Tag: writer

Are You a Writer Who Just Got Rejected? Here’s What to Do

If you’re a writer, then you probably have at least two voices in your head, one in each ear. One voice tells you that what you’re writing is the best thing ever, the next Harry Potter/Game of Thrones/Hunger Games. The other voice tells you that you’re a terrible writer and you should just give up.

You suck down those fears and put a smile on your face. You’re a writer, and you have a short story of a novel or maybe you even have both. You submit your work and sit back.

 

 

 

“No, thanks.”

It’s a stab in the gut, and the ‘thanks’ only adds salt to the wound. You suck it up and submit again. Maybe this time you’ll submit to a smaller agency, a tinier magazine. You hit send:

“No, thanks.”

Now what?

 

The Gotham Writers Conference

Image Via Twitter

 

Thanks to The Gotham Writers Conference, we at Bookstr were able to listen in on a lecture given by Kim Laio, author of the essay published on Lit Hub Why You Should Aim for 100 Rejections a Year. Since everyone had a paper and pen, she had the listeners in the audience go through two different exercises. The first exercise was as follows:

 

  • Writer down your hopes and dreams as a writer

 

After telling everyone to do this, the room was filled with a long contemplative silence filled only with the soft scribbling of pens and the soft groaning rattles of the radiator. When everyone’s pens were done, and after some time after that, Kim Liao said this:

Now skip a line. Protect your hopes and dreams.

After giving us a clear warning that her next two directions were “worse” then she first direction, she gave us the second:

  • Answer what’s stopping you from achieving those dreams

And then the third:

  • What’s underling these anxieties?

 

Kim Liao

Image Via Twitter

 

She then turned to the audience, asking them what they answered. Don’t fret, the only people who answered were those who raised their hands and were given the microphone. One person told us a story about how they were writing a book about a “terrible cult” and the effects their actions brought upon their family.

A book about cults? Count me in!

She then said she hadn’t told anyone about the book for the longest time because, well, there was a certain personal conflict with the book.

What was the person problem? Her brother.

Her brother was a member of the cult. He left the cult, but became an apologist for the cult.

It was only after this person was able to tell her brother about the book and give him it that she was able to move on. She doesn’t know if he read the book, if he was angry or upset, but he had the book and it was out of her hands.

 

 

This story is about the third direction Kim Liao gave us: What’s underling these anxieties?  Turns out the most common reason for anxieties about your hopes and dreams about becoming a writer is this daunting question, “What will happen if you tell the truth?”

See, if you’re a writer, then you probably have at least two voices in your head, one in each ear. One voice tells you that what you’re writing is the best thing ever, the next Harry Potter/Game of Thrones/Hunger Games. The other voice tells you that you’re a terrible writer and you should kill yourself.

Both of these voices are toxic.

 

Fiction is the truth inside the lie

Image Via QuoteHD.com

 

Fiction, non-fiction, they all deal with truths. Even if the book takes place on another planet or another dimension, there is always a person connection the writer has with the work. It came from them, and now it’s out there on a bone writer paper written in black ink. It’s literally out there in black and white, and most often we are afraid to show it because of fear.

That right there is a personal rejection. No one has rejected the story except you. If you’re thinking about your worst review, as one person at the conference was, stop that. Any craft, be it writing or construction or electric or running, gets better as you do it more and more. So keep it, and silence the voice that tells you you’re a terrible writer and know that the story you are telling is one that only you could tell.

 

Sit Back

Image Via PlayMelnc

 

Now sit back. Remember that voice that tell you you’re writing is the best thing ever, the next Harry Potter/Game of Thrones/Hunger Games? Bring down your expectations. Humble yourself.

 

Image result for humble yourself advice
Image Via PInterest

 

Even the authors of those books didn’t know they were writing something as huge as those. Heck, I’d bet George R R Martin has days where he’d wish Game of Thrones wasn’t as big as it was so the pressure would be off as he finished up Winds of Winter.

Tamper your arrogance, erase your fears

Now you’re ready to submit. Then you get a rejection. And then another one. And then another one after that.

So what do you do?

