I’ve got a question

Do you have an answer?

No, that wasn’t really my question. As I research literary agents I find myself asking:

Simultaneous submissions, allowed or not?

I read one book which send to send out in batches of 5 but a lot of places still say ‘no simultaneous subs’. What’s acceptable these days?

Querying multiple agents makes sense for the author bit I understand agents wanting am exclusive look too.


Nothing, Everything, Nothing – Update

I finished my novella at just under 40k and sent it off to a close friend for a good read through. I was so pleased with the response that I have to share it here:

Dearest Casia, I have read this now 3 times and am having a terrible time editing it … to be honest having suffered from depression for a great deal of my life I didn’t feel that the severity of the angst of a teen confronting this illness was adequately relayed. I had to put it down and really lay aside my own experiences and reread it coming form the prospective of a teenage girl living in the time of Facebook. I am always astonished by your writing, the characters are really engaging, the conversations so real sometimes I forget we are in a book going somewhere. I find myself wanting to get to know more about who mom, or Marlee are as individuals, sometimes even more than I am about where the story itself is going. If that says anything at all it is that you need to be writing novels. you need a much broader canvas. In the end however it feels like an outline, like there is a deeper darker story here, as a reader I felt denied. As a friend I can tell you this is the hardest topic to write about, I have not succeeded. I think that takes a courage and vulnerability I am not graced with. After reading your story I found myself incredibly upset over Rehtaeh Parsons and Megan Meier (again) and outraged at the number of similar stories. This is why its important to write about. Spell and gram check says its okay… you seriously don’t want me checking that

As you can see, not exactly a glowing “Go publish that puppy” sort of review, but it may be the most helpful set of comments I’ve ever received. Taking the first comment to heart, I was worried that the experiences, and there for the depth of the suffering, of the main character were rushed. That ties in to the next critical comment – that it felt like an outline and that it should be longer.
Well, there’s something I can do about that and I’ve spent days contemplating and outlining and I think I have a better grasp of the story now. I’m not yet ready to edit it, there is more I want to consider and work through before I tackle the story itself, mainly the bulimic best-friend sub-plot, but I feel confident that the story is now headed in the right direction.

As for the comment that there is “a deeper darker story here”, I think there is too, but I was afraid to write it. I was afraid of scaring off the reader. But if pussy-footing around the hard truth of this character’s experiences is going to leave the reader feeling denied, then I’m going to have to face the darkness and write what needs to be written.

There is a quote for writers, something about “killing your darlings”, which means not being afraid to cut out your favourite scenes, lines, or even characters, if they serve no purpose in the story. There will be some of that when I edit, I’m sure. But I think most of what I have is salvageable for the rewrite.

I’m glad I took the time to get a second opinion before releasing the novella (which may really turn out to be a full 60-80k novel) to the public. I don’t think I would have been happy with it, or its reception. Now I have the chance to make it what it can be, what it should be, and what I am capable of allowing it to be.

One of Those Days

It’s 4:10 in the afternoon and my husband will be home in less than an hour. I can’t wait. I just want to turn off for the rest of the day.

You’ve had those days too, right? The kind of day where nothing works out, nothing goes the way you planned, and you just hate everyone you cross paths with? That’s the kind of day I’ve had.

I thought it was going to be a good day. My daughter slept in, which almost never happens. We got ready quickly because my son had a doctor’s appointment. Right on time the kids were getting into shoes and then it all goes downhill.

My keys aren’t on the hook. They must be in the pockets of the pants my husband wore to work because I can’t find them anywhere.

I call my gramma, maybe she can come by and I can borrow her car. While she goes to double check plans with my grandpa I keep searching and come up with a spare key. I call her back and then off we go – now 15 minutes late.

I take what is supposed to be a nice, direct route into the city – and get stopped by construction. Not delayed. Not slowed down. STOPPED. FOR 20 MINUTES.

I’m screaming and banging the wheel and generally not coping well as the minutes tick away. I finally get out of my car walk the length of the line up and ask how long we’re going to be stuck there. As the Pilot car is ready to lead us off. Great. Now I have to run back, in a skirt and flip flops. Fun.

Now it is 10:40 and I was supposed to be in the doctor’s office by 10:30. And we finally start moving.

The car in front of me won’t do the speed limit and follows four car lengths behind the vehicle in front of them so every car turning onto the road gets to be in front of me.

Two turns before the doctor’s office my signal lights stop working.

I get to the doctor’s office but now have to wait because I’ve missed my appointment time. My daughter peed her pants in the car because we were stuck in traffic and my son wet himself in the waiting room AFTER I asked if he had to pee.

After the appointment my car wouldn’t start. Luckily I knew what the problem was (a loose fuse) and how to fix it. We went on to the restaurant where I might be meeting my sister-in-law for lunch – only I don’t have a cellphone and there’s no wifi at the restaurant so I can’t check my tablet to see if she replied to my earlier message on Facebook. So I spend $2 on the payphone to leave a message on her cell.

Lunch went well, but I skipped breakfast and gorged myself on lunch so I was nauseous all the way to my sister’s house. I grabbed some camping gear I had in storage there and we went home.

Oh, and my lunch date didn’t show and when I got home I found the message “We’ll be out and about, don’t know if we’ll make it.” I hate not having a cell phone. I don’t use it often but when I need it I NEED IT BADLY.

The kids went to the bathroom then down for a nap while I did my social media stuff. I tried writing but I’m just not in the right head space. I’m supposed to make stir-fry for supper but we’re having pizza because I just can’t muster up the energy to go chop veggies.

Now WordPress keeps telling me I have a new comment when I don’t, I’ve already read it three times, but it keeps showing up orange. Great.

It’s one of those days.
I hope your day was better.

The Elusive Title

EDIT: Thank-you everyone for your votes. The title will be Nothing, Everything, Nothing.

As I have mentioned before, I am writing a teen/YA drama dealing with depression and suicide and the general nastiness of teenagers. Unfortunately I’m beginning to doubt the title I first chose. So, I’ve done a little brainstorming and have come up with a list of possible titles.

If you don’t like any please comment as to why. If you have a different suggestion I’d love to hear it.

Here’s the book blurb:

Self-conscious Marlee craves the attention and approval of her peers. When the boy of her dreams asks her out all her desires are handed to her. She starts stepping further outside her comfort zone to keep her grasp on the popularity that has befallen her. But is she really on the fast track up the social ladder? Or is she about to find her life out of her control?

Casia Schreyer – Author; Facebook Page

Casia Schreyer – Author; Facebook Page

While most of my long updates wind up here on the blog, among the rants and articles on the craft of writing, I also keep a Facebook page where I offer smaller updates more often. I also link to interesting memes and articles, and pages and blogs of other writers.