Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Pink Slip in the Mail

I absolutely loved this post by A. Lynden Rolland, author of of Breakable Things, about how she got her agent. I found this gem over on Writer's Digest website, and loved it so much that naturally, I copy and pasted the whole thing right here. 
Don't hate me copyright Gods! I linked! I credited! It was just too funny and every emotion so perfectly accurate that I couldn't resist! Enjoy

The first time I mailed a query letter the envelope gave me a paper cut. I should have seen it as a sign. The fact that I used snail mail tells you how long ago this journey began, and the fact that I sent out only one query tells you how na├»ve I was going into it. I checked the mail with a childlike diligence every day. A week later, there was my SASE, perfect lettering and all. My penmanship is typically slop. It’s a cursive-print hybrid mess that only a handwriting analyst might understand. But with lettering so intricately lined, so neatly arranged, the SASEhad to contain good news. I rushed back to house, tossed the rest of the junk on the table, crisscrossed my legs and fell to the floor, ripping open the envelope. At first, I didn’t think there was anything there besides my query. Was it possible that my dream agent had accidentally forgotten to include the shining request for the full manuscript? I expected it to fall out with a thud like a block of gold.
I thumbed through the contents again, flipping the envelope upside down and shaking it. Out fluttered a neon pink square. Pink. Freaking pink. Surely such a positive color would be representative of good news, but immediately the term “pink slip” came to mind. If that was the intention, I’m telling you now, agent: NOT FUNNY. Not funny at all. I didn’t even receive a personalized rejection. Hell, I didn’t even get a full sheet of paper! Just the standard thank you, ‘this business is subjective’ blah, blah, (shoot me in the face) blah.
I didn’t think it would sting quite as badly as it did, but that horrid, pink demon-slip left quite the paper cut on my ego. Everyone gets rejected. If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a million times. But writers take things to heart. Writers are perfectionists. We analyze and internalize things more than other people. If we weren’t overly emotional, we wouldn’t write dramatic fiction.
Eventually, I racked up over forty rejections. I took the criticism in stride. I rewrote; I reworked; I revised. Every time I wanted to jump off the roof, I reminded myself that my house wasn’t high enough … I’d only break a leg, and then I’d be crippled and still rejected. Pass.
Many agents were encouraging. They liked my writing. They liked my premise, but I was already hearing the word trend. YA Paranormal was on its way out. I came very close with one agent, but in the end, it just didn’t work out. I was thankful for her advice, but I was crushed. Hope is a beautiful thing; each time an agent would request the ms, the elation was such a high. But the tricky thing about hope is that it acts similarly to helium. It doesn’t last forever, and when I was inflated to cloud nine, that only meant I had further to fall. And fall I did. I was done with it.
I gave up. I shelved the manuscript. My skin was not thick enough to withstand the knives of rejection. Ironically, the same week, I received an email from Rachael Dugas at Talcott Notch Literary Agency. She requested the first fifty pages. A few days later, she requested more. It was not my first full request, and I was no longer that optimistically eager moron. This time I didn’t get my hopes up. A month later, I checked my email to find:
Hi, Amy–
Thank you for your manuscript and your patience. I simply loved [Of Breakable Things] and would be interested in representing you. Can we set up a time to chat sometime early next week, perhaps sometime Monday afternoon?
Rachael Dugas
Jaw drop.
My first tiny piece of success as a writer. I fell to the floor in tears. Would the moment have been so gratifying if I’d succeeded the first time? Certainly not. I’d like to believe that those paper cuts have made my skin a little thicker, but if anything, at least they’ve made me a bit more colorful, a bit more interesting, and a bit more appreciative.

Aaaand now I'm going to read her book. Because with a post that good? Her novel has to be even better. Hehe. Logic by me.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Sensory Fiction

Every once in a while I pick up a book so good, that I literally start to feel whatever the character is feeling. Fear. Anger. Happiness…. ahem… lust. (Don't give me that look, hypocrite!) The last book that grabbed me by the hair and DEMANDED that I read was Angelfall, by Susan Ee. The writing… wow… incredible. And without even getting into Raffe's totally gorgeous angel body, lets discuss the intensity of her scenes.  

