Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Horse, getting back on

One of the things I did while I was home sick with the flu this weekend was organize my submissions chart, the Word document where I keep a list of the publications I've sent to, what story I sent, if I heard back, etc.

I am one of those people who loves organizing things (I was the 8 year old who got overjoyed at buying school supplies. Trapper keepers! Rulers! Yea!). So usually I kinda dig getting by sub chart in order.

But this time, it depressed me. "Look at all those places I've submitted to--ie, Look at all those places who rejected me!" I said aloud.

Being sick is not a time when I am apt to keep things in perspective, mind you.

Luckily, my husband and Steven King saved me. Brian and I had just finished reading King's memoir/writing book, aptly called, On Writing: A Memoir. Brian quoted the part in King's book where he talks about the spike he used to keep on his desk, which he would use to impale/store his rejection letters. Brian said, "He had thousands on that spike! Thousands! You only have ten on your chart!"

Point taken. Today, with my flu receding, I am getting back on that horse. I looked at my (very well organized) submission chart and saw the list of places I still had to send to, instead of the list of places that already said no. Best Blogger Tips

Friday, February 20, 2009

Best laid plans....

What's that saying about how God will laugh if you tell her your plans? Yea, she's cackling now. I got sick, and therefore have accomplished nothing today. But hopefully I'll catch up tomorrow and Sunday so by Monday my massive list will be whittled away to make room for whatever comes next.... Best Blogger Tips

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Things to do: A follow up

I realize I often post to do lists, but don't hold myself accountable by actually acknowledging whether or not I complete the tasks. So here goes, from my list posted earlier this week:

*Finish scenes from the novel that lead up to Emily going to New York. Fail! I did write, but I didn't get as far as I had hoped. We got a new dog, and I blame his distracting cuteness.

*Do exercise for writing class Success!

*Go to class Success! And I got great feedback on the chapter I had submitted, which I'll blog about later this week

[Non-writerly things to do: *Call heat guys* Success! Scheduled an appointment
*Call old eye doctor* Fail--I forgot, and will move task to later in the week
*Make aptmt with new eye doctor* ditto]

*Continue writing novel; devote at least one hour I believe I will fail on this, since I have plans tonight, which I forgot about when I wrote this list. But I'm OK with that, as I'm really looking forward to the social plans!

[Non-writerly things to do: *Send in medical reimbursements*]I assume I will do this. Best Blogger Tips

Monday, February 16, 2009

Things to do

It's been a while since I posted a writerly to do list. But I took Thursday and Friday off this week, and the only way I will not squander it watching TV and knitting is to set myself a list of things to do. Here goes:

*Finish scenes from the novel that lead up to Emily going to New York.
*Do exercise for writing class

*Go to class

[Non-writerly things to do: *Call heat guys* *Call old eye doctor* *Make aptmt with new eye doctor*]

*Continue writing novel; devote at least one hour

[Non-writerly things to do: *Send in medical reimbursements*]

*Finish application for fellowship program; ask for recommendations
*Draft query letter for Writer's Digest magazine
*Organize short story submissions, ie, Where to send next?
*Continue working on novel
*Contact freelance referral

[Non-writerly things to do: *Pack up everything in my office to prepare for renovations*]

*Finalize two short stories that are
just about ready to send out.
*Continue on novel
[Non-writerly things to do: *Potentially put up paneling and buy paint for office* *Buy wall plastic stuff for kitchen* *Buy grout for bathroom*] Best Blogger Tips

Monday, February 09, 2009

Muse and the Marketplace

I just signed up for Grub Street's Muse and the Marketplace I am very excited to go to this event. I have wanted to for a few years, but it just didn't make sense when I was in my MFA program and getting similar lectures and discussions there.
But now that I am out of school, I have a perfect excuse to check it out. It's pricey, though, so I was wavering. But I ultimately decided to go for one day (Sunday) AND to sign up to meet with an agent! That's an add on (read: more money) but I figured it could be worth it if the agent and I hit it off. And if not, it'll be an experience at least. I'm sure I'll learn something.
Plus, it makes me want to have 20 really polished pages of my novel ready by April so I can give her that to read, as opposed to a short story. While I'm hoping to publish my short stories in magazines, I don't necessarily want to publish a collection of them, especially since people don't really buy story collections that often. (Not that all novels sell well, either, I know.) Best Blogger Tips

Friday, February 06, 2009

Models Don't Eat Chocolate Cookies...the book AND the book trailer!

Erin Dionne, who I have the pleasure of knowing, just published her first novel! Models Don't Eat Chocolate Cookies a wonderful story about a teenage girl who tries to lose weight in order to get out of participating in a modeling contest for chubby girls.

I couldn't be happier for Erin--or more excited about the many interesting things she's doing to promote the book. View exhibit A:

Go to Erin's website for more info, and some exciting giveaways! Best Blogger Tips

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Join me for a writer's retreat--right here in Boston!

I'm excited to announce that I'm teaching a new writing class at the Boston Center for Adult Education.

I created the class idea around the kind of one-day class I would want to attend. We'll do lots of fun exercises, talk about the writing process, and workshop some short pieces. If you or anyone you know is in the Boston area, come join me! Here's more info:

Intensive Writers' Retreat

Have you always wanted to write, but have a hard time getting started? Or have you been writing but currently feel stuck? Or do you just want to spend a Saturday writing with others? If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, this class is for you. We will begin with writing exercises to get inspired and to learn about different aspects of the craft of writing, such as characterization, setting scenes, and plot. As a group, we will discuss the writing that comes out of the exercises. If students want, they can bring copies of a two or three page writing excerpt that they want workshopped. This class will mostly address fiction writers, but essayists, memoirists, and creative non-fiction writers are welcome to attend.

Saturday March 21 from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Saturday April 4 from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Cost is $100 ($80 for BCAE members)

Best Blogger Tips

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Advertise this

Yesterday I read this article, on how newspapers are taking out ads in newspapers to advertise... you guessed it, newspapers! With everyone crying out about the inevitable demise of the newspaper, newspaper editors are shouting, "Wait! Hold up a minute! We're not going anywhere!"

I like the concept of fighting back in whatever way you can. And it's not like newspapers are sitting idly by, not doing things to retain their readers. They're creating web sites, trying to make money there. The Boston Globe's site, for instance, has lots of neat features like photo essays and interactive graphics.

And I think this is what publishers of fiction and poetry should do too. Stand up for themselves, while also adapting to the needs of the marketplace. Best Blogger Tips

Monday, February 02, 2009

Serial novels... and the Wovel

With so many news stories about publishing houses failing, I want to post about a possible new trend in publishing: serial novels, aka the Wovel when it's published on the Web.

NPR did a story about a woman who started a new publishing house that publishes Wovels along with traditional books. The Wovels are published in weekly installments. At the end of each "chapter", online readers can vote to decide where the story goes. They're meant to be read when you have a few minutes to yourself--you know, the many times a day when you might check Facebook or your email.

Slate just published a serial novella by one of my favorite authors, Curtis Sittenfeld. It's got a political bent, and it was posted in 5 parts around the time of the inauguration.

What do these serial novels have to do with failing publishing houses? Well, I think this new trend means that publishers are continuing to think outside the book (box) to figure out how to allow people to make money through their writing. So hopefully this will mean new opportunities for publishers and writers, not an end to opportunities for them. Best Blogger Tips