Monday, October 29, 2012

Guest Post by Kelley Lynn Gerschke and The Mistaken Blog Tour

 
I'm honored to have Kelley Lynn Gerschke here today. Kelley recently got back from her first writer's conference ever so congrats, Kelley! Without further ado, please welcome the one and only Kelley Lynn!
 
Every writer has a different journey. Some strike genius with their first work. They place the words on paper, have their critique partners edit the crap out of it and land a publisher/agent within a few weeks after starting submission.
 
This was not my journey.
 
But that’s okay.
 
It’s important to remember a writer’s journey never really ends. We might reach certain points faster or slower than others, the path might look a little different, but when you lay the path out and smooth it down, the bare bones of the journey are very similar.

The end goal: for someone else to read our words, to feel and experience our story. 

Livia was nice to offer her blog up for a visit from me and asked if I could share my writer’s journey. I am thrilled to be here and thank her so much for the opportunity.
 
My writer’s journey began in July of 2011. This is when I declared myself a ‘serious’ writer, after I typed ‘the end’ to my first manuscript and thought… now what? I googled ‘How to get a book published’ and the wise internet told me I needed to find a critique partner. Okay… what is that?
 
Through the wonderful website, Ladies Who Critique, I found my first critique partner, Theresa Paolo. She ripped my first manuscript to shreds. I realized I wasn’t nearly as good as I thought and became even more determined to become the best writer I could. I edited and revised my first manuscript (YA Dystopian). After a few months of that I sent it out on submission. I received all form rejections and one partial request. Which ended in a rejection. What I realized: I wasn’t a good enough writer when I wrote this manuscript. It would take a serious rewrite with all I had learned since I finished the manuscript and I just wasn’t interested in putting all that work into this story.
 
So I decided to ‘write for the market’. I had read on many agents’ blogs that YA Contemporary was hot. I finished one, sent it through critiques and edits. On submission it got a few requests but again, all ended in rejection.

My writing was getting better. I had learned a lot. To thwart the sting of rejection I plunged into another work, a YA Thriller. After I finished, Theresa critiqued it and said though it was a good story, the book I'd written wasn't YA. The main character was too old. I wanted to stick with YA so it is on the shelf and I plan on reworking it into the YA age group.

About three months after I claimed myself a ‘serious writer’ a blog friend, Cassie Mae put out a call for critique partners. I responded and so did others so our Falling For Fiction critique group was born.

NaNoWriMo (November edition) arrived. NaNo is a challenge to write 50,000 words in a month. Frustrated with all the rejections, I again decided to write for the market with another YA Contemporary stand alone, but got bored with it ten days in. On an airplane, I got the idea for FRACTION OF STONE (YA Fantasy). I finished the first draft of the story ten days later. (I was slightly obsessed…) After many critiques and beta reads, FRACTION OF STONE was sent out on submission. It received a number of requests but ultimately all were rejected, most with "Epic Fantasy is a hard sell for me right now." FRACTION returned to the hard drive where I thought it would stay.

Again, to thwart the pain of rejection, I wrote a YA Science Fiction and sent it out to my CPs who told me it needed higher stakes and wasn’t ready yet. While conducting major revisions on the YA Science Fiction manuscript, Jen Morris asked if I wanted to work on a collaboration project, "Just for fun." In May, 2012, ALREADY THERE (YA Contemporary), the collaboration project with Jen, was complete and sent out to CPs. Major revisions were needed (including deleting the first FOUR chapters.)

Thanks to a push from my CPs, FRACTION OF STONE was taken from my hard drive and sent to a few small publishers. About the same time, middle of July, 2012, Jen and I started submissions to agents on ALREADY THERE.

On July 18th, 2012 I received an offer to publish FRACTION OF STONE, from Sapphire Star Publishing. And about two weeks later, July 31st, 2012, a week after we started submitting ALREADY THERE, Jen and I were offered representation for our YA Contemporary from the amazing agent, Brittany Booker of the Corvisiero Agency.

So, in summary, what does my writer’s journey look like to this point?
~1 Year
~6 Manuscripts (Two rejected, One not the right genre, One in major revisions)
~8 Critique Partners
~17 Writers I have critiqued for
~Countless number of rejections
~An obsessive nature about my writing career. I was going to do this, no matter what it took.
 
What have I learned?
1. Write what you want to write. Twice I tried to write what I thought would sell. It can't possibly be your best work if it’s not something your heart is in.

