Sunday, July 22, 2012

Pajama Day

As my friend Patti says, today is a pajama day.

The PNWA conference was exhausting. I tried to absorb everything, and it was just overwhelming.  I learned a lot, and for me, was very happy that the conference this year was slanted more toward established writers (I didn't say published) and toward e-pubbing.

Besides the two 90-minute, speed-dating-style pitch sessions, I attended sessions on "Writer as Marketer", writing legalities (you know, stuff about copy-rights, etc), "Backstory Bedlam", on the difference between romance and women's fiction (and yes there is a very gray area and a bazillion sub-genres in each), and Donald Maass' "Writing 21st Century Fiction".  I took copious notes in each session.

I got a 50% hit rate from agents.  All of the agents were nice, and what I mean is that they were having long days and could have basically been giving people the bums' rush, but they didn't.  They were kind and tried, at least the ones I spoke with, to let me down easy. Two of my rejections said, basically, too complicated, and one said she didn't like witches. After speaking with her, I began my pitch with how do you feel about witches?  The other three agents requested pages sent, although one wants me to hire a copy-editor and reduce the number of words for 110K to 85K before sending her my manuscript.  That's a lot of work for a potential contract.  I plan on sending the other two the pages they requested and see what happens.  And yes, I know my novel still needs to be cut down (and still needs a title), but I would like to work with the agent/editor to see what they would like removed before I hire someone to dissect my novel.  The copy-editor that I hire could be on the wrong track completely.
I also met both established and burgeoning authors from around the country -- yes, mostly from the Pacific Northwest where in winter, certain types of people have two choices: write or drink.  That was a comment, unfortunately not mine, in response to why the Pacific Northwest has so many authors.

I re-connected with past writing friends and made some new ones.

And no, I didn't win either 1st or 2nd place in the literary contest.  If I had, I'm pretty sure that the headline of this post would have read: I won, I won, I won.  But that won't stop me. In fact, being chosen as finalist was the push I needed, was my way of understanding that my friends aren't just being kind when they say I've turned into a good writer.  My friend Ken said to remember that Stephen King never won any awards.  I don't know if that's strictly true, but it make me feel better, because I love King's writing.  I only wish I could do character development half as good as he does.

My friends -- Mike, Kathleen, and Patti -- attended the award dinner with me.  The picture posted is a little blurry.  Not sure if it was the camera or if we were blurry.  After the last session on the day yesterday, we met early and had a tailgate party in the parking garage. While some guy and girl were rehearsing (yes, in the parking garage), he on banjo while she sang, we toasted to my success and to our friendship with 15-year old Kirkland (Macallan) Scotch out of the back of my Mini Cooper, from of the "Mini Bar".  And then toasted again, just because the scotch was so good.

I have a good life and good friends.  And now proof that I'm a good writer.  Enough said, for now.

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