The official contract is all signed, so now I can tell you more about the deal. *Big grin*
Now I'm working on connecting with someone who has spent time working in a state institution, because there's a difference between private hospitals and state-funded institutions. Because you know how much money goes toward mental health care in our communities? Not much.
Here's a picture of the old insane asylum that used to stand in Columbus, Ohio. I believe the date on the picture is 11-7-1909. According to some accounts, this was the largest asylum in the world at one point, with 1,300 beds. It seems to me that Bedlam must have been bigger, but it's still an interesting bit of trivia.
My friend Mary brutalized my ToM manuscript, and I can't believe I couldn't see some of the problems until she pointed them out. Can I just tell you how valuable honest, trustworthy crits are? I always feel a little (and sometimes a lot) embarrassed by my manuscript's shortcomings, but I am SO thankful when someone I trust cares enough to really be honest and give it to me straight. I've been doing major rewrites.
My other projects -- SW and my NaNo novel -- are taking a breather while I work on this.
Want more info on this whole WIP Weds thing? Here's Kate's original post.
How are your projects coming?
The Project: I am writing a book based on the same idea as the Archetype site: a guide to help writers get the psychology right in their fiction! The book will have far greater breadth than the site, and go into much more depth to help you get the details right in your stories.
The Update: I am currently working on a chapter about psychological emergencies like suicidality (being a danger to yourself) and homicidality (being a danger to others). The chapter includes information on what it's like to be hospitalized. Since I'm not currently working inpatient, I'm meeting with the director of a psych unit on Monday to make sure all my facts are up to date. That means now is the time to let me know if you have questions (or just want me to be sure to cover something particular) about suicidality, homicidality, or hospitals!
ToM: My friend Mary spent the last few days reading the the manuscript and tells me she was liberal with the red pen, so I'm awaiting her first round of edits. (*Gnaws fingernails*) This is the one I'm going to send back to the agent who suggested I do some rewrites and then get back to her. I'm having some trouble nailing down the genre with this one. I think it's contemporary fantasy. It has magicians and swords and a heroine who's afraid all this fantasy in her reality means she's crazy.
I was thinking it was paranormal romance, but there isn't a lot of detailed sex, so maybe not so much. And it's not urban fantasy (my heroine doesn't throw kick ass, throw knives, or wear leather pants, and there's nary a vampire or werewolf in sight). And it's not dark enough to be dark fantasy. So...contemporary fantasy. But not Charles deLint contemporary fantasy -- more Kay Hooper's Wizard of Seattle. (Which is a paranormal romance. Le sigh. Can anybody think of novels that sound like what I'm describing?)
SW: I also pulled out another novel that needs work. Going to buckle down with it as soon as I'm finished with the one above and see if I can whip it into agent-ready shape. I think this one is science fantasy -- does anybody say "science fantasy" anymore? It could also be called future fiction, which is something set in the not-so-distant future, but you rarely hear that as a genre designation. Hey, are you getting the feeling genre is really an issue for me? 'Cos it is!
S: Which means that I put my NaNo novel on the back burner for right now. I have the feeling the story may become longer than it is right now, and maybe if I spend some stewage time I'll figure out why I feel that way. At least, that is what I'm hoping will happen! (PS - This one is either a paranormal romance or an urban fantasy.)
So, dear reader -- where are you with your WIPs?
Labels: wip wednesday
I can't stand it anymore, I have to tell you what I'm working on. I am writing a book based on the same idea as the Archetype site: a guide to help writers get the psychology right in their fiction! The book will have far greater breadth than the site, and go into much more depth to help you get the details right in your stories. I don't have a publication date for you yet, but I do have a due date from the publisher, so I'm working hard to get it ready!
Right now I am working on a chapter that includes details on therapist training and ethics. Might not sound crucial at first glance, but a lot of writers get tripped up by these areas -- especially ethics. I recently read The Reach by horror author Nate Kenyon, and he does a really good job writing about one main character's diagnosis and institutionalization; unfortunately, he doesn't do such a good job writing about his therapist-in-training. Students progress through school and therapy training in steps that are pretty consistent from school to school, but nobody in the book pays any heed to those steps. Worse, nobody in the book seems disturbed by some pretty flagrant violations of the normal training process and ethical code. The problem, of course, is that the author didn't understand the steps most therapists follow as they're trained, or (in many cases) when he was portraying ethical violations.
If you have any thoughts or questions about training or ethics, now would be great time to ask -- your questions will help me make sure I cover the information you need for your story. (Feel free to ask questions or make comments on other areas you'd like to see covered as well.)
Some people have asked me about the process for selling nonfiction, so I'm going to tell you just a little bit about it.
