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Diane Farr #3
Diane Farr is a romance author.
3/6/06 6:58:50 PM Opening "Chat Log 3/6/06"
Genjii555: Welcome, Diane
DianeFarr: PHEW!!! I finally made it
W2PLyric: hi there
DianeFarr: I'm using my husband's computer ... mine was completely frozen!!!
Genjii555: Oh no
Genjii555: sounds like my laptop
DianeFarr: I was screaming at the screen ... oddly enough, my hollering had no effect whatsoever
Genjii555: strange isn't it
Lightningbug1957: You should have slapped it around a little bit
DianeFarr: sure is
Lightningbug1957: that might have helped
Genjii555: LOL Bev
DianeFarr: believe me, I thought of that
W2PSushi: Diane, sounds like you need computer voodoo
Genjii555: Well I'm glad you made it
DianeFarr: soooo ... okay ..... am I on the hot seat yet? This IS my night, isn't it?
Rose1533: Em's computer won't even recognize her wireless connection anymore.
DianeFarr: <--- rattled
Genjii555: It suuuuure is
Mallie1025: Diane you have to smack it to get its attention!! :)
Rose1533: She can't get on-line at all.
DianeFarr: hi everybody, by the way!!
DianeFarr: lots of old friends in here tonight
DianeFarr: I defer to Lyric & Sushi
DianeFarr: I do think everybody turning their colors off is probably helpful
RLMorgan51: HI ALL
W2PSushi: : : : looks around : : :
DianeFarr: yeah, Paul, that's YOU ... lol
Genjii555: I think protocol would be best
W2PSushi: not sure I've ever been deferred to before. ;-D
W2PLyric: Don't defer to me, it's Tiffany's group that is running the show
DianeFarr: well, Tiffany, what say you? I vote for protocol
W2PLyric: besides, I might not be here as long as I'd like, trying to hang on as long as possible though :-)
Genjii555: I think at least in the beginning
Genjii555: we need it
Genjii555: then we'll open up for Q&A
Genjii555: So, you can take it away, Diane
DianeFarr: It has been suggested that I talk, tonight, about the journey from unpubbed to pubbed.
DianeFarr: Since the name of the group is "writing to publish," somehow that seemed like, oh, I dunno ... an appropriate topic.
DianeFarr: Too bad the journey will be different for everyone here-!! But I can at least tell you what it was like for me, and with any luck, some of it will apply to you.
DianeFarr: Some of you may have heard me say this before, but one of my favorite bits of advice comes from Somerset Maughan. I think.
DianeFarr: (Actually, I can't remember who said it first, and I have really GOT to research that. Sorry.)
DianeFarr: But here it is:
DianeFarr: "There are only three rules for writing a novel.
DianeFarr: Unfortunately, nobody knows what they are."
DianeFarr: (The pause in the middle is where everybody in the room expectantly grabs a pencil)
DianeFarr: Anyway, that is pretty darn true.
Trina Pink: LOL
DianeFarr: You have to sort of just plunge in and DO IT. And as you are doing it, it will become obvious to you what you are doing wrong.
DianeFarr: And it will be a different "something wrong" for every writer.
DianeFarr: I mean, we've all read novels. We know one when we see one.
DianeFarr: And the hulking THING on your computer screen will not look, to you, like a novel. And you'll figure out why. And fix it.
DianeFarr: This, by the way, is why you cannot sell on a partial until you are already published.
DianeFarr: There are hordes of writers out there with great synopses and three excellent chapters, who send it hopefully off to publishers with a scintillating cover letter.
DianeFarr: To no avail.
DianeFarr: Because the editors know, all too well, that beginning a novel and finishing a novel are two very different things.
Genjii555: (So true!)
DianeFarr: So ... the first thing to do when trying to get published is, write a book.
DianeFarr: But you'd be amazed how many writers (myself among them) try to sell BEFORE accomplishing the obvious.
W2PDee: minor detail...ah, no!
DianeFarr: I did not sell until I finished the book. And I bet you don't, either. ;)
DianeFarr: So I guess that's Stop No. One on the map ... the road map to getting published. Finish The Book.
