Tag Archives: feedback

Feedback

23 Jan

….is food for the writer. It even has the word ‘feed’ in it. As a writer/author feedback is very important for your growth, but also for the growth of your story. Every draft you write takes you closer to the version that it was meant to be in the first place. It’s like creating a sculpture out of lifeless lump of clay. You can see what it’s supposed to be, and it will take a while to get it there.

After almost two years of being swallowed up by my new work, querying has taken a backseat. But now that I feel like I’ve got the hang of that thing we call Real Life, I’m back in the game. As I’m still querying the first novel in my cosy mystery, I’m already working on the second. At first I thought that was pointless, because I haven’t even published my first novel yet. I have the luxury, however, of being able to work on multiple stories, so it’s not like I can’t query more novels as a plan B. Also, I let a very critical friend read it and her boyfriend heard about the story and wanted to read it too. Now they’re both hooked and he kept asking me when I’d write the second novel. If that isn’t motivational, I don’t know what is. I also considered it a good exercise of my writing muscles without the pressure of knowing I want an agent to look at it. So I put finger to keyboard and mind to page and here I am…I have a murder in a hotel, an emotional mystery writer, and a love interest who is getting closer to making his move. Yay, the excitement.

What’s even more exciting is the feedback. I mean, after not playing with my characters for a while, it’s nice to know I still got it. And hearing that it’s well-written and just drags you in is just the thing you need to hear. Not just as an ego boost but also because it’s important to know when you’re on the right track. That’s equally important to knowing you’re not. Also, because my beta readers are impatient, I send them a few chapters each time so when they pick up on an inconsistency, I can immediately change it. I’m still going to let more beta readers ravage it, but only after I’m done. In the meantime I’m so happy to reconnect to my characters and let them grow even more.

More murders, more fun. Wait, that sounded psycho. I really must be a writer, then.

The 2015 Plan

30 Sep

Okay, this might sound more exciting than it really is, but if I call it less than a plan, I probably won’t do it. I even wrote this down in my notebooks so you KNOW I’m serious.

Maybe you’ll recognise this, but I’ve got a list of stories. *clears throat* One bloomed in my mind during my MA in Creative Writing when I had to write the beginnings of a story and it had to be literary fiction. It’s not really my thing, but a story of a young girl with multiple personality disorder knocked on the door of my mind. I only had to write the beginning but I managed to finish the first draft. Then there are the two stories that I’m querying. Since I still don’t have an agent, I’m bringing out the big guns at critique groups to get some hardcore feedback. Then there is a YA urban fantasy novel I finished but has one loose end I still need to finish, and a novel of which I need to rewrite the ending. UGH. Especially that last one is going soooo slow. What is wrong with my muse? Is she drunk again?

So, that leaves four novels that I’d like to reread and possibly edit before I feel like they’re as good as can be. Not all of these I intend to try and get published. The story about the girl with multiple personalities and the YA urban fantasy are Wattpad stories because I don’t intend to write those genres. The latter already has three chapters on Wattpad and hopefully it will be as fun for people to read as it was fun for me to write. It was one of my very first stories so it’s kind of special. *blows nose*

Anyway, before this year is over, I want these four novels to be truly finished. Or at least, as finished as can be. It feels like no novel is truly finished sometimes, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Feel free to send me encouragement on Twitter, because I need it. At some point you get so out of a story, that it’s hard to get back in. It’s like your characters have had enough and changed the locks on you. *adjusts writer socks* Still, they haven’t met my pet dragons yet. Or my inner dragon for that matter. Wish me luck!

Don’t Give Up!

15 Jan

Agents are part of our big dream to becoming a published author, because they help make that dream happen. That is why it is also a stressful part of being a writer. Rejection is tied to that process like an ugly coloured ribbon. That doesn’t have to mean it is necessarily a bad thing. It all depends on how you look at it. What people say and don’t say matters. It can tell you a lot. That is why every rejection is also feedback on your story. And yes, that can be scary for some. But feedback is good, it helps you become better!

There are different types of rejections and I can only draw on my own experience here. There is always the standard rejection, but that one usually goes something like this: “It isn’t for me.” Which tells you two things. One: you contacted the wrong agent. And two: it wasn’t poorly written. Probably. This takes a bit of a leap of faith, because nothing bad is being said about your work, nor can they really judge it, because it isn’t their cup of tea to begin with. However, I like to think that if something is utterly poorly written, they would have mentioned it. It only takes a few words to say: “I’d have another look at it if I were you before getting in touch with another agent.” Okay, quite a few words, but you catch my drift.

Other reactions depend on your story and the agent you’ve contacted but so far I’ve heard: “I can’t identify with the voice.” This was funny because these were American agents, whereas the British agents I had contacted both mentioned they loved the voice and the story, but they didn’t love it enough to take me on. What I took away from that was that with that story I had to stick with British agents, though I did once contact an American agent a while later and she said she did like the voice, but again didn’t love the overall story enough to go for it. That’s something I heard a lot and did actually make me feel happy. There is nothing particularly wrong with the story except that they didn’t fall in love with it. It’s a bit like finding The One or a house. You have partners or houses you really, really like but not so much as that you want to commit to it fully. You want to be in love. There is some degree of luck involved in the agent hunting process. That is an important thing to remember.

Other things I heard was that it was a close call, but they couldn’t really afford to take on a new writer/client or they already had clients that wrote similar genres and were actually looking for something different. Comments like that are mainly bad luck. It’s a game about money and sometimes the timing’s off. That’s why I like how agents always add an encouraging line, because it tells you that you’re not sucky and you should keep looking. Which is exactly my point. Don’t give up!
Someone is bound to fall in love with your story, and in the meantime you keep writing. Perhaps there is another story that will have more luck and your talents will have improved by then because like wine, writing gets better with age.

If an agent comments on your writing in a negative way, leave it for a while and look at it later with fresh eyes. You could disagree with them, but they do know their stuff and it’s always smart to keep an open mind. Act like you’re already an author and stay professional and enthusiastic about writing. Keep going and enjoy fishing for agents. You only need one bite!

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