Calling All Answers

inside the back cover of the book
inside the back cover of the book

Reading about the publishing industry is disheartening. You’re shocked. I can’t decide how to categorize my work. Who is my audience?

How do you separate your insecurity, neurosis, and blind spots from what your novel actually is? When do you stop rewriting? When do you admit that your novel is unpublishable (or is that unmarketable)?

What are realistic expectations?

Who has the answers?

Anyone? Anyone?


14 thoughts on “Calling All Answers

  1. Uh, wow, hold on — I’ll come back in a few minutes. Because, like, the new look freaks me out and I can’t think straight. Will return when I’ve composed myself. 🙂

  2. Whew. Okay, it’s still disorienting, but at least disorienting in the same way that it was on my last run through here.

    I think there’s no definitive answer (sorry) to the “when to stop rewriting” question. For me, it’s a combination of just being sick of rewriting it (heh) and a certain sense of, Good enough. There’s a rule of thumb which says the hardest and most important part of any job is, like, the last 10 percent… which will take up 90% of the project’s total time. As proud as I want to be of the final product, I can’t bring myself to strive too hard for perfection: I (and a lot of other people) just don’t have the time to make something perfect.

    I read something (another rule of thumb I guess) a few years ago: “The reader will neither know nor care about all the great stuff you had to remove before saying you’re ‘done’.” Thought that was mysterious advice, and yet it feels right to me, too.

    You may have noticed that the house of Ferris’s friend’s Cameron is, per the NYT, on the market. Over 5000 square feet, over $2 million. Sigh.

    1. Yes, I saw Cameron’s house is for sale. Definitely sigh worthy.

      Like the advice. The reader doesn’t care about that stuff. Unless you’re JK Rowling and people will scramble for your shopping list.

    1. And do you have any tricks to stop feeling this way? Or does this feeling not last too long? Hmm. But how long is too long? Well, feel more confident soon.

  3. I can’t separate my neuroses from anything.

    I’ve learned to recognize them and call them out, but I still need to keep my bedroom closet door closed. Literally.

    The other night Bowser got into bed after me and left the closet door open.

    “Honey, will you please go close the door?”


    “Haven’t you ever noticed that I don’t like the closet door open when we go to bed?”

    Bowser got up and shut the door. He crawled back into the bed and snorted. Yes, SNORTED. “You neurotic? NO! You’re kidding?”

    I smacked him.

  4. Wait. I need to amend my answer.

    I’m sitting here trying to write Friday Haiku and I’ve realized this is the exception. Writing haiku is like being the chaperone for a group of second graders at a science museum. I’m constantly counting each presence. “1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Okay. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.. Oh wait that’s one too many. Where’s the thesaurus?”

    I need absolute silence for haiku, especially the narrative ones. The “magical” ones come a bit more easily. (Someone called them that, not me; I was overwhelmingly flattered.) Oh, and I’m very shy about my poetry until I’ve gotten it perfect. I don’t let anyone see or hear rough drafts. It’s bad luck and the poem will never get finished.

    That’s my qualification. Back to 5, 7, 5 now.

    SMOOCH! 😉

    1. How do you know when it is perfect? I can never tell when something I’ve written is perfect. Either that or it simply never is.

      I think my husband and I have had a similar conversation over the blind in the kitchen window.

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