Monday, December 19, 2011
So here's my epiphany. All the work I've been doing on my WIP has somewhere inside made me feel like I'd given up on SEEDS. And somewhere inside I wasn't prepared to do that. I still believe in SEEDS. I still think it's a good well-written story that deserves to be published. I've got to somehow strike a balance where I put time into finding a home for SEEDS while still doing work on my WIP. That's going to be tough. Finding time to blog and work on the WIP while taking care of two young kiddos with all that entails is tough enough. I'm not sure where I'm going to find the extra minutes and hours it takes to ferret out possible agents/publishing options for SEEDS, but it seems I'm going to have to try unless I want my writing to be on permanent hiatus (shudder).
On a semi-related note Dragon Moon Press is open for submissions for the month of December. They are only looking for novel length (85,000 to 110,000 words) fantasy, but if you have a manuscript that fits those specifications this is a great opportunity. Their submission guidelines are very specific, so if you're interested go here and read them carefully before submitting. It was this tidbit of news and my subsequent submission of SEEDS that led to my little epiphany about the reasons for my funk. I hope you find it similarly helpful in your pursuit of your writing dreams. Good luck!
Monday, December 5, 2011
I logged on to blogger at few times today to do a post and that's the question that kept running through my mind. Don't get me wrong. I've met some great people and made some good friends through my blog and I love it for that reason, but I started my blog because of my writing. And as I said, I've really been questioning the reason I'm putting all the time and effort I do into my writing. That encompasses the blog as well.
I don't know, I guess it's just one of those days when I'm doubting my ability to get published, heck, even my ability to write anything worth giving to my critique group. I'm sure it will pass, but for today I'm in a funk and I think instead of working on my WIP tonight I'm going to take a long hot bath and get a good night's sleep. Hopefully that will be all I need to recharge.
How about you guys? Anything you've found particularly helpful in banishing self doubt or getting out of a funk? I'd love any suggestions.
Monday, November 28, 2011
That's my excuse for my late post. I was scrambling frantically all day to find a way to restore those files and have only just in the last few minutes admitted defeat. So here I am to blog and apparently to mourn some more.
On the writing front I'm approaching 25,000 words on my WIP and am reasonably satisfied with what I'm turning out. I know it needs A LOT of work but the skeleton is there and what is revising for if not to put the muscles and flesh on the bones?
And now the children are sleeping all snug in their beds and I'm off to add some more words to my WIP. I hope you've all had better days than I did today and if I may offer some advice BACK UP YOUR FILES! That is all. Goodnight.
Monday, November 21, 2011
On top of that I got my wisdom teeth removed on Thursday and started hacking and sneezing myself on Friday. Then my poor husband got his dose of the crud on Friday. It hasn't been a great week. But here's the funny thing I've written more in the past week than I've managed to put down on paper in a long time. I'm not sure how it happened. I know I had a lot of time to think about my WIP while I was laying in bed at night wincing with each little kid cough, waiting to see if my kiddos would settle back to sleep or need me to comfort them. Apparently that translated into a high word count. I'm glad the gray cloud that hovered over last week had such a great silver lining. Now to see if any of the stuff I wrote while sleep dazed and drugged up is any good.
Monday, November 14, 2011
I started thinking about how much easier it is to read than write and how I wish it were the reverse. But that, of course, isn't going to happen because the difference is this; reading is the equivalent of climbing into a car on a roller coaster, dropping the bar to hold you in and that's it, that's all that's expected of you. The coaster does the rest of the work to take you on (hopefully) a great ride.
Writing is the equivalent making your own coaster. You sit down with a great idea, sketch a bit, then realize you have no idea how to do what you want to do. So you go hunting for tools to educate yourself. Once you've done that you design and engineer your own coaster, then badger family, friends, recent acquaintances, perfect strangers to test ride it for you and tell you how to perfect it. Then you spend countless hours working out the glitches, sanding out the rough spots, doing everything you can to make it a smooth, seamless, enjoyable ride.
