People in your works of fiction always think the story is about them.
And, it’s not.
For example, I have spent hours (okay a lot of minutes) trying to convince my mother that my novel MOTHER MONA is not about her. It really isn’t.
She’s in there though – just a wee bit of her. So is my beloved mother-in-law. So am I.
MONA, my main character, is a woman who’s lived her life restrained by fear. Fear of connecting, fear of leaving her comfort zone, fear of leaving an alcoholic husband. Fear of germs. Of spiders. Fear of looking stupid. Fear of fear.
See, there’s me in there. Certainly not that bad, but one of the perks of having a vivid imagination is that not only do you view the world in a way that makes people think you’re at least a little bit nuts, you also have the capability to imagine every little possible thing that can go wrong. And, I hate spiders.
So here I’ve gone and written a novel. Now, Mother’s Day is in a couple days and if you follow any kind of media whatsoever, you’ve been inundated with gift ideas for Mom. My kids have been asking me what I want (clean house, long nap, vacation to someplace warm, lots of hugs and kisses – not necessarily in that order). Then that Little Voice said, “What do you want? Guts.” Not the moose kind (been there, done that) or the fish kind (done that too). The writerly kind. Yeah.
So my Mother’s Day gift to me? The guts to query. For you non-writer types, that means I’ve spent months writing a novel, and weeks and weeks polishing it until my eyeballs bled, and now it’s time to send a blurb about it to literary agents to see if they like it well enough to represent me. The blurbs are called queries. So “to query” literally means “to rip your heart out and wave it in front of the whole wide world to criticize or reject or maybe even laugh at.”
I went bungee jumping once. Years ago, in Florida. Bouyed by copious amounts of liquid courage and the effrontery of my husband, who said I’d chicken out. I showed him. From 1,000 feet, I jumped. It was terrifying. And wonderful. And ever since, I’ve been able to look back and say to myself, “Ha! You did that! You can do anything!” and “I told you so” to my husband (which is also fun because it doesn’t happen often).
Today, I’m jumping. Leaping off the big fat, scary query cliff is my Mother’s Day gift to me. Tawanda!
But I still want all the hugs and kisses from my kids. And the long nap.
4 thoughts on “For Mother’s Day I Want A Heap of Guts”
I can’t wait to hear if your book will get published or not, and even if it doesn’t, I would still love to read some of your work. Keeping all my fingers and toes crossed for you Miss! Lots of love on Mother’s day and best of luck with your writing adventures.
I too, can see the worst of things all the time, and hate that about my worried self, but the good news is that the bad stuff I think of doesn’t usually happen. AND. When I was a kid my step dad went bungee jumping (I was there with my mom watching) and I wanted to go too! But she wouldn’t let me, she said wait until you’re an adult. The opportunity never presented itself after that, and now I know I would be too scared to jump. LOL. The courage we have when we are young, if we could just keep that with us as we go… ♥
I have been suffering with this for a long time. For the past two years I have been in what I feel is a comatose state of doing nothing but writing a series. I finished 6 volumes in a series and then wrote a spin off. You’d think I wrote the spin off to get everything out of my head. (You know, some characters won’t shut up…) But no, I wrote the spin-off because of fear. I was too afraid to send anything to a literary agent. So this morning I find myself reflecting on the last two years. Everyone has those moments of self doubt in this business. (I hate calling it business that but….you get the drift). So today I find myself exceptionally tired. I’m thinking about all of the words I’ve written ect…And I think it’s time now. I’ve written all I can in the world I’ve created and there’s no excuses left. From what I hear the query world is a (pardon my French) mean son-of-a-bitch. The excuses have run out. And I find myself staring at this post you’ve made, nodding my head back and forth while smoking a cigarette. It’s the fear. It’s the fear of someone saying “You’re baby isn’t good enough” after you’ve put all that time, sweat, and tears into it. Uh-hum. I feel your pain. I know this is almost two months old, but it was the first page that popped up when I typed “Courage to send out queries”. A lot of people say writing is the hard part. SHAKES HEAD. Nope. Querying is. The rejection, I assume, is worse than editing a chapter ten times. I think the worst part for me is reading other books and second guessing myself. (I have no idea why i am typing so much. It’s best to get it out I suppose.) I wish you the best of luck. I hope I can one day find the courage to send in my baby. DEEP BREATHS….I’m close, I know, but I need a kick in the butt. LOL. But if you can do it, I suppose I can too. 🙂
Wow, I really commend you for writing a series. Six volumes, wow! And a spin off! I hope you do send it in – I am slowly learning that rejection is not is as hard after the first few times. Like you said, the query world can be harsh, but I have been surprised and thrilled to learn that there are some incredibly nice people out there, both agents and writers, who really want to help. And, what keeps me going sometimes is finding lists of how many times the great writers of our time have been rejected. Remember, it only takes one person to love your work, even if others say no.
Seriously, consider yourself virtually kicked, lol. I can’t tell you how many times I find myself thinking, “Why didn’t I just do this sooner?”
Best of luck to you! Please let me know how it turns out!
You’ll be happy to know that after I read this post, I did get down to work. I am making the final adjustments to my first book in the series, well polishing it, and writing a query. Good luck to you too. I hear JK Rowling was rejected many times, along with Stephen King. That gives me hope. (Not that my writing is like their’s, but you get the picture ha-ha.)