Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Secret to Being Published


My very first IWSG post!


It's that time again...

INSECURE WRITER'S SUPPORT GROUP

To find out more about the group, visit:

Alex J. Cavanaugh
[Our Ninja Captain]
@



~ ~ ~

It's not an easy life choosing to be a writer. We write because we love writing, but we also open ourselves up to rejection, lots and lots of rejection.

"Why would you do that?" non-writers want to know.

Why? Because it's who we are... and... we can't help ourselves.

Truth is most of us believe getting published is simply the final step in the process. First you write the book, then you query agents, then your agent finds a publisher, and voila: you're a rich published author.

How long before you realized it was never going to be that easy?

I bet (if you're not yet published) you read today's title and now you're waiting for the punchline. What is the secret to getting a contract, finding someone willing to pay money to turn your story into a novel or eBook?

In a word: WORK.

You work at writing clearer, smoother, better. You work at learning your craft. You work at becoming an expert in the art of fiction writing.

Could you be more specific?

Read the best how-to-books on writing you can find. Join as many writer's group as you deem necessary. Learn to give and receive helpful and constructive critiques. But most of all: write, write, write.

Getting published is like losing 20, 30 or even 100 pounds on purpose without dieting. (Bet you're shaking your head over that one. )

It requires trust, faith, perseverance, listening to your inner voice, AND (here's that word again) work. If you're shaking your head, mumbling something about "Yeah-well, I knew that already!" and getting ready to go to the next blog, I certainly wouldn't blame you. I can't count how many articles I read back in the days before I was published, promising if I followed their simple steps, I'd be published in no time.

Sorry, there's no real secret.

So, rather than waste your time with empty promises, here's something that might help enrich your prose, something I see many new authors struggling with -- the latest point of view:


DEEP POV



You've been attempting to get a handle on First, Third and Omniscient POV, and now there's yet one more to worry about: Deep POV I can relate to your frustration. But as I've said above, though difficult to master, Deep POV -- the technique of going deeper into your point of view character -- is guaranteed to enrich your writing.


Here's examples of each POV:


FIRST:  When John returned, he found me sitting on the white leather bench. I had my eyes half-closed, my arms crossed, and I was feeling great sadness. "Well?" I asked, but I was thinking, 'Give me a reason not to kill you.' 


THIRDMatthew sat down on the white leather bench and lowered his eyes. Consumed by a great sadness, he crossed his arms and waited. When John returned, he asked him, "How long have you worked for me?"


OMNISCIENTWhen John returned from summing a plane to pick up his boss and return him safely to the mainland, he found Matthew sitting on the white leather bench with his eyes half-closed and his arms crossed. Matthew chose not to look at him, he was that angry. "John, tell me I didn't make a mistake bringing you," he said. John couldn't think and stuttered...



DEEP POVThe bench in the stern of the boat reeked of that new leather smell that burned all the way down his throat. A glimpse east and the sun's glare shot pain through his temple. Closing his eyes helped, but the trembling wouldn't stop. His pulse pounded through his crossed arms. This was John's fault. No respect. No gratitude. Hadn't he and his daughter been taken care of all these years. Ruby held a secure job at the Baja Hotel for the rest of her life if she wanted. John threatened that. Could his stupidity be forgiven without costing the Organization everything? A touch of the gun and the chill felt shocking at first, then comforting.


DEEP POV is a combination of first (intimate) and third (limited). As silly as it sounds, the only way to succeed in pulling your reader into the experience of your POV character is to become THAT character. Close your eyes, experience the totality of the protagonist, then open your eyes and start writing. 


If that's too difficult, start off by writing a scene from FIRST POV, then switch it to THIRD POV. Drop as many verbs as possible, (saw, thought, looked, etc) eliminate the tags: said, asked (no need to show the reader what they already know). Do this for every scene, and I promise it'll start becoming as natural as riding a bike.


After a few exercises, let me know how you're doing.  
--happy writing
joylene


65 comments :

  1. Interesting. I think my problem is trying to find that depth in the third person. I really want to get inside my protagonist's head but I don't want to do it third person style because the story starts off with her as a kid (and I want more of her parent's point of view there).

    Sorry for the run-on sentence.

    I guess i just takes practice. And thanks for the advice.

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    1. Start in Omni and switch to deep POV once she's your full time protagonist. Actually, it's hard to tell, Avantika unless I read the opening. Try every POV you can, then let your instincts tell you which works better.

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  2. "Getting published is like losing 20, 30 or even 100 pounds on purpose without dieting."

    Ha! I love that analogy :) I'm one of those who used to think that writing was 'easy' and that getting published would be a snap.

    Of course, the deeper I delved into the writing world, the more wider my eyes were opened.

    Great post :)

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    1. Hi Mark. Yes, I can relate. It's a rude awakening at first, but it does get more friendly. Happy IWSG.

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  3. Great article, Joylene. I agree with putting yourself inside your character's head. I can't begin to tell you how many times I've looked in the mirror and analysed my facial and body expressions to see how I really look when I'm feeling what my character is feeling. I also ask people around me how they would describe an action like waving my hand in a certain manner. Then I demonstrate.

