Thursday, August 30, 2007

What Do I Want To Blog About Today?

That’s a tough question to answer. For me, anyway. You see, I am lazy. I admit it. I don’t cook if I can help it, I’m ok with taking the trash out the morning of trash day instead of the night before, I used to live and die by the snooze button (although that problem has been solved by a trio of canines that refuse to allow me an extra nine minutes of not taking them for their morning walk).

Still, in spite of this sluggish personality, I do try to put at least one post per week on this old blog o’ mine. Some bloggers, like moonrat, put two, three, or even more posts up in a single day. How the heck do they do that? I dunno. Inspiration strikes some folks more than others, I suppose.

When it comes down to it, the lengthy spans between my posts are more to do with lack of anything constructive to say than any issues of laziness. While I have been known to write about things that happened to me or even how I feel on a given day, normally I try to put something in here with a little more depth. Let’s face it, y’all don’t want to read about my day if I haven’t had something exciting happen. Anyone who did visit would probably stop doing so after one or two posts that started with “Today I noticed my toilet paper is really more of an eggshell white than an ivory.”

You guys wouldn’t care, and I kinda like y’all, so I gotta think of something that’ll make you come back and see me again. Both of you. I never wanted this to be a blog about David McAfee, where anyone who wanted to peek might catch a glimpse of my daily life. Rather, I wanted this to be a blog by David McAfee, in which I could wax philosophically about anything and everything and hopefully learn a thing or two about some other folks when they came to visit. While I do, in my other blog, My Red Z, talk about my car, that blog is easy. When I do any maintenance or have any gripes (neither of which has happened yet), those entries will write themselves. They are no-brainers. Which is good, because that’s a no-brainer blog.

But what about the times when I want to actually say something. Know what I mean? So in that vein, today’s topic of discussion is going to be (drumroll, please)…blog posts!


You guys thought I was going to say Kool Aid or Kumquats or something silly like that, didn’t you. Well, as silliness is in my nature, I can’t blame you. But before I get derailed and hop onto the Tangent Bus (as we all know I am prone to do), I want to let you all in on my secret to coming up with meaningful blog topics.

I don’t have one.

Actually, the argument could be made that I don’t have a meaningful blog topic, either, but as that’s another tangent, I’ll stop right there.

The truth is I will think about something I want to say, and unfortunately, this most often stems from my experience, which is why so many posts have that “I am David McAfee, read about my life” feel to them. Hey, even this one does. Crap. Sorry ‘bout that. But I am not going back to retype all this (see the first sentence of this post…the one that begins with “I am…”).

Ok, so what I’d like to know is, how do you, my fellow blogomites, come up with a topic to discuss? What inspires you? I know I have read several posts on Aprilynne’s blog about the success of her friends, which is commendable. And John Elder Robison continues to educate readers on the nature of Aspergers, which (I am almost ashamed to admit) I had always equated with Autism. But even they have the occasional “A Day In My Life” posts.

How about the rest of y’all? How do you decide what to talk about? Hmmmm?

Oh, by the way…



I just couldn’t resist.

See Y’all!

Thursday, August 23, 2007


My, oh my...we love waiting, don't we?

What do you mean, no? Of course we love waiting! We must, we aspiring novelists. It's all we do sometimes.

What? Write another book?

Well, if you insist.

Actually, I have discovered that writing another book does not, in fact, cure the Waiting-To-Hear-From-The-Editor Blues. It does, however, make the wait easier to bear by keeping your mind somewhere else for a while. Let's face it, when you have you manuscript with the editor for the Publishing House of the Rich and Famous, there's only so much you can do before your mind wanders back to that mental image so many of us have: the stack of papers on the editor's desk, with your poor, defensless manuscript somewhere in the pile. The editor sits there at his or her desk, a nice, red REJECTION stamp at the ready. Only air separates that editor's hand from the stamp, and only air separates that stamp from you precious manuscript.

Of course, there are different variations. Sometimes the REJECTION stamp has a mouth filled with teeth, and it's literally drooling all over your manuscript in delicious anticipation of the stamping orgy to come. In this particular piece of demetia, I often hear the REJECTION stamp screaming "Reject! Reject!" over and over while it covers my work with liters and liters of red ink. It brings to mind the restaurant scene in When Harry Met Sally. The sheer ecstasy of the stamp as it bellows "Reject!" visible in the twisted, passionate grin on its face. So (what is red ink made of, anyway?)...wasted just to stamp on my poor little story and send some extra dough to those downtrodden ER doctors as they try to revive me. But hey, ER doctors have to eat, too. Right?

Ok, so maybe that's just me (I get that a lot). I'm sure editors don't really have a bright red REJECTION stamp. Or do they? Anyone know?

Damn, I got off point again. Where was I?

Oh, yeah...waiting. It sucks, doesn't it? The uncertainty of it all. Sometimes I wonder why we put up with it.

