Cheryl Angst, Writer

Writer of strange tales – because no one ever accused me of being normal.

Thank You March 6, 2012

It’s funny – I’ve received so many emails, comments, and pokes on social media praising my writing skills, yet now, when I need them most, words fail me.

Thank you.

Thank you to everyone who has taken time from their busy lives and families to send me an email. Your stories of similar circumstances are heart-wrenching and I’m grateful you felt you could share them with me. I hope you find a way to share them with others too – your voices should be heard along with mine.

Thank you to everyone who has visited my blog. I can barely imagine what a crowd of 120,000+ people looks like, never mind comprehend that many people taking time out of their lives to visit one tiny website. You’ve totally blown my mind with your interest in this topic. I hope you continue to read material from all sides in this issue.

Thank you to the close to one thousand people who have commented on my blog post. Not only have many of you taken the time to say positive things, but a number of you are asking some seriously tough questions in those threads. I applaud everyone for opening themselves up to public criticism – it’s not easy.

I want to particularly thank those people who continue to debate elements of the dispute in strong, yet respectful, ways. I am impressed with the amount of time, forethought, and diligence that is going into these discussions. You’ve expressed yourselves so eloquently–and in many cases, so openly–and I can’t help but applaud your efforts. I hope you will continue to engage in constructive debate, if not here then elsewhere, because it is the sharing of ideas (and the examining of others’ ideas) that leads to change. Thank you.

I owe the world of Facebook and the Twitterverse a huge debt of gratitude for spreading word of my letter far and wide. Sometimes it seems as though the Internet is so vast, and so many people are talking all the time, that there’s no way one message could possibly get through. Without you, my letter would never have received the attention it has. My goal was to have the letter read in the legislature so it could become part of the public record, but every tweet, share, like, and comment has ensured it will be far more than a simple addendum to the debate.

Thank you to the various media outlets who invited me to speak with them. I know the teachers’ dispute is a contentious issue, yet every single one of you treated me with decency and dealt with me honestly. I was (and still am) terrified of putting myself into the spotlight–albeit briefly–but everyone (producers, hosts, make-up artists, photographers, reporters, camera operators, and many more whose jobs I can’t name) has treated me as a fellow human being. For this, I am deeply grateful.

Thank you to my friends and family. Your support means so much to me. Knowing you’re cheering me on gives me the strength to face my fears and continue to speak out.

Thank you also to my colleagues. You’ve stood behind me from the moment my letter started to spread, and I know I can count on you for anything.

A special thank-you needs to go out to someone who is both a friend and a colleague: for holding my hand when the visits to my blog started to sky-rocket, for helping me find the courage to speak to the media, and for getting up before the crack of dawn and taking me all the way into Vancouver for an early morning television interview. You’re an amazing person and I count myself lucky to not only work with you, but to count you among my friends. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Thank you also to my loyal blog readers – yes, all thirteen of you. This is first and foremost my personal blog. Many of you have been with me since my first tentative posts in 2010, and you’ve let me take this quiet little corner of the Internet and throw it into the public spotlight. It was not my intent to make a splash with my letter, but all actions have unintended consequences, and you’ve accepted the sudden shift in topic with aplomb.

I promise it won’t last forever.

I’m awed and humbled by the reaction to my letter, and I know this will disappoint a number of people who have asked/demanded answers, but I’m afraid I don’t have any. All I know with any certainty is what my experiences are and how they make me feel. I love that many people disagree and aren’t afraid to speak up. I love that many people are asking tough questions that those in positions of power should also be asking if the issue is to be resolved. I love that I have created an environment where there is no black and white, no right or wrong answer.

This is part of what I do in the classroom. I encourage question and debate. I freely admit I don’t have all the answers. I ask questions that don’t have easy answers. I encourage my students to examine issues from more than one angle. Hopefully one day my students will take these skills and participate in similar discussions about issues that matter to them. Hopefully they will use these skills to make a difference.

Please don’t think I am trying to end the discussion. I couldn’t if I tried, and I wouldn’t even if I could,

I’m not sure I have much else to say–nor am I sure I want to perpetuate the attention–but if I do, you can be sure I will find a way to say it. I wrote this post because I wanted to thank everyone who has had an impact on my life over the past several days before my “fifteen minutes of fame” are over and this blog and I return to obscurity.

Thank you. You’ve changed my life.

I can only hope my words will one day have a similar impact.

Cheryl.

 

Writers’ Search Engine April 8, 2011

Filed under: Writing — Cheryl Angst @ 5:48 pm
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Elizabeth Craig is an author who scours the web searching for helpful articles for writers. Not only has she been tweeting them and posting them on her blog, but she has also been creating a massive database that tops 7,000 items.

If you’re looking for writerly advice, look here:

http://hiveword.com/wkb/search

There’s even a blog post by me archived there!

C.

