How does someone write a post like this? There are a million ways to try to convey the excitement. But I guess in the end the only way is the simple way, to just type out the words:
I am now represented by a literary agent. Natalie Fischer of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.
Now the above was my pathetic attempt to sound professional. I will now just tell you guys the story without any kind of pretense because you’ve known me too long to think I actually think like that.
I started my writing career with a story about a princess, locked away in a tower, waiting to be rescued. I was in second grade, and I added a few illustrations, folded the pieces of paper to open like a book, and proudly presented my novel to be read to everyone I could wrangle into listening. I never did get around to writing the “sequel” I had planned.
The Virginity Thief came after a few more attempts, some of which came with query attempts, as well. I brought characters to life, killed some, weaved some good plots and some bad; all until I got Mari Abdo’s voice in my head and I just couldn’t get it out. I knew I needed a plot worthy of Mari, and VT was born when I was 18 years old.
I started querying VT mid-January. I got a lot of rejections and a few requests, but in the end it wasn’t a query that got me an agent. Special thanks goes to Karla Calalang for this. Natalie Fischer joined AbsoluteWrite just as my novel was in the end of revision stages and I was to start querying. She was interested in Karla’s work and also in the work of any friends whose names Karla thought to pass on. At the same time, I got Karla in on an interview with Natalie for TWFT (read the interview here). It was a great interview and I learned a lot about the woman who would eventually be my agent.
Natalie found herself at my blog. She read VT’s description and asked me for the first 50 pages. I was ecstatic, and even more ecstatic when she sent me an e-mail a week later asking for the full. A week more and she told me she loved my novel (what wonderful words!) but needed a second opinion from a fellow Sandra Dijkstra agent to fulfill the agency’s check and balance requirements. Those were the toughest 2 days in my writing history. If anyone knows me, they know I am the most impatient writer alive. But then she sent me editing suggestions and told me if all went well, she’d love to represent me. Within a week I sent in my edited version and, today, officially signed with the agency.
I want to thank all my amazing Twifty and Oldies friends. Without you guys I would never have made it this far. To those of you reading this post who have yet to join AW, do so. It really is a fabulous site where you’ll get to meet people that will be an immense help to your writing.
And also, put yourself out there. I would never have gotten interest from Natalie if I hadn’t approached her for an interview and made sure I had a manuscript “blurb” on my blog. Don’t be afraid to share your story idea at the query stage!
And with that I’ll end this post.
Just one more… SQUEE.
Are you supposed to be writing?
Now, don’t expect a happy encouraging post here. The job of this little post isn’t to assure you you can “do it.” It is to make very clear that some people just can’t.
We’ve all come in some kind of contact with them. We either know them personally, have heard of them, or… shock… read their (sadly) published novels. They are the ones that make us say “Hey, listen, the people who are meant to do this don’t need you taking up our agents’, editors’, publishers’, readers’ time. We have a hard enough job as it is.”
These are the people that have no business writing.
They are the ones who have grand ideas of what writing a novel is. They proclaim to the world that in a year or so they’ll have enough life experience to write the next great American novel but, in fact, it is simply that they don’t have the natural inclination to start as soon as the story hits them.
They pretend that the moments of writing must be perfect… the laptop computer must be new or the notebooks unsullied with grocery lists or the new pens have the smoothest writing in dark bold ink.
They bring hot beverages and soft music, to smother themselves in the writing mood they pretend must be there.
They are the ones who think writing a book is an easy way to make money from home, just write and submit. Unfortunately for the readers, these non-writers sometimes succeed.
Their ideas of writing fiction are simply fictional.
These are fakes who want to get noticed, not writers who live and breathe their characters, and how these characters are affected throughout a novel. We talk to our characters as if they are real, play the music that fits their moods, torture ourselves for hours at the desk chair telling their stories. We are the real writers, be we published or not.
Take this quiz to see if you are really a writer or are writing a novel for reasons other than ones you should…
And I say it here: I’d rather be a real writer and never be published, than a fake one who forces the readers out there to read my garbage. But that’s just me… sadly.
Now, I know some of you have been looking forward to a review of We All Fall Down for this month’s book club post. Perhaps a Twifty will post one in the review section of this site soon. But for this post I thought we should instead take a moment to remember the author.
Robert Cormier, born in Leominster, Mass., once described himself as “a skinny kid living in a ghetto-type neighborhood wanting the world to know that I existed.” For writers like us, getting the world to know we exist is pretty darn important, but I don’t think anyone should take Cormier’s quote and think that is all writers desire. There is power in the story that is stuck in your head, stories like We All Fall Down, an edgy read that leaves nothing out in pursuit of telling the story Cormier imagined. Sometimes, there is nothing we can do but let that out on the page. And very few of us do it as well as Cormier.
As to why he tunneled this energy into young adult fiction? He wanted to show us the “strength of young adults—their resilience, their ability to absorb the blows teenage life delivers.”
