Friday, 30 January 2015

Coping With Rejection: It's Not All Bad

In my final post about rejection, let's look at the positives.

It's about the experience you gain. Every rejection I've received taught me about my writing weaknesses and, more importantly, my writing strengths. I know what I'm good at, and that's a great confidence boost. I also know what needs work in future projects.

The more you write and query, the better you get. Colony is a better book because of the lessons I learned while querying Resistance. Going into Colony, I prepared how to query it while writing the first draft. Doing so kept the plot from becoming unnecessarily complicated. I didn't appreciate how convoluted Resistance was until I tried to write its initial query and synopsis. I didn't really know what at the time, but a handful of rejections later and I started to see that particular problem. For Colony, not only was I able to keep the plot from running away from me, I was able to write a query letter and tweak it as I edited the MS. I had a neat summary of the plot on hand at all times, which came in very handy during the long months of editing.

And it's not just about the experience you gain with your writing. I've also learned I'm not alone. I'm not the only writer out there being rejected. You are not the only writer being rejected. It happens to all of us, and we can support each other through those tough times. That's why I put together this series after all.

Rejections aren't enough to make me give up on my dream of becoming a published author. If anything, every rejection makes me even more determined. Writing isn't something I can turn my back on. It's part of me.

Don't give up. You can't. It's not an option. Keep going, keep writing, keep querying, keep learning, and one day, it won't be a rejection. It'll be an offer.

Let me offer one of my favourite pieces of music to keep you going: Not Alone, by Nobuo Uematsu. Just remember, if you're feeling down about rejections, you're not alone, and there's a whole community of writers out there ready to support you.

Direct link here

Thursday, 29 January 2015

What's On My Desk

Looking at other writer's working spaces is one of my favourite things to do. I really believe the way you write a book informs how your space is set up. For instance, I love looking at all the post-it notes you planners seem to have everywhere. It's all so orderly and proper looking! Me, well, I'm pantser, fairly unorganised, and a fangirl, so I think it's safe to say my desk reflects this.

An overview, complete with actual uncensored views of my whiteboards

The gang ;)

#AmEditing ;)

Messy, but serviceable. Tea, as always, is present ;)

Sticker collection. Is there anyone in the UK without a MAHOOSIVE Sports Direct Mug?

Desk Extension number one. That's my unedited MS sitting there, watched over by Link

Desk Extension number two. I'm pretty chuffed with myself this month

So, who am I going to tag? I choose you, Laura, Sophie, Emma Maree and Emma Adams! Actually, I'm tagging ALL of you! Share your writing spaces, whether it's a whole room or a chair somewhere at home.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

What's Up Wednesday

Fancy taking part in this week's What's Up Wednesday? Stop by Jaime and Erin's blogs, and you can!

What I'm Reading

Same as last week. It's been a slooooow month for reading. Not setting myself a reading challenge this year means I'm being pretty laid back, especially when my own work is taking up a lot of my spare time.

What I'm Writing

The edit is going really smoothly. I finished reading over my MS last Thursday and went straight into hard-copy edits. I know the ending needs some work, and there are a few details about my old Victorian house I need to iron out in my own mind, such as how many rooms it has and the like, but so far I haven't come across any major problems, which is very reassuring. Maybe I should give this contemporary setting malarkey another go ;)

What Works For Me

Only having what I need. Having unnecessary excesses of anything bugs me, like I'm wasting it. So in 2015, I'm dedicated to only having what I need. And it's turned into a great money saving method this month.

Turns out there's part of me that has minimalist tendencies. Nobody is more shocked than I am.

What Else I'm Up To

^_^ See you next week!

Monday, 26 January 2015

Miss Cole's Tea Time: Clipper's Gold Tea

I've been really looking forward to drinking more tea from Clipper. They are definitely my go-to for teabag blends. They just taste so good, and teabags are a lot easier to take to the day job than loose-leaf tea. Also, when the editing is going surprisingly smoothly and you need to make a quick, delicious cuppa, Clipper is a fantastic brand to have on standby. Their Gold Tea is another brilliant every day tea, and its perfect price makes it a great substitute for more expensive brands.

What I like about this tea is the addition of the Kenyan tea to give it a richer taste than your regular blends of Assam and Ceylon. It's definitely a good morning tea, and perfect for a busy afternoon, whether it's writing, editing, planning, or day job related fun.

Oh, and the mug was a Christmas gift from my bosses. They know me entirely too well ;)

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Monthly Soundtrack Reviews: Uncharted 3

Soundtrack: Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
Year: 2011
Composer: Greg Edmonson, with Azam Ali, JD Mayer and Clint Bajakian
Stand Out Track: Nate's Theme 3.0
Works Well With: Action and adventure stories.

