ramblings, writing

“REAL WRITERS”

Current mood:

annoyed-dogSource: barkpost.com/shiba-proves-whining-everything-life

 

If you’re in the writing community–or got dragged into a conversation about Puşkin–you’ve probably heard of the dreaded “real writers”.

The elusive expression that leaves writers in silent tears and online bullies with a sense of purpose in their lackluster lives.

Well, I got dragged into such a conversation by accident. Video games led to films inspired by video games (anybody else excited for the Warcraft film?) which inevitably led to books. Right around this moment in our impromptu online discussion, a French gent proudly exclaimed that one can consider himself a “real writer” if, and only if, they reach the NYC* list.

First place.

At least two weeks in a row.

*And yes, he actually thought it was NYC, not NYT. In which case, maybe I misunderstood the whole ten minute monologue?

Now, when I meet ignorant people on the interwebs, my strategy is to either ignore the dormant troll in them, or to push back. I was getting ready for the second option when said gent mentioned he was actually writing a book (“or maybe memoir, je ne sais pas”) about his life–love life, I might add–and that he’d reach that list in the next five years.

Well, my good man, I wish you all the best. I do. That’s a kind of ambition I’m scared to encourage in myself.

But I realized that some writers have a very grave misunderstanding of what a writer is. I only have two rules, which seem to be echoed around the writing community.

Writers:

  • Write
  • Strive to get better at it

That’s it. If you only write for writing’s sake and you think you’re mankind’s gift to the ignorant masses, that’s a problem that needs to be taken down a peg or two. If you only want to get better without, you know, actually doing the work, that’s a problem you, and you alone, need to deal with.

If you manage to follow those two rules, you’re golden. You’re a writer. Can’t wait to read your work.

And please, please don’t let your worth be dictated by arbitrary goals. As a nifty Google search will tell you, the NYT bestseller list isn’t the most reliable. And never, ever forget that a lot of amazing books don’t get agented/published/millions of copies.

And just like I thought the gent’s opinion was pretentious crap, you’re free to view my take on this topic in the exact same way.

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ramblings

Where Are You?

For some unknown reason, some of my earlier posts have vanished.

 

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Source: elcomercio.com/afull/origen-gif-johntravolta-confundido-pulpfiction.html

 

Now I don’t know if I did something wrong (most likely), my cat really is a super villain and hacked into my blog (he’s been too quiet lately to NOT be suspicious), or something’s gone wrong in the WordPress world.

 

Luckily, I still have most of them stashed away somewhere on my computer and I’ll be posting them again *sigh* in the following days (weeks?).

 

writing, Writing Contests

July 2015 Critique Blog Hop

Because Michele Hauk is a genius, she’s started a really exciting and very useful critique blog hop. Basically, you post your query and first 250 words, get critiqued by other writers (hello y’all!) and do some critiquing of your own (which is extremely helpful for everyone involved).

So, without further ado, here is my entry for the 2015 Critique Blog Hop:

Title: BEWARE OF BOLTON MANOR

Name: Amelia Creed

Genre: NA Romantic Suspense

Word Count: 70K

Query:

Junior estate agent, Olivia Abate, the walking cautionary tale for fresh starts, has one goal – to get the Bolton Manor listing before her dolt of a coworker. Their unethical rivalry takes a grim turn when the old woman who owns the property suffers a mental breakdown, and Olivia must spend a week at the manor if she wants a signed contract and the coveted promotion.

Ignoring her hesitation, Olivia deals with quaint guests fond of collecting serial killer memorabilia, perpetually hung-over nieces, and apathetic servants, one rehearsed smile at a time. Her only escape is the dry-humored heir of the estate, Thomas Bolton, who appears to be as starved for companionship as the manor is for renovation. His odd disdain for newcomers and Olivia’s fear of gaining an unjust advantage barely keep them from crossing the professional line.

Her moral dilemma vanishes along with her coworker, and Olivia faces the gut-wrenching possibility that she might lose not only her career and the promise of an uncommon relationship, but also her life.

BEWARE OF BOLTON MANOR is complete at 70,000 words and is a standalone novel with series potential.

250:

The faux leather on the backseat was peeling off and Olivia Abate’s best stockings already had two holes in them. Served her right for cheaping out on her last shopping trip and fidgeting since she had jumped into the cab. The driver’s road manners didn’t help either.

“Is there any possible way we could go faster?” she asked. The driver looked at her in his rear-view mirror, using his tongue to clean the remnants of his lunch from his teeth. Olivia pretended she didn’t notice. “Or find a shortcut?”

“No can do, Miss. We’re on the shortest road and I ain’t keen on getting a flat tire,” the driver said.

Olivia nodded and looked over her shoulder in the rear window, biting the inside of her cheek. Still no sign of another car. That could only mean two things – either her coworker had gotten lost on the muddy roads or he had already arrived at the manor. Or maybe he had given up on the challenge altogether.

Gazing down at the single sheet of paper in her file, marked ‘Bolton Manor – potential listing’, Olivia tried to find some sort of detail that could give her an advantage. Apart from specifying the size of the domain, the number of rooms and adjacent dwellings, such as the boat house, and the current owner, there wasn’t much written down. Not even a picture of the estate.

And for a junior estate agent, such as Olivia, that meant trouble; taxing, exciting, and career-defining trouble.

Thank you to all the writers who will take the time to critique my work. You guys are awesome for doing this and for having the courage to put your work out there and receive feedback.

