Wednesday, May 2, 2012

SECRETS I'VE LEARNED


My guest is romance author, Houston A.W Knight, aka, Hawk. Many may know her from her blog and also know she’s been deep in her writers cave the past few months.
Aspiring authors work hard to get their work published. Sometimes it feels like pushing a stone up a mountain. There is just so much to learn and apply.
Most writers I know are professionals with successful careers. These writers have worked hard for the measure of success they have.
Breaking into fiction writing, however, levels the playing field because they’re starting out entry level and dealing with rejections. A place many haven’t been in years. Oh, and let’s not forget most these writers are doing this while juggling life, family, jobs, and trying to carve out time to write. To follow a dream and build a writing career. 
I love hearing success stories. When any of my friends get THE CALL, I’m thrilled for them.  I know how hard they’ve been working for this day, this call. 
When I received a giddy call from Hawk (yes you were keyed up and giddy, my friend), I was so excited.  I asked her to please take the time away from her deadlines and talk about her journey to publication and what she learned along the way.



To be Published Or Not To Be Published, that is the question. To which I answered, I wanna be published!!!
And I have. 
First, let me reassure Sia, that my dog still has his hearing and no windows were broken in my house. Yep, she asked me that. I think she was a wee bit disappointed to hear I was very calm and business like when I received the call from the publisher. I wanted deadline details and release dates. Once it sank it I was excited and shared my news with friends. 
I know the frustrations, and doubts we struggling writers go through. I want to share what secrets I discovered to make my dream come true. 
I joined a writers’ chapter and learned a lot of basic things. The 'helpful' information given by the 'Pros' sounded good, but didn't really help. I wondered what secret information they were all dancing around and why they just didn't come out and tell me what I needed to know to get the job done. Being an Irish lass, I had to uncover their secrets. 
  • First secret: I'm sure you all have heard it; Show Don't Tell.  
We all know that means showing how the hero walked into the room instead of telling the reader he walked in. But more importantly is picking the right things to SHOW. How do you know what to pick? You’re writing a romance, go for showing the deep POV of the Character (show their emotions) with a few details of the surroundings. What the Pro’s don’t tell you is YOU HAVE TO BALANCE THAT SHOWING WITH "TELLING" ~ so the rule 'show don't tell' didn't work for me because if you study published authors…they "show AND tell." 
  • Second secret: They'll say, be sure to give the GMC (Goals, Motivations and Conflict). 
What they don't tell you is that you have to put that in the very first paragraph if you want a publisher to look at your work. Actually, your first three lines of your opening paragraph should be the heroines full name, her profession and her GMC and the forth line should be a hook. Pick up a book by a new author and check the opening paragraph and you’ll see just often this is true with new authors. Those already published will break this rule, but you're not published…yet  :-) you've got to play by the rules…for now!
 
  • Secret three: What in the heck did they mean, "Focus on the romance." 
I’ll bet most of you said what I did ~ Well duh, I'm writing a romance…but what did they really mean? 
If you want to sell a book…every two or three lines should have an emotion. That's what they're not telling you. Go to your favorite author…don't read the book, read the lines and mark the emotions and see just how often she slipped in an emotion you weren't even aware of reading. SURPRISE!
 
  • Secret Four: Giving the details. 
When they say give details, what they don't tell you is, we don't care if Tom passed the salt to Mary. What we are interested in is that as Tom passed the salt to Mary his heart was breaking because he couldn’t bring himself to confess his love for her. Now THAT'S a detail we care about. 
There are a lot of secret shadings in the advice writers are given. Advice that appears helpful but if you don't delve deeper…you'll spend years trying to understand what they want. 
Another key to getting published it watching what's going on around you in the business. There will come a time when you'll have to decide your options. Do you keep writing what you love knowing it won't sell or change and write what sells? I'm not saying chase the market…I'm saying study what's happening in the market. Know what’s selling and what’s not. Then be willing to change Genre. 
There was a time in my life when I was about to give up. We all hit those days. DON'T GIVE UP. I'm telling you right now…it won't work, you'll be like a druggy sneaking off to write a story and you'll tell yourself you're not really writing, you are…so, forget about it…you're a writer and accept you'll have those days. KEEP GOING!! Hanging in there is your only chance at getting your foot in the door. I don't care if you're hanging on by your last fingernail…HANG IN THERE…you can make this happen. 

45 comments:

welcome to my world of poetry said...

An excellent post. Most interesting to read.

Yvonne.

DonnaGalanti said...

Sia, "secret shadings in the advice" - love this and how true! Yes, once you figure out the shadings and then apply the craft, then you can figure out how to break those rules.

For romance, another piece of the puzzle I recently learned is that I need to figure out what is it that my heroine (or hero) needs and what does her hero have to fulfill that need and how can I show and not tell? ie. She seeks calm from the chaos and she notices he folds his socks. ie. She desperately wants kids and she finds out he saved a box of his childhood toys 'just in case' for his child someday.

Nice post! So much to learn..guess we have years to do it. LOL.

Judi Fennell said...

Hawk!!!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!! So thrilled for you!

Tracy Jo said...

