Easy Come, Easy Go

Well, actually, it’s more like “Difficult to Gain, Easy to Lose”. I’m referring to agents. They can be as difficult to acquire as a three-seated bicycle. Often, unless you know someone who has one, you may be out of luck. Even then, you can lose out.

Nonetheless, it’s important to get an agent that fits, not only your needs, but your personality, too. It’s no good to sign with an agency, only to get stomach aches because you feel you can’t trust them. Likewise, it’s all well and good to have a decent relationship with an agent, but if she/he is trying to do something with YOUR book that you feel isn’t right, you need to reconsider your alliance.

Don’t be afraid to speak to agents. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. And especially, don’t be afraid to look for a different agent, should the need be. This is your career, your future, your image they’re handling. They need to do it right and you need to be comfortable enough with them to say, “No. I don’t want you to do that.”

I recently lost my agent through no fault of either of ours. She took me on when she had extra time, yet became immediately very busy right after and found herself with way too many clients. There had been no contracts signed between us yet. These things happen. The important thing is that I can capitalize on my time with her. But I’m not going to rush into the first contract I can find.

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Some Scenes

Some scenes burn like gasoline on fire coming out. It feels like you can’t type or write fast enough, or even think straight. We, as writers, all love scenes like that. It’s when we truly feel alive. WE ARE WRITERS!

Other scenes come out like pulling fingernails out with your teeth. We write, erase, write again, erase again. In between, we pace, stare out the window, play games on the computer, and sometimes cry. We doubt ourselves as writers. We wonder what we were ever thinking to assume we could write. That’s when some people give up.

Come on, we all know them. “I wrote the first couple chapters, but then nothing came.” “I got about half way through and lost the story.” “It just doesn’t interest me anymore.”

I know quite a few writers and ex-writers like that. They mistakenly assume that, since the flash of inspiration is gone, so is the story. Instead of gutting it out and writing what little bit they do know, they just wait for the burn to reappear. Sometimes they wait the rest of their lives.

And you know the kicker? I’ve found that my writing is much better when that wonderful feeling of inspiration isn’t around to distract me, when I actually have to work to get my story on the page and get it right, when I have to write a bare skeleton and layer things in as I discover them, like building muscles and organs and skin, until it’s a body. Those are the scenes that are best for me. Not only do they mean more, but I’m more willing to cut and change what isn’t right.

I just wrote two scenes. The first was unbearably difficult. It took me 3 days to write 4 pages. I turned right around, inspiration furnace on, and slammed out the second scene in 20 minutes. I don’t have to look at them to know which will be the more difficult to edit.

It’s all well and good for me to mourn when inspiration is hiding on the other side of the globe, but then it’s time to get down to the work of writing. And editing. Lots of editing.

Fodder for Character Building

Recently, I took my cat to the vet; he didn’t feel good, was dizzy and vomiting. I was pretty sure it wasn’t life threatening (farm girl here) and all he needed was medicine. The vet had a busy surgery day stacked up and asked me to leave my pet and she’d examine him between operations.

It’s tiny things like this that help build character. In that paragraph above, you get an image of the dedication of the vet and the practicality of the farm girl.

But, what if I told you that I felt so bad for my little kitty who depended on me to make him feel better. He felt crappy and was scared, and I abandoned him to it. Yes, I would be back for him a few hours later, but at that moment, it was all he knew. I bawled like a baby all the way home.

What happened to your image of the practical farm girl? Your perception of her skewed, didn’t it?  See how details, vignettes, create character?

As a writer, anything and everything is fodder for our cannons (pens). That’s a fact.

And if you tell anyone I cried that day, I’ll deny it. I swear!