Thursday, June 18, 2009

Doing The Numbers By The Book...

This week I have been thinking about books...writing them... collecting them...reading reading them...analysing them...stacking them...searching for them...paying library fines.

It started when I had to accept and face my fears as a writer of midgrade fiction.
I have a huge block when writing any scene which might get anywhere near a wallow in emotion. So having faced up to my fear, I have been reworking scenes in my Craic MS and trying to let myself go a bit....(thanks Fleur for the verbal beating around the head...honestly...apparently it’s because I’m a nine...we are the peacemakers.)

I talked to my brother a few days ago about wonderful childhood books that we both want to collect, (The Martin Falconer series By John Harris) but they are out of print...I found a link to abebooks and $60 later I have ordered four (only one in the series tho. Dang.) They are a treat for me which I won’t get until close to the conference (taking my mind off it as we go to the wire) but never mind....maybe I will have sold something by then to pay for them. (haha)

While I have been delving into the world of revision I came across this Susan Meier short version of what looks like a brilliant (online) writing revision course.

Susan Meier is a top notch Harlequin writer and Five Scribes Blog is a great reading resource. Here is a little taste of the interview with Susan....(yep My poor MS suffered from not enough No.2...however it is a great story...apparently.)

There are seven common reasons books get rejected:

1. Doesn’t fit our line/Isn’t right for the publisher to which it was submitted
2. Not enough emotion (too much emotion/romance if it’s going mainstream or single title)
3. Pacing off/bad
4. Tone wrong
6. No conflict/weak conflict
7. Weak story

Unfortunately, those are only symptoms of what’s wrong with your book. Think of going to the doctor. You go in. You say, I have a fever, body aches and I’m throwing up. He doesn’t say, “Oh! You have fever, body-aches and puke disease.” He says, “You have a virus.”

That’s one of the most important things about figuring out what’s wrong with your book. Most of us deal in symptoms and forget the disease. So what does a book “disease” look like?

So jumping back from the seven reasons to rejection I came across an article by Jonathan Crossfield on the power of three (set up, repeat, payoff)...which I have always believed - fairytales are stuffed full of this. This article looks at rhythm in writing and although it’s familiar territory you can always reread it and get something out of it for your own work in progress...or even the revision...

Finally Maria Schnieder has a great post on painless self promotion...

Baaaaawwwwwwkkkk. Why Are Kiwis so self effacing...It’s not like it’s a bad thing... Maureen, slightly freaking out at the thought of it. So... I’m supposed to show people a sample of my goes....

New revised opening paragraph of Craic...

Tressa crumpled up the shrinks latest letter of positivity. La. La. Heard it all before. Tried it all before. Got the tee shirt....
Yeah, shrieked her inner voice, it has trouble magnet coward printed all over it.
Tressa pushed down the voice and counted to ten and then twenty slowly while thinking about books (not hard) beautiful colours (shades of happy red and yellow) and yummy food (peanut butter with cheese on toast.) She turned on the computer and looked at her in-box.
Sonnie. She opened that email first.
Her fantasy life with her overseas email pen friend was always better than school.


This post didn't start out about numbers but as I read through it I have only missed out two numbers...

pic is a set of funky numbers


Tania Roxborogh said...

Maureen, I loved your extract and thanks for all the links - how are we writers supposed to get any writing down (or marking Level 2 NCEA English essays) when you (and bookman beattie) provide us with lots of goodies.

And, aren't we lucky to have Fleur?

BTW I can never work out if I'm a 7 or an 8 (or maybe I'm a 4)

Maureen said...

HI Tania,
My sister (the sister)tells me it has to do with how you handle conflict. So if you look at how a 7 or 8 or 4 handles conflict which ever one fits that's who you are....
Fleur is Gold!
Good luck on the essays....

Fifi Colston said...

I'm a 7- the Enthusiast... or is that sucker for punishment? I'm back and ready to conference again!

Stacy Nyikos said...


That's a great analogy about why books get rejected and having a virus. Love that. Very well put. It's got me thinking...

Maureen said...

Hi Stacy,
Yes that book virus post is very aren't the only one thinking about your writing in a different way...unless you really are thinking about taking over the world by spreading a virus through books....Book Flu... The thriller...Coming to a chain bookstore near you...

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