Sunday, May 30, 2010

Blue Funkadelic Haze

My haze is not purple because we all know what happened to Jimi, mine is blue. And I think I finally figured out why. TA DA.

I have no direction. I used to live in RI. The smallest state in the union. No matter where you lived in the state it was only an hour to cross it. So living in the farthest southeastern corner, I could get to the farthest northwestern corner in an hour. Okay an hour and twenty minutes with traffic. I could hit all the malls and still be home in time for supper. I could go to an aunt's in Warwick, see another one in Cumberland, and hit my cousin's in Bristol before heading home to Tiverton. No big deal.

Along the way, I would pass historical sites and landmarks I had grown up with, cousins homes, familiarity. And always, there was the ocean. RI has 417 miles of coastline. (Or thereabouts. We have a lot of islands and for some reason, those count.) If I ever got lost, I always headed south.

Ever since I moved to the Piedmont I've been lost. I carry maps in my car. Whenever I have to go somewhere I have to plot out how to get there, look at my maps, Google it, MapQuest it, re-write it, and drive slowly so I don't miss what I'm looking for.

I don't drive the highway, so this makes for adventures all the way around.

You may ask what does this have to do with my haze? Simple. The queries I've been sending out have been for my Regency romance. I've also been writing a comtemporary women's fiction-y romantic kind of thing. I have a bunch of other Regencies, a few other contemporaries, a YA and a category romance thrown in for good measure.

I've been waiting to hear on the partials because if one gets picked up, then I know that I need to continue writing in that vein. I would like to get a 4 book deal with that. If it doesn't get picked up, then I would like to continue with Genna & Tony.

But how do I know what to do if nobody tells me? I'm lost. I have no direction. I need to know what to do.

I don't want to waste my time writing the Regencies if they're not going to get picked up (now). I'll write something else. Step Two. Plan B. I don't drive on the highway, in other words, I don't write fast. I can't just bang these things out, (although some people seem to think you can write a category in 3 days). I take my time, do a lot of revision and edits. I want no loop holes, plot holes, or that was just felts in my stuff. I take my time with the query to make sure it's perfect.

"They" say, once you send the query out, write the next book. Okay, I have 6 to choose from. But I don't want to waste my time writing something that won't get picked up either.

So I figured it out. I've come out of the haze and into the light. I have the answer. And it's not Genna & Tony. That story and Kate's (you don't know her, she's a 1K blurb that may or may not survive) are women's fiction and need to be captured, cultivated and caressed. (Gee, I like that, maybe I should use that in another post.)

I am going to continue my queries with the other 19 agents on my list. And I will finish my category romance because I found a house where it will fit. It's completely written (in longhand on paper with pen) so I only have to transfer it to word, clean it up, and let it go. There is also an agent who will look at it and hopefully sell it for me, and if not, I'll do it myself. It's not that hard to do for category.

Writing is a job. Sure it's fun and great and all that other stuff, but it's also work. And if I'm going to work, I'm going to get paid to do it. And pretty much, this is what it's all about. I'm not asking for 6 figure deal, I just want to get paid. When I started working in the restaurant business, I started as a dishwasher. If, as a writer, I have to start writing category, well then so be it. I'm still writing, does it matter what I write. Sure I'd like to become the next Julia Quinn or Susan Wiggs, but for now, I'm just me.

A little lost, but at least now I have a map.

PS And I don't mean to disparage any category romance writer's out there by comparing them with dishwashing. That was not my intention. It is just as hard to break into category as it is with New York. I was using the analogy for word count. 60-75k as compared to 85-95k. Dishwashing as compared to sous chef. That's all. And I was a dishwasher for a long time before I became a chef. They both handle the exact same number of dishes during the course of the night.


Paul C said...

All those coastlines of wonder are feeding your great writing skills.

Piedmont Writer said...

Thank you Paul. I'm going back for 4th of July. I can't wait to see the ocean again.

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

Great analogy, Anne. I'm driving without road maps too. You have what it takes to get from Point A to Point B, and the instincts to figure everything else out. The most important thing is being in the driver's seat of your life, and that you are!

I used to spend summers in Connecticut. Our favorite RI beach to hit was Misquamicut. LOVE it there!

Hope your Memorial Day is fab! It's supposed to rain here in GA. Fine by me -- we're sticking close to home anyway and the steaks will be fine under the broiler if we can't grill out. Enjoy yours!!

Piedmont Writer said...

Nicole -- LOVE Misquamicut! If I ever move back, that's where I'm moving to. Happy Weekend to you.

Wendy Ramer said...

See? You started out lost, wrote about it, and ended up with a map. Ain't writing grand?

Culture Served Raw said...

You are very brave amd it's very inspiring to see a such focus. I wish you the best of luck!


Talli Roland said...

Glad that you've got the map out! You're right - writing is sometimes very much a job. You need to sometimes go with what makes the most sense, if you want to get published. My advice - for what it's worth! - would be to go through your six stories. See which one you can sum up most easily in one sentence. That's probably your strongest 'concept'. Not sure that helps, but good luck... I know how hard it is!

Christi Goddard said...

I'm glad you figured out your focus. I am single minded and can only do one story at a time. I've still got my fingers crossed for you, chickadee.

Crystal Cook said...

You are one of the hardest working writers I know! I love the plan you have mapped out, you're so focused that I know it will work out for you :) And I gave you an award at my blog. Have a great weekend btw!

Piedmont Writer said...

Wendy -- LOL I guess that's why I never outline, I just see where the road takes me.

Valerie -- Brave? No. Crazy? Yes. Thanks.

