If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book next year, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our March author interviews: Karen Pullen (3/1), Lowcountry Crime authors: Tina Whittle, Polly Iyer, Jonathan M. Bryant, and James M. Jackson (3/8), Annette Dashofy (3/15), Edith Maxwell (3/22) and Barb Ross (3/29).

Saturday Guest Bloggers in March: Maris Soule (3/4), and Virginia Mackey (3/11). WWK Saturday bloggers write on 3/18--Margaret S. Hamilton and on 3/25--Kait Carson.

Julie Tollefson won the Mystery Writers of America Midwest Chapter's Holton Award for best unpublished manuscript (member category) for her work in progress, In The Shadows. Big news for a new year. Congratulations, Julie.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

Linda Rodriquez has two pending book publications. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel will be released by Scapegoat Press on November 29th. Every Family Doubt, the fourth Skeet Bannion mystery, is scheduled for release on June, 13, 2017. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Linda here in June!

Cross Genre Publications anthology, Hidden Youth, will contain Warren Bull's "The Girl, The Devil, and The Coal Mine." The anthology will be released in late November 2016. The We've Been Trumped anthology released by Dark House Press on September 28th contains Warren Bull's "The Wall" short story and KM Rockwood's "A Phone Call to the White House." KM writes under the name Pat Anne Sirs for this volume.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for pre-order.

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Monday, November 8, 2010

Appreciating Frustration or Not

I remember a woman saying to me after the birth of my son, “Oh, it’s such a happy time.” I wanted to slap her.

At the time, I was still dealing with the physical trauma of childbirth, which every mother knows is worst with the first baby because after the first, you’re broken-in (and I’m not talking figuratively), enduring sleepless nights and realizing the horror of being responsible for another human’s well-being. Her comment sounded like the murmurings of a happy idiot. Since her children were ten years older than mine were, I didn't appreciate her nostalgia as I went through the agonies. She’s a wonderful person, but she sure wasn’t looking at it from my perspective. To this day around new mothers, I’m sympathetic because I can still feel the grit under my eyelids from those sleepless nights.

Currently, I’m in the same infancy stages with my books as I once was with my children. I wish it could be “such a happy time.” But like then, it isn’t now. Although I observe nine of the Ten Commandments Nathan Bransford published for writers, that first commandment “Enjoy the present” I just can’t seem to abide. I’m frustrated. I’m unconfident of my writing. I’m unsure that my approach is “correct.” I’m almost certain whatever I write will be instantly rejected by the hirelings of queried agents. My vision often doesn’t match what my critique partners say. I’m feeling harried by too many things to do, prompting me to reevaluate my priorities. I need to focus and have a singular vision.

It all comes down to that one manuscript that makes it out of the slush pile.

I researched Janet Evanovich, Fern Michaels, Margaret Maron and Heather Graham. Each author started writing short stories and expanded to novels. Some took ten years to get that first manuscript accepted. Some combined motherhood and writing (unlike me, some are superwomen) and, for Fern Michaels, it was a challenge by a now ex-husband who told her to "get off her ass and get a job"  when the nest emptied. She had no skills except writing and motherhood (and now lives in a haunted house). I love her story and admire her.

My first novel was the sorry first-born experiment. Although my second novel required many revisions, it was fun to write, but wasn’t so much fun when I received query rejections after the promise of interest. Now I’m writing my problem child—that one in which my visions may not adequately address my readers’ expectations. At least one of my critique partners thinks my manuscript is good, the other is clueless as to where I’m taking the novel, which may not be so good. I’m at the stage that editors say is the hardest--that middle stage like an adolescent child who has growing pains and vexes the most loving parent.

My kids are 23 and 20 years old and are accomplished well-adjusted adults. I did okay as a parent. As an author, can I achieve the same success? I guess only time will tell. But whenever I commiserate with other aspiring authors, I’m so glad that they never say, “Oh, it such a happy time.”

14 comments:

Polly said...