 

#AskYAed(itors) December 18, 2010

Filed under: Writing — Cheryl Angst @ 6:42 pm
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Two children’s editors from Egmont (USA) hosted a tweetchat session tonight where people could ask questions about the publishing industry. They’re very helpful and willing to answer pretty much anything. In fact, if you have an Amish YA novel with oodles of swearing in it, you’re golden right now (just kidding, but it was a funny topic on the chat tonight).

I asked a couple of questions. One related to the time frame for nudging an editor who’s doing a favour for you, and I’ve decided I may send an email in the new year. But there’s really no rush, and I don’t want to pester anyone over the holiday season.

The other question related to the notion of posting original fiction (short stories and whatnot) on my blog. Both editors thought it was a good thing; but for two almost different reasons. One editor loves seeing original content on author websites, and the other thinks the content should be used as a marketing tool to increase buzz and interest in the author’s books. The first option means putting it up whenever, the second means putting it up once a book exists in the real world.

Now I have even more food for thought!

C.

 

Authors Are Wonderful October 13, 2010

Filed under: Writing — Cheryl Angst @ 7:51 pm
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I know a lot of people are weighing in on the pros and cons of social media, but I have to say that while some aspects certainly suck my time, others are invaluable.

I follow a number of agents and authors on Twitter and while I mostly just listen and lurk, sometimes I will tweet a reply. More often than not, the person replies back. Which–when I’m feeling flabbergasted at my NaNo novel’s stubborn refusal to produce a plot and a successfully published author tweets to offer me encouragement–is pretty amazing.

Seriously.

SHE TOOK THE TIME TO CHEER ME ON.

I’m feeling a little teary. I think I’ll pack a box of tissues and go hunting for that plot now.

C.

PS: Hannah Moskowitz, I wish all your books were in the Scholastic catalogue so I could buy them for my class. You are awesome.

 

TweetDeck September 4, 2010

Filed under: Writing — Cheryl Angst @ 5:57 pm
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Um… I may be waaaaaaaaay behind the times, but I finally downloaded TweetDeck today and I am kicking myself. I LOVE IT. There’s an #askintern chat happening as I’m typing this, but I don’t need to stay on Twitter (or TweetChat) in order to see what’s happening. Every time someone posts using the hashtag, a little bubble pops up in the top right of my screen with the tweet in it. The bubble stays for a few (maybe ten?) seconds then fades away, leaving my screen as it was.

I love this! I love, love love TweetDeck! Now I can keep Twitter on without it sucking away my time. SO KEWL!

What other social media innovations are out there that I’m missing? And what cool things can you do with TweetDeck?

C.

 

Query Tweeting Ethics August 31, 2010

Filed under: Writing — Cheryl Angst @ 5:20 pm
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I stumbled onto a highly-charged Twitter topic earlier today. It seems several agents have posted recently about the practice of posting comments about (and sometimes snippets of) queries on the social media site. I decided to check out author/agent Mandy Hubbard’s blog post (http://mandyhubbard.livejournal.com/241005.html) on the topic to see what was up.

I follow a couple of agents who sometimes use the #queries hashtag, and I’ll admit to laughing at some of their comments, but also being made a little uncomfortable by others. So, with my mixed emotions in mind, I dove into the debate.

I understand that writers need to develop a thick skin – the industry is about rejection at all levels – but it angers me that people are using that as an excuse to publicly ridicule their fellow authors. If I submitted my query for public critique, then yes, I would expect to see it ripped to shreds around the web. However, if I send a business letter to someone I hope to establish a contractual relationship with, I do NOT expect to see commentary or quotes from my letter being mocked online.

Some agents offer query critiques, either on their blogs or on separate sites (Janet Reid’s Query Shark site is a fabulous example), and the queries posted there are done so with the express permission of the author, not at the agent’s whim when sorting through his/her slush pile. I understand the desire to receive feedback on a query – even if it’s only 140 characters on Twitter – because form rejections really tell us nothing, but when it’s done to get a laugh at someone else’s expense it’s not cool.

For me, the issue boils down to one of ethics.

Do agents have the right to post or mock business correspondence sent to them? What do you think?

C.

 

Twitter Chats July 20, 2010

Filed under: Writing — Cheryl Angst @ 6:25 pm
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I know I’ve mentioned a few of these before, but I thought I’d put them in a handy, central post.

There are a number of hashtags (#) on twitter of benefit to writers. The beauty of a hashtag, is anyone who knows about it can follow the discussion. If everyone uses the same hashtag then everyone can see what’s being said. On twitter, it’s an effective way to run a chat session.

The first few times I followed a hashtag discussion, I was pretty overwhelmed by the rate at which tweets arrived, but either the world is slower or I am getting faster. There are a few programs that make following twitter discussions easier if you need help keeping up.

