Next Steps
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I know there are many of us who are disappointed about the results. But in order to take our minds off that, what are your next steps in working on your project (you know, after you throw away the Kleenex and grab a glass of wine- who cares if it's only noon!)?
  • Thanks for that very thoughtful response. I too found myself drawn to some projects more than others and questioned my objectivity. But you are right, as readers, we all do that, even down to the weekly tabloids on the newsstand! I agree with you about the universal themes being an important aspect of so many of our stories, especially those writing memoir. I am reminded to keep that in the forefront as I work through my query letter!
  • Hey Brooke – the Sun Valley Writers Conference was a couple of weekends ago. I would love to have attended but leaving the girls so close to the start of school is problematic – The Jackson Hole conference is in midsummer and it works better for our schedules. This weekend is just a last bike ride, hike and play weekend before school, soccer, tumbling, piano, choir and the like start in earnest. Come next Tuesday, I will morph into a glorified taxi driver with snacks racing around town picking up and dropping off. Anyhow, back to my observation of the finalists. While I am not truly a fan of categorizing and lumping in part because I have yet to read all 18 and in part, because each is so very different from the next, I find I am sorting to unearth general themes. In doing so, I reserve the female pejorative to adjust opinions or to flip-flop given further input. For the most part, each topic has a high level of intensity. I apologize for my brevity here, but so far we have, sexual abuse to breast cancer, child custody to biracial parenting, baby brains to Bosnia, HIV to food stamps, foster care to congenital issues, and mental illness to Peace Corps. Clearly, the pieces mirror the world in which we live, albeit some of the darker or perhaps deeper issues of our times. The first theme then is that of mirroring 'specific' slices of life – pretty much just the telling of a tale from a unique vantage point thereby giving life and breath to a specific topic. All the stories so far lend a certain humanization to each area. I find a depth of honesty, humility, and humanness in all the excerpts. In addition, certainly there is talent in the midst. Of course, when art mirrors life, I find that each reflection imparts a certain niche market and some topics and some writers are more amendable and accessible to the mainstream reader because of their ability to transcend the base topic and explore universals themes. For example, lets’ look at the popular book, Eat, Pray, Love. While on the surface and probably in excerpts, Gilbert’s book, for my purposes, could fall into the niche market for divorcees – however, her subject transcends that of just a divorced women having a come apart. In finding her own balance, her story envelops the universal themes of life, the pursuit of love and finding balance in an unbalanced world. Gilbert takes readers beyond and introduces them to new ways of coping, learning and loving. Her universal themes are what appeal to mainstream readers. To be honest though, some readers love her and some do not. Simplistic analysis? Yes, but necessary to convey my observations. I have, in a couple of excerpts, been unable to see beyond the specificity of the subject and subsequently found my personal interest waning as those topics clearly fell outside my personal purview, season in life and moment in time. To be clear – that is not to say the topics are not important, lack writing finesse, or are not of interest to many other readers. Some like pie and some like cake. I guess, in nutshell I am saying that some of the stories do not speak to the reader in me. At first, I think I felt guilty about not embracing each story. Secondly, I questioned my objectivity because I had a stake in the project. Nevertheless, here I sit, thus far deeply considering each piece and finally I get a taste of reality. As I thumb through a magazine, a newspaper or even a bookstore I am naturally drawn to certain authors, subjects and themes and although I wish each finalist well – some more than others – I, perhaps like everyone else mind you, cannot honestly say that each piece deeply stirs the reader inside. I look forward to hearing the observations of others.
  • Hi Everyone! I just finished emailing the incredible group of providers who will be supporting the winner (to be announced Tuesday, as you know), reiterated to them that there is a wide audience of passionate, enormously talented women on She Writes who are keeping on keeping on, and who will all benefit from their knowledge over the coming months. Starting in September, Christina Baker Kline will begin work with the winner on the basics of a book proposal -- what are the elements, what do editors and agents look for, etc., and share the process with all of you so you can follow along, if you choose. After that it will be the art of revision (working on that critical sample chapter), then a month on crafting a winning marketing proposal (with expert Sarah Wilson), a month on platform-building, and a month on writing the perfect query letter. I hope that everyone can continue with her dream to finish her book proposal, which is what we want for all of you -- it took me four years to get my book into a condition where I could get a contract (and many hundreds of pages that never made it into the book at all) -- it's a long road, but the only way forward is THROUGH! I just hope we can help you along the way. Much love and mad respect for your dedication, Kamy
  • Melanie, Brooke and Mary, Wow, thank you all for the lovely words for Elizabeth and Me! Mary..."risen from the ashes of passion" I love it!!! I am telling you, She Writes is just an amazing place, for some amazing women, to do amazing work! Kudos to all of us and thank you, thank you to She Writes for bringing us all together! Let's just continue to motivate each other and to watch each other do great things! Hugs and much love sent out to all of you....Amy
  • Have fun in Sun Valley! Is it the writer's conference weekend? What are your observations from the finalists?
  • WoooWhoo! Congrats to Elizabeth and Amy!!! You now serve as our phoenix winners – those who have risen from the ashes of passion!! As I continue to stay abreast of the finalists’ excerpts, I become more aware of what, perhaps, the judges were looking for as they shifted through the submissions. These two tidbits of knowledge have only fostered and encouraged my creativity, infused my energies and curtailed muse beatings. School begins anew tomorrow morning at 8 am and I have one more weekend warrior trip to Sun Valley to make before I sit my fanny down at the computer and start pulling together the remaining pieces to see if I can be a phoenix too! Thanks for the encouragement, the updates, and the phoenix motivation!!! Hugs, Mary
  • This is fantastic! I love that already we've got two great stories. Elizabeth and Amy, you're proof that it takes a little resilience and hard work to come back strong from a disappointment. Sometimes I get down on myself as more and more rejections pile up on me. It's hard to remember that all it takes is for one person to say yes.
  • Hi ladies....catching up as well. You know it's funny because I had about one second of disappointment and then that turned to total excitement for the finalists! While waiting to hear about the PP I totally re-wrote my story because to be honest it needed lots of help! Then something amazing story is now going to be in the Anthology; Oil and Water and Other Things That Don't Mix, which will be published Fall of this year! Woohoo! Not only that, I am very happy with the changes I have made which motivated me to move forward with my book. It all works out when it's supposed to ladies......write from your heart, write for the right reasons, write because you love's the what you love, love what you do, and watch things unfold just the way they should! The Passion Project isn't over it's just the beginning.......=)