March 24, 2010

The smell of printer's ink

So today I tackle #5 "With additional editing and tightening, In Between Goodbyes might have luck being shopped by a reputable agent." 

Would you like to see my rejection stack?  That's it.  In order to be "shopped by a reputable agent" you must first land a "reputable agent."  82 rejection letters later, all from "reputable agents"  (perhaps some were not so reputable) I couldn't even land that.  

These days most publishers don't want author submitted (over the transom) manuscripts.  In order to land a publisher you must first land an agent.  Perhaps you also need to land a friend who knows an agent.  I'm not sure what the answer is.  By the time the 82nd rejection came and by the time I had gone through 81 rewrites of my query letter, my ego said "uncle."  I self-published.

This is not to say that self-publishing should be relegated to the land of the totally rejected but I can tell you that when I had my book in my hot little hand I was elated akin to heavy, heavy drugs for at least a few weeks.

You see, my joy in writing comes from just that, writing.  I don't really care if I sell, just that I write.  The soft, shiny covers and smell of printer's ink was a bonus.

March 22, 2010

A digression...

I'm allowing myself a digression today, a digression from blogging about writing to blogging about Broadway.

I was raised on Rogers and Hammerstein.  I danced to Lerner and Lowe.  I watched the movie versions of every Cole Porter.  My understanding of Broadway came, however, the first time I watched Sondheim.  

At first hearing I said "What's this crap?"  I had been so indoctrinated to formulaic music.  But then I realized that Sondheim made people think.  I was used to just feeling.  I first heard (like everyone mostly did) his lyrics in West Side Story.  I was paying attention to Bernstein but those lyrics, how they stole into my consciousness.  I missed Anyone Can Whistle (it flew by so fast) but then, just before I married (probably bad timing) I saw the original Company.

Who was this man?  Where did he come from?  How did he gain entry to my brain?  Forty years later I would see the revival of Company for my sixtieth birthday and I could still marvel at the newness of it.
Mr Sondheim, you changed Broadway, you changed the way we think about musicals and, in many ways you wrote the songs that parallel my life.  On the occasion of your Eightieth birthday, thank you for Being Alive.

March 21, 2010

Author Cred

For this one I have to take #'s 2 and 4 below together.  First of all I have to thank the reviewer for feeling this way, especially since he is a man.  BUT.  While I understand that having cred in an area would make people more likely to read a non-fiction book on a subject, I cannot agree that a person's credentials work the same way with a work of fiction.
Yes, I have been a "Broadway Baby" all my life in terms of going to shows and keeping up with the reviews, the gossip and even taking college level courses in theater.  But I am not, nor have I ever been in the theater so I really have no credentials in terms of having actually acted, tried to act or even being married to an actor.  All my experience is second hand.  So what am I supposed to say in a bio that would make people buy this book?  "Chris has been a theater voyeur her whole life."  I do think "a student of the theater her whole life" might work but I'm still not sure that that gives me cred enough to sell a book.

March 20, 2010

Thank You, Lora

My first commentary, on #1 is “Thank you Lora.”  A good editor is always useful especially when it comes to punctuation, grammar and continuity.  I am hopelessly punctuation challenged, most notably when it comes to dialogue.  Since my novels are dialogue-heavy a punctuation Nazi is essential.

After reading Lora's first comments I just let her have her way with the punctuation and here it is, proof positive that trusting your editor can be a good thing.

Paid Previews and Reviews

I recently paid for a reputable preview of IBG which will eventually be built into a review of the novel. I’m going to present some excerpts here and number them. The reason for the numbering is that I will take the opportunity in the next few days to point out some of the positives and negatives of having this done.

Paying for reviews is not as spurious as it sounds. With these reviews (usually paid for by the publisher but in my case by the self-publisher), the publisher is able to get word out about a novel through a reputable third party. For the self-published author these are a learning experience as well as a publicity handle. After all, wouldn’t you rather an honest opinion about your book from a disinterested party rather than your great aunt Selma?

Below are the excerpts, somewhat out of context but omitting only those things which are technicalities that are fixable.

