Sunday, May 30, 2010

Placed in Fab Five Writing Contest - Excited...But...

Apartment with a View by Denny S. Bryce

After four years of writing original fiction I entered my first writing contest two months ago. It was with the Wisconsin Romance Writers. And let's just say, I was thrilled when I learned I'd placed 5th out of 28 stories in the paranormal category. But the writing contest world is making me a little crazy.

In my 'real' world job, I don't 'listen' to naysayers and/or take advice from just anyone in the industry because I'm confident in my knowledge of how to run my business/handle my projects. I know I know how to do the best possible job or at least how to ask the best questions to ensure I do the job the way it needs to be done. But Denny the writer is a jumble of nerves and insecurities and its an odd, exciting mind-set for me to explore.

Denny the writer is easily swayed by the comments of other writers, or people in general when it comes to my writing. But oddly, if they say something good, I rationalize the comment with reasons as to why I should distrust the response/reaction. Be it a co-writer in my critique group or a best friend or even the agent who judged the finalists, I can't just take it in.

Let me be clear about the agent's comments - they were glorious. I mean she pointed out the positive and then gave excellent advice/insights on my story. If you've judged contests before, you know how they work and what to expect. Opening, Plot, Main Character, Dialog. Each topic, if you will, is scored and analyzed.

So, I'm excited. I did really well - didn't win, but I did well.

So what's eating at me?

The comments have sent me into a major re-write mode. And I guess, each time I move forward, I feel like I'm taking a step sideways. And the bottom line is that I'm still not done!

I wish I had more to share. Something more introspective to make this post insightful, but the deal is that writing a book takes time and consistency and hard work. Each success is measured. Satisfaction has to be in the process.

I love the process, but I just wish I had more time to devote to it.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Universal Studios, Orlando and Writing...

Photo taken by Denny S. Bryce during recent trip to Universal Studios in Orlando!

What does it take to inspire a writer who has spent weeks uninspired?

It has something to do with taking time off.

It's almost as much of a job to keep writing as it is to write. What I mean is that writing isn't just about sitting down in front of your laptop, desktop or notepad (or in my case my new iPad:) and committing to six hours or 10,000 words. There is the state of mind and the spirit that must be nurtured in order to ensure time spent writing is enjoyable (painfully so), productive and focused. Taking a break is important especially when you're beating yourself up about writing. When the story isn't coming, the words and the emotions all feel redundant or trite - walk away. Take a few days or even a few weeks off and forget about it. You will return. If writing is your heart, you'll get back to it and it will be better.

Okay, the pep talk is over. Now, I'm wondering when I finally get my near-future vampire romantic suspense story published will anyone care about vampires? The market is a little thick with them now, but my answer is yes. They will. Why? Because vampire stories have been popular for centuries.  And if it's written well, has a solid heroine readers can care about, and a hero who gives the readers chills (as well as gives the heroine chills), then the story will be worth the time spent (writing and/or reading it).  As I write and polish (it's already 320 pages) I keep reminding myself what it is I love about vampires stories. It's the danger and the inherit violence of their personalities and also the hopelessness of eternal life. It sucks on so many levels because of memories. The past influences the future. But so many times that past has to be remembered in bits and pieces. Those memories can be life-saving or life altering. Anyway, it's about living a long life - that's what gets me about vampires.

But I'm also gathering information on the next book - just a little at a time. So far I know my heroine's name and I know she's not a vampire. In fact, there may not be any vampires in the next book. Just demons, shapeshifters and angels...

FYI - RWA Nationals will be in Orlando at Swan and Dolphin. I love Orlando.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Rejection Ain't All That Bad

Photo taken in New Orleans, LA, 2009.

Still glowing from a recent rejection letter, which has infused me with the will and energy to write and write and write. Still, I don't want to over analyze my reaction. That is too close to my usual approach to writing - over doing it.

But back to the topic ... it was the most encouraging email I've ever received.

Nearly a year ago, I submitted my novel (or a synopsis and the first 30 pages) to an editor and an agent - via request - following the RWA National Conference in DC, which will take place this year in Orlando (at the Swan and Dolphin property) following the tragedy of the flooding in Nashville, TN, which has closed the Gaylord until fall. The first six months without hearing from the editor and agent - except for an isolated email was still damn exciting and I was enthusiastic about writing and keeping to a schedule and all sorts of good, positive things. Then the last quarter of 2009 turned into a series of crisis, financial, emotional, stressful, health, you name it and it reared its head in the later portion of last year. Since then I've been in a semi-depressed state. If not phases of full blown depression. I regained weight I lost, struggled to keep on a writing schedule and have had numerous blow ups with family and colleagues - and a few public outbursts that fall under the category of road rage (which as long as no one suffers bodily arm can be quite comforting:).

So if you think one of the two RWA 2009 connections finally got back to me? Well no. It was another publication - which will go un-named and the letter talked about how much they enjoyed my voice, and my taunt, writing style (really liked that). They weren't interested because my novel is too long, and not as erotic as they are looking for.

Folks, it's not that I want to keep getting rejection letters, but sometimes, this kind of letter teaches you something.

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