5 Minute Fiction

The Library – 5 Minute Fiction

Six months and four days ago, I followed him into the library for the first time. He never noticed me. His walk alluded confidence and pride as his shoulders arched up and back. As he made his way to the hold section, I couldn’t help but follow. Something drew me to him. What would he check out? Fiction, mystery, mechanics? Maybe college research books? He appeared in his mid-twenties with a thick part down the middle of his crow black hair.

Soon, I fell into his schedule. He never browsed books, only went to the hold shelf, removed his items, checked them out, and drove off in his blue Nissan. I didn’t need to wait for the library to open, but I wanted to be courteous. Once inside, I’d scan the hold shelf searching his name. If it was missing, I’d leave and come back the next day. If his name appeared on a scrap of paper, rubber-banded to a book, I’d jot down the title. I read every book he requested after he did. At first, the books were from the New York Times bestseller list. Then they grew darker and to less popular titles.

With each new visit, his stride shortened, his shoulders hung lower. Stories about true crime and brutal nonfiction occupied his list. In the last month, self-help books and poetry became his new norm. As I followed in his reading path, I felt his life shift. I knew something was wrong, as it had been with me. Some time ago, the self-help books didn’t work.

On a Saturday morning, I noted he placed another self-help book on hold. With trembling hands, I took a scrap of library paper, a miniature pencil, and wrote a name and number down. I placed it in the book and slid it back on the shelf. As always, he entered the library, went to the holds, and checked out the book. I hoped he would call the number if he needed it. I never did. And today, I’m just as invisible as when I was alive.

*National Suicide Prevention Line (1-800-273-8255)

 

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Spotlight on Writing

The Location of Your Writing

Last weekend I had the opportunity to hear Cassidy Carter, author of Love on Location (you can find my interview with her here) and the director of Hallmark Publishing, Stacey Donovan, speak at a local Barnes and Noble writer workshop.

The group met in an open area of the bookstore and the ladies chatted about writing and Hallmark Publishing. How Stacey and Cassidy conducted the workshop made everyone feel welcome and comfortable to ask questions. I’ve been to many writing workshops and conferences and I can say that this informal setting, and the way Stacey and Cassidy presented the material (and themselves) made it one of the best ones I’ve attended. And this one was FREE!

What I loved the most, and what I learned from was the three writing prompts Stacey gave us. We had three minutes per one given. Being someone who takes a while to feel comfortable in a new setting and around strangers I didn’t think anything would come when the first prompt was given. But it did! I think my ability to channel my love and comfort of writing happened quickly because I was out of my comfort zone. I needed familiarity, security, and I always find it in my writing.

I walked away with a wonderful new story idea. And Stacey had mentioned being free of distractions and in a different setting can often increase these odds. She was correct.

So I encourage writers to try this, to mix it up and see if these help when they are feeling stuck or needing a new idea. If you have ever stepped out and written outside of your normal spot did it help you or were you distracted by the new setting? What did you learn about yourself/your writing when you did this?

Spotlight on Writing

How to Land a Book Deal or Agent

Write

Let others critique your work and accept their critique notes

Read

Edit

Don’t give up

Write

Critique other’s works

Read

Write

Let others critique your work and accept their critique notes

Edit

Critique other’s works

Don’t give up

Write

Read

Let others critique your work and accept their critique notes

Write

Edit

Read

Don’t give up

Don’t give up

Don’t give up

IT IS THAT SIMPLE, YET THAT CHALLENGING TOO!

Spotlight on Writing

WRITER DOUBTS VIA EDITING

Image result for free clip art writingI have been going through edits with the editor and the only thing on my mind is:

I’M A HORRIBLE WRITER!

Let’s back up.

I can’t be a horrible writer if my manuscript was picked up by a publisher….

I’M A HORRIBLE GRAMMAR-IAN!

Maybe that’s it. I’m great at writing, but my grammar skills are horrible. This is not news to me or my school teachers. I know this fact, my grades reported it, and the teachers did their fair share of reminding me, YOU SUCK!

Maybe, I should keep this secret to myself?

Too late.

I NEED TO REMEMBER ALL THESE EDITOR’S NOTES! That’s my next step. I read and re-read each edit note in hopes of remembering the lesson for next time.

GOOD NEWS!

I make the SAME mistakes – A LOT!

Deep down in the pit of my stomach, I’m hoping I’m not as bad as I think. Yet, if I am, my hope is to learn from this and make sure that I DON’T make at least half of these mistakes with the next manuscript.

FINGERS CROSSED!

 

Spotlight on Writing

National Author’s Day

Hello November 1st. It’s a great day because today is National Author’s Day.

If you are a writer/author I hope you are enjoying your day and filling it with all things writerly.

If you are a reader, I hope you are supporting your favorite authors and also finding new favorite authors.

If you are an aspiring writer, make today your first step. Write something, research something, or submit something.

Wishing all the writers and readers the very best today.

Spotlight on Writing

Before the Contracts

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I’ve had a wonderful last few months in the writing world, yet, I want to showcase the behind the scenes struggles. Why? Because so often authors see the good news of others and develop a pain in their heart that it was not them getting to share good news. For this reason, I think it’s important to breakdown what happens before the contract.

In the last two months I have announced signing a contract for my picture book Winston Versus the Snow and my sweet romance novel Grounded in January, both coming out in 2019 from Brother Mockingbird Publishing. AND….my signed acquisitions letter for my Inuit picture book Nanook and the Pizza (coming 2020 from Audrey Press).

Here are the numbers….


WINSTON VERSUS THE SNOW –

  • 25 rejections, not bad considering my first picture book Nonnie and I was rejected over 50 times.
  • 3 “love, but can’t publish it”
  • 5 Twitter pitch contests, 1 “like”

The story was originally titled Winston Hates the Snow, but at a writer’s conference I decided after a panel speaker’s advice to change the word hate. It also went under a major revision prior to the final submission.

First submission April of 2017 – making this a relatively “quick” acceptance. (Nonnie and I took 7 years to sell)


NANOOK AND THE PIZZA –

  • 28 rejections
  • 1 “love, but not right for us”
  • 4 Twitter pitch contests, 0 “like”
  • 1 revision request – which turned into the acquisitions letter afterwords.

Submissions started in February of 2017, with one major rewrite prior to the revision request.


GROUNDED IN JANUARY –

  • 2 rejections – 1 with, please submit your next manuscript when available
  • 2 Twitter pitch contests, 5 “likes” (I only submitted to 1 of them in the end)

First submitted July 2018.

Yep, that story ends there for this one.

This shows you the more you write and read, the better your writing becomes. The more you focus on craft, the better your writing gets.