Sunday, March 18, 2007

SOMETIMES THE BEST PLACE TO GO FORWARD IS BACKWARD

So there was this eel.
I wanted to take his picture and I got closer and closer.
The flash went off and suddenly he darted out.
I felt it was important to include both photos.
Before.
And after.
The dust you see is my fin kicking away.
You notice I still got a picture?
I never let a little thing like an attacking creature get in my way.

10:30 pm and 77 degrees.
Perseverance.
Stick-to-itiveness,
Tenacity.
Stubbornness.
When I think of what might be the biggest contributor to what has happened to me this year --
These are the words I think of.
I believe these are the qualities writers need in excess.
Pig headed blindness and tunnel vision.
That helps too.
In spite of rejections.
Ignoring nay-sayers.
Stumbling on no matter what.
Breath taking turn of phrase.
Sparkling description.
Inventive dialogue.
And focus so intense it appears to be a third person in the room. Leaning forward in their chair. Intent on every word.
Like with the eel. Even though you have to peddle backwards you still get your photo.
And that's really the thing, isn't it?
Able to always move forward OR backward.
So how about you?
What do you think the best quality a writer could have?

18 comments:

Kim Stagliano said...

How about the hard shell of a sea turtle for protection from the myriad rejections? Good morning, Orion!

Kimber An said...

A writer? Imagination!

A PUBLISHED writer? Perseverance.

By the way, Pat, I don't know if you went back to check Susan Grant's Cyber-Launch, but, uh, you were rescued from the green-goo alien by the Men In Black!

Maprilynne said...

I think it is a combination of two things. Knowing when to ignore criticism and just stick to it anyway, and knowing when to accept criticism and take a good hard look at your book.

It's such a fine balance sometimes.

Go Pat!

ORION said...

Oh I like the sea turtle reference. Yanno I almost used another of my turtle photos...hmmm
Yeah maprilynne - That is a conundrum.
When to listen and when to ignore.

Demon Hunter said...

Writers need as many adjectives as they can hold! We need it all! Imagination, wit, a sense of humor, a sense of ability, perseverance, love of writing, etc. We simply require it.

Heidi the Hick said...

All I can say right now is...

THANK YOU.

I really needed this meditation on stubborn tenacity today!

Therese said...

All those things, and humility. There will always be someone (or many someones) better, more successful, more popular, better read, etc., than oneself.

Holly Kennedy said...

I'm checking in late here (still in my pyjamas, even though it's 6:30 pm; espresso in hand, pizza in the oven for the kids, getting amped up for another long night)

I love the word "stick-to-itiveness"! Pig headed sang to me, too, though!

But I also agree with Therese 100%
Humility is essential in this business. There are so many fine, talented writers out there. I feel fortunate to be where I am, and very very thankful...

Anonymous said...

Pat, if you don't mind, how many rejections did you get? At both the agency and publisher level? I'd really like to know. How bad was the hailstorm? Or did you coast in?

ORION said...

Over three years and three different projects I have a total of between 60 and 70 rejections. I could tell right away something was different with Lottery. I got a request for a full on my very first submission. Even with that project I got rejections but had more requests for partials and fulls than for my other projects.
When I look at my original queries I cringe. To me they look pathetically amateurish.
The total count of rejections includes "no responses" and re-querying the same agent for different projects.

ORION said...

Lottery was submitted (on a tuesday) to 16 publishers. Eight read right away and expressed extreme interest- I think maybe 5 others passed with regret- the rest passed over several days - some could not get in house support.
The auction was held the following week after I had a chance to talk to all the editors on the phone and get a sense of who they were and the ideas they had for Lottery.
The submission process for me was very painless and lasted only a week and a couple days.

Maprilynne said...

"The submission process for me was very painless and lasted only a week and a couple days."

Cheater!!!!!:) (No really, a BIG smile)

Can you tell I'm on day 13?

Seriously though, I couldn't be happier for you. I guess I'm just not the jealous type. I wish it were me too, but I don't wish it were me instead of you.:)

Maprilynne

Niteowl said...

I gotta agree with Maprilynne a million and three percent. That is a tricky balance. When are they giving insightful and helpful feedback? When are they just trying to bring ya down? Tricky, veeery tricky.

Kim Stagliano said...

Orion, that's like telling a pregnant woman, "The baby practically fell OUT of the womb and then I was playing tennis by noon! And my size 0 jeans were too loose when I got home." God love you - may we all channel your guardian Angel! Which is called "AN AMAZING, WELL CRAFTED, BEAUTIFUL STORY."

ORION said...

ha ha ha ha I LOVED that Kim!
OK I promise not to talk about getting an agent and selling Lottery if everyone else promises not to ask me!

OK I have to start working on my next blog now!
Be ready!

Kristy said...

Ah, but did you miss the part about "Over three years and three different projects I have a total of between 60 and 70 rejections," Kim?!" :-D Overnight successes are rarely, truly overnight. Rock on, Pat!

And the quality a writer needs most? Time management.

Maprilynne said...

Excellent point, Kristy. "Overnoight success" is rarely truly that.

We see the success, we don't see the three years of rejection on other books.

Pat has paid her due.:)

Oh, and I totally snorted at the pregnant woman comparison! At six months along now, the thought of size zero jeans (which I never could fit into anyway) seems as fantastical as my novel.:) Hehe!

Manic Mom said...

Wow. That is beautiful. I've gone by the mantra of TPT--Timing, Persistence, Talent... Oops, the Talent T is supposed to come before the Timing T.

You have a charmed life, I can tell, but a very-well deserved charmed life! : )