Monday, December 27, 2010

Getting Close to Querying!!

This is where I am in my writing journey...

I have decided last minute to add a new chapter/scene into my novel. It's not a make it or break it scene, but I think it's an important one to have and is befitting to the MC's character and expected actions. I have also been editing/revising/slashing furiously, all unnecessary words, sentences, and scenes. As soon as I finish writing this new scene, I will go through the entire novel for one last round of edits, which will involve getting rid of "Melanie words." You know what I mean. Those special words that every writer has a tendency to overuse--just, really, look, well, etc... Of course, these words vary from writer to writer. I know which ones are mine. :-)

As for my query, I can honestly say I went to hell and back during that process. I even shed a few tears, but alas, I have survived and now have what I think to be a kick-ass query thanks to some amazing feedback from a lot of people over in QLH. I'm just putting the final revisions/edits on that. My goal is to begin querying by mid-January, which gives me about 3 weeks. I know it's not a lot of time to finish my novel revisions, query revisions, and do my intense research on gathering the agents that will be a good fit for me and my work, but I think giving myself a deadline is important. People say, why rush? I don't like to think that I'm rushing, but that I'm giving myself a deadline like an agent or editor might do. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. It forces me to stay focused and do what I gotta do.

Where are you in your writing journey and what words to you tend to overuse in your writing???

Sunday, December 19, 2010

What's On My Plate

I would like to apologize to my blogger buddies and visitors for not keeping up with my blog lately. As I'm sure it is for many, the approaching of the holidays can make life crazy. Shopping, cleaning, organizing,  gift wrapping, preparing for family, cooking, the crazy weather...

Okay, let me stop the crap...none of those are the reasons for my lack of new posts lately.

The truth is, I've been crazy busy trying to work on some final revision work on Breaking Out, my completed YA paranormal novel, which I'm HOPING to start querying in January. This means that I am also working on my very important query letter and the synopsis. In addition, I am trying to find time to work on my new WIP as well as my first love novel that I have recently pulled out of the old trunkeroo. I'm crazy I tell ya. In addition to that, I am currently beta reading for 3 different people (well, waiting on the next chapter from one, re-reading completed ms with finished revisions, and another ms  just waiting on my desktop to get to). On top of that, I have been dealing with my 4 year old twin daughters who I have discovered do have the ability to share and take turns after all. Who knew that it would be with a blasted cold :-) What do you get when you cross kids in Pre-K and freezing winter weather? SICK KIDS FOR THE NEXT SEVERAL MONTHS!!!

Anyway, I hope after the holidays to get a bit more consistent in my blogging. I'm trying to still visit blogs when I can, so you may see me popping around.

In case I don't make it back here before Xmas, Happy holidays to you and your loved ones and to those who don't celebrate Xmas, wishing you happiness and health as we approach the new year.

Monday, December 13, 2010

And It's Out of the Trunk!

Yep, I have FINALLY returned to my first love. No, I didn't leave my husband for an old boyfriend. :-)  I'm talking about the very first novel I ever wrote. I'm absolutely in love with my recently finished novel, but always sitting in the back of my mind and nestled in my heart was a little story I wrote called Twin Souls. Okay, so it wasn't all that little. It was more like 145K (originally finished at 160K, but I got it down...hahaha). I even have that story copyrighted. Yep, I have an official piece of paper that says I have a copyright on Twin Souls. (Oh how little I knew hehe).

Anyway, I am very excited to re-write this story. I'm hoping to get it down to 80-90K (Yes that's a lot of cutting and slashing), but I think I can do it because I have learned soooooooooooooo much since writing that book. I still believe strongly in the story (and I still envision it as a 5 book series). I'm still completely and totally in love with Bryce, the hot Latino LI (yes, I have a thing for Latino men/LI in my stories :-))  and I'm going to be working to make my MC, Melina, an even stronger character than she already is because I love a strong female lead. This story is full of hotness, msytery, suspense and life lessons in accepting yourself for who you are (no matter what you are) as well as love. It is a Paranormal Romance Thriller and I can't wait to be living again in this world.

