the journey from writing a novel to ... what were we talking about again?

Month: February 2011 (page 1 of 2)

How to Deal with Bad News…

Sometimes, in the publishing world, you get bad news. Awful news. Devastating news. And sometimes you get lovely news. And fantastic news. And heart-stopping, dream-making news.

But today we talk about how to deal with bad news.

Bad news #1: Your manuscript was rejected.

If this is the first rejection, it will be the hardest. You will anxiously open your email, tell everyone who is around you to shut up and you will read. And then your heart stops. And then you frown.  And then you get mad. Real mad. Who do you think you are? You can’t reject me! I’m brilliant! What is wrong with you? And you will debate emailing them back and asking them if they still do their mother’s laundry. Don’t.

How to deal?  Cry. You’re allowed. Eat chocolate. Have red wine and popcorn for supper. Throw something and think irrational thoughts. And then get over it. Because no one likes hanging around a self-pitier. Your book was rejected, your father did not just die. Get perspective. There are two reasons why you were rejected: 1) your book sucks or 2) you haven’t made the connection yet.

Be patient.

Bad News #2:  The editors removed a rather large chunk of what you wrote, because they don’t like it.

How to deal?  Cry. You’re allowed. Eat chocolate. Have red wine and popcorn for supper. Throw something and think irrational thoughts. And then get over it. Time to look at two options. 1) argue with your editor or 2)allow the changes

Arguing with your editor can be good or it can be bad. Try not to use any bad words or criticisms. Editors are terribly smart and there is a reason why they have the job they do. They also have the power to make you look good or bad. Editors talk. If you are a bad person they don’t like talking to, it’ll get around.  Ask your editor why? If it is terribly pertinent to the story, explain. If they are firm, how can you be changed? Or, when it happens to me, I think about it, pray about it and ask God to either change them, or me.

Bad News #3:  Your book isn’t coming out on the release date.

How to deal? sigh and get over it. You can’t change that. No matter what. Get focused on the next project.

So:  today I got to edit some stuff I didn’t really want to, but I think with some super creative ideas, I can make it rock even more so.

And my second book won’t be out until October. Instead of August.


Watching: Glee

Reading: Bourne Identity

Eating: cheeseburgers

Things that make me happy…

You know those grouchy days? They just kind of sneak up on you. I was doing fine (actually I was freaking exhausted because my husband encouraged me to do Crossfit today, doing the five/ten/fifteens and I almost DIED) and when we came home I tried napping, but I couldn’t (what is up with that???) and now I’m in bed drinking water because it’s healthy and I have a grouch on.

So, I’m going to make a happy list.

1) the boys

2) good music

3) starbucks

4) Glee

5) a good book. have just finished two and was rather disappointed. 🙁 and no, I’m not saying what they are.

6) snow

7) hot sun

8) the garden

9) creating in the kitchen

10) snuggling

11) daydreaming

12)  um…

Eating: water

Watching: Glee. Am now an addict

Reading: The Bourne Identity.

Writing Outlines…

Just because I have a book published and another on its way, doesn’t mean I have all the answers. Actually, it doesn’t mean I have any answers.

People can ask me if their writing is good and I don’t have answer. I can tell them if I like it, but I can’t tell them if anyone else will like it, or even if it’s good enough to be published. Because I have no idea. Really.

So now that I’ve changed genres (children’s fiction to adult) I can’t write the same.  I used to be able to put on some funky jazz, grab a chai latte and write. Be as ridiculous as possible without overdoing it and tie it together. That’s easy. Granted, I’d have issues with tying it together (ie: I have no plot), but that’s it.  Now? Oof.

But I was glancing through my facebook and happened upon a ‘facebook friend’, whose status said she was working on a chapter outline.

Of course!!! Why didn’t I think of that?

I know exactly what I want the book to be about, I know what steps will progress, what will happen to whom… but an outline! Brilliant!

So I jotted down the basic outline, chapter by chapter (with sub-chapters to be added later … maybe) and now it all makes sense! So now I can just pick my ‘sentence’ and write with it, beginning and ending that chapter so that each chapter achieves my little goal set for it.


Why didn’t anyone ever tell me about this???? I’ve always just … written the darn thing, from front to back. Huh.

