Want to hear an embarrassing story? Sure you do.
I send a query letter out every day I don’t work my day job. That means, once or twice a week, I let a literary agent know about Mind & Machine. No one else is going to do it for me, right?
Imagine my surprise when I realize that every one of those letters I’ve sent in the past few months has been wrong.
In 1997, I started college. Living away from home for the first time was a game-changer. As much as I enjoyed the time I spent with my new friends and neighbors, I wasn’t able to socialize all the time. That’s why I spent some time in the dorm computer lab, essentially a closet with a pair of ancient computers. Over the course of that year, I wrote a novel called Life Is Pain.
Eventually, I went to revise the novel, since I liked the story. My only copies were on 3.25″ disks and my computer died, leaving me without a way to look at the old version.
It was a scorched earth scenario.
I’ve been away. Sorry about that.
Let me set the record straight on a few things and that might help.
I recently got an email message about a submission. Any time I have material waiting for a response, these messages tend to come in, most of them rejections. This one was different, if only because of the length of time involved.
In editing mode, it’s often brought up that writers should kill their darlings. We should all just look at our prose and hack it to pieces, then forget about the junk we wrote before.
It’s an interesting idea, except it can only be used to refine a specific set of words. Killing darlings isn’t enough; we have to premeditate their murder.
There are days when things just go right. For me, yesterday was one of those days.
Autumn is officially upon us, which means a lot of work is coming my way, whether I’m ready for it or not. Let’s take a look at what I’ve got planned so far.
In the past few days, I’ve had some fascinating discussions thanks to my search for people to read Mind & Machine. One of these fine people, Johannes Punkt, was kind enough to tell me about a flaw with the story.
My gender proportion is way off.
Yesterday, I mentioned my woes when it comes to getting a large amount of feedback, especially on something the size of a novel. I called it my glass ceiling, and I think it’s the right term.
Many times in my life, I’ve heard the line, “God helps those who help themselves.” This is me helping myself. This is me trying to break the glass ceiling.
Every writer has one thing that always stops them. Sometimes it’s a syntax issue, sometimes they overuse certain words. In my case, I’ve fought with passive voice and descriptions, though I have taken steps to correct those problems.
There’s one problem I fight with on a regular basis, though it’s something I can’t control at all.
I have no advance readers. Continue reading