In most cases, when you want to sell a nonfiction book, you write a proposal rather than completing the full manuscript, the way you do for fiction. A proposal introduces the agent or editor to the book idea, compares it to books currently on the market, and sells the reader on the idea that this new book is needed. Because author involvement is crucial in today's book market, the proposal includes a marketing section explaining what the author plans to do to build publicity. Finally, the bulk of the proposal is made up of a chapter-by-chapter outline.
I have several books on proposal writing, but the ones I found most helpful were How to Write a Book Proposal and Write the Perfect Book Proposal: 10 That Sold and Why. (Other people swear by Nonfiction Book Proposals Anybody can Write and The Fast Track Course on How to Write a Nonfiction Book Proposal.)
I'm pretty discouraged with my NaNo project. If I were going for a paranormal romance, heavy on the romance, I might be okay, but I want there to be more to it than that. I'm kind of bored with it at that level. It's slowly becoming clearer to me that I need more tension, higher stakes, and probably more angst. So I think I need to develop some darker backstories for my characters.
It's so frustrating. I've never had a novel come in such fits and starts and give me such fits in the process. Anybody had any experience having to go back in and build dark backstories? I'm sure some advice would help me!
More gunfire, and both of the front tires burst, dropping the SUV onto its axle. Metal screamed against asphalt, and a shower of sparks hissed past my open door.
Example: The angular planes of his face turned the soft light into a study in contrasts, and in that context, what might have been a sensual mouth merely looked hard. His cheekbones were high, angry slashes, a sentiment echoed by the frown between his brows.
He sprawled against the far wall, the exposed flesh of his chest bronzed and glistening in the heat. A gold piece lay at the end of the chain around his neck.
Had she been forced to describe him without using licentious language, she would have said that the lines of his face were aristocratic. In the uneven light, his eyes appeared black, but their intensity, not their color, was what fascinated her.
For this round of the chain gang, Heather asked,
What plans do YOU have to market your novel? How will you make sure the public finds your work?
Now, I’m an oddball when it comes to this marketing stuff. I think it’s fun. I’m looking forward to it. And I see my willingness and ability to market my work as the number-one thing that can make or break book sales, so I take it very seriously.
Astonishingly, the best book out there on marketing for writers has gone out of print. You can still get it through Amazon.com, though: Guerrilla Marketing for Writers : 100 Weapons to Help You Sell Your Work. I don't often say you must buy a book, but if you're serious about marketing yourself well, you should run, not walk, to get this book.
The other book I've found helpful is Plug Your Book! Online Book Marketing for Authors, Book Publicity through Social Networking.
So what are my strategies for marketing my novel? Here are just a few:
- Creating an author website -- I really believe websites are crucial these days. Right now I am using archetypewriting.com and archetypewriting.blogspot.com, but I do intend to create a site that's a presskit for me as a writer when I get a little closer to having a book out there on the shelves. (If you're wanting a website for yourself and can't code, consider Purple Squirrel Web Design, a company that QueryTracker and RallyStorm programmer Pat McDonald and I recently created. We offer affordable custom designs as well as hosting packages, and soon we'll have up some ultra-affordable U-Design templates that let you pick a site design and customize it to meet your needs.)
- Putting information about my book in my email and message board signatures.
- Letting everyone in my social networks know all about the book
- Letting visitors to the websites I currently run know about my book
- Including links on each of those sites to major online retailers who carry the book, such as Amazon.com, bn.com, etc.
- Use AmazonConnect to personalize the book listing and connect with readers who view it on Amazon.com
- Providing opportunities for readers to purchase personalized, autographed copies directly from me.
- Create a discussion group on rallystorm.com for readers to discuss the book
I now have the first drafts of three chapters almost written. And coming soon -- exciting information about my nonfiction project -- plus, ways you can help me with it! (I know, that would be more exciting if you knew what it was. Don't worry, more info soon. Stay tuned!)
Contemporary fantasy/paranormal romance
I'm starting to get antsy about not having sent my manuscript back to the agent who requested the rewrites. The agent requested rewrites back in January; I wrote frantically in January and February, and then started finding readers to help me out. Elana's edits helped me a great deal, and now I am anxiously awaiting two other readers' thoughts to see if I got the characterization and so forth working again.
Do you think I should be getting antsy, or am I just being paranoid that too much time is passing?
I've been slowly editing my NaNo novel, and I have the feeling I know what part of my problem is. My characters are fairly healthy, angst-free people. They have problems, sure, but their problems are external. These are not characters tormented by things they are or have done.
What do you think I should do? Start creating tortured backstories? The characters do get...well, mistreated as the story goes on, so I think it's going to gain momentum for me. Maybe I should wait and see if that happens before I get out the thumbscrews. Try something new and all that...
So dear Reader, what are you working on? Are you using psychology in your project? I'd love to hear about it, either way!