Saturday, March 19, 2011

Writing Takes a Backseat (to Reading and Submitting)

I know I need to write every day.  I totally agree with everyone who has preached this.  I agree 100%.  But I have failed miserably every time I've tried.  So I've decided to love myself a little more and criticize myself a little less.  I've turned for a while to reading and submitting.  And to atone for my lack of writing, I hereby blog about both... 

My latest read: The Search for WondLa.  Now, I bought this book for my 9 year-old son.  The cover looked lush; the sci-fi-nish of it seemed like a shoe-in for his affection; the author, Tony DiTerlizzi, was well-known.  However, after a few pages, he put it down and declared he wouldn't read anymore.  What's a parent (even more, a parent who writes children's stories) to do, except to read it for herself. 

I think the idea for the book was fascinating: a girl who has lived underground in a sanctuary her whole life is suddenly thrust above ground in a race to discover her roots and her place in a world previously unknown to her.  While it took me more than a few pages to get into the story, eventually I did, and followed Eva Nine happily to the end of her first book with some satisfaction.  The book will definitely click with most young readers...especially girls, probably, who would see strength and courage in the main character.  (Maybe the girl as main character was why my son put it down?  I'm not so sure.)  I've seen some reviews which stated that the descriptions and adjectives were a little heavy-handed.  This didn't bother me so much, although I do think it could have been trimmed.  What I did notice, however, was that I didn't connect with the characters as much as I wanted to.  In a gripping scene at the end that would normally have me bawling, I read right through it without a tear.  Maybe it was my head cold...yeah, it could have been that.  But I would still recommend it as a read for 8-12 year olds, especially girls.  And the illustrations are beautiful.   

As for the submitting, I don't know about some of you writers, but it feels good to get some submissions out.  While I try to target most of my submissions very carefully and craft all of my cover letters with precision to show that I am familiar with an agent's or editor's preferences (and pet ownership), I admit to rarely (please emphasize that word in your mind) sending out a submission that is, well...not ideal.  And I know why. It's because I've worked so long on a story that I can't think about it anymore.  And the only way I can get it out of my brain is to send it on an extended vacation to an editor or agent.  Then it's out of my hair for a while, and I can get on with my life.  Please forgive me o' ye editors and agents who have gotten these woeful step-children in the mail.  I only meant that no harm befall them in my agonized state.  Not that I've done any of these recently (cough, cough).  I have actually sent some very good submissions lately, and I'm happy to report the number of personalized rejections is increasing in number. 

So, do you take a mental break every now and then?  Do you need time to fill the tank?


  1. WTG on sending out submissions. Now comes the mail box anxiety. LOL! Congratulations on the personal rejections.

  2. I agree that sometimes it is nice to "submit and forget". Working on another story is the best way to deal with that waiting game of publishing. I am so glad you mentioned finding time to read and write and submit. I think we all need time to fill the tank! For me, reading other published works is enjoyable as well as good market study so I can return to my own writing rejuvenated!