DianeFarr: Next, get it looked at by as many pairs of eyes as possible BEFORE sending it off to an editor.
DianeFarr: This can be tough. If you think editors don't want to read an unpublished novel, just wait till you try to get your friends and family to do it. They don't want to read it, either.
DianeFarr: Pull whatever strings you must. ;) Call in old favors. Buy a gun. Whatever works.
DianeFarr: (JUST KIDDING)
DianeFarr: Because even the humblest of Gentle Readers will find things in your book that you didn't know were there. Some will be delightful revelations. Some will be embarrassing typos.
DianeFarr: It is important that you discover these things before sending your ms off to a publisher (or agent). Because it helps if you can point out the delightful revelations in your cover letter, and fix the embarrassing typos.
DianeFarr: So that's Stop No. Two: Get It Read.
DianeFarr: Tip: there are contests out there for unpublished writers, chapter contests and the like. Enter them if you can. They will give you invaluable feedback.
DianeFarr: And here comes the most difficult stop ... this is where you kind of have to throw out the map. Because the best thing you do is: Be Lucky.
DianeFarr: Sucks, don't it?
DianeFarr: But luck definitely helps. The great thing is, you can INFLUENCE YOUR LUCK.
DianeFarr: Here's a good piece of advice somebody gave me once: "When opportunity knocks, have your bags packed."
DianeFarr: Or, like a Scout, "be prepared."
DianeFarr: Okay, four more minutes and I'm opening up for Q&A (for those of you who are still awake).
DianeFarr: Here's how you "get" lucky: go out of your way to meet people. Talk/write to people. People who can help you, people who work in the industry, people you admire.
DianeFarr: This class, for example, is full of writers. This is a Good Thing.
DianeFarr: You are NETWORKING.
DianeFarr: This will influence your luck!
DianeFarr: If you talk to enough people who write, edit, represent writers, make movies, or whatever, you will (1) get a feel for what's out there, (2) get a feel for what is being bought/sold, and (3) interest people in what you are writing.
DianeFarr: Someday you will get lucky and one of them will say to you, "I could take a look at that, if you want."
DianeFarr: Do not make this person wait.
DianeFarr: Do not get back to them after you have done one more set of revisions.
DianeFarr: NO. Opportunity has knocked. Be sure your bags are packed!!!
DianeFarr: GA .... fire when ready. Comments? Questions? Rotten tomatoes?
W2PDee: more like roses
Trina Pink: ?
DianeFarr: ga Trina
Trina Pink: I'd be interested in hearing a few specifics about your path to publication.
DianeFarr: well ... hmm ... very quickly, then
Trina Pink: That is...how you do it?
DianeFarr: I greatly admired a writer by the name of Georgette Heyer. I had read all of her books multiple times, and she was dead, so I couldn't find any new ones.
DianeFarr: So I wrote my own.
DianeFarr: It was purely for my own amusement, you understand.
Trina Pink: Fan fic! You invented it! ;-)
G1ft0fgabn0t: Not quite...lol
DianeFarr: But when I was partway into it, my sister mentioned that she had read about a group called Romance Writers of America that was having a meeting in town, and so I went to the meeting, and
W2PLyric: those old shades of mine
DianeFarr: the rest, as they say, is history! LOL! Yep - fan fic, how funny.
DianeFarr: I received lots of encouragement, and eventually I entered a nationwide contest, and won it.
DianeFarr: And one of the contest judges said the all-important sentence to me: "I could look at that for you, if you want."
DianeFarr: She looked, she liked, she recommended me to her editor. I sold.
Trina Pink: Wow, that's amazing.
DianeFarr: Next! LOL
Trina Pink: Thanks.
DianeFarr: ga Genj
Tab2020: Hi every one.
Genjii555: I'm learning the hard way about something you said... that when opportunity packs you'd better have your bags packed...
Genjii555: I thought I was finished my manuscript, sent out queries, found an agent who wants to read the manuscript in full, then had a friend who was reading the manuscript find a major plot flaw
Genjii555: now I'm revising and it's been over three weeks since the agent asked for the manuscript
Genjii555: how long do you think an agent waits b/f they say forget it
Genjii555: I don't think I'm going to be done any time soon
DianeFarr: oh, about 3 weeks.
