Friday, April 11, 2008

How Rhiannon Got Her Horror Groove Back - Part One

I know. I know. I started this blog then vanished. Part of the reason was that I forgot about it. And when I did remember it, I forgot the password. Then I forgot about it again.

But my excuse was that I was busy. Very busy.

What was I so busy doing?

Well, learning about 1) writing 2) publishing 3)what a total bitch both can be.

I was pretty stoked last year when I finally finished my big zombie epic online. The outpouring of support from the fans reading the story was a huge morale boost. The emails, comments, reviews, PMs, etc, made me feel like a "real" writer and I was gung ho and ready to go.

I bought some books on getting published, read a bunch of websites, subscribed to the Writer's Market online, and immediately fell into a deep depression.

First off, writing a query letter sucks. It sucks a lot. In fact I cannot express how much writing a query letter sucks. Trying to summarize your book into a few sentences is a total bitch. I banged my head against the desk a few times in frustration (not really, but I felt like it!). My soon to be husband (at that time) kept grumbling about the process and how annoyed he was by it, but I kept trying.

I have to state for the record, I HATE every query I've written thus far.

And I hate writing a synopsis even more.

Seriously, hate. Despise. Freaking hate summaries.

You get the drift.

In fact, trying to write the summary and the query on my vampire novel was so disheartening and depressing, I wasn't surprised at the form rejection letters that rolled back to me. Well, just five of them. But, you get the idea.

I paced around the house, thought long and hard, felt extremely grumpy, and sulked as I decided to let it go for a bit. At this point, there was so much contradictory information flooding my brain (get an agent, don't get an agent, approach the big publisher first, no go to the small one first), that I felt completely frozen.

During this time, I kept getting emails from fans asking when the novel was going to be coming out. It was encouraging to hear from people who loved my story when I felt so down and unsure of how to continue.

Somehow I ended up on Candy Haven's writer's workshop yahoo group and found out about her Fast Draft. The challenge was to write a book in two weeks. Not a First Draft, but a Fast Draft. The idea of writing a book in two weeks really inspired me and I signed on. By this time, I realized successful authors are often prolific writers and my old way of "writing when I feel like it" wasn't going to turn my ideas into novels very quickly.

I took an idea I got from a dream and jumped in to the Fast Draft. I had no clue where I was going with the original idea, but I was anxious to find out what lurked just beyond the gray veil of my dream. What was the dream? I woke up buried under the forest floor and clawed my way out. I stumbled through the forest to a college campus and let instinct guide me to my old dorm room. I washed all the forest grim off of me and dressed myself as I tried hard to remember the details of my life and who I really was. Ravaged by hunger, I left the safety of the dorm room and wandered the dark campus in a hazy confusion. Finally, I found my way to a secret sex party where my true nature was revealed as was my creator. That is where the dream ended.

I had no clue what came next. None at all. But I wanted to know what the rest of the story was. To do that, I had to write it.

It was challenging to dedicate every day to writing 20 pages (sometimes more). It was extremely exciting to have the story continually unveil itself as I wrote and fun to discover new characters and scenarios. At the halfway point I was still unsure how it was all going to end, but then a significant event happened and it all snapped into focus.

After months of doing nothing but writing query letters and synopsises that I hated, I finally wrote something creative that felt solid and good.

I felt energized.

Then a publishing opportunity came along...

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