Wednesday, 13 March 2013

11. Learning Curve

I can’t tell you about all the highs without sharing some of the lows that are an integral part of being a writer. I’ve been on a big learning curve these past few weeks. Some of those lessons have been tough, but in the grand scheme of things, I know they’ve happened for the right reason.

Feeling brave, I sent my first query and sample chapters to a publisher that was accepting unsolicited manuscripts in December 2012. I imagine there were many hopeful authors like myself that sent away their creations with dreams of publication.

Alas, my offering wasn’t strong enough to make the cut. Thing is, while I am disappointed, I knew my manuscript wasn’t ready. So entranced was I by the excitement of such an opportunity, I thought ‘what the hell’ and dove head first into the big pond without my proverbial floaties. Naturally, I came up coughing, spluttering and clawing desperately for the edge.

Add to that, I discovered today that I didn’t place in a competition I was coveting either. I’m pleased to say that one of the judges took the time to go through my entry and explain what did and didn’t work and gave me incredible insight into improving my skills. And to the lovely judge who raved about my story and thought I deserved a place in the anthology – thank you so much. J The important thing is that I am not discouraged. I know I have to work harder, write better and try, try again.

While anxiously waiting on results, I’ve kept busy with general research. My works in progress have taken a small side step as I take instruction from some of the masters of the genres with which I am enamoured. Anyone interested in writing can certainly benefit from these works. Much better to have your own copy, but we do have a nirvana known as the library to fall back on when needed. Just a shame we have to give those copies back really. ;)

“29 Most Common Writing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them” was an invaluable read. It covered procrastination, dealing with writers block and being honest with your writing. It also said be prepared to fail. (I seem to have that one covered this month.) To see life through the eyes of a writer was another point I am utilising and I’m sure my friends will be worrying that I’m looking at them a little too closely now. It also said ‘don’t give up’. Now that’s definitely good advice to follow.

Another book I borrowed was “The Art of Romance Writing” by Valerie Parv. Anyone wanting to tackle the romance genre should read this. This one you might like to have in your ‘home’ library, as I’m sure I ran out of ink long before I ran out of noteworthy information. I loved that she addressed the notion some people have the romance novels are nothing more than an automated formula. As with any genre, there is no magic formula or easy path for a great novel. They all stem from a wonderful imagination and a lot of hard work.

Since I’m interested in a few genres, I also have guides to plot development, suspense writing, crime, comedy (I may need to keep a copy of this one) fantasy and science fiction and erotic fiction. While I have plenty to keep me occupied, no doubt my family will be hiding the chocolate and leaving me to wallow in my little corner for a few days. I’ll stare at my computer screen, reread my emails, pout for a bit, and then turn back to my research. Apparently, my library books are due back soon...