Monday, January 30, 2012

The One, The Only...The MANY...oh, and the boots that I will buy when I am published :)

My most hated advice, which professional writers give not-yet-professional writers ALL THE TIME, is that it takes four or five (or more) written novels under your belt in order to write The One.

I hear this advice all the time. Write a novel. And then write another. And then another. And then, maybe, maybe, if you've grown enough as a writer, that fourth or fifth novel might be The One.

And, the kicker is--I AGREE with this horrible advice. I agree wholeheartedly. The only way to learn to write a kick-a$$ novel is to do it a few times.

The reason why I hate this advice? Because in order for you to grow as a writer (I feel, anyway), you need to write each novel AS IF IT IS THE ONE.

I mean, why else would you spend endless hours away from your family, your friends, your laundry? To slave over your practice novel? No, it has to be The One, in order for you to be All In.

And, if you're not All In, then I don't believe that you are going to learn what you need to in order to get to the next level.

Every novel that you work on needs to be The One.

And, then, when it isn't, you have to put it away, and become THAT ENGAGED in The Next One.

For the love of Pete.

What an incredibly painful process.

We talk about the rejection of submission all the time. Someone else rejecting our own precious works. But before we even get to that process, many times, we have already rejected our works.

I have secret hopes for my first three The Ones. Secret hopes that those novels will go off and become books. I love those books--and deep down, I believe that I can revise (or rewrite) those The Ones until they work.

But not until I finish with my current The One.

My fourth The One.

My first novel was a Middle Grade adventure. I still hold that one dear to my heart, even though it would take a complete rewrite to get that sucker up to par. I love the concept, I love that it was set in Spain, I love the twists and turns and energy. These were the boots which I promised myself I would buy when I published that The One:

Santiago Walking Boots from National Geographic dot com.

Still waiting to get those boots.

My second The One, was a wonderfully magical middle grade novel. It's very possible that with what I know now about my writing, I could go back and fix that one. It was The One for a few years.
This sweet, glittery, youthful high top would be perfect for my starry second novel. Unfortunately, Skechers only makes it for kids
My third The One was an adventurous NaNo novel. I have yet to revise that one at all, so it hasn't really gotten the chance it deserves. I have high hopes for returning to that novel. It's fun, zany, and humorous.

These boots are perfect for interstellar, other worldly adventures, don't you think? From CosplayBoots dot com.
I am positive that my current work-in-progress is The One. I have to be--how else would I give it my all? It is a YA with cyberpunk elements.

Let's hope that you see me sporting these tough thigh high boots sometime soon! :)
 Although, by the end of my book, one of my MC might wear these:
Love these Ameile boots! 
Maybe I'll let you guys vote, when that book comes to publication, over which boots I should get. :)

What do you promise that you will do for yourself, when you complete the painstaking process of completing a novel and getting it published? How many The Ones have you set aside? Do you think you will go back to them? Do you send all your The Ones out into the world, or do you reject them before they get there? Do you think the ability to self-publish has changed this process? Has it changed the process for you?

Which boots are your favorite? Feel free to share a link to some boots (or shoes) which you have been drooling over. :)

On the Row80 front, I had a down week last week for keeping up with my goals. However, I did plot out the next 19 scenes that I am working on, so that is definitely awesome. I want to get back to logging in my two hours of writing a day, get back into hosting the Practice Room, and start writing down my progress again.

The great thing is that I continue to make progress on this The One. :)

What goals do you have for your writing week?


  1. I have set aside several of the ONes. But remember, that it's different for everyone. For some it's their 2nd. For some it's their tenth! So yes, write each one like it is the one! :) I like the tall black ones.

  2. Oh boy, I know this road well! Like Laura said, you have to write each one like it's The One, otherwise you won't learn and grow. And you really never know which one will be The One, but I guess that's where hope kicks in. :-)

  3. @Laura--You're right--who knows what is our magical number?! I have noted your vote. LOL

    @Anna--I love your story--how you didn't think that UNFAIRY TALE LIFE would be your THE ONE. I'm so glad it was--what a sweet book. Loved the review you tweeted about today. :)

  4. My "The One" that landed me my agent and is currently out on sub to publishers is the third book I polished to death and then queried. I also wrote rough drafts for three other books that I parcially drafted then abandoned before starting my "The One".

    Even though I now have an agent and am supposed to know how to write. The most recent book I wrote I only finished the rough draft and then decided not to revise. Instead I'm going to set it asside (possibly forever) and write something new.

    Just as a side note. My actual "The One" was similar in theme to the first book I queries and could maybe be classified as a MAJOR rewrite. And I do intend to go back and finish/polish/rewrite at least one of my earlier abandoned projects. So your discared "The Ones" can come back.

    Oh, and those are some cute boots. I say by all four pairs.

  5. My first novel is an MG fantasy. I never sent it out. I loved it at the time and, like you said with yours, still feel it could be something with more editing. A LOT more editing, so much that I just haven't gotten back to it. I also wrote a number of picture books that are complete crap.
    Oh, and I like the third boots. Super cute. :)

  6. I think I only ever had two The Ones. My main The One is what I am working on now, and it really had better be The One, because SO MUCH work has gone into it lol!

