Thursday, November 4, 2010

It's called "community" for a reason: Holla atcha gurl

I'm a writer. You may not know that considering how many posts contain miscellaneous information about Matt Brady's favorite food or what hilarious ornery thing the offspring did this time. But I am, in fact, a writer. My YA novel, 9:59 Rewind has been through the gamut. It won some cool contests (see sidebar), died and is about to undergo a MAJOR facelift.

But I rarely talk about it. Maybe because I'm insecure. Maybe because it's been stalled for months and I'm having a hard time getting past the block. Maybe because I really don't have what it takes. I don't know. I do know, I've come pretty damn close-TOO CLOSE-to quit now.

A few months back, after a year-and-a-half of writing, re-writing and querying, Candyland had THE CALL. Yaaaknoooww---> THE CALL. It was wondiferous and made me feel like IT could actually happen. But then some things happened and life and blah blah blah. But recently, I received very long, detailed revision letter. Essentially, it said, if I can pull the facelift off, know. And if I can't, well, you know that too.

Fast forward to now.

The wonderful and talented author of We Hear the Dead, Dianne Salerni has been my savior. She not only offered to read Rewind + agent notes to give her thoughts, but did it in a weekend. Her advice has been invaluable and definitely got me thinking.

But it's not enough. My creativity is STALLED, despite her input. And at THE WORST TIME. I feel like the answers are right in front of me, but nothing's clicking.

So a call for help: If there's anyone who's done revisions that landed them an agent and/or sold a book (and know what the revision process is like), and you have some perspective or advice, HOLLA ATCHA GURL.

Email me at candace ganger at yahoo dot com.

I need to find my way back to this story. With Dianne's help, I've dipped my toes in the water. Now I need someone to push me the hell in before the fear keeps me at bay, forever.

Tell me friends, what do you do when you're SSSTTUUUCCCKKKK?!
Candyland PullingHairOut. OUT.


Unknown said...

My experience is lacking BUT I can still shove you into the water. Creativity pool party! Woohoo!

Unknown said...

I wish I could help out... but as you know I'm right there with you girl fighting that revisions battle!

Hang on, you'll find the right moment and the perfect person to push you until you see it :)

Linda G. said...

When I'm well and truly stuck, I eat chocolate and read my "comfort books" (old favorites I can sink into like a warm bubble bath). Eventually I get sick of moping around, reading other people's words, and start to itch to get back to my own writing. :)

Christine Danek said...

Well, I'm in revisions and have not gotten this close to... you know. It will come I know it. It's weird just when you think you will never get it, somehow a sign will appear. Keep your eyes and mind open, but try not to over think it. I tend to over think and it pumps out horrible things.
Dianne is awesome and a great help.
You can do this. I'm cheering for you (I don't know how else to help).
Good luck.

Shannon said...

I wish I could offer this assistance, but I'm the revision weeds with you. And I haven't gotten the call yet.

I'm cheering you on. You can do it!

Elena DeRosa said...

I step away for a little bit then go for a long walk along a quiet river. I clear my mind and ask "my people" to help give me what it is I need. See, sometimes I really don't know what that is. I then forget about everything and see what pops in. It usually happens at the most inopportune time...I could be standing in line at the supermarket, chopping onions or riding my bike when something slaps me across the head. "OMG, that's it!" If I'm lucky it comes through in a dream. I've learned the more you stress about it the worse it will be so sometimes you have to "let it go" in order to "get it back." Good luck!

Shain Brown said...

Linda very true words and that seems to always give me the kick in the pants I need. I wish you the best Candy and remember trust yourself.

Kelly Polark said...

No advice but lots of support and encouragement from me!!! I do know you can do it, Candace.
Okay I do have advice, I feel once I jump in and try, I find it's not as hard as I thought it would be. It's just the courage to start it. I have one more freaking chapter in my book and it's a hard one to write and I just know once I get started, I'll do it and do it well. But I have to just do it. So let's both follow my advice!
Oh! I added your contest to my blog today, I have been posting so sporadically I couldn't remember if I wrote about it or not, so I did to make sure!!!
Good luck!

Vicki Rocho said...

You are so close! Don't lose confidence in yourself now. I know you can do it and I know the fabulous peeps on here with more experience than I have will circle the wagons for you.

Matthew MacNish said...

I have no experience to base any advice I might give on, but I will say this: for me I sometimes have to wait for inspiration. I haven't worked on my re-write for almost two weeks now. I feel a little guilty, but I also would rather wait than try to force it. I realize the situation you're in doesn't give you the luxury of waiting very long, but maybe if you focus on something else for a little while that drive will come?

Or you could try drinking absinthe, that's worked for a lot of other writers.

LTM said...

I was super surprised at how much a soundtrack helped me w/getting back into the mindset of a WIP. (I thought I was just procrastinating.)

Or I go for a jog/long walk... Start daydreaming about your characters. Get all up in their world.

It's tough. I'm right there witcha~

Sarah Ahiers said...

ooh, i've got the same issue with a short story.
My solution was to take a break from it. I don't know if it's the right solution, but it doesn't seem to be hurting anything

Martina Boone said...


