Creating Novel Aesthetics

Happy Writing Wednesday, all!

If I haven’t mentioned this before, I’m obsessed with Adobe Spark. I’ve made an unhealthy amount of pictures for I’m Only Me (and everything else I write). It’s strangely addicting, and I may have a problem. I’ll be posting my novel pics on my Instagram in the coming weeks. I have a schedule and everything. Try to contain your excitement.

Ha!

Well, I’m excited about it. I don’t know how to convey this without sounding like I’ve officially lost it. There’s something literally magical about seeing fictional characters that you’ve created come to life in a picture.

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accurate representation of me scouring Pinterest

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Surviving the Slush

Well. Not sure if I’m up for this, but I’m going to try. I have some thoughts…

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Here’s the thing. Querying is hell. It’s an absolute nightmare. So you write this novel, and you’re proud of it–the story of your heart, to throw that cliche in here. You do your research to find agents looking for your kind of story. And they’re out there. You prepare your query letter, agonizing over every word and obsessing over comma usage. Does a comma go there? Gah!

You send it out and wait to hear back. Meanwhile your inbox becomes the single scariest page on the internet.

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And… Rejection. But that’s OK. That agent was out of your league. It was a long shot. It was expected. Whatever.

Then another rejection comes. Yes, it hurts, but you press on.

This cycle continues until you’ve run out of agents, patience, or self-worth.

I know agents know this, but they have so much power. With one email, they can change lives. That’s what I’m thinking when I hit send. To the writer, you’re sending out the result of more work, heartache, and dedication than anything you’ve created in your life. But on the other end, it’s more of an ever-growing list that must be sifted through before the pile is too overwhelming. I don’t fault agents for this, and I mean no disrespect. It’s just the way it is. Reading through queries is only part of agent life. So what took you possibly years to prepare can turn to a “no, thanks” with a skim and a simple click.

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Meet Lily Morgan: 2019

About two years ago, I created some interviews for each of my characters. I’m giving these an update, simply because I know my characters even better now. I’m not sure if I will re-post them as their own blog posts, but over the next few days-weeks, you can find the updated interviews in the I’m Only Me tab above.

Starting with my MC, Lily Morgan.

1. What is your age?

26

2. Do you have any siblings?

I’m an only child, but Anna and Hunter are pretty much my sisters.

3. Are your parents alive? Are they married? Are they divorced?

My parents are still together after twenty-some years. They live in Easton, which is about six hours away.

4. If you were sent to a deserted island what three things would you take?

Let me think…nothing alive, I assume? 1) iPod loaded with all my favorite songs. 2) Power generator to keep it charged. 3) A notebook. Then again, if I had my laptop, I could combine 1 and 3. I’m not sure now. Can I come back to this one?

5. Do you have a hidden talent?

Unless you count automatically assuming the worst in most situations, then no.

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Finding My Story a New Home: Part 2

Update:

I had to cut ~3200 words from a short story to meet the word count limits of the magazine where I’m submitting.  I don’t know if you’ve ever done this, but it ain’t fun.

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It wasn’t bad at first. It was actually pretty easy. There was some questionable content that had to go, so that was at least 1k. Easy.

Then I had to start cutting lines I really like. Really, really like. I had to keep telling myself, I still have the original story saved. It’s not like it’s gone forever. And this is necessary if I want the story to have a shot. It didn’t make it any easier, but it gave me a push at least.

The last 200 words or so… absolute hell.

But I did it. My grand total is now… 5938

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Finding My Story a New Home

I’ve spent days–no, literally days–researching different literary magazines. Let me just say… whoa.

First of all, who knew there were so many? Well, probably everyone.

There are many factors to consider when you’re looking to submit your writing: print vs. online, word count limits, reading periods, reading fees, accepts reprints or not, circulation size. It’s exhausting.

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Short version:

I have three short stories I’m trying to see in print. One of them is new, so I have virtually no restrictions and many places to chose from. I sent my first attempt last week. Fingers crossed.

My second story is a reprint, but it’s average length and “literary” so I have some options here as well. Sending my first attempt this week. Fingers and toes crossed.

The third one… you have no idea. #thestruggleisreal

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My Short Story is Officially Published!

And here’s how I feel about it:

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It’s not every day you see your name in a book, let alone alongside something you wrote! I’m pretty stoked about it.

