Friday, May 30, 2014

Why won't they publish me?!

The eighth in our series of harsh truths…

#8      Publishers don’t like new writers

It’s the truth. They don’t.

From a business standpoint, it makes logical sense. Why risk your time and money on someone unproven when you can publish the work of someone who’s already popular?

For big publishing houses, it’s not often worth it for them to take that risk.

It makes more sense for them to seek out well established authors, those who already have a solid fan-base, and help them to build off it. This also gives the publishing house a better name, because they’ve published the work of a more well-known author.


For smaller publishing houses, it’s often worth it to publish a few (or even several) newer authors in a year. It helps get their name out in a way that’s more appealing to the small house.

So there is a chance, even if you’ve never been published. I promise, there is. It’s just smaller than you’d like to think.

Whatever houses you end up sending your manuscript to, you're going to get rejections. Especially if you're new, if you don't have an editor or an agent, and if it's the first thing you've ever written.

But don't give up! There's always self-publishing, which I'll discuss next week. 

And a little shameless plugging:

My friends over at RAD Writing (you remember them: the editing people!) are going to publish my next book! They’re just starting out, so they’ll only be publishing the one book in the next year, but after that they will publish far more than that.

AND they will cater almost exclusively to new authors.

But I’ll give you more info on that later. :)

For now, have a lovely weekend, and remember not to give up on sending your work out to publishers. There’s definitely someone out there for you!


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Guns Shoot.

All right. I promised I'd talk about this, and I've no idea how long it's been since then.

So without further adieu: how to avoid over-description.

Essentially, what you want to do is describe as much as you, the writer, need to know to move the story forward. There's a saying that goes "don't put the gun on the shelf unless someone's going to shoot it" (or something along those lines), and it's actually the basis for this blog.

Over describers, keep in mind that your readers don't need to know what everything looks like at every possible moment. 

So, if you're going to use it, if a character is going to stand beside it or fiddle with it or even look at it, you'll need to describe it. If it's a setting you're describing, you can get less and less with details as time goes on, because your readers should remember everything.

The point here is to not get too repetitive.

Don't describe the same things over and over again, because it gets very boring. Describe enough that your readers can fill in the blanks and decide for themselves what everything looks like.

Yes, I'll admit, this is difficult to do your first time around. But the beauty is that you have the lesser of two evils.

All you have to do is go back through and cut cut cut while you're editing! (but save your original draft, to avoid too much heartbreak)

I'm like you: I'm an overdescriber. All I do is go back in and cut as much as I possibly can while still maintaining the essence of the story. After all, the story is the important part. Settings get stronger the more you write in them. :)

Still having trouble? Try reading anything by Tolkien, and removing about a third of his descriptive sentences. He's very well known as an overwriter.

But if you're an under describer, that probably doesn't help you.

So next week (I promise I'll actually do it this time) I'll discuss the troubles with under-description, and how best to solve your the issue.


Friday, May 23, 2014

Courage, Dear Heart

Friday's series continues with…

7.      Discouragement 


There’s a lot of this going around these days, and it saddens my heart (yes, I just said that). For a lot of writers, it’s so discouraging to receive a rejection letter that they give up and never try again.

And that simply shouldn’t be the case.

  • Yes. It will be difficult to find your niche and build your audience.
  • Yes. It will be challenging to write a piece that everyone seems to love.
  • Yes. It will be discouraging when the piece you think is perfect gets three rejections.

But the point is, you can’t just give up after a rejection.

Keep your head up high, and send your work somewhere else.

[An aside for New Mexicans: market to New Mexico. There aren’t many places in the United States that are like this, but most New Mexicans want New Mexicans to succeed. We cater to the little people, all the time. Use that to your advantage. Go out and talk to people. Make yourself known]

As for the rest of you, the web is probably your greatest tool. Use those people skills, and get your friends talking about your writing. It’ll grow from there, if you can keep it up.

I know for a fact that each of you has an amazing story in you. It just needs to be cultivated and allowed to grow to its fullest potential.
(And hey, I can help with that. If you’re having trouble, send me a message and I’ll see if I can help!)

In essence, yes, writing can be very discouraging. Everyone gets rejected. Everyone’s work gets ripped up by editors and negatively reviewed by the pros.

But in the end, you just have to keep going.

At the very least, I believe in you. And I’m sure there are others who do, too.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

You don't know Jack

The wait is over! 

As I told you on Monday, today's post is something very near and dear to my heart. It's a short story I started working on a very long time ago, and one that's become my pet project, a work that I'm fairly certain will never be complete. 

It's called "a letter From Hell." 

But I promised you an extra surprise, didn't I? 

Don’t worry, I didn’t forget.

Below, you’ll find the first edition, the very beginning to my fascination with Jack the Ripper. It all began with a character named John Druitt, in the television series Sanctuary. The character caught my eye, and I had to know more. 

If you know much about the Ripper, you'll know right away where my title came from. The image to the left is the original "from hell" letter, supposedly written by the Ripper himself, and for what my piece was named. 

This version is the very first thing that I came up with, the beginning in a long line of letter-themed stories, stylized to be reminiscent of the original Jack the Ripper letters, but written by a character I created to answer the question, “Who was the Ripper?”

I hope that you enjoy this piece as much as I do.

The full version was originally slated for publication this year, but as I said, it’s very near and dear to my heart.

