Douglas L Perry, The Author blog

September 25, 2009

Close But No Cigar

cigarI have finally started receiving some of the rejections from Thrillerfest. The bad news is that I am getting rejections. Yep, they always hurt, no matter how softly delivered.

The good news is that I am getting feedback, and it is outstanding feedback. It’s the kind of feedback that I can use to make the book better.

Here’s the short blurb for the book:

It’s about a trophy wife who’s trying to get away from her overcontrolling husband, even though he’s just restored her sight.

The problems with the book right now are twofold. First the descriptions don’t evoke enough emotion. Yeah, I get that. I am a very analytical person (engineer) and sometimes I can talk details to death. I’m working on that. I’m working on including the “right” details and trying as much as possible to include the emotional effect. And, it’s working. The last couple of chapters that I updated were much better than before.

The other problem is that the protagonist is boring. She too nice, she’s too good, she doesn’t feel real, and therefore the reader cannot relate to her. The reader doesn’t feel like rooting for her. This is tougher to fix, but I feel like I have a pretty good handle on how to do that.

Some agents and writers say “you have to make her flawed”. Yeah, again, I get that, but I have also found that making her too flawed can make her useless. It’s a balance, and a hard one to implement. But I also feel it is what separates mediocre writers, from good or even great writers. Striking the right balance between flaws and strengths is key.

The fact that I got agent feedback means that I am close, but something is still not quite right. The fact that more than one agent gave me feedback says that I am very close.

I working on the next one, and letting the current one sit on the shelf. I have found that putting the work away for a while allows me to see it using fresh eyes, and I will see more flaws.

Add emotion to your descriptions and keep your characters real, and you too can write a great book.

September 17, 2009

Jeff Herman’s Guide

Filed under: Thoughts,Writing — douglaslperry @ 11:18 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Herman_2008 cvr_frontFor those of you who are writers you have come to understand that Jeff Herman’s book is “the bible” when it comes to getting an agent. He gives you way more information about the agent other than just what they are looking for, and how to contact them. So I picked one up.

The book is HUGE. And that is what kind of made me wonder. You see, there is a lot of information about publishers, editors, and the entire writing process, that I really don’t need right now. I don’t need the publisher information because they want you to go through an agent. I don’t need the editor information, because they say the same. The only part that’s relevant is the literary agent section, and that’s really small in comparison to the entire book.

So it feels like I paid way to much for this little teeny section of the book, until I realized, that I really didn’t pay that much, and if it helps me find an agent, it will have been worth it.

I hope to send out a new batch of queries this weekend.

September 14, 2009

Religious Writing Experience

Every Monday you can find me at Adventures in Creative Writing. A freak storm came through Northern CA creating a lightning show that was pretty spectacular.

You can read about it here.

September 9, 2009

Another Rejection

Filed under: Thoughts,Writing — douglaslperry @ 12:04 am
Tags: , , , , ,

cat glassYep, got another one today. The bad news is that it is another rejection. The good news is that I am getting some personal feedback. It’s either that or their form rejections are getting really good. In this case I don’t think it was a form rejection. There were enough details about my submission that wouldn’t have been appropriate for a form letter. Not really any feedback that I can use, but it felt like the agent really had spent some time considering it.

So if I’m looking at the glass half-full, then I’m getting there.

September 3, 2009

Get a Clue

Filed under: Thoughts — douglaslperry @ 6:16 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Getaclue08-picture929Don’t you hate it when people get so focused on something that they seem to ignore the big picture?

Today at the gym I’m about a third of the way in backing out of a parking spot when a pearl white Cadillac Escalade pulls up behind me blocking my exit. Seems that she wanted to make sure she got the parking spot two places to my right. You see, it’s the spot closest to gym entrance, one past the handicapped space.

I look over and there are two ladies talking next to a white Lexus in that spot. By her body language and the way she’s leaning on the car, one seems to be the owner, and the other a friend on her way to her car.

I honk my horn and the Escalade lady ignores me. Doesn’t even turn to look in my direction. She is focused on that parking spot. It’s as if that parking spot is the key to her life.

After I honk my horn again, the Lexus lady, finally realizes what is going on, waves at her friend, opens her door, and gets in. After what seems like 5 minutes of loading her bag in just the right spot, putting a towel over the front seat, checking herself in the mirror, brushing the hair from her face, and adjusting the mirror so she can look out the back, the Lexus inches from the parking spot as if she were the only living person on earth. This progress is quickly halted by a Mazda Miata coming the opposite way from the Escalade. It now seems like the Miata has seen the possibility of parking in that spot and has raced around the corner to make a bold move.

The woman in the Escalade locks eyes with the Miata driver and points menacingly to the spot. “This one’s mine bitch” I can almost hear her say. They face each other down almost as if they were two gunfighters from the old west, or two poker players waiting for the other to fold, each one trying to make the other blink. Meanwhile, I’m still a third of the way out of the parking spot, engine running, drumming my fingers on the dash, trying to get the heck out of here and go to work. After another 30 seconds of staredown the Miata driver finally sees the futility of facing off with the hulking Escalade, shoots her an evil stare, and moves out of the way.

I look at my watch I’ve been trying to get out of this parking spot for over 5 minutes now and if I don’t get going soon, I’m going to be late.

The Lexus finally pulls out, the Escalade moves out of my way, and I’m free at last.

But here’s what I don’t get. These women are going to the gym to exercise (one would think anyway). Why didn’t the Escalade simply wait for me to pull out, and she could have taken my spot? There would have been no stress, it would have saved everyone time, probably saved an extra gallon of gas, and Escalade lady would have gotten an extra 40 feet of exercise. Because she didn’t have a clue, that’s why.

Get a clue please.

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