What do I know?

Happy Friday everyone! Casey Wyatt here.

I’ve heard that writers are a terrible judge of their own work. That we lack the perspective to know what’s good and what isn’t. And I believe it!

Here’s why:

Some of you may recall waaaaay back in July, Suze challenged us to a double dog dare – a summer NaNanoWrimo style “write-off”. I remember commenting that I wasn’t “officially” entering but I’d try and follow along.

I had a novel outlined and ready to go so I figured – what the heck – I’ll start writing it.  The plot was a totally crazy idea – a vampire stripper forced to flee to Mars.  Who’d want to read that?

I didn’t care. The story had been in my mind since the summer of 2010 and it was high time to get it on paper. And I did. I tracked my progress on my Casey Wyatt blog site thoughout the month of July. At one point, I even typed 5,000 words in one day (I had vacation that week!).

By month’s end – I had completed the first draft at 79,000 words. I finished the book, polished it up and then decided – no one would want to buy the book. And I couldn’t answer that all important question – What genre did it belong in?

Urban Fantasy? The story is in first person and the heroine is a vampire.

Paranormal Romance?  There is a love story and hot, steamy love scenes.

Sci- Fi? The book takes place mostly on Mars.

Genre confusion aside – I sent the book to my fabulous beta readers and critique partners. The overall feedback was positive. So full steam ahead, right?

No. Not exactly. I stalled on making changes, hesitated to edit, and dragged my feet. The same thought drummed through my head – no one will buy this story. It’s too weird.  

So I let it sit. Occasionally, I’d make half-hearted attempts to edit and clean the book up. Until November, when I saw a call for submissions on Twitter. I went to the publisher’s Facebook page and took the plunge.

Within an hour I had a request for a partial. Yikes! Now I had to clean up the book. After a panicked e-mail to the ever patient Suze (my wonderful critique partner), I was on my way!

Two weeks later, I had a request for the full manuscript. Two days later – an offer!

The Undead Space Initiative has been sold to Pink Petal Books. (See, I promised to share good news sooner).

The moral to this story – write the book, no matter how weird or strange the story is!! Because, you never know who will want to read it. Just write what you love or enjoy and good things will follow.

Tell me – how do you feel about your finished works? And for the readers out there – have you ever mis-judged a story, either good or bad?


24 thoughts on “What do I know?”

  1. Congratulations, Casey! What a great story! Yep, I’ve misjudged a story…handed in two books that I thought were career-ending flops. Both did really, really well. I also have absolutely no perspective of a book until I’ve been done with it for a while. Good to know I’m not the only one!

  2. Ugh! I’m usually okay with my writing until I send it out into the world and when those rejection letters start coming in from agents I begin doubting myself, thinking everything I wrote is total and complete garbage. What do I know? Nothing yet. But I’m really happy for you!

  3. I have the opposite problem. I think everything I write is magical and should be published immediately, LOL. Then I have my editor, Carol, look at it and my first thought is, “What does she know?” Then my common sense pummels my pride, and I study her red pen marks and go, “Oh…yeah…need to fix this…and this…and that…”

    Perspective and a few other sets of eyeballs–and a willingness to kill your darlings–is a necessary evil in getting it right. I admire your willingness to put it out there, Casey. That is so often the difference between a writer and a published author.

    1. You know it’s funny, I have this strange belief that if I like something I wrote than it must be awful!! I’m not sure how that started. 🙂 I’m trying to find that happy medium. Maybe I’ll get there someday!

  4. Sounds like the art world. All the same concepts apply. Thanks for a great post Casey. It’s thrilling watching colleagues succeed, in spite of the odds. One guess is as good as another.

  5. Congrats, Casey. My concern when I sub a book is “well I like it. My CPs like it, and my beta readers like it, but is it really worth a publisher’s time?” Sometime yes, sometimes no.

  6. I’m always absolutely positive that everything I write is horrid, which is why I have a lovely crit partner who reassures me it’s good. I recently gathered up some courage and submitted (last week). Waiting to hear back … I think that’s the worse part. The waiting. Congratulations. I am really excited for you. You are getting your work out there and making it happen. Way to go, girl!

  7. Congratulations! Nice job – two books in one season! 2011 was the Fall for you! I tend to think my writing is crap until I’m far away from the story…and then I’m usually surprised when I like it! 🙂

  8. Congrats, Casey! I knew USI would sell, it’s so unusual. That’s what’s so great about the digital first presses — they can more easily take on books that cross traditional genre lines — which USI definitely does! And it just goes to show you that it pays (literally!) to write the story of your heart, rather than listening to that voice of “reason” in your head. We are all going to have an amazing 2012. I know it!

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