Great advice! Thank you for sharing, Hawk and thank you for a wonderful guest, Sia!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Hawk me darlin', Congratulations! And I'm looking forward to having you back with your first in the series book.

I don't know what happened to my first comment. Seems to have disappeared.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Donna, it's all in figuring it all out. Puzzle pieces. I have a box full, lol!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Hawk will be stopping by in a bit. She's balls to the wall on a deadline.

I'll be out for the morning but will be stopping by your blogs this afternoon.

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Yes, I'm here...I'm sorry for making you all wait! As me dear Sia said...I've got me balls to the wall for a Monday deadline.

Thank you all for the congrats! It's been a long hard road but well worth the walk...

Yvonne, glad you enjoyed the post.

Donna, I'm hoping to write a craft book about all the secrets I've uncovered so those following won't have to spend as many years as I did digging them up.

JUDI!!! Big Hugs darlin! Thank you!!!

Tracy Jo, You're so very welcome...if Sia would have let me talk longer (for Pete's sake she knows I'm Irish!!! Hint Hint!!!!) I would have given you all the secrets...they're so easy and they're right there for us unpub's to see...but we don't have the sight to see 'em...unless we're really looking (hard) LOL

Sia sweetie, thank you for making my special announcement and doing such a beautiful post...you're the best.

Again, I thank you all for the congrats!

Hawk (Houston A.W. Knight)

Clarissa Draper said...

Great post! The secrets are wonderful. The first one applies to my genre especially. I'm all for showing.

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Clarissa!

I'm glad you found them helpful...I believe finding them and using them is what got me published. Maybe if Sia's nice to me (LOL) I'll come back again to visit and tell you the rest of the secrets!

(Cough, cough...now if I can only get a refill on this coffee.)

Hugs
Hawk

Johnny D. said...

So happy for you!

Houston A.W. Knight said...

My Sweet Johnny D!

Thanks for coming by...it means so much to me that you did. I have missed you and I'm happy to have been able to share my good news this way with you...Sia knows how to put on a big coffee time chat, yet keep it warm!

'psss, another secret...Sia's a sweetheart, but don't tell her I said that...she'll hold it over me forever.'


Big hugs JD
Hawk

becca said...

OMG Hawk how wonderful "tackle Hugs" so excited for you

xoxo

James Rafferty said...

Hawk, congratulations! You've worked hard for this. Thanks for the tips and encouragement for those of us who are still pushing to get our books published.

Houston A.W. Knight said...

becca!!

'tackle hugs' back! Thank you darlin'!

Hawk

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Hi James!

Thank you for the Congrats! Yes, I think every writer has this drive in their blood to get it out there...and like Hollywood...you've just got to hang in until it happens...as well, like I said, sometimes you'll have to think about writing something else (in another Genre) to break down the door then move from that back into your love genre.
I made that move and I don't regret it at all...lol, I've discovered a new me!

Keep writing!
Hawk

Jo said...

I'm not a writer (other than a blog) but I think 'hang in there' is good advice to anyone wanting to achieve something. Glad you achieved publication and hope everyone else will achieve their goals.

Sweet Vernal Zephyr said...

MWAHHH!

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Hi Jo!

You're right, I have used this 'hang in there' kind of thinking all my life and it's gotten me to where I want to be...it isn't always easy to do, but if you surround yourself with loved ones they always pick you up when you're just about ready to say 'I'm done' they love you enough to say 'You're not going to quit.' they push you when you need that kick to keep going...life is a big mountain we all have to climb...it's just easier when you're not hiking up it alone.

Thank you for your kind words, Jo. And I'm sure all those wonderful writers out there will keep writing and submitting just like I did... until they are published...it's the only way to get there....set your goal and then go for it.

Hawk

Houston A.W. Knight said...

SWEET!!!!

Honey, I've missed you! MWAHHH back at you!

Thanks for coming by!
Hugs big time!
Hawk

Johnny D. said...

Hawk, you're just too kind to old Johnny. But I sure do appreciate it!

So, can you tell us who you signed with?

elaing8 said...

Coming by to say hi to Sia and Hawk.
Great post H.I'd never get published I am a rule breaker..lol.
You already know how excited I am for you.This is just the beginning.
hugs
Elaine

Ellen Brickley said...

Hawk this is the best news!! I'm so happy you got the call - this means I can read your book! I am so looking forward to reading your work with a big mug of Irish tea :D

HUGS.

Houston A.W. Knight said...

JD!

LOL 'old Johnny' don't think so...I see that picture with that beauty in your arms!

I'll answer your question soon! ;-)

Hugs young Johnny!!
Hawk

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Elaine!

It's about time you showed up!!!

Everyone...THIS IS ELAINE... This young lady CP's my books and making sure all my sentences make sense after an 18 hour day, and she sees my story line stays on track. This girl is good! Guess you can tell...I'd be lost without her.

Hugs darlin' thank you for stopping in when I know how busy I keep you!

xoxox
CYBER HUGS
Hawk
PS...you should be a writer! Yeah, you're that good! And I hear once you get published you can break all the rules...I'm soon to test those waters! Soooo get ready for the ride! ;-)

Houston A.W. Knight said...

