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
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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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But. Continue reading

Extremely Impractical Writing Advice

I will flat out tell you that I’m not a writer to emulate. Granted, I think I’ve shared a few worthy tips throughout this blog. But as far as my own process, I’d never suggest it. (I’ve been working on the same WIP for 10+ years and have only written two short stories in the meantime. #goals) Thing is, it has worked for me. That’s what I tell myself.

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Previous Writing Advice Some May Deem Impractical:

-don’t set word count goals. ever.

-don’t set writing goals

-stay far away from NaNoWriMo

-don’t write when you don’t feel like it

-adverbs are absolutely necessary

-never give up on a project

Which leads me to my most impractical writing advice to date.

There is no such thing as spending too long on a single project.

 

If you’re already saying, “Yes, there is” hear me out. Continue reading

Don’t Like NaNoWriMo? Try LaNoRevMo!

November 6, 2018

Last year around this time, I posted about how I don’t understand NaNoWriMo or why anyone would put themselves through such a masochistic exercise. And while I still feel this way, I’ve decided to use the writing buzz in the online air to my advantage.

As you know, the writer in me has been in hiding, and it’s been difficult to coax her out. But lately, I’ve been feeling inspired, namely because of everyone talking about writing, and word counts, and outlining, and coffee shop sitting, etc. So, I made up my own little exercise for this month.

Presenting: LaNoRevMo

which obviously stands for Lauren’s November Revision Month.

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While everyone else is writing, I’ll be deleting, rearranging, and condensing. I’m giving my novel an overhaul, in a last ditch effort to make it into something worthy of an agent’s eyes. I’ve already started this process, and I’ve made some headway. Continue reading

Writing Wishes, Not Writing Goals

Hello, writers! A writing post? But it’s not Wednesday. Yes, I’m aware. I’m late, as usual.

I’m back with another unpopular opinion that I’m currently embracing. Much like the “don’t write when you don’t want to” mentality, this topic might be seen as horribly unproductive advice. But hear me out.

As the title suggests, I’ve decided to have writing wishes this month. No goals for me. Nope. Maybe it’s self preservation. I’m not sure.

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The problem with goals is that they come with overwhelming feelings of failure when you don’t meet them. You start the month with these grandiose ideas of all the writing you’re going to do, knocking out the revisions you’ve been putting off, diving back into the Twitterness of it all. But the first week goes by. Then the second. And when you hit day 15 or thereabouts, you think, well, I can’t start now. I’ll try again next month. You failed. (This may have something to do with the lack of a panic monster in this situation. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Go here –>Procrastination Explained. But not (perfectly) solved.)

But imagine if you had made wishes instead. If you fail to make a wish come true, well, that’s to be expected, right? It’s not a failure at all, and you can approach the next month without feeling like you’re an unsuccessful, lazy wannabe. And just think. If you do happen to finish a writing wish, then you, my friend, are doing amazingly well this month. Wishes rarely come true, after all.

Not sure if I’ve lost you yet. It all makes sense to me.  Continue reading

Bringing My Inner Writer Back to Life

Yes, I’ve talked about this before. Many times. But guess what? She’s still dead, so here we go.

Back in April, my Writer Self and I parted ways. It was amicable. But now that we’ve had some time apart, I think it’s time we get back together. She doesn’t know this yet.

Listen. We used to be a pretty good team. We wrote an entire novel together! It was beautiful! And honestly, I miss that creative drive that used to keep me occupied for hours on end.

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It’s simple. I was feeling stuck. I wasn’t writing anything new. No ideas. I was stuck with my novel. I felt like I was running out of agents to query. I was questioning whether my story was any good. It’s only natural to doubt your story’s awesomeness–and your own awesomeness–when you are unsuccessfully querying agent after agent. So I stopped querying.

And I put that entire writing part of my being to the side. I stopped posting on Twitter. I stopped writing blog posts about writing. I took a hiatus from my online writing group at Scribophile. Aside from my kitty litter duties, I don’t spend much time in the room I designated for writing. And I feel as if I’m no better or worse off than I was. What exactly did taking a break accomplish? I don’t feel rejuvenated. I don’t have a handful of new story ideas to crank out. I just have me. Just the same.

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When July came, I had an opportunity to send in a story for consideration in an anthology, a story that I have loved and that I’m pretty proud to put my name on. And by some miracle I haven’t wrapped my brain around, my story was accepted. I’m in an anthology.

If somewhere were looking for a reason to start writing again, getting published would certainly help. I believe it has done the trick. Sort of a delayed reaction, but I’ll take it.

I’ve decided–as I’m typing the words, actually–when September arrives, I’m getting back to it. I’m going to tweet for the hashtag games, assuming they still exist. I’m going to like and retweet. I miss that! I’m going to write more Writing Wednesday posts. About what? Uh, I’ll figure it out. I’m going back to Scribophile and reunite with some pretty awesome gals.

Will I write something new? I can’t say. That seems unrealistic to me. At this point anyway.

But here’s the biggie. I hesitate to type this because then I’ll be held accountable…by the 1-2 people who may read this post.

I’m going back to my novel, read it for the 187th time, and edit the entire thing. Maybe the 98th revision is the best. Time does wonders for edits. Perhaps I’ll be able to address some things I didn’t want to see before.