How about you? Any trunked pieces or first loves that you are just dying to pull out? Or if you have, I'd love to hear experience in how you went about revisiting it.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Conflict/Action--The essential element to a good story

I was over at a writing website reading/critiquing someone's posted first chapter. Though there were several issues with the writing itself, the main problem that several people mentioned was that nothing really happens. Nothing to propel the reader with that feeling that you need to read on and find out what happens. This writer was very appreciative of the suggestions/edits I (and others) gave and then they went on to post chapter 3 (notice that chapter 2 was skipped...hmmm). In chapter 3, something finally happens; There's a gorgeous hot new guy at the school and it's big news for the students/girls who live on this island where there is only one high school.  However, there was still one thing missing:  CONFLICT. Several people had made this comment to this person's work and the writer thanked everyone for our feedback and was anxious to get back to doing re-writes (YAY!!! Good sign. Not someone who gives up after some tough but honest feedback). The writer then made this comment: Conflict is tricky. To which I responded: Conflict is not just tricky, it is ESSENTIAL.  And then my brain started trying to figure out an analogy of how to help someone understand why conflict is the driving force to a story. Here's what my brain came up with:

Imagine you just moved to a new neighborhood. There's a girl next door who is your age, but you go to different school. She invites you over. You're hanging out in her room. On her bed. Her mother calls her downstairs to help her with something and she says, "I'll be back in a bit." She leaves the room and sitting right there on the nightstand, next to the bed, is what appears to be her journal. You know it's sooooo wrong to read someone's journal, but think, hey, if it was so private, she'd have put it away or hidden it, right? This is a good, quick way to get to know your new friend. So you pick it up and begin to read from the beginning. And it goes something like this:

Tuesday, September 7th

School started. My teachers already gave us homework. I went to the mall with the girls after school. I didn't buy anything.

Wednesday, September 8th

I ate bran cereal with banana for breakfast. I almost missed the bus for school, but I made it. School was okay. I think I might try out for the math team this year.

Friday, September 9th

Yay. Friday already. There should be a rule that teachers are not allowed to give homework on the weekend.  Me and the girls made plans to go see a movie. That will be fun. I wonder what movie we'll choose?

Sunday, September 12th

Had a good weekend. The movie was funny. Ate popcorn and candy and balanced it off with a diet soda.  Today I helped mom clean the house and then she and I went grocery shopping.


Okay, so at this point, aren't you ready to put this diary down (if you haven't already) and think to yourself that you don't feel bad for prying into her private book, but what you do feel bad about is that this girl has the most boring life ever? You see that there are a million more entries, but this crap is BORING. Most people will put the book down at this point because you assume there is just more of the same. Unfortunately, if they had kept reading on, they would have eventually gotten to this:

Monday, December 11th

Gina totally humiliated me in the gym today. When the teacher wasn't looking, she ran up behind me and lifted my shirt. Everyone saw that I stuff my bra. Everyone laughed at me, especially the guys. I wanted to fucking die. How could she be so evil? How could she get pleasure from someone else's pain? I don't want to go back to school. EVER.

(Does she have your interest now?)

Tuesday, December 12th

I faked being sick today. I just couldn't handle facing everyone after what Gina did to me. Callie says that everyone was talking about it today at school, but a lot of people felt really bad for me and think Gina is a bitch. That made me feel a little better.

(Don't you want to know what's going to happen when she goes back to school? Are you bored anymore?)

Wednesday, December 15th

I went back to school today. It was horrible. People were laughing in my face and making all sorts of jokes. Someone filled my locker with toilet paper. I suspect it was Gina and her stupid bitch cronies, but I can't prove it and no one is saying anything. She and her friends were huddled and whispering something at their table during lunch. They kept looking over at me with these stupid grins on their faces. I feel like they are up to something and it's freaking me out.

Thrusday, December 14th

Gina has humiliated me for the last time!!! I fucking HATE that bitch and she is so going to pay. I know where Dad hides the key to the gun cabinet and where he keeps the bullets. That bitch is soooooo dead!

(Whoa! Does she got your attention now? Aren't you dying to know what happens next?)

This was an example to show why there needs to be some sort of conflict/action early on. If you don't get something going soon enough, then chances are someone will put the book down before they can ever get to it. There might be some exciting things to come, but if you don't grab your reader in a timely fashion, they'll never know. So why make them wait? It doesn't necessarily have to be the first chapter, but if you wait too long, chances are you'll lose them before you can pull them in. And if it's not in the first chapter, you better make sure there is SOMETHING that pulls them in whether it be a strong interesting voice, or the creation of a world that makes your reader want to explore more of. Something magnetic to hold them until they get to the WHOA stuff.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ten Ways You Know You're No Longer Addicted to Twilight

