Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I envy you all

So, I've been writing this thing lately... it's a rather large thing... in fact, it could be termed, let us say, a novel. And being that it's only the second time I've tried to really write a novel in my life (the 40,000 word monstrosity, written as a fifteen year old, does not count), it is rather... difficult.

Not difficult in terms of the actual writing craft because I'm rather solid on that. Not perfect, but solid.

Rather, it's difficult in that I cannot blab about it on the internet. I cannot blog about it because on the off-chance that it is marketed, it will probably be submitted under a pseudonym, to avoid the appearance of nepotism. (No, I will not submit it; Lori will submit it and when it is sold, reveal that I wrote it; this is done a lot.)

And I desperately, desperately want to blab about it, and instead, am limited to a small group of friends who are very patiently putting up with me. And the husband. Except, he's sort of obligated to put up with me because I blab at him while he's defending space things and stuff on Eve Online and is not allowed to leave his computer before he docks. (I'm tricksy, I am. =)

So all of you out there, who can freely talk about your novels on writing blogs? I envy you immensely.

And thus, I declare this an open thread for you all to babble away about your books to your heart's content. I've got 7000 words written on mine and that's all I can tell you for now.

I'd have to kill you, otherwise... =)


Anonymous said...

I made a New Year's resolution to write 2,000 words every day. That works out to about 50,000 words a month (if I manage to write on weekends).

I'm taking the write-the-barebones-fix-it-later approach. So far, I've got one novel done and another really close. One's a YA Fantasy and the other's a YA Urban Fantasy. They're both embarrassingly rough, but it's easier for me to get the rough plot down, then go back and craft beautiful prose. And finishing a novel--even if it's just a rough draft--is really good for the ego.

Of course, I couldn't do it without my LiveJournal account. I record my progress everyday and bitch about how hard it is to push through writer's block and stuff like that. It's good to have someone to be accountable to (even if they're imaginary).

Laurel Amberdine said...


But, I like hearing your novel chatter...

Even if I mostly tell you to cut it out and go back to writing. :)

D. Robert Pease said...

You envy us?!! What is not fair here is you have an agent lined up already. So you are not getting my sympathy vote :-)

Jenny Rappaport said...

I do NOT have an agent lined up already. I have a prospective agent lined up, who would be kind enough to try and sell my book, IF AND ONLY IF she thinks it meets the publishable standards of the other material she represents. I'm in the same boat as the rest of you guys, mostly.

Barbara said...

I'm racing through an Urban Fantasy, having received multiple responses to my last book of "love the writing, but this isn't marketable. What else you got?"

I've come to the conclusion that friends are the most valuable resource a writer can have. Especially writing friends who understand your pain.

Just_Me said...

first novels are fun! Mine ran over 185,000 words and is being edited. Since I finished that I've done a complete NaNo novel (63,000) and another science fantasy novel (around 75000), both of which are being edited in March. I'm working on finishing my fourth novel this month and I'm behind schedule!!!

But I love writing. I always have ideas, I don't always have the discipline and distance to edit though. Which is why my finished drafts are on mandatory time out and I'm working on something new. By the time I get back to them I'll have enough distance that I'll actually be able to edit them with some objectivity.

Good luck writing. For most authors I recommend a critique group but in your case that may not work. Which means you're left with friends and family to edit for you, and your own skills, of course.

Sadly I must agree with Laurel, chatting is fun, but I need to do more writing!

Laura (Kramarsky) Curtis said...

Start a new, anonymous blog to post about your novel. Or join one with a group of people you know won't reveal your true name. (Surely you already have a pseudonym lined up? Start a blog for it!)

My novel is killing me. None of my characters wants to do what I want them to do, and my poor group of friends who has to listen to me gripe...oy!

Cathy in AK said...

I would think your prospective association with Ms. Perkins would be even tougher than the rest of us deal with. Most of us send a faceless submission to an agent who has been thoroughly researched (of course) but we have never met. We could bump into them in the grocery store and never know it. To know that agent personally? Whew, doggie! That's nerve-wracking. But I'm sure you have nothing to worry about : )

I'm shopping one finished ms and working on a futuristic about a thief who wants to do one last job before retiring. Of course things go awry : )

Rachel said...

