Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Rules for writers

I’ve been a bit out of touch over Christmas, but I see Janet Reid has a series of short posts up, thus:

Rules for Writers: be rational

I’d NEVER had someone refuse to let me read something. As you can well imagine, it’s 100% the other way around, I’m refusing to read stuff left and right.

To say I’m stunned is to say Lee Child sold a few books last year.

In the next five nano-seconds I think the following things:

1. He’s read my blog and he thinks I’m a foul mouthed bitch.
2. He’s read my blog and he thinks I’m incompetent.
3. He knows me and doesn’t like me.
4. He’s heard of me and doesn’t like me.

Now, these thoughts aren’t as lucid as this list. It’s mostly just an overwhelming feeling of self doubt and the instant assumption his refusal was about ME.

In the next moment, I have a blinding, and I mean BLINDING, realization that this is how some people who query me react to form rejections. I think the last time there was a bolt like this Saul might have been on the road to Damascus.

Rules for Writers: be imperfect

Fear of mistakes leads to paralysis. If you’re so afraid of making a mistake or annoying me that you don’t query, or don’t write, or don’t finish, the result is the same: nothing.

Rules for Writers: be reachable

One person sent me the email address for an author who needed some specific questions answered. I clicked on the address, sent an email.

Boing! Boing! Bounced back faster than you can say “googleschmoogle”

Rules for Writers: be positive

I don’t mean you are Pollyanna. When you find out your sales figures aren’t anywhere near what you were sure they’d be you don’t clap your hands and shout “oh yay!” No, you weep and rend your garments and curse the fates, BUT THEN you pick yourself up and say to your agent “OK, let’s deal with this. Strategy time.”

What you do NOT say is “oh they must think I suck as a writer, woe is me.”

Rules for Writers: be ready

The contest only required three chapters. But if all you have is three chapters, it’s hard to snag an agent. And if you win a contest, there’s a golden opportunity to be in front of some people who might want to help you reach the next level.

If the contest is three chapters, finish the novel and then enter. If you win, you’re ahead of the curve.

Of course each entry has more stuff than the snippets I quoted here, so click through and read each post. It all sounds like good advice to me.

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