Books Read in 2011

Tessa's books-read-2011 book montage

Clockwork Angel
The Hunger Games
Catching Fire
Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer

Books Read in 2011 »

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Lord of the Rings meets Me

My twins are on a month’s vacation from their kindergarten and they’re wearing me out! Due to this fact, I won’t have as much time to blog (or write *whine*), but I’ll try to get in two-three blogs a week.

I‘ve been reading a lot of books in my genre (YA fantasy), and I‘m especially interested in the vampire series. It is important to read a lot in your genre to be able to compare your work and see what works and what doesn‘t. While I read, I also try to think about what makes the book interesting, what keeps me reading, how chapters end, the much important “voice” (which is something I hadn't heard of until two months ago), how each chapter is constructed, and I look out for hints throughout the book and then guess at the ending (which has spoiled books for me, since I can often guess at the ending in the middle of the book). I then compare these things to my novel. I can say this: I read books in a whole new way since I started writing.

It‘s hard for me to find exactly what I need to compare my books to, other than the technical factors. If I were writing a vampire book, it would be easy to explain how it is different from other vampire books. I’d like to be able to do the “meets” thing—you know: Lord of the Rings meets Ella Enchanted meets Morganville Vampires, but all I can come up with is the Lord of the Rings because my land is medieval and there are wizards. There aren’t even dwarves in the land or dragons (which is why I can't use Eragon as a “meets”).

I suppose I could say Lord of the Rings with a dash of humor, pinch of romance, two spoonfuls of mystery and three cups of sexy darkness. That’s still not a good way to give people an idea of what it is. I intend to do a lot of reading this month of exhaustion and maybe I’ll come across a book that I’ll be able to use as a “meets”.

I’m often disheartened when I read really interesting books and I think that I’ll never get there, but then I remind myself that a) Stephenie Meyer was a miracle case and most writers have been writing for years before getting published, b) their manuscripts go through serious changes and rewrites with the aid of the publisher’s editorial team before they are ready, and c) my manuscript is darn good, so there’s no reason to put myself down. Again, I wonder if I should change the first chapters, but I decided two weeks ago that it was good as it is and I’d just have to have some faith.

I’ve also been thinking more about e-books and Kindle. If I would publish the series that way, I could just write and write, and it would urge me onwards just to have the next book out there. I know myself and know that even if I only had one reader out there, I’d finish the series because I’d know that there’s a person out there who likes my story.

I figure that if I continue to write a lot and publish books on Kindle, eventually some people will like what I write and will want to read the other books as well. They’ll tell their friends and so on. Of course I’d try to market myself on the internet, but I’d have to promise myself to be patient and not to be worried about slow sales to begin with. I want writing to be my career and this is one way to start it. Who knows, maybe an agent/publisher would notice my work out there and offer me a deal. I know that’s a dream-case scenario, but it has happened and will happen again.

The rejection toll is up to 14 now. All polite form rejections (which I appreciate). I respect that those 14 had the courtesy to reply; I know that many won’t. I’ll also have to sort through which I’m allowed to re-query (a different agent within the agency). I already re-queried the very first one that I queried over a month ago, but I haven’t heard back from her since I sent the re-queried letter last week.

Task for the day: Read.


  1. Well... rejections at least mean you're getting your work out there, and that puts you ahead of most people in the game :) One of these days, there will be a YES and it will all have been worth it!

    The comparison thing is tough too... I'm still trying to figure that one out for all my manuscripts! Yeesh...

  2. Sending out the first query letters is scary! It's been a few-months process to get ready for it: research of how it works, compiling a list of agents, writing the query letter and synopsis, doing a lot of pep-talk, etc.

    I'm such a perfectionist that I couldn't even consider sending out the letters before I did all that. I suppose it's a good thing though. From what I read, some rush in too much and don't ever get considered.