Writer’s rush and does the pile ever shrink?

Jo Leigh talks about the writer’s rush in her RTB column. I didn’t comment over there because how do you say “What, it isn’t like that for everybody all the time?” Writing is making magic. It’s the coolest thing there is, the most fun you can have. I was shocked when I first heard writers talking about how much they hated to write, the “just open a vein” spiel. I felt like I was doing something wrong and probably going to go blind, but hey, it feels good and it’s fun, so I just kept right on with my guilty little secret.

Besides, I have a bazillion stories to get written and they’re not going to go away and shut up, so I’ll just keep at it. If I do go blind, PBW can probably give me some hints on switching to Dragon Naturally Speaking.

The bazillion stories isn’t much of an exaggeration. I have 8 of ’em done (well, one almost done) not counting short stories because I can’t count that high, and yet a funny thing; I get one story done and in the process the ideas for several more pop up. I put them in the idea file and by the time I finish another story, more ideas to add. I am never going to get all these stories written. I write and write and the pile is not shrinking! Where do I get my ideas? Costco, apparently. I get ’em in bulk.

Anyway. MLH is in the final big push. After which I have two proposals to put the finishing touches on (in one case this means writing a synopsis, in the other case it means writing another chapter). After which I will figure out what’s next. I’ve been hesitant to start on the sequel to DG because all I’ve got is a car chase with a motorcycle jumping off a moving truck, but hey, I wrote the first book when all I had was two people meeting on a desert highway, a man on a motorcycle and a woman in a broken-down car. Most of my stories start with a central idea, but some start with a central image and that seems to work just fine, too.

At least, until I go blind. :mrgreen:

I’ve been Joyfully Reviewed!

A new review of Wolf In Cheap Clothing has been posted at Joyfully Reviewed. Here’s a quote:
“Wolf in Cheap Clothing is a short, spicy read!!…I could say more but I don’t want to take away from the enjoyment of this quickie. What I will say is this: I have moments where I am laughing at the jokes and play on words, and moments where I am breathless with a pounding pulse. From reading this quickie I can see Ms. Teglia is an author to keep an eye on! Get your copy of Wolf in Cheap Clothing and you’ll agree!” – Dee Valentine

Happy dance! And back to very short blogs for a bit because I have a long to-do list right now. I’m quoting from “Bird by Bird” this morning. That Anne Lamott, she knows her stuff. When it looks overwhelming, make a list and break it down.

Organizational stuff

No, not writer’s organizations. Although I am getting my NINC application in this spring. The other kind of organization, figuring out schedules and timelines and so on. I was handling scheduling pretty well with one child, but with two I’m finding I need a lot more slush. Things come up I can’t anticipate and sometimes can’t work around. So once I turn in MLH for good, I’m going to go over the rest of the year and what I realistically think I can do. Some projects might get shuffled off to 07.

Here are promo type events I have coming up:

I will be doing a spring and a fall signing at the Silverdale, Washington Waldenbooks. Dates to be announced. Spring (May) will be The Gripping Beast, Love and Rockets and any copies of Legendary Tails II still hanging around. Fall will be Miss Lonely Hearts and Catalyst. (And any other backlist titles available). I’d love to do more, but the small people mean how far I can go and for how long is pretty limited. So for now, I’m planning close to home.

April 3rd, I’m doing a chat day on Love Romances.

April 6th the Samhain authors are doing a chat on The Pink Posse from 5-6 p.m. my time (PST).

May 1st I’ll be doing a chat with two other Samhain authors on Romance Junkies from 6-7 p.m. my time (PST).

I’m also putting together stuff for an RT ad, ordering bookmarks (yes, I’m breaking down on that one; I’ve been convinced that they’re not useless), and I got my next RTB column written. There’s a lot of business related to writing that isn’t actual writing that has to get done.

So like I said, when I wrap up Miss Lonely Hearts I’m going to go over my projects and my time and see what I’m going to get done in the remainder of 06.

The writer’s nature

Read two things this morning that made me think about the nature of writers. One is Jennifer Crusie’s discussion of the book tour and why it’s hard for writers. The other is a question posed by Dee Tenorio about writing a book that’s not in your nature.

The issue facing most authors when they have to deal with promotion and publicity isn’t minor because by and large writers are introverts. That doesn’t mean ‘can’t speak in public’ or ‘incapable of talking to or charming strangers’. The fundamental difference between an introvert and an extrovert is where you get your energy. Extroverts get energized by being around people and drained by being alone. Introverts get energized by being alone and drained by being around people. You can do things that aren’t in your nature, but to a point. And then nature has to be accommodated. The introvert can go out and be charming and mingle with crowds, and then needs time alone to recharge.

Dee’s question is about the nature of a writer’s voice. Each of us tells a certain kind of story. There might be pretty wide range within that story type, but outside of it lies the kind of story that author cannot tell convincingly. Sometimes publishers ask the author to do this. “Write a paranormal, they’re selling really well right now.” Only problem is, that author doesn’t believe in that kind of story, can’t write it convincingly and can’t produce anything more than a competently written but lifeless manuscript. Sometimes they get published. This is what happens when a certain type of story floods the market and everybody is hot to buy them.

When that happens, we see the boom and bust cycle. Paranormals are hot so everybody rushes to market with them, but a percentage of them are not written by authors who have the paranormal writing voice capability. Readers are not dumb. They notice that these stories are not up to par. And if they run into enough of them, they stop buying paranormals. They might also in the process stop buying the author or authors who disapointed them. (By the way, I’m just using paranormal as an example. I could just as easily say chick lit or erotic or inspirational.)

Aside from the business impact (publishers don’t like it when readers stop buying an author’s books and readers may be very slow to forgive or offer a second chance), there’s an artistic price. I’ve seen authors writing what their publishers wanted them to write when it was not within their capabilities or voice. It’s not pretty. Some of them quit altogether. (Yes, they could switch publishers or get a new pen name, but it is possible to get so ground down in this business that you’d rather quit and go plant beans instead.)

Publishers and agents aren’t dictators. There is no reason to get so miserable writing that you’d rather quit than just say “No, sorry, can’t do that. How about this or this or this instead?” We’re not children, they aren’t angry parents, there is room to negotiate. Always. This is business and for any transaction to take place both parties can be expected to negotiate a bit before coming to agreement. Publishers want books that will sell. Readers want books that live up to their promise. Authors want to write where their voice lies (and that can cover an awful lot of ground; plenty of room to grow and change and stretch oneself within that). So go for the deal where everybody wins.

If I can’t write a certain kind of story convincingly, I won’t do it. This isn’t to say I won’t try something that’s out of my reach and fall flat on my face. But it will be because I was trying to grow, not trying to be something I’m not. And if I’m ever on tour I’ll need time to recharge my batteries, because I’m also not an extrovert. Bottom line; much better to know your nature and work with it than fight against it.