Sunday, January 25, 2009

First Chapters

This week hasn't been the most effective when it came to writing. My computer died, and I've got all kinds of excuses, but the truth is I don't know how to rewrite anything. You see I've never done it before. Never. I'm lucky that I got by without rewriting all of college papers, and often I didn't even proofread and so rewriting--really rewriting is a huge challenge. Huge!

But I know rewriting will make the difference in selling or not selling my novel, which is why I wrote the thing in the first place. Well along with the fact that I've always wanted to write a book.

The biggest hang up is my first chapter. It's got to be perfect. I got through my first draft first chapter, because I knew I was going to totally rewrite it. So I just pounded it out. I'm not a slow bleeder. I just dump stuff out and then fix it later. (Only I just used to dump stuff out and not fix it at all.) Justine Larbalestier (author of How to Ditch your Fairy and the Magic and Madness trilogy) talked about it in her blog. Actually she's doled out all kinds of great advice this month. You should check it out.

But I'm scared to rewrite, because I don't want to rewrite the whole novel. Just parts, flesh this out, expand on that, tighten this up--add an explosion here, a death there. That kind of thing.

My first chapter needs to be completely reworked. It's the first step and once I get the ball rolling, I can get my second draft done in no time. Right? I hope so.

Anyway I had my breakthrough, and I was up all night thinking about what to add and how to add it. I really didn't sleep. I think if I had gotten up, written it out and then went to sleep I would have slept more. I don't know though. I definitely have nights where I just don't sleep.

And my other dilemma is that I'm getting two types of feedback. One is that I need to more fully develop my characters--which I can see. The other is that I need to focus less on my characters, and their relationships and really get into the action of it all. The funny thing is that the two groups are neatly divided between female readers (the first) and male readers (the second), so what do I do? Can I do both? Suggestions please.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Week of Computer Crashes

So this week has been rough. My laptop is on the way out. We are considering options, and until then my computer randomly freezes and there's nothing I can do to stop it. Rob (my hubby) has been working on it for quite a few days, and I know if he hasn't found a solution, there isn't one. Oh well (sigh).

So I got sidetracked this week, because I wanted to finish up the Princess Diary series by Meg Cabot. She released Princess Forever. I must admit that I enjoyed the series when I began it last summer, but I burned out at book 8, and so I started there and read book nine and ten this last week. Such fun books. The series didn't disappoint. Book 8 was hard because Michael and Mia went splitsville, but I was very happy with the ending of ten. I have considered reading Ransom My Heart, which is supposed to be by Mia, but I may not. The excerpts in book ten were a little, ahem, racy for my sensibilities.

I've also really given some good hard thought to revising my novel. It's so much work. But I know it will be worth it. It's time to really begin rewriting. But I'm dreading my beginning, so dreading it, dreading, dreading, dreading it. I feel so much pressure to get the first three chapters super strong, that it is almost stopping me from getting it done.

I'll have better news next week. I know I can break through that dread.

And I thought of a sweet and totally awesome idea for a new book. Totally cool, and I'll have to research fun and exciting topics to make it happen. Yeah!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Freeing Up Time

So I think the biggest thing working against me in my goal to get my novel published is my time.

When I attended a workshop about organizing your writing life, I submitted my schedule, and was told that I needed to decide if it really mattered to me or not. The words felt kind of harsh, but at the same time I totally got what she was saying.

So I'm looking for ways to expand my time. Or free it up.

The thing is I'm a stay at home mom of three (two preschoolers) and I freelance. So in a lot of ways people think oh, your home all of the time. It shouldn't be a problem. Not so. I've taken on a new project, that I can't do when my kids are awake. It's a review of kids' websites. I love the job--but I can't write when my four year old is hanging on me--asking to play. It just doesn't work. So I have to find time to work, and time to write.

Plus there's cleaning the house, running the errands, cooking the meals, doing the homework, and on, and on, and on.

If I don't make the time and make it a priority--it won't get done.

