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Thursday, December 30, 2010

A&Q

Okay, I’m back to answer all of the questions people sent me, I hope this helps you guy not every writing journey is the same, so I can only give what I know form my own experience.

I was wondering if you know of a general rule for the number of plot lines that can be successfully incorporated into a story (assuming they all support and converge to the main plot line). ~spirecorporation

According to School House Rock, 3 is the magic number. 1 main plot and 2 subplots to interweave with the story like a braid. Any more than that will lead to confusion, if you’re not Quentin Tarantino. In this case, it’s best to do a series of books to fit all the plots in. Prioritize your events by what’s important and what’s background info that can be mentioned in passing. It’s ideal to leave a chapter on a cliffhanger, but be sure to refer back to that point quickly or you will lose the reader. The issue is not so much as plot as it is characters. Are your characters compelling enough to push the story forward? Otherwise, it’s just filler that the editor will take out—sniper style.

Do you WIP hope? I just finished my historical YA and while Pam and another Beta read over it and chop it, I am starting on a contemp. YA. Do you think this overkill?? Also, how was querying for you? ~Marquita

WIPs are tricky little things, like pregnancy. Some are false alarms, others lack a key element to make it full term, some are stillborn, and a most come out fine with a potential for greatness. The thing is to work on every project like it’s the latter and fight tooth and nail to FINISH it. Even if it’s crap, even if no one ever sees it. Finish it, learn from it, borrow a character/ scene from it and scrap the rest. There are so many writing projects I’ve started and never finished it’s not even funny, and it’s one of my biggest regrets. There is no such thing as overkill for a creative mind, just take on ONE project at a time, please.

Querying was Hell, scorching hot, agonizing hell, as it should be. Every writer has that fear of “What if they are not good enough? What is taking them so long to respond?” But failure was Not an option for me. I’d have to say the worst rejection was an agent who mailed back my own query letter with the words “NOT FOR ME” across the paper in red marker. That was a hard one to swallow. I wish I could say that you won’t be disappointed, or that you won’t feel like complete ass when you get rejections, but don’t ever take it personal. While you wait for replies to queries, work on another project.

How do you know when your ms is polished enough to start querying?
~Eliza Faith

Knowing when your work is polished is hard for those who are perfectionist. But if you’ve said everything you had to say in the story, checked spelling and punctuation, made sure you don’t used the same word more than 3 times in a story, did your research, and smoothed out all the plot holes, then your good to go. To be safe, have a few trusted betas to run through it for errors in inconsistencies. But to be honest, a writer kinda knows what is acceptable or not. Think about it as a college term paper. Teachers mark down your grade for missing a comma, so having top-notch presentation is key.

 How do you tackle edits based on your agent's feedback? Is it a collaborative process for you? Do you work on the small fixes first, and then tackle the larger ones?
~Pam

The editing process is all about compromise and trust. Make it clear what you want to keep and why, but MOST OF ALL, Listen to what the agents says and be open to changes. Most of the edits I’ve come across involve pacing and market appeal, something that agents know A LOT about. It's a joint effort so always ask questions. Start small, show that you’re willing to negotiate and you should do fine. Good luck!

I'm wondering after the set of revisions you did with Kathleen, what was the second round like with your editor? Did your editor ever have an opinion or request that was at odds with something Kathleen already revised with you? Also was Kathleen kept in the loop during the revisions with the editor?
~ Alex

Well, I had a couple of rounds with Kathleen, all of them nerve-wracking. Editing is not all rainbows and Skittles. You have to take a notion that you’ve had for months and align it with someone else’s. There’s bound to be conflict. As for the editor(s) they talk more with the agent than the actual writer. It’s kinda weird, but yeah, Kathleen was ON IT and had my back in every decision. For the most part, the only real issue with my story was tightening the pace and how to go about it. It’s all about compromise.

How do you find your Tunes? Are you like a music junky or what? I love your taste! Is music really important in your writing routine?
~ Joanna

Hello, my name is Jaime and I’m a music junkie. I don’t care who knows it. Music is the soundtrack of my stories. It’s sets a mood or scene—fast for action, slow and somber for drama. I start off with something to get the blood flowing, like Deftones before I write. But there has to be COMPLETE SILENCE when I edit. (that’s when I have to think ) I was a bit of a raver when I was younger so I will always have a thing for electronic music, but I’ll listen to anything with a good beat. I find songs from anywhere, TV commercials, movie soundtracks, shit I hear playing at the mall. Sometimes I search a random song by 2 lyrics and will not rest until I find it.

What's stopping you from signing up to the genre swapping blog-chain?

~bigwords88

Dude, I don’t even know what a genre swapping blog-chain is. And telling by the sound of it, it requires more free time than I have at the moment. But if it helps connect with other writers, I’m down.

If you guys have anymore questions, feel free to ask in the comment box.

Cheers!

4 comments:

  1. Thanks! That was the answer I was hoping for!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great responses! It's nice to hear insight from a fellow writer, especially one who just got an awesome book deal. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for that awesome response to my question. I will try and keep my ADHD in check and take one project at a time :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for the insight.

    That's interesting to hear about the editor author relationship being more of an editor agent author relationship.

    ReplyDelete

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