Tales of Rejection

or the journey to becoming published

Protagonist Rising

I’ve spent the last 24 hours or so glued to governmental proceedings. I was waiting on pins and needles to hear the decision regarding DOMA by the Supreme Court, and I watched the live feed of Texas senator, Wendy Davis, filibustering Senate Bill 5 (an abortion bill that would virtually ban abortion in the state of Texas and limit the number of clinics able to provide abortion services to FIVE statewide).

Today has been a good day for equality. I’m proud to be an American today.

I keep hearing and truly hope that the civil rights activism of today will be compared years from now to civil rights activism of the 1960’s and to the women’s sufferage movement of the early 20th century. I would love to believe that the people opposed to marriage equality today will be seen the same way as the people who opposed equality for people of color or who opposed equality for women. However, as long as there are people out there who still see homosexuality as a choice there will always be people who believe that it is okay to deny them rights. We all know that sexism and racism are not dead, but in order for homophobia to be seen with the same disgust as the former more people have to start believing that being gay is no more a choice than being female or the color of our skin.

We must believe that we are all equal regardless of gender, color, or sexuality. I don’t know that I’ll live to see that day, but I won’t stop fighting for as long as I live. That much I can guarantee.

I generally try to reserve this blog for writing about my writing (haha), and I’ll get there, I promise. But the truth is that much of my writing has been flavored by politics for as long as I can remember. Writing and talking about politics has been one of the greatest loves of my life.

You can all thank my mother for this personality trait.

When I sat down to write Stay, I tried to steer clear of politics. Rather, I tried to create characters that could be enjoyed by all people (namely women since Stay is a contemporary romance), regardless of political or religious affiliation. It was a conscious effort on my part. I feared at first that this would make my characters boring, one-dimensional. But I soon found that as the story developed there was really no room for politics. The characters of Addie and Jasper wouldn’t allow it. I thanked them for making my life easier on many occasions.

There is, of course, the underlying theme of animal cruelty (primarily dog fighting) within the pages of Stay. Animal welfare is a hot button issue right now which also makes it a political issue (think Proposition B in Missouri in 2010 or the Humane Society of the United States’ campaign against puppy mills). However, it is not necessarily a controversial issue. Most people would probably say that they are opposed to animal cruelty. The dabate begins when we start talking about how our laws will prevent such cruelty. There are parts of my novel that deal with this issue, more specifically the issue surrounding the lack of enforcable laws in many states when it comes to punishing criminal activity such as dog fighting.

I wrote about animal cruelty to tug at the reader’s heart strings. I wrote about animal cruelty because it is one of the issues I care about most and is a much more emotional issue to me than it is political. I have four rescued bulldogs at home, and 3 of them are puppy mill and cruelty survivors. But Stay, in the general sense, is not a novel frought with politcs.

My next novel may not follow the same guidelines. The protagonist in the outline on which I’m working is much different than Addie. She’s not as sweet. In fact, she can be a real bitch. As I make notes, she’s turning out to be much more flawed than I planned.

I realize that every character that an author creates will be different from the last. So I didn’t necessarily expect the protagonist in these books to be the same. I mean, how boring would that be? But what I’m finding is that this protagonist is giving me a little more to work with…a little more room for politics and a little more room for crazy.

Early a.m. arrest, anyone?

So far, some of the notes I’ve made while on vacation look like this:

–ferris wheel/fair

–Magnolia Hotel

–arrested

–chimpanzee

–law officer character similar to **** (a person I know in Real Life)

I really can’t wait to get home and start putting my nose to the grindstone. Is that the proper cliche? I can never remember. Why would anyone put their nose to a grindstone? It sounds terribly painful if you ask me.

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I received the first critique of my novel yesterday. It was so enlightening! I won’t lie–it helped that the reader (whom I don’t even know, might I add) liked the story. She was positive, but at the same time gave me lots of helpful feedback. She asked questions about story flow in a few parts. She asked about parts of the story that didn’t make sense or presented a problem for her as she read. Some of these things I’d also noticed, and it was good to know that other readers are going to pick up on these things as well.

I still have lots of work to do. 

But I’m encouraged. 

I wanted to share with you one of the positive things my reader wrote:

I was enthralled enough with the story that when it was time to leave work yesterday I considered emailing myself the copy that I had been making comments on so that I could continue reading and commenting. I actually had to tear myself away and finish the story this morning. For me that is the ultimate sign of whether something “good” or not.

This has been a ridiculous week. I am emotionally and physically drained. But I’m also feeling energized to jump back into my story and flesh out a few of those problem areas.

It’s time to go and buy a new pen.

 

Programs, Schmograms

I’m convinced that being a writer and trying to write according to the books is like trying be pregnant according to the books. I had to become illiterate while I was pregnant just to keep my blood pressure at a normal level. Everything I read was a warning about gestational diabetes or a terrifying story about some weird genetic defect that was going to leave my baby with twelve toes on one foot.

And that Moonpie in your hand? Forget about eating that.

You’ll chomp on a celery stick and like it.

Earlier I updated about a great app I downloaded. Really, it is pretty cool. Then this morning I downloaded yWriter on my laptop. A few days ago I downloaded a trial version of Scrivener.

I’m just trying to get a feel for this crap…er, programs…the books keep suggesting we writers use.

I want to maximize my effectiveness/success/awesomeness

And I want to look professional. I want to look less like the amateur the books keep telling me I am.

But I swear, some of these programs are more difficult to understand than my college chemistry class (it was HARD, people). It’s like my brain just doesn’t work that way. There are all of these choices and all of these buttons, and I’m finding myself very overwhelmed and very frustrated.

I have all these ideas and things I want to write down for my newest story, but I can’t muddle through the programs to get it accomplished. Even as much as I like the iPad app–there are still parts of it that I find irritating. I’m considering just buying a new notebook and drafting my outline that way. It isn’t the most sophisticated method, but I think it is the only one that will allow me to keep my sanity.

Do any of you use a program that you love? Do you have any tips on navigating Scrivener or yWriter?