It's a lot of work and it's hard work. It takes self-discipline, fortitude and an almost pathological ability to believe in yourself despite all the rejections and criticisms and better roller coasters than yours. But it also brings it's own sort of satisfaction and enjoyment. After all if you're the one who makes it you're the first one who gets to experience the ride. And though it's sometimes a hard slog, there are always those loop de loops and twisty turns that make you laugh and screech in delight and think wow, I created that.
Monday, November 7, 2011
I hoped this morning I would wake up to a bright shiny finalist notification in my inbox but there was nothing. So in the best tradition of an internet stalker I popped over to her blog to see if there was anything there stating she'd sent out the notifications. There wasn't. Crap. But no news is good news, right?
Now I'm having horrible flashbacks to my first days of querying when my email inbox was open ALL THE TIME. Getting more than twenty feet away from my computer caused heart palpitations, sweating and slight nausea and getting close enough to actually look at it caused light-headedness, graying out of my vision and extreme nausea. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but I just hope my kids are okay with the fact that we're not leaving the house today.
On a different note, I just read The Raising by Laura Kasischke and loved it. Other than the conclusion, which was a bit abrupt and ambiguous for my taste, it was a really excellent book. I love the author's use of language and the little details about human reaction that ring so true and are so well and uniquely described. Also it was far creepier than anything I've read in the horror genre in a long time and it wasn't even horror. I'm definitely looking forward to reading more by this author.
Monday, October 31, 2011
It's also, however, been a productive three weeks. I've made quite a bit of progress on my new project. It's coming fast and messy and I have to soothe my type A by telling myself it's okay not to edit as I write, that that's how a first draft is supposed to be. A month in and I'm still excited about the project and my ideas are a-flowing. I gotta say it feels good. This is the easiest writing I've done in ages.
Also I entered Seeds (remember that manuscript? If you do, good for you because I barely do) in this contest over at Miss Snark's First Victim which is a great blog. If you don't follow it you really should at least pop over and check it out.
So that's all that's new with me. I'm sure I've missed out on tons in the blogosphere. If you have any exciting, good, quirky, awful or downright weird news please feel free to share in the comments. Also to my two followers who defected in the last three weeks, I'm sorry you left my blog. I'll miss you and I mean that in all sincerity. And to the two peoplewho started following in the last three weeks Hello! and thanks for following.
Monday, October 10, 2011
Monday, September 26, 2011
And there I was with nothing to write on, nothing to record with, hoping I could hold onto the contents of my brainpan through the rest of drive and the long process of bedtime. I clung on with all my strength, conserved thought energy by responding to my husband and children with noncommital grunts then dashed to my laptop the moment the last goodnight kiss had been given.
I pounded out my ideas and thought 'Okay, well that's that. Now I know what I'm going to be working on when my WIP is done." Or so I thought. That idea rattled and tapped around in my head, tantalized me with its newness, its potential, its mystery until I finally said, 'I give!' So now I'm working on two projects; one revision, one first draft. It's the first time I've ever done this and I'm a little nervous. My main concern is that the projects might bleed into one another and they are so very different I don't want one to compromise the other. For those of you who have or are right now working on dual projects, how do you prevent crossover? And do you give both projects equal time or do you let your muse dictate which one you work on and when? Any advice would be much appreciated.
Monday, September 19, 2011
In May, I submitted Seeds to Jennifer Weltz and was all afire to get to the edit of WIP so I could have it ready and waiting when she signed me and asked what else I had. Optimistic thinking to the point of delusion? Of course it was, but it never hurts to be prepared. However, every time I opened my WIP to do what I had to to have it ready to hand over to Ms. Weltz, I was seized by an inexplicable fatigue, which was quickly followed by a sense of ennui and then somehow I ended up on facebook chatting with one of my old college roommates or taking the neverending book quiz on goodreads. I thought this had something to do with the fact that I was supremely unhappy with the place I was living at the time.
