Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Thinking on Thursday- Do's and Don't s

The funny thing about truth in publishing--is that there is hardly ever a black and white answer to a question or a rule. There is grey in publishing. A lot of grey.

One thing that drives me crazy when I attend a session or workshop about writing or publishing --is when the speaker makes a big bold statement about something in writing or publishing, as if it is the TRUTH.

At the recent talk Angela Ackerman (The Book Muse) and I gave on Agents, one nice gentleman in the crowd said someone told him that no agent will ever consider a manuscript after it has been repped by another agent. Generally the answer is probably true that it's tough and maybe it's time to write a new manuscript. But there are always circumstances. Like how many places was the manuscript shopped to. And that is just one.

Another writer was told you can NEVER get an agent on the first book you publish. Um. That could be true for some people, but not for everyone. It's like saying only red haired people ever get agents on their first book. Only red heads. So. If you're blond or brunette. Fogedaboutdid. Never mind that some of the incredible writers I am lucky enough to know not only got agents but made lists on the first book they ever published. True. It might not happen for everyone.(And this was a talk to Canadian writers) But it's never a hard fast rule.

I was at another conference about craft and the presenter said, "You HAVE to write an outline before you write a novel." Have. To.

Um. No I don't. Can't make me. Uh uh. No way. It gave me a stomach ache and I wanted to put my fingers in my ears and sing because I really don't like someone telling me what I'm doing is wrong when it is how I work. It makes me feel like I'm bad or wrong for the way I do it. (I know, guilty conscience much).

Not everyone has the same process in writing. What works for me may not work for you. I would go insane and end up living in a cardboard box surviving off dead crickets if someone told me I had to do detailed outlines on my books. I do alot of revising as I go. Sometimes I do a vague outline but I am mostly a write it as I go lady. That is what works for me. I do alot of my figuring out as I go along. Is that the RIGHT way. Probably not. But it's the right way for ME.

I heard Jo Beverly a NY Times Bestselling Romance Author give a wonderful talk about the writing process and I loved it so much because her theory was basically, "Own your style." As in find out what works for YOU and go with it. Work at craft, but write how you write. That is not to say you can't learn from the way another writer writes. Or revises. Or plots. Or outlines. I believe whole heartedly that craft can and should be something that is learned and continually built on. But in the end the actual process is individual.

I know some authors who would live in boxes if they were told they COULDN'T outline in detail before they began to write their stories. Telling them to throw that away and just go with the PANSTER method would give them massive stomach aches.

It's an individual process people.

I don't like when presenters say this is what you have to do when they are teaching new writers or people trying to get published who want the golden ticket- the secret handshake. Cause seriously. There isn't one. And no, you don't usually sell on partials. Writing the whole story is best. But yes. It does happen sometimes. You don't need an agent. You do need an agent. There are always exceptions.

I love to share knowledge about what I've learned about publishing with writers who are still learning about the industry. I also love to hear about other authors and their experiences. Because they're different. Of course there are hard and fast truths. There are contracts to sign. 15 % to agents. Editors to work with. But I don't ever want to tell people that something I believe is the always the absolute truth. Not if it's an opinion. I'd happily share share the facts as I know them about having an agent or working through the process of having a book published. It might not be similar for someone else. It might be the same. Ask me and I'll give you my opinion. But mostly it's just that. Opinion.

Make sense?

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