Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Lies Writers Should Never Tell

Yet another release week, here on the Buzz blog. This time it's Buzz girl Steph with her fourth book, THE ALPHA BET. (Do you have your copy yet? You should! If not, don't worry, because you can win one every day this week. Keep reading to find out how.)

To help Steph celebrate, we're all supposed to share a lie from our past. This is tough for me because I never lie. Okay, I try to never lie. Partly because I'm really bad at it, but mostly because I think it's not very nice. Still, in the interest of Buzz girl solidarity, I will share my shameful secret.

Any writer who has ever been to writer's conference knows the joys (and terrors) of pitching your book to an agent or editor. This is a session, usually 8 to 10 minutes long, in which you try to convince them that you're book is the greatest book ever written, while trying to disguise the fact that you really think it might be total crap. Sessions vary from author to author and from agent to agent, but there are a few unwritten rules to every pitch.
  1. Be succinct.
  2. Be professional.
  3. Have questions ready in case there's a lull.
  4. Remember that agents and editors are people, too.
  5. Never, ever lie and say a book is finished when it's not.
Confession time: I broke rule number five. Twice.

I never set out to lie. In my defense, both times I was pitching to agents who NEVER EVER requested full manuscripts. It wouldn't even be an issue. They would request the partial (three chapters and a synopsis), which I had at the ready, and by the time they requested the full, the book would be done.

Only they didn't request the partial. The requested the full.

Rather than admit the books were unfinished (each was more than a hundred pages from being done) and potentially lose an opportunity, I just said, "Uh-huh. Oh, yeah, it's finished." Thankfully I survived both these situations because I am a VERY FAST writer and I excel under the pressure of a deadline. And I wanted a writing career way more than I waned anything as insignificant as sleep.

If I had the chance to do it all over, I would totally lie again.


So you see what kind of lengths I was willing to go to in order to become a professional writer. (Pretty much anything short of murder and animal cruelty was fair game.) For a chance to win a copy of THE ALPHA BET and your choice of OH. MY. GODS. and GODDESS BOOT CAMP, comment your answer to the following question:
What would or wouldn't you do to achieve your dream?
Be sure to check out the other posts this week and comment to increase your chances to win! And come back on Sunday, when the list of winners will be posted.


FORGIVE MY FINS (coming June 1, 2010)


TinaFerraro said...

Haha, Tera, great story. But you know, while I could lie to a stranger in a bar, I could not lie in a pitch session, so you definitely have one-up on me there!

As far as how far I would go to follow my dream of publication, being a stay-at-home mom of three kids made me look that question in the eye many times. I had to constantly prioritize what came first, a kids' event or the chapter I was writing, and try to find the best ways to make BOTH work.

~Jamie said...

I did this, too. It's actually how I force myself to get things done.

Even this week, I'm not ready for beta readers yet... but I asked for them to be ready for me on Friday JUST to force myself into getting it done. Without insane deadlines I am TOTALLY screwed.

Now, for the contest... there are some things I wouldn't do--get naked in public, eat bugs, etc.

but really, that's about it. :)

Ricki Schultz said...

Kudos on being able to finish so fast - that kind of fib is def a procrastination killer!

The question is...did your lie result in offers of representation from either of these agents?


Alicia said...

I lie A LOT! Though, it was mostly in my youth, like telling my parents I wasn't going to the neighbors party, and then hiding my car and going anyway - they totally found out, since my drunk voice isn't very quiet. As far as lying to an agent though, I can't say that I could, since if that agent decided, in the very off chance, to represent me, he/she would probably find out I had lied.

stephhale said...

I never had to have a pitch session thankfully. I definitely would have passed out. Thanks for fessing up to help me celebrate!

Cara King said...

What would or wouldn't you do to achieve your dream?

I would...work hard. And then procrastinate. Intend to work harder. Drink tea. Eat chocolate. Pet the cats. Complain about how little I'd gotten done. And try again...and again... (Lather, rinse, and repeat.)

I wouldn't...pawn my mother's engagement ring. Plagiarize. Sell my cat. Betray the planet to evil aliens from Pluto for a contract.

throuthehaze said...

