Mix Brach’s display (come on, admit it: you know you have, God saw you) and who’ve never even told a white lie (“Sure, that haircut looks GOOD on you!” because the hair can’t exactly be glued back on, now, can it) repel me. I don’t want to read a book starring such a “likable” character when “lik[e]able” means no snarky thoughts, no interesting quirks, no rolling of eyes at crazy friends’ suggestions. “I had an impure thought–horrors!” thinks the Pollyanna character. *bleah* More like, “I almost had an impure thought, but now I’m going to confession and to the New Age Exorcism Center so I can atone. I only hope my repentance is accepted by the Universe.” Bleah!!

My horoscope says to let my inner child speak today. I know better. She is a brat. In fact, she may be an indwelling demon. Here is what she would like to say: “To all of y’all who’ve published before you’d written twenty books and paid the dues over and over like Some People We Know: I hate you all. Drop dead. Get lice. Why are YOU more worthy? At least you deserve toenail fungus. Or a good case of psoriasis. *flinging my projectile leprosy out the window towards all of them collectively*” See? Some inner children are better kept chained in the attic.

*sigh*

But anyway, another casual rejection today for Camille. This agent understood the book, at least, saying that she appreciated that I didn’t try to romanticize or whitewash the plight of runaways, but of course concluding that she didn’t fall in love with Camille’s voice the way she’d wanted to. Meaning that Camille either seemed not likable enough or seemed to feel sorry for herself or was acting out because of the abuse or whatnot. I know that she sometimes acts younger than she is and sometimes older than she is . . . but if you have ever lived with or around a sixteen-year-old, you know that this is realistic. I’m tempted to steal $1200 and take XLibris up on its offer: they’ll publish your book POD and give you one of the $2400 publishing “packages” if you’ll do it within the next ten days. I get this offer now and then by e-mail. That’s probably the only way that book is going to get into print. Where can I steal $1200? Hubby is watching the savings and E*Trade accounts now, so no go there.

I think the mysteries are still my only/best bet. I’ve tried to make myself work on the second Ari novel–the one that would be the sequel to the Marfa Lights novel–but am still having problems with those phone calls in the opening. That has to work out right, or else it’s an immediate turnoff. But they have to be there to set up a lot of plot stuff.

I should work on that, but it’s 72 degrees and sunny outside. . . .

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Author: shalanna

Shalanna: rhymes with "Madonna" and "I wanna," and is not a soundalike with "Hosanna" or "Sha-Na-Na." Aging hippie with long hair, husband, elderly mother, and yappy Pomeranian. I've been writing since I could hold a crayon. I started with fiction, which Mama said was "lying." “Don’t tell stories,” she would admonish, in Southern vernacular. “That's all in your imagination!” When grownups said this, they were not approving. So, shamed, I stopped telling stories for a few years--rather, I stopped letting anyone read them. I'm married to a fellow computer nerd who doesn't really like hearing about writing, but who reads sf/fantasy and understands the creative drive. I'm actually a nonconformist/hippie still wearing bluejeans and drop earrings and the Alice-in-Wonderland hair with headbands and sandals. Favorite flavor is chocolate/orange, favorite color is either Dreamsicle orange (cantaloupe) or bubble-gum pink, favorite musical is either Bye Bye Birdie, Rocky Horror, or The Producers . . . wait, I also love The Music Man. Is this getting way too specific and irrelevant yet? Obvious why I don't sell a ton of flash fiction, isn't it? To define oneself, I always say, it is good to make a list. How about a booklist? Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth, Cheaper by the Dozen C.S.Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (all the Narnia books) J.R.R.Tolkien,The Hobbit/LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy Gail Godwin, The Odd Woman F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby J. D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye (before dismissing it, actually read it) George Orwell, 1984 Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle Donna Tartt, The Secret History Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn James Allen, As A Man Thinketh Mark Winegardner, Elvis Presley Boulevard James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum Winnie-the-Pooh/House at Pooh Corner, A. A. Milne Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie The KJV and NIV Bible (each translation has its glories)

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