I have submitted countless articles over the years for publication and yet every time I write something new and hit ‘send’ on the keyboard I still get butterflies in my stomach. Id’ve thought after almost two decades in the writing industry the anticipation of hearing back from editors would eventually grow old, common place even, but I’ve expanded my writing skills to include other genres of writing, more recently, including scriptwriting and in-between I’ve covered myself with researching how-tos on self-publishing and marketing in the writing industry for my latest book, Loved Like Me. (Oh, how I loathe marketing.)
If I could do without it I would just keep plugging away at WIPs, like a literary novel I started about four years or so ago, I can’t remember what was going on with the protagonist anymore but she and her sister were having a seriously hard time getting along, sibling stuff, nothing based on real life experience) for those of you who were just dying to know if I used events from real life).
From what I understand, you can, but it’s not something advisable, and at times even worthwhile, unless you are writing a memoir. (I would recommend asking someone who has written and published a memoir or two).It is my experience that the best conflicts to resolve in fiction writing are the ones that are not yours when you are also away from the keyboard, although some people argues that experience breeds plotlines, and they draw from real life, so I leave you to decide.
I love how easy it is in the process of freewriting to get lost in the hullaballoo of things you could write about and have that take away from what you are writing about, like I just did. Oh , and then to do another faux pas, which is to go back and read the first two paragraphs you wrote, edit and then keep writing. Did I just do that? You be the judge.
So tonight I submitted to a producer for the second time in my screenwriting career. It is different from submitting to an editor for several reasons, for one thing, there was no query letter. I answered a call for spec script. (For reference to screenwriting terminology I recommend The Screenwriter’s Bible, by David Trottier.
Submitting and selling scripts are a completely different publishing avenue than freelancing short stories and articles. The rules for writing (and formatting) in screenwriting are completely different. (If you want to make life easier for yourself as a screenwriting software is, I find, a worthwhile investment.
When you finish and have removed yourself from your work for a period of time (unless you are working on a deadline) there are a few things you should ask yourself before submitting the piece.
Why should the editor of such and such a paper want your story? What are you offering the reader? The viewer? What makes your story unique? Why will it appeal to people? Is there a familiarity that readers and viewers might recognise in themselves? Is there a time bomb, a clock ticking and something has to be resolved in an urgent matter? Will something horrible happen to the protagonist or someone the protagonist cherishes dearly if the matter is not resolved? In other words, what hangs in the balance?
I know why I think my story should sell, but unless I have presented the set up and hook clearly no producer or editor is going to bite. I may throw many finished articles and scripts into the publishing sea, but unless my story sticks out and is memorable to the person reading it and grabs their attention right away, all I have are a bunch of pretty words strung together.
I have been on both ends of the writing spectrum in many genres. I have work that will forever rot on a zip drive (somewhere) and more polished work that I am waiting to hear back on.
One thing about life doesn’t change, there is always a story to tell, you just have to ask yourself if you are going to be the person to tell it and sell it, how you are going to go about making it…memorable.
Here’s to a Memorable 2016!
My writing goals for 2016 (albeit late) Get writing, keep writing, love writing, live writing, breathe writing, and oh yeah, gotta keep that coffee brewed. Now, back to writing.