The End

November 18, 2008

The rewrite is done and the full is off to two of my writer friends who offered to be delta readers. Most writers call them beta readers, but I’m a Cherry Bomb and we have delta readers.

It felt wonderful to write the end the first time through. But it doesn’t compare to this time. The book is so much better than it was thanks to all the feedback I’ve gotten from delta readers, contest judges and my critique partners.

Updates on the conferences I went to where I pitched to editors and agents. I’ve had requests for partials from two agents and, drumroll, requests for fulls from an agent and two editors. I’m beyond thrilled. I know this doesn’t mean they’ll call and beg to have it, but it’s another step on the path to being published. Getting requests for fulls means they like the premise of the story and I hope that I’ve impressed them as a writer serious about my craft and my career.

I’ll be sending the partials off by Friday of this week. The fulls will go off after I get the feedback from my readers. What’s next? Well, this story ended on Christmas Eve and there is a holiday story there begging to be told. And what better time of year to get started on that. Then I have the second story in this series to rewrite and my ghost story. I have plenty to keep me busy.

I’ve always wanted to write books. And nothing compares with having someone tell you they love the story, the characters, and can’t wait to see what happens next.

Excuse me now. I’ve got a Snoopy dance to do.

Not Quite There

September 30, 2008

Well, I’m not finished with the rewrite but I’m much farther along than I would have been without the deadline I set for myself.

Having the deadline gave me the push I needed to keep writing a little longer each day and to write even on days when the words weren’t flowing.

Since I last posted, I’ve written 8542 words. I’m at 89,791 and 308 pages.

I’m very pleased.

One of the things I didn’t take into consideration when I set my deadline and goal is that rewriting is part of the editing process. It’s not like Nanowrimo where you are turning off your internal editor so you can get the ideas down. I’ve done that part with this book. Now, I’m working on making it the best it can be. So I had to take the scenes I’d already written and look at them. What’s that scene’s purpose? What is the goal, motivation and conflict for the characters in this scene. Does it move the book along or is it just chatter?

Doing this slows the process. But that’s okay because my goal is not just a word count. It’s a good book.

I’m going to the NJRW conference the last weekend in October. This rewrite will be done then.

So reassessed deadline. Complete the rewrite by October 22nd. I might be able to get it done before but I’m trying to be realistic. This weekend will be spent with friends. I’m planning to get some writing done but it’s a revitalization weekend not a writing retreat. There are also several appointments, dentist, kid’s doctor, hair the following week and a conference that weekend.

So my goal for between now and this coming Sunday is 2500 words. Maybe I can do more and get this next chapter done.

Progress Report

September 21, 2008

7128 words this week. I hit a snag with a new scene I added and spent a couple of days working it out. I might not finish the book by the 30th but I’ll be close. Having the deadline pushes me to write more than I would without it.

As my friends commented, making progress and doing more than I would have without the deadline and goals is what is important

More realistic goal for next week, 8,000 words.

Week One–Progress toward Deadline

September 14, 2008

I worked on the book 6 out of 7 days this week. Yesterday, I rewrote most of the chapter I’d written Thursday because I wasn’t happy with it. If I add those words in I wrote 9,014 words this week but only 7653 toward my projected 95,000 words. Though this averages below my goal of 1500-2000 words, I’m pleased because I pushed myself.

This rewrite may make the book a bit shorter. We’ll see. Using 95,000 words as my guide I have 22,290 words to go. Since life happens and writing 5 days a week is more realistic than 7, I really need to shoot for 2000 words a day.

I believe I’ll go back and try to finish this chapter today.

Day 2

September 9, 2008

Didn’t get quite as much done today but met my goal. 1520 words. When I’m doing rewrites like this, I print a copy that I work from as I edit. I didn’t realize last night that I needed to print Part Three so that’s what I had to do first. For some reason, this computer has to reinstall the printer every time I go to print. Grrr.

Good luck to everyone who has shared their deadlines. One small deadline at a time and we’ll get there.

