1.30.2006

When to Stop

At what point do I say to myself, "Self, you're pretty much a no-talent writer and you should give this all up. Your view of the world is not what everyone else's is. Your writing style sucks grapefruit without sugar; and you're too dang short"?


When you're standing at the Pearly Gates and St. Peter is busy discussing his novel with Miss Snark.

Look, writing is supposed to be hard. It's supposed to be utter agony. If it were easy, there would be no trees left at all, and what would Killer Yapp whizz on in Central Park?

If you must write, if you love to write, if writing makes you understand yourself or the world better; if writing is prayer; if writing is fun; if writing is what you think about when you see something strange or wonderful in this old world, then write.

If it's never published, so be it. YOU will have loved, understood, empathized, prayed, rejoiced and enjoyed. In the end, that's all that matters.

66 comments:

reprehn said...

very nice...thank you.

Manic Mom said...

I totally needed to hear this right now. But my problem currently is not "When to Stop" writing, it's "When to give up searching for the agent."

How many do you recommend querying? I've received a good amount of constructive rejections, but am slowly getting broken down from it. What's the phrase about it not killing us making us stronger?

AzGhostWriter said...

I agree that was a very nice thing to say. Sometimes I read nasty comments to writers who become disillusioned by the whole business of publication. I think it's great when an agent encourages people to pursue writing as a love, if nothing else becomes of their work.

Good for you Miss Snarky!

P.S. What'd you do with the real Miss Snarky? (smile)

magz said...

Wise words indeed Oh Snarky One. Thank you.

P.S. Blanche $ Holly said to tell Killer that's he welcome down Southwest anytime. He'd dig it, and he could dig anywhere.

S. W. Vaughn said...

Amen.

Sure you're not a writer, Miss S?

:-)

Reminds me of a joke I heard once. For writers, heaven and hell are both the same: rows of desks with computers (that never work right) for you to slave away at while demons stand behind you spurring you on with spiked whips. The difference? In heaven, the writers get paid.

-S

Dave Kuzminski said...

Too bad you don't handle speculative fiction since that's what I mostly write. Still, even if my writing is terrible, it's mine and the story wants to be written so I can read it from beginning to end. If I get one reader, great. Anything beyond that is icing on the cake.

Guess I'll have to ask Kristin if she's at all interested in print rights for a series that's already going into ebooks. ;)

Argh, the word verification isn't worth using as a character name this time.

Orson Scott Card said...

I agree with your conclusion - i.e., never stop if this is what you love to do.

I just don't agree that it's meant to be hard ... agony. Who means that? Shouldn't it also be exhilarating? Fun? There are hard bits to the job, but there are also wonderful times - even during the actual writing process. And if you aren't having those wonderful times, you're probably having the wrong stuff happen in your story ...

Anonymous said...

That was beautiful, Miss Snark. Thank you on behalf of all writers who must write. Now we knw that you are not only fabulously smart, funny, and savvy, but kind-hearted and dreamy, too. No wonder we love you so!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Miss Snark.
From the bottom of my nit wit heart.

Thank you.

Tina

Anonymous said...

Manic Mom,

If it's any consolation, I don't know ANY writer who doesn't feel the same way more days than not. And if you'd like to think all the nasty little feelings go away the moment you get published, they don't -- because your next publication has to be better than the last one. You know it; your readers expect it.

The only time you can finally relax and say "I've done it is when you land. For the last time. Underground.

RRB

Ric said...

We write because we have to. It's what we do. The fact that 40-odd% of the population is functionally illiterate doesn't stop us. The fact we have 200 running feet of rejection slips doesn't stop us.

Someday, I will walk into the bookstore and see my book, right there next to my favorite authors. And, heaven forbid, it never happens, I will hold to the belief that it should have.

Maybe it's enough to have my latest beta reader hand it back to me and say, simply, "It's a book."

"No comments?"

"Nope, I loved the characters, I loved the story, it's a good book."

Kinda thing makes it all worthwhile.

ColoradoGuy said...

I once had a professor, who happened to have won the Nobel Prize, give me his secret: marry for money, but work for love. It worked for him, anyway.