Mr. Cormier died on November 2, 2000, but he’ll be forever remembered by young adult writers everywhere.
On the lighter side, some things you might not know:
He wrote a book called “I Am The Cheese” and thus wins Race’s award for most fantabulous book title.
The Chocolate War, one of his most beloved books, has a sequel, called Beyond the Chocolate War.
When you try to Google his name and first start to type “Ro…” Google Chrome immediately assumes you want to search for rotten tomatoes.
Now, this is a book club post and when you end your moment of silence for Robert Cormier take a look at this book down here. I know for a fact is it a popular read and I hope you all have fun with it. Look for the next book club post near the beginning of March!
The Book Thief.
Quotes and info taken from: site.
The TWFT book club is back!
First I’d like to apologize for not keeping up with the club recently. Secondly, I’d like to suggest we all read:
“We All Fall Down” by Robert Cormier!
“We All Fall Down” is a 1992 Edgar Award Best Young Adult Mystery Nominee (Linky).
As always, look for a post on the book in a month. Until then, grab a copy and enjoy!
Summary and Review can be found at Teenreads.com here.
Can the story ever outweigh the writing style?
We’re all trying to write amazing books that showcase our writing ability. But can ever be so amazing that the writing just doesn’t matter any more? Well, not that it doesn’t matter, but that it doesn’t make a difference – you love the book anyway, and will read and reread just for the story.
I seem to find that I favored these types of books when I was younger – back in the day, before I knew the evils of adverbs and how to correctly punctuate sentences. I recently reread a book series that I loved three or four years ago (I won’t name it here, but it was a series written in diary entries) and found myself struggling to get through it. The writing style annoyed me; the only reason I read the last installment of this series was because I had to know what happened to the main character and her love interest. So, whilst the loss of my childhood reading naivety did stop me thinking the books were as amazing as I had done the first time round, the storyline still made me buy and read that last book.
Another example of this is the Twilight Saga. I admit, I’m an addict; I’ve reread all the books, despite my own and many others’ views towards Meyer’s writing style. Despite criticism, she has so many fans that Twilight has become a phenomenon – and she’s famous and rich.
So when does the storyline outweigh the writing quality? Or, once you start writing yourself, can writing style never be ignored? Bonus question: are there any books where the story has been so good, you’ve ignored the writing style – or writing style so bad you just can’t make yourself read to the end?
Let me know!
I always feel bad when people don’t win giveaways, especially since I never do, haha. But at least one person can say that they’ll have a signed copy of Bran Hambric: TFC. And by random drawing, that person is…
Emilia, if you could email me (animalgurl55(at)yahoo(dot)com) your address then I can get it to Kaleb’s publicist and she’ll mail you the book. Then you can have lots of fun times with it :D
P.S. For luls, I entered myself in the drawing to see if I would’ve won. If I did, I planned on choosing someone else. And yet I still lost, what’s up with that?
I am a self professed dork. Perhaps this makes me less of a dork, or more of a dork, but either way, I am a dork. It’s one of those things I say with a grin and a laugh and revel in. It’s a part of me that I really love because it gives me the excuse to be quirky, or weird and forces me to push the limits of my imagination more than I think I might have otherwise. As a dork I’m confronted with amazing creativeness everyday in gaming experiences, fanfiction readings and general interaction with other dorks and non-dorks alike. Because of this, I constantly push myself to go above and beyond the creativity that I encounter, to be more original, more vivid, more astounding than what I’ve seen.
More than once I’ve reaped the benefit of this. Tonight, is one of those nights.
For the past three weeks I’ve been stuck on the plot for my next work in progress. I kept trying to start but it wouldn’t flow. A few days ago I realized that my biggest problem was two fold: 1) I was seriously lacking in world building and 2) one of my plot points had effectively taken away anyway for my main character to have motivation. She was invested in the storyline, but for the first act and a half she was just kind of floating along in a ‘oh, that happens? so what?’ kind of way. Even world building – which I was having a hard time with – wasn’t fixing this problem.
Then, I watched the Guild Wars 2 trailer. I saw a piece of concept art pictured in the trailer and bam! it was like being hit with a bus. I suddenly had a new dimension to what I wanted to write. I had motivation. I had not one world, but two that were forced to coexist and constantly battling against one another. My character was not only invested in the conflict, she was a part of it, a Prime Mover in everything that was happening. I knew why she was, how she was and what she was.
And though I’m still ironing out plot points and character flaws and I need to rewrite much of my story arc, I’m ecstatic. I know what my worlds want, what my character wants, and I’m starting to understand how it all needs to happen.
The moral of the story? Never underestimate yourself. I’ve written about listening to your characters – but a central part to being a writer is understanding what you can give to the worlds that you create. And how. Draw on your experiences, your personality, what you love and hate – these are things that you should listen to. And just like when you listen to your characters, when you listen to yourself, magic is bound to happen.
~Sumayyah (x-posted to the raven desk)