SO YOU THINK YOU CAN WRITE… ROMANCE?

This past week, again, I had the best of intentions. But you know what they say about that hey? The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Every night I would switch on the laptop, boot up the internet, open Winword. The plan was to try and write 1,500 words a night. Or post something meaningful to the blog. Instead, each night I would find myself (at about 12) all fuzzy-eyed, having just woken up. After having fallen asleep on the laptop. On the laptop.

My last thought – I’m just going to rest my eyes for a bit…. while I think of something to write, wait for the muse to hit me.

In other words procrastinating. I knew what I needed to do. I just needed to start doing it. And… procrastinating if you do it right is actually called laziness. 🙂
There’s a saying about that as well – Idle hands are the devil’s tools.

I digress, am being diverted from my point.  Diversion: a device of the devil.  LOL – enough of all these devilish sayings now.

This little blog is supposed to be to aspiring authors / writers…. WHO THINK THEY CAN WRITE ROMANCE.

If you do (think you can write romance that is), have you considered entering Harlequin’s SO YOU THINK YOU CAN WRITE competition? The competition started on the 23rd September already and the closing date is tomorrow, September the 30th at 23:59 GMT.

So, if you have never had any literary work, in any format (digital or print), acquired or published by Harlequin or any of its affiliates (Harlequin Books S.A.) in the U.K., U.S., Canada (excluding Quebec), Republic of Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa – that means you eligible! It goes without saying you have to be 18 of course.

Always wanted to write a romance novel? One lucky winner will be offered a book publishing contract!

And if you have ever dreamed of writing for any Harlequin® series imprints: Harlequin® American Romance®; Harlequin® Blaze®; Harlequin® Desire; Harlequin® Heartwarming™; Harlequin® Historical (Mills & Boon Historical Romance); Harlequin Intrigue®; Harlequin® Kimani™ Romance; Harlequin® Kiss; Harlequin® Medical Romance™ (Mills & Boon Medical Romance); Harlequin® Nocturne™; Harlequin Presents® (Mills & Boon Modern Romance); Harlequin® Romance (Mills & Boon Cherish and Mills & Boon Riva); Harlequin® Romantic Suspense; Harlequin® Special Edition; Harlequin® Superromance®; Heartsong Presents™; Love Inspired®; Love Inspired® Historical; Love Inspired® Suspense; (each, a “Harlequin® Series Imprint”)  and you have that romance manuscript lying at home, all polished and just looking for a home…. then enter! You have nothing to lose. And everything to gain.

First/Grand price:  (i) publication of the Submission under one of the Harlequin® Series Imprints in the publication format (i.e., digital or print) of such imprint as of the time of publication, subject to the entrant entering into a publishing agreement with the Sponsor in its standard form; and (ii) access to the services of a Harlequin® series editor for the duration of the Sponsor’s standard editorial assessment period (the length of which period will vary depending on the quality of the Submission), including an editorial evaluation of the Submission (by telephone, e-mail, or in person, as determined by the Sponsor in its sole discretion), advice and guidance with respect to the strengths and weaknesses of the Submission, and suggested revisions to the Submission, as applicable (collectively, the “Grand Prize”).

Please check out the web-site for all further details, eligibility and completion rules.

http://www.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com/contest/

So common! What you waiting for?? Reach for it…

NB: Please note that this blog & its writer is not in any way responsible for misinterpretation of competition info. For exact competition rules & eligibility details, SYTYCW’s (SO YOU THINK YOU CAN WRITE) website must be consulted. Thank you 🙂

 

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When you dream of writing that bestseller….

So, I’ve promised myself I would try and blog add at least every second day and I’ve already broken that promise. Tsk. Yeah well, that’s life for you. Sometimes you wake up with the very best of intentions and…

Anyway, I’m here now and I wanted to share a little story with you. About two months ago, I was searching high and low on the internet for a beta reader / critique partner when I discovered a website called Contest Junkies.  http://www.contestjunkies.com/artman/publish/cat_index_26.php

(I never did find a critique partner at CT though – oops, I digress).

On this website I found some ads from other fellow writers/newbies/minnows looking for the same thing I was, so I e-mailed some of them. One response was from a lady named Gina L Maxwell & when she mailed me back, I frowned, looking at her signature.

Gina L. Maxwell
New York Times Bestselling Author

I went to check out her web-site and was astounded. In the time between when she had placed her ad and when I saw it – Gina had managed to sign a contract, get her book published… and get her DEBUT novel on the New York Times!

