by CeCe Osgood:
Thank you, Ali, for letting me be a guest blogger today. As the topic this month is “family,” I decided to noodle my way around a touchy subject for new writers and/or aspiring writers, and that’s about handling your family’s response to you being a novelist and getting your work published.
First, let me say that if you’ve created a character based on a family member woe to you. Especially if there are recognizable traits or physical expressions and/or, God forbid, attitudes from said family member. This is territory I, frankly, have not been brave enough to navigate, yet. But I have talked to some authors who have done it, and here are a few tips
- Never fashion a complete portrait of the person. Change the physical being (hair, height, weight, gender) someway, somehow.
- Spread the person’s verbal expressions and attitudes around, so that several characters have them, not just one. Makes it harder for the relatives to detect themselves in your writing For example, if your mother-in-law laughs like a burro and uses idioms like “bless your heart” or “gimme a break” it would be wise to sprinkle those phrases onto several different characters, not just the one.
- And don’t try a similar sounding name. No Carrie, for your cousin Larry. No Elayne, for your mom, Jane. One author made her brother-in-law Rob, the character’s cocker spaniel, Cobb. No, no, no. Far too detectable.
- If you are one of those lucky people who have wonderful, sweet relatives around you and no rotten apple to contend with, well, bless your heart. Seriously though, count your blessings, but get busy reading novels and nonfiction about the less open-hearted among us. You’ll need a few villains or, at least, antagonists as examples for your plots.
Another facet of this topic is rejection. Ask any (or most) authors and they will tell you that counting on family members to read your book is a big gamble. Some may read it and tell you everything that’s wrong over and over. Some may read it and never, ever comment on it. Some may be wonderfully responsive and even write a review for you. (Caution: don’t let them say they’re a family member in the review.) You never know. This is true of friends as well.
You’ll hear a lot of “I’ll read your book tomorrow!” and that will be the last time you’ll hear anything about it. Don’t worry. We’ve all been through it. Just sing “Let It Go” and find bloggers and reviewers online. Rejection is a constant in the writing world. Bloggers, reviewers, agents, editors, publishers … and readers – may reject your work. Sink deep into the blues and after a while try singing again. Then move on and keep writing.
Another sorta kinda helpful tip is to read about famous authors who almost gave up after numerous rejections. It can re-inspire you to hear how many times this now world famous author wanted burn her pages (or these simply delete) after suffering the bitterness of defeat aka rejection.
In my romantic comedy/chick lit novel, THE DIVORCED NOT DEAD WORKSHOP, the main character creates a dating workshop which takes place on a cruise ship. During the workshop there’s a session about rejection since, we all know, that’s part of the dating game (the crying part of the game). The workshop attendees get practice being rejected and rejecting others. And it sorta kinda works to ease the sting of rejection just a tiny bit.
If you want to write or are currently an author, it’s best to face the fact that rejection is part of this particular game too and it will come from family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers — offline and online. I’ve been there. Give it a day or four and you’ll come back up again.
If and when you’re feeling like it’s all over and you can’t stand it one more time, I hope this will give you a wee bit of perspective. There’s an old joke about two writers having coffee at a bistro. One writer gripes to the other: “I got another rejection letter. I swear we writers are the most rejected people ever.” That’s when a fellow at the next table leans over and says quietly. “No, you’re not. That’s why God put us actors in the world.”
Meet CeCe Osgood:
CeCe Osgood lives in Texas after many years in LA working in the film industry. Her writing career includes magazine articles and screenplays as well as being a freelance script analyst (main client HBO). She also has had two screenplays optioned. Being a novelist has been her lifelong dream, and now it’s becoming her reality. Her debut novel, THE DIVORCED NOT DEAD WORKSHOP, a romantic comedy with a whopping side dish of chick lit aka lighthearted women’s fiction, is about dating after divorce. She loves red wine and hates pretzels.
CeCe Osgood’s Web Tracks:
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The Divorced Not Dead Workshop Synopsis:
“That’s what you called it, Dorsey, and I love it …The Divorced Not Dead Workshop.”
Divorced five years and recently dumped by boyfriend Theo, Dorsey Bing, smart, funny and a wee bit angsty, brainstorms about a dating workshop for divorced people. Too bad she’s an idea person with zero follow-through. That changes when her best friend, Pilar Vega, a feisty go-getter, chooses to set up the workshop, puts herself in charge and gets Dorsey to agree to be her “gofer.”
Things are fine until Dorsey’s widowed stepfather Ralph, and his bride-to-be, Audrey, ask Dorsey to join their wedding cruise to Cabo, which is on the very same weekend as the workshop. Dorsey and Pilar decide to hold the workshop during the cruise. But do things ever really work out as planned. No. No, they don’t.
Complications arise with a startling mishap, rebellious attendees and a fraud accusation, the arrival of Audrey’s good-looking but wily nephew Finn, and the reappearance of Theo. Struggling through the turmoil, Dorsey must face her biggest challenge if she’s to win the love, and life, she’s always desired.
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