Rejecting Rejection

“The world is in turmoil—everybody is thinking about politics; nobody is thinking about memoir.”

That is just one of the many discouraging things editors and agents told Teresa Wong in late 2016 when she was trying to sell Dear Scarlet, her graphic memoir published this spring.

She also heard: no one wanted to read a book about post-partum depression; no one wanted to read a graphic memoir; and no one wanted to read a graphic memoir about post-partum depression.  Continue reading “Rejecting Rejection”

Be Afraid

We all live in fear. Some of us more than others, but we all have secret dreads lurking in the corners of our mind. Fear of growing old, or letting our children come to harm, or not making the grade, or perhaps a ghostly presence we sense late at night.

Look for the fears in your stories, and bring them to life in ways so we, too, feel that fear.

Fear can play a role in any kind of story, but it’s especially prominent in those stories with a touch of horror. A really scary story—one that scares Stephen King and Neil Gaiman—is Shirley Jackson’s novel The Haunting of Hill House (now adapted into a TV series). Continue reading “Be Afraid”

On Endings

Lately I’ve been trying to wrap up a story—without success—and every time I take another run at it, I think of something I read recently about endings, that good ones “shine a point of light on the writer’s best attempt at truth.”

I love that, because it’s how I envision endings. You direct a shiny, narrow beam of  light, or aim a long, sturdy arrow, at a pinpoint of a target. Summations, surprise twists, sudden epiphanies—these are not arrows or beams of light. Their scopes are too wide.  Continue reading “On Endings”