|my kids hate these sunglasses.|
Whoa! Hold on one minute!!!
No one, but NO one, said summer could go this fast.
I mean, seriously, like mind-blowingly fast.
Alas, it has, and, thus, it is somehow our last official day -- and our last official Friday Feedback -- of the 2014 Teachers Write! summer.
*cue tears* Because, trust me, we are all as sad as you are.
Yet, all we can do is make the most of it. Go out with a bang! So, this modgepodge post will contain:
1. some hopefully valuable information on how to keep going when your inner critic chimes in, from Sarah Darer Littman (& a few others);
2. my now-usual parting gift (you'll see in a moment if you're new here...);
3. the name of the winner of the belated-but-not-forgotten drawing for an Advance Review Copy of Amy Fellner Dominy's A MATTER OF HEART which comes out next spring!
and, of course,
4. Some last-gasp Friday Feedback sharing of any excerpt of your choosing!
It's a long, long post, so apologies, but there's lots I wanted to cover. So, without further ado, here's Sarah, with:
#1. How to keep going when your inner critic chimes in...
|Sarah is the author of the forthcoming BACKLASH,|
WANT TO GO PRIVATE? and several other amazing
YA novels. Click the link and read all about her!
The Inner Crazy Lady:
After reading some campers' feedback to Gae’s question on the Teachers Write Facebook page the other day about how we might improve consistent participation in Teacher’s Write throughout the summer, I started to recognize a familiar friend – or, more accurately, a familiar “Frenemy" -- showing up in your comments.
I call mine, “The Inner Crazy Lady.” You might call yours “The Inner Crazy Guy” or “The internalized voice of my hyper critical parents/friends/relatives” or, simply, "Bob."
What this particular "friend" does is sabotage your writing process – inhibiting the free flow of creativity, making you afraid to put another word on the page, preventing you from finishing what you started.
How does The Inner Crazy Lady (or Bob) do this? By telling you it sucks. That this is THE WORST THING EVER WRITTEN IN THE HISTORY OF EVER. By saying that you’re not a writer, you’re a fraud. My ICL still says tells me this even though my fifth book comes out next March, I’ve written many other work-for-hire books, and I have been paid to write political opinion columns since 2003. Put simply, she is a total beyotch.
As soon as I hear one of my students apologizing for their work before they’ve even read it, I give them “The Inner Crazy Lady” talk. I tell them how I’ve learned to trick the ICL by writing my first drafts as fast as I can, so that hopefully I’m finished by the time she wakes up and starts harassing me. If she does start up, thanks to Anne Lamott I have an answer for her: “Girl, this is just a sh*tty first draft. I’m just getting words on the page. I CAN FIX IT (“it” being whatever her complaint is at the moment) IN REVISION.”
Why do I call her a frenemy rather than simply an enemy? Because the Inner Crazy Lady is also responsible for my driven almost to the point of insanity work ethic, and for how I try to learn from the experience of writing each book (including the criticism) so that I can do better on the next one. It’s okay that she hangs around -just not while I’m writing the first draft.
Find the strategies you need to keep your Inner Crazy Lady (or Bob) in check. And don’t think you’re alone! Every author has one.
|Amy Fellner Dominy, author of OyMG, Audition & Subtraction, |
and the forthcoming A Matter of Heart on her inner critic...
|and, Charlotte Bennardo, co-author of the Sirenz Series & Blonde Ops|
|and, me, author of The Pull of Gravity & The Summer of Letting Go|
#2. a parting gift... So last year, and maybe the year before, I made a so-far standing offer to any TW! camper who regularly participated on Friday Feedback to review your query letter for any of your WIP's when ready. This summer, I hereby extend this offer. I know this gift only really helps those of you who are working on your own fiction, but, hey, camp is free, and at least it's a little something. BEFORE you send my your queries, I beg of you, please do your research on how to write a query letter and read this post: Friday Feedback: KISS those Queries! While the advice in there is harsh and limiting, I stand by it. Though I have seen the rare query that violates these rules and still gets requests, you'd better believe it was because the manuscript described was exactly what that agent was looking (or, hoping) for. If you find yourself ready to query, feel free to contact me at my email firstname.lastname@example.org or through my facebook author page;
as determined in a purely random drawing involving only me, your names on folded paper, and my son's green golf hat,
but carefully supervised by the accounting firm of My Son's Dog, Charlie. . .
is Linda Mitchell!!!! Linda, email me at email@example.com and I'll put you in touch with Amy for mailing information!
and, last, but not least,
4. Friday Feedback. You know the RULES! Since it's just you and me today, I'll share a passage from the very middle of my WIP I'm turning in to my agent as we speak! Wish me luck! The story takes place near NYC on the day of, and in the few immediate days after, 9/11. The MC Kyle brings home a girl who has amnesia (and some other weird things) and he hasn't exactly figured out how to tell his cop dad, whose been busy down at the site, that he's brought her there... fyi, we don't know the girl's name, and Kerri is Kyle's sister. . . So, what works for you? What doesn't? Does it compel you to keep on reading?
See you in the comments!
Kerri’s door is still shut.
I knock as quietly as I can, then open it a crack without waiting. So she doesn't call out, to tell me it’s okay to come in.
Except I don’t need to worry about that.
Because she’s not in the room anymore.
Kerri’s bed is empty. Made up. My plaid pajama pants folded neatly on the pillow.
I run down the hall to the bathroom even though it’s clear she’s not there. The door is wide open, the toothbrush I gave her gone from the sink.
My heart races. Why did she leave without telling me?
I close the door and sit on the toilet to think, then figure, screw it. If she’s gone, she’s gone. What am I going to do about it?
It’s her problem, right? Not mine.
I close my eyes and lean back against the cold tank, shake my head against the thoughts that creep in.
The girl on the bridge in those wings.
At the edge.
Leaning way out over the water. . .
I try to think back to my sister’s room. Did she take the wings with her? I don't remember seeing them on the chair.
I look helplessly around the bathroom wondering if I said something to bother or upset her? Wondering if she left me some clue.
My eyes pause on the magazine basket. It’s out of place a little, maybe. Rifled through. Jutting from the base of the cabinet.
On top is a June issue of the New York Insider magazine with a photo of Washington Square Park on the cover. Stone archway, pink trees in massive bloom. In an inset, a photo of those three asshole prep school boys who they say raped that exchange student this past summer.
Was that just a few weeks ago?
It was such a huge story back then.
I shove the basket back with my foot, and stand up. Why can’t I be an uncaring asshole like they are?
I mean, really. Why do I care about the girl?
It's great news that she’s gone!
Now, she’s not my problem anymore.
I should be relieved.
So why do I feel so crappy?
See you all next summer! Or maybe for a few periodic FF's between now and then?!
p.s. please continue to buy, share, tweet and review the titles of all the Friday Feedback guest authors. Word of mouth is everything to most of us!