Well, what do you think that Kim Laio, author of the essay published on Lit Hub Why You Should Aim for 100 Rejections a Year is going to tell you?

 

Kim Liao

Image Via Girl Meets Fornosa

 

Get 100 rejections of year

This is how you do that:

  • Set up an excel spreadsheet
  • Set up one column for the number
  • Set up one column for the story
  • Set up one column for the publishing house/agent

 

Don’t worry, we understand. One-hundred rejections a year? A hundred times of people stabbing you in the gut with that “No, thanks,” as though the ‘thanks’ at the end of that sentence means anything? No, thanks, you go, but don’t reject me now!

According to Kim Liao, she heard this advice from a friend and thought it was the “best advice ever.” By collecting a hundred rejections a year, you’re making it yourself mission. Your goal now isn’t to get published, but to wrap up the rejection list. When you get a rejection now, you can now log it into the spreadsheet and get that rush of a dopamine because you’re productive. That rush, that split second happiness, makes you feel motivated to go and put yourself out there again.

It isn’t about collecting those rejections slips so you know who to stick it to when you make a ton of money, that’s not why Stephen King collected his rejection slips, it’s to give yourself a goal, to turn your disappoint into a mission to keep going and wrap up the rejection list. You’re accepting that you’re going to get rejected and now you’re striving to do so. Odds are at least one person will accept your story. Plus, if you want to be a writer, you have to get used to it.

 “For a writer, it’s mostly rejections.”

 

Image Via Writer’s Digest

 

Rejections aren’t all bad. Remember: “The door isn’t closing, the path if shifting.”

Rejections can create relationships. Your expert query letter may prove that while the agent isn’t interested in your current work, he/she might be interested in your work as a writer. They might ask to see something else or, worst case, they now know your name. Your name is out there, like a plane traveling across the beach, and you never know who might see your banner.

At this point in the conference, Kim Liao gave us the audience a second set of direction. With pens and notebooks at the ready, the silence was palpable. These are the sets in full:

  • List 5 or more things you can do in the next year
  • List 4 things you can do in the next 6 months
  • List 3 things you can do in the next 2 months
  • List 2 things you can do this month
  • List 1 things you can do this week

So what’re you waiting for?

 

Twitter

Image Via Author Media

 

Go on Twitter and search for submission calls. Look for agents and editors, most agents and editors post their emails on their Twitter.

 

Image Via Webnode

 

Maybe you should set up a blog; just remember to “write lots of posts in advance.”

 

Image Via Self-Publishing School

 

Set up a writing schedule. A writing schedule isn’t necessary just writing. Put time aside for pitching, writing, and querying. All three of these things have to do with writing, and you have to set time aside for each.

 

 

Before you query, take a step back and look at your writing. “Whenever you feel that you’re ready, take a week,” and remember that “[y]our writer’s group can help you solve your problems…not your agent.”

 

You can only query one agent with one project at a time. If you go back and make changes, odd are that agent doesn’t want to hear about that project anymore.

 

When you’re ready to submit your work, set up the excel spreadsheet and aim to get a hundred rejections a year. Rejection is a “necessary step,” in the writing process. “It can happen anywhere,” even to the most successful writer.

But keep writing and keep submitting. If you get a rejection, and then another one, and then another one after that, then guess what? You have only three rejections and need ninety-seven more to finish out your list! Odds are you’re going to be surprised because the best thing you write might be the thing people like the best.

And don’t forget: if you’re writing a novel and you go “Now I have an agent! I’m done,” then you’re wrong. You haven’t even gotten started yet, but you’re ready.

 

 

 

Featured Image Via

Happy Birthday Leo Tolstoy, Author of ‘War And Peace’!

Happy birthday to one of the most acclaimed classic writers of the world: Leo Tolstoy. The Russian writer wrote numerous novels that have become literary mainstays, such as Anna Karenina, The Death of Ivan Ilyichand War And PeaceSurely you’ve heard of at least one of them, although you may not have actually read them.