Here’s her story.  http://gina-maxwell.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-cinderella-story-of-seducing.html

So for all you aspiring authors who has ever dreamt of making it big….writing that bestseller… signing that 3-book contract deal…. IT CAN HAPPEN….. You just got to have faith 🙂

“This is for writers yet to be published who think the uphill climb will never end. Keep believing. This is also for published writers grown jaded by the process. Remember how lucky you are.”

– Terry Brooks

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If you don’t blog — you not a writer?

It’s taken me only two weeks but I’ve come to the realization that I am not a very good blogger. Not because I’m not good at writing (on the contrary, I love blowing smoke up my own @ss lol), but just because I do not have the patience to blog. Don’t get me wrong, when it comes to ‘writing patience’, I have it – I can sit for hours plotting the next chapter or getting that character or scene ‘just so’. But putting down the thoughts on paper, when it concerns a non-fiction character such as myself – nope, not so easy.

And it’s strange because I love writing. One of those conundrums of my life. And I DO love blogs – I love reading other people’s blogs – their thoughts, ideas & general outlook on life. (I tend not to comment on other’s blogs though, unless the urge to do so – to say something, anything – is a burning pyre inside my chest).

So I’ve made a decision, I will try & blog a little every day (okay, maybe every second day) and if I do not have any meaningful snippets of wisdom/ awesome websites/blogs to impart & share to my fellow minnows, I will try & post an inspirational clipping, quote or picture.

That way everybody wins. I feel good about myself (yay – I posted something on a social network) and you get something out as well…. a little something from a fellow newbie-writer – letting you know you are not alone in that deep dark sea.

Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing, only a signal shown, and a distant voice in the darkness; So on the ocean of life, we pass and speak one another, only a look and a voice, then darkness again and a silence.                                                                        ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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Food for thought – Response

I have 2 responses to ‘writers’ like Ms Breslin who willfully try & crush the dreams of all aspiring authors.

1) Be silent. Keep your forked tongue behind your teeth. I did not pass through fire and death to bandy crooked words with a witless worm.

2) Many that live deserve death. And some die that deserve life. Can you give it to them?  Then be not too eager to deal out death in the name of justice, fearing for your own safety. Even the wise cannot see all ends.

LOL. And that’s the story. From the great man himself.

because…. “A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities.”  – J.R.R. Tolkien

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Food for thought – Why you shouldn’t be a writer

I would like to share an article/blog I came across when searching for something (I forget what). My point is this : author Susannah Breslin was paid by Forbes to write this article. She’s had numerous responses to her article (to which she duly replied).

However, I have added two comments/replies which I liked/thought were relevant to unpublished authors/writers (haha, my blog, I choose).

 NOW – to all newbie writers/authors/what-ever-you-want-to-call-yourself:  Should you (a) read it, weep and burn that manuscript which you’ve been afraid to send in for review? or (b) think to yourself : what a bunch of crap, I consider myself a writer & if you don’t like it, you can shove it. LOL

There are no other options. Let me know. A or B?

 I for one, have written only ONE manuscript (unpublished as yet) & am currently busy on only the SECOND ms – not very far into it I might add. Does that make me a writer/author or a wannabe?                                                    (I consider myself an ‘aspiring author’ – check my ‘About’ page).

  http://www.forbes.com/sites/susannahbreslin/2012/06/12/why-you-shouldnt-be-a-writer/

6/12/2012 @ 12:48PM |33,392 views

Why You Shouldn’t Be A Writer

So, you want to be a writer. You were always good at it, or you never tried it but want to give it a go, or your friend makes money doing it and maybe you could, too.

They taught you grammar in grade school, or your high school English teacher suggested you had a certain aptitude for putting words together on a page, or you have a degree in Writing from a college that has spawned authors on the New York Times bestseller list.

 

I’m going to be a writer, you decide one day, sitting on the crapper, considering your life on the way to work, walking out of the office where you signed the divorce papers.

Really, though, you shouldn’t be a writer. Here’s why.

TIP #1: You’re not good at it.

Just because you can write doesn’t mean you should. Just because you do write doesn’t mean you’re good. You could call yourself an Olympic diver, but that doesn’t mean you are.

Congratulations on penning that poem, posting that blog post, self-publishing that novel, finishing that manuscript, churning out that personal essay that is sitting on your desk, hard-drive, the internet.