Alli said...

Thank you to Miss Snark and all the writers who have contributed to this subject.

Writing is what makes us get up in the morning, it's what keeps us up at night when we finally find the anwer to a character's dilemma or way to drive the plot forward.

It's in our blood. Writing is as essential as the air we breathe. Without it, we would shrivel up and die.

Luckily there are other people in the world who think the same - which is why Miss Snark and her Snarklings bring cheer and joy to the world on a daily basis.

Yay for all! Yay to being a writer and suffering the tears, frustration, joy and the happiness in pursuing our dreams!

Martha said...

Just in case you missed the comment by Orson Scott Card, I encourage you all to check out his web site (hatrack.com). Not only is he a great writer, he offers some really helpful instruction for would-be novelists. Wuhoo!

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Aw, Miss Snark, that was beautiful! Dear Writer, don't give up. Don't ever do it. I tried, for several years while I returned to the academic grindstone, but I'm back. I wish Miss Snark had been around to give me that advice 8 years ago. I'd be published now (oh yes I would) instead of still trying to get there. I'm not quitting again, no sirree. Lesson learned.

I really like the visual of Miss Snark in the Glenda bubble. :)

Hey, Martha, I didn't miss his comment. In fact, I was motivated to pick up the copy of Characters and Viewpoint that I just bought yesterday and gaze at it lovingly. :)

Eva said...

I think an additional problem is that after fifty or so rejections to queries we really didn't know how to write in the first place, or synopses that focus on all the wrong aspects of our manuscripts, we think we're never meant to be published.

But thanks to this absolutely wonderful blog, we are all learning that there are other things that we can be doing to increase our chances of seeing our dreams come true, and this provides great excitement and hope. Isn't that why we all love Ms. Snark? She helps us to see what isn't so obvious to us. So we revise our methods and try new things, and we can't help but think that THIS time someone will want to see our work, or that someone who sees our work is the right person to see it.

If you all are like me, you DESPISE having to go through the effort to sell you ms. You just want to write, right? And what precious time all that querying takes away from our writing. And so, if you're like me, you may go months or years without writing a single query--even though you still haven't even scratched the surface of all those possibilities, because you just can't do it anymore. Meanwhile, you begin a new project or revise something else, exchange with critique partners, tweak, tweak, tweak, and, before you know it, you've got four or five complete manuscripts that you really truly love and who others (even strangers) think are great, but you still have to write that darn magical query or that twenty-page synopsis and you just DON'T WANT TO WRITE THOSE!

For the first time since I've been writing, I'm attending a writers' conference at which I will meet with editors. And although I shouldn't get my hopes up-- I mean what are the chances, I know I won't have much time, and these editors may hate that they are there having to listen-- in spite of all that, MY HOPES ARE UP!!!! And it's a wonderful feeling, the obsession is stronger than ever, and my house is a mess, but I'm LOVING IT!!!

This is why I write--even if when I'm fifty I finally decide it's time to self-pub.

Anonymous said...

I don't think there'd ever be a case of stopping. As it now I make a living as a freelance writer. But as far as fiction goes I think it'd be more a case of retooling and focusing. I could see dividing the time between flash stories and novels differently. Now it's about 90% novel and 10% flashes. Or maybe moving into other markets like young adult vs. adult.

Julie Ann

Seneca the Younger said...

Hey, fifty isn't that old, Eva.

*snif*

Anonymous said...

ah Miss Snark -- your true colours are shining through - you ain't so snarky after all -- in fact, I'd venture to say you are a very lovely person

thanks for this post.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Is writing's purpose to bring self-understanding?

I've written for myself for years. I understand myself no better now than I did when I was a newborn. I am a mystery to me. Writing does not solve the mystery. So, writing doesn't fulfil any need for self-discovery.

I write to self-educate. I have thousands of pages of material, mostly historical research, on topics that interest me. I want to know. Writing helps me organize the data and to remember. This is merely a form of mnemonics.

I write to communicate. I write a steady stream of letters, emails, memos, and notes. Any reward in this comes from sharing something I've learned. That's fun in an unexplainable way. I like to share.