Have you tried doing something completely different? I recently took my WIP and imported it into yWriter. Cutting it into scenes (I do a LOT of transitions instead of scene breaks) and then analyzing each scene for goal, conflict, outcome, reaction, dilemma, and choice; putting in the turning points, comparing the flow of action versus reaction scenes, looking at characters and locations in each scene and adding scene descriptions really helped me focus on the structure. For me, this was a WIP, so I eventually came to the end of what I had already written and started adding the planned scenes from my conflict worksheet. What astonishes me is how different the NEW scenes are coming out. I saw completely different things going through this exercise, and I understand my characters so much better!

Hang in there. It WILL get better! You'll find the key and make it work.



Joanna St. James said...

I have not got the call but I got a requested partial. This is my advice take a week off, find a hotel by the beach and write. Listen to some Eminem or anything else that will make you fell your life is amazing and ditch the fam. its just for a week and I hope it helps.

Lenny Lee said...

hi miss candace! im putting on my boots so i could give you a big kick start right into the water. ha ha. yikes! i hope you could swim.i love miss dianne so im real happy she helped you get your toes in the water. i like what miss elana said about getting some space from stuff and whamo itll come to you. maybe you got soooo busy doing that ghana stuff and being soooo craaaazy over every thing br80 you lost out on your writing focus. now it sounds like you wanna get back at it and if you do youll just jump right into the water.
...big hugs from lenny

Dawn Ius said...

My husband tells me I sometimes suck at the pep talk, but hon, you need to hang in there and push through. Sending you a personal email with a story. xo

Christina Lee said...

OMG --that is GREAT, GREAT news *pats you on back*

I find that if I do the very small stuff to my edits (that requires fewer brains cells), or even just re-reading things and finding typos or weak verbs, it gets me going and eventually kicks me into higher gear. YOU CAN DO IT!

Carolyn V. said...

I had a chat session with my crit group that got me out of the funk. But I still find myself falling back into a slump from time to time.

Good luck Candace! You can do it. =D

Colene Murphy said...

I have no good experience to help but you know all your blogger pals are behind you and cheering you on! I know I am! Persevere(over..yourself?)!

Jessica Bell said...

Oh man, I WISH I had the time! :o( Good luck with it honey!


Nicole Zoltack said...

Make a mock cover for it or just do a google search for images that would make a great cover. Imagining about your cover might help you to be in the mode to plow through your revisions. Good luck!

Patty Blount said...

Not there yet, but I am pulling for you! Sending hugs and hope!

Ben Spendlove said...

Sit down and have a conversation with your characters—in your head, not written down. Ask 'em about stuff. Tell them you love them, but they're causing you stress and what are they going to do about it? I mean, if they're going to infest your head, they should at least not trash the place.

Talli Roland said...

I so feel your stress. But first of all: remember, you wouldn't have got this far without talent and a worthy story. So keep that in mind!

Secondly, take it one step at a time. You're not going to fix it all, at once. Allow yourself to focus on one section, move steadily forward, then do it again if you need to. Take time but keep moving and you'll get there!

Unknown said...

Wish I had some magical advice for you, but I have no experience in this area. I wish you luck though. I KNOW you will succeed, just keep pushing through.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I know it will come to you when you're ready for it! Caty James Greyson is much too alive to let you get away with *not* writing her story!

Some suggestions:

- watch some mindless TV (while your brain is on stall, your subconscious will work for you)

- read some books in a similar genre and think how Caty would have behaved differently

- write a scene or two from another character's viewpoint, just to get a feel for that character

- write some songs

- write a different story for awhile

- don't push yourself. If you can't write, it's because the idea isn't completely done cooking yet!

And thanks for the plug (blush). I loved reading your story!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Exactly what you just did - throw out a call to help to all our bloggy buddies and hope someone answers! Good luck!! :-)

Kelly Breakey said...

Seriously? Seriously? I am on my way and we are going out for Midnight Margarita's because if nothing else you will get a major hangover and decide writing is easier than trying to live through Midnight Margarita's witcha blogger sista a second time. Hey what are friends for?

I am here.

Jennifer Hillier said...


First, remember to breathe.

Second, do what you need to do to clear your head (whatever that might be for you).

Third, dive in. One revision point at a time. Don't rush. Better to take your time and submit your best work. If something isn't coming to you and you can move onto the next point, go for it. If you can't, then just go back to breathing and keeping your head clear until it comes to you (and it WILL come to you).

You're so close. :) You can do this. said...

Yes it's happened to me before now. Somtimes you just need a break. I find walking helps. I wrote about it in my Not Amused post. I've just read a great article in Writing Mag about planning and plotting and I have to agree that without it, the flow of ideas tends to dry up. Hope you find your muse again soon. :O)

Creepy Query Girl said...

awe- sweety! Sorry I'm late to the party. Dianne Salerni is my savior too! She's critiqued two of my books and she's just amazing. I'm sure by now you must have an army behind you, but if you still need help- I'm here.

Elana Johnson said...

Um, hello? I revised after one phone call, in under 30 days for a deadline. I got the real call 10 days after I turned in the revision. And then I revised two more times before my book sold in under 2 weeks.

Email me, girl!!

Janet Johnson said...

What an exciting thing! You can do it, you can do it! I'm jumping up and down for you, cheering you on.

Nike the thing!