Monday, April 27, 2015

Making Your Stories Work For You

Okay, so I was at critique group last week, and I have some of the greatest crit partners. They are inspirational and talented. Ali's said this before, but it helped me once again. She said she likes to have her books "working for her."

That doesn't mean they're all published, making money, though she does have some awesome books out there you should buy and read. No, what she means is that she wants them DOING SOMETHING while she works on something else. Whether that's querying them, or sending them to beta readers, or editing them. She doesn't like to just let books sit.

I've been thinking about that for a few days, because I have a couple of books just sitting. They're good books (in my opinion), but they're not doing anything. I've basically shelved them. So I've been trying to access what, if anything, I should do with them. There are some options, but there are some limitations too.

I'm working on other things, so it's not like I don't have plenty to do writing-wise. But these two books aren't currently working for me.

What do you do? Do you put all of your books to work for you?


Angela Brown said...

I was actually about to stick an MG story on the shelf. I was having a knee-jerk reaction to a comment by an agent during a webinar, something along the lines that agents were tired of portal fantasy in MG.

But then I decided to reach out to a writer bud and mention my intentions to put the book in the drawer instead of working to improve the MS and the query. She responded with something I should have known but my knee-jerk reaction was blocking: one agent's comment doesn't speak for every agent in the world. So now, instead of shelving the story, I'm referencing newer comments on it to improve it and am both nervous and excited about starting the query process again in a few months.

I can agree that I like the idea of having my stories active or at least in the prep stages of some activity.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Good question. Sometimes I think it really is good to let some books or stories sit awhile and not to anything, while your subconscious is working on them. I do try to keep my writing in motion, though. When I'm working on a rewrite or new book, I try to have things in circulation, whether stories, flash fictions, poems, whatever. Knowing finished pieces (or what i hope are finished pieces) are making the rounds, I find it easier to concentrate on the work at hand.

Karen lee Hallam said...

I have to agree with your critique friend. I cannot let a finished project sit. Whether its a short story pass that needs a more editing, or rejected book, that needs a rewrite, fiction being read by betas. I agree. I figure with enough knowledge and work I can always make it better. And try again. (Glad to know I'm not the only one who repurposes her stories) ha!

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