Today I'm going to talk a little about my experience with being rejected by literary agents and publishers. To keep it on the professional side, I won't name any specific group or give actual text from letters. But I figure this could help some writer out there in some way as they face the querying process.
To give you some stats as of today, 6/29/13:
12 for #IceEnchantressStory
46 for #PsychicStory
27 for #ChosenFourStory
~15 from publishers, 70 from agents
Requests for More Material
5 total (for #PsychicStory)
2 full manuscript requests
Revise & Resubmit
1 total (for #PsychicStory)
1 scam weeded out by P+E
1 promised post-R&R
Assuming you didn't die after the last post, here's the next section--from tenth grade through today! Yay!
Today, I'm going to post something I've never shown anyone before.
Starting in the middle of high school, I've written this list of every achievement I've ever done, both for college applications and resumes and also because this one guy kind of made me want to make a list of why in the world I was too awesome for him to bother me.
So I'm going to post this list for you as sort of a history of my life along with a list of my achievements. It's pretty long, so I'll have two consecutive posts covering it. If you do read this and decide to feel jealous or something, remember, this is just all the good stuff.
Here it is: another writing rant, this time about tropes and other common story elements that I find overdone, ethically questionable, or likely to negatively affect the quality of a book. Some of these are more of a personal preference, but they're all things I'd like to see less of!
Love triangles make your character seem wishy-washy, they're often used to add conflict to what would otherwise be an easy romance, and they're super cliche. I rarely guess wrong about which person will be chosen in the end, which adds to my frustration. Seriously, why are teenage girls in stories always in a love triangle? I've almost never seen one in real life--unless it was called "cheating." To my eyes, love triangles make your main character someone who has a serious problem with commitment and loyalty, and I don't have a lot of patience for that. You need to make your choice and then be loyal to the person you're with, you know?
(Usually, with love triangles, the girl is the one who has to make the choice. But don't make the mistake of thinking that if a guy is the center of the triangle, it's better.)
A few exceptions apply, as with almost anything. I've mostly enjoyed love triangles that shake things up a bit. For example, though the The Hunger Games's triangle did get tiresome at times, it had power because Katniss really didn't care either way. I also appreciate the fact that many love triangles represent a greater life choice, not just a choice between two dudes--but it's easy to make that symbolism way too obvious. So if you're leaning towards a triangle in your own writing, please consider other ways of spicing up your plot and of addressing your character's major life choices.
Today, I thought I'd show you the contents of my bookshelf, just to give you some idea of my reading tastes.
I am possibly the most voracious reader of all time. I haven't gotten into adult fiction yet, and there are some genres and styles I'm less into, but I'm likely to read just about anything I can get my hands on, especially in the YA category. Of course, I don't have the money or shelf space to feed this habit. Therefore, libraries and I are very well-acquainted. But I do want books of my own! What reader doesn't?
So when it comes to getting books, I'm picky. I only add books to my wishlist that I honestly see some real exceptional merit in, and if they don't hold up, I get rid of them. Therefore, my bookshelf is very well-maintained.
Now it's time for the master tour. Keep in mind, these contents change, often. The books are organized alphabetically by author's first name, which will probably change too.
This isn't a topic I'm as focused on or familiar with as others I've talked about on this blog, but I thought it merited some sort of response. I mean, someday, I might win one. Maybe. (Hahahaha.) So I shall be doing some research today!
The one opinion I remember having in the past, way back in elementary school, was that Newbery Book Award winners stunk. The Newbery Award grants one Medal, and a few Honors, to a set of children's books each year, focusing on "original creative works from American literature." When I was still reading (and writing) books that fit in its category (not YA), this was the one award I was super-aware of, probably mostly because my mom made a point of buying Newbery Medal winners all the time.
She asked me once if I thought I'd win a Newbery someday. My answer was an unquestionable NO. Why? Because they would never consider my books worthy of their award, especially since they seem intent on picking books I absolutely hated.
Researching now, I see that wasn't entirely true. The majority of Newbery Medal winners in the past were books that bored me as a kid, like Kira-Kira (yeah, it had my name; that's why I read it) or Bridge to Terebithia (depressing). I don't know what I'd think now, though. A couple of them were pretty legit. The one I was always aware of, "the one time Newbery got it right," I used to say, was The Giver. I've talked about that book before a good few times. It's one of my favorites. There are also a couple others on the Newbery list that I liked: A Wrinkle in Time, The Tale of Desperaux.
But what other awards are there that might relate to the things I write?
I really like movie trailers. I guess that's a given seeing how much I imagine the trailers for my own novels. Some people find them annoying and refuse to watch them or just grumble during the theater screenings. But I like to have all those story snippets in my head and to see the images, the mood, the combination of the music and the words. I guess it's like the music video thing, but with a longer story.
So I thought today I'd analyze some movie trailers like the cool person I am.
The Host is a very impressive sci-fi romance by Stephenie Meyer, which I've talked about before. I loved this movie. I like the trailer because of how much it reflects Melanie's backstory, but it does lack a lot of Wanda's story. Luckily, there was plenty of her in the movie. They also don't show much of Jamie, who is an important character. There are some really great action shots, and I like the flipshots through the eyes. Probably the best thing about the trailer is the fact that the background song is "Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons, which I love, haha.
I've been nominated for this by dear Julia. This blog is now versatile! Cool story. The problem is, once again, Jules stole all the people I could have nominated, which means this post is a dead end. Whoo-hoo! So I'll just put it up and be on my way.
I've got to tell you seven things about myself, on top of the 25 + 25 I've already done. Hmm.
1) I tried out Doctor Who a couple weeks ago, beginning with the Ninth Doctor, and I have not been able to stop watching it since. I'm sitting in my room emotionally bleeding out because too many people leave/die on this show, but it's too beautiful for me to stop. I'm up til the wee hours of the morning watching it. I keep talking in a British accent. I can't get the theme song out of my head. It's terrible and wonderful and my gosh make it stop but also don't!
2) I heard voices in my head for a few months when I was four or five. Like, legitimate auditory hallucinations every time I tried to sleep. It terrified me. There were two different ones: a male voice counting and my mom's voice yelling about how everything was my fault. Both hallucinations got louder and louder and louder and louder, and sometimes, they were accompanied by visual hallucinations of geometric shapes that got bigger and bigger and bigger. They did finally stop, and they've only come back twice: once when I was ten and had a high fever and then again when I was fifteen and had seen a triggering movie.
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