Producer, Dear Katie: Survivors on the Page Book Club
Editor, Dear Katie: Survivor Stories

I joined the Katie Koestner organization as Producer, Dear Katie: Survivors on the Page Book Club, and Editor, Dear Katie: Survivor Stories (should you click on the above link, I’m on the far right).

This is a wonderful opportunity to help trauma survivors get their stories and work out to a wider audience.

For those who don’t know, Katie Koestner was on the cover of TIME Magazine at the age of 18 as the first person to speak out nationally and publicly as the victim of “date” rape. She is now the Producer and Host of the Dear Katie: Survivor Stories podcast.

My function is two fold. One, to find any creatives (not just authors) whose work deals with trauma and healing, and engage them in podcast conversations regarding their work and their lives post trauma. Two, to help find trauma survivors who’ll share their stories for the main Dear Katie podcast, review episodes before they go to air, edit, and make suggestions as necessary.

My own work in this area can be seen in the material listed below. Your work doesn’t need to mirror or echo my subject matter to be considered; it only needs to be well-written and deal with survivor issues.

Please leave a comment if you or someone you know has written a fiction or non-fiction book, article, or story about surviving trauma. Include the title of the published work, the publisher, a synopsis of the story, and a link to where I can find it online.

Thanks.

First Rejections

I received a rejection on Meteor Man last week. The editor wrote

I can appreciate the attention to detail in your world, but without knowing about the world or characters or what’s going on, the terminology bogs me down a bit too much.

The comment intrigued me because no first reader commented anything similar. Even first first readers – those unfamiliar with my work – didn’t make similar comments. I often gets comments about my world-building but they tend to be more like “Amazing!”, “Rich!”, “Vividly detailed!”, and “Immersive!” (one of my personal favorites).

When I do live readings of works-in-progress, I sometimes get a comment along the lines of “You do more world-building in ten pages than most authors do in the first hundred” and I should spread things out.

I ask in return, “Would you continue reading? Do you want to find out more?”

Unanimous yeses often accompanied by listeners leaning forward in their seats and sometimes by outstretched hands seeking a copy.

All of which tells me I did an excellent job world-building. If people were overwhelmed to the point of being numb, they’d back away rather than continue forward.

Two Recent Classes…
I’ve long suspected that storycrafting and storytelling aren’t the paramount reasons work is accepted or rejected.

Sadly, this was confirmed by two different classes I took over the past few weeks. The classes were from different sources and a little over a week apart. One class had an agent and a publisher, the other had two magazine editors.

I take such classes because I want to understand what got Story A accepted and Story B rejected. A con panel with editors explaining what stood out pro and con in stories from their slushpiles would be gold to me. I’d pay serious dollars to attend such a panel session.

Me, I look for common threads in everything from character to theme, action to plot, … Sometimes the common thread is obvious, other times…?

And always it comes down to “How come this and not that? Give me a list of what works and what doesn’t so I’ll have a better idea how to perfect my own work for publication.” (by the way, two books that do a great job of this are Barry Longyear’s “Science Fiction Writer’s Workshop – I: An Introduction to Fiction Mechanics” and On Writing Science Fiction: The Editors Strike Back).

Want to know what I found out?


Greetings! I’m your friendly, neighborhood Threshold Guardian. This is a protected post. Protected posts in the My Work, Marketing, and StoryCrafting categories require a subscription (starting at 1$US/month) to access. Protected posts outside those categories require a General (free) membership.
Members and Subscribers can LogIn. Non members can join. Non-protected posts (there are several) are available to everyone.
Want to learn more about why I use a subscription model? Read More ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes Enjoy!

Principles

Katie Koestner and Claire Kaplan interviewed me last night for an upcoming segment of Dear Katie.

At one point, I mentioned some Principles Susan and I put together over the years based on our journey. These Principles are the ones we used to guide our lives and the company we created. They’ve appeared in many places over the years.

Someone once asked me if I lived up to the Principles myself.

“Hell no. That’s why I post them. So they can be a guide to me, so I’ll know when I’m not following them.”

Like so much in my life, they are for me. If others benefit from them, wonderful. But first and foremost, they are for me.

You may not like them all. You may only be comfortable with one or two.

Good start. Work to integrate them all. Find that difficult? As noted above, if they were easy for me to follow I wouldn’t have to write them down.

Katie and Claire took interest in the Principles and asked where they could find them. I posted the full list here on my blog as Principles.

