Friday, September 17, 2010

Lets just add a marathon to that.

Blogs, facebook, twitter, writing groups, critique groups, conferences . . . How do authors ever find the time to write? 

That’s a question that I ask myself all the time. I could spend hours going between my email, and blogs let alone catch up on my reading, and studying my craft.  Suddenly the kids are home and I have not written a single paragraph on my manuscript.

How do people do it? I am amazed at those people who can juggle everything.  And then there are those who can do it all and then go above and beyond. To those people, I throw flower petals and sing hallelujah. 
My editor, Eliza Nevins, is one of those people.  Really when I think about it, authors have the fun part. We get to come up with the story, spending hours in our little dream worlds watching these fantasy scenes play out in our heads. Yeah, sometimes it’s hard getting those scenes from the dark recesses of our minds onto paper, but still…it’s fun.  Then there are the editors. People like Eliza who set at work all day fixing and perfecting our work.  And while we get to indulge ourselves in our one project, they have several setting on their desk all demanding attention. Yep, they are busy, busy people. 


How do people do it? I amazed at those people who can juggle everything.  And then there are those who can do it all and then go above and beyond. To those people, I throw flower petals and sing hallelujah. 
My editor, Eliza Nevin (Covenant), is one of those people.  Really when I think about it, authors have the fun part. We get to come up with the story, spending hours in our little dream worlds watching these fantasy scenes play out in our heads. Yeah, sometimes it’s hard getting those scenes from the dark recesses of our minds onto paper, but still…it’s fun.  Then there are the editors. People like Eliza who set at work all day fixing and perfecting our work.  And while we get to indulge ourselves in our one project, they have several setting on their desk all demanding attention. Yep, they are busy, busy people. 

Eliza generously took a couple of hours out of her Saturday to stop by while we were filming our music video/book trailer a few weeks ago.  I was ecstatic that she showed up and we visited as she cooled her swelling knee under a large bag of ice. Why was her knee swelling, you ask? Well that’s simple; she just got done running 16 miles! Yeah, I couldn’t believe it either, but then she explained that she was training for a marathon. Yep, that’s a whopping 26.2 miles! I was flabbergasted!  My editor is a runner?

You’ve got to be kidding—a marathon?  That’s huge!!! I’ve always wanted to run a marathon, but at the same time (at least at the moment) I know that it’s beyond my reach.  A Marathon—wow! People who can run a marathon can accomplish anything! The discipline alone in training for it is a monumental accomplishment, and I can only imagine the satisfaction one gets when crossing the finish line.

So I looked at Eliza and she seemed to be glowing and I swore I could hear angels singing “Awwwwwe” in the background. Then she promptly told me I could run one too. Ha,ha. But then she explained that she had never been a runner. This was something that she just decided she wanted to do.

I scooped my jaw up off the ground and asked for details. How cool is this… She is running the marathon in DUBLIN IRELAND!!!  She needs to raise $ 5,000 to participate and the proceeds go to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society!  She really is an angel. I really mean it. She sings too. She'll even give you a singing telegram for just donating $25.00 to her cause. She has other singing packages as well. if you want her and her friends to sing to you, call her for information: (801) 602-5289


So my editor, Eliza, is my new superhero—one of those people I’d like to throw flower petals over and sing hallelujah choruses to. With her busy schedule, she still manages to fit in a marathon.

If you want to know why she’s doing this, check out her web page.
http://pages.teamintraining.org/dm/dublin10/enevin

It’s definitely worth reading. And while you’re there, make a donation. Every bit helps. Besides, we all know it’s a good thing if we can make an editor smile—well here’s your chance. When you make a donation, Eliza says she will smile like this:
Editor: Eliza Nevin

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

CO-AUTHORING . . . THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY

 Look . . . Co-authors, and they're both smiling!

I recently picked up one of my “how to” books on writing novels and was excited to see that it included a chapter on Co-authors. For those observant people out there, you know that one of my books, Mark of Royalty is co-authored. (Check out the author photo…see, 2 people.) Lots of authors don’t want to have a co-author, and I totally understand why.  Even the chapter on Co-authors in my “how to” book slightly discouraged attempting this, especially with a family member.  But…

 I did, and I even lived to tell about it.

