writing

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It has begun…

Published October 16, 2017 by authorbebedora

That’s right…QUERY TIME!

I would like to first say that I made my deadline, thankyouverymuch.  My first query was sent Saturday, October 14h, TWO DAYS BEFORE THE DEADLINE.

I’ll wait for the applause to die down.

….

….

….

Since then, I’ve sent ten more.  And–I’ve already received one rejection.  And you know what?  I’m totally cool with it.  I took it like a champ.  No tears, no bummed-out moodiness.  I was surprisingly unfazed by it.  I guess that’s good, right?

So now I keep on.  I’ve given myself the task of sending five letters a day.  My agent list is about fifty-deep, so it won’t take that long.  Then…I wait.  And wait.  And probably wait some more.  In the mean time, I’ve been working on Book Two, hurting characters because, let’s face it, it’s what I do.

The query party has officially started.

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Query deadline update

Published September 23, 2017 by authorbebedora

After careful deliberations, I have decided to extend my query letter deadline to October 16th. I hemmed and hawed, mad at myself for not sticking to the original plan, but in the end, I knew it needed to happen.

This final edit has been painstakingly slow, and I’ll admit that I’m picking this thing apart waaaaay more than I should be. Second-guessing every little detail has become second nature to me. The moment when you spend LITERALLY six hours trying to decide whether or not a list of somethings should be capitalized or not is the moment you realize things have spiraled out of control and you need to step back. (I walked away, did a twitter poll, asked my trusted friend, and finally came up with an answer. It was to NOT capitalize.)

After this final edit and format is finished, I still have to research my list of agents and cut-and-polish my query letter–which will then be torn apart and put back together again to tailor it to each agent’s specs.

While I’m disappointed in myself for amending the deadline, at least I can say I gave it a try, and was a big enough lady to know when I needed to surrender…for now. I was running out of time, and I didn’t want to send anything that wasn’t completely ready just for the sake of sending it by self-imposed deadline.

Off to edit chapter nine of 38 (plus two interludes and an epilogue), and begin the new countdown to query.

Query’s Gettin’ Close!

Published September 20, 2017 by authorbebedora

My self-imposed query deadline is October 1st.

That’s the date that I have to send ONE LETTER by.  If another letter doesn’t leave by November, that’s ok.  Will I actually make said deadline?  We’ll see.  If I don’t, I won’t beat myself up over it.  After all, it’s a self-imposed deadline.  I don’t want to send a letter just to send it, especially if I’m not ready with one or more of the components.

I have finished formatting my manuscript for query–side note: that was one of the most stressful things I have ever done.  Putting headers in on MS Word, anyone?  It’s a wonder I still have hair left.  Today I began the final readthrough before I put my manuscript aside and fight the urge to mess with it any more.  After that, I need to research my list of 43 agents/agencies for exact info on what they want in query.

I think I might be insane for trying to make this deadline.

I can honestly admit that this query process absolutely terrifies me.  I know rejection is a real–and expected–thing.  I’m prepared for that.  What’s throwing me is the opposite:  what if I get accepted?  What then?  Contracts.  Compromises.  Publisher’s deadlines.

That last one scares me the most.  I wouldn’t say I’m a turtle writer, but there are times during the year (summer vacation, for the most part) where I get little to no writing done.  My son is home, and before I’m a writer, I’m Mom…and he gets my attention from June to September. It has taken me a little less than two years from first sentence written to cut-and-polished manuscript.  That’s a long time.  That’s four drafts, countless edits, and eight weeks of sitting on my hands waiting for test reader feedback to return.  I’m really worried that if I get picked up, a publisher will want the second and third books to be totally completed much quicker.  It’s just not something I think I can do–and have the end result be what I need it to be.  The other two books in the trilogy are heavily outlined, but I still don’t think I could ever crank one out in a year-ish.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself.  I have to get picked up first!

So, here’s to all of us who are terrified of querying, spend weeks agonizing over their letters (starting to do that here), and who (hopefully) eventually see success in their adventures.

Did I mention I’m terrified?

