I missed the Southeastern Writers Conference this year. Money and time restraints would not allow it. Nonetheless, I feel the need to shoutout to the many people with whom I have spent wonderful trips to St. Simon’s Island.
These include but are not limited to:
Emily Sue and Lee Harvey (and family!)
Tim and Sheila Hudson
Cappy Hall Rearick
Zhanna P. Rader
Brian Jay Corrigan (and family!)
Jimmy Carl Harris
Thank you all so much for your guidance, support, and friendships through these last few years. I doubt you know how much of a blessing you have been.
…Why am I not published yet?
I’m back! I thought I’d share my thoughts on an agent I had an experience with recently: Kelly Sonnack with Andrea Brown Lit. I got a positive response to a query I sent her back in September and traded three or four rounds of subsequent emails with her before I was ultimately rejected.
Ms. Sonnack was very polite. I can find no fault with the professional nature of her emails, as I could with other agents. She formatted all of her criticisms with “I like… but…,” the exact style I encourage wherever I can.
She did say one thing that got under my skin. She didn’t like the narrative choices I had made with my story, and at one point she expressed this in a way that made my writing sound like a mess that needed to be “put together.” That may simply say a lot about my sensitivity, though.
Overall, she was helpful. Based on her criticism and the concerns of a few other of my trusted critics, I began another rewrite. I reworked the narrative into a simpler if less compact form.
Another positive experience!
I have a very unique way of battling writer’s block. When I can’t seem to make a story fit together, I go back and review the first fundamentals of storytelling I ever learned…by watching Disney movies.
Yes, this works! I’ve told quite a few other writers about it who’ve seen where I’m coming from. Classic stories told in ways that have caused people to love them all their lives. If you’re shooting to be a bestseller (though maybe not a Pulitzer), why not pay a little attention?
I’ve started making a study of storytelling in everything I watch. As an 18-year-old, I believe I am still entitled to my share of anime and That’s 70’s Show, not to mention movies with friends. I always try to pay attention to character development, narration as the way the story unfolds, the effects of setting and time. I suppose I can attribute it to my teacher Mr. Ford, who invented a class called Film & Fiction in the Fort Mill school district and taught students to appreciate film as art. It was one of the best classes I’ve ever taken.
Writing isn’t the only form of storytelling out there. It’s not even the most popular anymore. There is lots of room for writers to take advantage.
Again, I made this list with the help of a workshop I received in Cheryl Norman’s Novel Writing Class at the Southeastern Writer’s Workshop.
The Top 7 Downfalls of Writers:
- Lack of self-discipline
- Failing to use biological time positively (Ex. Are you a morning person? A night person?)
- Creating distractions/giving in to them
- Failing to finish individual pieces of work
- Failing to set goals that are high enough
- Not honoring one’s own unique material and VOICE
- Failing to acknowledge the duality within the creative person (Ex. Extend yourself! See what you can do.)
I thought I’d blog a little about what’s going on in my own life today and update everybody on how my dreams are going. =) I attended the SWA Conference a few weeks ago, which I blogged about. I repeat: This conference is an IDEAL beginner experience.
Thanks to this experience, my manuscript is in the hands of a literary agent I like very very much. Keeping my fingers crossed. We’ll see.
The last few days, I’ve been outlining Sunlight, the sequel to Sunrise. No, I’m not completely satisfied with that title. Bubbles would be more appropriate, but it sounds too much. like the name of a poodle. Le sigh. I think I’m going to start updating my second book’s word count on my blog just to add some accountability.
At the SWA Conference this year, I also got a definition for that mysterious thing I’ve been hearing about called Dragoncon–it’s an anime convention, a writer’s conference, and a sci-fi/fantasy convention combined.
Can you say My Paradise? How cool is that
It must be humongous. Apparently there are even something like 1500 registered Storm Troopers in Atlanta. My little brother wants to register and keep his helmet in his car so he can put it on whenever he sees a state trooper
I’m going. =D At least, I’ve got some of my anime friends interested, not to mention my Star Wars-fanatic parents. (Which might be an Oops….)
That’s the general past, present, and future of the moment though. I’ll keep everyone updated.
More soon ❤
Word count: 4000
I apologize for the never-ending two-day absence. My 9 cousins have been eating me alive.
Today I wanted to talk about an experience I had at the South Carolina Writer’s Workshop way back in October. This workshop is ENORMOUS–surprising for the petulant li’l palmetto state, no?
One of the ten agents in residence was Jennifer Jackson of Donal Maas Literary Agency, a lady I refer to as the Chuck Norris of the industry. She has over 40 clients, and I don’t know how she reads and manages that much every day. Even before I went to the conference I’d been reading her blog, and I admired her.
I was thrilled but extremely nervous when I learned I would be receiving a critique from her.
It turned out to be a wonderful experience. One on one, Ms. Jackson is quite friendly and very pleasant to work and talk with. Her critque of my writing was not harsh. She simply pointed out the things she wished for as a reader–and this approach moved me to start a rewrite. I aged my audience up, took out the backstory dumps, fleshed out the characters, and dimmed the corniness a bit–and these changes turned out to be the difference between 3rd place and 1st place in the contest for the M. L. Brown Award for Young Adult Literature offered at the SWA Conference.
I cannot express how much I admire Jennifer Jackson for the amount she accomplishes in the industry and her friendly attitude. Though my book isn’t right for her–I think she prefers 3rd person narratives–my book would not be the masterpiece it is without her critique. Thanks Chuck!
Status: Out of breath. I’m not kidding.
What’s the anime freak listening to now? Megumeru, the Clannad theme.
Dream Diary: Agents. I dreamed about agents.
Yes, I just added the dream diary. It’s an idea I came up with when I made my livejournal account yesterday. And yesterday night’s dreams were much more interesting. Crosses between tornadoes and dragons, and clowns in blue bodycasts. You think I could consciously make that up?
MORE GOOD NEWS: A “certified individual” (no, he really is certified) informed me this week that I have “a genius level of verbal ability.”
Now I just wish I could be diagnosed with an “a helluva proportion of luck.”
Yeah, I’ve been researching til I’m blue though. Sitting in the bookstore with stacks of books, taking notes on voice and elements, growling at authors who don’t do acknowledgements (that’s where I find out what their agent is!)
Then I come home and look the agents up. If an author didn’t have acknowledgements, I look up their agent online. Publisher’s Marketplace is certainly a faster way to find agents, but a lot of agents aren’t listed there.
If I can think of something to say, I post on their blog, so hopefully they will say “Heys! I know that personn!!” when I query them. I’ve also been looking at writers’ blogs. Mostly Holly Black, Cassandra Clare, and Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, so far.
I take notes on all agents in the Agents Masterlist I’m compiling. I might post some of it when it’s more complete.