There’s So Much More To Being A Writer, Than Just Writing

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I am buried.

You know that feeling when you have things to do, a lot of things…all things you CAN do. All things you WANT to do. Things that you will be excited and proud when they’re done….but the volume and the impossibility of speeding it up or skipping any steps, is just overwhelming!! That is where I am now.

The preparation for conference is in full swing and I am loving the assignments and want to share them with everyone here, because they are exercises ANYONE and everyone should do with every book they write. I love the outside input and someone else’s eyes making me look for things I never would have!

Of course the whole conference is preparing you to make a pitch, one on one, with the super powers in publishing. So the first assignment is about pitch. Find five published books that you consider to be in your same genre and study their jackets. They say you have ONE MINUTE to grab your reader. They’re standing in the bookstore, they’re reading the backs of books. They’ll read for about one minute and if they like it they may open it, or just buy it. If they don’t, they put it down and that opportunity is gone!

How you choose your five books is up to you, but I like what happened to me.

a) I live in a small town. No bookstores…and I wanted to get started! 

b) I wanted to be able to take the books and their jackets home with me.

c) I was dirt poor!

So… I went to my trusty public library, where I know they sell used books…cheap! SO… I couldn’t cherry-pick all best sellers or all my favorite authors, all new books or all super famous authors or publishers. I had to take what I could get and I just like the unbiased idea of this.

Once you have five good jackets you have to identify the scene setting, the hook, the big change or complication, rising action and cliffhanger. Do this in all five and get really familiar with those five terms, so you could always spot them in any jacket, any story.

Now…. write your pitch, making sure those five things are covered….then leave it. Walk away for a couple days. When you come back, read it. Would you buy this book? Rewrite? Your choice.

 

The rest of the assignments I have gotten so far, have been from the online forum, which I am not even sure are real assignments or expected to be turned in, but there they are, so I’m doing them!

 

  1. What is my Story Statement?

 

When the appearance of one woman’s quiet life is disrupted by an unthinkable diagnosis for her young son, she is forced to wrestle the demon she has been hiding from everyone she knows and loves. To do that, could mean inviting that demon to her own hiding place, home.

 

  1. In 200 words or less, sketch my antagonist, Amelia Hiller…

 

When Amelia was growing up, she would look in the mirror and imagine herself an attorney or an important business woman. She thought she could also be someone’s wife and mother, but she can hardly remember her mother and wonders if she would ever know how to be one. She knew her father, she knew discipline. She was a good girl.

            Years later, very book smart, but in so many ways, still that little girl, Amelia is seduced, pregnant and alone, in that order. Such a cliché, such a disappointment.

            Her life, her father and her twin sons turn her into a woman and a mother and even a small business owner. But deep down the scars from that hurt have never gone away. Not a bitter liberal, but driven, her boys are her only focus. Her promise to herself is that she will never be taken like that again. As a friend, a daughter, a mother and a boss, she treats people with the same love she always has, but her guard is up.

            It doesn’t matter how strong she is or how safe she has been, when her son gets sick, she is helpless. He needs his father.

 

  1. Conjuring your breakout title…

 

Two Sides Of Wilde (This has been the title for five years….hard to think of any other.)

alternates….

Wilde Inside

Sons of Wilde

Hiding Wilde

 

  1. Deciding Your Genre & Approaching Comparables…

I have grappled with the genre issue. I just keep having to settle for general fiction. There’s some romance, some suspense, some female point of view… but not enough to be called a romance, a mystery or chic lit. Ugh. I guess the problem is, I don’t know enough about genre, I don’t know all he genres available. Guilty.  I would prefer dramatic fiction. That is a good fit.

            After doing some genre research, I have discovered Women’s Fiction and I’m more comfortable with that. More dramatic, realistic and serious than chic lit.

Now I have to find two comparables and really get intimate with my genre and why my book is as good as they are. Here they actually encourage finding current, recent work and bestsellers as well.

 

So I have a lot in my brain and then…a contest I entered my book in before any of this conference stuff emails me the results with judge commentary. Some of it is great, but some of it…brutal. Before I get my knickers in a twist, I am thankful for all this input, BEFORE I get to New York, but it’s a lot of revision, reading and rereading….. of a book I thought I finished five years ago.

