Monday, November 23, 2009

My Cup Runneth Over

be true to yourself Pictures, Images and Photos

With National Novel Writing Month nearly over, I too have been toiling away at the computer, pulling yet another story from my mind and sealing it, ink to paper. The goal of NaNo is steep, yet fulfilling in the knowledge that you too, can have a nearly complete, albeit unedited, novel in thirty days. I have no doubt I’ll finish, I never really thought I couldn’t. My problem hasn’t been writing my book(s), it’s been finishing them. With fifteen unfinished manuscripts and hundreds of thousands of saved words for future novels, I can definitely meet a writing quota.

I have two other books I’m currently working on, and I paused them both to participate in NaNo with a fresh pair of eyes, and a fresh idea. I often wonder if it’s finishing the book that stumps writers, or if it’s the fear of what happens after they finish the book. To me, that’s when the real work begins.

The process of finding and agent and publisher is daunting. The idea of someone critiquing your work and possibly slamming it is nausea-inducing. For me, writing some of my books is like pouring a portion of my soul onto paper. So, for someone to look at that slice of me and say ‘no thank you’ is enough to bring even the biggest girl to tears.

That wasn’t my problem, not really. Sure, I had rejections. Most of them were very kind, sending thought-producing feedback such as, “I don’t think I’m the right agent for this project, you might want to think about so-and-so.” That was a pill pretty easy to swallow. I understand, it's not for everyone. Okay, fine, and thank you for being professional and kind. Moving on.

However, my problem with major publishing was not that they didn’t like my work. They just wanted me to make some editorial changes. Even now, my eye twitches at the conversations. ‘Your manuscript is 111,000 words? Cut it down to about 80,000 and add more sex.’ I scoffed. ‘Your book is great, but you know what’s really great? Having two of your characters have an affair to create more conflict. Oh yeah, and sex, more sex.’ I rebuffed, “No, they can’t. It undoes an entire portion of the series. A series which took me three years to create, a five-book series for which I have over 500,000 words! And, they wouldn’t, shouldn’t and would never!”

The response?

“Make them. You’re the writer, do it.”

I fought so hard with that. Not to mention other details of the contracts, but that part alone was enough to make me turn around and walk the other way. It was one thing dealing with the confines of the contract for which I felt I was signing over my life’s blood. But, to have my work cheapened and soiled had me seeing red. Blood. Red.

It was from there B.A.S.E.D. Press was born. It’s been a long, winding, difficult road, but incredibly worth it. Why, you ask? Because my work is as it should be; whole. And, I maintained ownership of the most important part of me. My soul.

D. VonThaer: author and publisher

Tuatha and the Seven Sisters Moon




D. VonThaer conducts author interviews for Authors Promoting Authors.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

NANoWriMo - One Writer's Insights - by LIA AUTHOR Christopher S. Ledbetter

The difficulty of completing a 50,000 word novel, from scratch, in thirty days can scarcely be imagined until one steps foot upon the path of most resistance. Forging a trail barehanded through dense, thorny brush might be easier. The statistics bear this out every year. Of the tens of thousands who begin NaNoWriMo each year, only 15% - 20% ever finish.

Yet and still, every year authors worldwide embark on this perilous journey of self-discovery, at risk of estrangement from the entire outside world… Meaning, the world outside their own heads. They do it, in part, because everyone loves a challenge. Everyone loves an underdog. Everyone loves to be a part of something larger than themselves.

I have a 55-hour work week at my day job, a working wife and a two year old child. My path is strewn with obstacles, and it winds through late nights, fatigue-induced hazes, sometimes delirium. And at every turn I have been greeted by the 800 lb gorilla: self doubt.

A task of this magnitude will force realizations upon you. Chief among mine: there is nothing else I would rather be doing than climbing this literary Everest. Prose beckons me like a long-lost lover and my characters inspire me daily. Even though I am 7,000 words behind the prescribed pace, I am absolutely committed to finishing. And as for this challenging road ahead, I channel Henley:

OUT of the night that covers me,

Black as the Pit from pole to pole

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

To all my fellow NaNo Wri Mo’ers… Good Luck and Godspeed. May we all drink champagne together…See you at the finish line.

by Christopher S. Ledbetter, Author
Caenus and The Quiver of Artemis

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