Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Monday, April 26, 2010

LDStorymaker's Conference & The Importance of Patience

Wow! What a great time I had at the LDStorymakers conference in Provo, Utah, this last weekend. It was so great, seeing everyone and hearing so many inspirational stories of failure, trials, and ultimately success. Writing is definitely a contact sport. You have to be willing to work hard and get a lot of rejection. Even authors you think must have coasted to their big contracts saw lots of setbacks most people don’t know about. In the final class I did, (see the video below for a spoof of how James and I came up with it) James mentioned something I saw more and more of. It is the need for patience.

As writers, you would think we would understand that writing takes time, and good writing takes even more time. A quality manuscript can takes months or even years to write. Then we take months more to rewrite it. Then we take years to get it published. We know this, and yet we are always looking for a shortcut. Just a few thoughts I’d like to share from some things I saw or heard.

Don’t be in such a big hurry to get your manuscript out to an agent. A fast no is not better than a slow yes.

Just because you typed “the end” does not mean you are done. The best authors I know rewrite many times. Are you really so much better than NYT Bestselling authors that your work is sellable after the first pass?

More than ever, editors are requiring authors to submit higher quality manuscripts. With many publishers cutting staff over the past few years, they are looking for manuscripts that they can take to committee without massive rewrites. Get plenty of feedback and put in the work before sending your baby into the world.

It is not as hard as you think to go back and fix a broken story. Don’t have a strong enough villain? Go back and make him stronger. Realized your world isn’t as complete as you’d like? Take it a chapter at a time and add more detail. Remember, diamonds don’t come cut and polished.

Finally, that query letter. I know you are anxious, but do your research. Get feedback. Make your query the best it can be, so your story will get the look it deserves.

The same advice can be applied to life. The best things don't come fast. Give yourself permission to take an extra week--or month--writing your story if it means you get to spend a few more minutes every day playing with your kids, or getting enough exercise, or being with your spouse.


Here’s a fun little movie I made of James and me coming up with our Q&A workshop—which was a blast to do!



Here's the link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTSscdPwwEs


13 Comments:

At 4/27/2010 2:52 AM, Blogger Evil HR Lady said...

Jeff, that video was hilarious. I loved it.

Even though I don't write fiction, I wish I could have been there.

 
At 4/27/2010 4:42 AM, Blogger meyerprints said...

http://ptolemymaps-meyerprints.blogspot.com/

 
At 4/27/2010 9:34 AM, Blogger Heather B. Moore said...

Hilarious! Wait till Annette sees it . . .

 
At 4/27/2010 10:41 AM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

Loved the video! Ha ha!

And you're so right about patience. It's so easy to look at a NY bestselling author and envy his/her success without recognizing all the years of work that came before it.

 
At 4/27/2010 11:06 AM, Blogger Krista said...

That video is too funny! And thanks for the patience reminder. Brilliant.

 
At 4/27/2010 12:27 PM, Blogger Sarah M Eden said...

"Brilliant!" *hands in the air*

 
At 4/27/2010 1:57 PM, Blogger Taffy said...

That movie was funny!

 
At 4/27/2010 2:01 PM, Blogger Jon Spell said...

Jeff, sorry I missed you at the awards gala - Rob said you were there, but had to leave. =(

The video is pretty funny. How much control did you have over the actions the figures make? Or did you adapt the dialogue to fit the movements?

 
At 4/27/2010 2:48 PM, Blogger Tamara said...

Thanks for the post. Working on the patience thing now that my first draft is done and probably need to spend another year editing! Good laughs with that video.

 
At 4/27/2010 2:55 PM, Blogger L.T. Elliot said...

Jeff, you are a true fount of wisdom and you give back to so many aspiring authors. I hope you know (and if you don't, I'm telling you) how much you're appreciated. You're a true class act.

 
At 4/27/2010 7:58 PM, Blogger Kimberly said...

You know, this post reflects exactly what I came away from the conference mulling over (and is therefore brilliant). More and more in this modern world of ours we want easy. In a way, it's a miracle that writers who were brought up with microwaves and indoor plumbing manage to develop the patience required. But seriously, you put my own thoughts into better words than I could ever hope to. It's work, plain and simple. And those of us who haven't really put that work in yet...well...we get a bit idealistic/dellusional sometimes.

 
At 5/04/2010 1:02 AM, Blogger Valerie Ipson said...

I'm so glad you posted the video. I was hoping to be able to see it again. :D

 
At 5/20/2010 1:06 AM, Blogger Christy said...

Such good advice. The whole conference was an inspiration. I want patience...right now! :) I think the most important thing I took away from the conference is persistance. Even if I can only write a few pages a day, those pages will turn into chapters and eventually a book will materialize.
I enjoyed your classes. Thanks for the help.

 

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