I want to write to entertain. Sometimes, I think I'm very, very good at it. But, I do a far better job of holding people's attention if I'm in front of an audience and talking. I can hold an audience's attention for a very long time. It's something I do well. I'm relaxed with an audience, even a very large one.

I'm disappointed in my own writing. Even if others say, "Oh, I enjoyed this," I don't enjoy it myself. I hate it. It doesn't convey exactly what I see. I come close, sometimes, but I never show through my writing exactly what I see. This is frustrating.

I'm not talking about vocabulary. I have an adequate vocabulary. I even know what "retromingious" means! I'm talking about the ability to lead someone else into one's vision. I cannot do it on paper, but I can do it orally. This is puzzling to me. One's speech is often sloppy. We speak "on the fly," and our grammar is usually "off."

Am I disappointed no one has snatched up my book and rushed it into print? A bit. But, it still needs work; so I'm not greatly disappointed. I do wonder when it won't still need work.

None of this makes much sense, does it? What depresses me is my inability to switch from writing good solid historical material to sharing my vision of my characters' lives and environment. I no longer wish to inform. I want to entertain. I’m not able to do it to my satisfaction

Shawn said...

And this is why I am a Miss Snark and Killer Yap groupie.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

I write because...I breath!

Eileen said...

Why write? Because it's not already there.

Eva said...

Seneca,
I knew when I wrote "fifty" that I was making a mistake. I apologize.

I've been writing on and off for ten years, fairly consistently for five, and I am now 38. My goal is to be published through traditional means by age fifty, and, if that doesn't happen, I will self-pub. But the age is relative. It's the time in my life devoted to writing that I really meant to emphasize.

Again, my apologies!

In response to another post by pixie princess--I agree that self-education as an important reason for writing. I recently finished a historical novel depicting life in America over the entire 20th century. I can't tell you the amount of research, like the most insane, crazed, obsessed fanatic you might imagine! A huge notebook full of information along a continuous calendar--DAILY calendar--regarding political, cultural, linguistic, you name it, stuff. SO MUCH STUFF! I learned about every war, every president, changes in transportation, radio-television-media, fashion, toys, slang, attitudes, movies and songs--I even learned when the first aluminum beer can was made and by what company! THIS WAS SO MUCH FUN!!!!! Even if I never publish this monstrosity of a novel (868 pages, 200,000 words), I had an ABSOLUTE BLAST writing it and now know so much more than I could have ever learned in any other way.

What a wonderful hobby, if nothing else!

Eva said...

By the way, Princess, if speaking comes more naturally to you than writing, have you tried writing your fiction through a first-person narrator? It seems this would be as natural to you as speaking. Just let the words flow as they come.

Bethany said...

That was very nice of you to say, Miss Snark. Aww. I'm feeling all tingly from the love.

Of course, I'm also feeling geeked out that Orson Scott Card commented. Was that seriously him? *tries not to start freaking out about how Ender's Game changed my life as a child-somewhat-prodigy and how much I love Bean because I'm just like him and oh dear I can't stop*

Peter L. Winkler said...

Cue the recording of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing "Everything's Coming Up Roses."

Nice sentiments, but it sounds like a speech from Tony Robbins.

Most wannabe writers want to be published, not to write. Most people who call themselves writers don't write because the process gets their endorphins flowing. It it did, and their main goal wasn't publication, they would handle rejection a lot better.

Even some talented professional writers admit that they would rather avoid writing if possible. Fran Liebowitz, for example. Phil Alden Robinson has a really funny take on this that can be found in Millard Kaufman's book on screenwriting.

Jarsto said...

No offence Peter, but I'm going to have to disagree with you.

I think most writers do write for love of writing first. I also think that's exactly why they take rejections so badly. What they've written, what we've written rather, since I fall into this category, is personal to us. Rejecting that doesn't just deny us income, it tells us something we've invested our time and effort in, something we love, isn't good enough.

