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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Young Adult Fantasy Author Tamora Pierce


Hello Fellow Writers!

Yesterday I didn't get to sit down to write until after 9pm. DH and I had gone to look for a new (used) car since the old one crapped out on us. This took all night and was fruitless. Now we have to go again on Saturday, when all I really wanted to do on Saturday was go see "New Moon" from the Twilight series! I was so tempted to just go to sleep, but I decided to sit down and just "check in" with my WIP, figuring I'd just write for fifteen minutes and then call it a day. I surprised myself by getting a renewed burst of energy and writing 2,000 words, bringing my word count up to 35,500.

The moral of the story is to write every day.

This is the third week of NaNoWriMo, and this morning my inbox contained a pep talk from YA fantasy author Tamora Pierce. She has so much good advice on her website, including this tidbit about rejection that I actually found even more inspiring than the pep talk.

If an agent or publishing person turns you down, it may have nothing to do with your writing, and everything to do with what that person likes and doesn't like. If they comment on your work, read it carefully and think about it, sifting out what's useful and what isn't.

Don't let a turn-down discourage you. If you think a re-write is needed, then re-write, but be sane about it. I rewrite twice, then send things out, and I keep sending them out while I work on something new. Many times the thing that makes the difference between someone with talent who gets published and someone with talent who doesn't is the fact that the one who got published kept sending her/his work out, while the other gave up after one turn-down, or two, or three. Tom Clancy, I believe, went to more than 15 publishers before the Naval Institute Press agreed to publish his first book, Hunt for the Red October, which then became a best-seller. Jerzy Kozinski, a prize-winning writer, took his first big book, that won him many awards, changed the writer's name on it, and sent it to 19 publishers before someone thought it was worth publishing. J.K. Rowling was turned down by quite a few British publishers before Bloomsbury, a relatively small house (well, it was then) took a chance on her.

That said, here's her pep talk for NaNoWriMo:

Okay, NaNoWriMo folks, let me guess.

Right now a lot of you are doing the same thing I'm doing, staring at this piece of screen in order to put off actually writing, because at this moment in time the writing is decidedly starting to suck. You are stuck; worse, you're bored. You're thinking you were bounced repeatedly on your head when you were small and easy to bounce. You're thinking you have no talent.

So am I. The chief difference between us, probably, is that I've been at this for a long time and I know where to go for help. I know I can throw in a new character and get more content from the way the old ones react to the new one. Who becomes friends; who becomes rivals? Who's lousy with babies when the newcomer is a baby? Who can't deal with people who live a non-standard lifestyle?

Have something happen: the power goes out; there's a car accident; there's a flood; there's a war; there's an epidemic. All kinds of new problems and new heroes arise, often the last people you expected to be heroic. Set characters in motion, even if it's just to higher ground. You learn something, you can tell us something, by how people deal with with something that requires them to assemble themselves and move from their comfort zone.

Talk it out with someone you trust, someone who shares your tastes. You may not like their ideas, but something they say may spark the idea that will work for you.

Go for a walk. Watch a TV show. Have a nice cup of something soothing. Then throw any old thing at the page. Don't worry if it's any good or not. Don't back up and cut. Don't rewrite. Just throw whatever comes to mind at the page. The idea is to finish, remember? You have a whole different month for that. ;-)

These times are a colossal pain, there is no denying it. In desperation, I will time my breaks. Twenty minutes to read, and I'm back to the desk, to turn out a page, or two. Another twenty minutes break, then back for that page or two. Sooner or later my characters will get out of the wagon or off the ship, and they'll start doing things again.

Just keep after it. Think of how proud of yourselves you'll be once you have that novel-length manuscript in your hand! There is nothing like it, nothing like knowing you have finished something of that length.

Go for it!

Tammy

You can learn more about Tamora Pierce's writing here.


The funny thing is, and please don't shoot me for saying this - I'm not exactly having a hard time writing my novel for NaNoWriMo. Maybe it's because I exercise my writing muscles daily meeting my "Writer's Challenge" of writing 1000 words a day - so writing the 2000 words a day that I need to finish my category romance in a month hasn't been at all crazy. It's a first draft to be sure, but I'm enjoying writing it.

Today I will bring my word count up to 37,500 (or maybe even 38,000). I'm also meeting two of the women from my writing class at the Barnes and Noble to talk shop.

Wish me luck, and good luck to you too!
Yours Truly,
Shana Brodsky

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