Thursday, October 17, 2019

NaNoWriMo - Good or Bad

It's that time of year when a lot of writers dive on board to do NaNoWriMo. For those of you not familiar with this program, the goal is to write a novel in one month. You set word count goals and just write like crazy!

While this is a motivating factor for a lot of writers, I have heard and seen, time and time again, that the goal of just getting words on the page becomes counter productive to writing quality work. Sure, the NaNoWriMo people will proclaim the number of people who published a novel from this, but when you really dig into it, you see that the focus on word count is missing the point.

So, if you ask me, is NaNoWriMo a good program, I personally would say no, or at least in the present way it is done.

Here is the biggest problem with the program. It is all about word count. They openly say that it doesn't matter of the writing is good or bad, so long as you get the words on the page. They go on to say, you can edit later. And this is the problem! The odds are that many of the days, you will write material that will likely be dumped. Consider that time wasted.

Sure, you might want to argue that it "got you thinking" or "writing even bad material is practice" but the reality of the business of publishing is that we have deadlines and wasting an entire day of writing garbage is not going to get you anywhere.

I do think setting deadlines for yourself during this month is great! But, if you are going to do this, make sure the material you write is quality work.

Just my point of view!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Conflict Vs. Complication

Have you ever read a book where you kept asking, "What is the point of this?" Maybe you keep screaming at the characters about how "obvious" this is and you want them to just "fix the problem!" In almost all of these situations, the problem is the lack of a conflict, or at least a significant conflict. These authors have only put a complication into their stories.

So, what is the difference?

A complication is easily seen in most sitcoms. I always like to use something from the 70's. Yes, I know I am dating myself on this, but it is a great example.
Three's Company was filled with nothing but complications. These are simply situations where the solution is just someone asking someone else a question and getting an answer. Think of it this way. How many times did "the problem" arise from someone overhearing a conversation and just misinterpreting the message? This is a complication.

If the reality of the situation is that the character in your book just needs to do something, then there is not conflict.

I recently read a submissions where the hero liked the heroine, but just had not told her. The heroine felt the same way and also had not told him. They both felt it would "ruin their friendship"or that the other person "did not feel the same way." This is a complication.

For a conflict to happen, we have to see that there may really be a huge loss for someone if the problem is not solved. For example, if the hero and the heroine get together in a romance, then there will be an issue with office politics and ethics. Now they have to find a way to work through this. Something is going to have to "give" to make his work. Someone may have to make a sacrifice.

Hope that helps!

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Always Look For Options

We are hard at work here at Greyhaus with one of my clients looking for some new directions to take her writing. We are, essentially, looking for ways to re-brand her writing to maximize her strengths. What we are doing right now is something you should always be doing with your writing.

Let me first say, I am not encouraging you to jump all over the place with your writing and to leap on every new trend out there. Let me explain.

Assume you are a historical author. You have a great focus going for you right now with your writing and, whether or not you are published yet or not, things feel like everything is heading in a positive direction. This does not mean, however, that you do not look for ways to enhance what you are doing. So if you are writing single title Victorian romances, is there an opportunity to take some of those story starts (the projects you thought might work but didn't do much with) and turn those into short novellas or short stories? This might be a way to increase your presence out there without putting in a lot of extra work.

When I attend conferences or talk to editors, I often will have my brain spinning thinking of new ways to take my authors and their careers. Again, I am not having them shift lines or genres, but to use what they have and increase their potential.

So, what things can you do today to increase your potential? What options are out there that you may have not tried yet?

Monday, October 14, 2019

Resubmitting After A Rejection - Question From A Writer

What do you recommend the writer do next (if they think that their manuscript is quality and deserves a second chance)? Should the writer never darken your door with that manuscript again? Resubmit it to you with a "second-chance please" note? Wander off to a new agent? I am so glad you wrote this post, because I have wondered about this situation but wasn't sure how to ask.

This is a great question, but like a lot of things out there in publishing, there is no right or wrong answer.

I will try to answer this one in small pieces.

First of all, if the agent or editor does provide you feedback and says to resubmit, I strongly encourage you to do that. They took the time to give you some feedback and there is likely something there.

Now, if the agent or editor DID NOT respond with a revise and resubmit, then I strongly recommend asking first. Listen to what they say in that response and how they say it. If they come back with "If you want to" and that is about it, I would argue they are not overly interested. Here at Greyhaus, I DO NOT look at revised projects unless I tell someone to do so. For that reason, going back, redoing the project and then resubmitting will certainly get you a rejection.

You also referred to this as a "second chance please" note. No whining...OK?

So the next piece of this is, do you give up on that agent or editor. Unless that person comes back and says they hate you, then by all means, send a new project. But here is the big thing to remember! Make sure that you DO NOT make the same mistakes you made on the first project. I honestly reject a lot of people who cannot seem to learn a lesson.

If you got no feedback, or it was simply, "not what I am looking for" then take the time to really research that editor or agent. It might simply be that, while you might think you want to work with this person, you and your writing might not be a good match.

Hope that helps!