Monday, June 6, 2011

Someone likes me, and the Break-In Novel

Happy Monday!

To start my Monday Mash-Up, I first had to share some awesomeness.  Last week I decided to enter a 1,000 word contest over at a fellow blogger's page.  And this weekend I found out... I won*Happy dance*

It's kind of interesting... the prize was getting my piece posted on her blog, no more no less.  And I have people who don't seem to fully grasp it.  I have had many questions of "What else did you win?" and "If you didn't win anything, why did you enter?"  It is the writing world people... sometimes some of the best prizes is just finding that someone out there likes you!  I was beaming all weekend.  I think that counts as a perfect prize.

Thank you Sylvia!!

If you want to read my winning entry, hop on over to Sylvia Ney's blog, Writing in Wonderland.


Now, on with the post.

Rachelle Gardner, a literary agent I follow, made a great post about writing a break in novel.  And I just had to share it with you, and add my thoughts as well.  As Rachelle wrote:

As an unpublished novelist, you're in the position of not just having to write good books. You have to write a BREAK-IN book. It's going to require a mysterious combination of your writing reaching a certain level, the right agent reading it at the right time, the right editor receiving it on a good day, and some magic fairy dust.

Lots and lots of fairy dust...

We all dream of having that amazing Break-Out novel, that every reader gobbles up and that sells millions upon millions of copies.  The novel that gets our names in papers, on webpages, on top of the NY Times bestseller.  How beautiful would it be so see our novels in every bookstore, rambled about on the morning news... Created into a hit movie?

Thing is... before you Break-Out, you have to Break-In.  It is just like a new pair of shoes.  They are stiff and uncomfortable at first.  So you wear them.  Even when they pinch your toes and scrape at your ankle, you wear them until they stretch and morph and finally become that piece of cloud you were hoping to walk on.  Now you move on to breaking in the writing world.

You break in novel may not be the best example of your brilliant writing.  It may not be the genre you dream of dominating or the style you wish to master.  What is it?  It is the piece that opens the door and lets the industry know: you exist.  We all know how tough the writing world can be to exist in.  It is Alcatraz, impossible to penetrate.

Sometimes you have to break your own laws and bend to the will of the industry.  Maybe it's writing short pieces for magazines and collections.  Maybe it is articles for other blogs and sites.  It could be writing that romance novel even though you have dedicated your existence to Steampunk.  Whatever it is, do it.  Every opportunity and chance counts.  Then, once your name is out there a bit, break out and write that novel that sends your heart a fluttering.  Break in, to break out.

Remember though:  Be true to your self.  While we all make sacrifices to get into this world, we can't totally sell ourselves out either.

Of course, now I am wondering if PN is my Break-In or Break-Out novel.  It is something only time, and potential rejections, will tell.  In all honesty, I am not sure at this moment.  I love this story.  I have enjoyed *most* every second writing it.  What will the industry and you readers think of it though.... I have no idea.  Either way, I keep writing.

So tell me, do you have your Break-In novel?  How do you get the writing world to go "Ah, there she is..."?  Do share!


Jess said...

Congrats on your big win (there are no small wins)! I really enjoyed reading this post~ thanks for sharing Rachelle's words. As for me? I'm just trying to become a better writer at this point... I must say, though, I'm thinking I need to go a little more commercial--not necessarily "trendy." I need to think about my audience--who I'm writing for--and not just write what I want to write with nobody else in mind. Great food for thought here :)

Best of luck with PN!

Bess Weatherby said...

Congrats! I'm off to read your entry now :)

Just a friendly reminder about the Summer in the City Blogfest today. I'd love to hear your summer goals!

Interesting thoughts on the breakout/in conundrum. Everyone says not to write for the market, but it's hard, sometimes impossible, not to! After all, how likely is a publisher to take on an unknown if they don't already see the audience? Just one of the many worries that plague my writing days. I guess all there is to do is keep writing, eh?

Mark Murata said...

Hello, Jenni. I'm going to mix metaphors on you, but I think breaking in to writing is more like breaking out of Alcatraz. We are breaking out of the barriers that keep us back from being published, barriers our own pride so lovingly builds.
This is a different medium, but when P.G. Wodehouse considered allowing his Jeeves stories to be made into movies, he imagined Jeeves giving a polite cough and saying, "I scarcely think that's possible." Looking back at that, years after successful movies were made, he was embarrassed at his attitude.


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