After I moved back to Idaho and put the depression inducing time in Greeley behind me I opened my WIP and blazed through edits on the first two chapters in a week. Yes, I thought, here we go. I'm finally picking up some momentum on this thing. Then I got the rejection from Ms. Weltz and suddenly there I was fatigued, bored, distracted, spending more time on MSN games than my WIP. I couldn't figure out whas was wrong or how to get past it and I hated it.
Then just last week I stumbled on this post by YA author Mette Ivie Harrison and in the same week this one by YA author Elana Johnson. Both posts talk about how writing for publication is much different than writing for themselves and how they both tend freeze up when writing for publication because they're worrying what their agents, editors, fans and critics will have to say. Both have a project on the side that's just for them, where they don't worry about what others are going to think of it because no one else is ever going to see it.
I kept thinking about these posts, feeling like there was something important there. Then it suddenly came to me, even though I wasn't agented or published my paralysis on my WIP stemmed from the same source as Mette and Elana's. When working on my WIP while Ms. Weltz had Seeds I had been worrying she wouldn't like it because it was very different from Seeds and wouldn't help me 'build my brand'. After she rejected Seeds I began to worry that no one anywhere, ever would like my writing enough to publish it or, hell, enough to even read it. Bingo, perfect recipe for creative paralysis.
So I had a little pep talk with myself, told myself the only thing I might ever get out of my writing was my own enjoyment and that was more than okay. I stopped worrying about what those faceless, amorphous agents would think and finally, finally I opened my WIP with the same sense of anticipation and enjoyment that has been so woefully absent the past four months. I edited two more chapters this weekend and thoroughly enjoyed it. Conclusion, I need to write for myself, because if I don't I can't seem to write at all.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
I put a lot of thought into this (probably way more than I needed to) and honestly, I hope this doesn't sound incredibly narcissistic (I know it's going to sound a teeny bit narcissistic), I'd be myself. Not myself of today, but myself of fifteen or so years ago. Yep, I'd be that girl right there (despite the bad hair and serious overplucked eyebrows and questionable fashion sense). And here's why. That girl has a lot of great days ahead of her, lots of adventures, lots of great people to become friends with, lots of lessons to learn, lots of dreams to dream. And I hope in another fifteen years, I'll wish I could be the me of today for the very same reasons.
So there you have it, who I'd be if I could be anyone.
If this little post has peaked your interest in Talli's book, I invite you to pop on over to Amazon and get yourself a copy of it. If you'd like a little more info before purchasing feel free to check out my review of Willow.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
And have I got a post for you. I got the privilege and pleasure of reading an ARC of Talli Roland's Watching Willow Watts and I really enjoyed it, but I'd like to expound more below, so read on if you're interested in a more in-depth opinion.
For Willow Watts, life has settled into a predictably dull routine: days behind the counter at her father's antique shop and nights watching TV, as the pension-aged residents of
But when a former flame returns seeking the old
Monday, August 29, 2011
I can't say I'm thrilled about this. I have so little time now to write and I know this is just going to shave off more. And I'm going to miss those two little people who fill up almost every moment of my waking life. However, the husband and I took a look at our debt situation and the economic situation and it just doesn't make financial sense right now for me to stay home.
Oh well, at least I got four good years to be nothing but a mommy and an aspiring writer. I guess I'll just have to dust off my legal secretary cap, stick it on top of the other two and hope like heck it all works out.
Monday, August 22, 2011
After a year and a few months of revising and more revising and one phone call and some emails and A LOT of hoping I got the verdict from Jennifer Weltz of the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency and it's a no. Ms. Weltz was very helpful and very professional and I learned so much from my interaction with her and except for the end result wouldn't have changed a thing about the experience.
I'm struggling through a crisis of doubt right now, but I think I'm coming out the other side because I've already compiled a list of new agents to query and I spent last night dusting off my query and synopsis.
