Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Got Nano?

November is National Novel Writing Month. It's a worldwide whirlwind of insanity, wherein you must write a 50,000 word story in 30 days, start to finish. If you think that's easy . . . I dare you to try it.

Sure, for me, writing something of extreme length is a non-issue. I do that all the time. I write novels, after all. But doing that in 30 days? Even I think I'm an idiot.

What do you win when you finish, you ask?

Well . . . a cute little plaque to put on your web page, and the respect of your fellow Nanoers. And the envy of any writer who's never broken the 20,000 word barrier.

Yep, that's about it.

But there are perks. You get: Insomnia, Nervous Twitches, Headaches, Aching Fingers, Burning Eyes, and you either gain 20 pounds from all the chocolate, or lose 20 pounds from all the involuntary muscle spasms.

Either way, it's pretty much a win-win!

So, what might I be doing, you ask?

Well . . . here's the thing. I have this story waiting for edits, to be sent around in the hopes of winning an agent. I have a few more sitting around, waiting for the same process. I have another that just started, but my brain is having spasms, so that's going on hold. And, at the same time as Nano, have to finish a short (2,000 word) for a contest.

But for Nano, I'm going to revisit Alex and Evan.

My fans know what that means - another Alex and Evan for the web page. I couldn't take it any more. I cracked. I had every intention of writing this super serial killer story, mainstream thriller, intended for commercial publication. But my brain kept stammering up against this blockade, and nothing I could do was breaking it free.

Those of you familiar with the publishing world, understand how near-impossible it is to actually break in, write something spectacular, win an agent, then get a publisher. We all stand a better chance of being struck by a toilet falling from the International Space Station while a shark is nibbling on our leg and lightning is striking all around, then we do of getting through the writing, querying and acceptance maze.

One day I feel like I'm gonna make it. The next day, I realize there's no way in hell, and I can hear that toilet falling from above. A day or two later, I figure I have as good a chance as anyone. Then the clouds roll in and I find myself wading in the ocean.

Okay, I'd offer cheese to go with all this whine, but I'm lactose intolerant.

Sitting here, thinking very hard on each and every word in that "will this win me an agent" way, only served to keep me sitting here thinking - not writing.

I came to a conclusion the other day that has finally put a smile back on my face, and made me giddy about writing again. I've been taking it all way too seriously lately, and it stopped being fun.

I've met a lot of people this year who are brilliant writers. Very witty, intelligent and amazing people who can write circles around all the drek we find in the bookstores. The problem is they're not getting anywhere. I won't go into boring detail, but see my comparison above re: the shark and the toilet and you'll get an idea.

These people continue to plug away, but the fact that their work isn't being read by anyone, anywhere, is slowly and surely eating away at their writing souls. All they crave is an audience. All they hope for is that some day, someone will read their stories and love them. And they deserve it ! They really are brilliant writers - but for many ridiculous reasons, they're not getting published (at least not yet). It's a game of patience, luck, skill, ridiculous luck, patience, stupid luck, timing, patience and ABSURD LUCK! Now and again, one of them strikes the motherlode, and wins an agent -- only to wait years and find out that agent can't sell the story to a publisher.

Don't get me wrong -- I've also met writers who HAVE made it. They ARE published now and can be found on the shelves of your local bookstores everywhere.

It's not impossible -- just highly unlikely :)

For those of us who have day jobs, and write for pleasure -- that's all we want. Sure, the little (and I mean little) extra cash and the pride that goes along with it would be welcomed with open arms and a glad heart. But I see those who have been trying for so long, and they're close to giving up. I see those who crave only an audience, who simply want their "children" to be seen by others, giving up on ever being known.

And, frankly, I spent an hour at Barnes & Noble the other day and couldn't find a single thing that interested me beyond page 1. That's no ego talking, just personaly taste. I write what I want to read, because I can rarely ever find it anywhere. I find myself reading non fiction almost exclusively.

I've been feel guilty, and a little stupid, and more than a bit humbled because I do have an audience. I have fans, I have a base of readers, and I have stories to write that give me great pleasure.

What does this mean?

Basically, that I'm grateful for what I have, while still envious of what I don't. It means I'm going to continue to try and write for commercial publication. I have one ready, one and in the works. But it also means I'm going to continue to write for the web page.

I've spent the last 8 months learning what is and isn't true about publishing, and the truth is more bizarre than the fiction it produces! Talk to enough published writers, read enough Agent's blogs and Publishers advice, and you, too, can have scrambled brains for breakfast !

Oh, and rest assured -- with my fickle hormones, this could all change in a week ! But for Nano - it's gonna be a brand spakin' new Alex and Evan story.

So now that this blog post has gone from Nano to Nuthin', in sixty seconds or less, I'll try to recap.

Feeling lucky? Got Pen? Sign up now, join the Nano -- and abandon all hope !!!

Oh, and if you see my brains lying around anywhere, please mail them back. I'll pay for postage :)

5 Comments:

At 6:30 PM, Blogger Cath Smith said...

Well, you know I'm a Nanoite this year! :)

As for the writing - yup, I go through that too.

I saw Jasper Fforde speak at a local bookshop recently. He said he wrote half a dozen books "for publication" and failed to get them published. So he started writing for fun - and came up with The Eyre Affair - an international seller.

Just write what you want to write, don't worry about pleasing an agent.

 
At 6:47 PM, Anonymous Irene said...

I'm so happy to hear that another Alex and Evan story may be coming our way. I periodically browse the new releases and never find anything. I keep coming back to the books on my shelf and the stories on my computer written by ether authors like you.

You may not make a living at writing, but please know that you make at least one person very happy and entertained when you publish your stories online.

I'm certain I'm not the only one since I have mentioned you on certain TV show forums and several people always respond.

Can't wait to see what the boys have been up to.

 
At 8:55 PM, Anonymous bart said...

I'm glad to see hear there may another Sha'erah story. I just found your webpage and am coming to the end of them. Then I clicked the blog link and was I pleased to read you were doing another.

Good luck with the NaNo.

 
At 1:25 AM, Anonymous BluSkye said...

Hi, I stumbled across your novels and started downloading one of them after the first chapter caught my interest and I must say I'm hooked.

So far, I've only read Keeper of the Alex and Evan series and I am in love with Evan! And to hear that you've got another novel about them in the works is a happy, happy occasion worthy of celebration!

I'm curious to know more about Evan, coz he's still very much a mystery to both me and Alex. It's like, he doesn't seem to have emotions/can't identify emotions at times, like when he can't decide whether he was happy with Alex or not, but he can demonstrate anger, which is a confusing paradox.

Another thing is whether he has any free will or not. He can choose his owner but it's governed by rules that he unconsciously follows.

I liked the part where he did the 3-D display thing for Alex. It reminds me of a puppy eager to please his master. LoL! Which I suppose it could be in a way...

Other burning question : Is he more human than not? Does he bleed red blood? Does he have unnatural healing powers or can read minds? LoL!

I hope to uncover more of that mystery in the future novels. Keep up the good work!

 
At 8:13 AM, Anonymous BluSkye said...

Finished the whole series of Alex and Evan AND also Dodge and Mason.

I must say, they are such a riveting pair of opposites that I can't keep my eyes off them. And there's only two volumes!!!! I need more!!!! But I know it's impossible to churn out novel-length stories in such short time so...I'll be patient. And wait. No matter how long it takes. I support you~ ^_^

 

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