Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Writing isn't easy

So sorry for the delay in this post. Life has been so crazy for me lately I forget what day it is.
Don't get me started. Anywho, here is my post. Hope you enjoy it!

“Thank you for sending your manuscript, however I regret to inform you that your novel does not fit our needs at this time”
This is every author’s nightmare.  It certainly was mine. For years I wrote, pouring my heart out in each and every story, creating likeable characters only to hear it was rejected. Talk about feeling upset. One rejection letter was bad enough, the tenth was devastating. What was I doing wrong?
Apparently, everything.
I couldn’t understand why my stories weren’t being accepted. I had a strong beginning, an interesting conflict, a couple who meet and fall in love and a zinger ending. What more do these publishing companies want? I was soon to find out that there was a lot more to writing than creating a likeable story.  They wanted good grammar.  I’ve got a grade nine education, learned the basics in school, but apparently it was only the beginning.  I was ready to toss it in, give up on a dream of being an author when my loving hubby convinced me to give it one more try.
Reluctantly and half-heartedly I obliged him and did some research on-line to help me make my story better. Little did I know that what I was about to do would make my dream come true. Searching the internet I came across an epublishing company holding a contest. I had no idea what an ebook was. But hey, why not give it a shot. I took one of my many stories, wrote up a synopsis (not an easy job, trust me) and emailed it to the company. Two weeks later I received an email stating that my story had not won the contest but that I had come in second place. Boy did that perk me up.  As I continued to read the long email from the co-owner and senior editor my hopes began to rise. She loved my story, but given that it was a romance contest, they could not accept it because it did not have a happy ending. A must in romance. And finally, at the end of the letter she told me that she loved the story and encouraged me to fix it up and resubmit. Then she went on to say if I had other stories to please submit them as well. WOW! Someone actually liked my story and wanted to accept it. I was over the moon!
I spent the next two weeks polishing my stories. Feeling confident in myself and my work, I submitted two other stories, both romance.  To my surprise and utter joy she responded stating that one of the stories fit their needs perfectly. It was the next line that completely blew me away. “Congratulations for choosing our publishing house for your book. Attached is a contract and information about the publishing process.”  I stared at those few words, mesmerized and yes, a little in shock. Was she seriously contracting my work? The next thing I did was begin to scream. My husband and kids thought I had lost my mind. Until I told them why.
There is no greater feeling than having your dream come true.
Still, it would be a long process before the book would actually be published. In another email this wonderfully supportive senior editor explained to me what needed to be fixed in my story. She had a long list, which felt overwhelming at first, of things I needed to correct.
 “You need to be careful with your POV.”
I was baffled as to what she meant. So back to the internet I went and did a search for POV. Point of View. Ah, now I get it. Now what? I had no idea that I couldn’t have each character have their own internal thoughts. What was wrong with that? Simple. The reader can’t develop a connection to the lead characters if others point of views are mixed into the story. So there I was, going through the entire manuscript for POV errors. Its amazing what you find when you are deliberately looking for one specific error. I had the Heroine’s thoughts, mix in with the hero as well as the protagonist and other characters. Now I had to decide who should be the primary voice in my story. Not an easy decision. So I mixed the hero and the heroine and gave them each their own voice. The key was to keep them separate.

This was written nearly eight years ago and boy have I come far. Since this was written I have published nineteen books, some aren’t published any longer. Its been a hell of a ride. I’ve had some great editors in my career, and they’ve helped me fine tune my books. Without them, I would be lost.  I by no means am a perfect writer with no mistakes. But sometimes its hard to see those until the editor takes a run at it.  Thanks to those editors I’ve had plenty of success.
What is the moral of this story. Simple. Learn everything you can about writing and the industry. Fine tune your stories. Aside from spelling and grammar errors, check for POV, plot, time, season, location, if your character is drinking on one scene but no longer has the drink in the next. All of these suggestions can go a long way to making your story better.

So, happy writing everyone!

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