So back on the query-go-round for me. I can't say I'm delighted to be there, but it is what it is, so I might as well make the best of it.
On a lighter note, I'm reading Divergent by Veronica Roth and am LOVING it. If you like dystopian YA fiction with a lot of action and an edge this is the book for you. It's one of those books that I want to burn through to find out what happens as soon as possible, but I don't want to read it too fast because then it will be done. Happily, though, this is only book one of a trilogy, so I don't have to restrain myself too much.
How about you guys? Did any big news come your way since last Monday? Have you or are you reading any books you'd like to reccomend because heaven knows I'm always on the lookout for a good book.
Monday, August 15, 2011
Needless to say this will be a short one. Mostly I just wanted to tell Talli thanks again for giving me that great interview and for hanging out at my blog last Monday. I also wanted to say thanks to all of you who stopped by and read the interview. It was so great getting all of your comments. Lastly, I want to welcome all of you new followers. It's great to have you here!
Next week my post will be more focused and I'll put a bit more preparation than thirty seconds worth into it. Hope you all have a great week!
Monday, August 8, 2011
This week I have the immense pleasure of featuring an interview with Talli. For those of you who don't know (and those of you who do) Talli's first work of fiction The Hating Game was released on Kindle by Prospera Publishing last November and in paperback March of this year. Here's a handy dandy link if you want to buy it in paperback and another one if you want it on Kindle. Her second work of fiction Watching Willow Watts will be released on Kindle next month!
I was a wee bit curious about life post publication and thought some (or all) of you might be as well, so I rustled up some questions and Talli graciously agreed to answer them. With no further ado I give you the interview.
Q: Prior to The Hating Game you had two travel guides published under the name Marsha Moore? How was the publishing experience for The Hating Game different?
It wasn’t dramatically different, really, although I was much more nervous for The Hating Game to be published. Writing fiction felt more personal, even if it was under a pen name. I was terrified yet super excited to put it out there.
They definitely did, because I didn’t have to query. In fact, I didn’t even have the book written! I just pitched the synopsis and blurb to my editor, and I signed the contract on the strength of that information.
I was thrilled, because even though I enjoy writing non-fiction, fiction was really my dream. You can probably guess what Mr TR and I indulged in… it begins with W and ends with E!
Q:On your blog you mentioned working with an editor at Prospera. How closely did you work with the editor? Did he or she have a lot of suggestions? Was it difficult making changes to your manuscript based on someone else’s suggestions?
Q:What is the process from manuscript to a book the public can purchase? What decisions did you have to make in regards to layout, design, cover art, those sorts of things? Did you like that aspect of the process?
The process differs depending on the publisher, but generally a manuscript goes through several rounds of edits before it’s laid out. Once it’s laid out, the opportunities for changing text diminish greatly, because one change can throw the whole document out of whack!I love looking at covers! That’s one of my favourite parts of the process, actually, because it’s when you realize your book is going to be out there in the world! Luckily, my publisher and I worked together on lay-out and design, so I had quite a bit of input into what I wanted and what I thought worked. Most authors aren’t that fortunate.
Q:Was there any part of the publishing process that you disliked? What part did you enjoy most?
I can’t say I find the seemingly endless line edits that enjoyable! It’s so frustrating when you read something over and over and over, yet still find mistakes. The part I enjoy the most is when the manuscript is laid out because then it’s almost finished and actually looks like a book. Oh, and when you hold the book in your hands, of course. There’s nothing better.
Monday, August 1, 2011
Since completing my revisions on Seeds, I've had a bit of an issue with consistency. I'll sit down and in sort of a frenzy hammer out some edits on my WIP and then not touch it again for three or four days, sometimes, for as long as a week. I thought as long as I was doing something on it I was okay.
The above linked post changed all that. So for this week, my goal is to write/edit at least a little bit everyday on my WIP, even if it means (as it inevitably will) resisting the siren call of So You Think You Can Dance or True Blood or the unbelievably gripping books I've been reading about the fatal May 1996 expeditions to Everest.
