Top 5 End Goals for My Novel: A Positive Writing Post

Let’s be honest. Usually when I write about writing, I’m complaining about something. Or I’m feeling like it’s never going to happen and I’m wasting my time. Or I’m struggling to find a reason to keep going. Or I’m stressing over the terrible odds in the publishing industry.

But today, I’m putting all of this aside for a more positive and uplifting writing post. I want to imagine, simply for the sake of this list, that I not only get an agent, but a book deal. So come imagine with me that my book is an actual physical book. Cool, right? These are the things I would be most excited about if my book ever becomes an actual book. Here we go!

1) Book Cover Reveal

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I want to start with “I can’t imagine seeing my cover for the first time” but I’m trying to stick with the daydream that my book is an actual book. That said, this has to be the coolest moment for writers. One of the coolest.

I don’t have any ideas for a cover. As much as I love playing around with images and texts on Adobe Spark (follow me on Instagram: @laurenseewrites), I’ve never designed a cover. Well…if you check out the “I’m Only Me” tab above, there are a few lame pics I made, but nothing I’m exactly proud of. Nothing cover-worthy.

I’m drawn to those cartoony ones, and I’d definitely be happy with one of those as opposed to a stock photo of headless people. You know the ones. However, I doubt I would have any say in this and I’ll take whatever someone wants to offer me.

But that has to be an out of body experience to see your book as a book for the first time, cover and all. What a feeling.

2) In the Wild

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And having people share pics of my book in the wild.

It’s one thing to see your book as a book, perhaps when a box of ARCs comes to your door. But to see it on a bookshelf—a bookshelf that is not your own—would be the moment it would feel real. “OMG, there it is!”

To see your book sitting on the shelf next to real life authors? I can’t. This story that was just an idea in your head has become a real life tangible thing? Magical. How do people process this? How can you see your story in person and still breathe? Continue reading

This Week in Querying…

Well, if you’re looking for good news, go to Twitter, but if you’re in search of a realistic view of a querying writer, you’re in the right place.

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I’ve been querying the same novel for a long time. Perhaps too long. But I’m not giving up on it because I still stand by it and believe that some day, maybe, possibility, it’ll happen.

In the past few days, I’ve sent new queries, and I’ve received…

  • a 638 day rejection. Yeah, you read that right. I’d written this off over a year ago. I mean, I sent the query in January of 08. As in, 2018! 18!
  • a personalized rejection on a partial request that stings more than any other. This agent is so awesome and it would’ve been a dream to work with her. And while I’m still proud of myself for getting past the querying stage, I’m beyond disappointed.
  • a form rejection received within 3 hours of sending the query

Continue reading

Finding My Story a New Home: Part 3

I got accepted!

Just kidding.

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Look. It’s been a roller coaster of emotions today. I guess I’m at the sarcastic stage.

I’ve been devastated (when I first saw the email), disappointed (when I read the email), bitter (when I vented for some comfort and found little–Thanks, Twitter), confused (when I couldn’t understand why I was rejected), resilient (when I spent four hours trying to find a new place to submit), and now sarcastic (when I realized it’s pretty hopeless and there’s nothing I can do about it).

I saw the email last night actually, but I didn’t want to open it because I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep–or teach in the morning–so I waited. I knew it was a rejection though, because it was way too soon.

Maybe I was crazy to even entertain the idea I could get in, but, you know what, I thought I had a fighting chance. I really did. And that’s why I’m going to keep fighting for this story, because I love it so much.

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As a side note, I can’t help but feel my novel will have a similar, albeit more devastating, fate as this doomed short story.

Basically, I have one long shot, an even longer shot, and a “why did you send us this” shot left. Then, I’ll… start my own magazine? I don’t know.

Posts like this one really show off my newbie status in the literary mag submission world. Rejections happen all the time. To everyone. Lots of rejections. I get that. It doesn’t make it sting any less. What would be different is if I had a list of alternative places to submit. As it is… it’s bleaker than bleak.

Part Four of this riveting series will be how I had to CUT ANOTHER 3k WORDS for these new submissions. Man, I wish I was joking. I mean, are kids incapable of reading anything longer than a tweet?! What’s with these word counts?

My brain hurts.

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To add insult to injury, my washing machine broke, so my clothes have been sitting in sudsy water all day because I just don’t want to deal with it. And I was finally hooking up a hand-me-down dvd player to an old TV I had. But it’s so old, it doesn’t even have the option of connecting anything to it, aside from a cable. So, nevermind. *sigh*

I hope tomorrow turns out better. And I hope your day was a good one. 🙂


The Saga:

Finding My Story a New Home

Finding My Story a New Home: Part 2


Thanks for spending some time here. Staying hopeful is insanely difficult. Please send me your tips. #forevergrateful

Character Collages

Author Confession: I only started an Instagram page to post my character collages. Well, those and all the other pics I’ve made on Adobe Spark.

I wanted to post all of the collages together in one place, so I can include these pics in the I’m Only Me tab above. I’ll be adding to this as I upload all the characters to Instagram. You can check out my Instagram page: @laurenseewrites

(I almost wish I hadn’t created these, so I could gush over how awesome they are without feeling conceited. 😀 ) Continue reading

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

Continue reading

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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But. Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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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Continue reading

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!