Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The "What If" Game

Debra ponders what will happen if...

I'm at about week 10ish in the whole "You'll hear back from us in eight to twelve weeks." timeline. While I wait with fingers and toes crossed. While I wish on as many shooting stars as I can. While I pray. While I sit on pins and needles. I'm playing a little 'what if' back and forth with myself. Obviously, in this particular 'game', there are two options.

What if...I get THE CALL and it's a yes!

Well, first I will fall out of whatever seat I'm sitting in, then get up and do a VERY enthusiastic dance of joy. Probably shed some tears as well. Call/yell for my hubby so he's the first to know. And then let everyone else I've ever been acquainted with know as well.

After that, I'm going to have some fairly major decisions to make. Because my hope for this particular call is that it takes my writing from something I do for fun and pleasure, to something I do as a career (while, of course, keeping the fun and pleasure component.) At the moment, writing is a hobby. Most days I enjoy it. I love to tell stories, as I can live so many vicarious lives, and it gives me something to do with all of those voices in my head. But I'm not writing to make a living. I have a real job that I also love most days and which I need to pay the bills. But if this really happens, I'm going to need to devote more time to my writing. It literally will become a job, not just a hobby if I am lucky enough to sign with this publisher. Does that mean I give up every other interest I have in order to be able to work two jobs? I'm highly involved in my local Historical Society, and it's something I am passionate about. But with two careers to possibly juggle, my already limited time will be even more limited. Would I eventually choose my writing career over my other career? Something I've been doing for 25 years now? Hmn? Perhaps it is time for a change. Time to branch out and try something new. But at that point, it really, REALLY needs to be a career, because my hubby and I are not in a position to be able to live on one salary.

On the other hand...

What if...I get a call, an e-mail, a letter and it's a rejection?

Well, first there will be some tears. Quite different than the joyful ones in the 'yes' scenario. But once I pull myself together, I will still have some decisions to make.

Do I try this publisher (Which I really have my heart and hopes set on.) with another mss (in hopes they like my voice even though the submitted story wasn't right for them), or do I look elsewhere? So far in my writing 'life', I have not gone the agent route. Do I attempt to get an agent and let her pass my work around? But if I submit the original mss to her, then I've already missed out on my target publisher. Or do I submit a new mss to her and let her know I'd like it to be passed along to said target publisher. Is that even an option with an agent. IF she'd even accept me in the first place. Do I take a step back from writing totally and focus my energies elsewhere? Become even more involved with the Historical Society. (There is a possible opportunity on the horizon for that as well.) Will a rejection be a sign that it's not meant to be? Or am I just too hyper-focused on this one submission? I really, really love my current publisher, but the new projects I'm working on don't seem like they'd be a good fit. Or perhaps, again, it's just me being hyper-focused on what I'm coveting at the moment. I mean, there are LOTS of publishers out there. It would be REALLY silly to give up totally just because of a rejection from one. If that's how I played this game all along, I never would have gotten published in the first place. Rejection is all part of the writing life.

The 'what if' game is tricky. It's in turn exalting and depressing. I'm trying to take a glass half full approach in both outcomes, as there really could be something good that comes out of either. But unfortunately I'm a bit too much of a pessimist to do that. And I really feel I've put all of my apple hopes in one basket.

At this point, only time, and hopefully just a couple more weeks will tell. In the meantime, I'll continue with the 'what if'. You all keep those fingers and toes crossed. And if you happen to see a shooting star, make a wish for me.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Final Chapter

Paula is struggling with her final chapter!  

Usually when I get to the final chapter of a ‘work in progress’, I know where I’m going with it. It may need some thought and ‘sorting out’ to ensure I tie up all the loose ends, but at least I have a rough idea how to do that.

Not so with 'Irish Shadows', my current WIP. There are several fairly complex plot strands running through this story, and I’ve realised I resolved two of them too soon, so first I need to go back and rewrite parts of a couple of chapters. Then I have to decide which other problems/issues need to be brought to a satisfying conclusion – and, of course, how to do that. Last but not least, I need to work out just when the final scene takes place, and how I get all the necessary characters together for this, so that it doesn’t appear too ‘convenient’. Most of my novels have a slight twist at the end, but so far the twist for this story is proving elusive. I've thought of, but then dismissed, several possible twists as being either unrealistic or too contrived.

Fortunately, I have an excellent brainstorming ‘partner’ – not a writer, but a reader who knows what she likes, and also knows what questions to ask me. She’s also happy to listen while I talk through the problems – and sometimes that is the best way to sort them out. I’m hoping that after we have lunch together tomorrow I’ll have a clearer idea of how to deal with my final chapter!

Have you ever had big problems with your final chapter – and, if so, how did you resolve them?

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Waiting For the Next Step

Jennifer is waiting...

I’m running out of patience.

Those who know me would laugh, because really, I am not a patient person. So to say I’m running out is kind of the equivalent of saying an empty glass is running out of wine. But I try, I really do, and occasionally, I’m successful at pretending to be patient.

In this case, I’m ready to jump up and down.

I’ve been waiting for what seems like forever for my galleys so that I can do my last proof of my manuscript and find out my release date. Only then can I start doing serious marketing. I know I’ll get them in the next week or two. But the waiting is killing me, since I turned in my last round of edits in November.

In the meantime, I’ve been drawing people to my Facebookpage and engaging them in order to begin active dialogues about my book when the time is right. I’ve been continuing my Instagram account and running some giveaways on social media and through my newsletter.

I've also been soliciting readers with ARCs for reviews to appear on release day. And I’ve been obsessively checking my email inbox.

I know that one of these days the awaited email will arrive, and at that point I’ll be busier than ever. But in the meantime…