Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday's at the Piedmont Grille

Just thought I'd check in and let you know what's REALLY going on. And to tell you the absolute truth. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I took this time off the blog to get some writing done and I haven't done anything. Written not one word. I don't know what it is -- the weather, MB graduating, my mother leaving, the fence building, the queries, the partials -- I don't know.

But I know I'm not alone. There are several others out in the blogoshpere that are having this same problem -- can't write anything but word vomit, no energy or enthusiasm for any of their projects, and with the kids out of school for summer, well, it's just panic now, I mean what are we going to do with THEM?

I've tried timed writing. I've tried switching back and forth between stories (if you look at my sidebar you can see all the projects I'm attached to). I've tried putting some work into an old/new story to see where I come up. Nothing, nada, zilch. I can't write. And don't get me wrong, it's not writer's block. I know where all these are supposed to go, I have the next chapters all outlined, not to mention the copious notes on all the regencies, not to mention all the outliney stuff I did for Genna & Tony.

It just won't come.

And if it does, it's crap. I mean crappy crap that you hold against your normal brilliant writing self and say, "Was I kidnapped by aliens? What is this garbage?"
(And I'm not saying I'm brilliant but I am pretty good, but it's all crappy crap these days.) And I don't mind a little crap, but everything?

Truthfully, I think it has to do with the queries. There's something about querying that makes me nuts. Like I have to put my whole life on hold to wait for the agents to tell me if I'm any good or not. Thank God I've done this like three or four times already. At least I know what I'm getting into. It's like riding a bike without training wheels, the first few times, you fall down. You get hurt, get right back up again. I'm just afraid I'm going to have to put the training wheels back on.

One of the partials came back with a rejection. It probably wouldn't have hurt quite so much if the agent hadn't had it since Feb! She waited 90 days to tell me -- IN A FORM REJECTION -- so that hurt was just unbearable. I've cried, thanks, and eaten a whole big bag of M&M's, and decided when I query G&T, guess what, it's not going to that agency. Yes I might cut off my nose to spite my face but I'm not waiting 90 days for another rejection ever again. I even had to send her a nudge note, so what does that say to me? They can't get their work done in a timely manner. I know they're busy people but how long does it take to read 50 pages? Exactly 28 minutes. So you mean to tell me in the last 90 days you couldn't find 28 minutes to read my stuff?

Now I've also still got a few queries out from Feb. and those agents pre-requested pages with the query. I KNOW those are rejections. I don't have to get my hopes up.

So at least this rejection has told me something. The query is working. My biggest peeve is all the rejections have been FORM rejections. How am I supposed to know what's not working with the partial if nobody tells me? I've followed the damn romance "formula", everything is there. The last agent who rejected me told me the writing was fine, it was just the plot wasn't all that it should be. And that was ALL he said. Well, my question is -- How would you know? You didn't read the book, only the synopsis and we all know those things are just dry statements of fact, there's no nuance or subtly or great writing. You didn't even to bother to find out what happens to Penny at the masquerade ball and how the villain tricks her into getting into his carriage. (Hey, that was some great writing there boy howdy!)

I know, I know, this is what we all go through as writers. It just sucks and makes me want to give up. I know, I know, I won't give up, this dream is too important to me, and I am a Taurus, a Tiger and Irish so... it's just hard. Writing is hard work, rejection is a kick in the teeth, and querying just sucks.

So here is my question for the day -- Would anyone care to read THE LADY'S MASQUERADE? It's a Regency romance/cozy mystery with a little (very little) sex. I have it out to one other person and I'm waiting for her to give me her opinion. She's a mystery writer who reads Regency for fun so I've got the best of both worlds in her. And don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I wouldn't send it to anyone who wants it to read, however, I'd like to send it to people who read Regency romance and know the intricate subtleties of the genre. I'm not looking for a critique, I'm looking for an opinion. Those of you who read the genre know what I'm looking for. E-mail me at piedmontwriter at gmail dot com.

Also I just wanted to say, thank you so much for your comments yesterday on my Monster Baby. It was a nice graduation, she had her best friend over for a play date afterward (another one today with ALL her friends but I also get to play with the Mommies) and then we just lolled around in the afternoon. It was nice because I wasn't attached to the computer. I even cut the grass.


Stina Lindenblatt said...

I know what you mean about the form rejection letters. I've been lucky with my wip, when I had initially queried it (after believing it was ready to go), I received feedback from a few agents who liked the concept but not the sample pages. (so much for the feedback from my crit group). I did some serious rewrites (mostly for voice), not that I had much to go on. I then landed a full request. Which resulted in a rejection on the partially read stuff (I know this because I was following the agent's blog). But she gave me some good feedback (once she clarified what she meant). I signed up for a couple of online writing courses, and now my writing and novel is stronger (and the plot changed slightly). It's out with new beta readers right now.

Sorry, I only read and write YA. Hopefully you'll find some other beta readers soon. :D

Have a great weekend!

KarenG said...

I call it spring fever. I'm not wanting to do anything right now except plant my garden and listen to the birds singing. Have you entered my contest? You might win an editorial review of your first three chapters. Who knows it might be helpful :)

Crimey said...

