L.J. Sellers is an award-winning journalist, editor, and occasional standup
comic, based in Eugene, Oregon. She is currently writing a second Detective
Jackson story, Secrets to Die For. When she¹s not plotting murders, Sellers
enjoys hiking or cycling through Oregon¹s beautiful Willamette
A Day in the Life of an Aspiring
9:42 am: As I write page 162, I
realize that an entire investigative thread in my new novel is not quite
logical. And there’s no way to massage it or spin it. So I go back to the
beginning and try to pick out and rewrite every reference to this line of
inquiry. Did I get them all? Or did I leave a little silver of foreign material
that will pop up and irritate readers? Now I have doubts about other plot
threads. So I decide to print out all 162 pages and read through them before
continuing to write the story. How many trees have I killed in my career as a
writer and editor?
12:29 am: Another writer posts on
my Facebook page, “Congrats on the review in Mystery Scene. ‘A thrilling, eye-opening read.’” I am excited. I
haven’t seen this review, and it will make a great blurb. I search Mystery Scene’s webpage, but I can’t
find the review and I don’t have a copy of the magazine. So everyone in mystery
world knows what this review says, except me. And, of course, I worry that the
one line I know about may be the only positive thing the reviewer said.
3:10 pm: After months of waiting,
my beta reader sends an e-mail with her feedback on the first 50 pages of my
new story, Secrets to Die For. After
commenting, “This is a very worthy story, a page-turner with great potential,” she says, “Try to
SHOW rather than TELL.” Aaaghhhhh! I
like to think that I live by this ubiquitous writing rule. But now I wonder: Do
I even know what I’m doing?
6:17 pm: After months of waiting, the
book trailer for my recently published novel, The Sex Club, arrives via e-mail. I excitedly click open the file,
ready to be thrilled and amazed. But no, the trailer is weird and confusing.
The girl in the last scene is at least 20, dark-haired, and kind of heavy. She
doesn’t even look dead. The victim in my novel is 14 and blond and thin and very
dead. I show the trailer to my husband. He hates almost everything about it and
cannot stop talking about how much he dislikes it. I am crushed. I spent the
last of my promotional money on the trailer, and I counted on it selling a few
books. Now I have to compose an e-mail that diplomatically says, “Start over.”
It takes an hour that I don’t have.
9:05 pm: I receive an e-mail from a
mystery book club leader named Ruth Greiner, who apparently does have a copy of
the Mystery Scene review and says
she’ll never read The Sex Club no
matter how great all the reviews are. She does not say why, and she does not
have to. Just seeing her name horrified me. The antagonist in The Sex Club is a very nasty woman and
her name is Ruth Greiner. How was I to know? Now I have to write an e-mail that
explains how I chose the name—Ruth is Biblical and strong, Greiner is the name
of a street in my old neighborhood. I also try to carefully expresses my
concern for her feelings, but without admitting any liability. I offer to send
her a free copy of my next novel, then feel lame about it.
10:16: Yet another fun-filled e-mails arrives. This one is from a local author
whom I met at a book fair and exchanged novels with. He says he’s quite sure
he’ll find a publisher for his new novel and wants to know if I’ll read his
book and write a blub for the front cover. This is the first time anyone has
asked me for a blurb, and I’d like to be excited. I’m flattered that he thinks
I have any clout. But I didn’t get past the first page of his other novel
(which started with a rectal search by a large German woman), and this one, he
says, is much more sexually explicit. How did get so lucky? Oh yea, I wrote a
novel called The Sex Club, so he must
think I’m a sex fiend. (It’s a mystery/thriller, really!) So far, his e-mail is
just sitting there, unanswered. But tomorrow is another day, and I’m a creative
person. I’ll think of something.
So…tell us about YOUR day!