Posts Tagged ‘writing’

A Case for Fiction

November 17th, 2016 • by Karen A. Chase • 2 Comments
Fishing For Frogs, 1882. Oil on canvas painting by William Adolphe Bouguereau via Wikimedia Commons.

Togetherness. Fishing For Frogs, 1882. Oil on canvas painting by William Adolphe Bouguereau via Wikimedia Commons.

It has been difficult to know what to write here this last week or so, as an author, and regardless of political preferences. But one thing has been made abundantly clear to me.

We need more fiction.

Especially thoughtful, deep, well-researched and so-worth-pondering fiction. We need it more than ever for three reasons.

Escape. Sometimes the world seems topsy-turvy. Either we’re getting what we want, and no one else seems happy, or what we’ve lost makes us rethink everything we thought was true. Fiction can give us a break–a means to flee to another time in history, or to a utopian or more dystopian future. Inside of that “other” place we’re able to find something else.

Empathy. No matter when or where fiction is set, all great fiction is focused on the characters. Some we will love. Some, not so much. And yet all of them, if well-drawn, illustrate how humanity is complex. People are flawed. And yet, by seeing intimately into someone else’s life, even the worst antagonist might elicit compassion from us. Sometimes pity. Either way, the result is something greater.

Enlightenment. It sounds incongruent, but the goal of great fiction writers is to write the truth. The truth, however dark, beautiful, crushing, sad, joyful, odd, funny, or head-spinning. Do we weave in opinions? Of course, but how can we obtain enlightenment without them? It is only in the absence of listening to and attempting to understand a dissenting opinion that we recede into darkness.

So please, regardless of where you are these days, take a deep breath. Go to your favorite bookstore or library. Read fiction. Write fiction. And by all means, share fiction. Through a thoughtful exchange of words, perhaps we can all heal together.

Not sure where to begin? Pick a book, any book, from this list of Time Magazine’s Best 100 All-Time Novels on Goodreads.

Show Don’t Tell, Quebec

September 21st, 2016 • by Karen A. Chase • No Comments

There are dozens of blogs for writers on the importance of show, don’t tell. It’s the difference between stating your character “is happy,” and saying, “with each step her feet felt like dancing.”

Well, show-don’t-tell is also a handy thing for a writer to keep in mind while on vacation in a foreign place, so that the time away is either spent taking pictures or experiencing the journey without constantly popping online to write about it.

To that end, here are a handful of pictures from a recent excursion to Quebec, to bike (casually and with friends) the P’tit Train du Nord trail. It’s an affordable, relatively easy rail-to-trail, so even if you’re a novice you can do it. Over 3, 4 or 5 days the trip includes gorgeous B&Bs that serve both dinner and breakfast. Just remember the words of one of our favorite B&B owners, Guy, along the trail. “Take your time, it’s a holiday, not a job.”

Click on the below images for an enlarged slideshow…

 

Ending a literary agent relationship

August 11th, 2016 • by Karen A. Chase • 2 Comments

So, I have a confession. A few weeks ago my literary agent and I broke up. I’ve been quiet about it because it’s been so much to process, but it’s time to share so others can learn from my journey. My blog is often upbeat, so let’s have some fun with this sad story.

In the “we have to discuss our relationship” email, the agent admitted that in showing it to editors at publishing houses, she realized she didn’t have the resources (editor contacts/understanding of my readership) to sell my genre of book. She suggested I might consider finding a new agent.

Admittedly, my first reaction was…

What

How could this be after all our time editing, and talking about this book? Naturally, I asked myself, “Did I not ask the right questions about her specific contacts? Had I relied on her judgement over my knowledge of my readership?” Regardless, it became clear that we would only amass more rejections together.

I’m not going to lie. For about a week my mornings began like this:

crying

After this stage passed, reality set in. I had to find a new agent. That meant query letters. Submission guidelines. The possibility of more rejections.

My first morning at the laptop felt like this:

Stewart_paper

But then I read an article about aiming for 100 rejections. Could searching for an agent in a specialized and subjective industry be about odds? If I secured my first agent after only 8 rejections, then out of 100, I’d have options.

So for the last two weeks, this has been me nearly every day:

tomDivingIn

I’ve been combing PublishersMarketplace, literary agencies and primarily using an online agent-search resource called QueryTracker to sort out who I’ve queried, being careful that they represent my genre.

That’s not to say my book is a fit for everyone. So I’m also like this when I look at my inbox each day:

openingemail

I’ll keep you posted, but here are the stats so far: 50 queries sent. 7 rejections. 2 partial requests. 2 full manuscript requests.

I will go to the mattresses!

fight

And for all you agents out there with a manuscript wish list (#MSWL) that includes American Revolutionary historical fiction with more battles than bodice-ripping, and a reluctant, yet likable male protagonist like Jamie in Outlander?

I’ve only one word…

LucyHelp