Deadlines

September 8, 2008

A friend and fellow writer wrote about setting deadlines for herself on her blog–writeiam@ blogspot.com. It made me think. I too set deadlines but too often don’t keep them. So I’m setting this one publicly.

I’m going to finish my rewrite of Body Language by Sept. 30th. This year. Why that date? I have three conferences in Oct and Nov where I’m going to pitch the book. I’m also ready to finish with this and move on to the next book.

How am I going to make it? I’m going to explain to my family what I’m doing. I’m going to write first. If I have to go somewhere that day, I’ll get up earlier to write. And I’ll report on my progress.

This weekend two of my critique partners joined me for a writing retreat at the beach. I prepared for Hanna but we didn’t let her stop us. I wrote 3094 words and organized the next scene.

That set me up for today. 2360 words and I finished the second part of the book. On to the third and final part of the book. Whoo Hoo.

My daily goal is 1500-2000 words and I need to write at least 5 days a week. If it continues to go like today, I might even finish early.

If you have a deadline you’re trying to meet or want to set one, join me in keeping track of your progress. A little competition can spur you to even greater efforts. Having a cheering squad, is even better.

The Positive Side of Losing

August 24, 2008

There are a lot of pluses about writing romance. One of them is the contests where anything from query letters to the first 5o pages of your book is judged by your peers. All the judges are trained to critique romance. Some are like me and have finished one or more novels and achieved PRO status with RWA. Some are published in romance, other fiction or nonfiction. If you final in the contest, the final judging is often done by an agent or an editor.

One of the reasons I enter contests is the hope that my work will reach the eyes of those elusive editors or agents and they will fall in love with it. Another reason I enter is to find out if my opening chapter or love scene or breakup scene works. If it engages the reader or if there are problems. You can’t solve problems unless you know where they are.

Judging is subjective. That’s important to remember. Not all writer’s voices appeal to all readers. When I get back the score sheets and comments from a contest, I try and weed out the ones who don’t like my voice. They are the ones who dislike scenes or dialogue or characters other judges like. Of course, I had to get feedback from many judges to be able to do this.

I won’t lie to you. It hurts for someone to pick apart your work. It hurts even more to know that there are people who hate the way you write. But this is the real world and when your book is published there will be people who read it and don’t like it. And they will let you know this. So it’s good to have a layer of calluses built up before your book goes out to a greater audience.

The second thing I do is to focus on the positive comments. What do I do well? In my case, it’s dialogue. And I treasure notes saying the judge hopes to see my book on the shelves because they want to buy it and read the rest of the story.

Then comes reading the notes about what doesn’t work. Most judges I’ve gotten feedback from tell me this in a constructive manner. Some don’t. Again, I try to focus on the constructive comments. Sometimes I have to put the score sheets away for a couple of days (or weeks, or months) before I can do this. Sometimes I fight it. But if several judges are saying the same thing, I have to take it seriously. I have to look at what I’ve written and say okay, if this doesn’t work what will. How can I make it more exciting or faster paced? How can I improve? Do I really need to buy a grammar book? (Yes! And I still have trouble with commas.) Do I need to go to a workshop or take an on-line class to help me with this?

When I first sent out my baby to contests, the overwhelming feedback was that I head hopped. I had POV problems. Now, first I had to learn what the heck that meant. Then I had to learn how to correct it. In this last batch of contests, I entered I learned that the classes I’ve taken, the books I’ve read ,and the writing and rewriting I’ve done trying to get the perspective or point of view right have paid off. One judge said my POV was “masterful”. Wow. My hard work is paying off.

Now I’m thinking about some of the other comments that have been made. Letting them percolate in my mind while I get on with the business of finishing my rewrites. Considering how I might use that feedback to improve the delivery of my story. Because I love this story and I want to do it justice.

So it’s not always a bad thing not to final in a contest. You can learn a lot by looking at the positive side of negative feedback. At least, I have.

Of course there’s another good thing that can come of entering contests. Making it to the final three. Placing. Winning.

