Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Giving Birth to a Book

WINNERS! WINNERS! Because I had so many post, I'm giving away two ARCs, Advanced Reader Copies, and two of my older releases. THE FIRST PLACE WINNERS TO RECEIVE AN ARC: Chelsea B and RobynL. The second place winners to receive a copy of one of my older releases are Kerribookwriter and Sally F.

Please email me at christie (at) Christie-Craig (dot) com. Sally and Kerribookwriter please let me know which book you would like. And thanks to everyone who played.

Next Tuesday pop over to Barbara Vey's blog http://www.publishersweekly.com/blog/Beyond_Her_Book/index.php and post for a chance to win an ARC. Also in May I will be doing contests every week to give away an ARC.




CONTEST: Leave a comment to win an advanced copy of Shut Up and Kiss Me.





You may have heard writers say that our books are our babies—that seeing a book through from the first sparkle of inspiration to the actual publication—to where you can actually hold that book in your hands—is much like having a baby. I should point out that some of our babies stay in the oven a heck of a lot longer than nine months. That said, here’s sort of how I compare publishing to birthing. Oh, I should warn you upfront, this may get graphic. Hey, anyone who’s ever given birth knows how graphic that can be. Right?

First, did you notice I compared birthing to publishing, and not writing? Why? Well, because writing is only part of the publishing process. Ahh, the writing, or I should say the initial writing, the oh-my-God-I’ve-got-a-great-story stage. It’s then when a writer can’t get to her computer fast enough. She’s breathing hard with excitement. Her body is tingling with anticipation. Her focus is 100% on her story. She feels so good. She’s on fire. Her words flow from her finger tips, and she doesn’t even contemplate stopping. Oh, no. She’s doing this. She’s going all the way this time.

Ahh, yes, the initial writing is what I refer to as the conception stage of publishing. And by conception, in case you missed all those metaphors, I mean sex. It’s the really fun part of making a baby, or in this case, making a book. Well, it’s the fun part when everything goes right. Hey . . . most of us has gone fishing and didn’t get a bite. Or entered a race and didn’t arrive at the finish line. Gone gigging and didn’t get a frog. Well, writers can get all turned on by an idea, but when they get down to actually doing the deed—I’m talking about the writing—well, the plot goes limp, the hero, or heroine just doesn’t stand up to our expectations. It can be very discouraging.

A smart writer will be honest when it’s not working. Needless to say, writers are human too, and we are often tempted to just fake it. Faking it always gets a girl and writers in trouble. Seriously, screaming “yes, yes, yes,” when there’s no real motivation for the story makes for a very boring first scene. And some new writers, myself included, have been known to keep faking it chapter after chapter.

However, like in the baby-making business, if his little squiggles meet up with your eggs, things very well may start to fuse—well, that’s about chapter two in the book-making business. The plot just seems to be sticking. Not that all your insecurities have faded. This is still that time when you’re unsure if the book will go to full term. You’re scared to let anyone else read it, or tell anyone about your new idea because you’re not one hundred percent sure you are going to carry this book the whole way. Yup, that first trimester of writing is filled with uncertainty.

Now in the baby-making business, the less than pleasant upchucking stage comes a bit earlier than it does in the book-making business. It’s about mid book when you start getting that sick feeling that you’ve bitten off more than you can chew—never mind trying to swallow it. The nervous flutters of not being able to pull off the plot starts gnawing at the lining of your stomach. Nothing you write goes down good. Half of what your write comes back up and gets flushed down the computer toilet with one button push—delete. Doubt sets in.

Thankfully, that stage passes when you start to feel the plot move. Your book suddenly feels real, alive. You get excited about naming your baby. You wonder what your baby’s face will look like. Will the cover be as beautiful as you imagine it? Will people stop you on the street to tell you how beautiful your baby is? But then it hits. . . the pressure of making your book great. The fear that it’s not going to turn out as good as you thought, that fear has you practically peeing on yourself all the time.

You’re not over that phase when the sagging stage hits. You know when you’re pregnant and your boobs start looking like overgrown eggplants? Well, the middle of the book is known to sag like that. As a matter of fact, soon, the whole book starts getting huge, the computer document starts showing signs of stretch marks, even the backend of your book is spreading. You need to stop feeding it words, but you can’t. Because if you do, that means it’s almost time for the big day, the day you write “the end.”

Oh, hell, you don’t think you’re ready for that. Because you know what comes next. Just thinking about it has inspiration and fear gushing out like a burst of water. Then it’s time, time to expose yourself, time to pull up your gown and show your hoo-hoo to every one in the room. It’s time to push your baby out into the world.

