From Sarah, With Joy

Writer querying two novels and some other word babies. I tend to effervesce.

New post every Monday

Thursday, February 26, 2015

I Finished Novel Number 3!!!

It happened! It's done!!! Novel number three has about 62000 words complete with a big old THE END at THE END.

So yeah, feeling this :)


This novel still is yet to be titled. However it is another YA novel about a 15 year old named Gertrude. She collects albino taxidermy and has panic attacks. The romantic interest is a Samoan boy named Lani, who serenades/teases her with Disney songs.

Much editing ahead of me, but I'm one of those who finds the editing process easier than the drafting. (Those of you who draft quick and easy--I envy you.) But yay! This novel is done and shall be edited and out to beta readers hopefully very soon.

On to the next project!

Sarah Allen

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Sell What You've Already Got

One of the hardest parts about trying to make a living as a writer is figuring out how to find ways to get paid for what you're already doing: writing. I had a bit of an epiphany about this lately, and I'm going to see how it pans out.

See, I think many of us have ideas and random projects going on all the time. Just side stuff, but still. If you're like me, you like to go from poetry to flash fiction to magazine article to blog post to one-act-play to comic strip. I'm not sure how good I am at any of it, but I get a thrill trying my hand at all sorts of fun different things.

Here's how I've sort of been thinking up till now. I've been looking at these as what I just called them: "side" projects. Which in many ways they are, except not really. I've been focusing on selling myself, or my services maybe, finding people who want to hire a sort of week end freelancer. Which is great, don't get me wrong, but honestly it can be a little tedious and defeating a lot of times.

So now I'm sort of looking at it a little differently. Because if I'm doing all those random projects in my free time anyway, then in a lot of ways it doesn't make sense to try and get people to hire me for their random projects. I'm already working and creating, so why not focus instead on finding good homes for the work I'm already doing? I mean, I've been sort of doing that up till now as well, but I think that should be the main focus.

And that includes pitching non-fiction articles to magazines in topics I find interesting. And selling all the poems and stories and scripts and things I'm working on anyway. And maybe finding other talented artists to collaborate with.

In other words, I think its wise to take a book from the inimitable Hank Green, and create our own careers. To really be our own artists and make a career out of what we do best, rather than being someone elses artist. Does that make sense? And of course, that doesn't mean not taking opportunities when they come, and searching out new and interesting teams to join. To do otherwise is foolish, I think. But we should also give ourselves credit and fight the good/hard fight until we do place our work in a good home, even though that can be really difficult sometimes. Because if we keep fighting, and are willing to continually learn and grow, we will find homes for our best work, and eventually lots of people will want to start paying us for it. At least that's what I'm telling myself :D

Sarah

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Me as a Cop



So this is something new I'm trying out. I'm having fun with the Wacom tablet I bought a couple months ago. Not anything too intense (obviously. My skills won't allow it) but hopefully some good fun. I'll be posting semi-regularly on the Pink n Purple comic blog.

Sarah Allen

For more frequent updates, writing tips, and funnies, follow on FacebookTwitterGoogle+
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Monday, February 9, 2015

Sleep: a poem

Sometimes what you need is sleep
and sometimes that's the same thing
as needing to never sleep again
and stay up till four am...okay five
watching every movie with Colin Firth
and then John Cusack
and then Meryl Streep
Because it's not that this cinephilic trance 
is what finally gets your brain to stop 
contorting and fritzing like broken neon
(although it does)
It's that wide eyes and tussled hair 
and twitches at the corners of mouths
and long Scandinavian noses
refresh and redefine for you the meaning
of the words
Human
Chimerical
One
The good kind of One
The not one One. The All for One.
The chimerically human one.
There are so many vulnerables
making, relating, exposing
so many it's bloody
and so I think
Thank God for Insomnia.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

How Old Is Your Soul?

I had a birthday fairly recently, and my sister asked me if I felt my age. And actually, the answer is definitely a no. In fact, my actual age is in many ways the age I least feel. (Does that sentence make sense? You get it, right?)

