Monday, June 26, 2006

At Another Crossroads

Does it seem like I am always whining about where to go from here? I certainly feel like I am. Some days I just think I am in the wringer, supposed to learn something, or know something, but I can't figure out what it is.

So if, for example, I've written a novel. And if, for example, someone I trust to tell me the absolute truth (read: published author who does not know me from Adam, has no reason to lie, and writes stuff I love) tells me that the first 20 pages of my book are great, fabulous, don't change a thing good and though can't promise that it will be my entry into fiction, thinks it will be, what do I do with this information? Especially if, say, I send the same 20 pages in to a contest where it is judged by three different people. One gives it high scores but red marks the whole thing. One gives it moderate scores and doesn't make a single mark on the manuscript, and one gives it excruciatingly low scores, red marks the whole thing, but the comments don't make a bit of sense and if the judge had used a dictionary ONCE would gain a while new perspective...even if said gained perspective wouldn't have changed the scores would have made the comments more appropriate at least.

And, let's say, seven (such a lowly number) rejections already grace said manuscript.

Would you perchance wonder if you were barking up the wrong tree?

Would you trust the first professional reader you had, or would you trust the rejections and contest judges?

What if you'd decided that your ms really was @*&^?

And no, I waited for the initial downer of not finaling in the contest to wear out before posing these questions. It was a good couple of months ago.

So I asked God if I should quit. I said basically, 'Give me a neon sign. because I don't want to quit if you want me to keep at it. But I certainly don't want to keep at it if you want me to quit."

So I get this awesome email from one of my crit partners about the calling to write and ignoring the calling is ignoring God.

Can you say neon?

Problem being, of course, that I didn't mean to write fiction, I meant to write a memoir but in the process got a fiction opening.

Thoughts, comments, suggestions, gossip?


kpjara said...

Oh great...another wonderful writer to compete with!

The neon sign and the gift God gave you are the only voices you should hear right now! What we say or think doesn't even matter, right...write!

I will try to encourage you by saying: write what God leads you to write and it will won't be easy because God doesn't want for one minute for us to think WE DID IT! because HE WILL DO IT!

I can't WAIT to read your books!

Aunt Murry said...

Follow your heart because that is where God speaks.

Pam said...

I am planing on self publishing my stuff. A children's book, some poetry and a technical booklet.

I can't stand all the waiting and being rejected.

The flip side of doing this is I really have no one but myself to blame if I never get it done. :)

Unknown said...

Well, who are your readers? Seriously, it's not up to the judges whether or not your stuff is good, it's up to your readers. Actually, it's really not up to them, but they are how you get paid, so in a way it it. Confused?

If your "professional reader" represents the average reader of your work, I'd go with that.

If it's anything like you write on here, it's good. Keep at it.

April Erwin said...

I kind of came to the same point myself when working on my first novel. I had the first 50 pps and didn't have a clue where to go. I was terrified of failing. I finally told God that if he wanted me to write he'd have to give me a computer (ours was dead), I couldn't write without one. Which of course wasn't true, but I lied to myself anyway. Just to show you that God will take you up on those challenges, the very next day a friend from church called and said she'd bought a new computer and wanted to give me hers. I was so stunned my jaw hit the floor. I accepted that God had a plan for my writing. It still took me another five years to complete my MS and self pub. But I learned a lot in the process. I still question where God wants me to take my writing, but what I don't question is that He wants me to write. The rest of the path will become clear as I go along. Remember, He's lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path. He never said you'd see the whole road, just the next step. Hang in there. :)

Julie Carobini said...

Jamie, If I had known the journey ahead of time, I might not have jumped on the bus! (I shopped around 2 novels for years before finally selling a third.) I hope your journey is quicker than mine--but it can be so tough to wait and wonder--especially with all that conflicting advice. Hang in there, my friend!

owlhaven said...

I tend to listen to the criticism that resonates with my gut feeling-- the comment that suddenly clarifies what's wrong with a passage that's been bugging me. The criticism that I know is right as soon as I hear it. You have to have a reader who 'gets' you.

And I wouldn't be too concerned about the rejections. I had a murder mystery that was rejected by 37 publishers about a decade ago-- that was before I found my niche in non-fiction. And Dr. Seuss was rejected 70 times for "green Eggs and Ham" before he got published!

Mary, mom to many