Bullet Wisdom

I am an Active Duty Officer in the US Army. I am a Husband, father, writer, hunter, gamer, and SOLDIER. This blog is a forum for my many hobbies as well as my random musings.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Quick Update and Good Advice

I've been unfairly punishing my blog in a poor attempt to punish myself for not finishing my edits. I've pretty pushed off everything creative to focus on finishing the manuscript. Yet somehow, the no-blog-until-complete policy feels a bit misguided.

I had a wonderful phone conversation with a super-agent, the result of winning one of the Query Critiques over at WriteOnCon. So while I was in the middle of rewrite hell, I got to enjoy what was probably the best twenty minutes of my fledgling writing career. Oh, and there was a Query critique in there too. Since this was not an interview per se, I won't name her here, but this particular lesson-learned was too important to sit on:

Don't rush.

She talked about one of her client who waited the better part of year to respond to her manuscript request. She met him in person, listened to the pitch and made the request. A year (or more) later, she received the manuscript and even still remembered him. Her point: she would rather the work be right than fast.

So I've slowed. Not completely, but I took a week to read and reset my inner-YA fanboy. I read Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall. Think Groundhog Day meets John Hughes, except that the story is from the popular kid's perspective; in which case it probably wouldn't be John Hughes. Maybe Lindsey Lohan. Or just forget it.

Highly recommended. Then came the guilty pleasure: Cassandra Clare's latest, The City of Fallen Angels. If you're a fan, I need say no more. No spoilers. It's solid, and stands well against its predecessors.

Okay, that's it. Someone leave a comment saying, 'Bad blogger, bad!', for neglecting my blog.


Danielle La Paglia said...

Bad blogger! But thanks for your help with my blog last week. :)

Oh, and....Rebels Rule.

Falcata Times said...

Ken you've just given the best writing advice going. After all, you've taken your time to get the manuscript right before sending it off in the first place, so why rush the edits. Its a learning process so it will improve with speed over time but you only get one chance to make a first impression and as you're critiquer has said they'd rather it too the extra time to get it done just right.

All the best with your work Ken.

Anonymous said...

So many times I've wanted to tell people to take their time and not rush to send out queries for something that wasn't at it's very best. Do it, and do it right. You only hurt yourself in the end if you send out something that hasn't been given a couple of long timeouts during the process. GREAT advice!

Michelle Muto said...

It's perfectly acceptable. I neglected my blog all winter. Some things need to take a back seat.

And yeah. Make the work count. Take your time with it. Great advice.

J D Waye said...

But how do you know when you are ready? How do you determine the difference between being finished beating up the poor MS to death, and hitting a plateau - running out of patience, talent, and wisdom?

Ken said...

JD, you'll be finished when you can sit back in your chair, close your eyes, and honestly say that at this moment in your journey as a writer, the completed manuscript is the best your capable of. If you you know it's not and you know why, then it's not. There's a difference between having doubts, and knowing the problem.

pj schnyder said...

But understandable. :)

And a good perspective - quality is definitely preferable over rushed.

There is definitely a balance to consider.

Pat Hollett said...

Very good sound advice Ken! I too took a hiatis from my blog but for other reasons. I wish it had been because I was writing. Sometimes we have to know which priority takes priority and not feel guilty and stretch ourselves too thin. It's perfectly acceptable to take a break.
Glad to hear you won the query contest at WriteOn! Congrats!
Good blog as usual! :)

Angela Addams said...

Great advice from your phone conversation! I'm horrible with rushing things - I don't know how to slow down even though I know I should. If you figure it out let me know!

J.A. Campbell said...

Welcome back! Great advice and thanks for sharing.


J D Waye said...

Great advise - as always. You've been responsible for two huge Eureka moments for me. Thank you. But will lightening strike three times in the same place? Patience is my Achilles' heel. I've done the best job I am capable of, but clearly I've hit a plateau because I can no longer figure out where the problem lies.

Danielle La Paglia said...

JD - that's when you ship it off to your writing partners who will tell you EXACTLY where the problem lies. In a loving and supportive manner of course. :)