Friday, June 25, 2010

Rough Week

Hopefully your week went better than mine. Broke my tooth last Friday and lived with the accompanying pain until Tuesday, when the dentist extracted the offending tooth. Of course, writing wasn't really an option, as pain is not a good conductor to imagination or romance.

On top of that, I received a rejection that same day from an editor I'd queried a couple of months ago. Writer's are such strange people ... I didn't read the email (even though it could have, right there on my phone) until I got home. In my flawed logic, as long as I didn't read the email, I wasn't rejected.

When I finally recovered from my Vicodin-induced haze, her polite rejection said, "I think you have a really intriguing premise, but it just didn’t quite resonate with me. This is only one editor’s subjective opinion, of course.

I wish you the best of luck with your manuscript."

What the h*$$ does that mean? I'd love to sit down with the editor to get the unvarnished truth of what she saw, or didn't see in my manuscript. Because something is missing, and I'm stumped as to what it could be. The problem is, editors are afraid to tell writers the truth, for fear of retribution or an angry reaction.

So, without a way to get an answer, the best thing I can do is go on. Back to writing at least an hour every day. Listen to workshop tapes and polish my craft.

My goal is to top 30K words on my manuscript. What's your goal this next week?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Milestones & Celebrations

My daughter graduated from college yesterday and it started me thinking on milestones. There are so many in life, usually accompanied by a celebration. Now, they even graduate preschoolers (I'm not knocking it - just sayin'). But once you're an adult and out of college, what milestones do you celebrate? Getting older? Not that there's anything wrong with getting older, I'm a fan of it myself, 'cause the alternative isn't much fun, I've heard. But really. Promotion at work? That's great, but if you're a writer, your heart is usually not at your day job.

In writing there are milestones, but usually nobody throws you a party to celebrate. Finish that first book, or send out the first round of query letters, friends may buy you a drink - or if you're really lucky, dinner. Going to your first conference, networking and getting an audience with an editor or agent is a huge milestone. Everybody will cheer when you get published, but *sometimes* that can be a long time to wait. Great friends will toast to your continued success, but in the end, it's the milestones YOU celebrate that mark your progress in this business.

So my advice - for what it's worth, LOL! - is to celebrate those moments in writing, even if you don't feel it's worthy of mentioning. If you belong to a writer's group, let them know you hit a milestone. If you have writer buddies, email them a quick note that you've accomplished something great. Have a virtual toast if you don't live close to your critique partner or writing friends. BUT CELEBRATE YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS. Nobody is going to beat down your door to congratulate you.

Here are just a few, if you want to write them down:
  • Book completed
  • Queries out to editors and/or agents
  • Request for more pages from queries to editors and/or agents
  • Rejections (because you're sending out your work!)
  • Pro Status at Romance Writer's of America (requirements: you must be a member of RWA, completed a book AND received a rejection from editor or agent - hey, a reason to celebrate that rejection!!)
  • Book sale, or even a phone call from interested editor and/or agent
  • Landing that coveted agent
  • Book deal (2+ books)
  • Movie deal and/or interest in book for a movie

This is not a comprehensive list, they're just milestones off the top of my head. I'm celebrating that I'm making progress toward my goal every week. 26,00+ words and counting. You may have more, or less. Tell me - what are the milestones you celebrate?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Flying into the Mist ....

Mentioned in my prev blog, when I started my current project - tentatively titled THE GATHERING PLACE (named for the bar the heroine owns) - I was pretty much "flying into the mist"; not unlike driving at night, on a dark back road, in the fog. In talking with my BFF yesterday Susan Lute (yes, I'm still twelve, LOL!) I realized that I LIKE not knowing where I'm going on a manuscript. I trust the process, that my muse (or girls in the basement) will come through.

That way, I get those unexpected scenes that pop up out of the fog, like when the Heroine's ex-boyfriend shows up, appearing to stalk her. This ties in two - no, three - ways: First, the Hero gets all protective and jealous - yay! Perfect timing. Second: it introduces back story without an info dump - I may be able to delete some earlier back story narrative. Third: he could be the bad guy. Score!

Have you had those unexpected scenes show up that became a pivotal part of your book?

Oh, and I topped 21k this week and am in Chapter 8. So ...

Fly into the mist, my friends, you'll have company and the weather is great :-)