Time to take out the trash

Today I received an email asking for advice. I have been blogging and sharing my experiences and all that I’ve learned and am still learning about publishing my book. My posts have come about from; research, advice, instinct, common sense and a whole lot of hard work. Getting a book published traditionally is a daunting task and a lofty objective. It is however, the path that I know is the one for me. I have and will face many rejections from Literary Agents, I edited and revised my book to a point a professional said it was clean and well written. It may require some additional tweaking but I was told this could be done after a publisher takes me on that it is minor.

The temptation to get quick/instant results and venture into the world of self-publishing or vanity press is strong. However after a lot of research, and I mean a lot, I will take this route as my absolute last resort. Does that mean self or vanity press publishing is bad? No, but it is the last resort for me. Vanity press and self-publishing companies don’t actually call themselves that, but they do ask for money upfront for their “services”. Research the company and see what reviews they have before you decide anything.

Many great authors faced and still face rejection. One of my all-time favorites just recently had a book rejected and was devastated. She has had her books published since 1977. Thankfully, she is seeking alternate routes and publisher to get her book published. I can’t imagine how this felt for her to be so accomplished and then told “I don’t like it enough to publish.” Yiikes.

Scary? Sure. However, nothing in life comes easy; the best things are fought for. The harder I work the better I feel about my book. I have spent countless hours working on it and polishing it up. I can’t just give up on it and I won’t. I have my mind set on traditional publishing and my heart, instinct and common sense all agree.

Believe it or not, this is a level of tenacity your protagonist should have, even the antagonist. They should be driven and focused. If the protagonist ever gets to a point where they want to give up, give in, or even take the easy way out, have someone or something inspire them back into action and back on course.

It was near impossible to focus on work. It was true her designs have been edgier lately. Darker, mysterious and full of danger. The clients were eating it up. Sasha generally kept her office door open, and could hear the laughter of Amber and Scott. Her mind immediately jumped to the conclusion that they were laughing at her.
“Wow.” Sasha rubbed her temples. “I must really be letting them get to me to think that.” She stood and went to find Rachel to see if she was done proofing.
It meant passing the attention whore Amber who was milking a small head wound as if her head were severed and re attached.

“Hey Rachel.”
The young woman looked up at Sasha, relief instant in her eyes. “Oh Sasha.” She smiled. “I’m glad it’s you. That last advert was perfect. I couldn’t find any errors or anything missing.”
“Thanks.” Sasha narrowed her eyes at Dale who was in earshot. He made a show to roll his eyes. Rachel glanced his way then back at Sasha, her tension back. Sasha leaned closer to Rachel.
“Why were you glad it was me?”
“Um.” Rachel’s eyes flicked to Dale again. “No reason. I just wanted… Um to tell you in person that I found no error in your design.”
Sasha stood straight. “Okay thanks Rachel, my office is always open.” She nodded and turned toward Amber who artfully touched her head to draw attention to her bandage. A snarl set on Amber’s lips.
“Nice try. FYI Karma is a bitter medicine.” Sasha smiled brightly and nodded as she passed the malevolent woman.
Sasha had changed all of her passwords and put a security program on her work computer to record any attempts to log in. Sasha needed a plan. It was time to take out the trash. She needed a way to rid the office of Amber and Dale. Scott could stay or go, without Amber and Dale’s influence she suspected Scott would settle down. His recent bout of crazy was completely out of character for him
.

While a small moment of renewed determination from seeing others affected by her workplace-adversaries and Sasha might just be starting out on the right path… Maybe.

My advice about determination.
Don’t let the easy path tempt you. Take the time to figure out which way is best for you as an author. Regarding your characters, give them the same obstacles you face in life with a little more drama and flair and let them flourish or fall.

-Sheryl

Related posts on the path to publishing.

The not-so-direct path to publishing.

The rejection letter

The blurry lines of opinion and advice

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

Lofty

But I hate that

When I write or shall I say revise, I find ways to polish what I’ve written and employ some or all of the things I have found and learned. One thing I have recently been thinking about are our key character differences. Our differences make us unique from one another, this should also be true to characters of a story. I’ve talked about likes and dislikes and how they can bring about interesting conversation and plot turns. But what about hate?

The hate of a certain food, colour, object, task, job, behavior or even another person. I personally only give my good behaving characters one or two hates and they may or may not ever come up in the story unless they are pertinent or it can inject humor, tension, foreshadows or even comradery into a scenario.

I don’t mean the “Ooh I hate that.” Kind of hate, I mean the deep down, loathing-avoid-it-at-all-costs kind of hate. The sort of thing that Antagonists are riddled with.

A hatred of something or someone can be the entire purpose of a characters drive. Not everyone that hates is a bad person.

Anne’s smile faded as she approached the house. The loathsome sound of a small dog barking behind the door made her toes curl. The door opened before she could knock and the vile creature bounded out at her. Taking a step back, she gave herself points for not punting the yappy monster nipping at her shoes and jumping up at her legs.

Valery waited while her date loaded up his vendor hotdog with condiments. He didn’t know it was a test. If he reached for the bottle of vomit, she would bail on him. Petty, but anyone who ate relish was as vile as they come. You could kick a dog and she’d find a way to forgive, but to willingly consume the slimy, chunky, tangy booger-barf was a no go for her. He squeezed the bottle and it oozed out with small fart noises; she grimaced as her stomach lurched. Too bad, he was a great kisser.

Baylor crouched quietly waiting for his quarry. With each passing minute, his body tensed a little more, the grinding of his teeth his only company in the dark yard. The nearby animals sensing his furious presence wouldn’t resume their night-song or dare approach. His nostrils flared as car headlights approached. Nobody has gotten away before, nobody. Let alone have him arrested. She ruined everything, now he had to become someone else to be happy. A tainted happiness all because of some whore tease who tempted too many men falsely. If she lived through his payback, he didn’t care. It would be a first, he liked them to suffer forever, but this one, oh, this one destroyed his control, she who wasn’t even the real target to begin with, would pay dearly.

When I give a protagonist or supporting character a hatred, I try to make it interesting, against the norm or flat out weird. That way the reader will be shocked or taken aback by the hatred. It makes a person more believable it they If I have an antagonist with bundles of hatred, I would let it out slowly or hide it from the world in which they live. Perhaps the reader would be given glimpses, with a show gesture or two. Or, with an action or conversation that starts to elude to their deep seeded hatred. They are after all the one that throws the protagonist challenge after challenge until one of them wins.

My advice about hatred.
Keep it believable. Unique to the character, but not overwhelming if they are not the villain. If possible work the hatred into the plot as a device for conversation, character building or even the whole point of the story. Have fun with hatred, but remember most people keep such powerful emotions tucked away, deep down and loathe even to talk about it.

-Sheryl

Other posts

Sensible sensation

Did you smell that?

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

 Relish