OOOOH my sweet Irish lass!!! Ellen!

Honey, I have missed you!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Yes, I will be posting the release dates soon at my blog!

Hugs
Hawk

Betsy said...

Your blog looks SO fun! I'm glad we've found each other! I have a lot of Irish and Scottish blood in me! :)

M.V.Freeman said...

Ah Hawk,
I saw your news and wanted to cry for joy. Well deserved!

I am celebrating with you from afar--and I love the advice. :) So true!

This is only the beginning for you..and may the words always flow!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Betsy, Welcome! Thank you. I have to admit, I have a fondness in my heart for Celts!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Elaine, you're a saucy wench too. I agree with Hawk, I've seen some of your articles and reviews. I think you could easily be a writer but I'm thinking a voracious reader makes a great CP partner.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Hawk, me darlin', too late, since you're tellin' the world I'm a sweetheart and nice, I'm arming my arsenal as I write.

And yes, you will be back with more secrets and a bit later with all the deets and your first book in your series.

I'm proud of you!

Cecile Smutty Hussy said...

OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hawk! It is sooo good to see you out and about! And to see you at Sia's place is just the awesome sauce!

People let me tell you Hawk is amazing (and yes, Elaine is too, lol)

Hawk, you know this is only the beginning honey! I am so proud of you!!!!

Hugs to you all ~ Sia, Hawk & Elaine!

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Betsy...You couldn't find a more warmer Irish and Scottish welcome than here at Sia's Place...she's the best!

Glad you came today!
Hawk

Houston A.W. Knight said...

M.V.! Hey Darlin'

I still wear your beautiful and inspiring gift as my reminder to reach for my goal!

Thank you for your sweet words.

Big Hugs
Hawk

~Sia McKye~ said...

Cecile! Hugs right back at you! And thank you for the compliment on my place. It means a lot coming from you!

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Sia!

You know I adore you! Hard to hide that when you do such nice things for me like this beautiful post! You're the best me dear friend!

OH Me Lord...she arming the arsenal...every body run!!! You know how the Celtic girls are around weapons, their dangerous...RUN!!!

LOL...you couldn't keep me away, darlin'...not even with a full arsenal!

Cyber Hugs
Hawk

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Cecile! Young lady it's time you stand up and let everyone take notice, because you are like a sister to me...you have been here with me through most of this very long journey...a journey I could not have made without you there each step of the way...I owe it all to you.

YOU listen to me in good times and through the bad and made me see reason when all I saw was red. You gave that special push when I thought I couldn't do it any more...and you always told me I could - even when I thought I couldn't. You taught me how to stay focus on my goal just by being you.

Everyone...this is the other woman in my life that has helped me make my dreams come true by being a real friend...She has taught me all that I know about computer and blogs and life in general...this is a woman with a beautiful belief system...a woman I build all my heroines from...Please meet my dearest friend and sister of the heart CECILE!
Someone dear to me heart who has helped me build this dream.

Hugs my sweet and smutty Cecile!Thank you for dropping in today! xoxox
Hawk

~Sia McKye~ said...

Hawk, looks like we're stuck with each other, thank the good lord.

Seriously, it was my pleasure to have you here. I know how hard you worked for this--stilling working for it.

Folks, she's been visiting while juggling her massive word quota and deadlines. Now that's a professional.

Hawk, all of the sudden, I'm channeling Donna Summer--She works hard for the money...

Houston A.W. Knight said...

SIA!!!

I can't think of a better person to get stuck to! You're funny, sweet and have a little Celtic fire! My kind of girl! lol

Sia...you know I love coffee and I can't think of a better place to be sipping at it and enjoying each friend that stops by for a visit...than right here. I view is good, the company is better and the chat's are the best!

I've enjoyed you all who have come to see me and Sia today...oh, what...Sia...I'm hearing Donna Summer's too...time to get back to me cave me keys are getting cold!

I THANK EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU FOR SUCH A WONDERFUL DAY! and this is why I write.

Hugs
Hawk

Kat Sheridan said...

I'm late to the party but my congrats are no less sincere! And I need more details! What's the book and when's it coming out and tell me all about the call! Happy dancing for you!

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Kat!

Well big hugs darlin' it's been awhile since we last spoke! Good to see you! Glad you made it to the party and thank you for the congrats! (HUGS)
Oh...all those answers in good time...you know Sia...she loves to make us all wait! *Wink* she'll be having another post on all this soon!

The book is ...oh, I can't tell you Sia would put a Celtic curse on me for sure!

*Turns around to peek on her whereabouts. Spots Sia making coffee. Seams her lips*

Iamwritbokserisofsevenbokmshuerotminsmurmurotujulsix.;-)

Soon sweetie!
Hawk

farawayeyes said...

I love secrets and these are some good ones.

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Farawayeyes,

Thank you for coming by and visiting...and I'm glad you liked the secrets.

Hawk

Suzanne Jones said...

Terrific post. Thank you for sharing this great advice.

X

Oscar said...

Congratulations to Hawk! And on her article of secrets. Great advice - now all we have to do is follow it and keep them in mind.