Friday, October 23, 2020

Amazing Writing Tool: The Author's Checklist

    In 2012, I attended the 2-day Chuckanut Writers Conference, which was my first writers conference. Sherman Alexie was the featured speaker and there were multiple classes available as well as the option to sign up for pitches. On the first day, I attended an incredible Marketing class and a class about story structure. On the second day, I had 3 pitches with agents I hoped would hear something they liked. 

    Each pitch went better than I expected - a big deal since I had no idea what to expect. However, one agent stood out the most: Elizabeth Kracht. She was warm, engaging, and immediately put me at ease - something that meant the world to me since she was my first pitch. She loved my pitch, she wanted to know more, and from that moment on I knew this person was going to be a part of my publishing journey. I didn't know what role she might play, but like most newbie writers I hoped she'd offer representation. 

    Over the last eight years, Elizabeth Kracht has been a mentor, a sounding board, a guide, a friend, and more often than not a light shining during many of the dark days I've traveled on the publication road. I have learned so much from her as a writer, as an intern, and even as a short-time assistant. Her advice has been invaluable, and my writing has only gotten better over the years in part because of the many pearls of wisdom she has shared. 

    Now, in 2020, Elizabeth Kracht is sharing her writing and publishing insights with the world. The Author's Checklist is her new book and it is an awesome guide to not only developing your manuscript, but also editing your novel into the masterpiece it's meant to be. I highly recommend picking up a copy, especially because it will blow your mind all the awesome goodies she shares from an agent's perspective that will help you in your publishing journey as much as it has helped me. 

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Capturing Creativity in 2020


    I am not only an editor who is passionate about helping clients reach their publishing goals, but I am also a writer who is working to get published myself. I've loved to write since I was in elementary school, and even submitted a novel to Stephen King's publisher when I was 11. It was handwritten, I had no representation, and I had no idea what I was doing. The publishing house was kind enough to send a personalized rejection letter and encouraged me to reach out again when I had proper representation and was perhaps a little older. 

    When I returned to my publishing pursuits in 2011, it was like being that 11-year-old all over again. Like most of us, I've heard the many stories - almost urban legend level stories - about writers who churn out books in a matter of weeks and get signed faster than most of us can come up with a proper query. Some of these "overnight" successes are anything but, and some are based on the fact the writer had the right book at the right time. Some are the best pages ever read, and some are far from becoming the next Great American Novel. 

    For me, writing is a place where I can dive into the creative recesses of my mind and build a world of magic and fun. It's refuge and solace - hot Twinings Lady Grey in a Lenox tea cup. However, in 2020, the writing process for me has had some serious ups and downs. Do you feel this way too? 

    One of the lows has been fighting with a persistent case of writer's block. When I find myself frustrated and unable to type another word, I'll return to my research and see if anything there inspires me to revisit the page. Sometimes that works, but sometimes I have to do something else. It could be something related to writing, like reading a book or writing a poem or even editing. Or, it could be taking a nap or a walk outside to see the changing leaves. It all honestly depends on how bad the block is that day.

    On the other hand, one of the highs has been when the block clears I have been able to build more fantastical worlds and interesting characters than ever before. The words and story come so fast, I can hardly type quickly enough. It's thrilling and exciting, especially when only an hour has passed and I've written almost 3,000 words. So, like 2020, I suppose we have to take the good with the bad. 

    Another high happened this summer and was related to the work I do for Scribbler Services. I reviewed the query and synopsis one of my clients had gotten some rejections on, and after a few conversations I realized their struggles were similar to my own. Almost ten years ago, I had no knowledge of where to even start. Thankfully, my client already knew more than I did when I started out, but the issues they encountered were related more to how much information is out there and knowing what is the right or best information for them.

    Therefore, I'm excited to share I have decided to use this space to provide all the tips, tricks, and advice I've been given by agents, editors, publishers, teachers, and more since 2011. For me, it's another way to help others in a way others helped me, and it's a way for me to capture creativity in this crazy year, especially in case the writer's block comes back again. Stay tuned for new posts coming soon!