Friday, July 23, 2010

Welcome Luanna Nau

Thank you so much for having me visit today. And a special thanks to Janet for unselfishly giving up her spot to make room for me.

Ever since accepting the invitation to blog here, I've been wracking my brain for a topic. A new, fresh topic, done in a new, fresh way. Those seem to be watchwords lately in the publishing world, "new", "fresh", and the ever-popular "high concept". What these words mean in the real world, I have no clue.

So at the risk of writing "old", "stale" and "boring", I give you five things I've learned since I decided to be a writer.

1. The work doesn't end when you type "the end". First drafts are just that, drafts. Rough first run-throughs to get the story on paper (or screen). Then the hard work of revision, editing, and critiquing begins. And is repeated as needed, often ad nauseum. Even when you think you're done and your story is as perfect as it will ever be, some contest judge will point out that starting your story by describing a rain storm is a bit cliche. And that the story doesn't really get going until chapter two, so you should cut out chapter one, entirely. The same chapter one you spent hours polishing to perfection.

2. GMC is not a car company. Goal, Motivation and Conflict, as explained by Debra Dixon, is brilliant. As a concept. Putting it into action is hard. Goals are fairly easy, i.e. save the farm, catch the bad guy, prevent Armageddon. Conflicts are a bit more difficult, particularly since current wisdom dictates having conflict on every page. (Wait...what?) My poor "go along to get along" brain quails at the thought of making things nasty for my heroes. And finally, motivation, which requires digging deeply into character and back-story. For me this is like bamboo slivers under fingernails.

3. The rules of POV (point of view) are the few that absolutely, positively cannot be broken, lest you be accused of the dreaded head hopping. It seems that only Nora the Great is allowed to switch POV within a scene. The rest of us have to stay in one head for the entire scene, and some powers-that-be even suggest staying in one POV for the whole chapter! My very first critique session taught me about POV, a tough lesson.

4. You can't sell a story unless you put it out into the world to be laughed and sneered at. personal insecurity was showing. Hitting that "send" button is terrifying. And rarely do you sell on your first try. Or second. Or tenth. This is not a profession for the thin-skinned. Getting a rejection hurts and there's no way you can't take it personally. The urge to call up that silly editor and tell her why she's wrong may be all consuming, but it must be ignored. You don't want to piss off editors.

5. Selling a book to a publisher may feel like you've reached the pinnacle atop cloud nine, but its only half the journey. You still need to work with a professional editor, copy editor, cover designer, and marketing team. Lots of fun stuff. Oh, and you have to wait. Checking email every five minutes to see if your editor has sent another batch of edits is fine and dandy, but it won't get your next book written. And you do need to write a next book; otherwise you'll be a one-hit wonder. (Cue the laughing and sneering.)

There you go, a few of the nuggets I've learned along the way. No doubt there are a few mineshafts full of stuff I'll learn as I go along. In the meantime, my first book has just been released from The Wild Rose Press and I'd love it if you'd take a look, read the excerpt and admire the beautiful cover.

Lu's debut novel, Where There's Heat, was released Wed, July 21st by The Wild Rose Press. Check out the cover and read an excerpt here:

And check out Luanna's website here:


Liz Flaherty said...

Great post, and your book sounds great, too! Good luck on the merry-go-round of publishing.

Lu said...

Thank you, LIz!!! The merry-go-round certainly does make me dizzy at times. I suspect it's only partially influenced by my blonde-ness, hehe.

Now I'm off to tackle my long list of errands, including shopping for son #1's first dorm room. I'll check in again soon, I hope .

Janet said...

Hey, Lu - you beat me to it this morning!

A gigantic welcome to The Prairies - and big congrats on the release of you first of many novels. I'm so glad you joined us today!

Your lessons are ones all of us are learning along the way - but the first one resonated the most for me. Especially the 'ad nauseum' part of revisions!

Looking forward to a great day - oh, and have fun shopping :)

Karyn Good said...

Warm welcome, Lu. Congrats on Where There's Heat! I can't wait to read it.

Thanks for the nuggets! And good luck with that second book.

Nina Pierce said...

Lu - Mega congrats on the book release. I know this is only the first of many.

I've got another one for your list ... promo! I'm not sure if authors realize how much "pounding the pavement" they're going to be doing once their baby goes out into the world.

But it's all a fun ride none the less.

Helena said...

Welcome to the Prairie, Lu! And congratulations on the publication of your first book. May your words of wisdom and your presence on our blog inspire us to greater effort, so that one day ...

I have a busy day ahead of me, but I love the small peek at your cover, and I will look for a few minutes when I can sit down and savour your excerpt and explore your website.

Good luck with all that comes next!

Jana Richards said...

Hi Lu,
Welcome to the Prairies! I just read your blurb and excerpt and I want to know, what's Darren's problem!! He's being so mean to poor Angie, and I like her already. Sounds like a great read. Good luck with it.

I concur on your list and with Nina's advice about promotion. It never ends.

Thanks for joining us.


Alannah Lynne said...

Good afternoon!! Popping by to show some love! So far, I've cleaned the porch, fixed breakfast and lunch, and started laundry (I guess everyone in this house is on vacation but me).

NOW....I'm off to lie on the couch with my e-reader. I can't wait to read the final version of Where There's Heat.

Have a great day!!

Susan Vaughan said...

Great post, Luanna. You've learned the so important stuff it took me years to learn.
Can't wait to read your book.