Also publication can be a goal because we love to write. The main reason I wan't to be published at some point isn't the money. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to make enough from writing to live on. That would mean I could spend all my time writing without having to do something else as well. But the main reason I want to get published is a desire to be read. And the best way to get a book read is to have it published so that people will go and buy it in stores. When I hear writers say they have no interest in being published (and yes I have heard writers say that) I think it's sad, because it means the stories they have to share will probably be read by a few people at most.

Finally this reminded me not of any motivational speaker (I had to wikipedia up Tony Robbins to find out what he was) but of a sentiment I have heard quoted before. Rainer Maria Rilke, a german poet, expressed the view (and I'm completely paraphrasing here) that if one cannot help thinking about writing and cannot help wanting to write, one should be a writer.

Annie said...

I can't remember who said it, but there's a quote, I love.

"I hate writing, but I love having written."

Describes me to a tee. I've written a weekly newspaper column for years and never fail to wait until I'm three or four hours from deadline to begin to write it. I have an agent and a book that's being looked at by the marketing folks at a big publishing house, and yet, every day I had to force myself to work on it. But, ahhh, the wonderful feeling when I finally finished it.

The millions of folks who write for the love of writing, never cease to amaze me.

I'm sure I'd be a lot more productive if I had some of that in my genes.

The Queen-a Athena said...

Thank you, Miss Snark. My goal list for this week included a reminder to "hang on and watch for a sign that writing is worth everything it's putting me through." I think you just gave me my sign.

Anonymous said...

Dear Miss Snark,

Beautiful, absolutely beautiful. Thank you for say it.

I think George Clooney would agree.

Anon.

Beth said...

And if you aren't having those wonderful times, you're probably having the wrong stuff happen in your story ...

Hmmmm. Thanks, Mr. Card. I needed that reminder.

Sure you're not a writer, Miss S?

S.W--Of course she's a writer! Isn't this blog proof of that? :)

Miss Snark--

I love what you said at the end.

Voix said...

Miss Snark, you just made my day.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Eva,

How perceptive of you. I did write using a first person narrative.

My story is told in the voice of Sha'el, the child of Robert James and a pixie princess who more or less ... mostly a lot more ... gets the hots for him, wants him for a mate and snatches him from disaster to make him her own. And they live happily ever after, except for the evil twit who tries to kill them, monsters (kinda caterpillars who spit an acidic goo and eat pixies) who are attacking the pixie home forest, a dragon or two, a cranky but nice grandmother/high queen, and adventures with a wild pixie baby and her twin sisters who are all born talking, don't know their limits, and are pretty much the heroines of the story. Oh, and because Sha'na, princess/mommy pixie, is healed with dragon's milk when pregnant with the twins, the twins can pretty much light campfires at will. It's a skill that comes in handy a time or two. Oh, and pixie gestation is two weeks. Imagine! Two weeks. And there is the hunt. Fresh meat you know. Sharp teeth. Poor Robert! What a wild world in which he's found himself.

I chose Sha'el as the voice because there is a lot of me in her. Oh heck, let's be honest here! I am Sha'el. I gave her my personality. Poor pixie princess!

Now, there comes a time to speak of ending the unfruitful. I am seriously considering giving up my career as a Pixie chronicler and going back to herding goats and children, selling other people's books, and being generally feisty only on Tuesdays. Well, maybe on Wednesdays too.

I don't think I'll ever be happy with my own work. If I'm not totally happy, how can I expect others to read it and like it? Realistically, I'm an upper-middling writer. Writers of that sort do not often get published. Notice I said "often." They do make it into print. It's a waste of paper.

Don't mistake my meaning. I like my story. It entertains me. I'm proud of the research behind the story. The first part of it takes place in a small lumber town, Westwood. There is a real Westwood. It was the home of the Red River Lumber Company. I have a family connection to the town and to the company. My description of the town, the lumber camp, and some of the people in it is realistic and accurate. (Except for the telephone exchange. The real system was advanced for its time. People who've critiqued the story always focus on the phone call in one scene. I've changed it to reflect what people expect from the early 20th century, and not what really happened.)