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    1. That should work, but I found choosing an actor to portray my protagonist helps better. I'm pin their headshot on my monitor, look at their face, and hear their voices in my head. They become my character. Happy IWSG. And don't be shy. If you don't have a blog, just jot your name down at the bottom of your comment.

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  4. Great post! And welcome to the group! :)

    IWSG #179 (At least until Alex culls the list again. :P)

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  5. Great post, Joylene.

    "Getting published is like losing 20, 30 or even 100 pounds on purpose without dieting."

    The same morning I woke with a desperate need to tell a story, I also found I had no appetite for food. Dropping 30 pounds was easy. Learning to write wasn't.

    Reading Hooked and Story helped my technical skills, but it was gentle prompting from a good editor that made the difference in my writing. You nailed it when you said you have to become the character. For me that took a serious emotional adjustment and a willingness to be vulnerable. Because the character becomes you as well. It's your soul that's naked before your readers.

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    1. So true, Lianne. I still get the shivers when I have to write a difficult scene. But I feel so alive when it's finished. The life of a writer is a fascinating life, don't you think? Happy IWSG.

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  6. I also loved the line "Getting published is like losing 20, 30, or even 100 pounds on purpose without dieting." I'm 9 mo pregnant...in a few weeks, I'll be trying to accomplish both at once "getting published" and "losing the pregnancy weight." Hmm.... too ambitious? Chances are I'll be way too sleep deprived to realize how crazy that sounds. ;) Great post Joylene!

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    1. Wow, great going, Kimberly. "Way to sleep deprived"? Probably. Hope your baby comes into the world as easily as the weight disappears. Swoosh and it's gone!

      Happy IWSG, and thanks for stopping by.

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  7. LOL! Yah, work, a strong desire to tell or share adventures, perseverance, and strong belief in self. Somehow they all come together and make it work.

    Enjoyed you POV examples.

    Sia McKye OVER COFFEE

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    1. Hi Sia. How's it going? Thanks for stopping by. Happy IWSG.

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  8. Oh, this makes my head spin with awesome info. Thanks. And thanks for your visit on my blog.
    Karen

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  9. welcome to IWSG. some days i wonder why i write. it's crazy.

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    1. Been there a few times, and I still haven't figured it out. Maybe if I parted my hair on the left? Hi Michelle. Thanks for visiting.

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  10. What a great post, Joylene! So much to learn. I love first person POV, and I do tend to submerse myself into my characters. I add as much flavor and emotion as I can and still keep the action moving along at a fast clip. It's a difficult balance, to be sure.

    Thanks for dropping by and commenting today. And heck yes! I'd LOVE to do a guest post or whatever you you'd like! Thank you so much for the generous offer!!!

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  11. Excellent post Joylene,

    Work is right, and getting into the head of your character is essential. I use that a lot, like I suppose an actor does: imagine the scene and characters in my head and everything around them, obstacles, smell, taste, all senses and emotions that might be present, and how I would feel in their shoes. I've always loved characters with depth, though I didn't know there was a 'Deep POV' label. Thanks for sharing, and again demystifying the fact that even after being published, there is still a lot of work ahead, but if we didn't love it we wouldn't be here:)

    Sara

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    1. Thanks, Sara. It's all about hanging out with like-minded people. I'm glad you stopped by. Have a great day.

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  12. Sounds fun! I'm a 1st POV girl, but I'm willing to give 'deep POV' a try. :) Thanks for sharing, Joylene!

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    1. I like 1st POV too. But I need to challenge myself every so often. Keeps my antennas sharp.

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  13. A fellow IWSG Newbie, yeah! Great post about the hard work necessary to become published. It's very true, and something every writer needs to learn. There's no easy way around it, but I can't imagine choosing anything else.

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  14. Hey Joylene!
    Wow, cool advice and you know I can relate to what you have so articulately stated. What with the sound advice of Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet star and your good self, I think I might just get beyond doing a blog. I have actually mentioned that I become the character I write about. If I'm writing about a toilet brush, I become a toilet brush....
    And good old Alex J. He seems to be everywhere! :)
    Your starstruck fan, Gary

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    1. So, does your family know you wanna become a toilet brush? Are you allowed out on Wednesdays? Gary, you're a peach, and I don't mean the fuzzy kind.

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    2. Hey Joylene!
      Are you impressed? Almost four in the morning and I felt compelled, almost like a weird calling, to respond to your questions. My family goes one step further and told me to become a used toilet brush. I'm allowed out on Wednesdays as long I wear my seventies clothes. Whatcha' reckon I move to Peachland, British Columbia?

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    3. Hey, good idea. We could hang out and clean toilets together. Or not. Peach as in: • informal an exceptionally good or attractive person or thing: what a peach of a shot!

      I know, the last part doesn't make sense. But in this crazy world something's don't make a lick of sense, Gary. They just sound good on paper. Or in this case on the monitor.

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    4. Sweat dreams, young man. I mean SWEET dreams.