How about you guys? Any life altering things come your way on the internet this weekend? Any big goals (writing or otherwise) for the week?
Sunday, July 24, 2011
And welcome to all my new followers, all five of you! I'm so happy to see you here!
Monday, July 11, 2011
Lots of life happened between then and now. I had a baby. I moved across two states. I revised another novel and sent it to an agent (still waiting for word on that by the way, but that's okay by me because life is a little crazy right now). I had a good two months where I was getting in some quality writing time. And now I'm moving back to the state that I moved away from nine months ago, but really that's the best thing that's happened to me and my family in a long time. In fact, I'm so excited to be moving back I (almost) don't mind the packing.
Once again, however, this poor WIP that can't seem to get off the ground is just going to have a wait a little longer, which is frustrating to me. I feel like my writing muscles are getting all weak and flabby. I'm hoping once the move is done I'll have a chance to really work them out and get this WIP revised already.
How about you guys? Any big changes that are keeping you from working out those writing muscles?
P.S. 100 Followers!!!!! Hooray! Welcome to all you new folks. Thanks for helping me get to 100!
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
I liked the books. I was entertained and suitably freaked out by them, but I felt like there was something lacking. I couldn't figure it out. They had all the makings of a good book, a sympathetic and relatable protagonist, quirky or interesting supporting characters, great setting, high stakes, a no holds barred climax and a good ending. Somehow, though, they still left me feeling flat.
Recently, I came across this horror author's blog. After reading some of her posts I realized what it was that was missing from her writing. Technically, her books are near perfect, written to an exact formula (literally, she has the formula on her blog) to give her readers the most bang for their buck. I could tell this woman had spent a great deal of time studying the science of crafting a good story. However, I think in her search for writing glory she left the guts of her books by the side of the road. By corseting her writing into this formula for literary success, there was no spontaneity in her plot, no room for the characters to become their own person and take the story to new and interesting places, no place where she allowed her creativity to take her and the reader off the beaten path. Doing those things takes guts because it's scary not to know precisely where your book is going to go, whether it's going to come out right or if you're going to have to go back and delete 75 pages (and waste countless hours of writing effort) because you allowed a secondary character to rip the plot out of your hands and run with it. It takes courage and a touch of insanity to allow that to happen, but I think those moments are the ones that have the potential to make a book shine.
This was my take on the whole situation, but I'd be interested to know what you guys think. Have any of you had a similar experience? Or do you think following a formula is the best way to write a book?
Monday, June 27, 2011
Instantly I felt like an enormous hypocrite. Because, folks, there are days when what's going on in the world I'm creating in that oft-visited Word document on my laptop is just as, if not more important to me than the diaper changing and meal preparing and house cleaning and goodnight kisses. In fact, there are days when I can't wait to escape my mommy duties and plunge into that world.
I thought about that as I tugged a crying little blonde person through the house and out to the car. After stowing her little brother in his seat, I knelt and took her by the shoulders. I apologized for being sharp with her and told her I was sorry we didn't have time for her to finish having tea with Rabuco. I told her Rabuco was welcome to come with us. Her tears switched off and were replaced by a grin as she shouted for Rabuco to hurry and get in the car because we were late.
I'm just wondering if any of you sometimes neglect a sinkful of dishes or let your child nap way longer than is good for you or send your husband and children off without you just so you can finish having tea with Rabuco, so to speak.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
I got the feedback from my critique group. It was fantastic. I love my group. They're truly, as critique groups go, hell, as human beings go, stellar.
Based on their suggestions, I revised for almost three weeks, then submitted Seeds to the agent. I haven't heard anything from her yet, but, considering her busyness level, I expected that and truth be told I don't mind a bit. I sort of feel like someone on death row who's been granted a stay of execution. I'm just so terrified she won't like it.
