Friday, October 25, 2019
Tuesday, October 22, 2019
Wednesday, October 16, 2019
This particular deadline crunch began with a challenge. I attended a writers' conference in mid-September. A woman I've known for years and have worked with frequently, managing editor at a publishing house that has produced some of my books, attended the same conference. She issued a broad challenge to anyone willing to accept it: The publishing house had a contest going involving three different genres. They sought novellas in each of the three categories, with the best entry in each to be published next year. One of those categories is historical romance and my friend, the editor, challenged me to send her a manuscript.
The problem? She showed me the flyer for the contest and issued her personal challenge on September 14. The deadline for all entries was October 15. Could I write a novella start to finish in a month?
Now you understand why I've been MIA. I've been pushing that deadline. The good news is, the novella is complete at 36,000 words. Three lovely readers and an editor gave it a once-over for me, even when I gave them a two-day deadline to get it done, and I submitted my complete manuscript two days ago, on October 14, actually one day early. It's a good story, too. I did it! But that's about all I've done lately.
What has this experience taught me? For one thing, I can be stubborn about taking on a challenge, even if it doesn't seem realistic. Also, I can write a book in a month if I'm highly motivated. Those are good things to know. Not so good are some of the other lessons, like realizing I can disappear so completely into the black hole of my fictional world that I can practically vanish from the physical world we inhabit. Not good. Not good at all.
I'm back now, remembering where I live and reconnecting with the actual people around me. I'm even working again on my other deadlines, which got pushed back or snubbed altogether during my month of publishing panic. Today, I appear to be just like other people with other jobs, people who work given hours and live the rest of the time with family and friends.
I'm not cured, however. Deadline Fever will surely strike again. One day soon, I'll realize I've spent so much time playing with my imaginary friends that my actual, physical friends wonder what has happened to me. Or maybe not. My friends know I'm a writer, after all.
Sunday, October 13, 2019
Don't expect to actually sell books. That's not the point at all.
The point is networking, name recognition, and goodwill.
I know you're an introvert but bring your social face.
Bring more books than you expect to sell... just in case.
Know where the bathrooms/port-a-potties are located. You'll be giving a lot of people directions.
Know your audience. (Bring appropriate enticements to lure them in.)
Plan for inclement weather. (This was an outdoor event and we had beautiful weather, but oh, the wind.
- Bring enough change to make change... for yourself and others in need.
- Don't forget your Square reader or similar device for taking credit card purchases.
- Appropriate (and easy to assemble/disassemble) tables, chairs, props, tents, etc.
Thursday, October 10, 2019
Before I talk about the museum, though, a bit of quick history – Writing instruments of all sorts have been in use for thousands of years, but a sort of proto pencil was a lead-based stylus used since the time of the Romans (which is why we still call them “lead pencils” even though lead hasn’t been used in pencils in hundreds of years).
The modern version of the pencil dates back to the 16th century with the discovery of a large deposit of graphite near Keswick in the Borrowdale Valley. The story says that it was found by accident by a group of shepherds who, on finding that it wouldn’t burn like coal, used the mineral to mark their sheep. But they soon discovered it left marks on their hands and other things that were hard to remove.
People soon discovered that the mineral was too soft to use by itself, but stuffed into a wooden tube, it made an easy-to-use writing instrument.
|The World's Largest Pencil|
The factory has since moved, but the museum remains in Keswick. It’s a fascinating place. In addition to displays showing the history of the pencil, there are numerous historical items, a look at the manufacturing process, the varieties of pencil and art supplies now available, and a couple of fascinating, related stories. It also features the world's biggest pencil, as certified by the Guiness Book of World Records.
During World War II, Brittain’s secret service operatives worked with the company to develop ways to incorporate various bits of miniaturized technology into the pencils. They were also used as a method for passing secret messages. None of this has ever been officially confirmed, of course!
The museum gave us each a plain Derwent pencil with our entrance ticket. I was glad to get one.
Personally I use pencils quite a bit. Although all my books are written on the computer, I do a lot of preliminary work and planning using a pencil and paper. I like a pencil that writes fairly dark and has a nice sharp point. There’s something about the physical act of holding a pencil over a blank piece of paper that gives opens the spigot and gives the ideas a channel to emerge and begin to grow.
Monday, October 7, 2019
Friday, October 4, 2019
|Photo by Rohan Reddy|
|Photo by David Menidrey|
|Photo by Paula Smith|
|Photo by Benedikt Geyer|
|Photo by Ian Dooley|