I grew up on stories of the early 20th century lumber industry in Northern California. The held my attention, and I soaked them up. I have photos taken by family going back to 1913, the year Westwood was founded. I've walked the forests, though not for years. I've visited what remains of the camps. And I can believe that a pixie princess with a rather cute butt, gorgeous wings, and an engaging smile could make it her second home.

Much of the dialogue is drawn from the pattern of speech in my own house or in my parent's house. The children in my story can whine with the best of them. I was an expert whiner as a child. Well, maybe I was more of a cajoler. My children are the expert whiners.

Do I wish it was published? Oh, yes. It's good. It's fun. It's just not good enough. I get discouraged.

My this is a long post!

Anonymous said...

On behalf of all male snarklings I pronounce the anthema upon George Clooney as the enemy of our hopes. We preen and call and shake our nascent tailfeathers.

MissWrite said...

I think I'm going to cry.

For all your Snarky glory, Ms. Snark, you gots soul!

That was simply the most beautiful description of why to write I've ever read.

Makoiyi said...

I am very much with Mr.Card's comment. It has to be fun, and very often, when it isn't, it's because you are subconsciously travelling in the wrong direction. If you lose your passion that reflects on the writing. Remember that first draft where the words don't stop flowing? It's only when we reach the fifth, sixth, seventh draft that it starts becoming agony, and even then, to achieve a finished product at the end - oh, joy!

I'm of the 'I won't stop writing whatever' school. It's an obsession, a love, but never a hate. When I receive rejections, of course it hurts. It's also a learning curve.

Kimberly said...

BRAVO Miss Snark.

Melanie Lynne Hauser said...

I think the questions "When do I give up writing?" and "When do I stop querying?" are completely different. As Miss Snark said - "Never" is the answer to the first. But to the second, well, that's quite different. There is a point where you have to stop querying for one project and move on to the next. A lot of authors spend many years (not to mention tears) trying to have the same manuscript published. But the vast majority of published authors I know were able to let go of a project and move on to the next, and the next, and the next...until all the stars were in alignment and they finally got that agent/publishing contract.

Which validates what Miss Snark said. You never stop writing; just not the same manuscript/query letter, over and over and over.

Eva said...

Pixie Princess,
Don't give up on your story. It sounds fascinating!

Have you ever wondered if you might be using the wrong medium to convey the pixie chronicles? Should they be a screen play? A comic book? A television cartoon? A poem?

Maybe you write better in verse or images or melody?

Or, maybe you're a great writer who simply won't ever be satisfied with yourself.

Seriously. Think of all the great writers who felt as you do. Sylvia Plath, Ernest Hemingway, the list goes on. If you suffer from depression, you may not be seeing your own work with the right frame of mind. You may be great and just don't know it.

S. W. Vaughn said...

Oh, how we writers love to talk about writing! :-) It's a beautiful thing. Thanks again, Miss Snark, for setting the spark.

Orson--and this from a drooling fan who devoured Ender's Game in one sitting--of COURSE we love to write. Otherwise, why would we do this to ourselves? C'mon, now, you have to remember the days of rejection letters and the endless mental self-bludgeoning (accompanied, of course, by the sheer joy of creating worlds from nothing). Besides... some of us enjoy whips too. :-)

That said--we are all inspirations, every single human being on the planet. As writers, that's what we struggle to capture. May our lights burn forever.

Anonymous said...

Maybe its not your writing.
Maybe its your genre.

The workshop I belong to and the forums I frequent seem to be absolutely saturated with fantasy writers. I also notice on agentquery.com many agents state that they won't consider fantasy at all, which shrinks the fantasy writer's sphere of opportunity - many writers trying to gain the attention of few agents.

If you really want to be published, you might want to consider adapting your subject matter to something more marketable.

Jen said...

Of course, I'm also feeling geeked out that Orson Scott Card commented. Was that seriously him?

Bethany, I'm right there with you! Last night, I felt like I had to pick my jaw up off the desk.

(I'm late getting busy on actual work so I can write this afternoon, so I apologize for the remainder of this as it is a blanket statement and doesn't adequately say what I want to.)