Have you read it?… And do you REMEMBER that scene in the woods? Ya know what I'm talking about…. when all those creepy pigmy people are bumping up against her "like piranhas" and start taking bites outta her? 


I mighta had nightmares that night. Just sayin'.

Page turners. They're the best. Arena… Forbidden Forest… Chucky-infested dystopian town… you name it, you're there. But what if you didn't need good writing anymore to do it? 

Well MIT's new "Sensory Fiction" vest might be doing just that. Super smart MIT peeps have come up with a type of vest that lets you not only READ what you're… ahem… reading, but EXPERIENCE it as well. According to the article: 

The reader straps on a high tech-looking vest equipped with a compression system, localized body temperature control and heartbeat and shiver simulator. As you read, they vibrate, change temperature and alter pressure while the cover’s 150 LED lights put on their own show.

The book takes care of the atmosphere with ambient lighting that sets the mood of your character’s journey. Subtle changes on the vest are meant to make you feel what that protagonist is experiencing — physically and emotionally. It might vibrate to speed up your heart rate during an angry fight scene. Pressurized airbags could constrict when your leading lady is afraid. The personal heating device at your collarbone might warm you during a love scene.

Truthfully, I'm not sure how I feel about this lil' gadget. I mean, on the one hand, it could take an already grip-you-by-the-eyelids-and-MAKE-you-read kinda book and make it even better.

On the other?

Couldn't it be a crutch for authors who juuuuust can't quite seem to get their writing where it needs to be? And what would happen to the quality of our dear books then? Would it simply dumb down the craft of writing?

Either way, ya gotta admit… its a pretty freakin' sweet idea!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Radio Silence.


This has to stop. The "Me-not-posting-posts" thing. Actually, its been so long since I HAVE posted, that I seriously doubt anyone is still listening…. 

Houston? Houston? Anyone there?

Yup. Didn't think so. 

Consider this post my leaf turning. My new start. Operation "Blog Image Makeover." Readysetgo!! 

Anyway, I'm reading Outlander right now, and I have to admit, its just… meh. Seriously. I can't figure out what the hype is about. And I say that knowing full well there are thousands of women everywhere… (errrr… or at least there WOULD be thousands, if thousands actually read my blog) who are cursing my name for saying so. 


I don't get it. The story idea is fantastic. I mean, who doesn't love a good time traveler?! Add a bit o' Scottish hottie and bada boom bada bing! You got a story! 

But the writing. The sentences. The words. YOU GUYS….  ITS SO BORING. The pacing is just so off for me. The action gets bogged down in every single minute description of every single action she takes in the day. 

*pounds head against wall*

Also, I'm not a fan of the narrative-like style. It makes me feel like she's just telling me the story rather than showing. (I'm such a show-not-tell snob these days. Its sickening. I'm aware.) 

But anyway, anyone with comments actually still tentatively checking my blog for signs of life who wants to weigh in on this, please, share with the class! I know I have AT LEAST two friends who are probably shooting daggers at me for this post…. (here's lookin' at you, Mandi and Michelle!) But seriously, even if you hate me for it, I'd love to chat about it. (Cause I really gotta know… what's with the hype??)

[Side note, I DID watch the first episode of the TV series last night, and it showed promise, so I'm not completely killing the idea of it. But lets just say I'm exactly jumping to put the sequel on my "To Read" list.]

So since Outlander didn't capture my attention the way I hoped, I'm also reading The Strange and
Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender. And lemme just say… don't ever let anyone tell you "peeps don't judge books by their covers." Cause they totally do. I'm living proof. But as I'm only on like page 5 of the book (on account of I have a dear little angel that has been quite cantankerous lately), I don't have much of an opinion on it yet. But it has a solid above-four-stars rating on Goodreads, so, ya know. Can't go wrong! 

Any-whooo… I'm gonna "Julie Out!" here now, because its highly doubtful anyone is reading anyway. I must go forth and search out YOUR blogs to bribe you to comment on mine. Muahahahaha!

Julie out.