Friday, April 5, 2013

"There is no other way of writing a novel than to begin at the beginning and to continue to the end." - C.S. Forester

If you would've told me four years ago I'd sell my first novel before I turned thirty, I'd have called you a liar.

A little over two years ago, I started to write fanfiction. No, I won't tell you what characters it was based around, but I will tell you it was horrible. Like AWFUL. I'll never forget this one "comment" I received from a reader. It crushed me, to the point my writing career almost came to a grinding halt before I could ever get into fourth gear.

Because I'd never been to college, I felt embarassed of my writing. I mean, I truly believed I couldn't write a book unless I'd at least obtained my Associates Degree. Add to it I write romance, albeit sweet romance, but romance none-the-less...I hung my head at the thought of anyone unearthing my secret. So, when Josh found out what I'd been up to, I was mortified. There the chips lay of my emotional stability, displayed on the table for Josh to see.

But to my surprise, Josh only encouraged me to keep writing, and to find a group I could join. By having his blessing, my confidence began to grow. Though my stuff was nowhere near the caliber it needed to be for him to read it, the fact he supported me was, not to sound corney, but the wind beneath my wings. He helped guide me on my first flight into the wonderful world of writing. Two nights later I discovered a national organization called the Romance Writers of America, and the local chapter was only a city away.

So, the following week, I packed my computer and headed into the unknown. I had no idea what to expect and could only hope that the women and men attendees would welcome me with open arms. I hadn't even gotten a chance to set down my bags before Christine, a sweet woman, introduced herself to me. It felt great, to not have been there five minutes and to have made a friend. I got so much out of the lecture that day. When I left, I felt energized to write. Most importantly, I left with a belief that "I can do this".

My drive started out with the desire to finish a book. Halfway through the novel, it changed to wanting to show my children you can do anything you put your mind to. Towards the end, it evolved into "I can make a living at this".

The following month I went to the RWA meeting and met my now good friend, Erin. Between her pushing me in my writing, and RWA challenging me to think outside of the box, the next year was spent in growing my craft. This year promised new and exciting things on the horizon. I felt the book I'd started the previous July would be "the one". Little did I know that, by the end of the year, how true my premonition would be.
Now here I sit, having my first book published, and in the sequel submitted to my publisher. It's been a crazy three years and I'm thankful for my journey along the way. There has been some amazing women in my life who have helped me grow in ways I couldn't have without them. Erin and Laura are two of the many of those wonderful women.
Thank you to my husband, my friends, and everybody who has been a continuous support to me. Without you, I'd still be saying "One day I'll write a book."


Erin Pryor

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

"Editing yourself is like an irksome coin toss. You've got to strip yourself of super ego and operate from id." Vera Farmiga

Being in the final editing phase of my book, I'm realizing how much fun it is. It's fun to read the book allo the way through and make subtle edits along the way. How I write, I try and do so clean the first time, so I don't have many edits to go back through on the final edit. I typically edit as I go, counting as my first round pass. Then, I do one last round of edits.

Edits shouldn't be that thing that we as writers look at with disdane. It's something that we can get the overall picture of our writing, and see the story in its entirety. I look back, and go over certain sentences thinking 'wow, I wrote that?' and it is fun to see where my head was at the time of writing scenes.

For those of you who dispise editing, I suggest you try and edit as you write. You will write slower, but in the long run, for editing purposes, it makes your movement of the overall story that much quicker. As far as writing the story, it all depends if you write by the seat of your pants, or if you are a plotter. Personally, I'm between both.

I typically mull over a story for a month or two before I even do any writing. I get the overall story mapped out in my head, and then I write one sentence scenes, and build my book around them. So, for example, one of my scenes in my published novel was that my hero got poisoned, so I wrote "poisoning" for my one sentence scene. I knew in my mind where I wanted to go with it, and wrote the scene around the one word. I do this for the whole book. I write the one word, phrase, or sentence scene, and build around it. I have the ability to do this because I've spent a month or so mulling over the story in my mind and I know where I want to go. By doing this, I can write a book, including edits as I go, within a month, and depending on the time I have, maybe two.

I challenge you, as a writer, to try writing like this. It may or may not work for you, but if it does, it will change your writing. You always stay on point, and never drift off when writing your manuscript.

Happy writing!

Erin Pryor

Monday, April 1, 2013

"There are three different difficulties in authoriship: to write anything worth publsihing, to find honest people to publish it, and to find sensible people to read it." Charles Caleb Coulton

Recently, I posted on my Facebook account, asking for ideas on what to post on my blog. Only one person responded, and asked me to talk about the pitfalls of publishing and doing your research when choosing to go with a publisher.

In this person's instance, they accepted a contract from a publisher about a year ago. It took the publisher almost a year to edit, then they published it, without going back to the writer to review edits. Then, when the author purchased a copy of their book for their e-reader, they found major gramatical errors littered throughout the first 20 pages, and so on throughout the rest of the book.

Let me start off by saying that any publisher that takes almost a year to edit should raise red flags. Editing, from start to finish, shouldn't take more than a month, maybe two. That is including the time that it goes back to you as a writer to review, accept, decline, or change any edits or story content. It is your job as a writer to stop everything you are doing when you get your edits (no matter what round) and really go through the manuscript. IT IS YOUR BABY. Treat it as such. You DO NOT want work with your name out there that has issues, gramatically, plot wise, or character wise. It is your job to see to it that the story is well rounded, that the characters are diverse, and that it is readible.

Do your research on the publisher you are offered a contract with. Google is such an amazing tool. Just type in the name of the publisher and you will be able to find different conversations about that publisher the deeper you go. Research their other books, are they quality? Is it the kind of publisher you want representing your book? As a writer, you hold all of the cards prior to getting published. Don't be so quick to jump on the bandwagon of being a published author. Having a quality product is worth the wait.

I personally got offered for a contract at a smaller publisher house for my first book, Kismet. It is too long for my current publisher, and I didn't feel like taking out 20k words, so I was excited. Then, I got back my first round of edits. There were NO edits. No line edits, content edits, etc. I told the publisher that I wasn't interested in working with them any longer. They asked me to give them one more shot, and so I did. When it came back, there were like 3-4 edits per page, and that was it!! Keep in mind, this is my first book, so I know a LOT of editing needs to be done. I ended up telling the publisher that I was cutting ties. Now, I'm back on editing the book, working on cutting out 20k words, and sticking with my current publisher. My current publisher, Decedent Publishing, is AMAZING. I don't plan on going anywhere any time soon.

In short, do your research when deciding to go with a publisher. Putting your name on crappy work is NOT how you want to get your name out there. Multi-Published Author's get away with a LOT more than what newbies can get away with.

Best of luck in your endeavors!


Erin Pryor