File Under: “Author Mom Problems”

Published July 21, 2017 by authorbebedora

Me: Monkey, I’m going to try and work for a while, so quietly play your game, alright?

Kid: Sure, Mom. (45 seconds later) Hey, Mom? How many license points does Vaan need to…

Me: Monkey! I said quietly! Please don’t talk to me, ok? I really want to get something done.

Kid: Ok, Mom. (45 seconds later.) So, who do you have as your party leader? Basch or Fran?

Me: *facepalm* It’s a matter of personal preference, ok? So, PLEASE stop asking me questions.

Kid: You got it, Mom. (a minute later) So, do you think I should spend my LP on HP upgrades or…

Me: (internally screaming)

 

And now, he’s in the basement wailing on his drums.  He got a new splash cymbal yesterday.  Coupled with a double-bass pedal, I can only say that it’s loud.  VERY LOUD.  Looks like my work will have to wait…

 

Test readers: I’m both grateful for and terrified of you at the same time.

Published June 22, 2017 by authorbebedora

Yup.

My book is at my wonderful test readers as we speak.

In their hands, in front of their eyes, ready to be either loved or loathed.  (I’m hoping it’s the first one.)  Will they enjoy it?  Will they feel connected to the characters and care about them?  Will they like my plot twists?  The battles?  The banter?  The ending? Will they think it’s utter garbage and (hopefully) nicely tell me to buzz off and quit this whole writing thing?

This is the first time that other people besides by husband have read this book in it’s entirety.  Yes, I’ve had friends over the year-ish read chapters here and there…and most of them have changed dramatically since then.  But this is the first time anyone will get their hands on the whole thing.  One of my testers is a gal who, after my husband, has the opinion I value the most.  She has been my fanfic beta FOREVER, and if anyone “gets” my writing style, it’s her.  Plus, she knows how the ENTIRE TRILOGY ends!  She read about 3/4 of the book a while back, before it was finished and as I wrote, but I will admit that it has gone through massive changes since then.  I’m hoping she loves it even more the second time.  🙂  My other wonderful testers are a great mix of fantasy genre enthusiasts and casual fantasy readers.  I hope I can live up to other fantasy authors in their eyes!

I’m no stranger to people reading other stuff of mine, though.  I’ve been writing fanfiction for years, and have had hundreds of reviews on my work.  But, this original piece is so much more than fanfic.  This is one-hundred percent mine, and it’s scary to think I have to make it work.

I can’t believe its come to this part of the journey.  In one month, it will be exactly TWO YEARS since I began this crazy adventure.  What started out as an idea for a “strategy guide” my then-7-year-old son wanted to write has blossomed into an full-blown, real-ass book.

When feedback returns, I’ll take what they’ve said to heart and try my best to make this book even better with their suggestions.  Hopefully it won’t be anything too major…(I’m looking at you guys…).  Then what?  Cut and polish, and query this bitch out.

Then I have to write two more…

Thanks in advance to my testers, this means the world to me that you’d want to help out and make this book awesome.  And hey, you’ll even get your name in the printed thank-you’s!  BONUS!

So, now I go back to (not-so-patiently) waiting for feedback to come in.  I’m not a patient girl, but I hope it will be worth the wait.  This waiting shit is killer!

Fanfiction–a writer’s best weapon.

Published May 10, 2017 by authorbebedora

I recently came across a Mythic Scribes article about the importance of fanfic for a budding writer, (article linked below), and I couldn’t agree with it more.

We all know that fanfic gets a bad rap sometimes.  Sometimes it’s warranted, most of the time it isn’t.  Yes, there’s some badly-written stuff–but there’s a lot of really well-written, quality pieces.  There’s  PWP (Porn without plot)–but also a lot of fantastic erotica.  Strange pairings?  Weird crossovers?  Killing characters?  Check, check and check again.   And you know what?  That’s okay.

