The Nine Writing Circles of Hell: Part I

Oh yes. I’m using a Dungeons & Dragons reference in this one. If you don’t get it, you’re not as versed as I am in that age-old tabletop fun. I’ve made it into a three part series to ease of reading. I, myself, become a little ADD when the posts on a blog are long. Too many distractions on the internet. Let’s get this ball rolling, shall we?

A little bit of art I created for a T-shirt design, slightly modified.

A little bit of art I created for a T-shirt design, slightly modified.

The First Circle: Creating

This is the absolute first step to writing and while it may seem it should be on the ninth circle, it’s really the beginning of the adventure. In order for a book to get its first pages, the writer has to have some idea. Mine generally hit me in the shower or when I’m driving. Two places where scribbling it down is near impossible.

Thanks, muse.

If I’m lucky, I can keep the scene rolling in my head enough to dash out of the shower sopping wet and write it down in hieroglyphics. Hopefully I remember what those keywords mean later.

Stupid day job. Hmph.

Once the idea sparks, I can fight my way through making a general plotline. Being a panster, a detailed one just gets laughed at by my muse. Sometimes a book starts out because I’ve written a book blurb or came up with a catchy title. That’s how I start my road to publishing.

The Second Circle: Rejection

Now that I’ve polished the turd into a golden nugget, I send it off to the publishing house of my choice. It’s a mean little circle of Hell, the second ring. Like creating the novel wasn’t bad enough now you got to wait to see if it’s good enough. Then that horrid email comes through–REJECTED! It’s like a knife in the author’s heart as they clutch their bleeding baby to their breast, telling the story it’s going to be alright.

Though I’ve enjoyed success, I still get rejected. It happens. More importantly, I look to figure out why they didn’t want it. Sometimes it’s plain as day  (the publisher will tell you), other times it’s a head-scratcher (form  rejection). Either way, get the wailing out of the way and fix that shit. Contracts aren’t rainbows and unicorns falling from the sky. You have to devote your time, blood, sweat, and first born to it all. A rejection is just a sign that you’ve only touched the surface of the publishing world. Scary, isn’t it?

The Third Circle: Revise and Resubmit

Oh! This could be the golden nugget you’ve been dreaming of! They liked it but it has some areas that need a sand grinder applied liberally. Again, fix that shit. This doesn’t guarantee that they’ll take it afterwards, but it’s a good sign that they will. Also, no pouting that they want your favorite little arc, that really has nothing to do with the story, cut out. If you have a problem with that, I’m going to have some very bad news for you in the next segment.

Have you made it through these three level of writing hell yet? No? Well, giving up isn’t an option and neither is self-publishing. It’s a cope out, IMO, if you do it after a few rejections. If you have made it through these levels, another bit of hell follows next Wednesday. Good luck!


4 responses

  1. “giving up isn’t an option and neither is self-publishing. It’s a cope out, IMO, if you do it after a few rejections.”

    When would you consider self-publishing to be an acceptable option?

    • Yes it is an acceptable option. I just get irritated when I see people turn to that too soon. The so-called traditional publishers most often won’t take you if you don’t have an agent and they most certainly won’t take a chance with a 100k+ monstrosity. It’s not good business sense and publishing is a business. Speaking from my own experience, small publications have a lot to offer and, especially in the ebook realm, give you a better percentage of the book’s profits than even the traditional houses will on the electronic side. Plus they give you the same amenities–free editing services, cover art, and promo.

      I worked my way up with short stories sold to magazines to get my publishing credits. What I like to call the old fashioned way. I wonder how many authors are willing to do that. I believe, ED, you’ve sold a few smaller pieces. 🙂

      • Yeah, I’ve had some stories published, and just got a publishing contract for my novel. I plan to use the publisher for my novels, submit my short stories to various journals and anthologies, and self-publish my longer short stories and maybe short story collections. A nice mix of everything. 🙂

      • I’ve been thinking about self-pub for my Fates short stories but I haven’t had time to finish anymore. Golden Visions loved them but alas, they are no more. Most publishers aren’t interested in a collection of shorts.

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