Quaking in my little goth boots…

Or something like that. 😉

Miss Snark is opening the Crap-o-meter for submissions tomorrow. Basically, it’s a chance at a public (informative) shredding session of a query and first page.

Masochistic little me? So going for it.

Add to that, the Evil Editor is almost through the metric shitload of queries he received when the Snarklings invaded. So I figured, what the hell, and am sending to him, too. *headdesk*

In other news, I’ve also decided on insanity and am going for the Three Day Novel marathon. Not officially, because I’m not spending $50 for something that’s biased towards lit-fic (which I don’t think I could write if I tried). But it’s been a long time since I’ve actually done a marathon, dammit.

Which, of course, means I’m liable to come down with the Flu From Hell on Saturday. 🙄

Regardless, I’m itching to get into The Reaper’s Price, which I haven’t actually done anything with yet, and I hope at the very least I’ll make a decent dent in it. 🙂

Anyone else joining me? 😉

OMFG!

I sold The Twilight Deception to Cobblestone Press.

OMFG.

Two sales in two days, one of which to a publisher I’ve been about dying to break into.

*SQUEE*

(I’m gonna get a swelled head at this rate.)

OMG!

So I submitted A Passion Draconic (formerly known as Resurrection) to Liquid Silver’s contest and they asked for a revision… rewrote it, sent it back in… I heard from them yesterday.

They want to publish it. With one minor change, a scene I wasn’t sure about in the first place. But… they want to publish it.

*squee!*

Rest in Peace …

Jim Baen, a cornerstone for the science fiction / fantasy community, passed away this morning. He will be remembered, and sorely missed.

http://david-drake.com/baen.html

The Space Between Writing and Storytelling

Kristen Nelson has an excellent blog post at PubRants regarding how “strong writing” alone isn’t enough to sell a novel. It made a lot of sense to me, but I was surprised at how many of the commentors just did not get it — period.

I’ve seen this elsewhere around writing fora, loops, and journals/blogs. Many writers assume that writing “well” is the most important factor in selling a short story or novel. These are often the same people who ask “How are Terry Brooks / Robert Jordan / Dan Brown / etc. best-selling authors? They can’t write for crap! They break all the ‘rules!'”

(Trust me. I’ve heard it. I didn’t understand, either, several years ago.)

The key here is story. An author doesn’t hit the NYT if the story sucks rocks. It might not be to some people’s tastes, but that’s going to be true of about anything, because personal likes and dislikes are subjective. Bestsellers have some quality in the story that captivates readers, otherwise they wouldn’t read it. (Outside of the controversy factor, that is, but I doubt that controversy alone can make a bestseller.)

I’ve been in critique / writing groups for several years now, and I have seen a lot of stories and novels that are technically perfect. The writing shines. But the story itself is often standard, predictable … “safe.”

This attitude is often encouraged in various sorts of writer’s groups. I’ve received far too many critiques from multiple different sources where the critiquer focused on the writing but ignored the big picture. I know other people who have received the same. Romance writers have talked about receiving crits from contests that focus primarily on writing “perfection” without looking at the story. Perhaps the intention isn’t to encourage people to focus on the writing first, but it’s often the way it comes across.

This isn’t to say that good writing isn’t important. If your writing sucks like a cheap whore who can’t figure out which end to blow, an agent or editor likely won’t make it past your query letter, much less take you on. (And by this, I mean truly horrid prose. If you’ve ever critiqued a beginning writer’s first novel or short story, you know exactly the sort of thing I’m talking about.) Writing is important, too.

But. It’s a lot easier to fix a novel that has passable writing than it is to fix a story that’s at heart “ho-hum.” Line edits are a piece of cake. Rewriting the entire book because it’s competant but not good enough? Not easy. (I’m in the middle of it myself.)

Yes, it’s a delicate balance. But I don’t think it’s impossible. The Internet is an immensely useful tool for writers to commune and help each other along — but the “downside” to this is that there are more competant writers than there used to be. At one point, it was good enough to be “competant.” It isn’t anymore. You need to be good — and by that, I’m not talking about the technicalities of writing alone, but the quality of the story you’re telling. Though how to tell a story that’s unique and different while still being marketable is another matter entirely… 😉

Is it tougher for writers to get published nowadays than it used to be? I think so, though I couldn’t say for certain. I know there are some writers who get upset and worried about the competition, wondering whether or not they can “make it.” Me? I see it as a challenge. 🙂

What do you think? Are the expectations / standards for new writers unreasonable (as some people seem to think), or is it par for the course? Do you find it depressing — or just another obstacle to overcome?

So much for that market…

Anna Genoese posted a long rant/essay regarding GBLT fiction (very good read, btw); one of the things she mentioned is that gay/lesbian romance is not marketable in the traditional print romance field. (Which I tend to agree with; the market exists, but it’s a minority.) I commented, asking if this also affected Tor Paranormals’s guidelines — which currently state that they accept non-traditional romances, including GBLT. Anna herself didn’t reply, but one of her authors did — confirming my suspicion.

*sigh*

I guess that settles that. I’d hoped to submit Stronger there when the revision is completed, but even though I don’t believe the hero’s bisexuality would be an issue, Stronger is the beginning of a stand-alone series. The heroine of the second book is a lesbian. (Or realises she is over the course of the story.)

I feel like I’m the only person who has this “problem.” Yes, the romantic plot is paramount enough to count as romance, but I need to consider the series arc, not just the first book. Which is, to be truthful, annoying — but I suppose it’s a good thing, because it definitely shows I’m not just a one-book author.

In regards to the series arc … well, I suppose it could fly as dark urban fantasy, even though the romantic plots are very integral to the external. Maybe I’m worrying too much.

I have to say, though, I’m somewhat disappointed to hear this about Tor Paranormals. Not just for myself, but because I was looking forward to being able to find non-traditional romances outside of ebooks or trade size print books put out by epublishers. (Which, honestly, I can’t buy on impulse due to the cost.) While I understand and respect their reasons for choosing not to pursue this — as they’re certainly valid — speaking as a reader, I’m disappointed.