Monthly Column

Feeding The Dream By Pam Thibodeaux


The NOLA conference held March 2-3, 2001 in Shreveport, LA was a lively affair. Guest speakers Linda Kay and Metsy Hingle spoke of the different types of writers: fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants or organized (very organized!). Though I’ve found that I’m pretty organized in other areas, when it comes to my writing, I’m more like Linda. I “fly off into the mist” with my characters then go back and see if I can make some sense out of what they’ve done.

However, Metsy gave a very informative speech and some real time-cutting advice when she gave us an example of a one-page pitch. This little tool would be very useful whether pitching to an agent or editor or simply organizing your thoughts and ideas into feasible story plots. The concept is amazing! In one paragraph each you introduce your main characters, the plot, the resolution, the hook. You can also list cover ideas or any other information that may be important to the overall book. For those of you-like me-who hate the synopsis, it will be a great way to narrow your story down enough to write that dreaded paper. Thank You Metsy for this idea!

Author Susan Grant encouraged us all to “believe in your book, believe in your self and take that extra step in promoting your work.” We should all take a page, or chapter, out of Susan’s book and really push our work. After all, it’s a great accomplishment to finish a book much less get it published. So, believe in yourself! Toot your own horn honey, you deserve it! But let’s remember to temper that toot with humility. No one likes an arrogant, snotty author (or arrogant, snotty anybody!)

Other speakers Barbara Dawson Smith, Dr. Helen Taylor and Dr. Julie Nelson rounded out the program by speaking on subjects such as Making your book a page turner, Insights into Medieval history and the psyche of romance readers and writers. And, last but certainly not least, Kate Sever, Associate Editor at Dorchester Publishing was sweet and charming while answering a host of questions about what Dorchester was looking for now and in the near future as well as questions about editors in general before hosting the editor/author appointments.

Overall the conference was a huge success (in my opinion anyway). One of the highlights of the day was when everyone participated in a friendly discussion on the “secret” to getting published. As a newly published author, I found it exciting-yet humbling-that my opinion was solicited. However, like all authors we discovered, once again, that there is no real secret to getting published. A lot of factors are involved: writing the best book you can, timing, luck or fate or grace (whichever you choose to believe).

But, if we had to narrow it down to only one key, we agreed that it would be persistence. Believe in yourself and feed the dream. Write, submit, write, enter contests, write, attend conferences, write. Believe in yourself and don’t give up! Feed the dream. Take your work that extra step by writing something other than the norm. If you write long, historical novels, try a short contemporary. If you write books period, write a short story. It takes experimenting and persistence to get your name out there. Who knows, getting a short story or two (or an article or two) published may generate enough interest in your writing to get that agent and/or editor to take notice!

We all have our unique stories about how we got started, how many books we wrote before we got the call (or email) and how long it took to get published. For me, a very long time. My writing began 19 years ago in five-subject notebooks. In 1993 I got my very first word processor. At that time I was working on a novel of approx. 110,000 words (or three notebooks) so you can imagine how long it took to type it in. A year!

If you count the years between 1993 and 2000 (the year one of my books got e-published) that I’ve continued writing, submitting, polishing, submitting again, editing, submitting again, writing some more, submitting that, fending off depression over countless rejections…(not to mention the fact that my book isn’t ‘recognized’ as published) it would have been very easy to give up. In fact, I quit writing several times! :)

Alas, we all know that it’s really not possible for a writer to quit. We may take a break or stop for long periods of time, however, we almost always end up writing and if we write long enough and try hard enough, the dream will come true.

So feed the dream. Write. Research. Submit. Read. Write. Submit. Write some more. Ignore the rejections. Persist. Feed the dream. And remember: When you dream, dream big because all of Heaven is dreaming with you!

Born May 19, 1961, Pamela Thibodeaux is the mother of four children (two by blood and two by marriage) ranging in ages from 17 to 22. She works part time as a full-charge bookkeeper. Pamela has been writing for several years and is a member of Coeur de Louisiane and RWA. As a member of Coeur, she won the 1999 “Diamond In The Rough” award, the “Ruby” award in 2000, and is currently serving as Contest Chair and Publicity Coordinator for the organization. Pamela has a short story Angel of the Day (November 2000) and an Inspirational Article entitled: Perfect Love (Feb. 2001) published in The Romantic Bower Ezine at: www.theromanticbower.com. Pamela has also written a novel, ‘Tempered Hearts’ published by Writers Exchange Epublishing

 

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