Now that I've ranted at you about how awful publishing trends are, I'm going to give you writers out there some of my favorite, most useful tools for getting published. Despite my continued stream of rejections (80, baby!), I actually know a good bit about this. So here are some things you might want to check out. Click the pictures for links!
Preditors and Editors
I've mentioned this website before. Preditors and Editors is a good website for those of you sending out to publishers and agents. Though often slightly outdated, P+E covers pretty much every publishing agency, editor, or agent out there in terms of risk and legitimacy. It talks about some other stuff too once in a while, but that's the important part. This is the website to use so you don't get caught up in a scam. Because that would be stinky.
Where I've been using P+E for years, QueryTracker is a new thing I found. Basically, it helps you keep track of who you've sent out to, the deadline for their reply, and their responses. That way you can see just how pathetic you are! Just kidding, it's really, honestly useful. It also gives stats on various editors and agents, and some information about submitting to them. Good stuff!
I think the part of writing and publishing that every writer hates is the business aspect. We're artists, and business is a tough necessity in our lifestyle. But all we really want to do is write ourselves sick (is that possible? must investigate) and then have our books read by eager, happy people. The in-between, the nasty gritty business stuff, is vastly annoying to us. I've already written a post on the dynamics of how to get published, which covers just the very tip of business work when it comes to writing. It gets much, much worse.
That is why today, now that we've got our Christmas spirit lingering in the happy space in our tummies, I'm going to go off on a rant about publishing trends.
So what are publishing trends? The answer is that publishing trends, at least the ones I'm referring to, are those annoying little things that happen when suddenly someone's book gets really famous and becomes a phenomenon. Suddenly publishers (and readers) are about this new trend, publishing mega amounts of the genre. It doesn't take long for everyone to get sick of that trend, and by that point, the publisher is already out there looking for the next one.
Publishing trends are the bane of my existence (and many other writers), because they make it very difficult at times for good, well-meaning authors to get published. A writer will have written a book in a particular style, you see, and then suddenly a book in that genre will become a phenomenon, and now no publishers will take their work because it's already too late for that genre--at least for the next few years. So the writer is left crying out in the desert, cursing whatever book just ruined their chances.
So now, Christmas is coming! Only three days! Which is why I'm dedicating this post to that most merry holiday of all.
As I've mentioned before, I love holidays. Christmas is my most favorite, for many reasons. The decorations are beautiful, especially the nativities. The food is great. Presents make me happy. I love the loving feel of it. The traditional feel of the holiday coming through the ages just gets to me, as a story person. As a Christian, it means a lot to me personally, and I love that about it. Most of all, I love the music. Christmas music is the best. Some of my favorites include "Pat-A-Pan", "Little Drummer Boy", and "What Child Is This?", but I have over fifty on my iPod. It all just makes me so happy.
Before I continue, I have to take a moment to express my despair at the news of the Connecticut elementary school shooting yesterday. After all the tragedies that have occurred through the year, this one feels the most terribly cruel on all sides and fronts. To everyone affected by this, I am so sorry.
So today, I'm matching up some of my main book characters in a scene, for the pure awesome fun of it. Part of this is because today is my half year blogversary. Thanks for your support, guys, it means a lot. For more bonus material celebrating today and just in general, check out my connected Facebook page! You can keep up with this blog through that or through the e-mail subscription.
Your suggestions led to the selection of the following characters for this scene: Sage O'Riley and Quinn Miller of the Chosen Four series, Kaela Timberly from PERISHED and Darren Beamer from THE PSYCHIC STORY.
Here we go! I hope you enjoy, and come back next time for a post about places. *Post has been removed*
"Hey!" Sage shouted as she appeared in the middle of the half-lit, mostly bare room. She stumbled slightly and then adjusted by crushing a stack of what appeared to be homework sitting on the floor. Quinn and two other strangers were also standing in the room with her, having appeared out of nowhere. Quinn, to her frustration, had a calm expression on his face and his hands slipped into his jeans pockets. The two strangers, both around Sage's age, one a beautiful brown-haired girl in very plain clothes and the other a boy who appeared to have some kind of ethnic background, looked considerably more confused.
So now that we've covered Harry Potter and the Hunger Games, shall we do some other random humor? I think we shall! Before I let you sit back and enjoy, though, some business to get out of the way.
I'll be seeing you next week for the promised main character meetup, where I will demonstrate why my characters do not hang out together anywhere other than in my brain, which explains why I am slightly insane (just kidding... mostly). If you didn't already, please give your four or five nominations for the characters I will be putting together into a scene. Suggestions for a location are also welcome.
*Voting period now over*
Enjoy the funny!!
One thing you might not know about me is that I really like psychology. If I hadn't gotten so deeply into music, I would've made Psych my minor. I have an interest in understanding myself and others on a deeper basis, and there are so many interesting psychology facts, games, and the like out there. Ever taken a personality test? That would be a lighter psychology gimmick. I've taken billions of those things.
I'm big into empathy, which is part of the reason why psychology grasps me so much. One personality test you might have taken in school involves a number of skill areas--things like "spatial" and "logic," or "linguistic" and "musical". I took that kind of test multiple times in gifted and talented classes and elsewise, and some of my highest scores, besides language and music, were in inter- and intra-personal relations. (That would be "between people" and "with self.") I like to understand people.
And it makes sense, honestly, because I am a writer, and I'm the kind who is more character-based than setting or plot (although I really like plot too). Understanding people is necessary for that kind of work. How can you mess with your characters if you don't understand them?
So I do a lot of funny psychology stuff now and then, besides all the personality tests and Internet searches. I study and analysis and consider ideas, and one of these is my theory that your first memory, or memories, reveals a lot about you as a person. Why else would you remember that specific moment, out of all the moments you could have remembered earlier on?
So take a moment, while I tell you about my own first memories and what they say about me, to figure out your own first memories and what they might say about you.
I found this idea online, and I think it's complete brilliance. Basically, you give your readers a sample of a day in your life by taking a picture of wherever you are every hour. So I took a bunch of pictures of my school day both last Friday and Monday, as hourly as I could manage (yeah, I messed up on Friday afternoon). They're posted below for you. Enjoy! *Editor's Note: Some faces are blurred for privacy reasons.*
My apologies. I meant to do an awesome picture tour of my life post, but I forgot to keep taking pictures halfway through the day. So I'll come back to you on that on Wednesday, lol. I'll just splice two similarly scheduled days together. Instead of doing that, then, I'll talk about some of my favorite fictional characters, which was my meant-to-be Wednesday post.
Another note: read this. This is the funniest blog post I've ever read.
So. On to characters. There are some really good ones out there, characters who affect my point of view in life and in writing, and who inspire me as a person to do awesome things, or just obsess a lot. Let's make a list:
*Check out to the 21 July 2018 update of my favorite female and male characters at the provided links.*
Well, we have to begin with the female giants of my favorite books. So we might as well kick it off with Harry Potter and the glorious, gorgeous, superintelligent character of Hermione.
There is nary a character to match Hermione. Starting off as the nerdy, bossy, know-it-all eleven-year-old, throughout the series, as she becomes closer to Harry and Ron, she develops into a beautiful, intelligent young woman, someone loyal and brave, willing to fight to the end for the Wizarding World and her friends. Not to mention, she pioneered the way for female characters in children's lit.
Basically, every HP girl in the world looks up to Hermione as the example for why intelligence is admirable, and all the guys who love the HP books want to marry her. Unless they're going for Ginny. Actually, there are a lot of great female characters in Harry Potter.
Hermione works so well as a character because, especially, the book nerd girls like me relate to her directly. She is our hope.
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