The more I listen to this soundtrack, the more I love it. It's so cinematic in its quality, and it lends itself so well to those of us writing action-packed adventure stories. It's got a great opening theme, and there are some brilliant pieces for chase scenes. One of my favourite sections of the game features the brilliant Boarding Party, which starts with a mellow, mysterious air and then explodes into action.

This soundtrack is especially brilliant for chase scenes set in deserts or other hot places.Badlands and The Empty Quarter will make you feel like you're sweeping over epic, arid landscapes.

There are some great quieter tracks, too. I really like the use of classical guitar music in Small Beginnings. It's repeated to great effect in the more up-tempo Museum Bust, which is another favourite for writing those really decisive chase scenes. You've also got Drake's Return, for those calmer, more character-driven moments.

Where this soundtrack really shines is when it's going for big, bold, intense moments. The broody opening to The Setup gives way to a good dramatic piece with a great buildup. Perfect for characters about to face a big showdown. And if your story's build up takes place in a non-Western setting, be sure to check out tracks like Bazaar Brawl or The Caravan.

Oh, and if you have a particularly trippy moment in your story, this soundtrack has you covered with Mindgames. It's a quieter, more menacing piece.

The great news is, this soundtrack is available on iTunes! Check out the previews and see what you like. And if you enjoy this music, chances are you'll love the other Uncharted OSTs. They've been essential to my current WiP.

Also, on a totally unrelated to music note, I love how the cover to this OST sums up Nate, the main character, so well. If Nate isn't walking away from something he just blew up/burned down/generally destroyed, it ain't an Uncharted game.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Coping With Rejection: Yes, You Can Be Angry


Anger is as natural a reaction to rejection as crying, but there is one absolute golden rule that you've got to follow:

Do not send snarky, angry responses to a rejection e-mail.

You can't go firing off angry e-mails to agents. Talk about unprofessional. Have you ever seen some of the messages agents get in response to rejections? It's madness. It might seem really satisfying to send an agent a list of reasons why they're wrong about your book, but that is quite possibly the worst idea you'll ever have and, when the anger cools and you regain your senses, you'll be like this:

No matter how it irks you, whether it's a form rejection, or it's "Dear Author" when agents say "Please don't send any 'dear Agent' e-mails!", or your name's spelled wrong for the fifth time in a row, or it's silence on a full with a follow-up e-mail, just... just...




(Are we allowed to say that without using Frozen gifs?)

Take that anger and use it elsewhere. Write an angry scene, go play a videogame (first person shooters and Tomb Raider work best for me and ohmigawd how unhinged does that make me sound?! "RAGE MAKES ME SEEK HEADSHOT ACHIEVEMENTS IN VIDEOGAMES MWAHAHAHAHAAA!!!), stand outside and scream as loud as you can (then assure your neighbours/random passersby everything's fine). Walk. Run. Swim. Engage in a Netflix marathon. Just get that anger out, accept that it's another rejection and keep going.

Oh, and please don't take it out on friends or family members either. Rant at them, but don't be mean. It's not their fault.

People talk a lot about the sadness, but that frustration from the umpteenth rejection can easily turn to anger. Remember: it's never the agent's fault. It's not even your fault! It's one of those things. Stories are personal, and so are everybody's reasons for liking and disliking them. Don't go and blow your chances with another agent by sending a nasty message to one who rejected you.

Breathe through the rage, let it settle back down, regain your calm centre and send out the next batch. Your agent could be just around the corner!

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Stow the Guilt

Life, no matter how hard we try not to let it, can get in the way of writing. And sometimes, even when you want to write, you're too worn out, or you reaaaaaally need to play Kingdom Hearts, but there's writing to be done and not enough time to squeeze it all in and... and...


Look, it's really simple: you have to do what you most want to do. Chances are even in your totally mad working day, there's a five minute window somewhere when you can write even 100 words. More than you had before, right? And if there isn't, or if you're too tired, or you actually want to do something else, go for it! So what if all your writing friends are cranking out way more words than you? Work at your own pace, and if that pace requires an evening *cough*oreveryevening*cough* out for Kingdom Hearts, DO IT.

What? I have needs. Intense, fangirly needs.

We're all busy people, and sometimes, we actually have to do something other than write. Sometimes you want to do something other than write, and you shouldn't feel guilty about it. No, really! Don't beat yourself up about it. Your book will still be there when you can get back to it. 

Seeing as I'm on such a fangirly kick right now, what geeky past-times keep you from writing?