Poke Poke Poke

What throws you off writing?

The other day I came home excited about my story, eager to work. My h/h found some downtime, alone in a motel, clean sheets after days of driving through mud. My heroine was in bed, wearing a t-shirt and underwear, watching my hero lock the door, thinking how domestic it seems in the middle of Africa, how she's only spent time with this man for a few days but feels so strongly about him. My hero was fighting his desire for her, but wanting her, wanting a future with her, more than he dare to hope.

I get the mail on the way in, sit at the computer and two things happen. I get a rejection from Kelly Harms about the danger of action adventure heroes being cookie cutter, and I get an email from Miss Snark who won't read the story because of the terrorist slant.

Lemme tell you, that deflated my balloon really quick.

Later that evening, I went to see the comments on my story on Miss Snark's blog and they raised my hackles.

Not only did I lost the urgency for my story, but I kept going back to these two things, kinda like poking myself with a sharp stick. See how easy it is for me to believe the bad? Hard to believe things can be good, easy to believe I've shot myself in the foot with targeting action adventure books and spending so much time on my WIP.

Contest comments can do the same thing, derail me from my story, take the sheen off the love affair I have with it.

So, lesson learned. Protect the work.

Now, back to that love scene....

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Got an email last night - "NJRW's Put Your Heart in a Book finalists...will be delayed. Now that's just cruel.


Toni Anderson said...

I left a nice comment!!!!! I did I did I did!

Didn't I??

Anonymous said...

Mar...this is why, for now, NO ONE but you is seeing Damien and Caroline. Not until the entire book is done. Protect the work. Keep your spirit focused. I'll be ready to hit the crit group, contests, and all else...AFTER I am done with the last page. Not until then. I WOULD go to the crit group if I was stuck and needed help (they helped me so much when I my first chapter of TOS was such a mess), but I follow my instinct on that. Right now, my instinct says to work on this book and do the rewrites later. Get it all out first. So that's what I'm doing. Maybe it's time to stop looking so much for the input of others via contests, etc., and just write, Mar. Apply what you've learned thus far and focus on writing alone. Just my 2 cents, which may not be worth the paper they're printed on.

Love you,

MicheleKS said...

JoAnn, I'm in complete agreement with you. I've only got a couple of friends looking at my current WIP and they understand that what they're looking at is in the first-draft stage. I know I have a lot of rewrite work ahead but right now, going with the flow is the best thing.

Hang in there Mary!

Anonymous said...

Oh, you've had a rough day, haven't you? Hang in there and hope the writing goes well for you.

Anonymous said...

I know that poking feeling.

Grrrrrrrr to Ms. Snark. But you already knew I felt that way.

Anonymous said...

Hugs, Mary!!! Miss Snark didn't much like mine. However, I was rather afraid mine had problems and it looks like I was right.

MJFredrick said...

Yes, you did, Toni. But the bit about "generic Africa" when the first page isn't even IN Africa, and the comment about not having patience for a character who thinks "It couldn't be happening again" got under my skin. I should prolly never be reviewed if I'm pubbed, right??

Ahem, JoAnn. I don't see any pages in my inbox. I NEED DAMIEN!! And you're wise to protect him. (That way he's all mine - bwahaha!)

Thanks, Michele, Michelle and Esri.

Tori, sorry Miss Snark didn't like yours. I wonder who she really is, so I won't submit to her IRL.

Toni Anderson said...

OK--what is an IRL?
I only posted because I thought the other person was harsh--I'm too scared to say what I really want to in Snarkdom. Just so you know :)

Suzanne B deals with terrorists all the time. And SNARKY didn't say she didn't like it, just that she couldn't deal with the subject matter--no reflection on your writing. The other people were jumping on the Bandwagon.

PS. Being a Brit I get super pissed when Americans think they have the monopoly on hurt and suffering--OK I know, now you all hate me, but my husband grew up with bullets and bombs and only by the grace of God--and a hell of a lot of Irish humor--did they survive. Everybody seems to have forgotten Noraid. A New York based charity that raised money for the IRA.

Please don't hate me!!! I'm a nice person really.

Anonymous said...

I didn't get to do pages today...but I will do some this weekend, I promise!!! In fact, maybe even tonight. :)


MJFredrick said...

Toni, you are a wonderfully nice person! IRL is In Real Life. And I totally get what you mean about being too scared to say over there. I quit posting on All About Romance for the same reason. Sad, huh? What a life your husband has had - he's the marine biologist, yes? No wonder he has no fear!

No pages, JoAnn??? But...but....okay. I watched Phantom when I came home and I'm ready to kick that love scene's butt.

Toni Anderson said...

he's a shark researcher Mary, fearless and wild.

Thanks :)

Sad that we're both scaredy cats, but what fun we'll have when we're famous :O

Peggy said...

Hugs Mary! That truly sucks! I didn't post on Ms. Shark or whatever she calls herself. I figure anyone who is willing to openly criticize a writers work yet hide behind an anonymtity, is someone who's opinion I could care less to have. If she truly wanted to help, then she should identify herself so we can tell why we should give a shit what she thinks! For all we know she could be the publishing industries reject and looking to validate herself on this blog of hers. At the price of some very hopeful but vulnerable writers.

Or maybe not. I really don't know since I've never actually read her blog. :-o

Anyway, one thing that always picks me up when I get a negative comment or rejection is that the only person's opinion I care about at the end of the day, is my own. Love what you write. If you don't, rewrite it. If you do...the rest will follow.

Gina Black said...

(((Mary))) on the Miss Snark crit. It looked to me like the real stinger was the last comment. If you look at comments that poster left on other submissions, you'll see she was negative to almost everyone (and seemed to enjoy it). So ignore her. OTOH, Miss Snark passed because of the topic, not the quality or execution. I think that's fair. We all have our druthers.

My understanding was that the exercise was to illustrate how an agent reacted to the first page of a novel. She did much more than just saying "pass" or "read on". In many cases she explained what the author had to do to fix (show not tell, clarify, etc.). Seeing her reaction to other's work was edifying even when I did not agree with her conclusion.

I agree with JoAnn about protecting the work. There are times when it doesn't belong out there but needs to be held closely and allowed to be nurtured and to grow. Contests and public drubbings (Miss S did warn us ahead of time) cause restriction which is tough on the writing process and murder on the voice.

BTW--Miss Snark doesn't rep romance. She said so in an earlier blog.

MJFredrick said...

Peggy, you're right. I do love what I write. I love this story, I think it's the best I've ever done. What upset me about Miss Snark is the idea that it might not sell because of its subject matter, not the writing. Alone, her decision wouldn't have been so bad, but in combination with Kelly Harms' rejection about cookie cutter action adventure heroes, it had me doubting the marketability of the book.

The comments on Miss Snark were another kettle of fish, though. Gina, thanks for pointing out that last commenter was just a Negative Nelly. I guess what got my hackles up about the comments was that they didn't "get" the book, which I see is my fault for not writing more clearly. Also good to know Miss Snark doesn't rep romance, so I haven't already queried her!


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