What? What do you mean we have to? The editors are only human and can only go through so many submissions before they finally crack and come to work packing heat in the form of bologna sandwiches and mustard? That's pretty bad. Not the "editors are people" part, the "bologna sandwiches and mustard" part. I can't believe I wrote that. Oh, well. I'm way to lazy to go back and delete it. I'll leave it as it is and hope y'all chalk it up to nerves.

My friend Aprilynne had me beat a while back when it came to waiting. She was waiting for a lot more editors than I was, and she was also waiting on a baby. For any guys who might be reading this; trust me, pregnancy beats anything you can throw at a woman in an "Oh, yeah? Well I..." contest.


Pregnant Woman: My back hurts.

Unsympathetic Male: I got hit by a bus yesterday. It broke five ribs, both femurs, three vertebrae, gave me a concussion, and ruined my new jeans. The doctor said I might be in this wheelchair for years before my spine is healed enough for me to walk again.

Pregnant Woman: Oh, yeah? Wait until YOU are pregnant, then you can talk to me about pain.

Much-Chagrined, Formerly Unsympathetic Male: You're right. I'm sorry. Please put the knife down.

OK, ok. We all know that was a joke. You can ALL put the knives down, now. Ok? Please?


Anyway, where was I? Dammit. I went off on a tangent again. I gotta lay off the espresso. That stuf'll kill ya!

Waiting. Yes, waiting. that is where I am, and that is where I will stay. Well, not literally. I meant the conversation will stay on waiting. As the topic. Waiting will be the topic of the conversation....oh, never mind.

The point is I am waitng on editorial decision from four editors for two separate books. It sucks now, but there IS a light at the end of the tunnel. Sooner or later my waiting will be over. I'll hear a yes, or a no, and that'll be the end of that.

Well, actually, if it's a yes, I guess I'll still be waiting. Waiting for the edits. Waiting for the Galleys. Waiting for the ARCS, then the reviews, then the release date, then the royalties, then more infinitum.

Come to think of it, I guess that just proves my first point (how dare you argue with me and cause me to make an idiot of myself...shame on you!). We really must love waiting. Otherwise, why would we bother writing?

The writer's life: Hurry up and wait.

'tis true.

See Y'all!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Compliments… and that other, less-marvelous thing.

We live for compliments, don’t we? As people, we love it when someone says “You look nice today,” or “That was a good idea.” It’s human nature to enjoy the knowledge that someone else sees you in a positive light. More so, as writers, our world always gets a little brighter when someone says to us “Hey, that was great,” or “I really liked the part where so-and-so…” These are great coming from anybody. Family, betas, etc. But they are especially wonderful when they come from people within the industry. Like when an agent says you are a very good writer, or an editor says you have a very interesting premise. I dunno about y’all, but when I hear things like that it tends to give me a morale boost, and during the ugly (for most of us) submissions process, any boost in morale is always appreciated.

On the other side of the coin, a single negative comment can ruin a whole day’s worth of compliments. A writer’s morale can drop to new lows whenever someone says “Sorry, this story just isn’t right for us.” Ouch. That stings. We all know how that feels, right? And it’s hard not to take those rejections personally.

But aside from closing a market for a single project, what is the publisher saying? They didn’t compliment you, so it really must be an insult or slight, right? Wrong.

Think of it as a new shirt. You are proud of your new shirt. You liked it, that’s why you bought it. So you wear your new shirt to work. Four coworkers tell you they love it. One tells you it’s not bad, but not something they would wear. Another coworker tells you your new shirt is so hideous she wouldn’t use it to wipe her bottom.

Unfortunately, most of us are wired so that we would pay more attention to the negative comment than the positive, which is a shame because negative comments are not always personal. Like the person who said the shirt wasn’t right for them. She wasn’t saying she didn’t like you, just your shirt. “We can still be friends. Just don’t expect me to like your shirt.”

The coworker who wouldn’t use your new shirt to wipe her bum? Well, it’s likely she’s either having a very bad day or she isn’t someone you’d want to associate with, anyway.

Most publisher rejections fall into “We can still be friends…” category. That’s all they are saying. Not “We hate your story and by extension, you,” but “This story isn’t quite for us. Let us know when you have something else.”

So when those rejections come (and unless you are a one-in-a-billion phenomenon of the writing world, they do come), remember it’s NOT personal. It’s more like getting a game piece from a Coke bottle that says “Sorry, please try again.” Disappointing? Yes. Personal? Nope.

But compliments? Heck, take those any way you want to. Chances are you earned ‘em.

See Y’all!

Thursday, August 2, 2007


Ok, folks. remember a while back when I did a review for Patricia Wood's Lottery? Well, the day has finally arrived and it is now available. What does this mean to you?

It means you should go out and buy a copy, silly! No, buy two! Heck, buy half a dozen and finish your Christmas shopping early!

Why are you still reading this? Go, already! Shoo! :)