A hard and invaluable lesson!! 🙂

ch

p.s. WAIT til you see my peacock conference book… the only thing besides phone and debit card that I’m carrying to conference everyday. NO laptop! 

 

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Can I Over Edit?

Yes.

Yes I can.

You see, I already know the answer to that question. Which is why I am trying, very hard, NOT to look at my book, anymore.

 

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I wrote Two Sides Of Wilde five years ago. Not quite five years ago.

It will be five years ago in November. It was my first Nanowrimo.

I wrote Two Sides Of Wilde in twenty-three days.

 

So…. in must be screaming for editing, beta-readers, rewrites!!!  Right?

I wouldn’t know. I self-published it very quickly, I am my only editor and everyone who has read it, loves it.

 

I’m not bragging or claiming to know anything. This was my first book.

I have written about nine since then, in the same manner.

So, my book and I have recently been accepted to the Algonkian New York Pitch Conference. I am beyond excited of course. But I have read my book several times. Others have read it. I have edited, I have made some changes here and there. But yes, probably less than most. So, with the conference looming, I should be pouring over it, right?

Maybe.

Maybe not.

What if I over-analyze? What if it’s perfect just the way it is?

I KNOW if I stare at it from now until I board the plane, I WILL mess it up.

 

The conference sends us assignments, which are meant to force examination and polishing. Of course I do those diligently. I am also of course, doing my A-Z blog. But I really think that’s where I’m going to draw the line.

Am I making a huge mistake?

Maybe.

 

ch 

A

Totally stealing an idea I saw on another writer’s blog. You blog every day from A-Z, the letter of the day focusing on some integral part of your current work in progress. Mine is actually a complete book, but one I wrote five years ago and am taking to NY to pitch in six weeks. So I thought the A-Z concept would be a great way to get intimate with my characters once again!

A is easy. My main character and my villain, are Amelia and Alec. But I am actually choosing Amelia for this post. Alec does not deserve to share space on the screen with her!

Amelia

 

Amelia Hiller was just a freshman in college when her story began. The only daughter of a tough loving military father, she followed the rules and didn’t mind being a good girl. But college was a new world with the most stimulating and tantalizing new people and experiences. Just sipping coffee in the local grind or wandering the stacks in the university library, was an adrenaline fueled high for her.

Alec Wilde saw her coming. He knew her type. Amelia on the other hand, had no idea, no chance, no experience with a man like Alec. Of all the skirts on all the campuses, he had to go sniffing around hers.

ch

Two Sides Of Wilde, c.2014, Cherilyn G. Hearn

YOU Can Start A Blog…. Today!

How-to-Become-a-Freelance-Writer

It was pointed out to me while promoting my blog and blogging in general, that many people might not have the foggiest notion on how to blog, what a blog really is and what they could possibly gain from having one of their very own.

I am here to answer all of those questions. Of course most is my opinion, aside from the factual steps to blogging that I will share, but I am happy to lend my experience.

So blogging is as easy as typing, period. There are tons of blogging sites out there and which one you choose is all about your own experience, feelings, level of computer skills, etc. I use http://www.wordpress.com, as you can see from the address bar above. If you visit wordpress.com you will see it’s as easy as entering an email address. Are you kind of wary of the internet, giving out your info, etc? I will tell you what I have told my close friend who is eighty-one and refuses to get a Facebook so she can see what I am doing from day to day. Lie.

Lie? Yes. Lie your pants off.

Set up a yahoo, or gmail or whatever email you desire, IF you don’t want to use one you already have. It can be blogemail123@whatever.com…. when it asks for your name, enter Minnie Mouse if you want to. This is only if you have those concerns. You may find, however, that you want to connect with your followers. You may WANT them to know who you are and be on your Facebook, etc. To each his own.

So, setting up your wordpress account is easy and I would hope there are other sites just as simple. I am not trying to push wordpress on anyone.

Once you set up your account it will walk you through setting up your blog. Don’t get overwhelmed and just answer the questions, choose a theme, etc. There are lots of OTHER things around the pages that could distract and overwhelm you. Ignore them. If you choose to tiptoe into that stuff later, great. But it is not necessary for setting up your blog and getting started…today! 🙂

Like Facebook and other fun pages, your blog will let you choose a theme, layout, pictures, etc.