Listening to: the dishwasher

Drinking: water. I’ve already had two teas. Actually, I’ve had one and a half. I put it down somewhere and I can’t find… oh there it is! But it’s way over there. And I’m tucked in. I’ll just drink my water.

Watching: am hoping to watch the first season of Glee.

Eating: am hoping to mowing on some chow mein from the Golden Palace tonight



I don’t think I blogged about Toronto, did I? Hmm, hmmm. Ok.

So after meeting the brilliant Melissa of HCC, we went to three Chapters’ stores and I signed stock. Then she showed me how to catch a cab (not as easy as you think) and I spent half an hour in the back of a cab driving down Young. Or maybe it was Bay. I have no idea. And he dropped me off, safe and sound. So then I went to the ‘Library’ pub and had a cobb salad which was amazing and read December’s Vanity Fair with Johnny Depp on the cover? Crazy article about Randy Quaid in there if you’re interested. Then I fell asleep watching ‘Best in Show’ which is definitely one of my all-time favourites.  Then I woke up at 6 and had a bubble bath (they have deep tubs at the Royal York!) and then went to the Metro Convention Centre. There I had a breakfast thingy and met: Lesley Livingston (of Wondrous Strange), Vicki Grant (of Not Suitable for Family Viewing), Tish Cohen (of Truth About Delilah Blue), Dan Vyleta (of the Quiet Man), and Rachna Gilmore (of The Trouble with Dilly).  It was super cool. (And I got free books!!) And then I went up to the HarperCollins table and signed EIGHTY books! I met all kinds of people. Some were super friendly and would love to have hot chocolate with them and some were like, ‘just give me the book’. Then I got to walk around and I met other people and then I left.  

The train ride home was very packed and I was very lucky to be sitting next to someone who wasn’t a seat hogger and didn’t smell bad. He was a very nice lawyer type smart guy and we talked about music and books. But it was interesting because we didn’t really have the same tastes. But it just goes to show you that you can still meet interesting people. I mean, he let me listen to his ipod for goodness sakes and he did have some pretty good music on there that I will have to check out. The only one coming to mind at the moment is Jeff Buckley. Who is of course, fabulous, but he’s not Leonard Cohen (sorry Ron!)

Then the boys picked me up at the train station (sadly, my little one had a fever of 102.5) and hugged me. I found out that the gaffer had come home from school on Thursday, played outside with Daddy then came into the house and promptly started crying. When asked what was wrong, he tearfully cried out: I miss Mommy! She’s supposed to be in the kitchen making supper!

I’m so proud.

Ok, so I have all of these books, plus another one from Lee Strobel called ‘The Ambition’  and I just received Catherine McKenzie’s ‘Arranged‘.

Wait. I have 7 books to read and a book to write.

Uh oh.

Reading: The Girl Who Could Fly

Watching: Fifth Element

Drinking: some kind of chai tea. I ran out of syrup.

Did You See?

The Ottawa Citizen was kind enough to mention my book. And they mentioned it well!

Jackson Jones: The tale of a boy, an elf and a very stinky fish

By Jenn Kelly, illustrated by Arian Elsammak

Zonderkidz, $14.99


Jackson, a 10½-year-old boy who should be in Grade 5 but instead is in Grade 6, feels small and friendless at his new school and is intent on writing fabulous stories in which he is the hero. But, to his dismay, nothing interesting ever happens to him — until he falls into his very short Great-Aunt Harriett’s “very, very, very, very, very, very, very thick hair” where elf Meeka holds hourly tours accompanied by a smelly fish. Meeka takes him to a magical bookstore and an equally exotic cafeteria, then they encounter Meeka’s huntress sister, who protects birds from bubble-gum chewing critters called crubbies. In a series of further adventures reminiscent of Alice Though the Looking Glass, Jackson learns some life lessons, finds he is no longer friendless and performs a heroic, life-saving deed. The story also has a spiritual edge to it, leavened with mystery, humour and adventure. The book is broken into amusingly-titled chapters (i. e. “No longer the First Chapter;” “A Very Hairy Chapter,” and “In Which This Book Really Begins”). It is not a picture book, though there are apt illustrations.

Kirstin Endemann

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