    I haven't really promised myself anything for completing my goal of publication, other than the reward of seeing my name in print! I should probably think of something lol.

    P.S I really like the blue shiny boots. When you're rich and famous, maybe you can ask Skechers to make you an adult-sized pair! :D

  7. Rewarding yourself with new boots is a great idea that I may well soon embrace. Great post, thanks for sharing. Oh yeah, loved the over the knee jobs, killer. :)

  8. I love the boots! *scurries back to writing*

  9. I love the cosplay boots. I'm still pushing my first novel as THE ONE. I haven't given up on that yet and I'm glad to see you still have hope for your first one too.

  10. I vote for the Cosplay boots. I like them very much. You do a lot of walking.

  11. Ohhh totally. The thing is though, the punch in the face is, everytime I write a WIP I BELIEVE it is the one. I mean, ultimately, that is fabsies buuuuut a few months after shelving said One I always wonder what exactly I was drinking that made me so delusional. Hehehe.

    Anyhoodles. Mmm. I think, a very real sense, writing these Ones is like falling in love. Everytime you do it you have to go ALL IN, you have to set aside fear of the future and just believe, even if it only ends in heartbreak. That's okay. Because, for however fleeting a time, the person/houseplant/food/chair/WIP was the One. In a very real sense. And maybe that's all that matters.

    ALSO: MORE IMPORTANTLY. I can totally see myself in the Amelie boots. SIGN ME UP FOR A PAIR.


  12. I'm completely convinced that the one I'm working on now is definitely The One.

  13. I agree that it takes a lot of practice to get to THE ONE. That's awesome you have several completed. I only have one done and the start of another.

    I did find from revising my first one a zillion times that I learned so much about how to write. And even if it doesn't get me an agent or publisher, I won't say that I won't ever pull it out to try it again. Because like your first, it's dear to my heart. Good luck with the writing.

  14. LOVE The boots! Maybe I'd write faster if I promised myself a new pair! :)

  15. oh boy, I completely 100% get where you're coming from. I, too, have been certain each time that this one was THE ONE. And I still have hopes that they will be...maybe not the first one, but maybe the second or third or fourth. Because I'm in this for the long haul and like you I still believe in those stories. I just believe in the one I'm writing now more.

    And I'll take those thigh high boots :)

  16. You are SO right! The advice might be true, but that doesn't necessarily make it useful. How can you grow as a writer if you say, "This book I'm working on isn't The One. It's just a filler until I write The One."

    Perhaps it's better to think: "This book I'm writing may or may not be The First One. But it certainly has potential to be One of the Ones!"

    You know I fell almost accidentally into my first publishing contract. But my SECOND book to be published will actually be the FIFTH one I wrote. Doesn't mean I've given up on #2-4. It's just not their time yet. :D

  17. @Kate--I think that it is hard to know if a book will float until you finish the rough draft. And, I love you for suggesting that I buy all four pairs of boots. :)

    @Rachel--I'm glad I'm not the only one who dreams about going back to their earlier novels! I think it's smart to have a backlist, anyway. :) I am noting your vote! :)

    @Kyra--I know. It's so tough to think of time spent on something that may not got to publication. But I also think that no writing is ever wasted. definitely a growth process. You def. should come up with a prize for yourself!

    I might be able to squeeze into a youth shoe--I never knew until this year that a girls size 6 is similar to a woman's 8, or something ridiculous like that! There's hope for those blue ones yet!

    @Prudence--Thanks for stopping by! Those over the knee boots are pretty sweet. After finding that picture, I had trouble tracking down where to buy them. But. Must. Finish. Novel. First. :)

  18. You're so right. We have to believe that each novel is The One. It doesn't make sense to treat it otherwise. Wouldn't it be nice if the first one really was The One? And I hope you do get to go back and tweak those other novels sometime when you finish this fourth one.

    Good for you for plotting out 19 scenes. That's good progress.

    Those last boots are so darn cute but I'm way too old for them. The thigh high boots rock, but I'm too old for those, too. The first ones look cute and comfy, too! I hope you get to buy all of them!

  19. I love how you call your novel The One. And it makes so much sense! It *does* have to be The One. I sometimes lose that feeling when I get caught up in goals and counting words and so forth.

    And the boots! So awesome, all of them. I really love those Santiago boots and might have to copycat you and get a pair. :)

  20. @Sue--A good boot makes my day! :)

    @Alicia--I would have picked those boots for you, I think. They have a Japanese anime jive, and so do you! I hope your first is The One! (Mine too, maybe!)

    @J--Your vote is duly noted. I love those. :)

    @Mia--I love your falling in love analogy. It's quite perfect. We do have to just believe. I am kind of craving those Amelie boots. We'll take two pairs, please. :)

    @Karen--Me too. Let's hope we're both right! :)

    @Natalie--I agree--it's the revising which teaches us so much. I'm glad you've got a soft spot for your first. :)

    @Natasha--The promise of boots goes far in my word count. I would definitely recommend that kind of motivation.