In no particular order, here are the hashtags I like to follow:

#kidlitchat – has regular discussions about kids’ books (MG or lower, no YA)

#yalitchat – regularl discussions about everything YA

#amwriting – used all the time for writers to post where they’re at and give each other encouragement

#askagent – regularly irregular (an agent seems to randomly decide to have a chat when the fancy strikes) and intensely attended chat about everything publishing EXCEPT queries and trends

#querychat – where to post those questions you wanted to ask on #askagent but weren’t allowed

#crashgram – irregular lessons and tips on grammar

#pubtip – sometimes sarcasm, sometimes actual advice, this one is mostly used by industry pros to share snippets of what they’re thinking

#writeoncon – the twitter feed for a massive children’s lit conference happening this August (it’s free, it’s online, and ALL writers will find something of benefit!)

Anyone know of any others?

C.

 

#askagent Awesomeness June 14, 2010

Filed under: Writing — Cheryl Angst @ 6:52 pm
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I’ve mentioned the tweet chat #askagent before, but it bears mentioning again. Every few weeks or so, various agents repping all sorts of genres get together on Twitter and take all questions (except queries and trends). It’s an amazing opportunity to get your writing/publishing questions answered in real-time by real experts in the field.

@literaticat called another #askagent tonight. I asked a few questions and got most of them answered. Either it was a slower #askagent, or I’m getting better at following along because didn’t have too much trouble.

I think the most important question I asked tonight (and this is strictly regarding my personal place on the writer’s journey) related to having my first novel published. I asked whether or not it would count as a legit or good publishing credit if my novel were published as an ebook by a small press. I received two replies. One being it would neither help nor hurt, and the other being that it is worth mentioning especially since it is better than having a printed book sell poorly on my record.

The book deal, as exciting as it is, is only a small step on the road and I am aware of that. I was mostly relieved to hear it wasn’t a bad thing. ;-)

C.

 

#askagent April 30, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized,Writing — Cheryl Angst @ 9:08 pm
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The incredibly popular twitter chat, #askagent, raged across the ether this evening. I missed the first hour or so, which was probably good because I am old and cannot handle the speed and chaos of the early hours on a tweet chat. I asked two questions tonight and received an answer to both. I was amazed – in the midst of thousands of tweets, my little peeps were seen and responded to.

Topics ranged from questions related to publishing timelines and times, to crazy conference stories, to marketing, and through anything and everything except queries and trends. I’m sure I missed a tonne of good stuff, but it all flies by so fast! That being said, the agents who wade into the melee are awesome.

The first question I asked was if the sarcastic heroine has been overdone in the suspense genre. The response I got was not that it has been overdone, but that it is hard to do well. The agent said it’s a hard type to write and still have the character be likeable. I have to admit this is a concern I have with my novel. I am worried my main character will come off as unlikeable. I love, love, love her to death, but I’m not sure the qualities I love about her come through quickly enough to win over a reader.

The second question was also related to characterization. I wanted to know if humour works within a suspense novel. My main character has a wry wit and often sees the humour in odd situations, and I wondered if eliciting a chuckle or two from readers is acceptable in a genre focused on adrenaline rushes. The response I received to this one was basically that humour is great in any genre as long as it is seamlessly embedded within the story, and not dumped in for the purposes of garnering a laugh. I was glad to hear this because my main character’s sense of humour is one of her more endearing characteristics, and I’d hate for her to have to lose it.

If you have a burning question you’ve always wanted to ask an agent, sign up for a twitter account, and hold onto your socks. If you don’t have a question, the conversations are worth following for the sheer amount of information on writing and the publishing industry that springs forth.

From beyond the keyboard,

Cheryl.

cherylangst@gmail.com

 

Moment of Squee!!! April 23, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized,Writing — Cheryl Angst @ 7:46 pm
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Guess who watched my vlog contest video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TB8ButGTaI) on Youtube! If you guessed literary agent Janet Reid, you would be 100% absolutely correct. Not only did she watch the video, but she left a comment! Let me quote: “this totally rocks!”

This in itself is worthy of a moment of *squee* but there’s more. She watched the video and then she tweeted about it to her almost 5,000 followers! Check out http://twitter.com/Janet_Reid/status/12685424958 (if you have a twitter account). Awareness of the tweet raised my emotions to *squee* squared.

The blog comment and tweet faded into a hazy blur of warmth when I discovered this blog post: http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/2010/04/i-about-fell-over-laughing.html. Yes, that’s my video linked to Janet Reid’s blog, and those comments are about me and my entry.

“The coolest aspiring writer.”

“Her dialogue is funny as hell.”

“That was hilarious!”

“I vote for her, I vote for her.”

“I kinda want to read her book too.”

I posted a comment on Ms. Reid’s blog, thanking her for showcasing my video (and thanking the commenters for their praise). In a shameless plug for Job Hunted, I posted a link to the first scene of the novel: http://cherylangst.wordpress.com/writing/job-hunted-chapter-1-scene-1/. Feel free to check it out and give me some feedback!

It’s funny, I had a stressful workday today, but I can’t stop smiling and thinking, “what a truly wonderful day!”

From well beyond cloud nine,

Cheryl.

cherylangst@gmail.com

 

 
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