Monday, April 17, 2006

I had an epiphany...


And not the divine type. ::g::

Editors are human, too. I’m one of those people that will agonize over a partial sent to an editor – you know, the one that you found a word missing on page fourteen, third paragraph, second sentence. DRAT! THE EDITOR WILL THINK I’M SO UNPROFESSIONAL! I have to keep telling myself that though I want the manuscript to be perfect, it’s the story that matters. And the voice helps…a lot. What does that have to do with editors being human? The last two books I’ve read I found irritating errors in them. Since I like the authors a lot and admire the large publishing houses they came from, I was surprised – more than anything that I caught them. Strangely, I took encouragement from it. I know, I’m weird. But we all keep hearing how your manuscript must be the best it can be (and it probably wasn't the author's fault -- maybe a copy editor or whoever) and when you still find errors after sending it…well, I’ve decided to keep striving for perfection, but not to sweat the small stuff when I mess up.

Published authors are human, too. I’m fortunate enough to talk almost monthly with several successful and well-known authors, and I have found they worry about the same things I do. Will the editor like my new proposal? Will I run out of ideas? Is the market changing faster than I can write that certain story? Some of us believe that once we’re published that all our problems will be solved. That every story that we write after the first book will be accepted. Only in a fantasy world! Even knowing the drawbacks, I STILL WANT TO BE PUBLISHED!

I am human, too. Though I'm not surprised. As I mentioned above, I want to be perfect, but I know that’s not possible. Yet I keep trying, personally and professionally. One of the biggies I’ve learned, is that if I keep writing and studying the craft, I will one day reach what I conceive to be a publishable level. Of course, I like to think I’m there now. Even so, I will keep working on improving, changing, bringing more of my inner-self into my writing. Inner-self? No. I don’t have a split personality -- no matter what my CPs say -- I haven’t lived a former life as a vampire or magazine mogul (check out my website to understand that). The inner-self is more to do with the emotion you show in your writing. That’s where I pull grief, happiness, apprehension, love, desire, terror, etc. and place it into my story. I want my books to give you a roller-coaster ride in emotions. That’s why I read. That’s why I write. AND I HOPE IT’S ONE HELLVA RIDE!

You're probably wondering what the picture of Stuart Townsend as Lestat had to do with what I was talking about. Really nothing. I just thought he was sexy and wanted to share. ::g:: You're welcome.

So tell me, what are some truths you’ve learned since you started writing?

6 comments:

jennifer echols said...

ROFL! You kill me, Carla! :)

Some of us believe that once we’re published that all our problems will be solved. That every story that we write after the first book will be accepted. Only in a fantasy world! Even knowing the drawbacks, I STILL WANT TO BE PUBLISHED!

I think you're absolutely right about all of this. My first book for teens is coming out in August, but there's no guarantee it will sell. I'm doing lots of legwork right now (rather than writing!) to make sure that the people who might like to read it will know it exists. My editor currently has the second teen book on my contract, but there's no guarantee she'll accept it. I'm writing a new adult romantic comedy when the first one hasn't sold yet. And so forth.

HOWEVER...it's great to be published. Every affirmation you get that your writing is good--a positive response from a critique partner, finaling in a contest, winning a contest, getting an agent, selling a novel--helps you write more, and more happily.

Paula said...

Hmm, truths I've learned since I started writing...

1) There's no easy path to publication, so stop wasting your time looking for it

2) You can't publish a half-finished novel.

3) You can't edit a blank page.

4) Chocolate is one of the four major food groups.

5) Editors can't (or won't) give you a standard formula for word count. Do the best you can.

6) Personalized, specific rejection letters are nothing to cry over. They're words of wisdom and sometimes even encouragement from an editor. You can't buy that kind of feedback. Well, unless you bid for it on Brenda Novak's auction.

7) Putting a hot hunk on a blog entry is genius. Definitely going to do that the next time it's my turn to blog. Hmm, whom to choose?

Betty said...

That there are many ways to look at the same situation and have a different reaction or perception of the event. That while it's nice to be recognized for the writing I've done, I anticipate always having another project in the works. That although the act of writing may be solitary, the world of writing is a grand, fun, hilarious world.

Carla Swafford said...

Amen on number 4, sister! And thank you for number 7, Paula. LOL! We're all dreamers here.

Jennifer, I can guarantee you that there will be several copies in the Swafford household and at HTHS.

Karen said...

Thanks for sharing - Stuart = sexy!

I've learned that it's all about what you make the reader feel. Tired, worn out plots are going to make for a bored reader. But exciting, emotional stories that make the reader ask "what happens next" - stories that won't let you put the book down without knowing how She feels, why He feels that way - that makes for a book worth reading!

Carla Swafford said...

So true, Karen. Good to see you on the Magician's blog. Hope sunny Florida is...well, sunny. ::g::