Thanks to everyone for the great comments. And of course to Her Snarkliness (who -- it seems -- may not be quite as snarkly as she would have us believe) for the statements about not stopping writing.

I agree with whoever said I write because I breathe. I get horribly cranky if I don't write. *s*

The Beautiful Schoolmarm said...

I have sometime spent 14 hour writing at a stretch, breaking only for a tea refill and the bathroom (And if I could do without the former, I could dispense with the latter). What wonderful, satisfying days! I think my only periods of greater contentment were when I was working on my comic book pages.

As for fantasy . . . there are a lot of bad fantasy writers around. I don't know how many bad mystery or romance or literary writers there are because I mainly belong to fantasy writing groups. MAybe the genre has a disporportionate amount of poor writing because it appeals to young people. With the success of Eregon, many HS students are trying to write the next big thing in fantasy. Still, I'm currently looking at a list of 30+ agents who represent fantasy and are taking queries. There may be more. I tried to cross reference with agents who represent horror since I write dark fantasy.

Trix said...

Thanks so much -- when the going gets tough, it's great to get an inspirational nudge from the even tougher.

We loves ya, Miss Snark.

Bernita said...

Hope deferred can make the heart sick,I suppose, but I don't see writing as self-abuse.

A lot of it is love. Of all its parts.The sheer pleasure of it. To create a thing to share - and pass along with your own touch - the magic, the ideas, the dreams that others have given you by their books.
A minstrel tradition of sorts.To be of their Company.
Thank you, Miss Snark dear.

Anonymous said...

Dear Miss Snark:

This post was balm to the soul of yet another Snarkling with a murky past. In fact, it has emboldened me to ask a question of my own.

Some time ago a very fine agent represented me in the sale of several books. Then suddenly nothing seemed to work, none of my proposals were acceptable, I lost my focus and my passion and, sadly, descended into lollygaggery. My relationship with my agent lapsed.

Now my passion is back, and I have a new novel finished. However, it's in a genre that my former agent does not represent. Would it be nitwiticious to write to my former agent, explain the situation, and ask her if she would be willing to refer me to an agent that might be more suitable for the new book?

Many thanks,
Kristine

Anonymous said...

Sha'el, your story sounds wonderful to me, and I'm not even a fantasy fan. Your passion for your creation comes through, and I'd like to think that same passion will take you where you want to go. Never stop.

I go through periods of utter self doubt and hopelessness, too, but then it's past, for awhile, and I sit at the computer and get lost in the worlds of my own making. I love it. I hate it. I can't live without it.

Good luck with those pixies.
Charmaine

Anonymous said...

Re "I hate writing, but I love having written."

annie, I know there are many writers who operate like you (I'm one of them). Richard Bach comes to mind. He avoids and avoids, until the idea is so strong that it wrestles him, fighting and kicking, to the chair and the pen. Yet he has published many books, and is wildly successful.

I admire those folk who say "ah, wonderful, I'm going to do my lovely from 8am to 1pm every day until it's done." Some of us are different. I put it off until I can't any longer, then I lose track of time and find that I've been working all night.

It takes all types, is my motto.
C.

Anonymous said...

Writing is prayer. That's exactly it.

sarahsbooks said...

From the original comment: "Your view of the world is not what everyone else's is." If this is truly the case, take a look at the world around you, and rejoice.

As William Zinsser writes in his book "On Writing Well": "You are writing primarily to entertain yourself, and if you go about it with confidence you will also entertain the readers who are worth writing for. If you lose the dullards back in the dust, that's where they belong."

Thanks, Miss Snark, for a reminder that writers write for themselves first, and they write because they must.

Anonymous said...

eva said: "If you all are like me, you DESPISE having to go through the effort to sell your ms... you may go months or years without writing a single query..."

I wrote my first full length novel 8 years ago and immediately queried an editor at a major publisher who handled the imprint I was interested in. She responded, to my surprise, and asked me to submit the full ms. and a synopsis. A SYNOPSIS? Good grief, my entire gem in three pages? After procrastingating for months, I sent the ms. off minus the *&%$# synopsis. Naturally, I did not hear from that editor.

