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From the brain to the bookstore

From the brain to the bookstore.

March 20, 2014

When it comes to getting a book published, it isn’t as easy as some may thing. Wait. Let me rephrase that. There are certain ways you can get published literally today. But I’m not going to go into that, because that’s not the avenue I’m currently pursuing, and it’s not the avenue many of the writers I talk to are looking at, either. Technically speaking, you can self-publish through Amazon or any other of a handful of self-publishing services and be published today, but that doesn’t necessarily get your book on the shelves of Barnes & Noble. What I’m talking about is what’s called in the writing world the “traditional” publishing process. A lot has changed about publishing in the last few decades, the self-publishing trend being the most recent. Beyond that, there’s been the move away from contacting publishers directly, the different and varying works popular today, and what kind of relationship you’re expected to have with the people […]


The emotional roller coaster of querying literary agents.

March 18, 2014

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ve probably heard me talk about getting a literary agent. You’ve also probably heard me talking about how hard it can be to get one, and about how often writers (including myself) get rejected. Let me remind you–agents literally read hundreds of query letters a week. If it isn’t something they absolutely, whole-heartedly want to represent, they’re going to pass on it. It’s harsh, but it’s true. Additionally, the whole querying process is a bit of an emotional endurance test for writers. There are three–yes three points in the process where an agent is likely to reject your work. Let’s just cover what a querying process looks like… First, you write a book. Seriously, a whole book. Don’t bother querying agents until the book is completely finished. They’ll ignore a query letter if you say the book is incomplete, and they’ll be pretty upset with you if they find out further down the line. […]


7 stages of rewriting a novel.

February 28, 2014

I have an announcement to make: I just finished (re)writing Martyrs (again)! I started rewriting the book a few months ago, and due to a few factors–one being work and another being that even rewriting a book is hard fucking work–I didn’t manage to finish when I’d hoped I’d be able to finish. C’est la vie. As it stands, I’ve done enough rewriting to recognize that there are distinct “stages” in the process. One: The Decisive Stage. The first and one of the most uncomfortable stages of rewriting is deciding you need to rewrite. I knew I had to do a rewrite for a while, but I didn’t “decide” to do one until about two weeks before I started, mostly because the idea of rewriting a 100,000 word novel is borderline terrifying. Usually, the Decisive Stage comes about because of a big revelation about your writing or a massive scene change that requires a rewrite and more or less takes […]


The importance of being coachable.

January 24, 2014

There are a lot of really important traits for a writer to have. I expressed a few of them in the article I wrote about how artists are like athletes: talent, passion, a thick skin, and the ability to work hard. But there’s one thing that I didn’t include on the list. I didn’t include it because I didn’t think about it until later, but in retrospect, it’s such a big deal it totally merits its own article anyway. In order to be a really, truly good writer, you absolutely need to be coachable. Yes, writing is, for all intents and purposes, not a “team sport.” You aren’t working with other writers to create a finished product. You are working by yourself, sometimes for yourself, so that whole “coachable” thing may seem like it’s not all that important. The fact of the matter is, though, if you aren’t willing to be taught, if you aren’t willing to take what others […]


The shitty first draft.

January 3, 2014

Years ago, my cousin/critique partner sent me this quote: “I know some very great writers, writers you love who write beautifully and have made a great deal of money, and not one of them sits down routinely feeling wildly enthusiastic and confident. Not one of them writes elegant first drafts. All right, one of them does, but we do not like her very much. We do not think that she has a rich inner life or that God likes her or can even stand her. Although when I mentioned this to my priest friend Tom, he said you can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” Then she said, “You’re that one who writes elegant first drafts. But I don’t hate you.” Or something like that. Whatever. It was one of those hilarious and endearing compliment/insults that you choose to take as a compliment because […]

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