Sorry about the form rejections. They stink. I haven't started querying my current WIP yet, but I got form rejections on my first novel. Keep at it, eats lots of M&Ms.

I don't read regency romance so I don't know if I would be a good reader for you. I hope you find the right readers for your work.

I'm going to be seeking a beta exchange soon for my book as well. :)

Matthew Rush said...

I'm sorry to hear that Anne, but as I'm sure you know if you just don't give up things will turn around soon enough. Obviously you are a prolific enough writer to know that inspiration can come and go.

I don't even know what Regency Romance means so I would probably not be the best to offer feedback on THE LADY'S MASQUERADE, but thanks for asking!

Today's guest blogger is THE Elana Johnson!

Portia said...

I am so sorry about the rejection. As I mentioned before, I think you have a great query, and I'm so excited to read the book. (It's my motivation to get through this working weekend and finish my darned article deadlines!)

I just wanted to say I'm sending warm thoughts your way. Writer's Block is miserable, and I don't know of any really great tricks to get out of it. But I think you're smart to put your book out there. Sometimes comments (or even knowing someone's reading your work!) can be energizing.

I posted your ghost story on my blog today—thanks again for sharing. It gave me the chills!

Piedmont Writer said...

Stina -- And you know, that's all I want, is some decent feedback from an agent. I hate FORM.

Karen -- I hear you on the spring fever. And as for your contest, I truthfully didn't even know about it. I haven't been following blogs lately but I will be over to you right now to check it out.

Crimey -- Oh, the M&M's!!! Add 10 pounds to my thighs!

Matthew -- Thank you for your lovely comments, here and at Portia's. That was a fun interview! My first!

Portia -- Thanks for having me over there! It was great. And thanks for reading. It means a lot and I can't wait to hear what you have to say about it. Good or bad.

Terry Towery said...

I had to look up at your lighthouse at the top of this page to make sure I wasn't reading MY blog!

I hear you on everything you said. This is hard. Damned hard. Rejection hurts, waiting sucks, etc.

Hang in there. I would certainly read your work, but I have never read a romance in my life.

Hang in there, Anne. You are very talented and you WILL make it. Seriously.

DL Hammons said...

I think this is where they seperate the men from the boys (or girls from the women in this case). Fighting your way through the rejections...the disappointments...the stand on the doorstep of the one agent or publisher who see's what the others cannot. It is a process...not personal (for the ones that ultimately say YES).

I believe in you!

Summer said...

I don't think you're cutting off your nose to spite your face. Why willingly put yourself through that sh!t again if you don't have to? The negativity you'd be losing while waiting for news would probably just distract you from being productive.

I haven't made it to the query trenches yet, but I'm with you in spirit, and I've got a mean recipe for the Devil's Chocolate Cake :-)

Falen said...

i've never read a romance novel before, let alone a regency, so i'm out as a reader.
and yeah, i agree that it's most probably just spring fever and i think it's hitting all of us in some fashion or another.
Happy Weekend!

Simon C. Larter said...

Did we come up with "word-vomit" independently, or did you borrow it from me? If it's the former... whoa! If it's the latter, you're welcome to use it wherever and whenever you'd like, good lady, with my blessings. :)

I've been lolling around the Valley of the Shadow of Procrastination and Crappy Writing recently myself, so I hear you on that. At least you're getting the queries out and partial requests, so good on you for that! (I know how much I detest the submissions process for shorts and flash, but it's a necessary evil, no matter how much longer it takes than you think it should.)

Keep at it, good lady. Joe Konrath said there's a word for a writer who never gives up... published.

Cheers! Have a happy weekend!

Shelley Sly said...

I'm sorry about the form rejections. I got a horribly disappointing rejection on a partial about a year ago. All it said was something like "Pass, but thank you" in an email. On a partial. Just those words, no salutation or signature. Urg.

I wish I could help you as a reader, but I've never read regency romance, so I'd probably be useless. But best of luck with everything related to your MS! You'll get there, Anne! I have faith in you.

Lady Glamis said...

I'd be up for reading your novel if you like, although I must get through my short story contest first and see if any of the winners want a full critique. I've read Regency romance before, but I'm not avid reader, so I'm not sure if you really want me as a reader anyway. I'll email you.

I think a critique, if it's a good one, is just an opinion. Anything else is more like edits, which most beta readers shouldn't be doing anyway.

I've received one form rejection in my life - out of the whopping two queries I've sent out. One was a form rejection, the other was no answer at all. The rejection I got on a partial (from you know who) was very personalized, and I'm happy for that. I think that if you got too much feedback, though, you'd have all that feedback and probably varied conflicting opinions, and then you might be even worse off because whose opinion do you trust most?

The thing I try to remember (and my opinion is worth nothing because I haven't really queried) is that my writing is not for everyone. In fact, probably only a few agents out there would really really love it enough to sell it. It's my job to get my query in their hands, and that will take a lot of time and courage, I think. One reason I'm waiting awhile before I even try. Just. Not. Ready.