Silver James said...

Big Congrats on the release, Lu! Welcome to the Prairies and to Wild Rose. Hang on tight, the rollercoaster only gets faster and crazier from here!

Those are great lessons but I have to admit, I really want to be LaNora when I'm a "grownup" writer. Head-hopping makes me a happy camper. Just sayin'...

Lu said...

Hi Janet! Thanks for the invite. You certainly have a lovely spot here on the Canadian prairies.

Yes, nauseating revisions. And maybe that's why I occasionally think my writing is drek. After reading the same sentences 20 times, I'm so sick of it I figure everyone else will be sick of it too!

Shopping - fun?? Not for me, I'm afraid. That's why I'm still wearing clothes from 10 years ago, LOL!! We did get his bedding and storage sorted, so that's one thing we can cross off the list. The looooong list.

Lu said...

Thank you, Karyn.

I'm getting a strong feeling that the second book will be waiting until after Nationals. I really need to learn to not leave packing to the last minute.

Lu said...

Hi Nina!!!! {{{hugs}}} Thanks for stopping by. And thank you for that killer blog party. Dang, we ran those cabana boys off their feet!

Promo - ugh. Are we even sure if some of it works? Guest blogging is fun, and handing out pretty postcards to the waitress is a hoot, LOL. But if pounding the blogosphere takes up too much time, the writing will suffer. I declare that when I become "that famous" I'll be getting an assistant, hehe.

Lu said...

Thank you, Helena!

I know I've learned a ton from the experience of others, so I hope I can pay it forward just a smidge.

Lu said...

Thank you, Jana!

Darren is being a bit of a jerk, isn't he? LOL Not to worry, Angie turns the tables.

Lu said...

Hi Alannah!!! *smooches* Gosh, I hope you get some relaxation time today. LOL, kind of sounds like my day. Do Mom's ever get a vacation??

Lu said...

Hi Susan!! Sheesh, I feel like I've barely scratched the surface of what I need to know in this business. I must say it's been a barrel of fun, so far.

Lu said...

Thank you, Silver!! Being an Honorary Chick is a thrill, let me tell you.

I agree about the head-hopping. I think it's totally unfair that only a select few get to play with such a fun toy. You can be sure when I become "that famous"...

Pam Champagne said...

Very well said Lu! Welcome to the real world of publishing. Writing the story is the easy, fun part!

Mary Ricksen said...

I so agree with everything you said!
How true.
Good luck with your book.
I have said that so many times. Please don't let me be a one hit wonder!

Carly Carson said...

I forgot to say it yesterday (yes I guess I'm stalking you). I love your cover. It's very appealing. Oh, dorm rooms, I've been working on that myself. I think it's kind of fun as long as you don't think about the money.

Julia Smith said...

'Only she could spend five thousand dollars to get rejected.'

*high five*

That line is awesome.

Lu said...

Hi Pam, thanks for stopping by!

Hehe, this publishing stuff almost takes the fun out of writing, eh? Almost...I'm still having a blast!

Lu said...

Hi Mary, thank you!

My personal nightmare is never selling another story. Second only to getting scathing reviews. Hopefully I can put that angst into my writing.

Lu said...

Hi Carly, thank you! The cover is very pretty, isn't it? I have Nicola Martinez to thank.

Dorm shopping. Um...yeah...the check-out receipt was adding up way too fast for my liking. Thank goodness for Target!

Lu said...

Thank you, Julia!!

Mimi Barbour said...

Another rose from the garden here...I loved your cover and the book's name is great also. I agreed with all five of your points and with Nina's comment about Promotion. It's a biggie once the editing is done and the final galley is in.
But...would you want to do anything else? Not me...we put up with the long, long, longgg hours, hard work and stressing, because holding that blasted book with our name on the cover seems to make it all worth while.

Colleen MacLeod said...

Lu, thanks for doing more in one blog post to get me past my plotting hurdles than any number of workshops or books could do:

"conflict on every page. (Wait...what?) My poor "go along to get along" brain quails at the thought of making things nasty for my heroes. "

Oh hell yeah. I don't want conflict, so why should anyone else?

Thanks for helping with that little epiphany.

Anita Mae Draper said...

Great post, Lu. I can relate to the contest judges. Or should I say, I can relate to all of it, but especially the contest judges. LOL

Thanks for being blogging with us.


Lu said...

Hi, Mimi! Thank you for stopping by.

I was so pleased I got to keep my title, and isn't the cover pretty? I can honestly say I have yet to see a WRP cover I don't like.

You're right - I wouldn't give this up for anything!

Lu said...

Hi Colleen! Conflict is my biggest buggaboo. I'm just too darn nice! I have to dig real deep to find my inner b***h, and even then I second guess myself.

I remind myself that even though I'm making things crappy for my characters, I'll be giving them their HEA. I"ll make all the pain and heartache worth it.

Good luck with torturing your characters!

Lu said...

Hi Anita! Ugh, some contest judges obviously got up on the wrong side of the bed, LOL. I'm just finishing up judging contest entries, and I'm making sure I say several nice things about the writing, or the story. I know what it's like to be on the receiving end of punishing scores. I don't want to make anyone consider giving up.

Janet said...

Just wanted to thank Lu for blogging with us - what a great turn out! And here's to many sales of your debut novel Where There's Heat!

Caroline Clemmons said...

Luanna, What a great post! Very succintly written list of pitfalls and perils. Best of luck with your book!