It’s time to give the book to a critique partner, to an agent or an editor. As wonderful as this experience can be, you know to expect pain—the pain of rewrites and rejections. Then comes the worry that your baby is never going to grow up to be a real novel and play on the bookstore shelves. You consider quitting, crossing your legs and just not letting it out. But it’s too late to turn back. Oh, no, your woo-woo is already exposed, you’ve told people you were writing a book, you’re committed and as scared as you are, you have this need to push yourself. So you take one of those deep breaths and you do it. You scream like a Mo Fo and you give one last push and it happens. Your baby is done. You are exhilarated and elated. Life is good. You can’t wait to get your first glimpse of the little darling as a completed book. And when you do . . .?

Sorry. Not all babies are born beautiful. Have you ever seen a new-born baby that came right out of the shoot? Their heads can be misshaped, they’ve got gooey stuff all over them, and sometimes you gotta slap them on the ass to bring some life into them. Well, our books are born the same way. An editor may say what a cute little baby, and love it like a mama, but then they drop the bomb. They tell you before they’ll really love your little darling, you gotta get it a nose job, some liposuction, and grow some hair on that thing.

Yeah, birthing a book isn’t easy. But it’s like birthing a baby. There’s nothing in the world quite like it. Because after all that, a writer forgets it’s not easy. They find themselves back at their computer, turned on by another plot idea, hoping it stands up to their expectation, praying to cross the finish line, swearing they won’t fake it, and they start working on giving life to another book.

That’s what I’m doing this week. I’m starting a new book. And my baby that just came out of the shoot? Well, I kind of, sort of, had twins. You see, next June I will have two books hit the shelves. Wild, Wicked & Wanton: 101 Ways to Love Like You are In a Romance Novel, is a humorous non-fiction book on what a woman can learn from a romance novel, and Shut Up and Kiss Me, is another humorous romantic suspense that includes skunks, fire ants and men in--and out--of pink bathrobes.

And to celebrate my starting a new book and publishing two, I’m gonna give away an ARC of Shut Up and Kiss Me to one lucky poster. Tell me about the books you are reading, or tell me a funny birthing experience of a baby, a book, or anything that brings about labor pains. Just leave a comment to be entered in the drawing. And make sure you come back tomorrow morning to see who won.

49 comments:

Zita said...

I have never given birth, but I was my sister's coach for her second child. My brother-in-law is in the military and he was away, so my sister came to stay with me. She went into false labour one day and we hied ourselves to the hospital. While we were in the birthing room waiting for the drugs to kick in another woman was across the hall who had obviously been in labour for quite some time. Her contractions were pretty close together and she was really, really inventive when she described the things she was going to do to her husband once this was all over. The poor guy was pale as a ghost and she had a very firm grip on his hand. In fact, during one contraction I actually heard the crack and then he yelped and she dropped his hand and started to cry. I looked at my sister and said, "You stop right now and wait until your husband can get here!" I love my sister, and my niece, but I wasn't at all prepared to suffer broken bones for either of them. =)

Brandie Nickerson said...

Too cute...and true :)

I was a ghost writer for a friend a few years ago and that felt like being a surrogate mother. The ideas were not mine, the plot and characters were not mine, but I carried it and mold it to what it became. Then I had to give it up with no future claims to it... :)

Brandie

Edie Ramer said...

This is too hilarious. I actually have tears in my eyes from laughing.

Not sure how funny this was, but when I was wheeled into the labor room, my baby was ready to pop out. The doctor wasn't as ready. The door to the sink area was cracked open. I could see him washing his hands and I yelled at him to hurry up.

Christie Craig said...

Zita,

I love it. Thanks for the laugh. A lot of wives are hard on their hubbies during labor. They feel as if they shouldn't have to suffer alone.

Thanks for dropping by.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Brandie,

I love it and so fits! I just hope you got lots of money for your trouble.

Thanks for stopping by.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Hi Edie!

Sounds as if you head your about you during labor. Because my son was early and happened so fast, I didn't get anything for pain. I did okay until that little bit and I just decided to pass out and let everyone else do the work. Hey, I'd done everything for seven months, let someone else take it from here. They kept slapping me and telling me I had to help.

Thanks for stopping by.

CC

jbrayweber said...

Wow! I had no idea how close writing and publishing a book is to giving birth. LOL!
Super post, Christie.
As for my own real life birthing experiences, they include toll booths, a grocery store and torture by needles.

Jenn!

kerribookwriter said...

I just gave birth to my 3rd and final child and I'm having a tough recovery BUT at the same time I'm so sad that this will be my last one. Isn't being woman/mom the toughest job you'll ever love? Sigh.

Interestingly, my 1 month old son is my best behaved child right now. The other two are driving Mommy up the wall and back. So, basically the labor pains don't end with childbirth. LOL

The book I've just finished reading and am currently digging is The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by the talented Leanna Renee Hieber!

TerriOsburn said...

