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Stuck in the sand

stuck in sand

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Writers love their metaphors, and I’m smack dab in the middle of one that often applies to how they live: stuck in the sand.

Mostly, it’s quicksand that has hold of me right now, and I’m flailing my arms trying to get someone’s attention. The sand in this case was dumped by clients in my paying gig: managing editor, and it was created by deadlines not being met by others. I have developed the delicate art of becoming the human gnat, buzzing in the ear of those who pay me to be a good editor and manager. But the reality of my daily job is that I have to depend on other people’s schedules and sometimes getting their association or corporate publication out is not as important as the thousands of other tasks on their plates. I’m used to being here in this spot; I’m a patient person and someone usually sees my flailing arms and rescues me.

When it comes to my writing career, however, I’m stuck out in the desert with no one listening. The Fate Series’ publishing situation is about to change and I have to decide if I have the desire or knowledge to self publish or whether I must go through the often-lengthy process of finding a new publisher. Neither scenario appeals in the least; I’ve loved the editors and artists I’ve had up to now. I can’t stand the thought of not having their support. But I happened across this spot accidentally, and I’m sinking in my own indecision about how to solve this problem. Meanwhile, I’m trying to finish book four, working out details with mom in book five and trying to decide what to do about the book of short stories mom and I put together last year that doesn’t appear to be “out there” enough to appeal to today’s short story publishers.

I guess in the case of my writing career, this sand is more like a trap. I’m swinging my clubs trying to understand exactly what’s involved in the very broad and diverse field of publishing today. I’m trying to find time in all of this mess to hit the newest books forward.

But the nice part of the sand trap is that there are those that can give you lessons on how to rescue yourself. Such was the case last weekend when I attended a Virginia Writer’s Club symposium on “Navigating Your Writer’s Life.” The group put together an excellent program balancing the “craft” of writing with the “business” of being an author. I chose mostly business sessions because I need the practicality right now. I came away with so much information my head is spinning. More importantly, I came away having met a roomful of people who have faced or are facing the same issues I am, which means: I’m no longer alone out here in my pile of sand. Many of these people won’t be able to rescue me—they are too busy trying to hit the golf ball themselves. But the place to begin getting answers is to listen to those who have been here, stuck in the sand, and found a way not to let it ruin their scores.

–Genilee Swope Parente

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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A Spoonful of Sugar as Momentum

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One of the most common questions I get from would-be authors or young people is: what makes you write?

In answering, I usually talk about the love of words and the joy of crafting good stories and creating images in people’s minds. All of that is my basis for writing. But for those of us who have been doing this for a while there’s often another answer: we need to go somewhere besides our daily lives, and writing is the ticket.

I’ve never had a time when that reason was a stronger motivation. Mom and I are going through a really tough time dealing with my father who is currently in a rehab center after going into the hospital and coming out with a diagnosis of advanced lung cancer. Before this hospital visit and the diagnosis, we were at the doctors constantly, waiting for tests to get done and hoping (mostly foolishly) that someone can make my father feel better. We’re having to make some very hard decisions that affect a person we both love dearly. The heartbreak of it all threatens to overwhelm us both. It’s one of the few times in my life where I’m taking it all day by day, hard-pressed to make long-term plans.

As a result, neither one of us is sleeping well. The boogeyman of worry is too often present. But those days when I can, I still get up an hour early in the morning or take a few stolen hours on the weekend or at the end of a long day to write. It’s a vacation from pressures, the stress raining down on every day and the sadness that comes when a loved one is in pain. I’m spending that vacation time helping mom’s characters come to life—giving them the faces mom intended, creating the action that will get them from point A to point B of the plot, and polishing their dialogue and what readers “see” when they read our books.

It doesn’t make what’s happening any less awful. But the fact I choose to write at this point in my life shows me how vital creating these books has become to my psyche.

Our thanks to all the people that have wished us well. Book three (Violet Fate) will be coming out in the next few weeks along with the revamped and improved books one (Twist of Fate) and two (Wretched Fate).

Genilee Swope Parente

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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