But here’s the question you should be asking yourself: Can I write? Not literally. Not physically. Not technically. Anyone can do that. Can you make the words sing? Does your prose have that certain something? Are you gifted at showing not telling, or telling not showing, or creating an entire world that didn’t exist before that is born again when someone else reads your work?

Probably not. Most people cannot write well. This is a fact. This is something that is true. This is a hard thing to accept. Most people cannot write well, and that includes you, and what we can conclude from this is that the person we are talking about here who cannot write well is, in all likelihood, you.

TIP #2: It’s too hard.

Think digging ditches is hard? At least you know when you are done. Think erecting a skyscraper is hard? At least what you have when you are finished is an unequivocally completed project. Think flipping burgers at the fast food restaurant in the strip mall of the nowhere town in which you live sucks? At least you get a paycheck.

Writing is thankless work. It is like housework. It is like laundry. It is like a soap opera. It is never finished. There is always more to do. People may tell you that you are good, but you won’t believe them, or you will believe them too much, or you will not know who to believe, least of all yourself and this thing you created that is nothing more than a mess of letters trying to make sense of things that don’t: life, death, what happens in between.

No one can help you.

TIP #3: It’s too hard to monetize.

No, you say. Not me, you insist. You’ll be the exception to the rule. The one who rose to the top of the pyramid. The one who put in his, or her, or its 10,000 hours and transformed what was barely a skill into a gift that will change the world, inspire others, and earn you millions of dollars.

Odds are, you never will. This is your roulette wheel, and when it lands on every number but the one you picked, and you realize that after years of work, you haven’t made more than a pittance at what you thought would be your new career, you will call it a day.

Because you didn’t have “it.” And you didn’t work hard enough to become it. And you will see you should have picked something else: something easier, something less complicated, something other than a writer.

REPLIES WORTH MENTIONING:

(1) ANSWERED BY ’10 MINUTES’

“True writers feel they will simply burst like a firecracker into a gazillion tiny letters that fall slowly to the ground if they do not write every day, every week, all year long. They can’t help it, the words spill forth as if they had minds of their own.”

This definition is completely arbitrary, as inaccurate as it is discouraging to those (apparently non-true?) writers who don’t fall into this weird elitist category concept, where ALL ‘true’ writers have some unstoppable drive to write all the time OR ELSE!…

Or else what? There’s no real explosion that comes when a real writer can’t write. Maybe you DO feel you need to write to let it all out. Maybe you get depressed because you feel you can’t write anything. Maybe you don’t feel much about it because you have bigger priorities in life than, well, writing words down at that moment. (As the article points out, writing doesn’t usually equal piles of money, and money is a big issue for humans who want to, like, eat and live and stuff.)

My point is, writers aren’t some kind of ancient bloodline of people with this magical flame of writing inside them. Writers are people who write stuff, pretty much nothing more, nothing less. Even if you’re just trying to define good writers as those writers who have that inner fire, that obsession, it’s still just plain untrue that only ‘true’ writers are that and only that.

I think the fact that a lot of successful writers seem to be that way has made us draw this incorrect conclusion, subconsciously for some of us. Is every true artist a firecracker full of their art, ready to burst at the seams? Of course not, no matter how many good artists ARE that way.

Completely different levels and types of writers are all over the place and, each being complex humans, they all handle their inner writer in their own unique way. A person might have all the write in the world in them but, for whatever reason, doesn’t actually write it down. Another person might make a profession out of ‘writing’ this or that but have almost no creativity or art in them and just write by formula. Can you say which are true writers and which aren’t? I don’t feel I could. Yet the Internet writer hivemind seems happy to blow down the houses of those who don’t conduct this art their way and bellow at them, “YOU’RE NOT A WRITER UNLESS THE WORDS COME OUT OF YOUR PORES, UNLESS YOU DIE IF YOU DON’T WRITE! WHY AREN’T YOU DEAD?”

The point isn’t lost on me that there’s a lot of people out there who call themselves writers and probably don’t really write enough to deserve that (obviously very prestigious) title. MY point is that, by shifting our view so as to eclipse these ‘non-writers,’ we’ve not only ostracized writers who don’t fall in line with this false superman/chosen-one superwriter concept, but we’ve also taken on a task which should never be touched anyway: Defining who is a SUPER COOL AUTHENTIC REALLY REALLY REAL WRITERPERSON!

