Dreaming in Character

G.L. Jackson


OK, I think I’m ready.

Commence querying…now.

I can either send out a few on a Friday afternoon, or obsess over it all weekend. I’d rather not spend my weekend obsessing, Of course, if I send out queries now, I’ll be jumping every time I get an email notification.

To make a long story short, there is no best time to send a query letter. We all knew that, right? Right.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Writing for the Right Audience

Like a lot of writers, I remember thinking “I should write a young adult novel. They’re easier to sell.” It didn’t hurt that I had one started, a good portion of it sitting squarely in my pocket. That good portion had been sitting on the shelf for years. For NaNoWriMo a few years ago I dusted it off and wrote 50,000 new words for the story, and I liked it well enough to go ahead and start writing the sequel.

I’ve run into a few roadblocks along the way. First of all, the opening chapters were okay when I wrote them eight years ago. Unfortunately, they don’t really match the cadence and style of the later chapters. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; I like to think my writing’s improved over the past eight years. It’s problematical when I try to retrofit the original words with the newer ones, though.

Second, I’ve written better books since then. Books for adults. In fact, all my other stories have been written for adults.

Third, my enthusiasm for the YA novel is dropping meteorically. I’m much more excited about my latest work in progress (I should be) and exploring the adult emotions for the main characters.

What does this tell me? Right now, trying to brand myself as an author of works for young adults is the wrong thing to do. I have mixed feelings about this: I met so many of my favorite writer friends in the YA community. It’s a lovely and wonderful place to hang out. On Twitter, YA is a friendly and welcoming place, but if my heart’s not in those characters, then I suspect it’s not really where I belong.

I’m still a member of SCBWI. I’m not going to throw away my YA novel, because parts of it are pretty good. But for now, it’s on the shelf. Adult characters, you’ve got my focus.

Has this happened to any of you? Knowing myself, my writing areas of interest, my passions–it’s a good thing. I regret nothing.

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I can’t be the only one who does this, can I?

Writing is an extension of acting for me, and I’ve always been a method actor. Obviously I’m not going to do everything my characters do (that would be stupid), but when I write them, I have to feel what they’re going through. If I can’t channel that aspect of the character, I can’t write them convincingly.

I’m not alone in this, right? I mean, making up characters and holding the baton that dictates their lives is a little bit crazy to start with. I guess there’s no harm in adding more to it.

On Twitter the other day, I said sometimes it’s hard to be myself when all these other characters want their turn in the spotlight, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I meant it. I love what I do.


Home Again

I love traveling. I just returned from a visit to the east coast. I used to live in Boston but haven’t been back since moving, so being there again was so lovely.

As soon as I transfer photos from my camera to my laptop, I’ll share a few. Hopefully the pictures came out well. I brought my laptop along, but ended up not even turning it on the whole time I was away. Vacation is vacation.

If I missed anything wonderful, feel free to point me to it in comments.

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I lied.

I wasn’t finished. I mean, yes, I was finished with the rewrite draft and the first edit pass, but I’m a perfectionist and I declare it not finished.

I did move on to the next phase, which was making it available to read as a Kindle document (I see so many more things when I read my own words that way). Also, this weekend I attended a SCBWI workshop on writing dialog and while this isn’t a children’s book, the same rules apply. I’ve been able to go back and pick out what one of our speakers (Bill Konigsberg) referred to as the Seven Deadly Sins of Dialog. I’ve read this thing on my phone app two and a half times so far, and I keep finding things to fix.

Editing, I love you. It’s like watching errors filter through an hourglass: they get to the skinny spot and disappear, a little bit at a time. I don’t think I’ve ever had this much fun editing my own work before, and I am so happy to say “I’ll take it.” My work keeps getting better and better, just like magic! It’s not magic–just hard work–but if it ultimately looks like it was easy, so much the better.


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