Friday, November 20, 2015

My Reading List for the next 41 days

Whenever I read on any of my blog buddy’s blogs that they have read so many books in a month, trust me when I say that, I feel very envious. I wonder how do they manage to read so many books, work on their manuscripts, blog, attend to their sundry other chores, as well as manage their day jobs. I am sure like Ninja Captain Alex Cavanaugh, they all must be having secret superpowers which we all are unaware of. Sigh!Poor little me has to manage with my limited abilities.

My reading has taken a big hit in the last few months. Infact, this entire year I have read just a few books. And hardly any in the genre and age group I write.

I plan to read atleast a few books before this year ends. That’s why I have borrowed the first four books from the library, so that I have to read them fast.

1.   The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I have heard so much about this book from many people. It’s on many agents wishlist. It has also been made into a movie.

2.    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I want to read this book again. I have read it a very long time back.

3.    I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella. I have been hearing a lot about this author and her Shopaholic novels.

4.    Johnny Gone Down by Karan Bajaj. This book has been on my wishlist from ages. Thank God its small and I am sure I can finish it in a couple of days.

5.    Broken Branch Falls by Tara Tyler. I won this book on Tara's blog and Tara paid a small fortune to courier it to me (it reached me three days back). And luckily for me it’s a Middle Grade Novel. I am eager to read it. Ever since I had seen it on Tara’s blog I was intrigued by it.  

6.    5 to 1 by Holly Bodger. I won this book on Natalie Aguirre's blog Literary Rambles. Natalie is an angel in disguise. Infact, whenever she couriers a book to me, I feel extremely guilty about the money she spends to send the book to me. Natalie has raved about this book. I am super eager to read the book.

Which are the books you plan to read in the next few weeks? I would love to take a peep into your reading lists.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Handling contrary feedback without going mad

From the past few weeks I have been lurking on and off on a site where writers share their query experience, and information about which agents reply fast and what is the response time from the other agents. This is all a part of my research to make a list of agents for my current work-in-progress. I want to target those agents who rep my genre and who reply.

The writers (most of them don’t go by their own names, they either have an avatar or a funny sounding name with no pictures) share their query feedback. I have figured out that there is something called a form rejection which many agents send. Then there are agents who say that if we don’t reply within a certain period of time consider it a pass.

And then there are a few agents who personalize their rejections by mentioning “Dear so and so” and also mention the name of the manuscript and the main character and in a few sentences let the writer know what worked for them in the sample pages. I have only admiration for such agents who take the time and effort to give suggestions.

It’s this point that has me reading wide-eyed. Every manuscript amasses a wide range of feedback, each bit contrary with what another has said.

If we writers were to follow every bit of advice, then I think we would be having atleast half a dozen drafts of each of our manuscripts. I wonder how those writers cope with so much contrary feedback. If one agent has liked the setting, the other one says “I wasn’t taken in by the voice,” then the third one says “I didn’t feel a connection with the main character” and the fourth one says “I didn’t fall in love with the story.”

OMG, I went nuts reading all the suggestions and advice. I am wondering whether I can handle all this. I am seriously rethinking whether I even want to put myself through all this. Rejections are bad enough, but when it comes with an avalanche of feedback that can put a writer in a puddle of confusion, its scary. At the back of my mind there are doubts about how much is true and how much is because a disgruntled writer cannot accept rejection?

I am curious how my writing buddies have handled this. How did you go about revising your manuscripts when it came with a string of suggestions, each bit clashing with the next?

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

IWSG post - Handling a truckload of doubts

This is the second last IWSG of the year. 2015 is now in a hurry to fly by at the speed of lightening. IWSG is one of the best things to happen to a writer at any stage of their writing career. The credit for starting this awesome online group should go to the super awesome and super inspiring Alex Cavanaugh – Author of Amazon bestsellers: CassaStar, CassaStorm, CassaFire and Dragon of the Stars. Alex is better known as Ninja Captain in blogland.

IWSG members post on the first Wednesday of every month. Our posts talk about all our writing worries, fears, doubts, insecurities and anxieties. We also help, support, advice and encourage other writers. Check the IWSG website for awesome writing tips.

One of my biggest insecurity and fear is not doing justice to the story I am writing. Yes, I started my young adult novel. Finally! It's quite a change from the middle grade novels I have so far written. I am wracked by anxiety. I know that until I finish the first draft I will be quite stressed out. Every scene I have plotted makes me wonder whether I am getting the mannerisms of a seventeen-year old right. 

Yesterday, I wrote a rough outline, jotted down a few character sketches and wrote the first chapter, all with doubts pecking my mind. The doubts were so loud and strong that I nearly stopped writing.

Later, I decided that to hell with the doubts and anxiety, I will dedicate the month of November to this book. It's my dream to write a love story. And one month out of my writing life is not asking for much. Even if I fail I can always revert back to my children's books.

I wonder how other writers who tackle a new genre or age group manage?Any tips for me on tackling a Young Adult novel?