When you have nothing useful to say…

man in black framed eyeglasses and pink crew neck shirt

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

I badly need this guy’s hair.

So much debate and politicking these days… The fact is, no one has firm answers in this strange time in which we find ourselves. Mark Paxson is one of the most thoughtful bloggers out there, always seeming to engage in discussion without entrenching on a side. He posted lately about where the US is politically, and I have to say, I agree with what he’s saying on what this pandemic might be telling us about ourselves.

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In other news, I’m finished with edits on Girl Island, thanks in part to help from people like Mark. I’m at 90,000 words or so, that’s about where it’s going to finish. Not too long, not too short. It’s amazing how many things people with fresh eyes have picked up in the text, stuff I would never have seen. It’s incredible how perspective can alter what you see.

Maybe next week I’ll send out a synopsis of the book. I think the title lends itself to a certain image, possibly, but I’m pretty sure the first instinct would not hold true to the actual plot (intentionally, of course!). It’s been a fun thing to write, really fun.

Of late, I’ve been making notes for my next project. It’s the most ambitious one I’ve considered and I’m pretty excited about it, but it will take some time to flesh out.

Everyone, stay sane, stay good, and remember that we’re in this together.

17 thoughts on “When you have nothing useful to say…

  1. Thank you for sharing my post.

    As for Girl Island — yes, the title is a bit of a misdirection, but as you say, I think that’s a good thing.

    And the other … never, ever hesitate to get those different perspectives on your writing before you think you have it finalized. The benefits of having a few trusted people read your work cannot be overstated.

      • When I wrote One Night in Bridgeport, my first novel, it took me a year to write it. I then shared it with my parents (my dad is a writer, my mom is a reader). They provided me some comments that made me realize that it just wasn’t right. So, I took another year and completely re-wrote it. Then it sat there for a few years before I put it through two brutal rounds of editing that chopped out about 25,000 words.

        Since then, if I’m going to publish something (beyond just putting it on my blog), I have a guy who provides me with low cost editing and I have a group of beta readers.

        It’s a simple truth — the writer simply will not find the flaws in their creation.

        • Yup. We grow so attached to the thing, can’t see its flaws. You have to be brutal though, I figure, with yourself. FYI, I bought the Irrepairable Past and am going to start on it this week. Still have to read the short story pieces you’ve posted in blogland. Figure I’m done my edits for the time being, so I have time to get away from the thing and move on.

          • I noticed a purchase from Amazon Canada and hoped it was you. Now, I just have to hope you enjoy it. The pressure is almost too much for me.

            I’d love to hear about the new project you mentioned on your blog, but you keep things close to the vest until you’re ready, so ignore that.

            • Took a while to get it… just arrived on Saturday.

              I’ll fill you in on the new project in private, if that’s okay, when I kind of have it in my mind a bit better. I have this ridiculous thing inside me that says to write the most epic thing I can think of, and in this case I outdid myself. I’m sure my ambitions exceed my talents, but it seems like a challenge.

              I think next step is to test the market for Girl Island. Do up that famous query letter that’s so conducive to ending up at the bottom of slush piles and the like. Figure may as well see what happens, won’t know till you try.

              • Share whenever you’re ready and privately is fine, of course. No pressure at all on this one.

                I read some interesting comments a couple of days ago on a FB page for literary fiction writers — basically a lot of people were saying that it’s not the query letter that does it, it’s the first lines or page of the story itself. I know that when I submit to agents or publishers, I only want to submit to ones who want the first chapter or first 10 pages with the initial submission. I have no interest in trying to win the lottery with a query letter alone.

              • I think most agents usually do want the query letter plus a couple of chapters or a few pages, right? I think that’s reasonable. You can only say so much in a query letter, but between laying out the query letter and showing the actual writing, I think that’s a good introduction. My understanding is that if you don’t have some kind of in or introduction to someone, you end up on a big pile of submissions – I think there are hundreds of things that get submitted every day. Wonder how many pieces in there are actually great, but just don’t get attention. No idea how to beat this system and get noticed or to show the passion you might have for your story. There must be a way!

              • I wish you the best of luck. It’s a nut I have yet to figure out how to crack.

                Yes, they do want a query letter, but yes, they get hundreds of submissions and most end up in the slush pile.

                Have you heard of Duotrope? If not, I suggest you check it out. Pretty extensive listing of agents and publishers.

              • Thank you. I just checked out Duotrope, that’s a pretty formidable set of information and not very expensive. Will have to explore. I do have a couple of contacts with agents but nothing all that significant. Need to do my research.

  2. That guy’s hair is awesome! You could put anything in there. You wouldn’t need a purse or a wallet or even carry on baggage. I will definitely check out Mark’s post and I am looking forward to reading your synopsis.

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