Below are the first ten. Feel free to read through the rest of them. Feel free to make them your own.

  1. Do unto others as if they were you.
    In other words, cut out the middle man. Treat others the way you treat yourself. People do this anyway. All we do is suggest you become aware of it.
  2. Trust yourself.
    Until you do this, you’ll never be able to trust others and you’ll put what trust you have in people who will hurt you.

  3. Be Honest.
    With yourself first because it makes it easier to be honest with others. Honesty will cost you and what it returns is worth it. Tell tall tales, lie with the best of them and exaggerate all you want when people know that’s what you’re doing. The rest of the time, be honest.

  4. Respect people’s boundaries and limits.
    There’s a difference between being selfish and being selfless. Realize what this means for you and you’ll realize what it means for others.

  5. Keep it Simple.
    Because it’s so much easier that way.
  6. Take responsibility for your actions.
    When you make a mistake and before anybody else knows the mistake has been made, raise your hand and say loud enough for others to hear you, “That one’s mine. I did that.” If the people around you are more interested in pointing their fingers at you and distancing themselves from you than helping you clean things up, you’re standing around the wrong people. Let them distance themselves. They won’t be around you when you succeed, and you will, because you’ll have learned how to stand up tall, proud and free by recognizing, owning up to and cleaning up your own mistakes. From this you’ll also learn compassion and dignity and how to help others clean up their mistakes, as well. Along with this…
  7. Mistakes are just that; You can reach again.
    So learn to stretch when you have to and to recognize when what you’re reaching for isn’t something you’d want to hold in your hands. You’ll be better for it and so will those who love you.
  8. Innocence is not Naivety and vice-versa.
    Think of this as a self-recognition of “…wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”

  9. Your rights end where your willingness to harm and hurt begin.
    If you need this one explained, you won’t get along here. If you needed a moment to put this into a context you could get comfortable with, you won’t get along here.

  10. Language is a tool, like Maslow’s Hammer.
    Some people think everything’s a nail. Be neither. This is part 1.

(read the rest)

Until the interview goes live, you can get a taste here from my tech check.

Enjoy.

How can I preserve my authenticity and creativity while trying to produce “Industry Standard” work?

Transcript (mostly) of a LinkedIn message exchange:

Hi Joseph,
I hope this meets you well. Would you mind taking a minute to give me your opinion on something I’ve been curious about for some time now. I’ll really appreciate it.
Here goes: How can I preserve my authenticity and creativity while trying to produce “Industry Standard” work?
I’ll be looking forward to your reply

This came out of the blue from a fellow author and took me by surprise. I’m happy to do what I can, and replied: Continue reading “How can I preserve my authenticity and creativity while trying to produce “Industry Standard” work?”

Ruminations Part 7 – Stop looking where you shouldn’t be looking

My first rumination can be found at Ruminations Part I – “Your eyes are completely healed”
My second at Ruminations Part 2 – Numbers lead to informed decisions
Rumination Part 3-1 is Ruminations Part 3 – Sensitivity Readers, Part 1
Rumination Part 3-2 is Ruminations Part 3 – Sensitivity Readers, Part 2
Rumination Part 3-3 is Ruminations Part 3 – Sensitivity Readers, Part 3 – I Take a “Writing the Other” class
Rumination Part 3-4 is Ruminations Part 3 – Sensitivity Readers, Part 4 – Is your character POC or POM?
Ruminations Part 4 is Ruminations Part 4 – I can’t talk to women anymore
Ruminations Part 5 is Ruminations Part 5 – Joseph Carrabis (was/could be/might have been) (Personal Pronouns in Fun and Earnest)
Ruminations Part 6 is Ruminations Part 6 – Professionalize this, Buddy


Early last month on a Saturday morning I lay in bed on my right side, covers over my head to keep the light out, curled up in a foetal ball, and discovered a deeper reason, and as yet unknown reason, I wanted to be a bestselling author for as long as I can remember.

 
I remembered reading Skylark Three. I’m not sure what triggered the memory, exactly. It came unbidden. A happenstance of the senses: the position, the pain, hiding under the covers. A forgotten spirit summoned by the incantation of the moment.

And now a warning: Hold on, dear Readers. We’re going for a ride. Best leave now if you have no interest.
Continue reading “Ruminations Part 7 – Stop looking where you shouldn’t be looking”