  21. @Marcy--I love that idea: "I just believe in the one I'm writing now more." Love that. The thigh high boots are bad a$$. :)

    @Dianne--I'm glad you're not giving up on 2-4. Those novels will have their day, I bet. I would totally settle for One of the Ones!

    @Lynn--You are not too old for those last boots. Absolutely not. In fact, when we finally meet in person, I am going to insist that you and I both wear some sweet boots!

    @Kim-I know, it's easy to lose The One feeling during the grunt of writing work! And you should totally get a pair of those Santiago boots. They are on sale right now. :)

  22. I like the Santiago boots best! So cute!

    I love the idea of choosing a pair of boots as a carrot and a representation of each book. I'm now off to think of some carrots of my own!

    Well done on the 19 scene plotted, best of luck for the rest of the week :)

  23. @ginawb--Thanks for stopping by! I love to have something concrete and reflective of each book. Can't wait until the day we're all wearing our boots! Thanks for the well wishes! I hope you have a great week too. (If you do choose some boots, come back and share them--I'd love to see!)

  24. First of all, I vote for the sparkle boots.

    On the writing side, I have written four books so far, working on #5, and only one has gone out into the world. Book #3 has been on the road with his little suitcase of hope like a 30s style Fuller Brush Man for a looong while now, but I still see a shot at him getting somewhere. So far, that book is the only The One, but it has been reworked so many times, it's like three or four books all mashed into one at this point.

    I could see #5 becoming the next The One. The other three were never going to be great. I think I knew that very soon in, but I had to see where it was going - like dating. You don't want to dismiss an idea right off the bat, but sometimes it just never clicks.

    When I finally get published, I'm getting a dog. And sparkle boots.

  25. I'd like the Cosplay boots on you. That seems like a night on the town thing to wear. Let's make sure to hang out after that book is published!

  26. I'm popping over from ROW80 and must say... you had me at the first pair of boots. Maybe it is because I am wanting more rugged outdoor action in my life, who knows?

    Maybe I see myself fetching my nature journal and tromping by a river on my way to my tiny little writing cabin at some fabulous unknown writing colony that has comped me a stay until I finish MY version of "The One."

    I'm glad to hear your words are growing.

    My goal list is long but this week, it is primarily keep on writing. Keep on writing, keep on... you know.

  27. @Lily Cate--I have to say, I love a good sparkle! Oh, a dog! So awesome! Get writing so you can get Fido! :)

    @Tina--I love those boots. Although, I have to say, I love them all. I PROMISE that you will be one of the stops on my book tour! (As long as you promise the same to me!)

    @Julie--I have been coveting those boots for like ten years now. How long is this writing thing going to take? I love your idea of going all Thoreau to finish The One. I use my batcave (which is my way of saying I hide in my house and take the phone of the hook when I'm writing)

    Good luck getting the writing done!

  28. This is so true! You have to be excited and giddy about every book you write. Because it is one of the most time-consuming, painful processes of the world.

    I would've quit a long time ago if I didn't think the novel I was writing was The One.

    Hang in there! You'll get your boots.

  29. You're so right. If the excitement isn't there, the book will fall flat, plop. Great post!

  30. First off, nice boots.

    Secondly, I think I answered all your questions in my last blog post. Which is ironic.

    Thirdly, I think you've adequately explained why you haven't queried any of your four books. And it's a very well-thought out and sensible philosophy. Which, now that you know my story, is also ironic.

  31. I look back at some of my work when I first started writing. Okay. Not great. Writers do grow with time and practice. Definitely.
    And to celebrate publishing your first novel, you so need to get both pairs of boots! It's a big freaking deal!

    (and I love that you have certain shoes for each book!)

  32. Yep, it's so true about writing 4-5 novels before getting to The One. And yep, I'm not a fan either. Heheh. But I'm also a firm believer that no writing is wasted writing. Gotta love the journey!

  33. @Elana--Thanks SO MUCH for the vote of confidence. Looking forward to buying some boots!

    @Kittie--I agree--I think you can tell when a writer has lost heart in a book! :)

    Ray--I'd like to see what kind of boots you'll get when you publish!

    And I really got a lot out of your recent blog post. Such an honest account.It reminds me that we are all in this together, even though we have to go through a lot of it alone. Here's the link, if anyone wants to read an awesomely honest story of incredible patience and perseverance--and optimism. I've seen writers crash and burn over a lot less.

    If my philosophy seems sensible, then it's just because I didn't reveal all my crazies. There is really very little that is sensible about looking for representation. The system is very, very flawed. Good luck--I'm thinking about you and putting out good vibes into the universe.

    @Kelly--I like the way you think. Both pairs of boots, it is. :)

    @Lynda--Nice comment! I think I LOVE LOVE LOVE HATE the journey :).