Stuck! Gah!

I started my new novel around mid November and was writing like a champ. Go me! I got right at 25,000 words in just a few short weeks. Words were flowing out of me in waves. I was patting myself on the back and thinking, at this rate, I’ll have my first draft down before Christmas!

Yeah, that’s not going to happen. Real life stepped in and derailed my writing for the last ten days. The holidays, Christmas shopping, gift wrapping, laundry, house cleaning. You know, the adult responsibilities we all have.  I have not opened my manuscript since December 1st. That was, until yesterday.

I finally had some time, yesterday, to do some writing. I opened Scrivener, read over my last few paragraphs, poised my hands over my keyboard. And froze. Nothing came. Notta. Zilch. Zero.

I was at a very profound scene with a lot of conflict and knew the general direction I wanted to go, but my mind was blank. The problem was, over the last ten days or so, when I would get a wee bit of time to write, I knew it wasn’t enough to devote to the scene I was getting ready to tackle. So, I didn’t write at all. In doing that, I completely derailed my writing; stuck in the ditch. In about two feet of snow. And ice. And mud. (from spinning my wheels and all).

Yesterday, when I had enough time to sit down and justly devote to the scene, I had a sudden case of writer’s block. Being a ‘linear panster’, I can’t move on to the next scene. Being OCD, I can’t go back to the beginning and start reading in order to get into the story again.  I will start editing and get completely consumed with fixing everything – and end up stuck in the same exact place I was already stuck in. Trust me, I’ve tried this.

So, doing what a lot of my writer friends do, I jumped on the Absolute Write Water Cooler forums and yelled for help. As usual, the folks on there came to my rescue and offered tons of great ideas to help get me pushed up out of that ditch.

I ended up getting 883 words written yesterday. While not magnificent (in any stretch of the imagination), it was words and all words count. (at least until the edit and revision) And, I have made a new goal: to write something every single day. Even if it’s just a sentence or a paragraph, something has to be written every day. It’s the only way I know not to let the flow of the story run off downhill and land me smack in a ditch.

Anybody have more suggestions for getting “unstuck”?

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Indie Authors

What are Indie authors? Unless you have been reading writer/author blog posts or are in some way associated with the art of writing, you have probably never heard the term “Indie Author”. So what are they?

Indie authors are 2012’s answer to traditional publishing. Go 2012!

First of all, what is traditional publishing? In the “old days,” writers sat down and wrote out a manuscript. Then, they edited it, revised it, trashed it, rewrote it, so on and so forth. When they felt like it was “polished” they would begin the daunting task of trying to get it published.

To get a story published, an author had to start with an agent, preferably in their genre. It would be kind of silly to try to pitch a horror novel to a romance agent. Finding the right agent is quite a task on it’s own. But, say you find a few agents in your genre that are accepting manuscripts. Bingo!

However, before you ever get the chance to get your manuscript in their hands, you have to “query” them first. This involves sending a “query letter” basically saying ‘hey, here I am, maybe the next big thing…’ with a brief (very brief) synopsis of your story. Imagine trying to get a highly sought after position in a very overcrowded career field and having to sell yourself in a one page synopsis. Yeah, it’s that hard.

But, let’s say out of the 100 query letters you send, one agent is intrigued. (probably not, but we can hope, right?) The agent contacts you and requests either a couple chapters of your manuscript or your whole manuscript. They read it and see that it is all you said it would be and that you really can write. Yay!

Next up, the agent goes to work and tries to sell your manuscript to a publisher. In a perfect world, the agent finds a publisher that loves your story. Next comes the edits (the publisher has an editor, by the way) and revisions. Hopefully, with a little luck, your story still resembles what you wrote to begin with. Wah-lah you have a book in print, on store shelves and at Amazon.

This whole process can easily take two years. Easy. Do you have what it takes to not only write, but to wait two years before you see your book in print?

Enter 2012. The year of the Indie Author. Now, authors can take a less traditional route to publishing. Basically, anybody who has access to a computer and internet can have a book published and up for sale in a matter of days. Did you hear me? Days!

All you need is a writing program (I use Scrivener) that allows you to write, edit and compile your story. Want it on Amazon? You can do that. Want it on Barnes & Noble? You can do that, too. You can even submit it to websites that specialize in print versions of Indie books.

While the “getting it to published status” is quite a bit easier, if you go this route, you will have to do all of your marketing yourself. Or hope like hell that a few people read it and rave about it; leaving glowing reviews all over the internet. **It can happen – Fact: Fifty Shades of Grey started off as fanfic for Twilight (Fanfic – writing based on a popular book/movie by a fan). EL James started writing her story, a chapter a week, in a Twilight forum and sprinkled in some erotica (okay BDSM) and found she was gaining followers left and right. She ended up self publishing under the title “Master of the Universe” before Vintage Books published it under the title “Fifty Shades of Grey”.

There is a downside to self-publishing that does hurt the market in general. Like I said, anybody can publish a book these days. Translate: you can be a great storyteller, but a terrible editor. Or you can be a great editor, but terrible storyteller. Therefore, the self published world of Indie Authors has loads of “books” with awful story lines, plots, spelling and grammar. But, there are some (quite a few actually) diamonds in the rough.

Where do you find good Indie books? The Kindle Book Review has a list of 2012 Finalists divided into several different genres, with links to the books. Click here to check out their findings.

I am planning on self publishing, so I will be one of those Indie Authors. (Stay Tuned!) Meanwhile, I would love recommendations on good Indie books if you know of any.