Somehting to think about . . .

Hunger and the fear of failure . . . when you hit the wall, the only way left is up.

~Lorelei Bell

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Pulling In Your Readers

I've attended writing courses throughout my writing "career", and the basic knowledge of any novel is you have to grab the reader in the first 3-5 seconds. About the first sentence, or the very first short paragraph. If you can grab that reader in the first sentence, they'll obviously read on.

Read the first sentence of any book you've read and see if I'm right. Does it grab you? Pull you in? Makes you want to see what is going on there?

Here's a couple from my own books to consider. Does that first sentence pull you in?

From Spell of the Black Unicorn:
Chill bumps shrouded Zofia Trickenbod. She wanted to Transvect the hell out of here. But where to?

From Vampire Ascending
The full moon poured silvery light down around me as I arrived about eight minutes late for my job interview with a vampire.

From Vampire's Trill:
I woke up naked.

I think these work to pull the reader in. Read your favorite authors to see how they have done the job.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Tale of One Writer's Tragedy

If you read this blog you know that I enter my thoughts, or journal entries from many years ago.

I came across this one this morning. Not the one I was looking for, but someday I may come across that one.

We, as writers try to keep positive, even after several attempts at selling something to a magazine, or to a publisher/agent. After a while you think your writing absolutely sucks, that no one out there things you can even write a simple grocery list of interest. We've all been there. Even those who are now deemed kings or queens of their genre. Stephen King nearly threw away his first novel "Carey". His wife yanked it out of the trash and told him to not give up.

Writers are a different breed. What we put on the page is subjective to whom ever reads it. Publishers will not take anything without you having an agent. Agents are the gate keepers--and I don't really give a flying fig about how they have to treat every manuscript they get in the same. The person rejected feels very low when they get one. Especially when they keep getting them, and have no idea what to do about it.

As the rejections mount, your confidence begins to suffer, to the point of having no confidence in anything you do--and I mean life in general. I've been to the point of tears, screaming at God for giving me this stupid need to write every story, or idea for a book, down on paper. Why have I been given this, and for all of my adult life have never attained barely more than $30 checks for anything? I can't make a living on the one thing that makes me happy. Agents reject me. I don't even try any more.

You still with me?

Ever been so low that you'd consider just ending the misery? I don't' know if Stephen King did. I should read his book, but I simply can't afford to run out and get a copy.

I'd read about such a writer who did take his own life. His name was John Kennedy Toole. He took his life back in 1969. This was mentioned in one of the writing magazines I used to get back in 2005.

The story goes that after years of trying to find a publisher for his novel
A Confederacy of Dunces, he committed suicide.

Now, here is the ironic part. His mother, who believed in him so much, continued trying to get her son's novel into print. And in 1980, Mrs. Toole succeeded. Not only that, the book went on to win a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

So, if Toole had only continued to hang on for 11 more years, he would have been able to reap his rewards.

Why did John Toole take his life? I can understand how painful it must have been for him. But, why couldn't he have just kept on plugging away like the rest of us?

I wish he had. I'm sure his mother wished he had.

Whenever I feel so blue about not having success like Stephanie Meyer, or even those writers who aren't even half as famous, whose books are lining bookstore shelves, yet are making some sort of living writing, I remind myself that just beyond the horizon it might just happen for me. I remember John Toole.

It could have happened for Toole. He wasn't here to experience it. And that's really too bad.