Anyway… here she is:

And if you’d like your own copy–because yours truly is in it–here’s the link:

America’s Emerging Literary Fiction Writers

My story is called “Dad’s Room” and writing it was quite an experience. In the wake of writing a different short story (one that I’m hoping to see in print at some point), I thought I’d try another one. “Dad’s Room” was what I ended up with. I wrote the first draft-of-sorts in one day. The only reason I’m sharing this is because I’m a turtle writer. My novel took years before I could say it’s finished. Maybe it’s because I had a due date for this story, I don’t know. But I cranked it out.

I thought the first version was pretty good, but a few awesome folks at Scribophile showed me the error of my ways. 🙂 So the third version is what I submitted. It’s a different tone from my normal writing. Maybe. Most of the time, I think everything I write sounds the same. (My blog posts are like a Lily-Tyler combo. It’s weird.) It’s not as funny. I’ll put it that way.

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If you end up reading my story, I hope you enjoy it. It’s such an honor to have anything I’ve written chosen for publication. Thanks to Z Publishing for the opportunity, thanks to my writing buddies for helping me fix Dad, and thanks to the other writers featured in this anthology for deciding to submit your writing–without you, there wouldn’t be a book in the first place. Congrats to you as well! You’re published! 🙂

My previous Z Publishing reaction: I Have Writing News!


Thanks for spending some time here. Have a great week!

I’m an Emerging Writer Again! Pub Credit #2

Ladies and gentlemen, I have an announcement.

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My story, “Dad’s Room,” will be published in Maryland’s Emerging Writers. This is my second pub credit and my second year in this anthology! I’m super proud of myself. This story took a lot out of me and was certainly a departure from what I usually write. Plus, it was one of those, “I don’t know where this is going” kind of stories, but apparently, I made it work.

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While my first short story acceptance remains one of the coolest moments in my life, this time is just as sweet. Speaking of, either this week or next, I’m submitting my first short story (my first pub credit) to an online magazine. I’d love to see that one in its entirety. I feel like I owe it to my MC, Seth. That’s weird, but I don’t care.

More details about the 2019 Maryland’s Emerging Writers Anthology to come!

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EDIT:

It’s here! My Short Story is Officially Published!


Thanks for spending some time here. Happy writing!

If An Agent Called Me, I Would Die

Happy Writing Wednesday! Here’s a glimpse into the insanity that is my writing life.

If you’ve spent some time here, you know I’m querying a novel. The process is so slow I’m not going to remember where I saved the document if an agent requests it. Know what I mean?

I get that agents are busy, but since I’ve been stalking querytracker.net like it’s my job, there’s one agent I submitted to with an average of 100 days to respond to a query. Um.

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I’ve been pretty lucky so far with my wait time. And although rejections sting, it’s nice to get it over with. For the sake of my pride, I’ve decided not to share my exact numbers with you, but when something worth sharing happens, I’ll be sure to post it. I will say, my first rejection this round hurt like hell, but they’ve gotten so much easier. #thebrightsideofrejection

I have a problem I’m trying to convince myself is not a problem. My book is too normal. When I started it, #ownvoices wasn’t a thing. At least it didn’t have hashtag. But now that’s all you see. My cast isn’t the most diverse–because the setting isn’t. It’s a small town, not NYC. And no one has any defining disability or anything. Had I known when I started writing this that I would try to get it published, I would’ve thrown something in there. But that’s the thing. I feel like so much media now is just checking off boxes. Like, let’s see, Asian? Check. Interracial couple? Check. Homosexual? Check. Anxiety disorder? Check. #forshame

The other problem I may have is the heat level. I mean, it’s probably PG-13 at the most. Sexy time scenes are not in my arsenal. I know there are agents out there who would like my book, but I don’t know where they are! I just wish I could send them a collection of Matt Bomer gifs, and say, “By the way, this is Mark Peterson.”

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Wait. What was I doing? I’ve been looking at gifs for the past 20 minutes. Continue reading

Writing a Story After a Long Break

2/25/19

I’m writing again! Woot!

And let me tell you, I forgot how hard it is to write a story. Wowzers. Yesterday, I had a brainstorm and came up with an idea. I had a beginning and an end. Everything in the middle was a giant, crushing question mark, but since I had my last sentence, I was committed.

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This is the first story I’ve ever written that I’ve known the ending ahead of time. And it’s so much easier that way. Man, I wish I would’ve known the ending of my novel when I started it. That would’ve saved me so much time and heartache. Continue reading

The Query Queazies

On this wonderful Writing Wednesday, I’d like to document the following:

I sent two queries today.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to vomit.

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Coming Soon: Part 2 — The Indomitable Inbox


Thanks for spending some time here. #dreambig #makeithappen