Tag Archives: Hunger Games

There is a book out there that’s better than yours

I’ve been told time and again that there are thousands of books out there looking for representation that are as good as or better than yours. It’s just one of those “slap in the face” things that you are told when you start out in writing to make sure you understand that there is fierce (but friendly) competition in the query-market.

Up until today, I had read quite a few beta novels that were as good as my work, or would soon be just as good.  I throw out my pom poms and wish them all the best as they begin to submit.  I do.  Really, I do.  I am THRILLED when I hear that someone lands an agent or gets something published.  I think it’s awesome!

Today, I finished a beta that shattered me utterly and completely.  I just read a novel that will be querying the same time as mine.  It will be in the New Adult category, where mine will be in the Young Adult category, but that is still TOO CLOSE for my comfort.

Is the story like mine?  No.  Not at all, but it is Speculative Fiction.  So, what scares me?

Scare is not really the right word.  I have the sinking feeling that I have just read the next Hunger Games, or the New Adult equivalent to Harry Potter. I have never been so on the edge of my seat.  I have never been so absorbed thinking about a novel and dying to get back to it. I have never been so invested in characters that were not my own.

Swirls of emotion go thorough you when you are touched by something so deeply.  You begin to question yourself. Is your novel anywhere near this good?

You push aside all the accolades you’ve received.  You forget that people have told you how much they like your book.  All you can do is envision THAT OTHER BOOK sitting on an agent’s desk, right beside your own.

It’s humbling.  Very Very Humbling.

I contacted the author to let them know how I felt about their story, and to make sure they shoot for the stars, because this is where that book belongs.

I could feel the gushing coming through on her response.  And she should gush… all the way to a six figure advance.

How am I? Well, after downing a vat of Chocolate Almond Fudge ice cream, I slapped myself upside the head.

Her novel is NOTHING like mine.  There is even a possibility that someone might pass hers over and reach for mine because they have not seen a good high-paced alien explosion novel lately.

The publishing industry is so odd and unpredictable that you can’t know what will happen.

If she emails me in a month and tells me she landed an agent and a big six contract all in the space of a week, I will not be angry.  I won’t be surprised either.  I will do a happy dance of joy for her, because she will deserve it.

And then I will send out another query as I toast her success.

Yes, there will always be another novel out there that is better than yours.  But somewhere in the world there is an agent or publisher who will pick up yours and say “Holy cow! THIS is what I’ve been looking for FOREVER!!!”


For now, I think I might need to get another half-gallon of ice cream.



Writing Madly to a Deadline, and then NOT submitting

I recently jumped into the running for another anthology, which means writing to a tight deadline.  I tripped up my schedule for a few weeks, finalizing my novel for the Amazon Break Through Novel Contest, and was two-weeks behind schedule. I DID finish in time (barely), but now I sit here the day before the deadline, with a completed manuscript in my hands, second guessing myself.

Do I think it’s not good enough?  No.  The opposite.  It’s tight. It’s precise….

And if you could have seen the look on my son’s face after reading it— Dang.  I haven’t seen him this excited about something since finishing the Hunger Games (Not that mine is even remotely like the Hunger Games)

So what’s the problem?  Submit the dern thing!

Here’s my problem… It’s too long.  I did not make the word count.  I contacted the publisher, and they said they would consider it at the higher word count, but it definitely would have to be cut down by 1500 words for publication in the anthology (If it were chosen)

I searched for those 1500 words, and found a possible 500 to cut, but editing out those 500 would have affected the “mood” of the story.  And if another 1000 words were cut after that, the whole story would seem rushed.

If my son had said “Meh, it’s okay.  I’ve read better.” (Which he has done to me in the past) I would have sliced and diced the 1500 words out of the story and sent it in.

But he didn’t say that.  He asked for more.  My kid the voracious reader said:  “It was really great.  I’ve never read anything like that before.  When will you write another one?”

I thought about what those forced changes would do, and decided to take the creative high road.  I am passing on the anthology, and am now embarking on a search for a publisher of Young Adult Paranormal Short/Novellas.

Ugh!  I hate passing up an opportunity, but I think this particular story needs to find a more suitable home than the confines of an anthology.

I am all for editing… all stories need to be edited, but I don’t want to “cut” just for the sake of “cutting”.  I’d rather have words cut because they don’t belong there… not because there is a stipulation on word count.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation like this?

