Friday, February 25, 2011

Why My Child Deserves a Spot In Your Prep School

Or My Book is as Good the Next Guy's Book

Please submit a query letter no longer than one double-spaced page with one inch margins all the way around.

What? One page? Are you kidding? How am I supposed to tell you how super my book is if you'll only give me one page to cram in a short pitch, my (okay, this part is pretty meager) awards and some details about myself?

I get it. Editors and agents are busy people. They don't have all day to listen to me talk myself up. I mean, what's there to say anyhow? I went to college, which isn't really relative to my fiction writing since I've pretty much forgotten everything I learned about journalism anyway.

That said, I think instead of a measly page, I should have 1-2 pages worth of how hard it was to first write the book, which actually wasn't as hard as you'd think, followed up by 3-5 pages of the grueling drudgery of editing which is that hard. Then another couple of pages on how I worked really hard at the research involved and then some letters of reference from my critique partners and how much they loved it. In short, not only am I sending a query letter, a synopsis, and a sample chapter, but you're also getting a nice summary of the metaphorical blood, sweat and tears involved. This ain't just a book, you lovely editors/agents, it's a dream brought to life by my achy hands and now-squishy brain.

Sometimes I think I'm too involved with the project. ;)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Idle Hands Do What Now?

Man, I feel like some kind of writer or something. Less than 1500 words away from hitting the 50k mark and I even entered a contest, something I haven't done since early last year. Of course, I still have a long way to go on editing, but I'm already wondering what kind of project to start next.

I made this declaration that I wouldn't write anything new until June except where I need to add words and I did write a short story, so it looks like I'm stuck on the editing train a while longer.

I'm already thinking about NaNoWriMo. This idea popped into my head and it's a lot stranger than anything I've written before, but it might be fun. And last night I was thinking about that *grumble, grumble* historical romance I worked on for two years and finally quit because it was sucking out my soul. I came up with a way to re-write it, make it shorter and try to find an e-book publisher. The plot would be different and I think that's what it needs. Except I cringe whenever I think about it. I also need to go over the first chapter of my first NaNo project, clean it up and get it ready for the ORA contest we sponser in July. No time like the present, right? Busy, busy.

Friday, February 4, 2011

I Couldn't Think of a Title For the Post

Uh-oh, we’re losing it. Nurse, hand me that monkey wrench, stat!

Welcome to my operating room. Where I stitch a plot with amusing dialogue, intriguing characters, and the twists and turns that eventually come together to make a novel.

I’ve recently been working on this historical fantasy romance. Confession time: it took a week and two days to write it. Twenty-five thousand words. Yup. It sucked some. The first 25k came together with a magical harmony I can’t explain. It had a beginning (though not a very good one), a middle (sort of fuzzy in spots) and an end, which was happy (but needs its fair share of work as well).

I’m trying to add some words in the middle. And I hit a dead end. The main characters are stuck together for a three thousand mile journey and I don’t know what to do with them. Talk about a monkey wrench in my gears. Here I’m trying to write, write, write, edit, edit, edit and I’ve run into a brick wall. The first thing I conclude when I face the wall is that I’m heading in the wrong direction with the story. Oh, I could sit and think it through. My favorite phrase to repeat to myself is: give it time, it’ll come to me. In the words of Jean Kerr: hope is the feeling you have that the feeling you have isn’t permanent.

Lying in bed after an unproductive day of movie watching, (hey, there was a blizzard outside, what was I supposed to do?) I thought, I really need to throw a monkey wrench into this part of the story. What can I do? The answer continued to evade me.

For two days ( the blizzard fizzled out, but it made sure to leave several inches of snow in my yard), I kept thinking, monkey wrench. Need a monkey wrench. I can clearly picture this wrench stuck in a bunch of gears. Which isn’t helpful in the least. Standing in the shower, an idea came to me. And then an even better idea. I have history for this story, notes written by anonymous people to provide clues for the main characters. I, by George, needed not just history and skeptical stories, but a poem! So I went back and threw in a poem with the notes which will provide me some nice padding, er, future story. And then not only that, but I found that wrench that’s really going to muck things up for my MMC. I’m so proud of myself.

Crisis averted. Ten thousand words away from a nice second draft. The patient is currently stable.