Body Language

Third Place 2006 Summer Sizzle
Third Place 2006 Ignite the Flame
First Place Romantic Suspense 2008 Dixie Kane Memorial Contest
Finaled and awaiting the final judging in 2008 Toronto Romance Writers’ Golden Opportunity Contest.

The Hardest Thing About Being a Parent

August 15, 2008

Parenting is not an easy job. The manuals aren’t complete and training in 0n-the-job and seat-of-your-pants. But the hardest thing is seeing your children hurting.

Hurting at a cut, a sting, a broken bone. Hurting at a broken toy, a messed up video game, a screwed up audition. Hurting at the loss of a friend, a pet, a girlfriend.

If I could I’d take all the hurts physical and mental and spare them the pain. But I can’t. And shouldn’t. Because learing to cope with and survive the small hurts gives them the strength and mechanisms to deal with the larger ones. I know this. It doesn’t make it any easier.

All I can do is be there for them with a hug, an ear, advice if they ask for it. (Still waiting on that day), and love. Lots of love. And hope that they will learn that though living life to the full and risking your heart sometimes brings pain, the rewards and the joys outweigh this and you should never stop striving for the heights. Never stop loving and caring. If I can teach them this then I will have done my job right

Cherry Bombs in San Francisco

August 9, 2008

K.T., OH, RSS (back), Merry, and GG after a great dinner in Chinatown.
Who knew our own Lori had a diner. Breakfast was delicious.
K.T. and OH in front of the diner. I could have sworn I took a picture of the sign too.
In the top middle is the top of the San Francisco Marriot where RWA National was held.
The gate to Chinatown where Dee, my youngest and I had just finished buying out the shops and having a nice lunch.

Not the best pictures but there they are.

One of the best things about the conference was the chance to meet my on-line friends in person and reconnect with friends I’ve met before.

Thanks to everyone’s tips the blues fled, the submission was sent off and jet lag was a non-event. Now I need to get back into the book.

Goal. Revisions done by Sept. 15th. Final polishing done by Oct. 1st.

Post Conference Blues

August 4, 2008

The energy at RWA Nationals is so strong and it is so wonderful to have 4-5 days to talk with other writers that once it’s over there is a let down. No matter how much you missed your family and your own bed. No matter how excited you are about getting back to your WIP to put into practice what you have learned.

It hit me today after the red eye flight and a nap once we got home. I found myself feeling down and doubts about my ability to sell reared their very ugly heads. I wanted to talk it over with someone. I thought maybe I shouldn’t send in the pages to the agent I queried. Maybe I needed to wait, to polish, to change, to avoid the chance of rejection.

Thank heavens I recognized it for what it was and made a plan. I’m so tired today that looking over my first 10 pages and working on tweaking the synopsis and writing the letter did not seem like the best use of what little energy I have. I want to be fresh. Because it’s important to let your belief in your book and your passion for it shine through when you send out a partial or even a few pages.

So I thought what will free me up to concentrate on the book tomorrow? What might pull me away from it? What could I use as an excuse to avoid working on it?

The answer was the necessary chores anyone has when they return from a trip. Grocery shopping, unpacking, laundry, and in my case a car that should have been inspected by 7/31/08. So I pushed myself to do those things. Now the kids have food for the next few days and things they enjoy that don’t take a lot of preparation. Clothes are unpacked, washed and drying. The car is at the shop where it will be inspected tomorrow. No I haven’t sorted all my notes, papers and promotional information I gathered at the conference. But the biggies are done and I can set aside a little time each day to finish the rest. There are not suitcases sitting in the hall or mounds of laundry piled in front of the washer to drain my energy tomorrow.

The only thing that will keep me from getting the information to the agent tomorrow is myself. I will do this. I owe it to the story. The story I love and believe in. I believe in it and am so committed to sending it off that I did the stuff today that usually takes me more than a week at the least. Or a month or two. I’m the queen of procrastination.

Are you feeling the post conference blues? Even if you didn’t go, are you putting up roadblocks that stop you from selling your book? From finishing it? How do you motivate yourself to burst through those roadblocks? Because if we don’t destroy the roadblocks we set up we will never succeed.