Rebuilding myself as a writer: I’ve been thinking. And yes, it hurt a lot.

I’ve been quiet lately. Silence can be powerful, especially when you’re having a conversation and you want the other person to spill the beans. But with social media, silence will get you nowhere.

I’ve been rebuilding myself. And out of all the reconstructions, I would say this has been the most painful: I’ve never felt reverberations like this. The good news is that I’m back with a sturdier structure. So, next time there’s a tremor, it’s going to take more than people’s opinions to bring me down. I’ll also be able to take a lot more on without cracking.

I’ve been thinking. Looking at what’s hot and what’s on peoples wishlists makes me realise that no one will be hunting my MS. But do you write a book that everyone is after? Or can you transcend tropes and cliches and a glutted market if you write what you’ve always believed in?  You know what’s hot to me now? My book. Always will be, or I don’t think I’d bother selling it. Would an agent want a book that wouldn’t sell? No, and neither would I.

I’ve been going crazy. Wait a year? Write a new book? Start with a great hook and then write a book? By hook or freakin’ crook, just sell this book! You know I’m losing it when I go all Dr Seuss on you.. I’m going in circles, chasing a tail that will forever be out of reach. But crazy is what makes my book what it is. And there are other crazy people out there. And when I reach them with my writing, I hope they feel as though I’ve always been there. You don’t have to wear black, read books and loan friends to feel different. There’s a cliche right there that I want to break.

I’ve been learning. I’ve always stayed true to myself and haven’t felt the need to conform. But now I’m looking at this book and feeling like I shouldn’t stay away from new adult just because my book isn’t racy. I’m going to embrace what I was passionate about in the first place when I wasn’t trying to fit in a box, and I will make it work this way because I will have my passion behind it. And am I jumping on the new adult bandwagon? Nope. And if Mae isn’t jumping anyone, will that mean it won’t sell?

I don’t know, but I hear people wanting books that break through boundaries, not conform to them.

And I want to be that person.




22 thoughts on “Rebuilding myself as a writer: I’ve been thinking. And yes, it hurt a lot.

  1. I competely emphasize with what you’re saying. I think I’m in the same boat. But we have to write what is true for us. Not to the market, I think that would be creativity suicide. Just make what you’re passionate about writing as good as it can possibly be. Then make it better than that. I have recently read a young adult novel that was the author’s debut and am now passing it around my critique group because it’s the kind of writing, the kind of story telling we should all aspire to. Good luck with yours. You seem sincere and ernest and willing to do what it takes, so keep at it.
    By the way the book I’m talking about is called Vivian Apple At the End of the World. I forget the author, I don’t have the book here.

    • I really needed to read that 🙂 Too often we are told to mold to this and that. losing a part of ourselves along the way. I think this is why I have been so lost. And it’s nice to know that when I’m lost, I’m not the only one searching for that place that makes sense 🙂

  2. I hear ya, babe – especially today! The road to getting published is one of the most emotionally turbulent journeys I’ve ever embarked upon. So glad we are travelling side by side 😀

    • And I am getting close to losing mine :(. I’m trying hard not to conform, but I get caught between doing what’s expected and being accepted, and staying true to myself and risking rejection. It will take me a while, but I know I’ll stick with the latter 🙂

  3. I’ve asked every agent I’ve run across what they think of New Adult as a market. The responses have been as varied as you can imagine: everything from “it’s a market defined by age group” to “it’s a subset of contemporary romance” to “if it’s not a romance, it’s not New Age.” So as writers working in that age group, what do we do? The best advice I heard is to call it adult with romance elements and pitch it that way.

    I don’t think there’s a single thing wrong with writing a book that doesn’t conform to formula. After all, someone was the first to write that formula, and someone (you) may be the first to write the next new formula everyone else is trying to conform to! Don’t give up. Take all feedback and concrit with a grain of salt. Find people who are willing to read your book for what it is, not for what they wish it would be, and give you honest feedback on its strengths and weaknesses. Never give up.

    • This post started off as a discussion on new adult, and I might still start one. Sometimes I come across a little ranty. And whiny . . . But it is still so confusing. And when you hear, CR sells well in NA so be very careful how you label your work, you can’t help but feeling like you’ve lost before you’ve started. So originally my MC was 20, and I reduced her age to 18 as the content was non-erotic and more suitable to YA. And I know not all adult is erotic, but I feel pressure in this age bracket. My only problem with going adult ( and thank you for your advice – I will end up going this way, I think), is that you don’t read many adult books with such a young MC. I might change the label, but I don’t believe I’ll ever change the parts I love inside 🙂

      • Never change the parts you love inside! Write the book you want to write. There are always plenty of ways to put a genre-specific spin on it for a query. Also, there are plenty of 20-year-olds who aren’t sexually active, so I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a sweet romance (or even a sweet non-romance) having a 20-year-old MC. Not everyone wants to read explicit material!

