Learning From Others

As a YA writer, you’d think I’d have joined SCBWI already, wouldn’t you? But I hadn’t. For some reason I had it in my head that you had to already be a published writer in order to become a member. Turns out I’m wrong, which is wonderful. I suppose it was officially a week ago that I joined SCBWI. Now I’m a member of the local chapter and a critique group here. It’s an online one, like the other critique group I’m a member of, but it’s small and filled with only YA members. My other critique group is constantly growing (I currently have no idea how many members there are…) and from all sorts of genres, which is nice because of the variety of prospective that comes along with that. I think the SCBWI one will trun out to be great. I’m also working on joining an in-person critique group.

I joined at just the right time for this. The third weekend of October, the local SCBWI chapter is hosting a writer’s conference. Of course I quickly registered to attend it, which is super exciting. It’ll be my first writing conference. This is going to be a great experience, both the critique group and the conference. I’m sure I’ll learn a lot and grow as a writer.

Also about a week ago I decided to give a Writer’s Digest course a try. I’m a VIP at WD and do some of their webinars from time to time, which are always interesting and insightful but I don’t think I’ve ever really learned something new about writing. I just like to do them to hear a literary agent’s POV on things. But I decided to the the First 10 Pages of Your Manuscript bootcamp anyway. It was one weekend and three literary agents, two of the three were YA enthusiastic, would look over the first ten pages and give insight into what worked and what didn’t.

I really think I learned a lot from that. I had been thinking about tweaking my manuscript in a certain way, but unsure of how to go about doing it. The literary agent I got, the lovely Paula Munier, was extremely nice and extremely helpful. She really went above and beyond to help everyone who attended. Another great thing came of it, all the YA writers who were attending decided to get together online afterwards and continue critiquing each other’s work.

Writing can be done in solitude, and for a long time I did it just that way, but the more I open up the others and share the more I learn about my own writing style and the more I grow. I’m really glad I joined SCBWI and very glad I did WD’s Bootcamp. Getting other people’s perspective is invaluable.

Facing Fears: Rejection

I got my first rejection Sunday, which was nice. I know that might sound weird, but I was really looking forward to the first rejection. I wanted to know how I would react. Overall, I was impressed by how quickly the agent replied and how kind of a rejection letter it was. I thought I would be upset, perhaps even really devastated, but I wasn’t. I won’t say I wasn’t a little disappointed, but it was just a dull pang for a moment then it was gone. Like when I was applying for a job but only submitted a resume, then received an e-mail saying that they were going for different candidates. It was a bit disappointing but I was over it in a couple minutes.

I’m not really surprised by this, I didn’t think I would be too emotionally distraught. I’m aware that the publishing industry is a business and this is just part of the process. Maybe when there are less agents on my list it’ll be more upsetting. It’ll probably be different if I get a rejection on the partial I sent out, too. But I’d rather face a fear than wonder what if?

Source: Wikimedia.org

I actually like being scared. I’ve had an irrational fear of sharks since I was a little girl. Extremely irrational, even, since I grew up in a land locked state. Though, I did spend my summers between Louisiana and Florida so I did go to the beach. In order to get over that, I decided when I was in Australia to go snorkeling with some reef sharks. Of course, those rarely bit or attack people so it wasn’t dangerous but I did get over it. Now I’d like to go to South Africa sometime in the near future to see some Great Whites (don’t worry, I know better than to try and swim with them).

So, even though I worry (fear, really) getting to the end of my literary agent list and seeing nothing but “rejected” next to each name… I’d rather let that fear inspire me to write the best story I can and keep trying instead of giving up. On a related note, I came up with an idea for a YA that deals with fearful things (aka horror). I’ve completed a synopsis for it and might try to do that during NaNoWriMo — either the November or August one.

Friday the 13th

Happy Friday the 13th everyone!

I’m not particularly superstitious or anything like that, but I did love the movies. When it came down to the battle between Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elmstreet, and Halloween, Jason always won. I would always marathon all those movies depending on the time of the year when I was a kid. My mom never wanted me to, because I had a tendency to be completely freaked out for weeks. For ages I was scared that Michael from Halloween was going to be in my closet with a knife, but I couldn’t sleep if my closet door was closed (I don’t know why, it’s just one of those things — still is even).

I never really had fears of Jason. I imagine I would if I ever went camping and/or went to camp as a kid but I don’t get camping. Why pretend like you don’t have AC when you do? And God forbid I have to deal with bugs. I hate bugs. I only got into hiking and whatnot when I was in my late teens, even then I’d rather just keeping hiking until I got to a hostel. There was really nothing to do when it came to Freddy, other than not sleeping and I never did that.

For whatever reason, when I realized this Friday was the 13th, I decided it’d be the perfect time to start querying wider. I just like the idea of really kicking off the submission process properly on today. It helps that I’ve got everything in order now. Though, I’ve had it in order for a while now… but just a little too nervous to finally do it.

Except, of course, I made a mistake when I sent a query to one literary agent (I put the wrong name! What a silly mistake!) but I just resent it with the proper one and hope that’ll do.

That’s that, I suppose. I’ve started the query process. It’s really finally happening. I get the feeling I’ll be very flexible by the end of all this. I’ve decided that I need something to do after each rejection, something that helps me process it and move on, and it’s yoga. I’ve been doing it for a while, but not with any real conviction. Now I’ll have no other choice.