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You’ll notice I have inserted pictures into my blog here. I strongly recommend putting pictures in EVERY blog you do. It just attracts more viewers and makes any blog look better. You can take the pictures, get them from Google, whatever. So…when you get the urge, you blog.

You select new post.

You type a title.

You type in the empty rectangle just like you were typing a letter on Word.

You insert pictures wherever you like.

Your blog can be long or short, serious or silly, it can literally be anything you want!

Maybe your blog is focused, with a theme. Like my other blog Dear Marley That is literally ONLY messages written to my granddaughter Marley. That’s it. Sometimes once a week, sometimes more, sometimes less. Maybe thousands of people will read it. Maybe someday only she will. No matter.  You can also have a more vague blog…. The Ramblings Of A Thirty-Something Tennis Coach…. and whenever you feel like it you complain about crows feet, bad serves and mediocre coaching salary. It is completely up to you!

Why blog?

Everyone has their reasons. Whether it be professional, personal, sentimental or satire… you have something to say and telling your spouse or your cat or your hairdresser is just not enough.

THIS blog is usually about writing, trials and triumphs, news about my upcoming tour, new books, old books, frustration, etc. But I am a writer, so sometimes it’s just a sounding board for something that I felt like chatting about that day. My OTHER blog is totally personal, from the heart, true life experience. You can blog long-term or short-term…. for the entire lifetime of a child or just to document your son’s first football season. Again, your call.

freelancing What if no one reads it?

That’s up to you. If it is professional, maybe you WANT readers, NEED readers, etc. Then it’s up to you to promote, share your finished blogs on your Facebook and the Facebook of everyone you know. Have your blog address at the end of every email, have it on your business cards and your checks. How far you go to get it out there is totally up to you.

But again, maybe your blog is personal and once you write something, you have achieved what you set out to do. Maybe you only care if a handful of people read it.

I hope this has been helpful. Feel free to ask questions here. Find me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/CherilynWrites

Blog on!

🙂

ch

ACCEPTED!

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Be careful what you wish for!

Anyone who knows me well, especially within my circle of friends and acquaintances who are writers, I am constantly promoting the Algonkian Pitch Conferences in New York City!!  I cannot say enough about them! Of course all of my information is from research I have done through the Algonkian websites and past participants, so of course everything I have heard is good…. but literally, everything I have heard is good!!

http://www.algonkianconferences.com/

Is it a little pricey? Yes. It’s in New York City for goodness sake and I am not naive to the idea that the people participating, who are big names in publishing, are probably being paid for their time. But the thing is, I don’t care about that. If I could pay $5000 to have lunch with the head of Random House, I would. Regardless of the money, I would be there, face to face, having lunch with a game changer. If I have what it takes, they would be silly not to sign me…period.

This conference is like the ABCs of publishing, Publishing 101!!  You don’t just pay your money, show up and listen to panels and lectures. From the minute you register, you are sent assignments, homework, all in preparation for your three days of eight-hour workshops!! The idea is that you show up with an ALREADY polished manuscript and then… they polish it more!! This is all to  prepare you for day three….when you get your face to face with FOUR major publishing houses!

Ok, long story….short. I sent in my application for the conference coming in about six weeks. Why? I have no idea. I have a father-in-law in hospice, a house in escrow and a never ending pile of laundry. Do I have enough miles racked up for a flight to NYC? No. But because I’m a crazy dreamer, a right-brainer…..a writer, I applied.

Today the email came.

ACCEPTED.

Oh sweet hominy!

Now what?

I have a week to pay for registration… and six weeks to tell my husband.

ch

Prayers for Pam

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I need to ask everyone to send their prayers for Pam and her youngest son Johnnie. He has recently been admitted to Children’s Hospital and diagnosed with MS, which tragically, is something his older sister and parents have already grappled with for years.

Johnnie has been released after about a week, but of course the future is uncertain. Pam leans on God, her family and friends and surely she will write through the feelings I know she is struggling with.

Let’s all be with her in thoughts and prayer.

Thank you.

ch