Archive for November 9th, 2009
I just checked out Hope’s website and there is a wealth of great articles there. Check it out.
*Disclaimer: Stories based on the exact set of words, names and attached graphics are already in the works.
“Rickshaw Jones!” bellowed the Boston Terrier’s owner, Maisie. ” Where are you?”
She could call for Rickshaw Jones all night long and Rickshaw Jones wouldn’t come running back. He was gone . . . long gone.
THE FIVE P’s OF PRE-PUBLISHING
by Peg Finley
Becoming a published writer takes work… emotionally, mentally and physically. It takes passion, persistence, practice, perfection and patience to make it in this competitive field, especially with all the talented writers that are out there.
I started seriously writing for children in the summer of 2004 (though I dreamt about being a writer of children’s stories and books for years and years). I have learned a lot since that time. My poor critique partners put up with a lot from me and I am forever in their debt.
Let’s get back to what this article is really about. The Five P’s of Pre-Publishing are Passion, Persistence, Practice, Perfection, and Patience.
1. Passion is defined by Thornton Barnhart Beginning Dictionary’s Fifth Edition as “a thing for which a strong liking is felt.” For me as a writer, I found having a passion for writing is what writing is all about. My passion started small with an article about my mom and grew to the point where not writing regularly can be compared to not breathing regularly. For me, writing just needs to be done if I am going to live. When I experience a bit of a writer’s block, it drives me crazy. It drains me mentally.
Sometimes, your passion may be what catches an editor’s eye. I know it has gotten me a second look for a manuscript I wrote recently. Her personal note thrilled me when it read,” Your passion for writing comes through loud and clear.”
2. Persistence comes from the base word “persist.” It is defined as “a refusal to stop, not giving up in the face of difficulties.” Rejections, even personal ones, are not something that a writer likes to receive but it happens…even to the most talented writer. When I got my first rejection I thought, I’m never going to write again. I almost gave up until my critique group members encouraged me to revise it and send it out to another publisher. They said “Practice makes perfect, Peg!” So practice, practice and more practice became one of my mottos. I have the carpal tunnel and sore back to prove it.
3. The definition of Practice is “an action being done over and over to develop a skill.” I’m living proof that growth as a writer can come directly from the art of practice. Now, when I pull out a piece I worked on during that first year, I can’t help but laugh. Believe me, some of it would be good comedy material if only I had any comedy timing.
While revising/practice can be a writer’s worst enemy, it became my best friend when I realized that my stories improved with revision. Unfortunately, it was a hard lesson for me to learn. I balked at doing revisions for almost a year after I started to write … then finally I truly accepted it. Now, I look at getting suggestions from others as a challenge for me to make my words absolutely “perfect.”
4. Perfection comes next. I’m not just talking about dotting your “i’s” and crossing your “t’s” …though those things are crucial. It’s in a writer’s best interest to get a good grammar book. You’ll want to submit the most professional cover letter and manuscript that you possibly can. Neatness does count…but just as important is a writer’s use of the best possible choice of words. Consider the following two sentences. The little girl was excited versus The tiny blond girl’s eyes sparkled as the ice cream truck pulled up. The details matter. It makes the subject come to life for the reader. We know the what, why, when, where and how of the little girl’s excitement.
5. Patience which is defined as “a calm bearing of pain or of difficulty waiting.” For me, this was one of the most difficult of the five P’s to master. I still struggle with the “I wanted it yesterday” syndrome. It is just less emotionally painful than it used to be.
When I had passionately and persistently practiced my craft to perfection and sent it out, it was hard to wait. Talk about tongues twisters; try wrapping your tongue around that one. It was torture to send off my “baby” and not hear back about its fate. This is sometimes aggravated by the current industry policy of not responding unless they, the publishers, are interested in publishing a manuscript. For me, even a form rejection is better than not knowing what is happening.
Now, for those who decide that self-publishing is the way to go…all of the above paragraphs apply. The big difference is in what you have to be patient about.
If you take the time to follow the Five P’s of Pre-Publishing, you too can get that wonderful first acceptance and be on “cloud nine.” I wish you the best of luck on your writing journey.
When writing for children, it never hurts a writer to go back and revisit your childhood memories. You never know what ideas can come from those memories. Think back, do you have a time in your childhood that always bring a smile to your face when you think about it? You know the kind of smile that starts small and just grows and grows. If it made you smile, it just might make others smile, too. As you are thinking about that memory, think about the smells, sights, touches, sounds and tastes you had with that memory. Then, use those senses to put your story into words.