//small rant coming// Fanfiction is a safe place for people write what they want.  So many times, I see others talking stink about “this piece or that piece”, about how the pairing is awful, the plot is bad or it isn’t edited properly.  While some of it is true concrit, sometimes it’s nothing more than readers (or other writers) bitching about someone’s piece just because it isn’t exactly what they like–or they’re just being assholes.  The stories might not be what you’re comfortable reading, or might stray into territory that makes you cringe, but at the end of the day, there is an author behind it that is proud of their accomplishment.  Sometimes fic authors, especially new ones, don’t understand the finer points of beta editors, peer feedback and the difference between being trolled and being given real advice.  It’s our job as “veterans” to help them out so they don’t get discouraged and quit. I’ve seen too many authors get flamed for no good reason and get fed up and leave their fandoms.  You can be an honest editor/reviewer without being cruel.  //rant over, now back to the topic at hand//

Fanfiction is so important for readers and writers alike.  There are people out there who might read a story by their favorite author and be inspired to write their own.  Authors meet friends through their fandoms–and those friendships sometimes turn into lifelong partnerships.  From a writer’s perspective, fanfiction is so helpful.

When I began writing fanfic many years ago, I had a very contrasting writing style from my current (and I think) permanent one. My outlining techniques were nowhere near what they are today. My editing process was completely different. Had I attempted to write an original piece then, it would have NOT been up to par.  Writing fanfic helped hone my skills, made me more confident and gave me the courage to tell myself, “You can write that goddamn novel, lady!”

Writing, no matter what type, helps so much. It boosts not only skill level, but confidence as well. Even with one completed novel in the editing stage and its sequel started, I still write fanfic. Why? It’s fun. It’s a great distraction when I’m blocked or in a pissy mood. And let’s face it, I’m the hurt queen and well, that Episode Ignis DLC will probably be the end of all of us.

To anyone who has ever said fanfic has no purpose and that the writers aren’t legit, I say, “suck rocks.” Yes, there’s some PWP and tentacle smut, but…whatever twirls your ticket, I guess. 😉  To all my fellow fic writers–keep it up!  You never know when you might decide to leap into the original fiction pool!  But if you don’t ever want to try your hand at original fiction, that’s perfectly acceptable.  Because your characters will always be there for you, ready and waiting for you to either be nice to them…or hurt them.  *looks innocent*

 

https://mythicscribes.com/miscellaneous/fanfiction-can-help/

Overcoming “The Block.”

Published April 28, 2017 by authorbebedora

writers-block 2

 

There hasn’t been an author in history that hasn’t fallen victim to IT at one point or another.  Sometimes it only lasts for a few hours, sometimes it’s months.  I’m talking about the dreaded…

…WRITER’S BLOCK.

We’ve all been there, most likely more times that we’d care to admit.  “The Block” can come in many forms.  Words that just won’t come.  A brain that won’t relinquish the great ideas you *just know* are in there.  Headaches.  Exhaustion.  Tantrums.

Whatever form your block takes, it can be crippling–and downright depressing.

My worst case of the block came about two years ago.  I had decided (like a crazy person) to undertake two multi-chapter Star Trek AOS fanfics at once.  It started well, and I was able to switch back and forth between each seamlessly.  I made regular updates on each story, much to the delight of my readers.  But then the beast appeared.

THE BLOCK.

I had completed the first of the two, having neglected the latter piece because I could feel the block creeping up on me.  When it came time to work in earnest on the second fic, the block ate me alive.  I think it was a mixture of being burnt out from undertaking two stories at once and juggling stay-at-home-mom life.  I would stare at my screen, cursing James T. Kirk and the goddamn Enterprise with every fiber of my being.

I knew something had to change.

So I stepped back, something I had been telling my beta clients to do for years.  For six months, yes SIX MONTHS, I let the piece in question sit.  I didn’t look at it.  I didn’t think about it.  It was dead to me.

Now, I’m a woman of my word.  I promised my readers–and myself–that I would finish it.  And I intended to.  But, if it were to be quality work, I knew I needed to give it some space.  And you know what?  One day, I opened the current chapter back up and finished the story without another hiccup.

