Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Question Time with Caroline

Hello everyone in blogger land! I know it has been a while, but between Christmas and the new book coming out, I've been a bit swamped.

Every now and again I get an email from a fan and I wind up writing an incredibly long response and then I think to myself-- 'Self you should post this on your blog because it's just possible that somebody might find it interesting or relevant.' Let's hope that's true....

I'm going to abbreviate the question and then give you my response. If you have any questions, do let me know!!

The Question-- I am on 60,000 words at the moment and pretty close to finishing but am now unsure what happens next.  Do I just upload and see what happens?  It’s ok I am not expecting answers from you but I guess I am now in a place where I either move forward or just forget the whole (writing) thing and keep reading other people’s words.  I guess I am afraid someone will read my words and identify the same way I have and see the bits of me I have now learned to keep to myself.

The Answer-- First of all, congratulations on writing sixty thousand words!! That is amazing and you should be very proud of yourself. I suppose you could push the publish button and upload it, but my initial thought is that that might be hasty. You seem a bit conflicted as to what you would like to do and I think anyone writing a good book has to put themselves on the page and expect that readers will identify with them and think that they know them. I saw JR Ward at RT and people acted like she was a goddess. They love the peculiar darkness of her characters and it resonates with them. If that is the sort of book that you would like to write, then you are 'out there.'

There is no shame in writing a book for yourself and it's possible that over a bit of time you would become more comfortable with putting so much of yourself into words. My other concern is that perhaps you are rushing. Sixty thousand words is  on the short side for a novel.   If you have written a novella then perhaps what I am saying is irrelevant, but my guess is that there are areas of your book that would need to be fleshed out more to get you up to eighty thousand words which is standard novel size.

My advice is to put the book away for six weeks and then look at it. At that point the book is fairly unrecognizable and you can look at it objectively and decide what is working and what is not working. I would be very careful about putting your work out  into the world if you are the only person who has seen it. I've been in a lot of critique groups where I have been told that my writing sucks. I've also been told that my writing is good. You have to develop a thick skin so that when strangers take umbrage with your work-- which they will-- you can think 'go write your own fucking book if you don't like it' instead of wondering if they are correct.

From the way you talk about the book (which granted is in one sentence) I don't have the impression that you think you have written the Great American novel. It sounds like you proved something to yourself-- ie that you could do it-- and now you have to decide what you would like to do next. I'm a big believer in joining a writer's group, because they are the only people who will be interested in your writing. Before my book became successful, my friends and family had no interest in reading my writing and I did not want to subject them to it. Now they still don't have any interest but they keep thinking they should. lol.  Anyway, congratulations again and let me know what you decide to do :)

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