Monday, June 29, 2009

I'm still alive...

Kinda. LOL. Mom has had her first surgery and did very well. Thanks so much for all of the prayers and support. cowboy story was passed up again by my target editor. Which had me doing some soul searching and talking with writer friends/crit partners.

I have several friends who will shoot straight with me and tell it like it is. One in particular, Rae, really held my feet to the fire. She asked me if I was writing what I love or merely to target a particular publisher with hopes to publish. As we talked, I realized that I've been chasing editors and lines that I "enjoy" reading. And to be honest...that's not saying alot. I absolutely love to read. And I can read just about any genre. Except academics. Something in my brain rebels and shuts down into sleep mode. But I wasn't targeting Harlequin/Silhouette simply because I'd expected it to be easy, it was because I grew up reading Harlequin.

When I first decided to seriously write geared toward becoming published, I searched the different publishers and came across eHarlequin Online Community. They were the only publisher at the time with an active online outreach to their authors, unpubbed writers, and their readers. I read alot about their "formula" for the different lines and thought that by keeping my word count short, and targeting a publisher who accepts unagented material and supposedly is always looking for new talent, that I might actually have a better shot. Not that I thought I was a better writer than the thousands of others sending in submissions, just that with so much information available...I had an idea as to what the editors wanted and it wasn't as much of a crap shoot. It also helped that the lines I wanted to target published at least four books a month and may be more apt to take on fresh voices.

And I still believe that. Sorta. I'm just wondering if my writing fits in that category. Is that where I really want to be? So instead of babying me and letting me feel sorry for myself, my friend asked if I had a particular story that I kept going back to. Why, yes. Yes I do. When I was in college, I wrote a paper over my Native American family history. (Brag alert! Be warned!) The history professor was known for his snide comments and not being generous with A's. I was completely shocked when I received an A-. He even went on to discuss it with my literature professor and they both nominated my paper to be presented at an upcoming symposium. I thought I would vomit. I'm not really sure how I made it through the presentation but finally relaxed after it was over when I had several people ask questions and seem interested in what I had found. People actually clapped when I finished.

Little did they know that they'd created a monster. But life happened. I married and immediately had a baby and had to put off the college dream for a full-time mom job and a full-time day job working for a law firm. Writing didn't seem to fit into that schedule until much, much later. Actually another husband and another baby later. I was put on bed rest during the pregnancy and my hubby got tired of me whining about how bored I was. A laptop seemed to quench that thirst, on top of lots and lots of books to read. Put the two together...and there ya go. My writing dream smacked me in the face.

Anywho...didn't mean to ramble and bore you guys. So now I'm back to square one...just with a little more experience. What do I want to write? REALLY write? I think I'll take that giant leap off the cliff...I'm going to challenge myself and work on a historical. So there ya go. Ya had to wade through all that crap to hear that I'm going in another direction. *sigh*

Happy Monday!!


Cindy said...

I really admire people who write historicals. Who even attempt to write historicals because of the time and dedication that goes into them. I think it's great that you've found something you really, really want to write. Writing with heart makes a book so much more enjoyable!

Terri Tiffany said...

I loved reading about your trials and travels into writing. Been there myself--wrote the romance book and really don't like to even read those kind but thought that it would be the best to do.
The book I'm writing now is the story and style I wanted to really write. A few months back, I told myself to just put it on paper and don't worry where it will end up.
You need to do that too! You will be pleased with the end result I bet!

Chelle Sandell said...

Cindy ~ Thanks! I think the main reason I put it off was because of the research and layered details required. My head is about to explode and I think I need to stop researching for a bit and start getting the storyline down.

Thanks, Terri! I've always loved reading historicals and didn't really start reading other lines until I started researching what type of book I wanted to write. I love to read contemporary but historicals were my first love.

Chicki said...

I'm so glad to hear that Mom is doing well and also happy that you made your decision. When you write what you really love, it will show in the work.

I started out writing inspirationals but quickly discovered all of the restrictions that totally frustrated me. That's when I decided to switch to contemporary African-American women's fiction.

We're going to make it, girl. This is a tough, aggravating business, but contracts are being signed every day. Just look at Publisher's Lunch Weekly (and they don't report the e-pubs.)

Chicki said...

I also meant to say that you should just start writing. When you run across a part of the story that needs more research then you can stop and look for the info.

And don't forget to start the WIP binder. It's a lifesaver.

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

I think we often have to go through this kind of trial and error in our writing to find out what we are really meant to be writing.

Good luck with your new historical project - I can't wait to read it!

Chelle Sandell said...

Chicki ~ Thanks for sending the files. I replaced my ink cartridge today and plan to start printing out research and the things you sent me. I'm so lucky to have you as a friend and crit partner!!

Kate ~ Thanks sweets! I think I'll try to start fleshing out a beginning to my first chapter and see what I can come up with.

PatriciaW said...

Catching up. Glad to hear your mom is doing well.

I've had some of the same struggles re: category romance (Steeple Hill) vs. single title. I think I've got both kinds of stories swirling inside of me, and like you, because I enjoy reading them and have so much information/online support, I figure I could write a category.

Might not be true. I'm working on one right now so we'll see. But it's what is coming out of me right now. I've stopped listening to what the market wants and I'm writing the story I want to tell at the moment. Glad you are too.