It sounds like you have too much angst about the novel. Being uptight about most things you do will result in less than stellar work. Why don't you put it aside for a while and go on to that story you've been thinking about (we all have one cycling around in our head). Go back to it in a month or three and you might see it differently. Either that, or find a CP who will read it from the beginning without having gone through all the revisions. See what s/he thinks are the problems.

Donnell said...

E.B. We could be twins. My children are 23 and 26 (so technically we couldn't). Polly gives good advice. My number one advice is don't compare yourself to others. It was so hard watching others who were in my (sort of graduating class) go on without me. It took me nine years to get my first contract. But I knew I had a good story, and I did NOT want to write what they were writing. So it might be a good idea to step away from the computer when you're writing. Go sit under a tree, by a lake, just be. Forget that you are trying to sell that baby and give in to your muse and to the story. The first step to anything is to believe. And then visualize yourself making it. There are no rules you have to sell your book like everyone else or along their time frames. If you love your story, are passionate about it, just like when you were raising your children...you didn't always agree with their parenting plans.... so to with your writing.

E. B. Davis said...

Thanks for the advice Polly and Donnell. I keep trying to think like Doris Day-what will be will be. If writing is truely in the cards for me, it will happen. But it's not easy for me because it's not my nature.

Before I joined the Guppies and became aware of PR and the need to be seen, I wrote my second manuscript and had a fun time of it. But it got me no contracts.

I'm reading more advice books now, trying to get to the next level and quite aware of my flaws. I'm in a critique group so I have to keep up production, putting it aside isn't an option, and I've procrastinated enough.

Luckily, there are only certain problem characters that are stirring my angst. For now, I'm writing around them and when I revise, hopefully I will have had enough time to figure out how I will treat them.

I need a beach!

Polly said...

I need a beach!

I am on my way there now, for 12 days, alone, to finish my manuscript. Since I'm renting it out from Jan-April, I'd better go now. December too.

E. B. Davis said...

I'm envious. Where? My Outer Banks beach is getting colder now, although the middle of October was still wonderful.

Polly said...

Down the coast, just south of the NC border in SC. It'll be cold, but I don't care. Writing with a view is therapeutic. And I don't have to worry about when, what, and if I eat.

E. B. Davis said...

It sounds wonderful Polly-have fun and be productive.

Marja said...

I won't even try to offer you any uplifting advice, because I can relate to this only too well. I will say that I recently went back and read a book I wrote that I hadn't looked at in over a year, and I enjoyed it. When it came out I wanted to go hide because I thought no one would like it. So take heart and keep writing. Try writing just for the fun of it, and you'll begin to relax and enjoy the experience. LOL It might be like having another baby, but at least you won't have the physical pain.

Pauline Alldred said...

Sometimes I think writers who haven't had that first break, listen to too many critics. In the end I go back to the comment of a published author and I'm big time paraphrasing her--there are three main rules about writing. Unfortunately no one knows what they are.

Sometimes you really have to listen hard to hear yourself.

E. B. Davis said...

Marj-Having a published novelist say that means a lot. Thank you!

Pauline-If you come up with the source of that quote, let me know. It's a good one.

When you send anything to an agent, they're looking for reasons to reject you. It is enough to make anyone paranoid and depressed. I'm not going off the deep end, though. I got two short stories published, which makes it a very lucky year. But shorts make little money.

Warren Bull said...

I think writing short stories is a good way to take a break from your WIP. Sometimes a manuscript needs to age like wine while the author steps away and work on something else entirely. You return fresher and the work looks fresher plus what is not working may be more obvious.

E. B. Davis said...

I've procrastinated long enough, Warren. I need to gut through the rough draft, take a break and then look at the entire script with fresh eyes before I edit. You're right though. After time, the pages blur. Everyone needs to step away and come back as if seeing it for the first time.

Pauline Alldred said...

W. Somerset Maugham and E.M. Forster are supposed to have said, "there are three rules for writing the novel etc."

Hermann Hesse is supposed to have said:

The way British publishing works is that you go from not being published no matter how good you are, to being published no matter how bad you are.

E. B. Davis said...

Thanks Pauline--I'm starting to feel much better. If those three have that opinion, then maybe I'll survive.