If this isn't the perfect analogy, I don't know what is. Not that I've managed to birth a book just yet. I can't get past the first trimester. I've been in the first trimester for three looooooooooong years. *sigh*

Congrats on the TWO books. That's amazing!

The only funny story I have about giving birth is that I've been told the pain meds made me high enough to start talking about cows. No idea what that was about. Oh, and since my kiddo came out in such a hurry (she was my first and only) the doctor had the nerve to ask if I was sure I'd never done this before.

Really? REALLY?!

mariska said...

I'm reading Jillian Cantor's book, The life of Glass now. still in early chapter, but i'm getting hook with the story.

I had an operation when i gave birth to my son.
it's only 1/2 hour but the pain was lasting till a month :)

Congrats on your New Baby Christie !

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed reading the comments. One of my sons was born on the day one of the shuttles returned to earth and the doctor said "They got them out" of course, I thouht he was talking about me having more than one baby.
Things were fuzzy for a bit there.
The book sounds really good and I have added it to my TBR list.
JOYE
JWIsley(at)aol(dot)com

Christie Craig said...

Jenn,

I'm sure since it's only been a few months since you gave birth, those memories are still really fresh. The toll booth and grocery store experiences sound very interesting.

Thanks for stopping by.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Kerribookwriter,

Giving birth to a real child is a piece of cake to raising the little darling. Motherhood is the hardest job I've ever taken on. But it also the most rewarding. Good luck with those three.

And I've heard wonderful things about The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker. And I've met the talented Leanna Renee Hieber and she's a very neat person!

Thanks for stopping by.
CC

Christie Craig said...

Terri,

We've gotta get you out of that first trimester!

You are lucky your little girl came fast. My first labor lasted about eight hours, the second only lasted about two.

And since both my kids were early, my doctor told me "If you're crazy enough to decide to have another one. Find a different doctor."

catslady said...

Oh, I love your metaphors lol. The best part is even after all the pain (my first labor was 29 hours with contractions starting at 5 min. apart) it's all worth it. And amazingly you are more than willing to do it again (and some again and again - my niece as 7 kids so far). Some authors have a lot more "babies" than that.

I just finished Demonfire by Kate Douglas. A fairly new genre for me but I totally enjoyed it.

MsHellion said...

I have never given birth--the thought of it makes me cross my legs--but I remember a coworker (Jeanette) telling us her birthing story. She was trying to push out a 10 pound baby boy, and her husband was at the business end, filming the whole thing, then returning to her side and giving his interpretation.

At one point he returns and says, "OMG, you have an angry asshole, it looks like this" and makes a fish-face mouth motion.

To this day I don't understand how those two remain married.

But I agree that the process is like giving birth--especially that after you give birth, you might have to slap it to put some life into it. No joke there! And the beginning is a lot like great sex. *LOL*

Another great blog. Thanks for making me laugh!!! You rock!

Christie Craig said...

Mariska,

The half an hour sounds pretty good, but the thought of going under the knife makes natural childbirth sound a tad more appealing.

Thanks for stopping by.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Joye,

Oh goodness, having twins books is one thing, but seriously having more than one baby to care for . . . well, I don't think I could do it. I admire women who can care for two or three.

Thanks for stopping in.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Catslady,

Oh, I love Kate Douglas. She's such a sweetheart. I'm getting her book this weekend. Can't wait to read it.

And goodness, seven kids? Two was for sure my limit.

Thanks for stopping in.

CC

Christie Craig said...

MsHellion,

OH MY!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for the laugh. But you are right, if my hubby had said something like that, I'd pulled my feet out of the stirrups, gotten off the bed and kicked him.

Too funny. Thanks for sharing.

CC

Sally F said...

Your brain is a wicked, earthy and ...um, FERTILE place. Love it!

Christie Craig said...

Sally F.

Thank you. But can you imagine if I didn't censor myself? LOL.

Thanks for dropping by.

CC

Anonymous said...
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Sandy said...

It's a horrible experience until it's over and you forget until the next time. lol

Jane said...

Love the title of your upcoming release, Christie. Never given birth, but was in the delivery room when my cousin gave birth. It took me a while to get the images out of my head.

Christie Craig said...

Sandy,

The moment you get a look a the baby, ugly or not, it was all worth it. I personally God gave us this short term memory where birth is concerned to protect the human race.

Thanks for stopping by.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Jane,

LOL. Some women want mirrors so they can see everything. Not me. Thanks for posting.

CC

Refhater said...

OMG! My job is so so so boring compared to being an author. Congrats on the 2 new releases! Now I know what I'll be getting myself for my June birthday.

The only funny birth story I know is my own. And the funny part happened 3 days afterwards.

My mom is sensative to meds and because I was born prematurely via emergency c-section she got LOTS of meds. When she finally became coherent, she asked the nurse what day it was and then proceded to fill out my baby book and all the birth announcements with that date. The only problem was that it was 3 days after I was born.

