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Anne R. Allen's Blog

...WITH RUTH HARRIS

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Anne writes funny mysteries and how-to-books for writers. She also writes poetry and short stories on occasion. Oh, yes, and she blogs. She's a contributor to Writer's Digest and the Novel and Short Story Writer's Market for 2016. 

Her bestselling Camilla Randall Mystery Series features perennially down-on-her-luck former socialite Camilla Randall—who is a magnet for murder, mayhem and Mr. Wrong, but always solves the mystery in her quirky, but oh-so-polite way.

Anne lives on the Central Coast of California, near San Luis Obispo, the town Oprah called "The Happiest City in America."


Anne blogs at Anne R. Allen's Blog...with Ruth Harris 
and at Anne R. Allen's Books

Saturday, August 1, 2009

YOU MAY BE A BESTSELLING AUTHOR ON TRALFAMADORE

This week, agent Nathan Bransford posed this question on his blog: “How Do You Deal with the ‘Am-I-Crazies’?”

Those are the blues that can overwhelm the unpublished/underpublished novelist as we slog away, year after year, with nothing to show for our life’s work but a mini-Kilimanjaro of rejection slips.

The truth is, most fiction writers spend much of our lives sitting alone in a room generating a product that has zero chance of ever making a penny—or even being seen by a person outside our immediate circle of friends, relations and/or personal stalkers.

So—not surprisingly—we occasionally ask ourselves that big, existential question: WHAT ARE WE—NUTS?

Trying to answer can plunge a writer into despair. So how do we cope?

Most of the over 250 respondents to Nathan’s post answered with variations on the following advice:

1) EMBRACE THE CRAZY and accept that we are, most of us, deeply and certifiably Looneytunes.
2) Chocolate helps
3) Ditto booze and caffeine
4) Ditto sunrises, music, and long walks
5) Ditto the company/blogs/tweets of other lunatic writers
6) And reading good books
7) Or crap books, because we know we can do better than THAT
8) Funny, nobody mentioned sex
9) But denial is good. Really good.
10) And keep writing, even if it’s just for ourselves, or the one person who reads our blog, or the dog, or whoever…because: WE CAN’T STOP OURSELVES.

And why is that?

Well, I have a theory: It’s the Tralfamadorians. If you’ve read your Vonnegut (and what business do you have calling yourself a writer if you haven’t read Vonnegut?) you know about Tralfamadore. It’s a planet where a super-race of toilet plungers exist in all times simultaneously. The name of their planet means both “all of us” and “the number 541,” and they control all aspects of human life including social affairs and politics.

Since these beings have infinite time on their hands, I figure they’ve got a lot of leisure to fill up with reading. And how do they get their books? Of course! They compel earthlings to write novels. Hundreds of thousands of them. Way more than earthbound publishers and readers can handle. But on Tralfamadore—hey, they’re consumed like Skittles.

In fact, the Tralfamadorians are so eager for new material, they’ve figured out how to transmit stories right from our brainwaves to their TralfamaKindles the minute you type “the end” on that final draft.

And it could be that right now, as we speak, your first novel—the one that has been sitting in the bottom of a drawer along with its 350 rejection letters and the restraining order from that editor at Tor—could be at the top of the New Tralfamadore Times bestseller list.

Think about it. You could be the Dan Brown of that whole part of the galaxy, where readers are desperate—pining, pleading and panting—for your next book.

And that voice in your head telling you to pound away, day after day, trying to finish that opus, even though everybody, even your girlfriend—and your MOM for god’s sake—says it sux? That’s a transmission from the Doubleday Company of Tralfamadore saying, “Hurry up, dude, we gotta have this for our Christmas list!”

Hey, just prove to me it’s not true.
***********

Labels:

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dearest Miss Allen,
You're brilliant. Thanks for this great read.
But how did you know about my situation & that TOR restraining order?
All the best,
Chester

August 1, 2009 at 12:06 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Kurt said it, I believe it, and that settles it.

Nice blog post, Anne.

August 1, 2009 at 1:19 PM  
Blogger Dorothy Ann Segovia said...

Okay. This is a good enough reason for me to keep writing...

August 1, 2009 at 9:07 PM  
Blogger Churadogs said...

Old Saw: Locked in the bottom drawer of every newspaper editor in America are two things: A bottle of really bad rye whiskey and "The Great American Novel." And both things really should stay locked in there . . . forever.

Well, writers write. Painters paint. It's what you DO. Like breathing. Very few people get paid for breathing. If you're really, really good and/or really really lucky, you may make a living at it. If not, keep your day job because you'll need it to buy computer paper and/or Windsor Newton Series #7 sable brushes.

Plus, the Tralfamadorians need our output.

August 2, 2009 at 6:45 AM  
Blogger CKHB said...

That explains everything! I better get back to writing, can't keep my fans waiting...

August 3, 2009 at 9:35 AM  
Blogger A misinterpreted wave said...

I am so glad that someone finally explained the truth behind it all. mmmm Skittles, I love ♥ them - glad to share an inter-galactical version

August 4, 2009 at 4:10 AM  
Blogger Donna Hole said...

Hi Anne,
I'm new here. Thanks for your comment on my own blog. As is painfully evident, I'm soooo learning this business of writing. I like your summation of Nathan's "Crazies" comments; it's what I tried to do on my own blog, when my kids come out and said "hey mom, I thought blogs were really short!" WOW, though, didn't that bring out all the Lurkers?!? And to tell the truth and shame the devil, I liked that Nathan sat back and just let all the comments flow.

So here I am, experimenting with cyber-world, putting my anti-social skills to the test. I'm still reading all the posts - I've found that yes, reading agent bloggs (as you suggested) can become addicting. Distracting, may be more the word; allowing yet another form of procrastination for revising to dratted novel.

But, here I am, and if you don't hear from me upon occasion, be sure to remember: I'm a Lurker, and hiding inside your posts somewhere. And, when I figure out how to update my blogger profile with "bloggs I follow", your's will definitely be on the list.

As Dory says: keep on blogging, keep on blogging"; I'll be watching you; and, uhm, gathering ideas................dhole

August 4, 2009 at 7:07 PM  
Blogger PV Lundqvist said...

I, for one, welcome our Tralfamadorians editor overlords, and am looking forward to receiving iTune gift cards as royalties.

August 5, 2009 at 9:47 AM  

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