Wednesday, December 7, 2011

RTW: For the Sake of Publication

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This Week's Topic:

How far would you go to get published?

Explanation: We writers can form quite an attachment to our characters and stories. But we also know publishing is a business, and sometimes to make it in said business--to really build a career from it--we have to bend a bit. How far would you go to break into the publishing world?

Things I would do to get published:

1) Major revisions—based on gut feeling, critique partner feedback, or future agent and/or editor request

2) Change my title. Change character names. There are some I WILL fight for though.

3) Persevere. There are times when the “Just give up” bug nips at my mind, but I try really hard to force away those self-doubt thoughts. Instead, I reread my stories or plant my butt in a chair and revise or write something that's totally fresh. And remind myself why I LOVE to write.

4) Lose sleep. Oh wait—I already do that. Correction. Lose more sleep.

5) Compromise my good Christian nature for the sake of a story. Okay, I know that just sounded HORRIBLE so let me give you an example: For three stories, I tried to write effectively without swearing. Okay, maybe an occasional h-e-double hockey sticks, but I can’t do that with my current story and be real to my characters. Or the story itself. Soooo - my WIP has a few (haha) choice words in it. Just a few.

Things I won’t do or will TRY not to do:

1) Totally ignore my family and friends. I know that Mommy time, wife time, friend time has suffered. And I know that if I do land a book deal some day, there will be deadlines I can’t ignore. So, IF I do have to sacrifice some family time, I vow to make up for it—times twenty. (You heard it right here on the blog, people)

2) Give in to trends—mainly because what is hot now may not be so hot two years from now. And I just don't think I can ever write about vampires. Or zombies. Or creatures in general. (But I do like reading about them!)

3) Give up writing YA. I think when you find your niche, you stick with it. And maybe I’m fooling myself, but I’m pretty sure YA is where I belong. (Big kid at heart here!)

4) Compromise for the sake of trends. I write some controversial shiz, people. But there’s just some stuff I won’t write about.

And I'm sure I could make my list longer (especially once I start blog-hopping!), but this is what came to mind.

So, how about YOU? How far would YOU go to get published?

PS - I'm blogging over at YA Confidential today on my preferred Book Drug. Check it out here!

OH!!!!! And don't forget to sign up for the YA Superlatives Blogfest hosted by Katy Upperman, Jessica Love, Tracey Neithercott, and ME! Click here for details!


  1. Hehe I always want to add more to my list after I start blog-hopping ;)
    Love your list. I agree with all you would and won't do ... except for the "giving up writing YA" ... I write NA and I'm thinking of switching for the sake of publishing ;) I wouldn't like to, but it's getting me nowhere =(

    Oh, and I already commented on YA Confidential ... my relationship with HON is the same as yours. Love, hate, love, hate lol

  2. Your post is pretty awesome! I agree with everything you put in your list. Character names are kinda impt. to me, but I could compromise on some of them.

    Also, I think giving in to trends isn't all THAT bad--as long as it's a trend that you enjoy writing, too. If you're completely selling out b/c you wanna try to sell that book, then that kinda sucks.

    Really good post!

  3. Great post! You have actual points, haha! I just kind of rambled my answer. :)

  4. Great post! You have actual points, haha! I just kind of rambled my answer. :)

  5. This an excellent post, and question! Where are your limits and will those bend as you get closer to finalizing a deal? I'd sure like to find out! :)

  6. I'm with you totally on the language thing. Yes, people "cuss" (as they like to say in these here parts), but my characters don't have to if I really am anywhere close to being the writer I think I am. I should be able to convey character without having to alienate those who stumble over foul language in novels. However, I have probably stretched my boundaries a little with my novel because a few of the milder choice words were truly necessary for my character. But I struggled over it for a while, and I really tried avoiding the issue. In the end, I think seeing those words on her lips draw a much more striking contrast than it would if *everyone* in my novel spoke that way.

    Great response, Alison! :)

  7. Titles, change 'em. But I'd need a lot of convincing to change a character's name.

    Oh, and h-e-double hockey sticks is brilliant ;)

  8. Great list. The language issue is interesting. In my book, I use a few choice words as well, but I believe they are absolutely necessary to the scene. Portions of the story take place in a rough neighborhood, and the people that live there communicate differently. Mild language would have been inauthentic. However, I agree with you in that I don't enjoy writing, or reading, stories with gratuitous foul language...or sex, or violence, for that matter.

  9. I agree with Miss Cole--Eh, title, whatever. As long as the new one sounds cool and fits the story, haha.

    But character names?


  10. Love this, Alison, especially your "What I Wouldn't Do" list. I'm with you: I'd never compromise my family, friends, or integrity to get published. And writing to the trends is usually a pretty big waste of time. :)

  11. I love the honesty. It's been interesting today to visit the blogs participating in answering this question.

  12. Great list of things you would and wouldn't do. I don't think I'd give up writing for kids and teens. It is my favorite genre to read and write.

  13. Great list! Mine would be about the same.

  14. You'll have to pry my YA from my cold, dead hands!

  15. Agreeing with Francesca. Touch my character names and die! - with that said, I love your lists! I wouldn't want to give up YA either. *nestles down into it* Squishy. and Sparkly! (mine even has dewy spiderwebs)

  16. Your refusal to give up on YA resonated with me because I did have an agent suggest that perhaps my book would find a home if I tweaked a few things and changed it to adult. Honestly, I could see that, but I'm not ready to give up on YA yet. The YA community is where all my friends live!

  17. I like your lists! They seem like instructions for a healthy, fulfilling writing career to me: keep your life balanced and your heart happy and only follow trends if that's where you were headed anyway. Oh, and work hard! :)

  18. Good lists! You have all your priorities straight, it sounds like. :)

    There is one thing that comes to mind that I absolutely would not do to get published, and that's compromise my feminist nature. If an editor or an agent requested revisions that involved making a female character weaker, or making a relationship between my characters more traditional in terms of gender roles (like that the guy saves the girl more times) I would say no. I'll do a LOT of things if I think they are right for the story, but that's the one thing I cannot in good conscience do.

  19. I had similar thoughts about swearing, though I let some into my current WIP, too. It seemed dishonest to avoid them. But my good Christian nature won't let me include a sex scene. It's just one of those things I won't compromise on. The good thing is that I don't write contemporary and therefore my characters are too busy trying not to die to have sex. I will, however, let them make out as often as needed. :)

  20. Great list! I also always want to add more once I start reading what others have put on theirs :-)

    I especially enjoyed your commitment to your family and friends. I know I´m also giving up some wifey time, friend time and family time for my writing but I do want to make sure that I make it up to them somehow...


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