My experience….it’s hard but totally doable and worth it.
Why did I ask my sister to co-author with me?  Well, because I didn't know how to write. At least I didn’t think I knew how to write. Check out my English grades. (Please don’t, I was just kidding.) Just trust me. I was not a writer. In my family, my sister Stephonie, was the writer, and she was good at it. So this is how it all went down:

1.    I call up my sister, Stephonie, and tell her I thought up this great story. (It actually came from a
      dream. Don’t tell me, that’s so Stephanie Myer.)
2.    I tell my sister the story; every detail I could think of. Of course, she loved it. I’m a genius.
3.    Then I tell her that I want to write it down, you know ….for prosperity.
4.    She tells me it should be a book that should be submitted to a publisher.
5.    I laugh.
6.    She doesn’t.
7.    I tell her okay, but only if she helps me. (I’m shaking in my boots at this point).

So we go on from there in writing bliss; bouncing our ingenious ideas off of each other and writing together until we turn out this incredible novel.  Urrrrchhhh! Hold on. Back up.

It’s all great when one of you has writers block and just then the other one happens to turn out a great scene with Jane Austin-ness.  But it doesn’t always come together like that.

If you are thinking about co-authoring,  or going into business with a family member, or just having someone critique your work, here are 5 tips I learned from co-authoring with my sister:

1st Get on the same page.
Make sure it is clear what is expected of each other (It stinks when you both write the same chapter). Remember, someone needs to have controlling interest that will make the final decisions.
On the technical side of things, make sure you have compatible programs. Trust me—it makes things a whole lot easier if your computers can talk to each other.
 
2nd  Have patients and Expect that it will take longer.
It’s true.  I know that 2 people are supposed to be faster than one, but consider that whatever you do needs to go through the other person too. Besides, everyone doesn’t work on your time schedule.  Allow for twice as many interruptions, because there are two of you.
 
3rd  Be considerate of each others feelings.
Remember that they are putting their love and energy into the project as well.
 
So what do you do when you don’t like what they wrote? Believe me—it’s hard to tell someone that you have to cut the scene that they just spent weeks writing. My sister and I learned that we needed some time between scene reviews. Stephonie would send me a scene, and I would tell her what I liked (which was a lot…she’s a great writer), but I would wait about 2 weeks before I told her what I didn’t think fit and what I thought we needed to change.  
Not everyone needs that buffer time; as a writer you should have a thick skin.  But as sisters we needed to do what we could to protect each other’s feelings. Don’t want any family reunions to be uncomfortable.  We put the extra time there for our emotions, which inevitably attach to our writing, to disperse a little. 
 
4th Keep an open mind.
This is really hard when you have in your mind how you want something to go.
You’re going to face that moment when whoever you’re working with tells you that they don’t like your idea, and that it should be done a different way. At that moment, you’re going to want to reach through the phone and choke them. But keep open about it and you might just find some better ideas than you came up with in the first place.
 
5th  Prepare to be stretched.
Being stretched isn’t fun, but in the end you’re better for it. When Stephonie came up with the idea for the music video I thought she was crazy (but then all the best people are.) I just nodded politely and told her okay, and hoped that it was a bad dream that she would forget about. Then she started pushing me. She’s always pushing me. She sent me shooting locations and emailed me links to modeling agencies so we could start picking out actors. I was busy, and this was out of my comfort zone, but she kept pushing. In the end, it got things moving and I never would have done the video without her. She forced me to greatness. Thank Steph for making me stretch.

Co-authoring is a tough process, but in the end, I have to admit: two heads are better than one. And I’m thankful that I had someone along for the journey, that when I had those little moments of doubt, there was someone to encourage me. When I was frustrated, I had someone who would listen to me. And when I was tired or busy, someone was there to help pick up the loose ends and push me forward.
Would I do it again?

Yes, but this time it can be Stephonie’s baby, and I’ll be the backup author.

IN TOO DEEP Book Release and Kindle Scout advice

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