Sunday, November 6, 2011

Baseball. Life. And death.

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Sometimes we forget how precious life is.

That our time is limited. As is the time of our loved ones.

My novel Battery Brothers is about baseball. But it's also about life. And death.

It may make the reader sad. Or even make the reader cry.

I recently got a rejection from a requested full manuscript from an agent that included this line:

"You did a
remarkable job with the storyline--but in the end it was just too sad for
me. It was hard to keep reading--there was so much pain in the lives of
these characters."

As a writer, if you can make the reader feel emotion you're doing your job. So even though the agent passed on representing the manuscript, I got some great feedback from her and feel pretty good about it.

Speaking of emotion and baseball, check out this clip. Now this is real baseball hero!


Monday, October 31, 2011

My Guide to Handling Query Letter Rejections

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1) Reply to the agent’s email and remind him or her that it’s Opposite’s Day. Be sure to thank the agent for accepting your work.
2) Check the goals from your marketing plan. Your goals should read like this: form rejection or no response on all queries. Then pump your fist, knowing you nailed your goal.
3) Keep a stack of paper beside your computer. Just because it’s an email query, doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself the joy of crumpling paper and slamming it into the trash can.
4) In your best Arnold-from-Different-Stroke’s voice, say, “Whatcha talkin bout, (insert agent’s name)”
5) Forward to your mother and write “Do you agree, Mom?”
6) Grab your lucky rabbit's foot, rub your tummy counterclockwise, and send out another email query.
7) Wonder if Bill Gates is intercepting your actual acceptance emails and replacing them with the rejections. Not funny, Bill. Not funny at all!
8) For no-reply queries, wonder if the agents at the agency secretly have a cage match scheduled later in the month to see which one of them gets to represent you.
9) As soon as you read it’s a rejection, click to or call your favorite charity and donate a dollar. Your rejections are making the world a better place. Relish that and hope for more.
10) Delete. Smile. Laugh. Dance. Move on!

Friday, October 21, 2011

10 Reasons You Might Be . . . A Writer

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1) If your computer’s delete key is more worn than the letter keys, you might be a writer.
2) If you have enough rejection letters to wallpaper your entire house, you might be a writer.
3) If looking up at the St. Louis Arch causes you to think about your story arc, you might be a writer.
4) If you’ve scribbled a story idea on toilette paper while using a public bathroom, you might be a writer.
5) If you Google words like "climax", "fantasy", and "third person" without the intention of getting off, you might be a writer.
6) If you Google the words "Hero" and "Heroine" and aren’t looking for a bite to eat and a quick fix, you might be a writer.
7) If NaNoWriMo is your email password, you might be a writer.
8) If hardly anybody sees or hears from you throughout November, you might be a writer.
9) If you’ve been paid a kill fee and have no intention of taking a life, you might be a writer.
10) If you proofread everything (cereal boxes, other people's Facebook posts, T-shirts, closed captioning on TV), you might be a writer.

And one final thought:
I do believe everybody has at least one book in them. My guess is it resides in the stomach. It’s way out? The same as food. First books usually are shitty.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Writing with Emotion

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Readers want to feel an emotional connection to your characters and story. If you’re not writing with emotion, odds are your readers won’t be emotionally connected either.
Fear, Sad, Low self-worth, Lonely, Guilt, Confidence, Happy, Uplifting
If you’re human, you’ve felt just about every emotion there is to feel. That’s good. It means you have the building blocks to be a good writer. The more you can feel what your characters are going through as you write it, the more real and emotional it will be for the reader.  
I admit it. I was teary eyed when I wrote a sad scene in my latest novel, Battery Brothers. When I reread the scene and felt it again I knew I’d have a decent shot at hitting the reader where it hurts. Many parts of my novel I had to rewrite were scenes I didn’t feel when I was writing it. So while writing from your head is good, writing from your heart is even better!
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