So today I have the amazing Siobhan Kinkade with us to talk about writing. So let's see what she has to say.
That doesn’t mean what you think it means. I’m not talking about using books to escape from real life, as I am always wont to do. No, in this case, it means the literary part of being a writer tends to escape whenever it has a chance. There’s a reason for this madness, I promise.
Anyone who says that writing fiction for publication is always fun is full of hooey. Either that person is demented, or she's not doing something right. To be a writer, you have to REALLY love your work. You have accept that sometimes it’s awful, and further you have to understand that the rewards are worth the war.
Writing is hard work. It isn't always easy. It isn't always fun. And more often than not, the process sucks. The writing part is great, when the words are flowing. If writer's block scares you, then honey...you are in HUGE trouble.
But even that isn't the worst part. The behind-the-scenes brain-to-shelf part is what truly sucks.
After the initial story is on paper, there's the first round of self-editing and revising. Then the round of "here read this" to everyone you know. Then there's the submission process.
Query letters suck, too.
Then there's the waiting, which is probably the worst part. You have to sit there and try not to go completely insane while someone else judges your work as "saleable" or "trash". (NOW WAIT JUST A MINUTE... WHO THE… DO YOU THINK YOU ARE TO TELL ME IF I'M GOOD ENOUGH OR NOT??? Oh yeah, the editor... I'm sorry, please continue.) Then after those long weeks (and sometimes months) of waiting comes the form rejection letter - or if you're extremely lucky, the congratulatory note with a contract attached.
Then the editor gets her grimy little hands on your precious manuscript and hacks it to bits. And all the while, you're supposed to stand there and smile and say okay as she looks you in the eyes and tells you that you're a substandard writer who needs to just give up and go work at McDonald's (okay, she isn't really saying that, but when you're on the receiving end of that marked-up document, that's what it feels like).
Once that crying, screaming fit is over, you edit, return, and wait some more. Sometimes there are more edits. Then there's cover art...which you're supposed to have a say in but it doesn't always work like that. Then after long months of battle, your book goes live and you can sit back with a smile and say "I did it."
I did it with all of my short stories and novellas. And then I did it with Loki’s Game. I wrote and revised and changed and hacked and wrote some more. Then I submitted (more than once), and it finally got picked up. And here we are today. Small cheer for Siobhan, right?
It’s lovely, but isn’t the end of the process. The ideas keep coming, the writing keeps happening, and the suckage goes on.
I have ideas all day long. Things float through my head on little clouds of genius, but by the time I can get my fingers around a pen or to a keyboard to get them out, that little cloud has puttered to nothing and the idea has drowned in a sea of blather. At first, I thought it was because I was trying to type and I needed to be hand-writing. Then even the pen...my trusty blue sidekick for the last three years... revolted and said "nope, I ain't doin' it."
Sometimes the ideas come all at once. Other times they don’t come at all. It just goes with the territory. Right now I’m stuck for ideas, but I'm spreading out flypaper on the floor of my brain as I write this. My notebook and pen are at one hand, my laptop at the other, and the computer I'm currently typing this on is directly in front of me. Whatever medium it requires to get those evil, elusive words out of my head, I'm going to use.
I need to get some refills for this pen, too. She needs some new ammo if I'm to win this war. It used to be that the only way I could get words out was to sit down with a notebook and pen, but I'm moving past that, training my brain to adapt and accept new modes of warfare. Yes, I lose battles all the time. But if I will hunt down the words that leave, capture them, and commit them to paper.
I will win this war. I promise.