Friday, July 17, 2015

The House That I Built

There's a house being built across the street from us. So far, all they've done is clear the wooded land so there's a nice flat spot to build the house.

The other day, I was thinking about how this cleared land is like our writing. We all start out with cleared land, or a blank sheet of paper, rather. But line by line, brick by brick, we build our "house."

Some of our homes are simple. The materials we use to build them aren't very fancy. No elaborate detailing or expensive framework, but it is a home and it serves its purpose. Just like in writing, some writing is simple in nature, straightforward, not flowery or full of descriptive language. And there's nothing wrong with that, because there are many types of homes just like there are many types of writing styles that translate into many different kinds of books.

Other homes are massive, with rounded archways and drive-through porte-cochère's. And while they are beautiful to look at (and money aside), if it's not your style, then it won't be the right house for you. Same goes with writing. If you aren't a literary writer, don't force it just to try to fit in with a trend. Write what you want to write. If it's simple but full of heart, there's an audience for you out there.

But lastly, don't skimp on your materials. Whether you're building a simple house or an elaborate house, it's all in the materials. As writers, we have so many resources available to us. We have beta readers and critique partners (have I told you lately how much I love my beta readers and CP's?); we also have books that lay out the do's and don'ts of writing; we have writing conferences to attend and writing blogs to read.

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And if that's not enough, you also have the most important thing—YOU.

When you're building your house, you know what works and what doesn't. You know what will make you happy and what won't. Get other opinions, but don't forget to rely on the most important thing. Your own creativity.

What kind of house have you built?

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

IWSG July: Final Four

Hi everyone! I can't believe it's already July—where is the summer going? Before I know it, my kids will be back in school and I'm seriously dreading that! I'm loving the no-schedule thing!

Well, since it's the first of July, it's time for another group posting of the IWSG! It's a time for writers to air our insecurities or triumphs and offer support and encouragement to other writers. As always, a big thank you to Alex Cavanaugh for starting this awesome group! And thank you to the co-hosts for today: Charity Bradford, S.A. Larsen, AJ, Tamara Narayan, Allison Gammons, and Tanya Miranda!

I'm not feeling insecure this month, instead, I kind of feel like I'm floating on Cloud 9! The past month has been a really good ego-boost for me. And hopefully this feeling will carry on as I begin to query my YA Contemporary MIDDLE OF KNOWHERE.

As many of you already know, a few weeks ago I was chosen to be on one of the teams for Query Kombat. And thus began my amazing ride! After weeks of "battles" against other Kombatants and after beating out four of my opponents, I made it to the Final Four round. Now, can I just say that I never in my wildest dreams would have thought I'd make it that far! In fact, over this past year as I've queried a different manuscript and entered contests with it, I didn't get anywhere in those contests. Making it into the Final Four is seriously like a dream—or an answer to a prayer.

Anyhoo, I got knocked out in the Final Four round BUT I was finally able to see my agent requests from the Agent Round. And the total number of requests I received is...Seven!

I'm super excited, especially because I haven't even started querying KNOWHERE yet. But, as always, I don't want to get my hopes up. But one thing is certain, being in Query Kombat has given me the confidence I need to keep going at this trying-to-get-an-agent thing. I can do this. It may take months, it may take years, but at least I know I'm in it for the long haul.

Thanks, as always, for all of your support! I am always amazed by how wonderful writers are, especially when it comes to cheering on fellow writers.

Happy Wednesday!