Friday, December 4, 2009

The Three Ps of Writing Cooked Up Three Ways

Writer Speak--we all get better at it the longer we're in the game. Lately, I've noticed a strange synchronicity between some of my favorite triple play letters. I call them PPPs.

What does PPP mean? Well in writer speak, it's short for PIVOTAL PLOT POINT. This is a part of the book where the main characters must make a decision that leads them to growth (ultimately), but there's a lot of consequences with each PPP. There's all these different terms for it like TWIST POINT, TURNING POINT, and more. Big PPPs include the inevitable BLACK MOMENT, or POINT OF NO RETURN and finally the CLIMAX. PPPs are important parts of the book's plot. Without them, there's no reason to turn the page. That's my quick and dirty dictionary explanation. I know there are plenty of books out there that give better definitions, but that's how I see them. PPPs. Can't write without them.

My second group of PPPs occurs after a rejection, small or large. Some rejections are easier to bear than others. But none are pleasant. And as a writer, when I get one, I throw me a little PPP. That's dejected writer speak for PERSONAL PITY PARTY. This is my 24 hour period of mourning time where I get to drink copious amounts of wine, sing 80s pop music, refuse to cook meals, wallow in self-pity and doubt, question my course of direction, whine to my CPs (ooh another P--PARTNER) about the difficulties we all face in this insane writing world, take a break from writing and basically allow myself time to mourn the R. Rs suck. Period. The. End. I just threw myself a PPP. But my party time is drawing to a close. I have reached the 24 hour mark. Now it is time to quit wallowing and start working again. Actually, during part of this R's PPP, I did work. I sent off two more queries to agencies I love and I sent off an unsolicited query to my target publisher. Same house, different editor. May as well see which way the chips fall for this book one way or another. So a bit of action--kind of my mini-denial/anger/kick it back phase. I even looked at the WIP. For about a nano second. Wrote it off a "to do tomorrow" and I'm having a positive interaction and real dinner party tonight with friends who care nothing about writing and only care about me, the person.

This brings me to what separates a writer with chutzpah from one who can't take it on the chin. It sucks to get punched in the solar plexus. It does, but you won't get published at all until you take those punches. Did you know only 20% of authors who pitch and get requests at conferences actually send in their requested materials? Why is that? Part of it might be the MS isn't finished or not even started. But what about those who are finished? Why don't they send it in? Fear. It's scary to send your book baby out into the universe. We've heard the stories. More rejections are received than requests and contracts. Who wants to have their bubble burst with that kind of pain? Me. I do. I want to get rejected because it means I am attempting very hard to get published. So perseverance is important. Never give up and never surrender. Also, patience. Some people hit the bulls eye first time out. Most people don't. Don't throw away your dream or short change it because you can't wait for the eventual success. Be patient. Keep working. Keep moving forward. That leads to Persistence. We must be persistent. We must write. We must improve our craft. We must submit and pitch and risk rejection over and over again. Otherwise, we'll never get there.

I can't predict if, or when, someone is going to look at what I've written and say, wow, we really need to give that fabulous writer a contract (really why hasn't anyone done so yet?--this is me in my denial mode again--it does help). So don't give up, be patient with your dream and RISK REJECTION. It's the obnly way you'll achieve your goals.


M.V.Freeman said...

Gotta love those three "P"s , especially for my writing.

And for the rejections..LOL

You are right..gotta keep on! :-)

Christina Wolfer said...

As always, Christine, you have written an interesting, hit the nail on the head blog. Like you, while no rejection is pleasant and some are easier to swallow than others, I'd rather being getting rejections than getting nothing at all because my book baby has never seen the world outside my computer. With rejection there is hope. Everytime I send a query there is hope that this one might be the right story, on the right desk, and at the right time. When? I don't know, but I do know it will happen.

Christine said...

Mary--you know you are a serious writer when you're willing to take one on the chin. You go girl.... keep writing!

Tina: I know those Rs stink, but the only way we will get out there is if we send them out. I love your analogy of the book baby needing to see more of the world than our computer screens.

Gwen Hernandez said...

Right on, Christine. I'm starting to think of my Rs like campaign medals. It's a reward for being in the fight, even if you didn't win.

I think the rejection of a complete qualifies you for a silver star with valor. ;-)

Martha W said...

Ah, sorry I missed the PPP... Dang it! =(

But you're right, without enduring the rejections, we'd never get to the contracts - and that's what we want! Perseverance and brass... uh, guts is what it takes to be a writer on more than a hobby level.

I'm with Gwen. You deserve a silver star!

Christine said...

Thanks Gwen and Martha--love it! We should start a collection. But hopefully one of us will get in the gates soon. That would be PERFECTLY POSITIVE PARTY.... woohoo!