Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Off with a wing and a prayer - and my own rant

It is finished. Yesterday I finished the polishing, printed my manuscript, drove to the post office and sent it off with a wing and a prayer. I have to be honest, I have high hopes for this ms. If a rejection comes, I will be crushed. Right now I'm trying to remain rational and hope for the opportunity for revisions. It would be progress. Anything but a form rejection!

I think something most writers do is think that the latest thing they've written is the best they've ever done. And for the most part that is probably true, especially for aspiring authors. I know I improve with each ms in some way. Truthfully though I really feel this ms made a jump for me. It may not get published. But I know without a doubt that this is the best manuscript I've ever written. And there's a lot of satisfaction in that.

I am taking a week and a half off from writing. Honestly my brain needs a break and I need to get caught up on some chores that I've let slide over the last 6 weeks. My spring cleaning isn't even done! LOL I plan on recharging my batteries so to speak and coming back to the computer fresh and ready to go. I have some school things to take care of, some music/choir things to get on the ball, and movies I want to watch that I've put off. The days will go fast and before I know it I'll be eyeball deep in a new project. And I'd like to try a new fanfic just for fun. They are great creativity boosters!

Michelle Styles recently posted a "slight rant" on her blog about historical inaccuracies in a book she'd read. It reminded me of a backlist Harlequin Romance I read a few weeks ago. Twenty pages in I felt like throwing it against a wall. The story began with several pages of passive language, an info dump of backstory. It broke every rule about openings that I know and didn't even do it well. If you are going to break rules you should at least do it so effectively we don't notice! It was full of telling and not showing and one of the worst I've read. And it was written by an established author in the line. This was no first book.

If my critique partners sent me that sort of an opening, I would have immediately suggested they rework it, make the info dump into a prologue (since the backstory was crucial), and make it an active scene, not reflective. SHOW her in her previous life. Show how demonic her husband was and why she knew she had to get out. Don't tell me after the fact that she'd married a monster. YAWN. For the next 90% of the book, she remained a victim. I really wanted her to stand up for herself and show some backbone.

Like Michelle said, it makes you determined not to buy anything from that author ever again.


  1. congrats on getting it out the door. all the best of luck with it.


  2. Anonymous5:23 p.m.

    Re-that published book. Just think, Donna, once you are published you'll be able to get away with stuff like this!
    I'm convinced new authors have to be of a much higher standard than a lot of the published authors to stand any sort of chance of being accepted.(It would be difficult to match Liz Fielding's or Marion Lennox's high standards but they are in a class of their own.

  3. Just think, Donna, once you are published you'll be able to get away with stuff like this!

    I hope not. I too agree that new authors have to really really get it right, but at the same time published authors shouldn't "rest on their laurels" as Valerie Parv says. They owe it to their readers and to themselves to get it right, not just fire off a book because they can IMO.

  4. Anonymous7:41 p.m.

    You know, I suspect that if some of these awful published books were submitted under a different name hey wouldn't get published at all. Some of the advice constantly given to aspiring writers is often completely disregarded by established authors (I don't mean the good authors I mean those whose books you can never finish because they are so bad) eg. keeping h and H centre stage, no info dumps at the beginning of a story, no opening books with long winded description, no adverbial speech tags after every line of dialogue