My Horny Hump Day post is here.
The Insecure Writer’s Support Group convenes the first Wednesday of every month, and gives participants an opportunity to vent, share struggles and triumphs, and just commiserate in general.
I’ve finally decided indie publication is the right choice for me, and the underlying reason I passed up so many great contests and stopped querying. Something I couldn’t understand was holding me back. Sometimes your head knows something before you can admit it in your heart, and other times your heart knows something before you can get it through your head.
I’ve never been like most people, and amn’t about to start going along with the crowd now. I don’t want or need validation from some arbitrary gatekeeper. Writing isn’t a one size fits all assembly line. Creative control is very important to me. I’ll happily accept critiques and edits, but would never essentially rewrite an entire book in a style and voice that’s not mine, just to be more commercial, or take out important characters or subplots. I don’t write for people with short attention spans or trendy/commercial tastes.
I’ve given up trying to figure out what exactly agents want. Also, I’m still annoyed at how I was dogpiled by three agents in a pitchfest awhile ago, and told, based on two freaking six-line pitches, that I don’t know how to write or research historical properly, that my characters’ names weren’t accurate, that I was an ignorant idiot for saying Holland instead of The Netherlands, and that the pivotal midway point of Jakob’s story was historically inaccurate and never would’ve happened. I was also told I just inserted a romantic angle to try to make the book more YA (huh?).
The spelling Jakob actually is used in The Netherlands, though the Jacob spelling is more common. Take it up with Mike of Behind the Name if you don’t believe me. It also says in the book that his parents felt the less-common spelling gave him more personality and distinctiveness. And Katherine wouldn’t have been uncommon for a German Jewish girl born in 1930, particularly since she’s not Orthodox.
Also, there were instances of people escaping from death trains. If he’d stayed on that train, it would’ve been the same familiar Shoah story for the thousandth time, no original angle. The whole point of his character is that he wants to avenge his father’s murder and fight to free his country. The love story is also hardly conventional, given how Rachel doesn’t show up till over halfway through, doesn’t appear again until Part IV, and then is only heard from through her letters in America for the remainder of the book, after she and Jaap quickly marry while he’s still in the service.
I later found out one of these agents was involved in some rather high-profile online bullying of someone who gave a negative review to one of her clients’ books. These are not the kinds of gatekeepers I want to knock myself out to impress, though I must say I’ve had some wonderful interactions with other agents in contests, pitchfests, and e-mails.
What I’m Writing
Working through edits for Jakob’s story before heading back into editing Adicia’s story. I’m painfully aware that I probably need to restyle the opening of Little Ragdoll a bit, though it’s inevitably going to be quiet and old-fashioned, given that this is a slower-paced, character-driven book with a large ensemble cast and more about growth, change, and the journey of coming of age and getting out of poverty. As I’ve said, Part IV is the most fast-paced, heavily plot-centric section, with the plots of Parts I-III being a lot slower to unfold, more peripheral to the characters’ journey and development.
What Inspires Me
Really, the fact that I’m so close to getting Little Ragdoll down to 380,000 words, after the completed first draft clocked in at 397K. It would be a bit shorter if I hadn’t written in left-handedness for 13 characters during my first round of edits awhile ago. It may very well be below 380K after I’m done with the last round of edits.
What Else I’m Up To
I’m slowly recovering from a very bad recent flare-up of my eczema. I’m also livening up my walls. Next to my poster of The Who is a still from my favourite Marx Brothers’ film, A Day at the Races, which I had in storage for awhile. I’m also getting some posters and photos from eBay, which I’ll showcase once they’re framed and in my hands.