 

 

Tolstoy was born in Tula Province, Russia in 1828. In the 1860s, he wrote his most famous novel, which we’ve already mentioned: War And Peace. Initially published serially, later collected into a single volume, spanning the period of 1805 to 1820. Since its publication, it has been regarded as Tolstoy’s finest achievement and a huge high mark of literature in general.

 

Image via Amazon

 

Tolstoy continued to write fiction throughout the 1880s and 1890s, until his death in 1910. But War And Peace remains his most famous achievement, understandably so. He spent the better of the 1860s toiling over his epic masterpiece. Portions of it were first published in The Russian Messenger, where it was first titled “The Year of 1805.” More chapters were released, until Tolstoy eventually finished in 1868. Both critics and the public were buzzing about the novel’s historical accounts of the Napoleonic Wars, combined with its thoughtful development of realistic yet fictional characters. The novel also uniquely incorporated three long essays satirizing the laws of history. Among the ideas that Tolstoy extols in War and Peace is the belief that the quality and meaning of one’s life is mainly derived from his day-to-day activities.

 

Image via Wikipedia

 

After War And Peace, Tolstoy followed it with Anna Karenina, where the first line is among his most famous quotes. It said:

 

 

‘All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.’

 

This book was published in installments from 1873 to 1877. The royalties earned from both novels made Tolstoy rich, contributing to his growing status as a beloved author. However, after Anna Karenina, Tolstoy grew depressed and suffered a spiritual crisis. He attempted to find answers in the Russian Orthodox Church but they did not have any answers that satisfied him. He wound up developing his own system of beliefs and expressed them in further books he wrote in the 1880s. However, this cost him to be ousted from the Church and watched by the secret police. This perhaps contributed to his dwindling popularity, with the exception of The Death of Ivan Illyich, which found acclaim and popularity.

Despite this, Tolstoy established himself as a moral and spiritual leader, influencing the likes of Ghandi among others. Also during his later years, Tolstoy reaped the rewards of international acclaim. Yet he still struggled to reconcile his spiritual beliefs with the tensions they created in his home life. His wife not only disagreed with his teachings, she disapproved of his disciples, who regularly visited Tolstoy at the family estate. Their troubled marriage took on an air of notoriety in the press. Anxious to escape his wife’s growing resentment, in October 1910, Tolstoy, his daughter, Aleksandra, and his physician, Dr. Dushan P. Makovitski, embarked on a pilgrimage. Valuing their privacy, they traveled incognito, hoping to dodge the press, to no avail.

He died in November in 1910, where he was buried in the family estate following his passing. He was survived by his wife and his 8 children he had with it. Today, Tolstoy is remembered as a masterpiece of a writer, with a gift for describing a character’s motives and remembering to focus on their everyday actions to describe their overall purpose.

Happy birthday, Tolstoy! Maybe crack open one of his novels and check him out today.

 

 

Featured Image Via The Guardian

Marie Ponsot, Famous Poet, Passes Away at 98

Sad news for the literary community. According to The New York Times Marie Pronsot, a prolific poet, has passed away at aged ninety-eight. During her lifetime, the poet embarked on a long and extraordinary writing career. By the time of her death, Pronsot had translated dozens of books, published seven volumes of poetry, and served as the chancellor at the Academy of American Poets from 2010 to 2014. She passed away with her husband in New York City. She began her carer in the 1950s, where she was first published by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, a native of Yonkers who championed the Beat poetry movement.

 

Image via the New York times

Ponsot’s first notable work was True Minds, was a collection of love poems for her husband. For nearly twenty-five years, this remained her only book, as Ponsot abandoned her poetry career in order to focus on her personal life. During this time, she had become divorced from her husband, leaving her in Manhattan with seven children to raise. But despite this, she continued writing, filling her notebooks with ideas, scribblings, and poems even in the midst of her personal exile from the poetry world.

In 1981, she resumed her career after ‘finding her feet’ and titled her second collection Admit Impediment. The opening poem of the collection was a direct response to her husband, to whom her last and first collection was dedicated. The poem goes:

 

Death is the price of life.

Lives change places.

