26 June 2007

REPOST 8/14/2006 Cold calls and rewrites...

There is nothing worse, IMO, than a decent case of nerves. Or...nothing better, depending on what you're doing and why the nerves are jumping. Today is day of nerves, good and bad.

On the bad side is the fact that I haven't heard back from a few people I'd hoped to hear back from in the next week. It's not the end of the world, but that's always an uncomfortable position to find yourself in.

Do you attempt e-mail again, risking a nasty response from someone who SAW the first e-mail but simply hasn't had time to get around to answering you? I mean...we are all busy, and you like to give someone the benefit of the doubt.

Do you wait and risk that they never did see that first e-mail, in which case, you will kick yourself later for not following up? I've had this happen a couple of times...thankfully, not often.

Do you, as a friend who is long in the tooth in this business suggests, pick up the phone and drop a dime or two to call and check in personally? Now, a lot of people would jump on that with both feet. I can talk to nearly anyone in e-mail, nearly anyone face-to-face, nearly anyone in chat or IM and nearly anyone on the phone, but I loathe cold calling someone. I suppose someone you're already dealing with by e-mail isn't really a cold call, but it feels that way to me.

Does anyone else out there have to practice what you're going to say on a call like that before you do it? I can talk to a reader, editor, reviewer, agent or even a reporter cold at a convention. Why is picking up a phone so much more difficult than facing someone and talking to them? It's certainly not more personal, IMO. Maybe it's the loss of body language and facial expressions. Whatever it is, I find the phone nerve wracking in a way I find no other form of communication.

But only if I'm the one doing the calling. If someone calls me cold, I'm golden. So, is the problem that I am the one making the first step? Perhaps.

Now, how do nerves help you? Have you ever been writing a story and it just doesn't feel right? No matter how you look at it, you just can't figure out why that is... It's not a continuity or logic error. It's not a world rule violation or someone slipping out of POV. So in frustration, you break one of your own cardinal rules and start typing it in while you're still writing.

BINGO! All of the sudden, in fleshing out the story, you figure out what your problem was all along and you're golden again.

That was how my day went with The Fire God's Woman. I just couldn't understand what was holding the story back. In typing it in, I realized I'd made the telling very unbalanced and in doing so gave away more secrets than I wanted too early in the game. While I was typing, I started seeing the natural breaks for switching POV for a smoother flow. Sometimes, nerves really do help you advance.

As for the other little problem... I still don't know what I'm going to do, but since G tells me to always wait until Wednesday to call NY folks, I guess I have a little time to think about it.

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