Monday, July 19, 2010

Book Recommendations

I am such a bad blogger. I promise you guys posts, and I don't deliver. I feel so bad. If you can think of an appropriate punishment (something blogging related and not terribly embarrassing or illegal) let me know and I will attempt to make amends!

Anyway. I've been slacking in the writing side of things as well (like that's a surprise). My new project stands at a whopping 161 words. And this is like the fourth attempt at a beginning. Usually beginnings come easy for me. I know exactly where to start the story, I know how to kick things off with the right blend of action and characterization so it's interesting, but not in that blind, who-is-this-girl-and-why-should-I-care-that-she's-running-for-her-life? sort of way.

But this story is different. I originally had a great first line, that I planned to flip a bit for the last line of the novel because I love symmetry like that. But then I realized that it didn't really work as a first line, and the situation involving the first line didn't really fit the character. So I was back at square one.

I think I have a decent grip on the opening now, and I plan to make some actual progress and maybe get to 500 words by the end of the month. Lofty goals, eh?

In the meantime I've been reading, and I recently came across two fantastic books that I want to tell you guys about.

Shade by Jeri-Smith Ready
The premise of this book is so fascinating. It's hard to put into words exactly what I loved about this one, because the whole thing was just amazing-- the characters, the romance, and especially the mystery involving the Shift. The only aspect I didn't like was that it ended way too soon and with a total cliffhanger.

White Cat (The Curse Workers) by Holly Black
I really love stories like this one and Shade where the whole world is different, where history has been rewritten, but where everyone in the world knows about the magic. This was a great read, filled with cons and shocking secrets. No cliffhanger with this one (for which I was thankful!) but the ending was jaw dropping. I had to read the last few pages twice, and it still makes me sad to think about.

So those are two of the books I've read recently and haven't stopped thinking about. Definitely recommended.

And now it's your turn. Recommend a book you read and loved! I'm always on the lookout for more, and, for the first time in along time, my TBR pile is rather small.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

On Wanting An Agent

When I first decided I wanted to write-- like actually, seriously write-- I realized I would have to learn as much as possible about the publishing world and the way things work. So I jumped right in. I read agency websites, I started following agent blogs, I connected with other writers, I formed my own blog. And I wrote.

When I finished my first manuscript, I made a list of agents and began querying.

I never submitted to any publishing houses, despite researching and finding several I thought might like my book.

I wanted an agent. I don't understand contracts even a little bit, and I don't think I could negotiate my way out of a box.

But what about that 15% they take? Wouldn't you be better off going straight to the publisher?

Psh. What's 15% when they've helped you with revisions and now you stand a chance to actually sell? What's 15% when they have all these awesome publishing contacts and they submit for you? What's 15% when they negotiate a book deal twice the amount you would have settled for?

I don't have an agent yet, but as I start thinking about who I might query with my newest ms, it strikes me that I never thought to query publishers directly. I've always wanted to go through an agent.

Which made me wonder...

What are you opinions on having an agent?
Do you definitely want one?
Or do you want to query publishers directly and deal with everything yourself?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Writing Love

Writing a book is hard.

It's physically, mentally, and emotionally draining.

You pour your heart into it, you exhaust your mind, you stay up late until the words blur together then you wake up early the next morning just to get that extra hour of writing in.

It's time consuming.

It's frustrating.

So then, why do we do it?

For the fame? (Yeah, right)

For the money? (You've got to be kidding)

We do it because-- get this-- we love it.

I'm still trudging through revisions. It's a pain. It's aggravating. But despite all that... I truly love what I'm doing. I love writing. I love the hard parts. I love pushing myself. I even love those fleeting moments when I feel like I might want to give up, because I know I could never give up, even at the lowest low. And realizing that just inspires me more.

We do all this because we seriously love writing.

There would be no point to put ourselves through it if we didn't.