And have an awesome day!

ramblings

CREATIVITY, WHY HAVE YOU FAILED ME?

Back in uni, I had a very – and I can’t stress this enough- very limited experience with Corel Draw. For those of you who have no clue what I’m talking about, it’s the vectorial equivalent of Photoshop.

Past me didn’t think much about recounting the story of how I made a 2D butterfly to a bunch of my friends. I blame the tequila.

Long story short, one of said friends wasn’t buzzed enough to forget the conversation and asked me to help him design a logo. Me. The writer. Cause, like, that’s the way creativity works, doesn’t it?

Now, I’m usually one for free stuff, cause, you know, ‘I poor’ and all that. But a logo is an extremely important part of a brand’s image. That’s another little tidbit I learned in college. But I nodded, smiled, swallowed my doubts about my designing prowess and got to work.

More hours spent in front of the computer, yey.

That was three weeks ago, and while the product is done and looks nice enough, I wished I could’ve come up with the idea on the spot. It took too much for a simple black and white expensive-looking doodle.

He asked for something “insanely simple”. Well, honey, that takes a lot of effort.

Writing Contests

HOW #PITCHSLAM HELPED ME GET MY MOJO BACK

It’s 2 am and I don’t know if I can do this story justice. I’ll try.

For those unfamiliar with #PitchSlam, I’ll try and break down the rules for you (or you can, you know, check out this link: http://llmckinney.com/pitch-slam/).

Pitch Slam is a writing contest where aspiring writers enter a 35-word pitch and the first 250 words of their (finished and edited) manuscript. A panel of judges (made up of other writers and absolutely amazing people), choose the finalists and agents browse through the entries and ask for sample pages.

Sounds pretty standard until this point, yes?

But what truly differentiates Pitch Slam from any other contest I encountered is the incredible support the community offers. This year’s edition even had a feedback round (which I missed, because I found out about the contest one day before the final deadline), where the judges offer advice on the pitch/250 words AND writers can then resubmit their work for the final judging phase.

Not enough? The #PitchSlam feed was constantly full of encouragement from everyone – finalists, writers, judges (even the occasional agent). We supported each other, laughed, came together for a common goal. Each one of us is in the same boat and wants to get to the same place. Instead of ignoring each other or showing off, we gushed over our favourite entries and lurked on the feed at the weirdest hours.

You know how they say writers are bitter people who prey on each other? Those people need just a half hour amidst us Pitch Slam-ers to see the reality. And some chocolate. Chocolate makes everything better.

And that atmosphere, more so than the finalist title (go #TeamDoubleAgent), made me want to keep writing. If judges and competitors can take time off from their busy life to say a couple of nice things per day, then there’s still hope.

On a side note, I got a partial request from an agent. Yey me! But I won’t give too much info about that.

There was only one thing this experience lacked – some of my favourite entries didn’t get a single request. I know some manuscripts work better in a standard querying process and I’m sure all of them will find representations soon. But I wanted all of us to have a success story in the competition.

With that being said, my confidence has sky-rocketed. Somebody thought my entry was worthy of a second glance. A writer can’t ask for more in the first stages of his/her career.

Thank you, Pitch Slam. You gave me the boost I needed.

thank.you

ramblings, writing

BAD BLOGGER, DECENT WRITER

The past month has been beyond hectic. A new word needs to be invented (where art thou, Shakespeare?’) to fully describe how frantic I’ve been every waking hour trying to finish a project.

So I had a decision to make. Either I’d write a blog post every week, or I’d spend time working on my next novel.

Guess which one won?

As a writer, I have my priorities. As a former advertising student, I am ashamed of my lack of blogging. There, I said it. Past me is shaking her head and her chopped bangs are getting in the way of her glare.

And, unfortunately, the next month looks exactly the same. One good thing came out of this – I’ve been munching on almonds every day while I’ve been glued to my computer (eating normal meals is for the weak!!!) and my skin looks amazing. And the good news is that I won’t ever have to go through this again. Yey adult me!

‘Till next time.

Fără categorie, writing

WRITING DONE. EDITING DONE. QUERYING…OH, GOD

Yeah, so it’s that time of the writing process – the dreaded querying phase.

Now, I don’t know how other writers go about it, but I personally decided to write a few options for mine. I wrote one before even beginning to write, one when I was halfway through the draft, and then one when I was done.

But, Amelia, what are you going to do with all those queries?

I am so glad you asked, non-existent readers (as of writing this post).

See, I’m sure querying came out of Pandora’s Box. There’s no other explanation. The entire process of writing one, especially for a newbie like me, is…daunting. But don’t get me wrong – I think it’s a great way agents can tell if someone does indeed have that special something in their writing and manuscript. It’s fast, efficient, and it gets the process going.

With that being said, I think a writer should spend time perfecting the query. And those 200 words need time to grow on you, so that you can distance yourself from them and see their true potential. That’s why I decided to write mine at the beginning of the process and throughout it. It gives me perspective, and I really need that. Having different options shows me what I was thinking while writing and if my preferences have changed. (PS: They haven’t. All of my queries focus on the same thing – I hope that’s a good sign).

I also tend to finish a manuscript and go write something else before I start editing the shit out of it. Yes, I need that distance.

And I think I have a decent query – I’ll send it out to a few agents that rep my genre and hope for the best. My manuscript is waiting patiently in my computer. Let’s see if it’ll ever see the bright light of publishing.