Friday Morning FYI – 2/2/2018

Welcome to your Friday Morning FYI (I’m-in-Sao-Paolo-Brazil-recovering-from-a-beef-hangover edition) – my chance to share observations/wisdom/rants in short, easily consumed form.

Last week, I FYI-ed my writer chums about being patient with revisions, relaying how it’s taken me nearly a year to revise my latest book. A friend reached out and recommended I take that post down because “You shouldn’t post about your writing or revision process. Agents are going to reject you if they read that and think you do things you shouldn’t.” If you’ll indulge me (if not, close the tab now) I’d like to address that concern.

First, no matter how much some perpetuate the myth, agents aren’t heartless monsters combing the interwebz for reasons to reject you when you eventually query them. Nuff said.

Second, I don’t plan to take a year revising any book I’ll write going forward. For the two books I queried before my current novel, I made mistakes in both the writing and the revising (and so, subsequently, the querying). Taking extra time with book three allowed me to identify where I’d gone wrong process-wise with the first two. What I learned will prevent me from now making certain mistakes in the first place, and write/revise smarter and more efficiently.

Last, writers should blog/tweet/whatever about their experiences, because we can all learn something from each other. We’re all students and teachers in this mad escapade of trying to line up 100K words in a pleasing order. Play nice and share.

Oh yeah, I need an FYI. Hmm. Maybe this… :

Don’t be afraid of agents, grow beyond your mistakes, share what you know.

That’ll do.

 

Thanks for reading,

{RDj}

Friday Morning FYI – 1/26/2018

Welcome to your Friday Morning FYI – my chance to share observations/wisdom/rants in short, easily consumed form.

I’m not generally one for broad catch phrases, but ‘It’ll be done when it’s done’ is one I like. As both a writer and trainer, I see a lot of impatience. Writers make up deadlines for finishing revisions, folks think they can be trained to an expert level on something in a day, etc. Were I not such a well-rounded human, it would be upsetting.

Still, I feel for those who impose unrealistic deadlines, writers in particular. I know how stressful that can be, because I used to do it. I wrote a book a year for three years straight. Queried the first two way before I should have, because I declared them done before they were, and because ‘I had to’ according to some dates I’d made up. I finished the first draft for the third in late 2016, and still haven’t sent it out wide. Some will call that dragging my feet, but I’ve worked on the book the whole time, doing everything I can to make it great rather than rushing it out the door at ‘good enough’ just to get rejected because it wasn’t.

And it’s so much better than it was a year ago, or six months ago, or three.

That leads us to this week’s FYI:

Sure, deciding to finish a first draft in six months is a good idea (here’s another phrase: ‘Just finish it’), but first drafts are normally a mess anyway. Revising your novel (one more: ‘Writing is re-writing’) will take much longer. Accept that.

You aren’t going to take your book from mess to awesome after one beta reader and a couple weeks of edits. You’re not.

No, you don’t have to query in February, or any other month for that matter. That’s in your head.

No, you shouldn’t pitch your book if you finished the first draft a month ago. Or two. Or probably three.

Don’t be so hard on yourself, and don’t rush (last one: ‘A writer’s worst enemy is impatience’). If you’re story is badass, agents and editors will love it when it’s razor sharp. Don’t risk them passing it over when it’s butter knife dull.

Huh, I guess I like catch phrases more than I thought.

 

Thanks for reading,

{RDj}

Quick (yeah, sure) thoughts on round 1 of #QueryKombat 2017

I’m participating in #QueryKombat this year. If you’re not familiar, Query Kombat is an annual competition run by this writer and this writer and this writer, where you submit your query and the first 250 words of your novel. For the first round, 64 selected Kombatants are paired off to go one-on-one (shout out to O.C. Shaw, who is a friendly and gracious writer whose book I want in my life). Judges read your entries, offer constructive criticism, and declare a victor. Get enough votes and you move on to the Agent Round where literary agents review your entry and decide if they want to ask for more pages, and then round 2. Entries can be updated before the agents get to see it.
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