Tuesday, December 02, 2008

My Purse Ate My Lipstick

My purse swallowed my lipstick again. There’s a hole somewhere in the lining and that seems to be the only thing that keeps getting sucked into it. Not the other lipstick that’s worn down to a nub, not a million other things, just my newest, best lipstick. Is my purse trying to tell me it’s not the right shade lipstick for me? Or is the universe against me? Or maybe it’s time to get a new purse? I really like my purse – it’s a cute pink and green plaid – so I’m not ready to give it up. This reminds me of my stories, how sometimes they get sucked into oblivion. Either I get stuck and leave them alone, sometimes for years, sometimes only for a few weeks or months. Usually, I’ll eventually come back to them and fix them. After they’ve had a while to percolate, sit and age, I get a fresh perspective and they get a new lease on life. Maybe it’s just that I’m more willing to put them under my surgeon’s knife and edit without remorse after so long. When they’re still new, I usually can’t see what’s wrong with them, or if I have a feeling something’s wrong I still can’t pinpoint what that something is. Not long ago, I nixed an entire story. I still love the idea, but I’ll have to start over completely new as the original was dismal. I’m still not sure how to approach it so it will have to percolate awhile longer. Not that I’ll be idle. Plenty of other stories vie for my attention, jumping up and down, screaming “Pick me!” My characters a soooo pushy, ya know? They all want their turn NOW! Except for one or two shy ones that are trying to hide while they mature enough to come out and play with me. One of my stories has been percolating years. Yes, YEARS. I’m ready to exhume it and finish it and submit it. I know the perfect place now. It’s another sweet romance so it can’t be TEB or EC, so TWRP. It’s more than half finished so it shouldn’t take too long – except I have three other projects not counting three edits. Of course, I have to reread and examine it. I have to polish and fix any holes. I like to read editors' blogs to get inside their minds. One of the posts I recently read was about their pet peeves. A big pet peeve for one editor is when writers submit one of their old stories without updating it first to see if it needs to be improved. Specifically, they drag it out from under the bed or some dusty computer archived file, and send it off. When rejected, they email the editor and say something like, "Oh well. I'm not surprised. I didn't think this story would be accepted. I wrote it years ago and had forgotten about it. Thanks anyway." Ouch! What a way to make a reputation (not a good one) with an editor. And editors talk to each other. I suppose the rejected writers are trying to make themselves feel better when they say something like this. Better than make ourselves feel better after the fact, to jeopardize our career, we need to always always always present our best stories. Reread and if need be, edit and revise before submitting. I know a lot of people will read this and say duh. However, obviously people are doing this (or rather, not doing this) or the editor would not have to warn people about this particular pet peeve. This reminds me of my day job. Times are tough and so our employer made an announcement that it's particularly vital that each of us pull our weight...or else. Yet, some employees continue to gripe about assigned duties, refuse to learn new tasks, and even pull temper tantrums thereby putting themselves at real risk to lose their job. But I don’t want it to fall in the black hole again with my lipstick. I don't want to throw away my purse and especially not my career. I’ll have to sew up the holes in my purse and in my story and make them whole again. I'll have to make sure my old story is polished like new, that nothing gets lost in the holes. "Naughty Boys", my M/M Christmas story is available at: http://www.total-e-bound.com

You'll also want to see what Amarinda Jones, Anika Hamilton, Anny Cook, Barbara Huffert, Brynn Paulin, Bronwyn Green, Dakota Rebel, Kelly Kirch, Molly Daniels, Sandra Cox, Regina Carlysle, and Cindy Spencer Pape are up to, so make sure to visit them also. :)

7 comments:

Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Yeah, I have stories that do that too. And lip glosses. Which is odd since I don't usually carry a purse, but they seem to wind up there anyway...

Molly Daniels said...

I left my fav lipstick in my rolling cart during my parent's anniversary. Turned my makeup kit inside out, searched my suitcase...and then remembered where it was.

Ouch! I did that a couple of months ago, but fortunately the editor gave me some VERY helpful and sound advice for improving the story! But then again, when she asked for it, I told her I hadn't done anything to in in 10 years, and she said to send it anyway.

KellyMarstad said...

Dorchester had one of my books for over two years when I finally got it back and sold it within two months to Cerridwen. It came out last January and was my first pubbed book. I know now why it was turned down, but at the time I thought it was perfect. We all get better with practise. That book needed practise. ;) Still a great story but I get it now.

I have another story I'll write one day. I started it years ago and couldn't touch it to change anything. Now, I can write it from scratch, keep the ideas, not touch the old work.

Regina Carlysle said...

Sometimes you just HAVE to back away slooowly. Years ago I had a story idea that just didn't want to be WRITTEN, at least THEN. Now it's Killer Curves. FUnny how that happens.

Sandra Cox said...

Well Said.

Joanna Waugh said...

I'm a firm believer in allowing stories to "percolate." I have two partials like that; one of these days I'll get back to them. For some reason, new story ideas are always more exciting.

Nicole McCaffrey said...

LOL love the way you moved from the lipstick and the black hole to writing.

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