        However, the New Adult market really has become a niche market for books with lots of erotic content. I hope it broadens, but I’m not holding my breath waiting for that to happen. In the meantime I’m writing what I want, writing the way I want, and writing the age groups I want. If I find a market for any of them, great. If not, I’ll still have written the story I wanted to write. I’m happy with that. 🙂

    • I think this is why I have been so confused. I’m changing ages, changing age categories…If I had just stuck to college/university = new adult/adult, then I would have been fine. Yes, I would have severly reduced my chances as young adult is more widely accepted, but my book isn;t commerical anyway. It’s a bit different in itself :S

  4. Have you submitted to Heather Flaherty at The Bent Agency? I saw on twitter that she is specifically looking to rep manuscripts that are New Adult and not erotic. She wants a good story. Check her out if you haven’t already and best of luck!

  5. Your third point raises an interesting question. Recently more and more Urban Fantasy authors are jumping ship in favour of Contemporary Romance because that’s where the money supposedly is. I guess it all comes down to your personal end goal. Thanks for the update!

    Carmel @ Rabid Reads

    • It’s really sad. But I think that you might be able to get away with this when you have a lot of successful novels under your belt. For a newbie like me, I have to stick with what I know and love. Thanks for popping in, Carmel!

  6. Lorelle:

    Please recall our recent conversation about genres and classification. Based on what you told me my story is NOT young-adult-new-adult. Does that mean I’m not going to write it? HELL NO!!

    Having used my profanity quota for this message, I say “apply a torque-deployed circular metal fastener” to _them_ and _their_ categories and whatever _they_ say you should or should not write! Always, ALWAYS write true to yourself and true to your heart and soul! That is what makes a writer and that’s what makes YOU a writer.

    Don’t worry about what IS selling and what isn’t. I don’t know if you’re old enough to remember MOOD RINGS but at one time they were the absolute RAGE! _Everyone_ had one and if you didn’t, you just were not cool. I mention this because I recently saw an old box of knock-off mood rings at a dollar store. It had dust on it.

    ATM my sales are down, and that is discouraging, but I will NOT stop writing because of it. I write because I _love_ writing! That is the first, last and only reason to do what we do! Much like teaching math, it’s a _lot_ easier to find criticism than praise or to find people who dislike you than like you. I never let that affect my teaching: I love math and I loved teaching it. Same with writing. I’ve had more than a couple of crappy reviews and I know I’ll be getting more on my future books. Will that stop me? Nope!

    Oh yeah. As far as boxes go, YOU should know about them! Kids take them, rip ’em apart and make spaceships or playhouses out of ’em. So chin up, fo’ard march, full speed ahead and d@mn the torpedoes!


  7. Yes, I remember. I didn’t mean to discourage you in anyway :S I think I’ll find it hard to even squeeze into that age group myself with Mae being 18. And, I’m still getting advice on the whole ya, na, adult categories and am as confused as I was 6 months ago…
    I do take criticisms to heart, and I have to understand that getting feedback now will be important in being able to withstand negative reviews later…
    I guess I question whether there is a point where the level of criticism would outweigh my desire to write. You’re a mathematician. There must be some coefficient, or gradient or some mathematical equation that would fit here 🙂 Excuse the use of my inappropriate terms lol
    Thanks for popping by. I hope you still feel as though you can ask me anything anytime 🙂

  8. I’m so glad you wrote this post Lorelle. It sounds like sometimes the constant noise of social media and people’s opinions and what’s popular at the moment can really affect your writing, and it’s a good idea to stay away and just listen to what’s in your head and heart.

    • Yeah, I’m having a lot of knee-jerk reactions lately to what I’m seeing on social media. I’ve decided to stick with a professional editors critique and work around that. I want them to reject my book because it’s not for them, not because I didn’t package it properly. I don’t hear anybody crying out for a YA UF…But I’ll trudge on anyway 🙂

  9. I stay away from social media opinion and just write what I want. The publishing industry says no more vampire books, they’re unpopular. I say to the publishing industry – my sales prove otherwise. I also want to write something new and fresh, break the boundaries, but after my vampire series is over, I have a contemporary romance planned – soooo not breaking the boundaries. I do feel your pain – I recently received a 1 star review in which they said that my prior reviews must’ve been written by family and friends – how can people be so hurtful? It’s one thing to dislike a book, it’s entirely another to make such accusations, but that is their opinion, so I just have to deal. It’s taken a while to pick myself up from that, but we do it. We get up and we write. Chin up, hun – you’re going to be just fine. Block everything else out and just focus on you and what you want x

    • It’s awesome that your book is selling well 🙂 I think I am having a knee-jerk reaction to every tweet. And I get confused between, “Write what you love and don’t write to a trend’ and “If your MS is not trending, shelve it and write something else and come back to it.” Maybe I need to get the query out there and see the reaction before I start feeling as though I’ve lost before I’ve begun. There are just so many amazing books and authors that you worry about standing out. I don’t think I could write any other way than I do now – and I know I won’t be for everyone – but I’m just not sure how to sell myself :S
      Maybe this is toughening me up for those one star reviews. Argh, that must have been brutal 😦

      • There are times when everything is overwhelming and we don’t know if we’re coming or going. Just stick at it and don’t put so much pressure on yourself (easy to say, right?!) But you will get to the place where you’re okay again, you really will. And, yes, the 1 star was brutal and soul crushing and I wanted to give it all up, but I’m glad I didn’t and you’ll get to a place where you’re happy to be writing again 🙂

      • Thanks, Emma. When the alternative is staring at the walls and eating myself into oblivion, I’ll take pushing through this writing hurdle, any day!

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