DianeFarr: JUST KIDDING
Genjii555: don't do that
DianeFarr: sorry, I couldn't resist ;)
DianeFarr: seriously ...
DianeFarr: you should drop the agent a letter, very brief, just a paragraph or two, and tell him/her what happened. Apologize, and give yourself a deadline.
W2PDee: I think you just gave Tiff a heart attack, lol
DianeFarr: "I'll have it to you by April 1." Or whatever.
DianeFarr: Then MEET THAT DEADLINE.
Genjii555: LOL Donna, she sure did
DianeFarr: The meeting of deadlines is majorly important in this business.
DianeFarr: So don't give yourself an unrealistic deadline.
DianeFarr: But do push yourself.
DianeFarr: If it's going to be a matter of months rather than weeks for you to fix the plot, send it to the agent "as is." Seriously.
DianeFarr: And let THEM find the plot flaw.
Genjii555: Isn't that a bad thing?
Genjii555: I mean, won't that reflect badly on me
DianeFarr: Not if your writing keeps them turning the pages.
Genjii555: Latina had a question...
DianeFarr: ga Latina
LaTina11868: the person said they wanted to see it so wouldn't you just send it out regardless? or maybe just give yourself a week and then send...i'm thinking you wouldn't want to keep them waiting past a week....
DianeFarr: for sure you don't, without an explanation
DianeFarr: of course, this all depends on the plot flaw
LaTina11868: and genjii..was it that big of a problem that you thought it wouldn't look good sent as it was?
DianeFarr: yeah ... what she said
Genjii555: It affects things throughout the entire story
Genjii555: that's the prob
Genjii555: so I h ave to do a run through to make sure one thing doesn't offset another
Genjii555: if that makes any sense
Genjii555: like a snowball effect
DianeFarr: how was it that you didn't notice it on your own?
LaTina11868: it does...
Genjii555: just blindly in love with an idea
Genjii555: that I didn't want to let go
Genjii555: being hardheaded, like I usually am
Genjii555: RLMorgan had a comment
DianeFarr: I'm just thinking, if it's some historical fact that you got wrong, like setting the battle of Waterloo in 1944, just rename the battle.
DianeFarr: But you're right, that would still need a pass-thru.
RLMorgan51: YEs in writing your query letter say a little about your writing experience
Genjii555: Tom had a question
Genjii555: and then Mill
PHeeren: Has the publishing world become good or worse for writers with disabilities? I am disabled (Deaf and cerebral palsy) ga
RLMorgan51: in my profile I states that I have written over 425 items in 10.5 years
RLMorgan51: wrong in a query write
RLMorgan51: Although this is my first attempt for writing a children's novel, I have written numerous items for a community newspaper as well as trade publications over the past 10 years.
DianeFarr: ah ... RL, be careful with that. They don't care what you've written. They only care about what you've had published.
RLMorgan51: Stating exact numbers is bragging and a turnoff to potential editors
RLMorgan51: I know that is why in the query I don;t state exact numbers
PHeeren: oops, I sent my ? soon
DianeFarr: no, listing your publishing credits is good -- but yes, saying "I've written X number of things" doesn't sound impressive. I mean, if I counted personal letters and diary entries, I've probably written thousands of things.
DianeFarr: So "things" ain't equal. ;)
RLMorgan51: and it doesn't matter if it is in a different genre either
DianeFarr: Magazine articles, newspaper items, that's all good. That tells them that you have written things that other eyes than your own deemed interesting.
DianeFarr: Right, whatever genre.
CircleOfTheMuse: Diane, you mentioned earlier that each of us would know when we'd made a mistake. Could you explain this further? What are red flags a writer would heed in knowing if something 'just isn't right' for our work? ga
Genjii555: Diane, Tom asked a question about opportunities for disabled writers
Genjii555: then Mill has a question
RLMorgan51: it is an edge that many writers because like myself they never got paid for writing those items
CircleOfTheMuse: Sorry, go ahead, Tom.