I was 12 years old before she got my birthday right. And to top it off, she never corrected the birth announcements and "fixed" my baby book with white out.

Kate Douglas said...

First off, thanks Catslady--so glad you enjoyed DemonFire, and Christy, I love the post, but you didn't mention the postpartum depression that comes after you FINALLY send that sucker off to the editor! I go into a terrible funk when I finish a book, miss the characters like crazy and can't wait to start the next one to take care of my suddenly "empty nest." And yes, I know...therapy is probably in order.

Christie Craig said...

Refhater,

Too funny. I can see the headlines now: Girl doesn't know how old she is because mom was high on drugs. LOL.

Thanks for posting.

CC

robynl said...

no birth stories here but I've watched on TV; what a comparison to writing a book. I've never birthed a book either.

Christie Craig said...

Kate,

You are soo right!!! It's just like postpartum depression. And if you need therapy, I'm right behind you.

Thanks for visiting.

CC

Kristi said...

Right now I'm reading Wicked Craving by G.A. McKevett. I just finished The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton and loved it. I read it in 2 days.

I can't wait for your new one, you crack me up with every book.

Christie Craig said...

Robynl,

Those shows on TV don't hide anything. I personally think the women who go on there are very, very brave.

Thanks for stopping in.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Hi Kristi,

Thanks for stopping by. I seriously think Shut Up and Kiss Me is my funniest book yet. Oh, I like that title, Wicked Craving.

CC

Anonymous said...

cognrats on teh books
whooo
heard great stories

Chelsea B. said...

Well, I've never had a baby, so how about books I've been reading? LOL
I just finished your book, Divorced, Desperate and Deceived and loved it! (Joey is still my favorite....:-)
And now I'm reading Mistress: Hired for the Billionaire's Pleasure by India Grey, which is turning out to be a fantastic read!

Alexis said...

My birthing story...I was watching the 2004 Olympics. My husband was playing Texas hold em online. My water broke, I told my husband, he panicked and went all in. He lost $1 million dollars. Luckily it was play money considering the price of formula. The trauma kept him from playing hold em for 4 years. Although the sleepless nights might have had something to do with it.

Christie Craig said...

Anonymous,

Thanks for the congrats!

CC

Christie Craig said...

Chelsea B.

Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed DD&Deceived. Hmm, the book, Hired for the Billionaire's Pleasure sounds intriguing. Enjoy the read.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Alexis,

You should introduce that to Gamblers Anonymous. Too funny.

Thanks for posting.

CC

Stacey Joy Netzel said...

This has got to be the best comparision I've ever read! Perfect. :) And what's funny is that my hubby views my writing the way he talked to family after our 3rd baby was born. Him: "It was pretty easy." Me: "Excuse me?" Him: "Well, this one only took about 3 1/2 hrs compared to the 7 1/2 hrs with the first one." And when I asked for a pain shot immediately upon arriving at the hospital for the third one (instead of stupidly trying to go all natural with the second one because I'd already done it with the first one) he told me not to wimp out. LOL

No, I didn't break his fingers--but I should've!

Thanks for the smiles after a long day at work, Christie!

Also, I read Divorced, Desperate and Delicious last week--LOVED it!

Christie Craig said...

Stacey,

I think they always think it's easy. Although I have to say, my hubby did say that they should have taught him how to lie better in lamaze class. My son was almost two months early, so we had tons of doctors in the room. Hubby kept hearing the problems the doctors were having and when I asked if everything was okay, he and nurses just kept saying, "You are doing great. Everything is fine."

And maybe you could have just broken one finger, that might have done the trick. LOL.

CC

Donna Marie Rogers said...

What a fantastic comparison, Christie! LOL

This isn't exactly a great story, but when I was due to have my first daughter, my husband and I were outside picking strawberries on our hands and knees. My water broke with such force it sounded like a gusher. My husband looked at me with such horror I still laugh whenever I think about it. *g* Then I drove him crazy as I took time to bathe and shave my legs. He was frantic to get me to the hospital, but no way was I going without shaving my legs. LOL

Can't wait to read Shut Up and Kiss Me, I know how much this one means to you, and you know I love everything you write. :-) I even gave you a plug on the Facebook group Romance Sluts...LOL

Christie Craig said...

Hi Donna,

A man would never understand the need to shave our legs. LOL.

Thanks so much for the PR. Shut Up and Kiss Me is special for me. You know how some books are just easier to write because all the characters are talking to you? That was this book.

Thanks for stopping in.

CC

Anonymous said...
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EmilyBryan said...

Hysterical as always, Christie and more true than we'd like to admit!

Christie Craig said...

Emily,

Thank you. It's always good to see your name photo posted here.

CC

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