Friday, September 27, 2013

The Nerves of the Waiting Game

Any writer who has ever been in the querying trenches knows of the harrowing ordeals. Ordeals of patience, which when you're waiting for a response to a query, you don't have much of.

It gets worse once you send out partials or fulls. Then you have to wait even longer. And by that point the ever torturous seed of hope has taken root in your chest. "They liked the beginning," you tell yourself. "They saw something in my idea. Maybe, just maybe, they'll like the whole book."

I've recently reentered the trenches and I know this feeling. Upon entering #pitmad I got a few requests to see pages so I sent them out. I also sent out a few queries. I was fine. Playing it cool. I wasn't going to get as freaked out as I did the FIRST time I started querying. Whatever happens, happens.

But hope does wonders to the calm mind. I was sitting in History of English class when I got an email. Casually I checked to see who it was from. One of the agents I sent my pages to.

They wanted a full.

Apologies to my History of English professor because my mind short circuited the moment I read those words. She was still talking but I watched her lips move and heard gibberish. All attempts to process the lecture were in vain.

Suddenly, I've gone crazy. Checking my email a million times a day, hovering over query tracker and twitter. I'm a ball of nerves.

Last night I had a dream I got an offer of representation. After which I started wondering if it was a dream. My dream family said it was and I started arguing with them about why it wasn't a dream, even though I knew it in the back of my mind (This dream also included space school but I don't need to get into that). It was kind of depressing to wake up the next morning.

The point is, every writer has been there. When you look for an agent you WANT it so bad and you hope and pray and pray some more that you might finally find the right one. You want someone to see something in your work.

You want to be an author. No, you NEED it.

Keep hoping and dreaming and never lose that edge. The dream is what keeps us going. But also keep calm in the face of rejection. Accept it. Busy yourself with other projects. Go outside every once and awhile. Breathe. Its going to be okay.

When the time is right, your book will find a home and you will see it in print. It could be this book or a few books from now. Heck, you could get the call tomorrow. But we all have a lot of life to live and a lot of time to live it.

Now if I could just take my own advice, I'll be dandy!


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Pen Names and Internships

Hey everyone,
So, I am now a literary agent intern to the fabulous Pooja Menon! Its an exciting and unexpected experience that I wasn't really searching for this year. I happened to run across Pooja's tweet while browsing twitter and thought I might look into it. Just for fun.
As soon as I found out the internship was a remote position, I jumped at the chance. I'm thrilled that she has given me the opportunity to sit on the other side of the industry.
There's something really exciting about reading a project, loving a project, but also wanting to improve the project to make it the best it can be. I love reading. I love that foggy feeling I get when I've just come out of a three hundred page book. I look around at the world and wonder... why is everyone still moving around?
They're going about their lives?
Don't they know what just happened?!
Being able to read and critique books as a job instead of a hobby is kind of gratifying. I'm really excited about where this will take me.
This means I'll of course be blogging about slush in the days to come. Little pointers and patterns I notice. Maybe I'll be able to offer up some helpful advice from the other side of the query letter.

But in other news, I promised to talk about my pen name. "Kallypso" first came to being on in my middle school years (Gag me). I guess I decided I was too cool to go by the normal spelling. Calypso is obviously a cooler word spelled with a double 'L'. And everyone knows that 'K' is the new 'C'.
Pretentious spelling changes aside, I kept the name and I wrote the majority of my fan fiction under it. I've always had a passion for fan fiction and I still genuinely believe its a wonderful tool for improving writing. You get a pass on world building. You are able a scene between two characters you know and love without having to come up with them yourself. It helps to practice prose and dialogue and gets the creative juices flowing.
For this reason, my old pen name has an important place in my heart. So, I think I'll keep it for the purposes of my blog. When I think 'Kallypso' I think of my journey as a writer, from awkward middle school years to now. And that's kind of nice. In retrospect, I guess even the preteen years have some value.
But only in retrospect.

- Aimee (Aka: Kallypso)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Journey of a Book

The journey of a book, especially one written early in a writer's life, is a rocky one at best. Often a long one too. This thought occurred to me while I was looking through my 'Novels and Shorts' folder. Anyone who knows me or my computer knows that my folders have folders have folders. I like organizing things.
Within my Novels and Shorts folder I have a folder for each genre. Realistic, Fantasy, Sci Fi etc. Each of these genres have about, say, twenty-thirty files all together. That's for each genre.
Then you get to the Urban Fantasy folder. Within the Urban Fantasy folder there is another folder entitled 'Children of Ink'.
And within that folder, there are about 60 files. Extra scenes, outlines, character profiles, world building. You name it, its there. You could say this novel has been a long time obsession of mine. But because of that it has gone through many, many changes. And that's fine. Today I'm going to show the timeline of Children of Ink, my first baby as a writer.*

Early March, 2011- The first inception of the idea. I came up with my basic plot and characters in the span of a few days, writing most of it down in my journals during school.

