Friday, February 17, 2012

Pity Party

I know it's supposed to be Fiesta Friday, but I'm just not in the mood. It's my party and I'll cry if I want to. I suppose to be consistent, I would need to call this a Fiesta Triste---though that is 'sad party' not 'pity party' and I'm not sad so much as whiny.

You see, the last of my submitted manuscripts was rejected yesterday. (that makes 8)


Amy was really nice about it. She asked if I wanted to keep going or revise. I was hesitant on revising since I have two books to revise before I can get to it... which means even if everything goes smoothly, I won't get to START that revision until April. But she pointed out that if we go straight in, if it NEEDS revising, we have knocked that many more off our list.  So we are revising. Which is to say I am revising.

I hate waiting.

I hate revising.

I hate the fact I can't get it closer to right the first seven times. Or thirteen. Whatever the draft.



So what was wrong with it?

All a little vague. 'Didn't fall in love with it.' Will nobody love me?

I think, though, my problem is Helen. Helen is TIMID. And she is timid for good reason. She hasn't spoken to anyone in 60 years, what, with being dead and living in an abandoned building and all. And she was kept in medically unethical circumstances BEFORE she died. Abandoned by her father to 'the experts' such as they were. Sympathetic, yes. Helen is sympathetic in spades. But... I think she may be missing her spark.

In most of my books my MCs are feisty or snarky or sarcastic. There is humor to them which never felt appropriate for Helen. Her circumstances would not go with wit. She is scared.

But I think I normally rely on that humor—my voice has humor and if I can't fall on humor, I think I am a little short in my repertoire. I need to find Helen's spark. Which may or may not have any humor, but it certainly needs more than it has.

So there is a puzzle to solve. What IS Helen's spark. I think it rests in her back story... a little more history, trickled slowly so the reader gets a more horrible image of what her life was like. But also a... PRE story... something she HAD that she LOST (and so committed suicide) and through the story finds again. A sense of self she was robbed of through being institutionalized. In fact... maybe if I work it right, I can reveal the back story backward and the front story forward so Helen's sense of self is equal throughout, and building.

Now THAT sounds like a compelling read, yes? But I have my work cut out for me. So I am having a pity party.

I am ALSO setting page goals so I really can GET to this by April Fools. I have 500 pages to edit in 45 days. Though maybe that isn't right. I have 200 pages to rearrange then another pass reading to perfect THIS month. GADS! And then in March I will revise Chrysanthemum Campaign for betas.


Oh. And I got pass pages for Azalea Assault. *dies *

I have been assured though, that professionals are on that, too—independent editors. So I intend to do it more as a content read—make sure nothing changes meaning or something. This SHOULD afterall, be a typesetting read—we did the final edit in the fall.

Is publishing really this many steps? What have I got myself into? Remember me? Meh, close enough. THAT is me. But I don't want lower quality—one of my primary reasons for publishing traditionally—I just don't quite HAVE that attention to detail...

Okay, so I've rambled. You may feel sorry for me now.

Or not. Anybody else wanna throw in a whine?  Or some wine. I'm not picky.

25 comments:

Tonja said...

You deserve to whine a little this morning. That has to be disheartening. I like your ideas with Helen - she sounds like an interesting character.

vic caswell (aspiring-x) said...

sounds like a great plan to add some more depth to your helen!

Old Kitty said...

I shall raise a most NAKED glass of wine with you lovely Tart!!

You are on the right path! It ain't easy, or straight, or clear, or fast! But you are on it and you are on it for the long haul! And you will get to the end of this path - you will. Don't you worry.

In the meantime have more wine!!:-)

Take care
x

Heather Savage said...

With a backstory like that, if you're looking for the hook for the character it sounds like she could be a bit twisted. Instead of being sarcastic and snarky but needing depth, she could have a fixation on something like lab coats or hear voices or talk to a little doll she carries. Try the twisted approach? Sometimes that works for me when the usual doesn't. Good luck. Remember, have a down day, roll in it and live it. Then, wake up Monday and tackle it. You got this one.

L.G.Smith said...

Hmm, I'm somewhat intrigued by Helen and her circumstances. I think you're right about her gaining sympathy easily. I hope you figure out that spark you think she's missing. I'm sure you're right about it being in her back story somewhere.

Good luck and I'll be sure to have a large glass of wine tonight in your honor. :P

Stephen Tremp said...