Then, last month, the beast crept up on me again.  I had completed my first novel, and was waiting for edits to start coming back.  I decided that it was a great time to start on the second book of my trilogy, since the characters and plot were still very fresh in my mind.  My outline had been completed for months, and I  thought I’d just fall right into it with ease.  Boy, was I wrong.

The tone of my second book is decidedly very different, and the characters are in much stranger places in their lives than ever before.  I completed about a quarter of the first chapter, and then…NOTHING.  I stared at that puny little blurb of a chapter for a good week.  I began to hate it.  It made me angry.  The frustration gave me headaches.

So, I took my own advice yet again and walked away.  I wrote super angsty, brooding, gory fanfic.  I played video games.  I went to a few baseball games.  I watched SO MUCH TWIN PEAKS.  And you know what?  After two weeks, I opened up the outline, added a few things and was back in business.  Just like that.  No ease-in…it just happened.

People often ask me, “What’s the best cure for writer’s block?”  So, here are my tips for surviving that-which-terrifies-authors.  (Not as much as query letter writing terrifies us, but pretty damn close.  *shudders*)

  •  STEP AWAY.   This is the absolute most important piece of advice I can give.  The more you force yourself to look at and/or work on your piece, the worse the block is going to become.  When you’ve been staring at the same thing for days…or weeks…with nothing flowing, your brain becomes bogged down.  You exhaust your creativity.  Your mind becomes jumbled with both doubt and frustration.  The words you might end up creating while forcing it will more than likely turn out to be garbage.  I’ve been there…and seen it happen to fellow authors.  The block can consume you, and turn you into a self-doubting zombie.  Take a few hours, a couple days…hell, even months.  Remember, I took a SIX MONTH hiatus from a fanfiction piece.  Whatever you do, don’t go back to your work-in-progress until you’ve taken some time away from it.  You’ll be glad you did…and regret it if you don’t.

 

  •  WRITE SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT.    I find that when I’m blocked, I naturally fall back into fanfiction.  (When I was writing fic, I would blog when I was stuck.)  A change of literary scenery can sometimes be all you need to get the creative juices flowing again.  If you have a blog, write some new posts.  Make your subject matter about something completely different than what’s blocking you at the moment.  Write a poem.  Write fanfic.  (If you’ve never written fic before, give it a try!  Find a movie/TV show/video game that you love and give the characters a new story to play around in!)  My last bout of the block came when Final Fantasy XV had taken over pretty much everything in our house.  The stories came easy–and so very, VERY angsty–and it was just the distraction I needed to let my mind recover a bit to be able to get back into my novel mindset.  (Poor Ignis…)

 

  •  LET A TRUSTED PERSON SEE WHAT YOU HAVE WRITTEN SO FAR.    Sometimes, all you need is a second set of eyes to give you a new perspective.  Now, I know that letting someone else see your work isn’t always an option.  Some people are protective of their pieces, whether it be for plot reasons or nerve reasons.  But if you have someone you trust and value their opinion, let them look.  Which brings me to my last point…

 

  •  BRAINSTORM  WITH SAID TRUSTED PERSON.  Like I said above, sometimes a new pair of eyes looking will give you just the motivation you need to light a fire under your ass.  When you’ve been staring at the same content for so long, writing about the same subjects for what seems like forever, everything starts to meld together.  You may have an issue with a plot point that just won’t come together, a character that refuses to cooperate.  Continuity errors and flow issues might not be easy to spot.  If there is someone you trust to give valued critique/suggestions, go to them.  Yes, you might not always like or agree with their ideas, but it gets your mojo working again.  Your gears start to turn once more, and you may find yourself cranking out chapters like wildfire again before you know it.

 

Writer’s block sneaks up on us all.  It’s a bitch.  It’s relentless.  It’s mean-spirited and rude.  But it doesn’t have to be the end of you or your work.  Hopefully, some of what I’ve offered can help someone, somewhere.  At the end of the day, no matter how long it takes and no matter what means you employ to make it happen–I promise the block WILL go away.

And when it does, you’ll be back to your old awesome self once more.