Is It Ready Yet?

Today’s Question: When do you know your story is ready?

When my editor rips it out of my cold dead hands! Seriously, us creative types have a hard time stepping away from the shiny object *ooh, squirrel!*

But what happens when you don’t have an editor? Before I had any publishing contracts, how did I know my story was ready? . . . After I’d had three critique partners take a look at it, then fixed my manuscript  according to their advice. I then shot for two beta readers to read over my novel and give me their feedback. It’s ideal if the betas are prolific readers in the genre you write, and I was fortunate to have that for my 18 Things YA trilogy.

I don’t like spending more than a year on a project, but I know other writers take as much as several years *coughs George R.R. Martin*

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In the end, you have to go with your gut . . . or wait until your editor rips it out of your cold dead hands 🙂

This has been a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, the brainchild of Head Ninja, Alex J. Cavanaugh. Feel free to join us the first Wednesday of every month! Purpose: To share and encourage.

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IWSG-Do I Belong Here?

I’ve been chained to my laptop since March 16th, trying to finish up the last installment of my trilogy, 18 Thoughts (can’t wait to show you the gorgeous cover!!!) . . . so I sorta forgot today was the first Wednesday of the month until I checked my inbox when I got home and saw Alex J. Cavanaugh’s blog post. Oops!

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And I really wanted to tell the Insecure Writer’s Support Group all about my experience at the Southwest Florida Reading Festival, so I’m taking a quick break from writing to blog. When my publisher submitted my name for this festival, I never actually thought they’d accept me. They always bring in HUGE authors for the super Saturday event held every March. This year was no different . . . W. Bruce Cameron, Sue Monk Kidd, Julia Quinn, Jill Shalvis, Rick Yancey . . . the list goes on and on, including . . . Jamie Ayres?

I attended the Friday night Evening With the Authors reception the night before, and Melody Carlson and Tyler Whitesides sat at my table!! Every kid I know is obsessed with Tyler’s Janitors series (I read the first book to four of my classes) and Melody Carlson has written over 200 books, won the Rita, and had one of her books made into a major motion picture. It was her novel, Diary of a Teenage Girl, that motivated me to write inspirational fiction for teens! Hubs had to keep kicking me under the table so I wouldn’t fangirl too much.

Then I got to the festival the next morning and caught Sue Monk Kidd’s speech before heading over to my tent. And it was, as Oprah would say (since Oprah did pick her latest novel, The Invention of Wings, as her book club pick), it was A*M*A*Z*I*N*G!!!

But as I walked to my tent, fear and worry gripped me. I would never speak as eloquently as Sue did and bring in the type of crowd that becomes standing room only, never have Oprah pick my book, never have my book chosen as a Sunshine State Read (as Tyler’s did), never have my novel made into a major picture, never win a national award. WHAT AM I DOING HERE? I’ll be the embarrassment of this festival and never invited back again. I bribed hubs and daughters to pretend they didn’t know me and to ask questions so it’d look like I had three fans at my tent.

Guess what? I had 103 people show up to my tent! By comparison, Ricky Yancey had 131, so I’d say that’s not too shabby for my spot at the Young Adult stage! FYI, I’m reading The 5th Wave by Yancey now, and it’s absolutely awesome. Now I certainly didn’t speak as eloquently as Sue Monk Kidd, but I realized God didn’t need another Sue Monk Kidd. He needed a Jamie Ayres to speak to whoever was destined to be there that day. And afterward, I had an actual line at the autograph table. How freakin’ cool is that! I didn’t even bribe the people to be there 🙂

So if you get invited to an event that’s just a tad bit out of your comfort zone? Don’t let your feet tread easily on the well-worn path and stay in your little box. “Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Don’t know who said that, but it’s on a picture in my dining room, and it’s a darn-good quote! Believe all things are possible . . . hey, maybe 18 Things, 18 Truths, and 18 Thoughts will be made into movies one day. If so, I vote for Theo James to play the angel, Riel!!! Touching his bicep has been added to my bucket list of things that could possibly earn me another restraining order but is totally worth it 😉

P.S. This Saturday, I’ll be in Orlando at the UCF Book Festival from 9-3:30pm with a few other authors at the Curiosity Quills table . . . stop by if you’re in the area–I’d love to meet you!