Today is Wednesday, the FIRST Wednesday of October [hooray for fall!] and I have--dear readers--decided to join the Insecure Writers Support Group.
Hi. My name is Julie. And I'm an insecure writer.
Haha! I crack myself up.
ANY-whooo... this fabulous group, hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh, is designed to share and encourage the fears we've had (and overcome!) as writers, as well as offer assistance and guidance to others who may be struggling. And... lets face it. We're ALL struggling, insecure writers!
Which is why I think this group is SO FREAKIN' COOL!!
Not that we're all struggling. I wish we weren't. I wish we were all best sellers. But what IS so freakin' cool that there are SO many of us out there, and therefore SO many peeps with good advice to share! Rock on. Without a doubt, the best thing about being a writer is having writer friends. Hence, I'm super duper excited about this group and hope to meet lots of awesome writers with lots of AWESOME advice! Hopefully I'll be able to share a little brilliance of my own too [fingers crossed].
So without further ado... my insecurity, which was fought. And overcome.
The Audience Scare. [cue scary music].
Just a week or so ago, I ran across a writing contest called Can You Hook a Teen? If this sounds familiar to you, its probably because you entered the contest. Or read about it. Or thought about entering. Or considered how scary it would be to have your work read by ACTUAL teens [gasp], and ran for your freakin' lives!! This last group of people were the smart ones. Haha.
I, however, was NOT in the smartie pants group. I entered.
Now, to be honest, I did not expect to win. It never even crossed my mind. I submitted the 250 words of my ms [which is still posted below, for your viewing pleasure, if you're interested], JUST because it seemed like a fun thing to do! [Hardy, har. Fun. Riiiiiight] I was clearly delusional. A few days went by. I didn't really think about it. Then the winners were announced, and ...[surprise, surprise]... Keepers was not listed as one of the "hooker" manuscripts of the day.
And I felt... disappointment. What?!
"Self," I thought, "how can you possibly be disappointed when you NEVER expected to win in the first place?"
Self, unfortunately, did not have an answer for this odd turn of emotions. But Self DID, however, expound on my random feelings of disappointment. My next thought (after being pummeled by a round of water balloons from the pity band wagon) was:
"Holy crap!! I can't hook a teen! They hated it! I'm DOOOOOOOOOOOOOMED!"
In the next few hours of pure panic, I went through every element of my book. Every chapter, every character, every plot twist, and every cliff hanger, trying to figure out WHAT DID I DO WRONG?!
See, in my delirium, I thought that because these two random teen judges (TWO, mind you, just two) did not find my first 250 words particularly catching, that clearly... CLEARLY... my book was actually NOT a YA novel. Or worse, that my book was a load of horse poo and wouldn't catch an agent OR make it to the publishers whether it was YA, Adult, Mid Grade or anything in between.
This, was crazy talk.
Now I'm not saying that my book doesn't need improvements (cause it does). Or that I deserve an agent RIGHT NOW (though I want one). Or even that my first 250 words really are totally rock star awesome (even though, I think they're pretty good).
I had to remind myself that it is humanly impossible to please every single audience member. Even Stephenie Meyer and J-freain'-K Rowling have hater clubs. Bad reviews will come. We will, at times, wish to drown ourselves in Ben and Jerry's or host the world's biggest pity party, just cause we can.
AND THAT's OKAY!
Just so long as we remember to take the GOOD reviews with the bad. We can't just focus on the bad, peeps. The bad comes with the good... but the GOOD comes with the bad too! Separate the good critique from the nasty comments or pointless self pity, and move forward with confidence!
Anyway. That's my pick-me up advice for the day. After re-evaluation and panic mode have subsided, I've realized, that yes, my book is still YA. And no, it does not completely suck. And yes, I will try not to focus on the review that two random teenage girls gave me (or rather, DIDN'T give me).
What are YOUR thoughts on this? Anyone have similar experience to share?