(1) The writing is clean and nicely punctuated.

(2) A bit choppy, but a commendable opening. Nicely constructed. Author obviously understands theater and constructs an interesting story premise from page one.

(3) Dialogue is a strength of this novel. Not overbearing but simple and used well to move the story along. With additional editing and tightening, In between Goodbyes might have luck being shopped by a reputable agent.

(4) Would be nice to learn something (anything) about Ms Wible. Her theater background for instance. All of which offers readers potential reason to connect with the book.

(5)With additional editing and tightening, In between Goodbyes might have luck being shopped by a reputable agent.

March 14, 2010

Inspiration for In Between Goodbyes

Someone asked me where they could hear the song that inspired my book.  You will find it here:  In Between Goodbyes  on YouTube.  She is my idol as a Broadway singer.

Inspiration Everywhere continued

I went to the City (waddayamean what City? is there another?) to observe an Opera yesterday.  Now I keep saying on this blog that the City is my inspiration and I thought I would give you a hint of that by listing out all of the snippets that could someday become a part of a book.  Inspiration can come from anywhere and while each of these incidents in itself might not inspire a whole book or short story they are sure to be fit into some piece of my writing sometime.


This also shows that I never need to buy one of those books that gives me 200 pages of inspiration...I find it everywhere.

1. Bus driver barely able to hold the bus on the road due to 65 MPH gusts yet still taking time to ANSWER HIS DAMN HANDHELD CELL!     (Sorry about that.  I’m calmer now.)
2. Sheets of rain on the bus windows obscuring the passing scenery.
3. Fear of being out of control.
4. Navigating the City underground from the bowels of the Port Authority Terminal, through the passage of several blocks underground to the Number 1 subway and then uptown to surface in front of Avery Fisher Hall.   On the way: Lost French tourists. A woman trying to manage two baby carriers and a backpack.  A street musician in the underground passage playing Hotel California on the guitar. A community sing in a Subway car when a trio started playing Quanta La Mera and three Dominican girls and myself, the ultimate Gringa, linked arms singing.
5. Walking in sheets of rain so formidable that an umbrella was totally useless.
6. Looking at the lovely bread sculptures on the table in front of me that were holding the menus and then (by poking them) realizing that they were not sculptures at all but rather stale half loaves of bread which might, in an alternate universe have been thrown away but here at Le Pain Quotidian were being useful.
7. The glittering majesty of the Metropolitan Opera in the rain.
8. The fountain looking like crystal.
9. The sheer height of the stage and the way it dwarfs the performers and the way Kentridge’s projections were just the right proportion for the stage.
10. The giggly joy I get every time the floating chandeliers in the house start to rise into the air just before the performance.
11. How a performance is always enhanced by amiable seatmates.
12. Sticking my sopping coat under my chair and taking off my shoes hoping against hope that my socks would dry out.
13.Watching a performer I admire (nay idolize?) act his brains out whilst singing in Russian (not his native language) music that sometimes defies singing.
14. Exiting the dress circle to the grand visage of Lincoln Center Plaza and to be greeted by what appeared to be a monsoon only colder.
15. Slogging back to the subway as people crashed into each other to avoid abandoned and flying inside out umbrellas.
16. Riding home in a warm bus driven by a driver who was wholly focused on the road and being able to abandon my control problem.

March 8, 2010

What's in a name?

I get my ideas for names in my books from two places, the roster of people at the place I work and my spam.  Seriously.  Today at work it was Hedwig Hockgerfelter.  Beautiful.  In my spam list are Natasha Fink, Doyle Grubbs and Buzz Irb.  Seriously, you can't make these up!

March 7, 2010

Are you getting dizzy yet?

I told you to be ready for a wild ride.  This blog is changing.  Shortly, it will have a new URL.  Hang on.

March 3, 2010

Waiting...

If writing for public consumption doesn't teach you patience, nothing will.

I just finished waiting for contest results (didn't win).
I'm waiting to hear if I will have a book signing in a local store this spring.
I've waited far too long in times past to hear on query letters.

And the most infamous:

I'm waiting for inspiration.