I actually try never to write about the novel itself on my blog, mostly because I change my mind SO FREAKING MUCH. I don't feel comfortable writing about anything other than the most basic stuff because scenes, plot twists, and even whole characters can dissapear over the course of a writing session. It's hard enough for me to keep score, I can't imagine expecting a blog reader to!

I mostly use my blog the same way Dviod up the at top describes - a place to talk my way out of corners and push through writer's block (and gush about my favorite authors). But first and forever, my blog is the place I display my word meter. That's actually why I started it in the first place, I love watching my numbers go up up up!

rhienelleth said...

Wow, I don't know what I'd do if I couldn't blog about writing. Mostly it's just my beta readers who seem to follow my progress, but blogging about something when I'm stuck, or even when I'm feeling accomplished, is what gets me through to the end. Even if it's just a boring progress post with a word count.

Even if you can't talk about it much, we can at least cheer you on. :) So, Woo-Hoo, congrats on plunging into this novel writing thing!!

I am amazed you find the time to write, frankly. Agents are generally so incredibly busy!

Anonymous said...

Different boat. Same ocean.

Scott said...

Funny that you call it a "thing." I do that too. Calling it a book or a novel feels too intimidating. I can manage "story" sometimes. But usually I call it (OK, them, I'm working on my third "thing," while rewriting the second and occasionally tweaking the first) a thing or a "little project."

Every once in a while, I get brave and say I'm writing a book.

Anonymous said...

I hope you don't really think you're in the same's not even the same ocean.

But even with what the rest of the world considers a nice leg up on the process, it'll still be tough. So best of luck with it!

Ryan Field said...

I can't speak for other writers, but I rarely, if ever, discuss any of my work on a blog or in person...not even with friends. Actually, a friend of mine found a book I was in ten years ago and he never even knew I was getting published back then. For me, it's all about kinahara.

I use different pen names, too. If I have more than one short story in an anthology, I never use the same name twice because when they review them, and they always do, I don't want the stories competing with each other that way. It's better to let them think it comes from different writers.

I just don't believe in discussing my unpublished work with anyone other than the editor or agent. And I rarely discuss published work with anyone either. I don't even read the reviews; good or bad.

So, Jenny, you're not alone here.

Miss Lily said...

I'm in the process of editing my monstrosty of an 80,000 novel that's only taken 6 years and lots of hair pulling and days of opting to write to it instead of doing college school work. ^_^ I used to think it was brilliant. Now that I'm editing, I'm wondering what the hell was wrong with me. lol. I'm also in the process of doing the synopsis, which isn't my idea of a good time. My husband keeps telling me it's wonderful (He has to say that, or he doesn't get fed), but I'm so frayed at the moment because I don't know if I want to market it as a sci-fi or fantasy (As it steps in both, but has no elves or dwarves...).

Anonymous said...

Hi! Been reading the blog for a while so thought I'd de-lurk to your kind invitation and ask a question.

I have three completed novels so far. Novel A has gone through several revisions and I've been shopping it around on my own. To date it has received a few very favorable rejection letters; for example, the last one basically said "We have no room in our schedule but somebody will want this, keep sending it around" and called it a "straightforward urban fantasy novel." (I'm pretty happy with that as a rejection, in fact. ^_^)

However, I'm running out of places to query it to unagented. In your opinion, do you feel it would be worth my time to query this novel around to agents, given that I've already sent it to most of the places I know of that accept unsolicited manuscripts?

Or, should I instead focus on querying novel B, which is about to finish up the last of several revisions? (Novel C is so freshly done it still squeaks, and I need to start its revisions, so it's not queryable yet.) And keep novel A in reserve in case I do actually find the right agent for me, so that he or she can have that book as something else they can try to pitch along with novel B?

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

No matter what, you've got an inside line to representation, Jenny. And that's fine; it's one of the perks of what you do. You also work your butt off, putting in VERY long hours. You deserve a few perks.

As for the topic at hand, I'll talk about Trevor until the cows want to go back out in the morning ('cause talking about him until the cows come home isn't nearly long enough). But the current WIP?

Forget it.