10. You've stopped researching the internet to see if they have any 12 Step programs for Twilightaholics.
9. You no longer ask random people if they've read Twilight so you can engage them in a 2 hour discussion about the books even though you've discussed them a million times already.
8. The Twilight Saga Message board is no long a tab on your bookmarks bar (though it may still be in the bookmark menu ;))
7. The books have actually been put away in your bookcase and no longer sit on your nightstand just so you can stare at them every night before you go to sleep and feel closer to them.
6. You no longer question why your spouse can't be more like Edward and realize that you wouldn't actually want a guy who is as hard as marble, cold as ice, likes to eat raw animals, is 108 years old, likes to control you and who your friends are, likes to stare at you for hours while you sleep, and can't make love to you for fear he'll kill you.
5. You actually laugh when you see things like Twilight board games and Twilight dolls while hanging out with your kids in the toy section of a store.
4. You contemplate taking down your framed twilight posters because you realize how insane it is that you have them hanging in your bedroom even though your dear sweet husband bought them for you for Xmas one year because he's so sweet and so awesome and totally supported your crazy addiction (wait a minute, isn't that enabling? Hmmm...)
3. You've finally realized that being Team Edward or Team Jacob is totally inappropriate because these guys are almost young enough to be your sons and that's just eeeeewwwww gross. (what the hell was I thinking. Eeewwww).
2. When people ask you if you've ever read or heard about the book Twilight, you say, "Yes. They're great. You should read them" instead of "What??? Are you fucking kidding me??? You haven't read them yet?!?  They are like the best books EVER. I read all four books in a week!!! Oh my God!!! You HAVE to read them!!! Like now!!! I read the whole series and then read the entire series again right away, which I've never ever done before in my life!! Read them and then call me and tell me what you think! (So we can discuss the books for a good 2 hours because I can't get enough.)

And lastly,

1. You are heading to the register in Target and see a stand stocked with the Eclipse dvd and think, "Oh. When did that come out?" and then casually grab one and throw into your cart. (Yeah, back in the day, I would have known the exact day and time of release! Oops. Ha. Thus the realization that I'm over the Twilight craze. Though they will ALWAYS have a special place in my heart.)

What about you? What can you add to this list? 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Help, I'm getting nervous!!!!

Okay, so I just read a very powerful post on Natalie Whipple's blog. My heart ached as I read about the rough journey getting published has been for her so far. And we're talking a really intense up and down, slamming hard into walls that's full of mental and emotional injury type of journey.

And it scared the shit out of me.

Not to the point that I want to give up (and God knows if Natalie has not yet given up, I'd be a total loser fool to even consider it), but it has given me a major reality check of what's to come. I don't even have an agent yet, but I thought once I did, it would be smooth sailing from there. You know, something like this:

I get an Agent like this *snap of fingers*
Some minor edits/revision asked of me. No problem
I Go on Sub
Every pub vying for my novel, it goes to auction and I come out with a six figure deal close to a million $s

I mean, it happens, right? I know it does because I just read about it happening to some unknown first time author and so of course I'm all like, "Yeah, it can happen to me because my story is brilliant and different and so well written and...and...

"And then BAM. A fucking bullet rips off part of your head. Your brains are lying on the ground in little bloody pieces"

Sorry if TMI with the Cousin Vinny quote, but I imagine that must be how it feels when your journey (or any dream for that matter) takes you on a totally different and unexpected path to the town of -sorry-you're-not-as-perfect-and-great-and-wonderful-as-you,-your-friends,-and-family-think-you-are-and-there-are-a-million-better-writers-with-better-ideas-than-you-out-in-the-world-so-get-a-damn-grip.

Yes, I need to stopping dreaming too big. Everyone wants to think they are brilliant (at least I know I don't want to walk around thinking I'm a loser), but the truth is, there are no guarantees in this business and it can take a loooooooooong time to really make it big in this business (if at all). So, I will continue to write my ass off, but I also need to stay real about my future and what I will do to make money and help provide for my family. My girls start Kindergarten next year, which means no more being a SAHM. Time to find a $$$ making job because even if I get one of my books agented and published, it doesn't mean I will be the next SM or JKR or SC. If it happens, it will be like hitting the lottery. I can't live my life as though the next time I play lotto I will win and life will be cake.

I'm about to enter the querying stage. I ask those of you who have already been through it (whether you got an agent or haven't as of yet, but are still trying) what advice can you give me about what to expect. Lay the reality on me. I seriously need a Marisa Tormei slap in the forehead.

Blog Design by Use Your Imagination Designs images from the End of Love kit by Lily Designs