Then, I’m going to query. Maybe by the time I finish the latest edit, there will be some new agents looking for manuscripts. 🙂

I just can’t let it go.

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To anyone out there who may be reading this, if you still believe in whatever it is that you’ve created, don’t let it go. How would your characters feel if you decided to kill all of them off? That may not be the most sane way to approach this. Point is, if it means anything to you, keep at it. Patience. Lots of patience.

If you’re in a similar situation and you came here for some writing advice, I suggest making some goals. Weekly. Don’t think, “I have to edit x number of pages.” Give yourself a reasonable chunk daily/weekly. Heck, monthly. Go crazy. But set some goals and stick to them. Write them down. Tell other people. This isn’t a new strategy by any means, but I think it could be pretty effective in your writing life. Good luck.

Until next time.

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Time for a shameless self-promotion! If I don’t, no one else will. 🙂

Maryland’s Emerging Writers: An Anthology is officially out in the world! And although it still seems unreal, my name is listed in the table of contents. My story is in there, people! Page 54! (Well, part of it. They had an insanely small word count. And I babble like I’ve got all day.)

So if you’re looking for a great gift idea, look no further! Birthdays, weddings, bar mitzvahs, baby showers! Donate one to your local library. Add one to your own collection. This is why I could never be a salesman.

In all seriousness, if you’d like to purchase one of these books, that would be so very appreciated and humbling. Then let me know, so I can send you a thank you card. No joke.

Click here:

Maryland's Emerging Writers: An Anthology


Thanks for spending some time here. Happy writing, all!

Writing Exercise – Character Playlist #2: Lily

Time for another character playlist. As before, I’ll post the list with a few video samples and give you the link for the Spotify playlist if you’re on Lily’s wavelength. Music pun. And a bad one at that. Sometimes I can’t help myself.

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Since Lily tends to dwell in the past, it’s only fitting her music preferences would be from another time.

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What’s all this about anyway? Start here: “What’s on Your Characters’ iPod?” A Writing Exercise

Here’s Tyler’s: Writing Exercise – Character Playlist #1: Tyler


Lily’s Playlist

“The Classic Rocker”

1) “Let It Be” The Beatles
2) “Comfortably Numb” Pink Floyd
3)

Continue reading

Writing Exercise – Character Playlist #1: Tyler

If you missed my suggestion about creating playlists, start here: “What’s on Your Characters’ iPod?” A Writing Exercise. I’ll just wait for you…

Now that you’re up to speed, let’s continue.

So, I’ve chosen Tyler to start with, because he’s definitely the easiest. Two words: Bob Dylan. And some Pink Floyd too, but Bob Dylan.

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I wanted to also expand my explanation for the reason behind this exercise. Not only does creating a playlist help to round out your character, but it also serves as inspiration for writing any scene that character is in. Listening to what your character would be listening to is highly recommended either before or during your writing time. Or both! Since I have a hard time writing with music on (other than instrumentals), I would actually mostly listen after, in the editing process. While I would read the scenes back, I’d have whatever music on, and it just helps to get in the right space. I don’t know how else to explain it, but you should definitely give it a try.

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“What’s on Your Characters’ iPod?” A Writing Exercise

If you’ve spent any time here, you know music is my absolute favorite part of life. While the blog is ultimately dedicated to writing related topics, if and when I’m able to combine writing AND music, you bet I will.

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I’ve made a soundtrack to my novel. If you haven’t done this, what are you waiting for? My novel tends to play like a movie in my head when I read it. So it only made sense the scenes would have accompanying music. You can listen to the soundtrack and check out my other novel related posts in the I’m Only Me tab above.

I’m getting to the point, promise. So I decided, why not take this one step further? I have a novel soundtrack, but what about a character soundtrack? Think of it like, What Would Be on your Characters’ iPod?

You may be thinking, who cares? Well, you should, for one. You can learn a lot about a person based on the music they listen to–I truly believe that. And it’s no different for your characters. There are always exceptions, (me, for example) but take a moment and picture this: someone who listens to Five Finger Death Punch, Slipknot, and Mudvayne. Now picture someone who listens to Taylor Swift, One Direction, and Ed Sheeran. They’re most likely pretty different, no? I’m not trying to stereotype people, but the audience at a Beyonce concert would look nothing like a Manson one, know what I mean?

Whether you’re just meeting some new characters, wanting to dive deeper into your current characters, or you just miss your old characters and will find any excuse to hang out with them again, you should try this!

Continue reading

Writer Resources: “Writing Excuses”

I’ve bookmarked more websites than I realized in the 5+ years I’ve owned this laptop. I have quite a collection of writing resources I’ve saved, and I came across one I’d forgotten: Writing Excuses.

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If you don’t know, Writing Excuses is a weekly podcast made up of a panel of authors: Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Howard Taylor, Mary Robinette Kowal, among others. The tagline of their show is “Fifteen minutes long, because you’re in a hurry, and we’re not that smart.” Love it.

Each podcast is devoted to a certain writing related topic, and there are twelve seasons worth of material if you feel like diving in. Although short, they give you valuable information. They know what they’re talking about. And they’re fun to listen to, because the authors are so comfortable with one another. That makes all the difference if you’ve ever listened to panel discussions.

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