This may be the only version that ever reaches your eyes.


a letter From Hell

Friday 9 November 1888

Some say my name is John Druitt, but others call me Jack.
I’ve killed many women in my day. More than they believe.

I kiss them on the lips. Every single one I kiss, I kill. Our tongues dance across each other for several long seconds before hers suddenly jerks away—but I always knew it was coming. After all, I made it happen. I watch their eyes slide down my arm to the knife in my hand, widening in fear seconds before I slice into their throats.

They deserve it.

I can still feel their blood on my hands, splashing onto my face and getting in my mouth. The metallic taste of blood is not one I’ll soon forget. I still love that flavor. I savor it deeply.
When I close my eyes I still see them dying by my hand, and it makes me smile. I cannot help but wish that I could go back and kill them all again. Even now as I write I feel the urge to kill again. I want to feel blood on my skin—the blood of a whore.

You want to know how I do it? I’ll tell you.

I’ll tell you about one of my favorites. She called herself Catherine Eddowes. I kissed her fully and completely before I killed her—I even thought long and hard about making love to her before I did it, but I knew I shouldn’t. I knew it would cause problems when it came time to kill her.
She was a good kisser, that one.
I could have loved her so easily.
But I digress.

After I kissed her, I killed her. I pierced her skin with the blade of my knife, rejoicing as the taste of blood spattered into my mouth, as the look of pain grew on her face. I remember the look on her face when she finally lost her life, and I hate it. She looked so angry with me. But I was only doing what I had to do.
She shouldn’t have been so angry with me.
Just for that, I took her face off. I used my knife and my bare hands to claw the flesh away from her bones, glad when her face was too far gone for anyone to recognize.
I never wanted anyone to recognize her.
She shouldn’t have hated me.

That’s why I kept a part of her—that way no one will ever love her.

It makes me laugh, you know.
Yesterday, I walked outside my home. I saw one of them on the street—one of those fools who thought they could catch me.
You can’t catch me.
You can never catch the killer. The Ripper.
I watched the detective walk along the street to the station, and I laughed because he looked me in the eye. He looked me in the eye and he didn’t even know who I was. The whole station is looking for me, and one of them looked me in the eye and didn’t even realize it was me.
It’s always been me.
I stand outside the station every day, and they never know it’s me. They never even consider me.

You want to know my secret?

Here it is: My name’s not John. It’s not Jack. It’s not Montague or Aaron or Michael.
They’re not even close to knowing my name.
Maybe you should start with something like Jill.
Jack and Jill went up the hill…

The Ripper. I like that. Call me Ripper.

P.S. Maybe if you knew my disguise it would help.
I wear a top hat on the days I kill. Will that help you find me?
P.P.S. I’m not going to stop until you kill me.
P.P.P.S. You’re not going to like what’s coming.
I can’t stand it much longer. I know I’ll take my fifth tonight.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Surprise Surprise

So today I was sitting at my desk, trying to decide what I should post about, when I realized that this is my forty-ninth post.

Crazy, right?

That meme is probably true... *sigh* but at least I enjoy the blogging. It's also a good way to get words out and get the juices flowing before I start my actual writing for the day. I highly recommend it, if you ever have trouble getting in the groove.

I suppose at some point it would be a good idea to tie this in to the title.

You think?


All right. I'll throw you a bone.

Since Wednesday's post will be my fiftieth, I thought I should do something special. But to build it up, to let all of you know that you'll want to catch that post, I'm writing this:

You're going to want to read Wednesday's post.

Trust me.


I'll tell you.

Wednesday's post...


A sneak peek into one of my favorite pieces of short fiction that I've written, "letters From Hell"!

I've been working on this story for years, and it's probably my favorite thing that I've ever written (under novel length).


There will also be a little surprise within the surprise, which I'll reveal in Wednesday's post.


Don't forget to check back in a couple days!


Friday, May 16, 2014

Under Review

On this lovely Friday afternoon, when I'd much rather be outside working on my tan, I've written the next installment of things you'll need to know if you really want to be a writer.

This one's a doozy. It's something we really don't like to think about, because it brings knots to our stomachs and makes us want to crawl back in bed for the rest of our lives, and never pick up a pen and paper, much less type on a keyboard, ever again. 

Yeah, that's right. 

#6.      Getting reviewed sucks

We all know how harsh editors can be. They rip our babies apart and force new ideas into them: and that's never something we really want to do.

But (trust me on this) reviewers are even worse.

See, they're not trying to make your work better. Where editors are legitimately trying to help you, trying to make your piece the best that it can be, reviewers are just saying what they think and not really caring how you feel about their opinions.

And that's what sucks about it.

Yes, some of the reviews you get will be great. People will love your stories and they'll have nothing but positive things to say about them.

But (trust me on this, too) it won't always be that way.

There's always at least one work that people don't like. And there are always people out there who would rather bash something than say even one good thing about it.

The point here is that you'll have to be okay with this. Don't take any of those negative reviews to heart, and use what they've said when you write and edit your next books.

And don't forget, cling to the good reviews, and save them in a file somewhere. On days when you're feeling down, those are just the thing to bring you back up.

I love you all, and don't worry, I won't rip your work to shreds (unless I'm editing and I need to in order to make the work better *wink*).

Happy Friday! Enjoy your weekend!

{Rani D.}