April 9, 2013 by Kiersi
The Night Circus
As I move into the critique stage of my current novel, and my August book release finishes up with the editor over at Rain Town, it has become clearer and clearer to me that no single person is responsible for the great books we read and love.
Today I read a fabulous post, “On Writing and Publishing Paths,” by Erin Morgenstern–author of the seriously delightful, magical, spectacle of a novel The Night Circus. And the takeaway is one that I hope every aspiring writer takes to heart: a manuscript rarely emerges from a writer’s mind a finished product.
I’ve been on the receiving end of query rejections, form letters and personalized responses alike. “They don’t get it,” is something we’re tempted to think. “They’re blind to my potential.”
As Erin writes:
…I got my manuscript to the point where I didn’t know what else it needed and it seemed like the right point to start sending it out. I did. It got requests because I had a query letter that made it sound like it had a plot when it really didn’t. It also got a lot of rejections. (more…)
Category How-to, Literary Agents | Tags: agents,editors,Erin Morgenstern,publishing,queries,rejections,The Night Circus | 15 Comments
January 12, 2013 by Kiersi
Yep, it’s that time again–a new manuscript, a new query.
For me, writing a query is a long, long process; one that usually begins while the manuscript I’m querying is still in the early stages (first or second draft). There are a couple reasons for this:
1. Writing a query requires fundamentally understanding the story you’re trying to tell. When I say “query,” I’m meaning the whole shebang: the hook, the pitch, the short bio, the ass-kissing. And none of these things are possible to do well if you’re not absolutely sure of the story, the characters, and the stakes.
And it’s not just understanding the structure of these things, or what they look like, or writing them in pretty sentences–it’s also understanding their appeal. (more…)
Category In Progress, Literary Agents | Tags: editors,how to write a query,literary agents,query letters | 8 Comments
September 26, 2012 by Kiersi
The last two weeks have been a flurry of revisions (thus the relatively infrequent blog updates). I’m reworking the first novel in my Fire & Brimstone series, titled Devil’s Fire, to be released by RainTown Press in 2013. And boy, has this revision been a total bear. I’m working with two really fabulous editors at the Press who have cut open the seams on problems with the manuscript, and given me some great suggestions to make this the best final product it can possibly be.
But, as is often the case, large-scale developmental edits aren’t easy, or time-efficient. My deadline is Oct. 5. Let’s just say I’m losing some hair.
Nevertheless, I’d like to share some nuggets of wisdom I’ve discovered during this latest rewrite, and perhaps you will profit from my pain. (more…)
Category How-to, In Progress | Tags: characterization,Devil's Fire,editors,Fire & Brimstone,RainTown Press,revising,rewriting,voice | 11 Comments
July 12, 2012 by Kiersi
A Treatise on Not Getting Yourself Down, and How To Be a Professional
I am hyper-critical of my work–as in, critical to the point that I actually burst into tears during a revision of Fire & Brimstone. Not even joking. First came the tears, then the heart-wrenching sobs, then the boyfriend going slack-jawed as I began to thrash and scream. Okay. Well, I’m more emotional than some.
But rewriting can be hard. Editing your own work is, by its very nature, an emotional experience. (I’m looking at you, @RebeccaTomorrow.) Especially if you are editing a work you first wrote (a) 6 months ago, (b) one year ago, or (c) so long ago it doesn’t even matter anymore. Pretty much everything past (a), if you write regularly, will look like a third grader went at it with a crayon and some slobber. Trust me. I’m there with you. My threshold is about four months now–the beginning of The Aeronauts, which I started back in February, reads like some mutant crossbreed of a high school English essay and Tolkien.
But there are things you can do to lessen the impact: and that is to realize that self-editing is not editing. (more…)
Category How-to, Industry | Tags: critique,editing,editors,literary agents,self-publishing,writer's group | 9 Comments