Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Kids. . . and New Jobs
by Libby Malin
First, let me apologize. I've been so swamped with work and family activities that I haven't kept up with the blog lately. I was just reading through some of the really lovely blog posts about mothering and new beginnings that I've missed. They are wonderful and very moving. What lives you've led, ladies! Really sweet and full lives. Thanks for sharing your stories.
As for me, my mothering and new beginnings stories are simple. I have three kids and love them to pieces as any mother would. The oldest writes for the Wall Street Journal in Hong Kong. The middle child is in pilot training in the Air Force. The youngest works for a think tank in DC, but she also writes fiction on the side. And the latest big news for her -- she just signed with an agent at the Gelfman Schneider Agency! I think I'm more excited for her than I was for myself when I first signed with an agent. It's been so fulfilling to use my experiences to help guide her through this process.
She's a terrific fiction writer, with a vivid imagination and a gift for prose that sings. I sometimes think that perhaps my greatest gift to fiction will have been to producer her, rather than to have written books myself! LOL!
As to new beginnings, I wrote previously on this blog of how my humorous women's fiction ideas continue to bubble along, but I'm also doing some serious fiction as well. In fact, I have a Jane Eyre-inspired novel set in old Hollywood coming out in September. You can read more about it at my own blog.
I've also been treading into new territory with some freelance assignments, in particular copy editing. I love those jobs. To me, it's like doing a crossword puzzle--sitting down and keeping track of character names, timelines, whether compound adjectives should be hyphenated or not, whether an em-dash or a comma works best . . . . I think I must be crazy!
But this job has taught me more than arcane grammar, style and syntax rules. It's teaching me new things about writing and storytelling as I get to delve into other professional writers' tales and admire how they make things click. I sometimes find myself nodding my head, thinking, "nice touch."
It reminds me, to a certain extent, of the days I worked with a critique partner. I often found critiquing her work was as valuable as getting her comments on my work. She was a magnificent partner, who went on to sell four books to a big publisher. Critiquing forced me to analyze why something did or didn't work in the storytelling or characterizations. Those lessons then stayed with me in my own writing.
Another new beginning for me has been delving into the world of e-publishing. A lot has been written about e-publishing lately, and the market does seem to be on the verge of tremendous growth with more e-readers coming on the market. I decided to test the waters myself by placing a book up on Kindle for sale all by my lonesome -- no publisher. It's a mystery novel titled Death Is the Cool Night, and its shorter length would have made it a hard sell to traditional publishers. It's been great fun learning how to promote it -- I'm still on a steep learning curve with that! -- and in seeing for myself precisely how many sales any one particular promo activity generates.
I'm very excited about the new opportunities that e-publishing offers to authors, and I hope soon we'll see some resolution of the various challenges in that market.
Whatever the future brings, I know I'll keep writing. I can't seem to stop myself!