At least until it's in revisions. I'm just not ready to talk yet.

Amie Stuart said...

I WISH I could write barebones but I also don't edit a lot while I write. =)

I've got to get my hiney in gear. I've got about 20k done and need about 40 or 50 more....rather soon so Um I'm gonna go write now. LOL

FWIW I don't talk a lot about ongoing projects outside of my CP's (other than, "I'm writing" or "I've written so and so much"--I'm superstitious like that.

Chumplet said...

An agent with an agent is like a therapist going to her therapist.

I've teased my blogging buddies enough about my upcoming release, and maybe two or three of them will actually buy it.

But it's harder to talk about WIPs when you have no idea where they are headed.

My British antagonist turned Irish halfway through one WIP, and now I'm thinking of making him Russian.

My other WIP is in two different eras (present day and 70's) and two different POVs. I like to think it's literary, but who am I to judge?

Both are stalled at around 30,000 words. And no, I can't combine them or they'd look like a yak at one end and a zebra at the other.

Maybe Spring will bring back my muse. It's under a snowbank somewhere.

Whew! Thanks for letting me vent!

Loquacious Me said...

I have the novel written, now I'm just trying to cobbled together the submission necessities (like a query letter, a decent synopsis, other banes of my existence...)

Kim said...

I'm between deadlines for the next few weeks, and enjoying my time off - though I do have three WIP I should probably be agonizing over. :-) There'll be time enough for that, though. I'm enjoying my vacay...

Michelle said...

I say "good for you", I honestly have admiration for those writers that actually finish a novel. I have met so many people that say they are writers but have never finished a MS.

I have 6 rough drafts of a seven book S/F series written, (all run from 96,000-106,000 words) the seventh one is 1/4 done. I have one fantasy rough draft done, and 2 2/3 done. I have even dabbled in romance a little, I have two chapters wrtten and the basic idea done. I am finalizing my first book of the series and just writing as a distraction in between.

I hope to be able to send it out soon. I feel it is getting there.

BTW, I love your wedding pic's sooo pretty! I love your bouquet.

tcastleb said...

I'm currently sending my main novel out for queries with fingers crossed. Other than that, I'm fiddling with a prequel and sequel to it, and have a fantasy e-book being edited to be out in a couple months and am finishing an SF one. Soon, I hope. I do blab about them on my LJ, but that's because nearly all my friends are writers, and at least half of them have read some portion of my stuff so they know what I'm talking about.

Anonymous said...

Well, you've got one of my ski bums take over the computer world of the future novels...I'm still playing with that trope, but it's taking different shapes.

At the moment, though, I'm writing a fantasy novel about a healer who gets herself mixed up in a sibling rivalry battle between the Gods that's mirrored in a human family, while helping a princess regain her rightful power and title from her evil father. It's still a work in progress, obviously, including the pitch.

John Arkwright said...

Me and Barbara are in the same boat. I wrote a novel that I cannot seem to write a killer 5 sentence synopsis of--so not marketable. I'm OK with that. I don't think anybody would have read George R. R. Martin's first Songs of Fire and Ice book based on 5 sentences, either.

I'm writing short stories now, to build credibility to go further with the writing. For the next novel, the 5 line synopsis comes first. And eventually the first novel will publishable.

I recently read an agent griping about getting nothing but great sounding gimmicks in queries that did not pan out into readable novels.

Wonder why?

Anonymous said...

"(No, I will not submit it; Lori will submit it and when it is sold, reveal that I wrote it; this is done a lot.)"

"When it is sold" -- that is why you are not in the same boat. You have the confidence, based on your extensive knowledge of the industry, that your book will be sold. You also have the ability to sit your novel directly in front of an agent and have it read.

The rest of us have to accept that our books may never be published, never making it out of the slush pile on your desk. Even those who have really great books are often overlooked; yours won't be.

I wish you the best of luck, yes, and I imagine it is difficult to not be able to talk about your work. However, please admit that your boat is yacht, while most of us are struggling to stay afloat on a piece of driftwood..

Kristine Overbrook said...

I am on my second project. This one is about a sisterhood of succubi living in Las Vegas. It came from an erotic/horror short story that sprung to mind while in the drug store. It's so cool when ideas hit you like that.

