“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.” — Jane Austen
Welcome to AJ & Charli Bite Back! After toiling with our first Manuscripts for the last year, reading blogs, creating author pages and Facebook, and editing like its nobody’s business, we decided, since we had so much free time on our hands (heavy on the sarcasm) this was the next step.
I’m AJ, and I thought I might blather for a few paragraphs before Charli gets her two cents. I like to say damn a lot and occasionally curse like a trucker, bear with me.
What is there to talk about? The better question is what is there NOT to talk about? When you begin this process – writing a novel – it can be sparked from a dream, a desire to see your characters in print, a passion you’ve enjoyed your whole life, for whatever reason, it all starts out alone, solitary. I mean, YOU’RE the only person who can do this job, so you get to it. Finally, after months, years, weeks, you finish. You think, YES, I AM DONE. Well, yeah, I guess you are, but you’ve only finished one part. There are so many others.
So what began as a solitary job, has now begun to change. After letting several of your friends/family members read your novel, tell you how awesome your story is, you figure, hey, this writing stuff is easy, maybe I can publish. You do a little research, come up with a few publishers that write the same sort of stories that interest you, type up a query and send off the required pages. Now not everyone will get a request, but I did on the very SAME day – A FULL request. I jumped up and down, did a jig , smooched with the hubby and pumped my fist in the air. I was pumped, dreaming of knocking Nora Roberts from the number one position. So I sent it in, and waited, and waited . . . you get the point.
Waiting and me, i.e. patience, we’re not friends. Never have been. Never will be. So after frantically checking my email every 10 minutes (ok, maybe less, maybe 5, or 4) for that inevitable offer, I decided that unless I wanted my family to think I was seriously losing it, I needed to do something else. I entered my first contest, lost, and won. The judge who’d been the hardest on me, and who, by the way, also gave me the highest score, suggested I join a critique group. That it would help me polish and hone my craft.
After a quick google search, I found the best damn crit group in the Western Hemisphere. No more solitude.
There I learn what RUE (Resist the Urge to Explain) is, the difference between the dreaded ‘showing’ vs. ‘telling’ and met others who feel just as passionate as about writing as me. This brings me to Charli – THE BEST DAMN CRIT PARTNER in both hemispheres. She writes Contemporary Fiction with strong romantic, family saga elements, and I write Historical Fiction with romantic/suspense elements.
Scrolling through all the posted manuscripts I came across BY GRACE ALONE. Loved the name Grace and decided to read. Charli had huge issues, could tell something to the reader twenty times, tell her ass off, and bring the best damn emotion into a love story that I’ve read in a long time. She can make me laugh, cry and get pissed off, but most of all, she can take it. Take it when I tell her something sounds terrible or is way over the top. Take it when I prove her wrong, and lastly, take it when I JAWS the sh*t out of her MS.
I respect that. She can argue like a lawyer trying to defend OJ Simpson, is as stubborn as hell, and puts up with my OCD in EVERYTHING.
So without further adieu . . . Charli Mac
Mac-Attack is signing in. Getting here, where you are reading the blatherings of my feeble mind has indeed been a bumpy road. So bumpy my ass is killing me. JAWS, I mean AJ, has added to my pain and severe blood loss. But I am here. Finished my first MS and jumping on the query super highway.
I thought about writing for a few years but never got the courage. Finally, after watching the Ed Burns movie Purple Violets (about writers- a must see), I sat and typed my first 120 pages. It was a mess but the bones were there. Then I wasn’t sure if what I’d written was any good. I googled critique groups and found my literary second half. It’s not her fault she’s Canadian. I jest of course.
I love to argue, JAWS ain’t lying about that. And I will concede defeat, after doing the former of course. This journey has made me stronger and opened my eyes to the reality of the publishing world. I make no apologies for my views, comments, or thoughts. I took me a long time to get to this place and I’m learning every single day. I hope to disseminate some of that knowledge and take some in as well.
All you other aspiring authors out there feel free to share, exchange, bitch, and vent about the process. Why do you think we started this blog anyway.