DianeFarr: PH, one of the great things about being a writer is that nobody can see you. They won't know you are disabled. It's truly a level playing field.
RLMorgan51: yet they were published
DianeFarr: RL, yes, if published, whether paid for or not, and read by people, yes, that counts. Blogs, no. Newspapers, yes.
CircleOfTheMuse: Diane, you mentioned earlier that each of us would know when we'd made a mistake. Could you explain this further? What are red flags a writer would heed in knowing if something 'just isn't right' for our work?
DianeFarr: Ah ... one example. From my own experience. But I am not alone in this!
DianeFarr: It's a very common mistake to start your novel in the wrong place.
DianeFarr: That's what I meant about the Nike approach: Just Do It. You have to start writing the book, and then you will magically discover that what you have written is not right.
CircleOfTheMuse: So you determine this after it's finished?
DianeFarr: I wanted to write a romance about, say, Jack and Jill. But chapter one was all about Jill's family, because of course the reader needed to know her background.
DianeFarr: And chapter two explained how she came to be fetching the pail of water, and what she wanted it for.
W2PLyric: ha ha ha
DianeFarr: And she didn't meet Jack until Chapter 3.
DianeFarr: This is another famous piece of advice for writing novels, by the way: "HOW TO WRITE A NOVEL. (1) Write Chapter One. (2) Write Chapter Two.
DianeFarr: (3) Write Chapter Three. (4) Throw away Chapters One and Two."
W2PDee: lol, oh so true
DianeFarr: But, see, you don't SEE it until you get to chapter four or five.
CircleOfTheMuse: Which makes sense.
DianeFarr: Yeah. That's what I meant. ;)
Genjii555: Mallie had a comment?
Mallie1025: I think it would be detrimental to state how much one wrote that was not published-might make the agent wonder why?
Genjii555: And then Bev had a question
DianeFarr: As you write the novel, it will take shape. But you won't see the shape clearly while you are in the midst of it. It's as you go along that you look back and see where you've been.
DianeFarr: Mallie, yes, that's absolutely true.
DianeFarr: But with a caveat.
Genjii555: Bev, your question?
Lightningbug1957: You said you should folks read your work. Should you have writers read it or readers read it? I've heard both.
DianeFarr: The editor works at a major publishing house in Manhattan. She won't have the faintest idea that the Apache Junction Whoop is just a 1-page newsletter being passed around the retirement community.
Genjii555: LOL Diane
DianeFarr: So if you've published in the Apache Junction Whoop, you can mention it.
DianeFarr: For all she knows, Apache Junction is the literary hub of Arizona.
Lightningbug1957: You said you should HAVE folks read your work...
Mallie1025: Absolutely--I meant only works not published at all
DianeFarr: In other words -- be proud! Claim your turf!
DianeFarr: Yes. I just wanted to make sure that somebody thinks "oh, I haven't REALLY been published" because s/he hasn't been paid.
DianeFarr: Money does not a publishing credit make.
DianeFarr: EYEBALLS determine what is "published" and what is not.
Genjii555: and vice versa
Mallie1025: good thing lol
Genjii555: Diane, did you see Bev's question?
DianeFarr: Bev's question is a goodie. Scroll back and read it, everyone.
Lightningbug1957: If you can understand it. I screwed it up LOL
DianeFarr: My opinion is, if you can have writers read it that's best, because it's kind of a "twofer." All writers are readers. OTOH, not all readers are writers.
DianeFarr: And again, with a caveat ...
DianeFarr: because writers can also be quite bloodthirsty creatures, who will look at your work and think, "Well, that's not how I would have done it." And they'll tell you how THEY would have done it.
RLMorgan51: ! BEverly
DianeFarr: Which is sometimes helpful and sometimes not.
Lightningbug1957: I do that all the time. LOL
Lightningbug1957: Some people like it and some don't
DianeFarr: Sometimes you'll read comments that make you think, "Oh, YES, that's exactly what I should have done - that's exactly what I meant - that's how I should have expressed it." And you'll be grateful and excited and inspired.