If not, do you think you’d submit anyway, or search for a new home?


The Hunger Games disturbed me

The Hunger Games disturbed me.  I mean seriously, seriously disturbed me.   It’s funny, twenty years ago I would have thought nothing of this at all.  No biggie, just another story.

Having children really changes your outlook on things.

I’m disturbed.  Deeply disturbed.

I can’t look at a book (or a movie) like this the same as I did when I was single.  Isn’t it strange?  I’m the same person, right?

Nope, I’m not.  Motherhood definitely changes you.  The thought of sending children out into the woods and forcing them to kill each other makes me sick to my stomach.  Emotionally sick… You know what I mean?

I started the Hunger Games as a novel.  My son finished the book in two days.  (He finished all three books in five days total)  I unfortunately, don’t have that kind of time to read, so I was only about 40 pages in to the novel before my son had to see the movie.

So we sat and watched it.  That was three days ago, and I am just about over it.  Now, I cannot finish the book, because I don’t want that sick feeling to come back.  You know what I mean?

I might read just a little further just to “absorb” the writing style that I feel caught my son’s attention (although I don’t think I would want to write in this tense)

But I seriously don’t think I could go through the Hunger Games again.

Callous disregard for life… for children.

If the author meant to disturb people… good job.

Have you ever read anything that made you feel sick for days?

How did you feel after reading/watching the Hunger Games?

The kid’s like a scary word genius or something, I swear. Oh, and a Review of the Hunger Games

Wow.  Today the reports came back on reading levels, and the Monomaniacal Middle Grade Reviewer came in the highest in the school, reading at “above high school level”.  The kid’s ELEVEN!

Wasn’t a big surprise though.  He put The Hunger Games away in just a few days.  I downloaded the second book in the series for him, and two days later he was asking for the next one.  Huh?  Yeah, he finished it that fast, and I was still lurking in the first 100 pages of the first book.

Congrats, Dude!

Okay, on with his review of “The Hunger Games”

I cut out the end, but he gave it thirty stars out of a possible 5.

Hmmm.  Never said he was a math wiz, but he certainly liked this book. Here is the review with all his usual jovial flair.

Book Banning

I recently read an article on why China’s internet censors ban the word “salt”

(Because the government is trying so squash rumors that extra salt intake will protect you from radioactivity)

It led me on a rabbit trail to banned books in the USA.  Now, I expected to see a list of really old books.  Huck Finn was on the list, for instance.  I would expect that… back from the days when people didn’t know any better.

But there were quite a few contemporary novels intermingled with classics like “Catcher and the Rye,” “Of Mice and Men,” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” that really surprised me.

I guess these books are not banned in the sense of the government coming in and taking them off the shelves (which can happen in other countries… we don’t have to worry about that here in the USA)  So I suppose they are saying that certain novels are “banned” by certain groups of people…. Which I would translate to “I don’t like this, so no one else should read it either.  Please don’t read it.”

I remember this happening a few years ago when Da Vinci Code came out.  Controversial?  Sure it was.  But it was FICTION.  The problem was that it was fiction researched so dern well that people believed it.

Oddly enough, Da Vinci Code was not even on this particular list.

Here are the contemporary novels on the list that really jumped out at me.  Get ready to say, “Huh?”

Harry Potter—Not just one.  The whole series (Use of anti-religious themes and use of witchcraft and sorcery)

Golden Compass (Anti-religious themes)

Hunger Games (Sexually explicit, violent, unsuited to age group)

Twilight. (Sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence, unacceptable for age group)

Hmmmmmm.  Let’s think about this for a minute.





Had enough time?

Soooooo….. anyone else want to trash their current WIP to start writing something controversial?

Hmmm.   Let’s see.  Who can I REALLY offend?

Someday these groups will realize that if you “ban” something, it will just make people want to read it more.  It’s human nature.

Someone ban my novel.  Please?

It’s too…. Ummmmmm…

Extra-terrestrial.  Yes!  That’s it!  Other planets are BAAAAAAD!

Yes!  We must ban this!

Note:  Please censor yourself while making comments.  Do not come out and bash any particular group who may not have liked one of these novels.  I honestly don’t know who banned which, and I don’t care.

Proof is in the numbers that banning does not work… that’s the point of this article.