Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Price of a Dream

I know it's Saturday, and I'm all off schedule, but I meant to post this yesterday. With the end of Nanowrimo comes the beginning of a lot of things. Those who finished a novel for the first time may find they are suddenly in possession of new dreams. Yesterday I sent the following email to my regional wrimos as an introduction to posts/emails that will start in January.

The Price of a Dream

G2 Pens— $3.99
Paper notebooks— $1 and up

Laptop—$400 and up
Online Critique Groups—average price $75 a year
Writer’s Conference—average price $300-$400
Seeing your name on the cover of a book, PRICELESS.

There are tangible things along this journey to publication that we can put a price on. There are other things that we can’t—such as your time, support, highs, lows, and the obsession.

Why am I bringing this up? You just wrote 50K or some other amount on a shiny new novel. If you finished your story you are riding the high. You did it! You are now a writer. But what do you do with it now?

A lot.

This is your reality check. I want you to understand what you have in store for you over the next few months and years. Yeah, years. Getting published is not an easy or fast process. A lot of work is involved.

The good news is that you CAN do it! And I’m going to help you the best I can by sharing what I’ve learned over the last two years with you.  But remember, there will be a price you’re required to pay. It will be different for each of you.

I have two assignments for you during December:

1. If you finished your story (reached THE END), put it away. Don’t look at it all month. Let it “stew” in your brain if you will. If you didn’t reach the end, try to reach it and then put it away for at least a month. This will allow you to see it with fresh eyes when you pull it back out. Now, this doesn’t mean stop writing all month, just work on something else.

2. Decide how much you are willing to pay for this dream, and I’m not talking money. If you decide to do this, REALLY do this, you are going to experience wonderful highs and some gut wrenching lows. There will be new friends that you will grow to love and respect. Some of them WILL get an agent and sell their book before you. FACT. Prepare now. You will be ridiculously happy for them and horribly jealous at the same time.  You may find yourself writing them a congratulations note while secretly hoping a piano falls from the sky to crush them. But only if you inherit the agent in their will, of course. Thankfully, this duplicity of emotions only lasts a minute or two.

There will be days when you receive a critique that makes you dance down the street, and others when you cry yourself to sleep knowing you’ve written the worst crap ever. You will have to give up TV and sleep. Some of your friends will start to send you letters that say, “I miss you. Did you move?” Some of them will be very supportive, some just won’t get it. You can become part of a wonderful blogging support group, and you can feel completely alone.

How much can you take?

Starting in January, I will begin a series of emails on how to make your way down this path. I’ll cover the following topics in as much detail as possible with one email per week.
•    Researching agents
•    The short story as a way to earn publishing credits
•    Editing/revising (grammar rules, story structure, dialogue, show vs. tell, passive voice/weak verbs, point of view, etc)
•    Excellent online resources
•    How to give and receive critique like a professional
•    Building a Platform (How to make websites, blogging, twitter, facebook and other social media work for you.)
•    Loglines or the Hook
•    Writing a synopsis
•    Writing the Query Letter
•    The Pitch
•    Creating a Marketing Plan
•    Agent vs. Small Publisher vs. Self Publishing

If you have any questions as I go through this series, please email me (charity.bradford@gmail.com) and I’ll do my best to answer your questions.

I will also be posting my emails on my blog. The main difference will be the blog will have pictures to break up the text. And it’s in color and therefore prettier. :D You can find my blog at http://charitywrites.blogspot.com.

Thanks and enjoy December, cause for those who are up for it, I’m going to put you to work in January!
 Wish I WAS as wise as this guy!

9 comments:

  1. Such wonderful advice! And your regional wrimos are sooo lucky to have you! Wow!

    *HUGS*

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  2. Excellent advice! I feel inspired already!

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  3. Yes, first time writers are in for a serious reality check!
    I'm still completing book #2, so I've a lot remaining on that checklist.

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  4. Good advice to put it away for a month before going back in to edit. And be prepared to be shocked by the horror of it all!

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  5. Thanks for the post. Got your email and decided to pay the blog a visit. Your pep talks during NaNoWriMo were right on. I'm really looking forward to you putting us through the paces come January.

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  6. There comes a time for everyone where we have to consider what we really want and how we're going to accomplish it.

    Good advice, Charity.

    Jai

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  7. This is great advice Charity! I will be sure to read the posts about this!

    I'd love to have you be a guest on my blog! If you're willing to write up a post for me, email me at harleydpalmer[at]gmail[dot]com and we'll discuss the details!

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  8. Thank you everyone, glad I could help. I forgot to add my question to the end of the post though. :( What other things could I add to the list of "payments"? I thought of writer's butt, what else?

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