And out of that petulant elitist spirit is born articles such as these. Don’t fret, though, folks. Good or bad, frequent or not, if you call yourself a writer, you probably are. Keep writing on!

(2) ANOTHER ROPEY BY EMMA MIA

@ 10minutes: Thank god you said it first! I totally agree with everything you said.

This article is utter drivel. Writing is a skill like any other; it can be honed with practice. It is not always fun or easy or forthcoming, it’s work just like all work. And there are many ways to be a good writer. Someone might have skills at constructing a gripping narrative, and still struggle with the prose on a sentence level. Another writer might create elegant lyric prose, which seems lovely for a while, but has a tendency to meander and never seems to arrive at any given point. Some writers are funny. Some writers have a flair for ambiance. The key to success is knowing one’s own strengths and using them to the advantage, and working to strengthen one’s weaknesses.

Besides which, it’s a well understood fact that good writing does not always equal commercial or marketable writing. In fact, many of the books on the NY Times best seller list don’t really qualify as “Good” in an academic sense of the word. Does that mean they’re bad? Yes, but bad-in-the-best-way is often better than good, and certainly more profitable, at the very least.

But don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy. There is room for cautionary tales… but Lori Moore did it better. Less mean spirited, more humor, more honesty. But then again, she’s Lori Moore

@ Susannah Breslin: I’m honestly impressed that you have the audacity to say in an open letter to the public, where even you’re favorite writer of all time might stumble across your article and read the encouraging words: “Most people cannot write well, and that includes you, and what we can conclude from this is that the person we are talking about here who cannot write well is, in all likelihood, you.”

Well well well, that’s an awful bold thing to say, especially for someone who includes a link to her personal blog– where you post excerpts of your unpublished novel for all the world to read, and critique the questionable use of pronouns and self-conscious quirky style. So, “Congratulations on posting that blog post, finishing that manuscript, churning out that personal essay that is sitting on your desk, hard-drive, the internet. But,” maybe you should lay off the cautionary tales and the hate mail to new, young, and hopeful writers still in the process of “finding their voice” and focus on your own. Everyone will be better off, including you.

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when the spirit is willing but the body is not…

So I rested Friday evening, spent some time with the family the next day & had every intention of being good the evening– write a little in the blog, maybe read a little &/or try & finish that finicky chapter ….

Well, none of that got done.

In my defence, I blame that little leaves floating in the drinks I had the Saturday evening. And although everybody was insisting it was only mint leaves, I know it wasn’t. Else why would I be sick for the rest of the week-end straight into Monday?

No, that definitely was not mint leaves. Marijuana perhaps or maybe opium leaves. It couldn’t have been mint. Otherwise it would have to be the alcohol. And I know it definitely was not that 🙂

Alcohol has never made me sick? Bottom line: my head wouldn’t even allow me to watch TV – it was playing its own little sick tune; no outside help needed thank you.

But it’s Wednesday now… & I am alive!

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When words fail you…. (Part 2)

So it’s finally Friday & I’m dead on my feet – the monotony of the daily grind has gotten to me (we don’t all write for a living you know) and I REALLY REALLY need this week-end. So… there’ll be no motivation, definitely no elevation & there sure as hell won’t be no roaring speeches to inspire the masses (at least not from me, alas).

But as writing is a lonely, lonely profession, I thought I would post something; some links for authors looking for critique partners, fellow minnows to chat to, etc, etc.

SCRIBOPHILE

We’re a respectful online writing group made up of writers who improve each other’s work with thoughtful critiques and by sharing their writing experience.

Scribophile is the writing group to join if you want to get the best feedback around, to learn how to get published, and to be a part of the friendliest and most successful writing workshop online. http://www.scribophile.com/

 

AGENT QUERY CONNECT

Online social networking community for the publishing industry.

http://agentqueryconnect.com/index.php?

ABSOLUTE WRITE WATER COOLER

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/index.php

SAVVY AUTHORS

Savvy Authors strives to provide the best tools, classes, and networking opportunities for authors in all stages of their writing careers, from aspiring novelists to multi-published authors.

http://www.savvyauthors.com/vb/content.php

And a website that has really helped me personally…

BETA LADIES WHO CRITIQUE.COM

http://www.ladieswhocritique.com/

BECAUSE ANY MONKEY CAN WRITE… RIGHT?

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