Wine over whine wins every times! Well, that almost rhymes. Wait ...

Sarah Ahiers said...

aww, i'm sorry to hear that. But you are one of the most driven people i "know" and i KNOW you'll be able to do this and do it well!

Hart Johnson said...

Thank you so much everyone! I appreciate the sympathy, and I will get back to it. Soon... And I will keep some notes in the meantime.

Heather-that twisted angle is a good one. I don't want her mean-twisted, but a little delusional twisted would maybe work.

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

Maybe you need a beta reader that can properly eviscerate a manuscript and has a no-holds barred "This is shit" approach to pointing out what is bad and what is amazing without waffling on their opinion. Someone that has an eye so trained in rooting out boring that she could be a surgeon for books.

Cherie Reich said...

Aww! *hugs* And I think you're getting a good grasp on what you need to do to make that one story better. I like the idea of glimpses before Helen was so depressed and suicidal. It'll give the reader a base to go off on. Good luck with everything!

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Sometimes there are characters that I just have a hard time connecting with....their experiences and their personality are just so different from mine. Good luck with your Helen edits. And sorry about the rejections!

Johanna Garth said...

I would definitely offer you a glass of wine!

There are the days we ask ourselves why oh why did we sign up for this? But then something good happens and we are on top of the world and we have the answer!

Cold As Heaven said...

"... hasn't spolen to anyone in 60 years". Once I worked with a guy who was like that. Not much fun, not much of a collaboration. I got tired of doing the talking all the time

Cold As Heaven

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

Trust in your vision. You got the goods. You just need the right person in the right place to appreciate it at the right time. Unfortunately it never works that way (though things WILL work that way when I become Emperor). Maybe you put it aside for a few months and do something that feels fresh and new.

It's like I told the police one day. "I hate that they follow me in the Walmart. Yes, I am shoplifting but who are they to tell me?"

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You can do it, Hart!
Yes, it is that many steps. Actually there are more, but you don't need to hear that right now...

JCS said...

Let it out Tami, a little wine will do you good ;) Yes, the kind you drink. That will make it all better, at least for a small bit.
I love your ideas, I think you're an amazing writer so keep at it!

Siv Maria said...

Here is another cheerleader waving her pom poms in the air..."Go Girl!" If Helen is so timid, then have someone else tell her story. Have a great week-end but not too much "Wineing" :)

vbtremper said...

I vote for the wine.

I'm sorry about your pity party and all that revising. I know what you mean about Helen's voice, though. I have the same problem with the MC in my Rwanda book. She's a girl from a very different culture who has just survived a genocide. She can't have a snarky voice. A lot of people just don't get her. Sigh.

Good luck!
-Vicki

Ellie Garratt said...

I'm sorry to hear that. Just remember most successful authors had numerous rejections before they made it. You CAN do it!

Laura said...

Poor Hart. Pooorrrr Hart. Now I pat your back and bring you hot chocolate. :)

Lx

Tracy Jo said...

Hang in there, Hart! That has to be so hard...doing, redoing, revising but that will make it all the sweeter when it happens. And it will happen!

kimberlyloomis said...

I have loads of wine I could share! That said - ugh! I don't know what else to say to all that. Honestly, I'm tempted to bang my head into the wall near my desk on your behalf. But... YOU CAN DO IT!!! There, feel motivated now? :)

LTM said...

UGH!!! I'm so sorry, darlin. You know I know how that feels. :o( But you are making good progress on that revision, thinking through Helen, etc. I know you'll get it! Hang in there!!!

As for "pass pages"... I don't know what that means! Regardless, ((big hugs)) to you! <3

Helena said...

Ah, Hart! Damn that must've hurt! But please bear in mind that BRILLIANT books have been rejected far more, like The Help getting rejected by 48 (48!) freaking publishers. And hell, what I read of Kahlotus on the ABNA posting I sure as hell liked. That story has life yet in it. If you've got to temporarily set it aside while working on other manuscripts, do so, but then go back and make the lead ghost/girl FANTASTIC. If she ends up with half your irreverent, over the top personality, she will indeed sparkle (and not like those creepy vampires in those silly Twilight books).

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

I think wine.

Seriously, that does sound like a lot of hard work and a bunch to get irritated about. I really do think your book about Helen sounds fascinating though, and I would love to read it when you get it published.

Because you will. Hang in there, Hart.

Kathy M.