And the hits just keep on comin’ . . . hopefully.

Just received my 2nd “regrettably” letter in two weeks.  If you’re a writer, you know what this is.  In this case, they were “regrettably” unable to advance one of my feature scripts for a fellowship. Odds were crazy slim and I finished in the top 15% , which is actually quite encouraging given the field, but it still stings.

Still, I appreciate and covet every “regrettably” letter I receive. (Not so much as I would covet a “please let us publish your work and throw money at you” letter, mind you.) But I covet them all the same. What they don’t tell you when you lovingly slide your freshly minted and printed manuscript into that manilla envelope, is quite often you’ll receive no word at all. Did they even get it?  Perhaps it was lost in the mail or in the slush pile.  Maybe they received it, read it, loved it, but due to a freak office mishap the cover page was separated from your manuscript and now they want to call you, they need to call you and beg you to allow them the honor of publishing it, but they can’t. This is what a writer does. Writes stories to help explain why no one wants their stories. It’s a manic place. What happened was this: maybe they read it and it wasn’t their thing, maybe they were horribly offended by it, maybe it was never even read.  Essentially, they didn’t like it, they didn’t want it. So you waited with baited breath for 30 days, 6 weeks or 6 months for a response and it just never came, and it never will.

This kicker to the kicker?  Most publishing houses only accept exclusive submissions.  So while you’re waiting your 6 months for no apparent reason, you’re not even able to submit your manuscript to other publishers.  It’s a hell of a system, really. Clearly devised by masochists.  Why does anyone do this, again?  Inexplicably but dependably I resubmitted last night because I am also a masochist.
In summation, I’ve decided to combine my love of “regrettably” letters, craft and recycling by wall papering my office with rejection letters. (After the novel, of coarse.  Because I’m completely focused.)

Juggling for Dummies

I have three novels in some state of . . . progress . . .incompletion . . . not done-ness.  I like words.  I like words that are not actually words even more.  What was I talking about?

Ah yes, focus.

These three novels could not be more different in tone or genre.  At the start of this little blogging adventure I had acknowledged my slight lack of focus and decided that I would work on one and only one novel until it was finished.  I had weighed the merits of each and selected one and that would be the one.  Except this week, it seemed like maybe one of the other ones was the one.   I don’t want to waste this glorious opportunity and focus on the wrong one.  What a waste of time that would be.
So this week I carefully reevaluated my need for focus strategy.  While doing so, I rewrote and resubmitted a children’s book for publication and re-edited and resubmitted a feature screenplay to Slamdance.   But other than that I am 100% focused on my novel. That is to say I am 100% focused on deciding which novel I’m going to write, oh yes, and then write it.
I might have also cleaned out my office.  And taken my kids to a random midweek theme park holiday.   Other than that, all focus is on the novel.  Novels.  .  . Just as soon as I finish this blog post.

English language question of the week: Apparently now only one space is used between sentences.  When did I miss this? What representative went to what board and convinced said board that two spaces was just too many? That is power my friends.

Anyone else out there having focus problems?  Please wallow with me. The water is warm. . . and murky.

“Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” -Lewis Carroll

Sage story telling advice from The King in Alice and Wonderland.  It’s good in theory anyway.  I generally like to start somewhere in the middle, discover the end, then draw the story back to it’s most logical beginning.  Perfectly sensible in my estimation.  This may explain, to a degree, my lack of completed novels. We’ll mark this -Why I have not completed a novel – point 1A.

Oddly enough it’s the beginning where I’ve started this go round.  Perhaps it’s a sign.  Perhaps Lewis Carroll is working vicariously through my feeble fingers.  We’re going to go with – It’s a sign.

According to most writing manuals, creative writing seminars and my daughter’s 2nd grade class however, it’s really before the beginning where you’re supposed to begin – in the outline.  I don’t outline.  I have never outlined.  I find the entire process tedious and redundant.  We’ll mark that point 1B of why I have not yet completed a novel.

Manuals schmanuals – I’m sticking with Carroll on this one – or at least with The King (head or no).

Also, apparently sensical is not a word.  Nonsensical is a word.  Sensible is a word.   This tip has been brought to you by the English language which I find to be nonsensical or not at all sensible.  (Take that English!)

Yours,

The SomewhatSortof Novelist – behaving badly

I’m a novelist . . . sort of, no really.

So here’s the skinny.  I’m a 32 year-old mom of 3 and I am also a writer.  I wrote my first book in the 6th grade – it filled 2 yellow, legal steno pads cover to cover, front and back.  There were many hijinks involving spaghetti and gum in hair mixed with peanut butter.  Food was very funny to my 11 year-old self evidently.  Between 11 and 32 there have been endless stories, poems, reports, scripts, picture books, articles etc, etc.  The problem is – no novel.

So what’s the issue?  There are a few.  The publishing industry is a hairy, scary beast that haunts my dreams.  I’ve submitted a couple of smaller items and received the scathing rejection letter – which was, in reality, not scathing at all – only primly polite, but it felt scathing all the same.  But in all honesty, even I have to admit I’ve never really put it all out there, made it happen, taken my stand and the publishing industry by storm.  My frenetic, compulsive brain has produced about 75 different tales to date.  But that novel . . . THE novel, well it’s not exactly written yet.  I have shoe boxes, plastic tubs, college ruled notebooks, post-its, napkins – and even yellow legal steno pads filled with amazing ideas, starts, ends and scenes, what I do not have is that novel.

So here is my thought.  I’m going to take a little journey inside myself and I’m going to write.  I’m going to take the 4 current pages of my favorite idea at the moment and I’m going to become the novelist I fantasize that I am.

If you’re of a mind, please take the journey with me.  Write a novel of your own or simply read along and laugh as I flounder.  I’ll keep you updated on my progress and you can do the same.

Cheers,

The SomewhatSortof Novelist