A week after I sent the manuscript I traveled to Idaho to visit my family and stayed there for two weeks. I had a houseguest the following week and the week after that I spent trying to adjust to 'normal' life again.
I've been popping into all of your blogs, but haven't left any comments. I hope to get back to commenting on a regular basis now that things have slowed down a bit. I also hope to get back to weekly postings. I hope everyone's writing is going well and that you all have something (or several somethings) fantastically fun planned for your summer.
Monday, May 2, 2011
Alright, I'm rambling. Truly I can't pull my thoughts together enough to say anything else.
Hope everyone's week is off to a less nerve racking start than mine.
Monday, April 18, 2011
I decided to do this post on Jonathan Franzen's Freedom. I'm not usually a fan of Oprah's picks, but the subject matter of this one was interesting to me, so I checked it out (literally, from my local library).
Here's what I thought: bleak, bleak, bleak. The writing was good and his ability to capture certain emotional states of being is phenomenal, but those emotional states of being ranged from sad to suicidal. I'm not a person that needs everything sunshine and roses, but from the state of the world to the state of its characters this book left me feeling hopeless. The characters were so selfish and self-pitying I found it hard to like any of them. I could only take the book in small doses. If I read more than ten or so pages at a time I found myself getting sucked into the oozing pool of self-pity and despair and hopelessness. Seriously I felt like I needed to fortify myself with an antidepressant or two before opening the book.
The book ends with a few small rays of hope but after the rest of it I felt like they were either not enough or too much. Not enough because in no way did they compensate for what he put his characters (and the reader) through in the previous hundreds of pages. Too much because after all the hopelessness it almost felt to me like his editor said, 'too much sad. You need to brighten it up a bit', so he did and it wasn't believable. He should have just stuck with the bleak.
He must have done something right though because the book has been hanging out in my brain matter since I finished it on Thursday. Not really in a good way though. I find myself wishing I could open up my head and scrub out the scum of sadness the book left in there. So yeah, that's my opinion on Oprah's pick. I probably won't read another one, since the last one I read had much the same effect.
I'm sure many of you read it long before me, but if you can remember I'd be interested in hearing what you thought of it.
Monday, April 11, 2011
I'm a little nervous to hear what they have to say, because while these folks are nice, they're also honest. Which is great! But also a little intimidating.
However, I'm excited about having my novel that much closer to being ready to resend to the agent.
However, the closer I get to that point, the more scared I get that she's going to hate it.
Oh goodness, why can't this be easier?
Happy Monday, everyone!
Thursday, March 24, 2011
As of 10:33 p.m. last night I completed those revisions. Now I get the joy of turning them over to a really great critique group I found in my new hometown (P.S. I moved to Colorado last October). I'm sure those good folks will have lots of suggestions for me, but the major overhaul is done and I can't tell you how good that feels.
I'm hoping to have it all shiny and pretty and ready to submit on June 2nd of this year which is the one year anniversary of the initial phone call from the agent. I'll submit it sooner, of course if my critique group has no major issues (That, however, is probably positive thinking to the point of self delusion).
So that's it. That's my big news.
Now onto your big news! Though I haven't posted or commented I have been out there lurking in the blogosphere over the last few months and I want to give a belated Whoo Hoo! to Talli Roland for the publication of her book The Hating Game, to Jessica Bell for the upcoming release of her book String Bridge (check out the book trailer. How cool is that?), to Carolina Valdez Miller for signing with Vickie Motter of Andrea Hurst Literary Management and to Jen Daiker for getting her manuscript ready to query.
I know there are lots of other exciting and wonderful things I missed out on only being able to nibble around the edges of your blogs for the last six months, so please post your exciting news, writerly or otherwise, in the comments so I can pass along my congratulations.
Though my posts and comments won't happen on any kind of regular basis for awhile (still adjusting to being the mother of two) it's good to be back and I'm looking forward to spending more time with all my blogger friends.