Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Edits: Not Bad at All

Everyone I know who submits what they write hopes for acceptance and fears edits. While we acknowledge edits are for the good of the writing, not personal, we hear horror stories.

"I dislike this character. See if you can make him better." No input on what they dislike or how they recommend the character change.

"This plotline isn't working." Why? At what point does it no longer work?

Or, in an erotica story, "Boring!" or worse, "Gross!"

There are professional editors who know their stuff but whose people skills are lacking, and there are editors who think they know their stuff but are delusional. And there are editors who are good people and who know their stuff. Who you get can be a crap shoot.

If you hire an independent editor, of course you do your homework, checking out their recommendations, seeking a sample of their work, and talking to people who have hired them but do not recommend them publicly. But when you sell a book, you don't get to do that.

I am pleased to say I finished the first round of edits and have zero issues with the editor's take on things. Whew! I'm going to let it sit overnight, double check I addressed each concern, and send it back, a day early.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

On Writing While Young

This blog won't focus on writing and publishing. There are many talented writers doing that already, no doubt better than I could.

But since writing is what I do most days, it's going to come up as I blog about life. Today, for instance.

I like teenagers. I like their enthusiasm, their self-doubt or undue confidence, their exploration of themselves and their world. I like that so many experiment with writing, eagerly asking others to tell them if they're any good.

They're not. Oh, sure, once in a while the scene or chapter is something which isn't awful, but for the most part, they're missing two vital elements.

One, they don't have enough experience at life to be writing. They've never been in love or had their hearts broken, never gotten falling-down drunk, never chosen a literal life-or-death risk, never committed a wrong which is life-changing. This is good; you want teenagers to retain some of the fresh innocence of the children they so recently were. Those experiences, both good and bad, will come soon enough. And until they do, you shouldn't write about them. You can't write a good lovemaking scene if you've never been kissed.

Two, it seems many of them have been let down by their schools. It saddens me to see the many creative, bright teenagers who cannot write a simple paragraph with no mistakes. Not that I thought I'd see crisp lyricism, but come on, no mistakes is not an unreasonable expectation for someone in high school, especially someone who reads.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

In Which Maryn Arrives

Kicking and screaming only a little, in a most ladylike way, I have dragged myself into the 21st Century with a blog.

See, I've never been much of a tech person and felt little need for a blog. I don't keep a diary or journal, although the jottings on the flip side of the grocery list probably sum up my days pretty well.

My life as a person is mercifully boring, which beats the hell out of dysfunction and drama. It's not perfect, but whose is?

My life as a writer has only recently become more interesting. While I've written regularly for a lot of years, I rarely submitted anything. I enjoyed the process of creating the characters and their world and making things happen to and between them. I liked the finished results. If I were to--gasp!--submit them, I might find out nobody else thought much of them. Why risk it? So I mostly wrote for myself.

Oh, sure, I subbed once in a while, and got a double-handful of sales of short stories, under several pen names.Why pen names? Early on, I worried family or the parents of our kids, still in school, would be disapproving. My husband's from the heartland, and the relatives our age who remain there are lovely people who have probably never read anything erotic in their lives. Their adult "kids" might have, but I'm not sure. They're a socially conservative bunch, which is their right.

But you know what? Not one of them is a detective. I don't see how they'd know Maryn Blackburn is me, or Maryn Bittner, or James Bittner, or any of my other selves who've published their shocking personal fantasies.

And I've sold a book. 

So I'm good. Real good, even. Hope you are, too. Welcome to the blog.