Dramaquill's All Things Writing

May 31, 2015

Writing to get published

What kind of writer are you?

Does everything you write have to get published for you to feel like you’re a writer?

Do you ever just write because you have a brain overflowing with ideas?

I think (and this is just my opinion) that if you write solely for the purpose of getting those words published, you may be in for a disappointing time.  I’ve written some fine sentences – maybe even some fine paragraphs that will likely never make it to an editor’s desk.  Sometimes, you just have to be willing to write it and let it go.

But that doesn’t make you less of a writer, now does it?

I truly believe the best writers are those who write consistently…all the time.  They won’t see every single word they’ve ever put to paper come to life in the form of a book, short story, article or essay.  But they will have known the satisfaction of getting those words down and creating a body of work that is meaningful.

Lots of great writing never gets published.  How saf, though, if because of that, it was never written.

What kind of writer are you?

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February 10, 2015

Who is your favorite suspense novelist?

Part of learning to write well is reading good books by successful authors in your genre.

Here’s a list of some of the top writers who create suspense to keep you flipping pages well into the night.  Who’s your favorite?

Mary Higgins Clark     http://www.maryhigginsclark.com/

Nora Roberts  http://www.noraroberts.com/

Dean R Koontz  http://www.deankoontz.com/

Stephen King  http://stephenking.com/

James Patterson  http://www.jamespatterson.com/

December 31, 2014

Resolutions or Goals?

According to several online sources, it seems that approximately 40-45% of folks make new year’s resolutions.  Sadly, it’s also reported that approximately 60% fail at keeping them.

As a writer, do you make resolutions?

Several years back, the moderator of my online critique group challenged the members to submit their writing and writing related goals for the coming year.  As a member of the group, at first I struggled a little.  What was the difference between a goal and a resolution?

What I discovered was that my goals were quite specific and focused:

  • Revise the last five chapters of my novel and submit it to my critique group next month.
  • Draft a query letter and send it to (insert name of publisher here) the week my critique group goes over my chapters.
  • By the end of January, finish the second act of the play that my drama group will be performing in the spring.
  • Pick three agents from my list of potential agencies to query.

Everything was quite specific.

Had I made a list of resolutions I fear they would have been very similar to those made by many who fail to see them through:

  • Write more everyday
  • Read more books
  • Start or keep a journal
  • Pick your platform
  • Join a writing group

These are all very respectable but since they aren’t as specific (no deadlines or set amounts) that it’s much easier for them to fail.

So this year, are you going to make a list of resolutions or are you going to set some writing goals?

December 8, 2014

I didn’t finish Nanowrimo – am I a failure?

First of all, congratulations to all those writers who conquered and won the Nanowrimo 50,000 word challenge.  I salute you!

I chose a WIP (“Summer at Birch Beach”) this year.  I had about two thirds of it written in a very rough draft.  I thought I would use Nano to not only finish the rough draft but also begin working on an amazing revision.  After the month was up, I would have a new manuscript to shop around.  Needless to say, after about a week, and 8859 words, my Nano writing got detailed.

Since I didn’t finish Nano, am I a failure?  If you didn’t finish, are you?

Let’s look at what I did accomplish during November:

  • Secured a contract with a new publisher for my suspense novel, “When Love Won’t Die”
  • Finished the second act of a full length melodrama play for my acting class
  • Wrote lyrics, music and accompaniment for two original songs for the melodrama
  • Started final revisions on my sequel, “Amorous Obsession”
  • Wrote a synopsis for the back of the print version of my book
  • Wrote a query letter for my sequel

I may not have managed the 50,000 word goal on “Summer at Birch Beach” but I wrote every day.  The melodrama script had to be finished by December 1st so the students could begin learning their lines, blocking scenes and singing new songs.  I had to do a small revision for my new publisher so that I could get my book up before Christmas.  And now that my suspense novel is available again, that inspired me to work on the sequel.

So…I did NOT win Nanowrimo.

But I did win the writing battle.

If you didn’t complete the 50,000 word journey of Nanowrimo this year, you aren’t a failure.  Just signing up and giving it a try deserves a high five.  You did write.  You do have a word count.  Now…keep going!  It will pay off.

To purchase “When Love Won’t Die” in ebook Kindle format OR in print, go to:

http://www.amazon.com/When-Love-Wont-Jacqueline-McMahon/dp/1987854012/ref=asap_B0056TVHO8_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1418047723&sr=1-1

October 11, 2014

The Collapse of my digital publisher – what should I do?

During the summer, my digital publisher of my suspense novel, When Love Won’t Die, disappeared. The website disappeared. Messages to the CEO (both phone and email) unanswered. My book vanished from Amazon, B&N, RRP and all the other sites where it was being sold.

Still no correspondence from the publisher and no formal announcement as to the status of the company.

My contract states that if the website goes down for anything other than technical reasons and if the publisher appears to no longer be in business, then all rights revert back to the author…me.

So what to do next?