I outlined, then wrote the summary, then wrote character pages, did research on Vegas, now I'm writing the story. :)

I didn't plan my first one, just followed where the novel took me. It's about a werewolf hunting detective and hasn't sold yet. I think part of the reason is because query letters are such nebulous creatures.

After I finish my current project I'm going back over the first with fresh eyes and rewriting what needs it.

Jennifer said...

I think it's nice that you already have someone who will submit your book for you (said in a rather envious tone) However, knowing Lori, I know this means that the writing is GOOD, so congratulations!

I'm in the middle of three projects, and right now they are all half done, so it's just a question of choosing one and finishing it.
The choices are:
- A fantasy with Greek gods and goddesses, and a young magician who has to save the world from teh appocalypse.
- An urban fantasy where Fiona Tipple, an ex vamp-addict, searches for a monster who plans free a thousand years of caged demons from the demon door.
- A contemporary rom-com where a dyslexic fortune teller steals a million dollar race horse because of a betting scam (I know Lots about racing, lol)

I'm also looking for an agent for a few finished new projects, and I'm looking for a new home for a book whose rights I just got back from the publisher.

Just_Me said...

For those of you looking for a critique group and help with your novels may I suggest ? Anything you post there is considered copyrighted (complete with note at the bottom of the page) to you. You can get feedback from other authors and advice on everything from writing to query letters.

Antony B said...

I usually just use my blog to sketch cartoons about books and the writing process. I don't think I've actually used it to talk specifics about my own novels. So...

Novel number one is a 90,000 word crime novel called Educated Guess. I had a lot of fun with that one. It's about a Clint Eastwood lookalike who discovers the body of a John Wayne lookalike after a party. I sent it off to agents and got some encouraging (i.e. personal and positive) rejections, but nobody signed.

Second novel is Nothing Easier and is currently on submission to agents (starting with the ones who liked EG). It's crime again, and was harder to write as I needed a whole bunch of fresh new ideas (I didn’t want it to read too much like my first novel). There were three minor characters in EG that I wanted to know more about. Nothing Easier is their novel. It's a lot darker and more focused.

Third novel is my current work-in-progress. Another crime novel, of course, and after the first two I'm continuing to try and stretch my legs. It concerns an aging con-artist and a just-released-from-jail thief. Both who have volunteered at a medical testing centre where they encounter a poisoning. It's early days yet (19,000 words, aiming for 90,000) and of the two central characters, I'm unsure which will turn out to be the hero.

Each novel takes me a year to write and the feedback (or lack of it) to the one currently on submission will help me decide if I should continue in the direction I've been heading.

Spencer said...

I somehow found myself writing three books at once. But since I work with Jenny, I guess I'd better stay quiet about them. Know only this: THEY. ALL. ROCK. I can't decide between them. I love all my children equally.

Seriously, though, I got this job (as electronic intern, now paid) after Jenny rejected my novel. We really don't have much of a leg up. You all could have the same conversation with Lori at a writer's conference or convention (which I hope you're going to) in which you say, "This is my idea," and she says, "That sounds interesting; send it to me when you're done."

Amie Stuart said...

Spencer I think that's kinda cool you got a job with Jenny after she rejected you! Ok maybe I'm a dork but wait, I am *g*

Anonymous said...

Okay, why does everyone assume you have a leg up? I mean, being an agent is NO guarantee at all that Jenny can even write well. Just like queries are different beasts than novels so is nonfiction and fiction, business letters and essays. How many of us have sold our first novel? So why do you assume Jenny automatically will?

And how exactly do we know that she has a leg up, and doesn't in fact have a harder way to go? Do we really think that if Joe Hill hadn't been secretive about his relations that people wouldn't have blasted him as "Trying to be just like daddy"? Who is to say that the editors and agents aren't going to have this exact same attitude that Jenny should be an amazing writer because she's an agent, only to be disappointed if she is "merely" a good writer?

And Jenny, I don't talk much about what I'm writing on my blog because I'm afraid to get too full of myself over it. It's hard to get terribly excited, and get other people excited, and then have to field questions months later when it's still not sold. Better to just talk about it after it's accepted.