I first encountered the wonderful Raimey Gallant during NaNoWriMo last year. Her visions of helping writers write and cross-promoting with last years NaNoBlogHop were outstanding, and led me to connecting with many new (to me) bloggers on various social media platforms. I can’t thank her enough for that even though it was nearly a year ago already!
Recently she posted an article that began as follows;
This post is one of 200+ in the monthly Insecure Writers Support Group blog hop, and this month I’m co-hosting along with Tyrean Martinson and Tara Tyler. To continue hoping through more posts or to join, click here. (It’s fun!) There’s a big announcement this month, so head over to hop host Alex Cavanaugh’s site for that.
I felt obligated to investigate further and discovered there is a massive list of members in the group. All tagged and listed to participate in a writing related post on the first Wednesday of every month. There is even a statement of intent.
Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
Doubts and concerns ticked two boxes. I feel certain new authors and even established ones still have doubts over their latest manuscript(s). The big difference being one has gone through due process before and the other, has not.
Quite some time ago I started with a hypothetical question in a never, until now, aired blog post. A point where I’d be staring at e-mails in that gap between submitting and waiting. A mental miasma where time lingers in much the same way weeks of revision stretched eternal leading up to exams. Places a where it collects rather than moves onwards. Joyous in my days of piscatorial last casts before the sun dimmed in the evening sky. Not so in waiting for that anticipated rejection after long weeks and months tinged with vague optimism waiting to be dashed.
This is what lay resting in my slush pile of ramblings, buried in files covered in electronic dust. Part of a diary created after the first submission that might never be aired in full. A mind ramble if you like.
“Where the blazes have you been?” (Addressed at Executive brain function that has been hiding and not being executive at all).
The answer rests with cognitive dissonance. The juxtaposed conflict of views that lie inside the mind with polar opposite arguments leaving decision making entirely undecided.
I have been mulling much and taken a good course in procrastination. To publish or not to publish, that is the question. Except it’s not really a question given I’ve actually sent one book to a digital imprint owned by a well known publishing house, name withheld lest
failure rejection is returned.
In truth, I’m not optimistic because the process has shown me certain submission protocols are a bit naff and ambiguous. They may well be subject to the mood of an editorial team or agent. Not to mention the millions (hyperbole?) of daily incoming that makes careful reading of a newbie manuscript susceptible to the initial approach via email or cover letter.
If they are pants then it may well never get to the dreaded synopsis before being tossed into the shredder. I say dreaded because, despite hundred of “How to do a good one” posts and articles, you still have to condense that book into a few pages. Five on a good day and one to three on a bad one. This varies agent to agent to publisher. I know mines not selling the book just yet because I write novels and stripping them to the bones so start, middle and end drop neatly into a few lines is a tad (in my book) tricky.
Still, there were a few other things that emerged out of the last few month or so. My very first book, one that lay in digital fractions for two years, is now inside a manuscript template. My NaNoWriMo novel has likewise been assembled. It’s now very close to completion. My finished novel (working title The Assent of Rose Marie Gray) is at the aforementioned imprint. Unless, it isn’t… and they never received it…ode to the world of I.T. (substitute Kings IT if you so wish).
Automated emails are easy to set up people. Open options of “You might or might not hear from us in three to five weeks” (typically) do nothing to still fractious nerves because hearing nothing at all might, or might not, be a rejection… or a total failure of the submission to land in the first place. I’m not sure which scenario is worse! Working mental synopsis is thus;
Back to current day and the process is still unresolved and trending at self publishing after a rather nice rejection letter from a Yorkshire based publisher. Personally, I feel they knew I was born in Lancashire and the War of the Roses still sits heavy. “Their loss” says I, in a voice lacking conviction. Nevertheless, it was a very positive letter and offered insights into the volume of submissions received and even said please feel free to submit in the future… (negative spin and probably a stock response sent to everyone?)
Still, I have been asked several times to create posts explaining how I write and where my ideas come from so I take positives from that because it means my readers are disagreeing with the publishing sectors. Go me!
Self-doubt is the beast that even sits wondering if this inaugural Insecure Writer’s Support Group post is what they are after. Perhaps the use of “self-doubt” answers that one!
Moving on from the inane
insecure mental self reflections waffle, there was a question poised for this weeks IWSG post.
Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?
I feel on firmer ground here. No, if by personal information it means about me, family and friends. Any inference is purely co-incidental and, in truth, it is probably very unwise to use such information in a work of fiction. It may come back to bite you. By all means use traits, but blend them into a new character that has a back story. Real traits do help a reader identify. A fine line, and if you do become the next J.K. the last thing you want is litigation incoming because you have taken a friend into a book who’s taken umbrage.
However, in my memoirs (example here), by definition, the facts are real so I often relate those accurately with poetic license to spice them up. Not that the two I have written needed spicing up because events were actual, but I can see a need for a certain amount of creative drift if the aim is to pass on humour and atmosphere.
I end with my own question. Does cognitive dissonance impact the decision tree in what to do after your manuscript is written?