Thursday, September 15, 2016

Two Interesting Writing Things that Happened to Me this Week

I'm going to write about the second thing first, because it was more recent and I still feel geeked out by it.

I'll be honest - it was sort of a cool/sad moment. I work part-time at a flower shop, which opens at 9:00 a.m. When I got into work, I discovered we had a wire-in order from PUTNAM, CONGRATULATING ONE OF THEIR AUTHORS ON HER BOOK BIRTHDAY!!!! I kid you not, I stared at that sheet for a full minute, thinking how cool that there was an actual traditionally published author IN MY TOWN and that she got signed by a really big publishing house!!
The names have been censored to protect the innocent :)
I did feel a little sad that I was so far away from that being MY reality.

But, it was cool I got to deliver her flowers!

But, t was sad because she wasn't home so I didn't get to meet her or get a business card or be all like, "Yo, congrats, gurl!"

But, it was cool to see she posted a picture of the flowers on Twitter! :)

Neat, right? 

The other and FIRST cool thing was that I attended a one-day writing workshop. I LOVE going to those things. They are so inspiring. Gets me really pumped up and in the writing groove again.

I have to say, though, that writing conferences contain some of the most introverted attendees in the world! (It is possible other conferences, such as those for actors, singers, musicians, or anything dealing with the artistic side of the brain contain introverts as well, but I have never seen more people less willing to cause a scene in real life than I see at writing conferences.)

Let me give you one moment from the workshop:

The speaker is giving the opening speech, all crazy-confident and funny. (Obviously, he is experienced. The public speaker in me suffers some serious envy.)
Mid-sentence, the speaker pauses and asks, "Are you looking for a seat?"
All attendees shift in their chairs, and cast surreptitious glances back.
The person in question hunches up like she's trying to disappear into a sweater and waves a don't-worry-about-it-hand. "It's okay, I'm just going to stand in the back."
Speaker:  "There are seats available, if we could get people to point them out?" Questioning glance around the room.
Timorous hands come up, pointing to empty seats. Nearly inaudible voices say, "There's one here."
Person in question sort of drifts to a chair in the back and goes invisible as she settles.
Speaker goes on like nothing happened, while everyone else breathes relieved sighs that THAT awkwardness is over!

And this happened a couple times, not just once. In retrospect, it was super funny, but at the time there was this camaraderie of commiseration at BEING SEEN IN PUBLIC. It was especially bad when people had to leave to attend their 10-minute query pitch. Standing up in a room of people is hard, you guys! So many muttered regrets of "What was I thinking?" and "Should I go now, or wait another minute, since it's still five minutes before I have to pitch?" and "I wish I was sitting in the back! I'll know better next time."

I had a 10-minute pitch of my own, wherein I verbally pitched my query to a really awesome agent. Like, awesome. She was incredibly nice, and actually seemed to like what I had to say. For a writer, that is just really nice, to get the affirmation that your writing isn't as bad as you sometimes feel it is. (Just so you know, a verbal pitch is WAY harder than a round-table critique. At least with a round-table critique, you have your MS in your hand and you can read the printed word aloud and not really make eye contact with anyone. With a verbal pitch, it's just you tooting the merits of your manuscript, and I think most writers are very precious about their ideas. They cradle them close and don't share. Ever. So, saying, "this is what my story is about" and ENGAGING... is hard.)

But one thing I realized during my pitch, and which I think came through most strongly, was my love of world-building.

Guys, I could literally world-build all day and not write a lick of story. I love to figure out why MY world is the way it is (such as someone in the far distant history of a particular world making such an enormous mistake that the hero in the present day now has an issue with adamant), and I love to study how other people sprinkle in backstory and implement that into my novels, so I don't have the ever-present problem of INFO-DUMPING (oh cursed words!) or people scratching their heads and saying, "I don't understand what's going on..."

Also, maps.
My first ever cityscape - be impressed. This was HARD

I love creating the history of my world. I also find it interesting that, for the most part, a lot of fantasies tend to have a sort of creation element. Like, this world exists, and while there may not be a One God figure (mine tend to have those, because that's the way I roll), there is often a strong draw from Roman or Greek myths, folktales, legends, and fairytales. I think it's because fantasy reveals a truth. Myths, legends, and fairytales contain that same kernel of truth.

"Fantasy remains a human right: we make in our measure and in our derivative mode, because we are made: and not only made, but made in the image and likeness of a Maker."

~ J. R. R. TOLKIEN, On Fairy-Stories 
To end:
What is your favourite fairytale?
What is your favourite fantasy book/series?
Do you prefer Greek or Roman myths? (If you answer other, what's the other myth you prefer?)
Favourite fantasy artist?
What's the coolest thing that's happened to you this year?

God bless!



  1. I tend to go for Greek myths- the Romans pretty much just swiped and renamed!

    Norse mythology's pretty good too.

    1. I like Greek myths, too. Norse myths, love! Egyptian myths I'm not as crazy about. Maybe it's just the "Egypt" aspect. I don't even know. They kind of creep me out. :)

  2. First of all, It's so cool that Putnam sends their authors flowers. Classy! Secondly, I can't believe what you decided to put first! I can't imagine a 10 minute verbal pitch. Not to mention that the agent was interested. Congratulations! I hope it leads to great things!

    1. Thanks so much! Oh my goodness, but that was scary. Speaking ALOUD, for TEN MINUTES about the merits of YOUR novel... :-0

      Gosh, yes, I wish I could have actually MET the author, but it was not too be. I really would have liked to have gotten a business card or SOMETHING. :) I think she's actually a New York Time's bestseller now - she apparently got MORE flowers. Cool, right?

  3. Great fun and news! Oh I hate coming up with pitches. Being around writer types is something I wish I had time to do now, I went to some local meets and that gave me the boost I needed.

    1. They are fun. A little scary, and I severely regret the decision to attend a few hours before the actual meet, but then I get there and it's fun.


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