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    5. What am I doing? We could start up a toilet cleaning service and with you as head cleaner, we'd be flushed with success.
      Ah yes, I am the peach. Life's a peach. And I think I shall attempt to play 'peach volleyball'. That might get a bit messy.
      Joylene, I cling onto everyone of your nonsensical words cause you are my hero.
      And with that, I shall now go and talk to the fairies in my back garden. Goodnight eh.
      Your starstruck fan, Gary

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    6. So now would be a good time to confess that I like weird folks best. Normal people make me nervous. Gary, you're totally up near the top of my list of strange people I wanna clean toilets with. Do I really have to be the "head" cleaner though? I prefer the stall type.

      And with that, a good night.

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  15. I LOVE this post. You're so right about the work it takes if your dream is really to publish the traditional way. It's exhausting. And it's not just the time and effort to become a better writer either. There are contacts to be made, marketing to think about and plan for, and social media mountains to climb.
    But you can only do what you can do, right? Good luck! :-)

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    1. Yes, so true. You can only do what you can do. And remember to have fun too.

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  16. It's great to have you in the group! Welcome. :)
    I think any way you consider publication there are always ups and downs. All we can do is keep working toward our individual goals. :)

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    1. Hi Ciara. It's great to meet another cadet. Thanks for following, eh!

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  17. Great descriptions of the various points of view.
    And in addition to work, one other factor comes into play - timing. Which just means more work sometimes.
    Welcome to the IWSG!!!

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  18. Aww, Joylene, you have nothing to be insecure about! Although, of course, the confident writer is another mythical icon society has constructed to make us feel worse about ourselves. ;) Great post. Deep POV is something I've only become acquainted with in the past couple of years, so everything I read is helpful. Thank you!

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    1. I'm doing well, Adriana. I was hoping I might be able to encourage others. Course, I still have days. I hope you'll try deep pov some time. I think it does something very special for one's writing. And besides, it's all good to challenge oneself. Have a great day!

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  19. I can't write in omni POV. That is the hardest for me. My first and third past tense is passable. I would love to get deeper into my characters and am still working on it.
    Thanks for the post. It is encouraging me to try harder.

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    1. Not being able to write in Omni is fine; Omni isn't the star of the show much these days. There's a trick to zeroing in on your protagonist, Lorrie. Find a photo of a model or actor that best fits what you think your character looks like and tack it to your monitor when you're writing. Stare at him or her long enough and you begin to hear them in your head. It's worked for me on so many levels.

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    2. There's no rule that says you have to use anything other than 3rd person until you feel the urge to challenge yourself. I meant to say that earlier. It's all about learning your craft, stretching yourself as a writer, THEN challenging yourself.

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  20. Thanks for your introduction to "Deep POV'!" I'm so glad to meet you through the IWSG! Julie

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    1. Hi Julie. It's great meeting you too. If you need anything, just ask. I'm usually here daily.

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  21. Hi Joylene,

    Thanks for visiting and following. I'm honored to do the same, having already learned a lot from you. Thanks for this post; "Deep POV" is a new concept to me. So much to learn, so many folks to meet, and it's all good!

    xoRobyn

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    1. I'm very happy to meet you, Robyn. Isn't Alex a sweetheart! Happy IWSG. I look forward to reading more of your blog posts.

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  22. I did study with this when starting out. Then I took a workshop on it this past Feburary that really helped me. These are great tips:-)

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  23. Hi, Joylene! Great post. CONGRATS on your first IWSG post. Have a great weekend!

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  24. Yes, it's hard work and it doesn't end at publishing.

    Great info about the POVs.

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  25. "You work at writing clearer, smoother, better." I can't think of a better way to spend my time. Great post.

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  26. Oh crap, I'm shallow. I'd love to stay and chat but I need to go work on that deep POV. Thanks for the tips Joylene.

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  27. I LOVED this!!! OH, I am so a candidate for the Insecure Writers' Group!
    But I truly, truly loved the POV examples!
    Wonderful!
    Thank you!

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  28. Thanks so much for visiting me and commenting about Alex... I am glad you told me about Pretty Boy - he sounds like Alex.... Cherish every moment with him... time goes by so fast (If we were honest with ourselves we would have known our time was fleeting... but we chose to ignore)

    I am so interested in finding out more about IWG!

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    1. Thanks, Hilary. If you click on the IWSG icon on the right, it'll take you to Alex's page where he explains everything. It's just a bunch of writers free to express their fears and their support for each other.

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  29. Hi Joylene -

    I'm working on Deep POV now. An advantage: It virtually eliminates the problem of Show/Don't Tell.

    Blessings,
    Susan :)

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  30. Excellent post, Joylene! And your description of deep POV is bang on. (I recognize it, even if I don't always achieve it.)

    I like your emphasis on work. Sometimes I think having a publishing goal isn't in my best interest... that just working my way forward is a better focus. Work to learn, work to write, work to improve. Just keep working at what I can do best, and leave the results in someone else's hands. It takes a lot of stress out of the process. :)

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