What do my loyal readers think I should do?

1. Query agents
2. Re-sub my book to other publishers
3. Self-publish my original book and query agents and/or
publishers for my sequel and other suspense novel?
4. Hold off until I hear something from my publisher

I’d love to hear what you think as I continue to ponder my next steps.

August 9, 2013

Writing Advice: Questions from my Readers Part Two

 Question:  Should I self-publish?

I definitely wasn’t surprised that this question was asked a few times and yet, I am hesitant to even try to answer it because I think that it’s a really personal choice that every writer must make for himself.

If I were writing non-fiction, I think I would absolutely self-publish some smaller e-books.  It’s a great way to get your name known as an expert in a particular field.  Also, by offering free reports with an e-book purchase, writers can certainly build up a loyal following.  Plus, these NF e-books don’t have to be long.  They just have to be filled with useful information.

As for fiction, I’m still on the fence about self-publishing.  I know that even with a traditional publishing house contract, authors still shoulder the responsibility of publicizing and marketing their books themselves (unless they’re in the leagues of Stephen King or J.K.Rowling).  This isn’t any different from those who self-publish.  But I also believe that belonging to a publishing house still holds more credibility than doing it yourself.

Now, many of you may disagree with me, and that’s okay.

There are different levels of self-publishing so if you’re going to go that route, learn everything you can before you jump in.  Know what a vanity publisher is.  Don’t use one…ever!  Talk to other authors who’ve self-published.  Find out what they did that worked (or what didn’t work).

Ultimately, in the end, you and you alone must decide which direction your book should take.

 

January 12, 2010

To be a successful writer, you must possess these qualities Part 1

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2009 was a great writing year for me!

I had two poems come out in Hopscotch for Girls magazine (“Marsupials” in the June 2009 issue and” The Language of Tap” in the December 2009 issue).

Writer’s Digest bought an article of mine and published it in their new writer’s market series book, “Screenwriter’s and Playwright’s Markets” 2009 and are also including it as a reprint in their 2010 version of the same market book.

I’ve had some very successful productions of several of my kids/teens’ plays this past season.

I’m more than half-way through the sequel to my adult suspense novel with a goal of finishing it by June of 2010.

And the biggest news of all…

I was offered a contract for my adult suspense novel (more details on that soon).

So as I segue into 2010, I’m jazzed about all that this new year has to offer and all the projects that I’m stoked to begin.  But I also remember, just a few short years ago, wondering if this writing thing, the term used to refer to my creative habit by many family and friends, would ever amount to much more than a verbal pastime. 

Looking back throughout my life so far, I’ve noticed that I’ve really been writing/creating stories since my childhood days, when I’d invent characters and scenerios to help us while away the sunny afternoon boredom.  I wrote stories throughout all my school years.  Alone in my bedroom, I pretended to be an assortment of different characters.  I wrote my first play during a high school summer vacation.

I believe that true writers can’t help but write and create.  And maybe, for some, just the act of putting words to paper fulfills them.

So what propels some writers, like me, to overcome the leagues of rejections, never once losing sight of the ultimate goal:  getting published?
(and by getting published I mean traditional markets that pay).

I truly believe there are certain qualities every writer who is serious about writing professionally must aquire.

Do you have these qualities?

Do you agree or disagree?

In Part 2 of this series of blogposts, I’ll address the first of what I believe are the top five qualities every writer, serious about the writing biz, should possess.

June 16, 2009

Publication – the waiting game

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Writers write for many different reasons.  I’m guessing that one of the most common, however, is to see their work in print…published.

The road to publication is often a long one, filled with many bumps and detours along the way.  But let’s say you’ve finally polished that manuscript and started subbing it out.  You’re now playing The Waiting Game.

I just received my complimentary copy of Hopscotch for Girls, a U.S. magazine.   In it, is a non-fiction poem I wrote called “The Marsupial Family”. 

Now here’s where you’ll see what I mean by The Waiting Game.

I subbed the poem in October of 2005.  It was accepted for publication in November of 2005.  (Actually a quick response) But alas, it took nearly four years before I got the thrill of seeing one of my pieces published.

The publishing business works very far into the future.  Having a turnaround of three or four years between an acceptance and publication is the norm.  In fact, right now, the Bluffton Group, who publishes Hopscotch for Girls, Boys Quest and Fun for Kidz is looking at obtaining suitable material for themes all the way to 2014.

So that’s why, as a writer, it’s important for you to get those subs out there.  And nowadays, most publications understand that you are likely going to sub your piece to simultaneous markets.  As long as you inform everyone that your submission is a simultaneous one, usually they do not need exclusivitiy.  The publishers only ask that you inform them if your piece is accepted by someone else.

A writing friend has a book coming out this year.  She got her acceptance three years ago.  Again, it;s The Waiting Game.  But had she not subbed out her piece, the day of seeing her first book in print would never have come.

So, rather than be discouraged by the long turnaround times in the publishing business, get writing…get revision…and get subbing.

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