Where Ladybugs Roar

Confessions and Passions of a Compulsive Writer

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Bean spilling and the unpublished

Okay, so my series of books called "the Company of Him" is going through the editing process. The books are all connected by this company they work for which is completely eccentric. I started writing the books for fun... and then as a challenge. I tried to give the main character flaws that would make them utterly human and interesting... or would make writing a first person narrative difficult.

For example, the book I just finished editing, Parallel Lives, is written with alternating male and female narrators. The female suffers from PTSD and the male (who works for the company) is the child of a famous con man. Late one night, the female sees someone in the building across the way murdered and her scream brings the male running from a different office. When he flips on the light, she decides the only way to save their tails is to enact a torrid love scene thus implying that was their reason for being in the building. It goes on from there as they're trying to figure out what happened across the way. I've just started editing the following one in the series which is about a children's book illustrator who has severe agoraphobia and can't leave her house and will only let a few people in... written entirely from her perspective. (It was a challenge to myself--narrating an entire story from one apartment.)

They all have weird little quirks that made them interesting and likable to me, but... will they ever be published? Possibly not. On the other hand... I love these characters. I love the stories. It seems sad to just leave them molding on my hard-drive. The plots of each of the stories are awesome too, but it feels weird to just yammer on and on about a book that you're writing if you're never intending to put it online. I don't want to share too much, but....

What do you do about an unpublished novel's plot and such if you're hoping to someday be published? Is it a bad thing to post plot lines or summaries or teasers? Would you ever consider putting a portion or all of a book online? What do you see as the "limits" of revealing yourself as a writer online?

In the end, I'm a storyteller, and I really, really like to tell stories. It feels strange and disatisfying to not post what I write online. It's been nice to print out review copies on Lulu to pass around to friends for proof-reading. That's helped with this weird feeling of being selfish and gollum-like. ( My precious story.... They wants it, but we keeps it for ourselves. Yes, my precious, we likes to type it and sit on it.)

Anyway, the thought of posting something online is scary, because you can never take it back, but... stories are meant to be shared.

Ugh. Is there some sort of industry opinion somewhere on what an unpublished writer should share regarding WIPs?

I'm so tired today. The plan was cleaning and laundry and six miles of my feet on the pavement. I just haven't slept enough, though. I'm so tired.


  1. Well from my understanding (that always sounds so pompous, like I'm the walrus from Alice in Wonderland) anyway, if you put it online, you've self-published. Do this only if you are ready to relinquish commercial publication.

    I just spent wayyy too long looking through Nathan Bransford's blog for his advice on this (he is full of fantastic advice) but I have to stop now. I know other agents talk about this too, maybe it was Janet Reid. In any case, if you must share, find more people to privately share with, or a password protected critique area (like the one in The Writer's Chronicle Forum), or else keep it shelved. One day you will publish whatever book you are meant to publish, THEN you will have this wonderful backlog of manuscripts to draw from and offer for publication. OR, post chapters now in weekly installments, but you will be giving your work to the world for free. It will have been "published" in the eyes of the New York houses that are probably your ultimate goal.

    It sounds like you have plenty of betas but if you ever want to show me chapters, email me :)

  2. Yay! I finally figured out why I couldn't post comments to your blog (or several others)!

    Now on to my comment:

    I can completely relate to your dilemma, Wendy. I want so much to share my WIP (even though it's not even finished yet). But I don't want to run the risk of doing anything that would be considered self-publishing. And I'm having difficulty finding people who will take the time to give me input on my work. They say they will but life gets busy and they seldom find the time. I need to get input from a writer's group but I live in a small town.

    It is hard when you have all these amazing stories (of course we think so, or we wouldn't be writing them) but there they sit.

  3. "My precious story.... They wants it, but we keeps it for ourselves. Yes, my precious, we likes to type it and sit on it."

    LMFAO! Oh that was hilarious! I feel the same way sometimes, so you're not alone! I'd say maybe just a snippet of a story? Like, a few paragraphs to intrigue your readers. Or maybe you could write a "back cover blurb" and post that?