Author Archives: Jennifer Clay
Twitter up and running (finally) and now ready for the madness of #PitMad.
Follow me. Wish me luck.
Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal. – Albert Camus.
#MotivationalMonday a day early
Busting Ass Band of Super Women
Not often do I jump on a bandwagon, soapbox or rant, but I am stepping up now. This is to all the strong women out there… and there our millions of you…
I respect, admire and appreciate you… and I know you don’t get enough people telling you how bad ass you are.
There is a Band of Super Women who are busting ass everyday — single and married, old and young, different ethnicity and different beliefs — but we all have one thing in common. We are committed, dedicated and loyal. We are working hard to support our families financially and emotionally. We are working hard to make a difference to those we love and those we don’t know. And some of us are working hard to survive.
The saying is: Behind every good man is a great women.
I say… move over. We are not standing behind you… we are standing next to you… or on our own. We are powerful Super Women busting ass and keeping it all together.
Here are a few links to some organizations that deserve R-E-S-P-E-C-T. (Feel free to add more in comments and I will add to the below.)
We are not Superwoman. We are Super Women.
–Inspired by one Bad Ass Woman, ML
Notes from the WD Frontline
Spent this past weekend @writersdigest conference in NYC. Jaw-dropping informative at times.Mind-numbingly exhausting at other points. Unfortunately, is this for real at one session. But overall, a feast for my writing senses.
Thought I would share some of my #writersdigest notes and rambles.
- 1. Read for technique
2. Strong premise and first chapter. Don’t over write first chapter
Don’t cause others to suffer from MEGO. My eyes glaze over. Boring
3. Beta readers. Use them!
4. Marketing… Jacket is key
5. Marketing… Publicity is key. Build a brand. Finding a publicist.
6. Blogging… Social networking. Do it.
7. Build relationships in bookstores.
My pitch is Pitch Perfect.
Pitch. Query letter
3 to 10 sentences. Like the back of a DVD box.
- Title, page count, genre,
Log lines. 1 sentence description of a book.Building blocks of pitch
1. Introduce main character
2. Say something is interesting about the character. Introduce what the main character wants
3. Introduce inciting incident
4. What is the main conflict of the book?
5 What’re the complications?
6. Unclear wrap up
7. The stakes.
8. Short lines. Be specific. Don’t be general. Internal and external struggle.
Create emotion. No subplots.
Bio that is relevant.
My pitch is far from Pitch Perfect.
Chuck’s Guide to literary agents blog.
Opening of the book
2. Probability. Sincere honorable all on the table
3. Power. You are the only person who could write this
4. Problem. Feel that something is coming but not necessarily the conflict
5. Possibilities. Sense
6. People. Character driven vs plot driven
7. Plot. Do it well.
Editing. 1 round to 7 rounds. 9 months to a year
3 to 4 years to get it published
Endings: Climax or big bang
Character, conflict and choice.
Flashbacks need to be organic. Part of someone’s memory
Avoid italics. Use for emphasis only
Very little marketing spend. Mostly none. You do the marketing
Band together with other writers
Social media… The author has to be promoting
Twitter. Definitely. Ugh.
Be realistic with your expectations
Every milestone doesn’t change your life. Manage your expectations
Hard to break through the noise.
Contact bookstores. Indies. Build relationships through twitter. Drive around to bookstores and sign them when travel. Booksellers are recommending
Biggest challenge… Getting word out about the book and distribution
Ask What if.
Should I outline or not. Yes. Do whatever you need to.
Laptop or pen and paper. Yes. Do whatever you want.
Research. Don’t let research stop you from writing.
If you are good at anything else besides writing, don’t be a writer
Guilty helps. Feel bad when you are not writing.
Don’t be a DOUCHE BAG.
Better to think you suck. Pushes you.
Don’t tell me you don’t have time to write.
Don’t talk about your book…….
Don’t get on a train. Write what you love.
Only bad writers think they are good.
Editors. When readers tell you something wrong, they are right. You must fix it.
You can do it better
Don’t settle to just be publishable. Demand that you are great.
Amateurs wait for the muse to arrive, the rest of us just get to work.
You can always fix bad pages. But you can’t fix blank pages.
Luck plays a part. As long as you are writing
Good friends and potential writing colleagues met.
Agents X 5. Excited.
More work to do. No time like the present.
Don’t waste your time and talent.
Blog more. Re-look at chapter 1. Should it be two chapters? Does it need to be punched up?
Apologies for errors. Sent from my iPad
The Decline of Western Civilization is part of history… my history
This past weekend I went to LACMA to see an Academy screening of Penelope Spheeris’ Decline of the Western Civilization I and III. This wasn’t my first time; I saw both films when they opened to very limited release. The documentaries captured a music scene and culture that some feared or didn’t understand, but others found accepting. The music resonated with teens who didn’t conform to what society dictated as normal or acceptable behavior, look and attitude.
As a teen of the ’80s, the film took me back to those years — and the screening to some old punker friends (and an ex). While today I am coming from a different place (a few decades older, and hopefully wiser), the film was just as exciting. And the music… the music and lyrics were just as powerful as they were so many years ago… though some of the topics were a little less relevant.I could barely contain my energy listening and watching Fear, Circle Jerks and X.
Thanks to Penelope Spheeris for capturing a scene and culture that embraced those just “the other side of normal.”
Geeking Out at the LA Times Festival of Books
I am a book nerd, an author geek, a voracious reader, a genuine fan of the written word. I’m in awe of authors who have published novels, especially good ones.
“Why do you get so excited when you meet authors? You act like they’re celebrities,” my son asked as we walked away from the signing tent at the LA Times #bookfest with personalized (to my son) autographed books from John Boyne (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas) and Ransom Riggs (Hollow City).
I realized that I was a bit of a blubbering idiot talking to them. Rambling. In awe.
I’ve meet numerous celebrities and have never been fazed. But when I met Judy Blume, I acted like a giggly 16 year old (I was 19). Not exactly celebrities, but I think authors deserve great respect — and maybe they’ll tolerate a little geeking out from a fellow writer and fan.
Thank you for your query
A cool black parchment type envelope with a crisp query letter to a cool San Diego-based agent who is part of a prestigious agency — a big first step…. and it felt good. Really good.
And when a familiar self-addressed envelope arrived at my house, that felt oddly okay. I knew it wasn’t a sure thing — his focus is on children’s books — but I had to try.
Thank you for your query.
After careful consideration, Mr. X didn’t find your work was the right fit for him at this time time. I should add that he’s not actively seeking new clients, so that played a large part in his thinking.
We wish you the very best…. etc.
Dear Mr. X,
I am still thrilled to have heard from you, even a rejection. It is posted above my computer, encouraging me to push on. I shall charge on….
Award-winning, one small step…
Goal: Enter a contest in the unpublished category. That’s it. Just a goal, a milestone. Keep working. Edit number, I don’t know, 10 perhaps? Almost done…. almost ready to send to an editor. Then it is time to put it out there.
But before the month is out, I discover that I won the 2013 Southern California Book Festival contest! What?
Or more accurately, now what? Keep editing and writing. Build on this…. Take another step.