DianeFarr: Other times ... uh ... not.
W2PLyric: speaking of which, Diane, how goes the latest sub?
Lightningbug1957: thank you
DianeFarr: Lyric, is it really your turn? <G>
W2PLyric: but I thought I was yours if there is something to brag about before we all vamoose
DianeFarr: gosh, is it that time already??
W2PLyric: :::: fingers crossed:::::
RLMorgan51: ! BEVERLY
DianeFarr: weeel .... the ball is still in my court, unfortunately, where it has been for far(r) too long! I have to finish the darn book. (Stop No. One.)
DianeFarr: But I do have a teeny advantage, in that people are actually waiting with great impatience to see it.
DianeFarr: Unlike before I was published. <grin>
W2PLyric: okay, back to the regularly scheduled questions. sorry gang I just had to find out!
Genjii555: RL, you had a comment?
Genjii555: And then Mallie
RLMorgan51: never give anything to a friend/relative to give you a feedback it will usually inflate your ego .... I become to a writers group we critique each others work in progress
BrownDvs: Goodnight all.
Genjii555: Night Adam
W2PSushi: <-- just saw the galleys for "Flush Fiction" and my story is right up top
RLMorgan51: one of the women is a published author
W2PSushi: after Selina's
DianeFarr: Well, heck, we can all use a little ego inflation from time to time, RL
W2PLyric: yes, goodnight from me too, can't last any longer. bye all
Genjii555: I couldn't get a family member to read my writing to save my life
RLMorgan51: and is an editor in an other genre
Genjii555: Diane, before everyone starts filing out...
Genjii555: THANK YOU SO MUCH
PHeeren: I sometimes let my parents read my stories
RLMorgan51: said my YA/mid grade was publishable
PHeeren: is it harmful?
PHeeren: or good?
RLMorgan51: and she said it was the truth and she was happy to say it
PHeeren: is it a no-no?
W2PSushi: that is between you and your parents
CircleOfTheMuse: Thanks, Diane! This was a great session!
Lightningbug1957: Thanks so much for coming! I've got to head out
RLMorgan51: that was a shot in the arm :-)
W2PSushi: every family is, of course, different
W2PSushi: and so is every writer
PHeeren: I'm off for now
RLMorgan51: NBYE tom
DianeFarr: I think it's great to have family/friends read your work if they are up for it
W2PSushi: thanks, Diane
Trina Pink: Yes, thank you, Diane! It was lovely to see you again, and great to hear your advice.
DianeFarr: mine aren't
PHeeren: good night
Genjii555: mine aren't either
Genjii555: I thought it was just me
W2PDee: night, Tom
DianeFarr: this wasn't very organized tonight, folks ... sorry about that
CircleOfTheMuse: I thought it went well.
Genjii555: I thought it went splendidly
W2PDee: Diane, it was an enjoyable time...
DianeFarr: thanks, Muse!
W2PDee: I learned...and that's important
Mallie1025: You have to watch out for well-meaning writer/critics who try to write it "their way"meaning well but it is your story
Genjii555: Lots of great advice
W2PSushi: smooth cyber sailing
DianeFarr: lol ... yes ... I'm going to TRY to get back on my own computer tonight
LaTina11868: diane I learned a lot from your great presentation...thank you...
Mallie1025: I try to find [people who don't know me--because I can't be as goo as my friends say lol
DianeFarr: hey, come to think of it, I'm in RT Bookclub this month
W2PDee: Diane, I have to take off...and want to thank you so much. I've always enjoyed your sessions.
CircleOfTheMuse: (sorry - that 'lol' was about Diane's comment, not LaTina's!)
DianeFarr: thanks, Dee!
LaTina11868: (I wish I knew how to log myself)
DianeFarr: thanks all
DianeFarr: C U later
Genjii555: Night everybody
Mallie1025: Diane--great info--very helpful--thanks
Mallie1025: Night all--keep on writing!!
RLMorgan51: NITE ALL
3/6/06 8:09:11 PM Closing "Chat Log 3/6/06"
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