Friday, March 30, 2012

Be Your Own Words

As most of you know, and a lot of are in the same place as me, I'm searching for an agent. And by searching, I mean pesting people over email and obsessing with every detail of submission and after looking and looking and looking again and hitting send, immediately finding four mistakes that could end in an auto-response no and near to begging but hoping I'll be strong enough when that first offer comes in to say no if it's crap...yeah, that's what I mean.

 I'm waiting for that first book to be published. I'm ready for the moment when people say "You're a writer?" And I can say "Yes, I wrote "The best thing you've ever read this week until the next great thing comes along." As it stands now the conversation goes like this:
"You're a writer?"
"Yes. I mean..I write. I'm trying to write. I have a publisher who offered to publish me...but I'm looking for an agent..because I know about the writing part...but I don't know about the business side...I mean, I don't know...I'm a writer? Yes. I mean...yes, I wrote a book." The last part is usually mumbled into a coffee cup or a glass of wine as I attempt to drown myself in its contents, and I don't mean metaphorically.

First off, why do I ask the person who asked me if I'm a writer if I'm a writer? Because I'm insane - that much is obvious. But the baser truth is that I'm terrified to tell anyone that I'm a writer in case I never get published. No failure if no one knows, right???(Hold on, I'm calling myself a coward... Okay, I'm back. )

Second - I know about the writing part? NO. I don't. But does anyone? It's doubtful. But I am learning and getting better everyday. I research. I write. I rewrite. I tell stories. I build cities and places and people and events with words. And I do need an agent because I don't know anything about the things they do. I mean, I wouldn't expect them to be able to come in and do my job, so where do I have any room to be arrogant enough to assume I could do their voodoo.  (If you had read that last paragraph before I fixed, you would agree I need an editor too!)

So what's the major problem here?
First - there's the irrational fear.
Does it really matter if I get published?
To the ones who love me? No, not really.
To me? Yes. Yes it does. A great deal in fact.
To the world? Maybe. I hope so.

But really I think it comes down to two things - self doubt and perseverance. I need to eliminate the self-doubt. Not in a 'Hey, I'm the greatest thing and I'm so great that my words grace the page like gold and diamonds and you're an idiot for not recognizing this' but more in a 'Hey, that wasn't total crap' type of way. Even in a "Wow. I wrote that? Hell yeah!"

I need to not tear myself down when I get a rejection letter. Right now, it means a couple days of moping, thinking my story isn't good enough, I suck as a writer...blah, blah, blah. What is should mean is that I need to look over my query letter, get some beta readers, look over the story one more time. Is there a hole? Is there a hook? Can they pronounce all the names in my MS? Did I start every third sentence with "And then, suddenly..."???
For the second thing - I can stick with something. That's not the issue. What I need to do better...wait! A moment of clarity! (See? Wine Fridays are awesome!) It's not just about perseverance...it's about trust!
I must trust myself more. I'm so convinced that I'm a dancer that I couldn't possibly be a good writer too! I want to write like this person and in this genre and tell this story...but that's already there. I read a thousand how-to write and query and get agented and all that - and I will continue, you can always learn - but what I should really do is stay my path.
I feel like I don't fit into the molds already cut so I keep folding myself at weird angles and mush my story into the holes already made. But what I should be doing is sticking to my guns and making a new damn mold! I don't need to be like the others. I need to be myself, since I'm positive, and I know by looking at the pile of rejection letters, that's something that has never been published...yet.


*side note* I've been sitting on this post for two days and I discovered two things since then - one, I don't think my book is in the genre I've been querying. I've been trying to make it fit, but that's not really the story I want to tell. You see the potential problem here right? And second, my pile of rejection is quite short compared to most published authors so I haven't really been as brave as I should either. So I'll get on those two things and get back to you!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Hey - It's a writer's blog - from a writer!

So here's my new Writer's Page. You'll never know what you might find here but I hope you enjoy it. My very first day on the blog I'm going to rant until the cows I don't own come home. I'm opinionated but open minded. I always welcome comments but I have low tolerance for stupidity. If you would like to agree, go for it. If you want to verbally spar, go for that as well, but bring your A-game. I don't talk about things I'm not in the know about. You shouldn't either, for both our sakes. I have kids and can't start drinking that early in the day.

So, welcome and I hope you enjoy.

Here's what on the buffet today. I'm all fired up about movies and books. (No surprise there.) I usually am, but today about a couple in particular due to the large amount of judgement they are bringing out in people. The Hunger Games and 50 shades of Grey. Here goes!