Four years later, after I had done some obsessive polishing of the same ms, I queried the editor again. Again, she asked me to submit the full ms. I did not. Why? I have no idea. Cold feet, maybe. My dream could not be coming true, could it? Or maybe the possibility of eventual rejection was more than I could bear.

Three more years passed, in which I wrote another novel and a memoir and countless short pieces. I allowed writer friends to critique my mss, and I critiqued theirs. I researched the publishing business, about which I had known less than nothing. My confidence grew. I started querying the first novel again in October/November 2005. I haven't heard back from that first editor (yet), but another editor and two agents have asked for my full, and three other agents just requested partials. All in the space of three months.

Now I feel differently. If I want to be published, I can't continue to fight the fact that although writing is an art and I can be as idiosyncratic as I like there, publishing is a business, and I have to approach it that way. I do not look at the years between my first query and my recent flurry of querying as wasted time. It was time I needed to learn about the 'business'. I wrote that synopsis. I bitched all the way, but I did it. I know now I have to give the people what they want.

Every day I learn something - from this blog, for instance. It's fascinating, and I love being a part of it.

C.

Mark said...

I lived near that "Westwood." Part of my nonfiction takes place in Chester, CA.

Mizrepresent said...

Loved This! Thanks Miss Snark....just what i needed.

Anonymous said...

Sha'el, I read your blog and I think your voice is enchanting. Don't give up on it.

george looney said...

I heart Miss Snark, I am the paper, she is the pen

Eva said...

Thanks, C, for sharing your story about going years without querying. You sound like me.

I have quotations from two of my favorite movies that I often repeat to myself. The first is from THE EDGE: "What one man [person] can do, another can do." The second is from A BEAUTIFUL MIND: "With each attempt, my chances of success dramatically increase."

Marc Ponomareff said...

First of all, whoever keeps saying I heart Miss Snark, please stop it.

Secondly, Miss Snark sees fit to conclude her brief encyclical with the following, somewhat over-sentimentalized bit of advice:

If it's never published, so be it. YOU will have loved, understood, empathized, prayed, rejoiced and enjoyed. In the end, that's all that matters.

Rubbish! Every serious writer worth his or her salt desires publication - craves understanding readers - dreams about affecting & perhaps even influencing others with their original view of the world -- in short, it certainly does matter.

A lot.

What's the point of suffering through the act of creation if you truly believe that publication doesn't matter? Far better, then, to just give up now & chuck your manuscripts under the bed or into the fire.

Anonymous said...

"I hate writing, but I love having written."

I believe that's Lawrence Block.

My own favorite is from Peter DeVries:

"I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork."

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Mark,

Visit my blog. You'll find an old photo taken about 1918, near the time in which I've set my story. I don't know if it's still standing. I was when I was a child. I haven't a clue how to find it now. It was one of those places family memebers took me way back when.

Enjoy the photo. Eventually, I'll put other period photos on my blog.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Thank you Charmaine!

Seneca the Younger said...

Eva, no apology required, that was meant to be amusing.

EJ said...

Has anyone mentioned that you're the greatest?

EJ

Maya said...

Melanie Lynne Hauser: Your thoughtful comment jumped out at me from all of the others.

I absolutely concur. So many published writers when giving advice to wannabe writers say "Persevere." However, if you follow up and ask, they'll almost always tell you that they have three or five or seven manuscripts tucked under the bed. By persevere, they mean to keep writing, keep learning, keep networking--not keep flogging the same manuscript over and over and over.

Knowing when to move on to the next project has to be an individual choice. However, it's best to do it BEFORE you lose all your confidence and sense of self-worth.

Maybe it isn't a case of bad writing; maybe it's just a case of bad timing. The world isn't ready for that manuscript right now. So write something else. But keep writing, keep learning and keep persevering.

Thanks for your comment and that reminder.

Cheryll said...

OMG! It's the REAL Orson Scott Card! I thought it was just a nom de plume. And I remember when he was just a kid starting out as a writer.

Oh, jeez, now I feel too old to write...

george looney said...

I don't heart marc puffypuff