2. Write, write, write. The only way to get better at writing is to do it. I know I still have a long way to go. I am confident Brittany will help me grow as a writer.

3. Critique! I am so adamant about this one. Not only does it help your fellow writers but it truly helps your own writing. 

4. Don't give up. Sounds kinda cheesy but its true. Keep plugging away.

5. Take opportunities offered to you. Guest post on someone's blog? Short story for a contest? Bloghop to meet more writers and read their writing? Someone asks you to do a collaboration project 'for fun'? Do it!
 
Thanks again Livia for letting me come on your blog and share my story!

Bio
Kelley Lynn is a YA Author represented by Brittany Booker of the Corvisiero Literary Agency. Her YA Fantasy, FRACTION OF STONE, will be released on March 21st, 2013 by Sapphire Star Publishing.
 
You can check out Kelley's blogs here and here.
 
Thank you Kelley!
 
Nancy S. Thompson's The Mistaken Blog Tour: October 29-31
October 29: Heather M. Gardner
October 31: Jennifer Hillier
November 1: Angela Peart and I
November 19: Arlee Bird for a follow-up
 
What does your writer's journey look like? Is it similar to Kelley's?

28 comments:

  1. Hey Livia,

    Thanks for having Kelley Lynn over for "a chat." I'm been curious about her journey, so now it all makes sense :)

    Kelley Lynn - Girl, I fracking take my hat off to you :) I can't believe you've got six MSs in the bank in only eighteen months... that is *so* impressive:)

    PS: Congrats again on Fraction of Stone :)

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    1. Thanks so much Mark! That first year was pretty insane but it was mostly because I just knew I wasn't good enough for those first three manuscripts. Things are starting to slow down... a bit ;)

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  2. Writing definitely is a journey that's different for every person. I agree about writing what's in our hearts, especially for new writers.

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    1. SO important. It's not our best work otherwise.

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  3. The five tips are great to remember, thanks for sharing and congratulations on your book.

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  4. Thanks so much for having me Livia! This was fun!

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  5. i love it--"write what your want"---best advice you could take!!

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    1. It's definitely much more fun that way ;)

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  6. I'm a fan of Kelley's :)

    Her journey is inspiring to me! I will definitely keep writing what I want to write!!

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    1. Awww, thanks Samantha! :) I'm a fan of yours too

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  7. Always write what you want to write! Doesn't matter the market. Everything said that science fiction was dead while I was writing my manuscript. I wrote it anyway. (Really glad I did - that was CassaStar.)
    Know you are with a good publisher in Sapphire Star Publishing!

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    1. And we all know how awesome that story is. See? Another example of writing what the story that you're meant to write.

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  8. sounds so familiar! we should revisit those original ideas that started us writing some day...
    great guest post & advice kelly!

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    1. Yes we should. It's always good to look back. And have a few laughs... haha :)

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  9. So nice to get to know my SSP pub sister a little better. What a story and a history. Can't wait to read her books.

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    1. Aw, thanks Nancy! Can't wait to read YOUR story :) It's on my Nook and I'm traveling next week so there's a super good chance it will happen soon!

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  10. Great post and great advice Kelley! I'm so glad you stuck with it!

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  11. What an interesting journey you've had so far Kelley and it's only just begun! You've got so much done in only one year, I'm in awe. Good luck with NaNo!

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  12. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your journey, Kelly. Best of luck! :)

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  13. Wow! One year, and a lot of experience, plus two book deals!!! Amazing!!! Congratulations!

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  14. I love reading your story. ;) It always makes me smile. I also love that I'm a part of it. Great advice too.

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  15. Kelley you seem to be everywhere lately! Another fabulous post! Livia I love hearing about writers' journeys. Thank you for asking Kelley to share hers. 6 MS's in 1 year? Kelley you are beyond impressive!

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  16. That's awesome! I love Kelley's attitude. Being a writer takes a ton of determination, doesn't it? :)

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  17. I love that we can all be so different, but still support each other. Really fun reading more about Kelley's story. It's amazing what can happen when you're dedicated to something, and willing to change and improve. Weaknesses can become strengths. And miracles do happen. Very stoked for Kelley and her journey! Thanks, Livia. :-D

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  18. 1 year?? That's nothing! You've done amazingly in such a short amount of time :)

    I couldn't agree more about writing what you want to write. That's what I do!

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