First up, The Hunger Games. Yes, I'm a fan of the books. (Except the last chapter or two of Mockingjay, but that's a blog for another day) And to answer your other burning question - Team Peeta. But here is what I'm not a fan of - racism. I just read an article in which people were upset of the casting of black actors in certain roles. Their ignorance amazes me.
Here's the article that covers it : http://jezebel.com/5896408/racist-hunger-games-fans-dont-care-how-much-money-the-movie-made
 I mean it clearly states in the book that they are dark skinned and more importantly - it never says they are black, white, blue or polka dot. People read what they want to see. Do you know what I mean? No? Let me explain.
It brings to mind the epic scene at the end of A Time To Kill (the movie based on the Grisham book) Matthew McConaughey plays the lawyer tasked with defending the black man who killed two white men who tortured and raped his daughter. The lawyer asks the jury to close their eyes and he describes the brutality. On and on it goes. people are crying at the description of this unspeakable horror. Then at the end of his speech he says "Now, imagine she were white." It's the statement that gets his client acquitted but it also makes a powerful statement about our society. People are biased, no matter how much they think they are not. And this drives me crazy. I can't stand racism or prejudice. It seems a ridiculous notion to me, judging someone on their skin color? I wait until people do dumb things and then judge them - you know, like normal people!
When I saw Rue in the picture, I didn't think "Huh..she's black." I thought, "I thought her hair would have braids like Katniss and Prim." I'm not saying I'm better, I'm just saying I think there's a lot more colors in this world than black and white. (Especially since those colors don't even accurately describe either of our skins! Good one, originator of calling our races that! Nice work!)

*Pauses. Cracks knuckles.*

Ok - on to the next.

50 Shades of Grey. I haven't read it yet. I didn't even care about it. It's been around for a year and so what? But now that there has been so much hype, I will HAVE to! I don't have a choice anymore. But this isn't what concerns me. The movie rights were sold today. Really? Already? Moments later the web was abuzz with "Who should be cast?" "Is it any good?" "Can something spun from Twilight be looked on without disdain?"
So of course, like every good pupil of the internet, I started clicking links. Now, I really try to just read the articles, learn the details, be educated about stuff, but I find myself getting sucked into the usually absurd, even asinine, comments at the bottom of the page. And here's where I go wrong.
First off, I remember when all the people who hate Twilight now couldn't wait to read it and thought Edward was the greatest thing since sliced bread. I admit it, I'm one of them. Not to say I hate Twilight now. I don't. But upon many rereads, I have come to recognize the poor writing quality, the flatness of Bella and the complete train wreck that is the Edward/Bella/Jacob business. But still, there's a quality to it, something that draws me in and holds me there for four books. And I can only dream of Stephenie Meyer's success. Then the movies happened.

I stood in line and saw them all on opening day. Twilight, the first one, no - just no. They got consistently better, but...you know what? Another day. I'll get to my point.

The redeeming quality for me in all of them? Rob Pattinson. I adore him, but not for Twilight. Not even for Cedric Diggory. (P.S. Couldn't we have seen him figure out the egg in the bath? I digress.) I love his movies no one has ever seen. His BBC stuff. You know, the ones where he gets to act.
If you go back and watch the first Twilight, Edward is animated, talkative, playful even. And then he stands next to K-Stew. I'm guessing the directors' directives for the second, third and fourth movies went something like this. "You were great in the first one. But you're the cold, emotionless vampire, she's the human. Can you act less?"
So throw out the thing he's known for best. And you are left with imaginative, dark and even comedic work. The Haunted Airman - he's believably confined to a wheelchair the entire movie yet still captivates and it somehow sexy. Little Ashes is an amazing and brave portrayal of Salvador Dali. Low budget and out there, but brilliant work.
I would like to see him work with Tim Burton or do something dark. Super dark. We will be getting a chance to see some of that dark when he shows up in Cosmopolis (also based on a book) this year.
So what does all this have to do with the rants...er, I mean links about 50 Shades? How does it tie into the racist remarks about Hunger Games?

Well, let me tell you.

The tweets about Hunger Games casting and the comments made at the bottom of the 50 Shades of Grey articles have the same flaw - stupidity and ignorance. People are railing against the casting of HG by saying "Stick to the book" Well guess what people who haven't read the books or who didn't read them well enough? They did! Get educated before making dumb comments like this. If you're racist, I don't like it, but there's nothing I can do about that, but the other stuff...really?
People are condemning BDSM and the content of 50 Shades (and the people who read it) without ever opening the cover. If you're not into that, don't read it. No one is judging you for being uptight and straight-laced, don't judge others. No one is forcing you to read it, don't make me feel like I have to wrap it in a book cover to enjoy it myself.
The same judging is coming through for actors in question of casting for this much lauded trio of movies. Namely Rob Pattinson and Kristen Stewart. Now personally, I'm not a KStew fan, except in In the Land of Women and a little in Adventureland, but I'm not going to tear her down personally. The character of Bella is kinda one dimensional. In that respect, she's the greatest actor of all time! But to judge RPattz (I had to put it in there once (: ) on his Twilight roles is crazy. Not one other thing he has been in is anything like Edward.  Now you may think Rob Pattinson is awful, and that's fine, so not my point. The point is again - educate before you speak.

Here's something else - A lot of people are taking all this very seriously. I thought books and movies were entertainment, a fantasy, but I think some of these people are unaware of reality versus fiction. Take a second and step back. 

Here's my point - ( I should have probably mentioned, I'm in love with words) don't judge a book by it's cover...or an actor by their most famous role...or a person by the color of their skin. It's entertainment people, just sit back and enjoy the ride!

P.S. I know he was my example, but I heart Rob Pattinson, always and forever. And true love lasts a lifetime.

Note ** This blog not typical of a normal rant. Usually there's far more sarcasm and humor, usually at my expense.**