Asked why

we ever married, I smile

and mention the arbitrary fierce

glance of the working artist

that blazed sometimes in your face

but can’t picture it.

 

Image via The New York times

 

The collection went on to earn praise for its elegance, intimacy, as well as its rawness and fragility. It was followed by two sequels, the first in 1988 titled The Green Dark and the second in 1998 titled The Bird Catcher. The final one brought her National Attention, as well as increased praise and several awards. She described her process as writing ten minutes per day, pouring her life into the words and said she would encourage anyone to give poetry a go.

“Anyone can write a line of poetry. Try. That’s my word: try.”

Rest in peace, Marie Pronsot. You brought true imagination and love to the world of poetry.

 

Featured Image Via The New York Times

George R.R. Martin Reportedly Writer for Upcoming Videogame!

Despite Game of Thrones coming to an end on Sunday night, George R.R. Martin is continuing to plow a head with original content! According to an article by PC Games, George R.R. Martin revealed he’s being consulted to act as a writer on an upcoming game by FromSoftware. FromSoftware is a video game developer’s studio based out of Japan, creating such titles as Dark Souls, Bloodborneand Sekiro: Shadows Die TwiceTheir games often deal with themes of dark fantasy, creating vibrant worlds that nonetheless feel isolated and full of horror. They also emphasize difficulty, being infamous for creating very hard bosses and enemies that will often have players tearing their hair out. This seems like a match made in heaven with George R.R. Martin.

 

A knight stands over a burning bonfire in a dark cavern

Image via Dark Souls wiki

George R.R. Martin discussed this and more in a blog post where he revealed his upcoming projects. He has a producer credit on eight upcoming TV shows, short film adaptations, and involvement on feature length movies. In the post, he stated that he was consulting on a video game studio from Japan. Through some research, PC Gamer believes George R.R. Martin will be working with FromSoftware on their next video game project. Martin’s work on the title will include acting as head writer and helping to flesh out the world the player experiences during the game. The title will be an open world title, allowing the player to explore multiple kingdoms at their own pace, while fighting bosses and absorbing their power to grow stronger. Hidetaka Miyazaki, the game’s director, will be working closely with Martin to create the game’s world. The game will be announced at E3 this June, so we look forward to its official unveiling there!

With Martin’s eye for detail, skill with world building, and FromSoftware’s experience as a game studio behind him, we can’t wait to see what George’s imagination creates! Are you excited to see what sort of game George R.R. Martin can create? Let us known in the comments!

 

 

Featured Image Via Polygon 

Author Among Those Charged In FBI College Acceptance Scam

The biggest news story of the day is the massive bribery scheme that was uncovered by the FBI. The Justice Department just charged and arrested fifty people in what is called “Operation Varsity Blues”, where a group of wealthy parents, coaches and college prep executives carried out fraud in order to get students into prestigious colleges. This includes paying a college prep organization to correct answers on students tests and bribing coaches to admit students as recruited athletes regardless if they have athletic ability.

Many wealthy people have been charged in this case. The most prominent people involved are actresses Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives) and Lori Loughlin (Fuller House). An FBI agent told CNN that the money paid in this scam could be anywhere between $200,000 to $6.5 million.

 

Many wealthy people have been charged in this case. The most prominent people involved are actresses Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives) and Lori Loughlin (Fuller House)
Image Via CNN

 

One of the more interesting names in this case in Jane Buckingham. She is a published author and marketing consultant who runs her own media firm. She has written multiple books: The Modern Girl’s Guide To series and What’s Next: The Experts’ Guide: Predictions From 50 Of America’s Most Compelling People.

 

Image result for jane buckingham
Image Via Twitter

 

According to The Washington Post, Buckingham donated $50,000 dollars to the Key Worldwide, the “nonprofit” at the center of this scam, to get someone to take a college entrance test for her son. The FBI secretly recorded Buckingham talking to one of the people arranging the test:

 

“I know this is craziness- I know it is. And then I need you to get him into USC, and then I need you to cure cancer and [make peace] in the Middle East.”

 

So much for getting into a good school based on merit.

 

 

Featured Image Via Education Writers Association