Springbreak 2011- Writing spree of epic proportions.

April 2nd, 2011- Completion of the first draft. My magnum opus, originally entitled 'Inkpen' The draft went into storage for the rest of the school year so that I would become detached from the material (I got that tip from Stephen King)

Summer, 2011- EDITING TIME! The book at this time was dubbed 'The Gifted' because I realized Inkpen and Inkheart were too similar in title. Also the realization that maybe every word wasn't brilliant. My brother began reading and critiquing my work in this time and pointed out some fallacies in the opening pages.

Fall, 2011- Ignoring a lot of the feedback, I launched right into writing book 2. I continued to get feedback from my brother. Slowly, mind you. He's a lawyer with a busy work schedule.

November, 2011- Finished first draft of the second book in the series and put it away... now I had to wait and edit the first book. I ditched the prologue and changed up the beginning for the first time.

Spring 2012- Began seriously editing. Also began researching literary agents like a madwoman, writing query letters, and other such things.

Summer 2012- The querying began. And the waiting. When no one took the bait, I began editing again. The opening changed for a second and third time during this period. Oh yeah, and my brother finally finished reading my book (Took him longer than it took me to write two of them...)

Fall 2012- The discovery of twitter as well as competitions. Changed the opening for a fourth time and entered in a few competitions. Changed the title of the book to 'Children of Ink'. Some interest from one agent but followed swiftly by rejection. Wrote and finished the first draft of the third book in the series. Lost a lot of confidence with Children of Ink. Changed the opening for a fifth time.

Spring of 2013- The doldrums. Did little work on Children of Ink. Experimented with a few new openings (I had about eight possible openings over the course of the process)

Summer 2013- Joined a Speculative Fiction group to get feedback. Used that feedback to completely change the planned POV. Re outlined.

Fall 2013- The final (hopefully) outline and a fresh start. I plan to write the book again from scratch, hopefully with my new found knowledge about writing.

The journey of 'Children of Ink' isn't over yet. It's probably far from over. But this time has gotten me so acquainted with the characters and world that I feel an inherent attachment to it. It will never truly go into the trunk, even if its another book that eventually gets me an agent. Children of Ink was my first book child, and I love it dearly.

The point is, just because your book isn't working now, doesn't mean it will always be like that. There's always knew insight to be had. Join a critique group. Brainstorm with friends. Write experimental side stories to get your juices flowing. Put the book aside for awhile and write something else. Its okay. There's a lot of life to live and a lot of books to write. The worst thing a writer can do is get stuck in their first effort and never move on.

One day I hope to see 'Children of Ink' on shelves. But until then I'll keep writing and loving every moment of it.

- Aimee (Aka: Kallypso)

PS: I know I said I'd talk about my pen name in the next post but I lied. This was on my mind to write. NEXT post I'll talk about my pen name.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

How I Blog and What I Write

Hey there,

So, being in college, trying to triple major and constantly writing every hour on the hour, I figured I'd add something else to my plate: Blogging.
Because everyone's doing it.
Okay, I have more reason for blogging than jumping on the bandwagon. I think blogging is a good thing for aspiring authors. It gets them out there in the literary world and allows them to engage with hundreds of other writers from all around the globe. Thousands depending on how much time you have to spare wandering around the internet.
I am a writer but I'm also aspiring to one day enter the publishing world as a literary agent or editor. Because of this I like to talk about the craft of writing.
A lot.
To everyone I ever meet ever. And the ones who don't run away are the ones I induct into my circle of friends.
So what do I write, you might ask?
Pretty much everything
But mostly speculative fiction. I've completed five books so far (three from one series) The series is YA Urban Fantasy. The other two books are a YA Steampunk and an Adult Speculative. The book I'm writing currently and almost done with is MG magical realism. And the book I plan on writing this year for NaNoWriMo is an Adult Paranormal Thriller.
You see what I mean?
All of these books are vastly different in their genre, audience and goals but I like it that way. I write whatever I feel like writing at the time. We don't even need to get into all my other works in progress. Because that would take forever.
I've begun to send out queries for my YA Steampunk and I'm currently waiting on pins and needles to hear back. As I'm sure many of you writer's out there are.
Assuming anyone is reading this. I like to pretend you are.
What will you find on this blog?
- Book Reviews
- Movie Reviews
- Writing tips and advice
- Random musings
- Writing journey joys and woes.
- And probably much more.
I love engaging in conversations about writing so drop me a comment if you have any questions or thoughts.
This weeks question is: What is your favorite genre to write in?
Thanks for reading!

-Aimee (Aka: Kallypso)

PS: Wondering where I got my pen name? I'll answer next time :)