Please don't loose heart or faith. Keep taking that writing break until you feel passionate again. I know that my passion comes from knowing people love my work, and I can imagine that getting rejections really kills that. Still, I think all your readers here love your work! Keep writing when you can.

Lola Sharp said...

I'm sorry Anne. Keep fighting the good fight, because I believe in you!

Allow yourself to have a FUN weekend, hanging in your pool with MB, read, relax, eat chocolate!



Piedmont Writer said...

Terry -- You know, I had to look at the lighthouse to make sure it was my blog too! I was so hoping this partial was going to make it. I have my own personal theory as to why it was rejected but I'll keep that to myself. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...

DL -- Will you marry me? Just kidding. I love your wife too. Thanks for the pep, really appreciate it.

Summer -- I think you hit the nail on the head when you said -- "The negativity you'd be losing while waiting for news would probably just distract you from being productive." I think that's what my whole problem is right now. I'm so concerned about the damn partials and queries, I'm losing sight of what I want. And I'll take that recipe. Thanks, and hey, can I put M&M's in it?

Simon -- Truthfully I don't know where I found "word vomit" but if it's yours then I credit you, good sir, for giving me a lovely new phrase to capture my writing these days. Happy Weekend to you!

Shelley -- Gawd what an ugly thing to do as an agent! Give me her name, I never want to submit to her!

Glamaliscious -- The only way to find out what the heck I'm doing wrong is for an agent to tell me what the industry standard is these days. I can read till I'm blue in the face but if the information is passe, then I'm screwed. It used to be, heaving bosoms and rakes, now it's sort of a combination of series and sex. I'd like to know what the publishers are thinking about before I write the next one -- maybe I'd have a leg up. I'll e-mail you.

Lola -- Thank you Dearest, I believe in you too and someday we will be published. I have to believe. And today we are having a play date so getting wet is on the agenda. Happy weekend. Love Anne xoxoxoxoxoxo

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Have another bag of M&M's, a glass of wine, let your husband pamper you, and it'll all be better in the morning.
Yeah, I'm hearing a lot of writers struggling right now.
Oh, and there's a surprise for you at my blog today.

Terry Towery said...

Just FYI. I've heard the phrase "word vomit" pretty much my entire 25 years in journalism. At my old paper, the city editor used to tell us that if "you're going to word vomit, be sure to move your f---ing keyboard first!"

In other words, it meant to write a really crappy story -- something I did on a fairly routine basis.

I'm fairly certain, however, that I invented the phrase "diarrhea of the mouth" when referring to someone who talks too much.

Or not. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry to hear of the negativity beast's arrival, Anne. I'm thinking of you and I love you. I hope you know that.

I would be happy to read "The Lady's Masquerade" and give my opinion! I'm not really familiar with the genre, so feel free to not include me, but if you want a general reader's view, I'm here for ya, babe.

Have a great weekend, lovey!

Jennifer Shirk said...

Ugh. I know how frustrating it is. And maybe these form rejections and all the waiting has temporarily "stalled" your writing for the moment.
Don't give up though. :)

Piedmont Writer said...

Alex -- I wish it were that simple. Unfortunately I'm sober 6 years, I don't have a husband, and the M&M's, well, I have another bag stashed in the pasta cabinet. But I need to get a half gallon of ice cream first!

Terry -- Well, you've seen my emails, you KNOW I definately have "diarrhea of the mouth".

E.Elle -- My Lovely, I will email you.

Jennifer -- Never give up, never say die!

Talli Roland said...

It is so hard to write when you're querying. I have a really tough time with this, too. Maybe you need a complete break - give yourself a pass and some freedom to relax!

Anonymous said...

I would love to help, but it has been a while since I last read Regency. However, if no Regency-lover offers, I'd be happy to give it a read-through. :)

I can completely understand the inability to write, though I am not querying, as you do. Hopefully, it will get better for you. Good luck with your queries!

Al said...

I guess you are right about the querying stopping your muse.
I get the same thing, my WIP simply languishes when I am doing anything with my previous work.

sarahjayne smythe said...

I'm so sorry about the rejection. That just sucks. And I'm sorry I'm not a regency romance reader so I can't be of much help to you there, either. I hope you find someone. :)

Bossy Betty said...

Breathe deep. Your muse is just in the bathroom. He/she will return. Form rejections hurt. Even just a scribbled line of writing on the bottom of them makes them a little bit better. Hang in there!

Anonymous said...

My best friend repeats an age old saying whenever life had me crying, "This too shall pass." But when in 'it', the troubles, when only one outcome in your mind will make your days good again, time seems to pass very slowly.
I hope that you still see yourself as successful-one who is doing what she loves, going for her dream, and Not letting the possiblity of a broken heart stop her.

Ted Cross said...

Like Terry said above, it felt like you were writing about me, though I admit I am earlier in the querying process than you. I have had only form rejections, so how am I to know where the issues were in my sample pages? I even chose my first submission based upon what I know of the agent, suggesting that he at least might provide a comment or two to steer me, but I got only a form rejection. Like Matt said, we just need to persevere.