I definitely wouldn't do anything I couldn't get over doing like kill someone or something like that.

nymfaux said...

I wouldn't do anything I didn't think I could get away with...which, since I am not a criminal mastermind, includes robbing a bank, stealing a car, initiating nuclear war, eat onions.

Ok, maybe if the only way I could ever reach my goal is that I had to eat an onion, maybe I could do it. But I can't promise that I won't immediately gag. I just can't handle onions.

Heather Davis said...

Nice, Tera. You really are lucky that you're fast. ;)

nymfaux said...

also, I could not go vegetarian, let alone vegan like you. I admire your effort, I just like meat too much, and vegetables not at all. Good thing none of my dreams/goals are vegetable inclusive :)

Llehn said...

I am a supporter of hard work, so I would have to go with that when asked what I would do to achieve my dreams. Oh and pray a lot too!

mariska said...

What would or wouldn't you do to achieve your dream?

Never Give up ! And I just believe that if I can Do this, I will GET this :)

What i wouldn't do ? Hurting other people only to achieve my dreams. it's a big NO NO for me.

Amanda Villagómez said...

To achieve my dreams I would be able to sacrifice a lot as far as rearranging priorities, but I would not be able to go against any of my core beliefs.

I work well when I know I have to get something done as well.

BLB said...

I would sit down at the computer, intending to work for hours and have to get up to take my two year old to the potty and put in a new Wii game for my 4 year old. I would not go out at night even though my friends want me to, so I can stay home and put a few hours in on the computer.

I wouldn't miss a day of work. I wouldn't let my kids cry while I closet myself away. I wouldn't cheat myself out of sleep...not TOO much anyway, when it is precious enough as it is.

MarjoleinBookBlog said...

What would or wouldn't you do to achieve your dream?
Well. Work hard is the best way to reach your dreams, is my personal experience! And never ever give up!

GirlforChrist said...

I would try my best, but not at the cost of someone's life. That's too extreme!

Jeanne Ryan (Serenissima) said...

Like one of your previous commentors I feel like I make a sacrifice every time I head out to the coffee shop with my laptop at the expense of spending the evening with my kids and husband. When I add up the hours I've spent in pursuit of my dream, it gives me pause. On the other hand, I want my kids to see the importance of working hard toward a goal. That's my rationalization, anyway. ;->

Bidisha said...

Since my dream is to become a professional writer as well, I think I'd lie in a similar way. But I'm not a fast writer, so I think I'd end up pretty much screwed.
Glad it worked out well for you :))

bookaholic said...

Great story Tera! 'White lies are not exactly lies' they say...so no harm in that I guess! :P
I would pretty much do all in my capacity/strength except harm anyone in any way-physically,mentally,emotionally,or otherwise-to achieve my dreams :)

AllisonPaige25 said...

I think I would just work hard and do my best to achieve whatever I wanted in life.. reaping the rewards of hard work are much sweeter than just sitting around and waiting for an opportunity to present itself.. you have to put yourself out there and be vulnerable, you have to be ready for defeats!!! But always know that you're strong enough to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get right back in there!!!

I definately have an extremely LOUD conscience so whenever I do something bad it nags and nags and nags till I make my wrong a right.. so I couldn't do anything dishonest like cheat, lie, murder (too much of a weak stomach)...

Steph said...

I would do almost anything to achieve my dreams. If I really want something, then I'm going to go out and get it. Yeah, I would totally freak out trying to get there, but I would be so pleased and happy with myself in the end. However, I wouldn't risk everything I own or anything. I probably wouldn't hurt anyone/anything physically to get what I want in the process.

ebunadewumi said...

What would or wouldn't you do to achieve your dream?

I wouldn't betray anyone I loved... other than that I would do pretty much anything.

Sara said...

Oh, I would totally have lied too in your situation! When someone asks me if I have some experience in doing a particular job, I usually lie and say 'some'. How hard can it be, right?

stephhale said...

Tuesday's winner is Bree L Bailey! Please send your info to stephanie@stephaniehale.com and tlc@teralynnchilds.com