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

May Interviews

5/5 Lynn Calhoon, Murder 101
5/12 Annette Dashofy, Death By Equine
5/19 Krista Davis, The Diva Serves Forbidden Fruit
5/25 Debra Goldstein, Four Cuts Too Many

Saturday WWK Bloggers

5/1 V. M. Burns
5/8 Jennifer Chow
5/22 Kait Carson

Guest Blogs

5/15 M. K. Scott


E. B. Davis's "The Pearl Necklace" will appear in the new SinC Guppy anthology The Fish That Got Away to be released in July by Wildside Press. The anthology was edited by Linda Rodriguez.

Paula Gail Benson's monologue "Beloved Husband," from the perspective of Norton Baskin the second husband of Marjorie Kinan Rawlings (who wrote The Yearling and Cross Creek), appears in the Red Penguin Collection's An Empty Stage (released March 28, 2021).

Martha Reed's "Death by GPS" will appear in the Spring 2021 issue of Suspense Magazine, which will be released in the second week of April. Congratulations, Martha!

Susan Van Kirk has a new audiobook, A Death at Tippitt Pond, that will be released this month. Marry in Haste will be released in May by Harlequin Worldwide Mystery, as will Death Takes No Bribes in September. Congratulations, Susan.

Congratulations to Martha Reed. Her short story, "The Honor Thief" was chosen for the 2021 Bouchercon Anthology, This Time For Sure. Hank Phillippi Ryan will edit the volume, which will be released in August at the time of the convention.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Killer Weeds," appears in the January 20 edition of Texas Gardener's Seeds: From Our Garden to Yours. Congratulations, Margaret, who, if you follow Facebook know, is a superb gardener herself!

Congratulations to Jennifer J. Chow for garnering a 2021 Lefty Nomination for Best Humorous Mystery Novel. We're crossing our fingers for Jennifer!

Congratulations to Paula Gail Benson whose "Reputation or Soul" has been chosen for Malice Domestic 16: Mystery Most Diabolical anthology to be released this spring.

KM Rockwood's "Stay Safe--Very Safe" appears in this year's 2020 BOULD anthology. Congratulations, KM!

Annette Dashofy signed with agent Dawn Dowdle of the Blue Ridge Literary Agency. Congratulations, Annette!


Monday, February 28, 2011

Lights! Camera! Action!

The internal dialogue of a writer:

“It’s going to be a bestseller!”

“No one will like. It will bomb.”

“No—an agent will snatch it off the slush pile, and say, ‘Eureka!’”

Have any of you experienced this internal dialogue? I’m a lousy judge of my own work. As easy as it is for me to judge others’ work, I can’t fathom my own. Critique group feedback may improve a script, but is no indication that a manuscript will sell. Even those who have won prestigious contests fail to garner book contracts. Endemic to the writing life, I careen from extreme optimism to extreme pessimism.

So often, neither extreme happens. I imagine most agent personnel reviewing first chapters or the first fifty pages conclude that most manuscripts are ho-hum. Not without merit, but not enough merit to garner any deal. The manuscripts will go the road of most others—a copy saved on the author’s hard drive, a hard copy placed forlornly by the author on their shelves. Some may opt to self-publish those manuscripts, but if unacceptable to an agent or publishing house, how could it be good enough to self-publish?

If the experts haven’t bought it, why would I presume to know better than those with vast experience in the industry? I dislike arrogance. It is unacceptable to me because within arrogance are self-important pufferies—lies, and I’m much too old to lie to myself. There are exceptions to the rule in self publishing. The other day I heard about a kid who published a YA book on Amazon and sold 450 thousand copies immediately. I don’t know if the kid even tried to get an agent—I think not, knowing that most kids are eternally optimistic and naïve. But then, the kid’s dreams came true, with just a little faith. As I said, it was an exceptional experience, which will be replicated by few.

I remember writing my second novel. I kept thinking of it as a movie. Shirley MacLean portrayed one of my leading lady characters. I saw her in the role, and may have subconsciously written the character based on her. By chance, I ran into Shirley MacLean at a cosmetics counter in a mall. Her family is from the Northern Virginia area near where I live. (Her stage name, although not spelled the same, is a tony Virginia suburb of D. C.) At first, I didn’t realize it was her because who the heck anticipates running into someone like that two weeks after Christmas in a shopping mall? We joked about cosmetic packaging. No, I didn’t have the nerve to tell her about my book. Afterward, I took it as an omen, a good omen. I was sure that my book would sell and Hollywood would grab the screen rights, and Shirley would take the role. It was all fantasyland. But then, I write fiction, why wouldn’t I script a winning role for myself?

Because of that experience, perhaps I am overcorrecting to guard against disappointment. I’m focusing on the process and not the result. As a professional (a suit I wear even if I’ve yet to garner the status or profit) I’m distancing and emotionally detaching. I’m writing the best book I can. If it succeeds, so be it, and if it fails, so be it. Will I self-publish if it fails with agents? No.

Internal dialogue:

“Get on stage. It’s time to sing.”

“I’m trying, but I can’t get out of the dressing room.”


“I must have gained weight. I’m stuck.”

“But you’re supposed to be the fat lady who sings.”

“That damn writer fed me too many chocolates. I can’t fit through the door.”

“And how long will it take you to lose the weight, so you can sing, fat lady?”

“I don’t know. Leave me alone, these truffles she bought are great!”


Warren Bull said...

LOL! Been there felt that way. One thing that helps me keep going is accounts of authors whose work has been turned down by scores of agents before it gets accepted and becomes classic work. One agent/publisher's opinion is just one opinion. Twenty or thirty rejections are just opinions. My favorite short story, THE WRONG MAN, which is now in print. on line, available in audio format and what I most often read at conventions and book signings racked up more rejections than anything else I've ever written. Ha!

E. B. Davis said...

Glad to know, Warren. I've also heard rejection stories. On a recent blog, someone posted a very nasty rejection letter to Gertrude Stein--of course she lived to publish another day. LOL!

Anonymous said...

I waver from loving my own words to hating them multiple times during the course of the day. I often finish a day's writing knowing everything is drivel. I'll toss and turn all night trying to figure out why I ever thought I could be a writer... then the next day, I reread what I wrote and damn if it isn't really really good! I'd love to see a study of a writer's brain - there has to be some sort of twisting twirling mass common to all of us that causes such internal havoc.

E. B. Davis said...

I'm one of those who must let my writing simmer for a while. What happens Karen, when you love your words but you critique partners don't?

Pauline Alldred said...

Also, Elaine, as well as rejections being part of the process, publishing is going through changing times and that's probably not good for a first time novelist. In fact, it's not even good for midlist authors who have published 6 and more hardcover books.

I think you have to continue to be professional as you are and keep producing the best work you can.

Ellis Vidler said...

Too funny, Elaine! I certainly understand the mood swings. sometimes I feel like I'm on one of those fair rides where the bottom drops out every so often--up, down, up, down--it's the way of things, I'm afraid. If we didn't have problems to start with, we would after a short time in this business.

E. B. Davis said...

I'm glad I'm not alone in going back and forth on the emotional pendulum. I never close myself off from criticism because I want to learn as much as I can...and yet, sometimes the critics are wrong and you have to listen to your muse.

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Elaine, I never think my work is excellent! That's why I fiddle to death with it. So... is that mood swing or evil keel insecurity. Who knows. Cute post!