What I mean is that I feel both quite a bit younger and quite a bit older than I actually am.

On the one hand, I am probably way too fond of barbershop quartets and bread pudding for anyone born after like, World War II. There are probably less than one handful of "teenager" movies that I like, and just the thought of the upcoming 50 Shades of Grey movie makes me want to gag. And it doesn't help that the majority of men I find attractive are older than my father. (Hello Colin Firth.)
(Is this post another excuse for me to look up pictures of Colin Firth? Do I need another excuse to look up pictures of Colin Firth?)

But then, I've also spent a significant amount of time watching Dexter's Lab, and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, and I mean within the last year. It's good stuff. My preferred food (other than bread pudding) is Waffle Crisp. The book I am currently reading is a YA novel called Everlost by Neal Shusterman (super great by the way. Would recommend). And if I was forced to pick a favorite artist, it would probably be Don Wood. (You guys have all read Piggies, right? I mean, serious work of art.)


Not that any of this really super matters, and not that there is a right or wrong age to feel. I just find it interesting. We're all different, inside and out. I think the only thing this age dichotomy really means is that I get to buy Waffle Crisp whenever I want, because I am a real life grown up girl with a real life grown up job. (Kind of). And it means I get to buy the YA, MG and picture books I love, and maybe one day make money writing them. It means I can watch Pixar movies with a literary, analytical lens, maybe one day with a scruffy, middle-aged British gent at my side.

How old is your soul?

Sarah Allen

For more frequent updates, writing tips, and funnies, follow on FacebookTwitterGoogle+
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Monday, February 2, 2015

Who Do You Want To Impress?

You know that mandate we writers are often given--the one about "knowing your audience"? It sort of makes sense to me on one level, in the marketing and statistical sense, but on another more visceral level, I've never really grasped how to put it into practice.

I think for lots of us our gut reaction when we're told to "define our audience" is a negative one. We write what we write because we want to write it, and those who like it like it, right? On the one hand, absolutely. I think there is zero point in writing something you're not interested in, especially just for the sake of some hope in mass appeal. If what you're writing isn't interesting to you, it's probably not going to be interesting to your reader.

But still, these are our babies. We nurture them because we love them, and it feels icky when we sort of have to chop off some of the edges to fit them in a pre-defined box. That's not our job, that's the market's job. Our job is just to make art we believe in.

But on the other other hand, we writers are also basically running our own businesses, and no defined audience is a terrible marketing strategy. Clearly we have a dilemma.

I want to get something clear and out of the way: I firmly believe that when we're actually crafting our work, market and mass appeal and all that should be as far from our minds as possible. But then there's all the other things we writers do, like blogging and social media and maybe articles in magazines and things like that. Maybe that's where audience comes in.

Here's what I think: I think there is an easy and natural way for us to define our audience as we go about the business and networking aspects of being a writer. Just ask yourself, who in your life do you care most about impressing?

Like, for reals. Think about it a second. When you post an update on your personal Facebook, whose likes and comments make you most excited? Who do you particularly like making laugh, or being clever with? My own list is pretty varied, and includes relatives, former professors, and kids from my little brothers old high school class who are whip smart and uber-engaged.

Lately I've tried something: When I craft a Facebook status or tweet or blog post or spec article, I think of them. And these are the kinds of people who, in most cases, you hope will read your books anyway.

And really, it kind of makes it easier. I think in a lot of cases, you want to impress certain people because you respect them and share views and opinions. That means that keeping them in mind when you write a blog post helps you focus in on topics and angles. I don't know if its had much impact in terms of numbers, but its made crafting posts and engaging on social media quite a bit easier, and a lot more fun.

What do you think? Do you have a group of people who particularly want to impress, and do you think this strategy would work for you?

Sarah Allen

For more frequent updates, writing tips, and funnies, follow on FacebookTwitterGoogle+
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