Writing Wrongs

July 18, 2006

I was searching for a notebook this morning, mainly because I wanted to tuck a small one in my bag, when I came across the one I used at the RWA national conference in 2003. The notes I took were still in the front section. I scanned them quickly and found a one-pager with these spare bits of advice.

Write it down, make it happen

I think this is the title of the workshop, not a piece of advice, although itís that too. For the life of me, I canít remember if this was the workshop name or who gave it (I suspect one of my noodler sisters might know).

What you control

Apparently my ability at taking notes rivals that of my manuscript markup technique. I do know what was meant by this piece of advice. Worry about that which you can control, in writing--and in life, I suppose. The only time I can pull an Alexander ďIím in charge hereĒ Haig is with my writing.

Take your time -- donít waste your shot

In other words, donít rush the process. Make sure youíre ready when you go to pitch/submit. I think this is a hard one to learn, because the perception of what ďreadyĒ means shifts the more you write. I know of very few debut authors who sold on a partial. Actually, off the top of my head, I can only name one, and her book is out today. (Go check her out.) In the mists of my mind float the names--or urban legends--of a few others.

But thatís the point. Itís rare. Wonderful, but rare. Iíve seen far more aspiring writers shoot themselves in the manuscript by sending it out too soon, or incomplete. Watch them extract the last three fourths of it from their cranium after receiving an enthusiastic request. Some people write really well, really fast. Most people need more than a weekís downtime between first draft and the final edit FedExing its way to NYC.

Let the market come to you. Everything comes around.

Back in the day (and that day wasnít too long ago), you couldnít give away paranormal. Vampires? Unless your name started with Anne and ended with Rice, people told you it wasnít going to happen. You were wasting your time.


Genres do go through slumps. Iím paraphrasing here, but I remember reading an agent/editor saying (probably over at Miss Snarkís if it wasnít her Snarkiness herself) that when a genre is in a slump, itís not necessarily dying, itís just that the next breakout book hasnít been discovered yet.

And whoís to say youíre not the one to write it? Talk about the market coming to you. Now that would really be found money.

Charity Tahmaseb wrote at 11:37 a.m.