Thursday, March 14, 2013

Where's the Thrill?

Remember when you first began writing? I know some authors have written most of their lives, but some of us are still rather new compared to many others.
In a discussion this week, I tried to answer questions for a person beginning a novel. Right away, I realized errors this person was making and pointed out one--only one. His answer was, "I don't care right now. I'm just having fun writing."
Now, that was refreshing. Writing should be fun.

Somewhere along the way, though, do we become a little jaded? Tired of certain tasks connected to our writing projects/career?

What pleases you most? Do you still get a thrill from at least parts of the process?
What do you dread most? What takes the fun out of writing and publishing?
Like any other job, there are rewards, but there are mundane chores, too.

Me? I still become excited about writing a new story. The idea is formed, I think about it off and on for days, and finally sit down and write that first sentence. I can see it all now. This story is going to be good!

Some stories almost write themselves, but I struggle with others. That's fine, because I'm still writing a new story.

So, now it's finished. Now what? Where does this story belong?
When you decide whether to submit here or there, or..gasp!...self-publish, then what?

Whichever you choose, the book must have a cover.
Forgive me for being shallow, but this causes the most excitement. Since I am a visual person, it is all important.  Once I work with the artist and come up with the best we can do, I am super-excited.
The cover is almost the best part!
So, the thrill has not gone away for these two tasks--writing a new story and the cover.

However, the never-ending promotion can become tiresome. I enjoy some of the process--I'm just not thrilled by it.
I don't even mind editing, because I like to clean up a manuscript. Even though we might consider ourselves just about perfect, trust me...we are not. We need outside help with editing.
But if the editing becomes re-writing, forget it. I've pulled more than one manuscript because the editor wanted too many re-writes, which in some cases would destroy the story.
If the thrill is gone, my suggestion is to step away for a time.
But I do hope you return and regain that thrill.

Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
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  1. The cover is the most exciting part. Even if the book isn't ready yet, the cover makes it seem more real. It's also the most angst ridden part, since I'm in control of what I want. My designer and I collaborate and go back and forth until what I feel looks right. Then I worry that it looks right to everyone else!

    Morgan Mandel

  2. Hey Celia,

    I truly, madly, deeply enjoy thinking up characters. Then I figure out what they're afraid of and make them do it - to start the story. From there until "the end," the twists and turns of the plot give me great satisfaction.

    I even enjoy editing for plot and character. Some of the other editing, say for overused words and such, is tedious for me.

    I also love book covers. I often have a very clear idea of a cover and I'm blown away when my cover artist "gets" my concept. Other times, I'm vaguer in what I want, and I'm still fortunate enough to land some great covers.

    With indie publishing,more of the busy-work falls to the author, but the reward is higher as well. Like most things in life, there's a trade off. Today I'm mostly happy with the entire process.

    Good thought provoking post!

  3. Celia, as you know from listening to my many gripes about this, promoting is the bane of my existence. I love the actual writiing process and the editing and revising to make it better. Like you, I detest rewriting a story to make it suit the editor. And I love the thrill of a new cover, especially since I now have the option of helping to choose the cover. Time was when this was also agonizing as I tried to tell an artist what I had in mind and they didn't get it.

  4. I find it all thrilling, except as Maggie said, the nit-pick editing at the end of the edits. I have a love/hate relationship with marketing. It's a challenge to figure out what might work and it's time-consuming when I could be writing instead, but when I do the kind of marketing that involves talking with people, that can be a thrill, as well - stressful, at times, but still with a thrill attached.

  5. Morgan--I love thinking about the cover, and especially with an artist who let me find photos, etc. if I want to.
    The biggest error, in my opnion, that authors make with their covers, is that many are too dark. It may look okay close up, but in a thumbnail on Amazon or the publisher's website, I often cannot make out the figures.
    Yours are bright and clear...the best kind.

  6. Maggie--the characters make the story, don't they? If the characters are weak or not right for the story, then the book just won't fly.
    Too often I read a book and while the heroine might be carrying her part in the plot, I can't form a good picture of her. I don't need a long paragraph of physical description, but something in the book should tell me.
    Why am I telling you this?
    You're the Queen of vivid characters! That's your calling card.
    Thanks--some day, I will self-publish something.

  7. Linda--yes, I know about your avoidance of promotion. I wish it's weren't so, that we must do so much...but to stay in the game, we must play.
    I agree--I love getting to search for just the right photo for my characters.
    We have the best of everything--we'd better enjoy it!

  8. Ella--You do best, it seems, with talking to people. I wish I had more opportunities to do that, but around here, there's just not that many--or any that suit me.
    You're voicing the complaint about promotion and marketing very well--it touches all of us.

  9. The most thrilling part for me is getting down the bones of a story idea. Sometimes it starts with a character and sometimes it starts with a story idea...something quirky is always good.
    I have a publisher with several imprints, so I know what imprint to aim for on submission.
    Like as many of you said, the cover is the exciting part and makes the project real. I am lucky to have a publisher who allows a great deal of imput from its authors, but I am always grateful for the expertise of the artist.
    Promotion is a drag. I hate to say it, but it's the part that just feels like such a burden to me. How much is too much and how mush is too little? What part of the story would make the most enticing excerpt? Most of the time there is no feedback from posting promo on the loops so I have no idea how well my book is received. There are all those decisions of how many blogs to do and how many books to give away and does any of it work? Really, it's exhausting.
    A great subject for discussion, Celia. I enjoyed reading everyone's post.

  10. Sarah--I like that term "getting down the bones of a story idea." That make great sense get the skeleton together, then flesh it out. Great blog topic, too!

    I wish we had a better way to promote and market that gave us more feedback as to the success or failure. We just don't know.

    The only thing I've found that helps me at all to know is Amazon's Novel Rank--I can see how many books were bought on a daily/monthly/yearly basis, and while they're usually short of the actual number (yea, for that)...I can sometimes tell what worked.
    For example, if I post something on FB--one of the He said/She said--two lines only--I'll get a little attention from those, and then the next day, my sales might have bumped up 4-5- sales, or so.

    Otherwise, it's all a gamble. I know many say Twitter is one of the best things, but I just can't get exicted about Twitter, and have not take the time to utilize it. Some authors swear by it, though.
    I do understand your sentiment.