Talli -- Yeah, I figured out the hard way, it is a job. And the category is the easiest one to figure out. No high concepts, no sub-plots, very straight forward.

Christi -- By hook or by crook I will get something published.

Crystal -- Thank you Dearest. I'll be by directly.

DL Hammons said...

Ever since I was ten I was the one with the maps. Anytime our family took a trip or got transferred, I was the one who figured out the route, all the alternatives, sites to see along the way, how long it would take to get to our destination and where we should stay overnight if we needed to.

I know maps!

Problem is...its hard to get anywhere if your afraid to put the car in drive! :)

Summer said...

Great post, Anne, very inspiring. :-) I'm so glad that you've figured out what you're going for in the short term: it's nice to have meaning. Best wishes for ya!

Ted Cross said...

Small world; my step-grandmother lived in Warwick. I last visited there around 1981 or so. At least you keep writing. I've managed one chapter and one short story so far this year...

Donna Hole said...

"captured, cultivated and caressed" Just awesome!

I know what you mean about "category" writing. It may come easier because of the prescribed formula. I've been writing short stories lately for the same reason. Although they are just a hard to write, they feel easier because there is a limited word count and story content. And though they're not easier to publish, again, there is a limiting factor. And, even if I can get published by a free e-zine for no pay, it is published credentials to put on a query for the novels.

I'd never settle for that with my novels. Like dishwashing, its a start, and I can only move up - or forward - from there.

Very thought provoking post. Helped me clear my head a little. Thanks Anne.

Have a good weekend.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I admire that you can write in so many genres. I'm working on a sequel to my upcoming novel, not knowing if the first one will even be successful enough to warrant a second, and it's a little scary.

Piedmont Writer said...

DL -- My father was a car guy. I've been driving since I was 14. Shhh, don't tell.

Summer -- Thanks. But I'm envious of your garden. I wish I could be doing that instead.

Ted -- It's a very small world. But RI has changed dramatically since the 80's!

Donna -- Well I'm glad I could help! Now you're in the trenches with me, I'm not so alone anymore.

Alex -- Well, they say, write what you know. I know love (and heartbreak and dysfunction and angst etc. etc. etc.) Dont' be scared, just keep swimming.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you have got it mapped out now!

Sometimes, I go through the same thing, writing in multiple genres but not which to stick to, which will work. You're so hard-working, and I believe you can do it.

Lady Glamis said...

I'm so sorry everything's taking so long. That has got to be extremely frustrating. Have you considered hiring an editor to see where your work stands? I know of a few that are very, very good and if you're dying for professional feedback they could give it to you. Of course the catch is the cost.

Ed Pilolla said...

it sucks waiting for direction on writing that is slow to come. you are true to yourself. your internal compass is steering you well, sounds like.

Falen said...

i didn't realize that RI was so small. Back when i worked in the office, it took me an hour and a half to get there in the morning (or to get home).

Also, are you like Minnesotans and explain distance with time? (ie, "how far away is it?" "about 30 minutes.")

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Writing is much like farming. You plant seeds in your unconscious, not knowing if they will take root. Same with queries.

You plant them. But the harvest is uncertain. It may never come. Like a farmer, you just keep tilling the soil, fertilizing with revisions, and get up the next morning.

I admire you. I hate maps when driving. A half-inch on them can take three hours! I want to bend space!

I'm happy you've come to a conclusion in your heart about the direction you should take. Uncertain steps always make for an unpleasant journey. Have a great weekend, Roland

Susan Fields said...

Doesn't it feel good to have a direction? I love working on more than one project at a time, but sometimes I do feel pulled in so many directions it gets hard to concentrate on just one. Good luck!

Stephanie Thornton said...

I kind of envy that you have six different stories to choose from for your next book. I can only handle one story at a time. Maybe just write the one you're most excited about? I really think our stories are better if we really love them.

Jackee said...

Maps are good! I like maps. I hope things work out for you and that now you have directions, it will all fall into place.

It's great to find your blog!

sarahjayne smythe said...

It really is a shame this is so frustrating because you really are a hard working writer. I'm sorry you've been feeling so lost, but I'm thrilled you've come up with a map and a plan. Now enjoy your holiday and think about that great trip back on the fourth. :)

Piedmont Writer said...

Sandy -- Thanks, it's so much easier when I know what I'm doing. I can concentrate.

Michelle -- The catch is the cost.

Ed -- I'd like to be true to a publishing house but for right now, myself is enough.

Sarah -- Yes, time and landmarks, especially those that are no longer there. Like the old Peerless building. That's a favorite.

Roland -- I gave up gardening to write. Hopefully next summer I'll be published and can have time to plant.

Susan -- I can generally work on 4 at a time if I get bored. Two weeks for one, three for another, etc. etc. I can't jump from one to the other in a few days though.

Stephanie -- My love for them dies too quickly these days but I think that's because I got caught up in the whole query madness thing. Hopefully I'll have it figured out this week.

Jackee -- Thanks for being here.

Sarah Jayne -- Well, I think I've come up with a plan. Ask me tomorrow, it might have changed. As for going back, well, I found out yesterday, "things are not what they appear to be" and it's going to be difficult at best. C'est la vie.

Shelley Sly said...

I am loving the positivity in this post! I'm so glad that you have a map. Even if, as you said, you need to be a dishwasher before you become a cook, at least it's something. It's a step. Best of luck with your category romance, and all your other projects!

Oh, and I don't drive highways either. I mean, I can, and I (rarely) do, but I tend to get anxious because I'm terrible with merging. So I'm always having to re-route and figure out how to get from A to B by side roads. It's frustrating.