So one thing that's helped with this, and my budget is I joined a freezer meal group. I cook six meals for the ladies in my group. And I get six meals (which are divided in half) back, once a month. This means--I just pop the food in the oven twelve nights a week. Then I don't feel guilty about doing easy stuff the other nights--because the meals are good, well-balanced and yummy.

The only downside is the day or two I cook (Sometimes I divide the process in half) is that my back really hurts. But a day or two of pain is worth it. And I generally buy pizza on my cooking day. I love pizza.

What have you done to find the time to write?

Monday, January 12, 2009

10 Writing Goals for 2009

1--Revise my novel and come up with a title.

2--Write my query letter, and revise it again and again and again. Same goes with my synopsis.

3--Find an agent.

4--Sell my book. Sell it, sell it, sell it. Please!

5--Finish my second novel (unrelated to first).

6--Write sequel to my first book, which is a planned trilogy.

7--Revise that.

8--Attend a Writer's Conference--completely dependent on getting novel sold.

9--Stick to a steady writing schedule.

10--Quit most of my freelance writing jobs (again dependent on the sale of the novel).

10 Writerly Things I Accomplished in 2008

Okay so this is a fun list of things that I managed to do this year that involve writing. (Aside: I also write nonfiction and I get paid for it--so this is going to include those accomplishments.)

1--I raised my hourly wage by quite a bit. I made a goal to average at least 20.00 an hour freelancing this year. I've got jobs that pay me a lot more, and one that pays me less, but my average rate is $25.00.

2--I diversified my income for writing, which means I went out and got more jobs. This was a goal I set, but ignored until I lost one of my two steady jobs. Yikes--I won't make that mistake again. Currently I work for five, yes five companies. Good thing too, because work is decreasing in two of those, so I can shift stuff around.

3--I wrote my novel. I guess that should go at the top, but I didn't make it a goal until mid-July. So I wrote my novel in about six months.

4--I attended my first writer's conference. All right so it was online, still I learned a ton and I was grateful that I got to learn all of that information.

5--I started my own blog--well two blogs, one on my family and this one.

6--I joined/co-founded a writer's group. This really has been beneficial to me in so many ways. Never mind that I made myself sick--literally--at the first meeting or that I still shake when I read out loud. It's given me motivation to write, and direction when I needed it. Plus I've gotten to know some really great people I might not have otherwise.

7--I've joined forum discussions, found blogs by agents, writers, and editors and basically I'm starting to get a feel for the industry and understand it a bit more.

8--I started my second novel. All right so it was on December 30th, and only like 300 words, but hey, I started. It counts for something--right?

9--I finally put my creative writing first. Creative as in what I want to write about, not what I'm getting paid to do. And I don't think my freelance gigs suffered for it either.

10--Heck I'm going to say I wrote my novel again. It was a pretty big accomplishment for a mom of three who also freelances. I'm so proud of it.!

Vote for Your Favorite in Fantasy This Year

Urban Fantasy Land is offering awards for the best books and authors in the land of fantasy for the year 2008. This is a lot of fun and a great way to show your support to your favorite authors.

Vote now!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Rewriting Round One

Well writer's group was this week--I managed to get each of the members a copy.

So the consensus is that I need to develop my main character more, and her relationship with Love Interest more. And more fully define the bad guys.

Sounds easier than it is. So I'm heading off to rewrite.

The truth of the matter is that I've never really written anything. Mostly I'll run a grammar check, read once for major typos and off it goes. I never even did that in college with my papers. I had a good average--not 4.0, but honor roll. So this is going to be hard. Very, very, very hard.

I noticed in my first read that I need to clean up adverbs, but the thing that is going to be most difficult is my first chapter, which needs to be totally rewritten, and then adding everything else, while still moving the plot forward.

The thing is I've a got a plot. It gets really tense at the end. I need to be able to carry that forward.

Also I need a title. Really I do.

I'll keep you updated.

Plus I started my next novel. Totally not related to this--this one is more of a teen romance/coming of age. And it has the best title. But I'm not going to share it, until I have finished the book. It's not been taken by anyone yet, and I want to keep it for myself.

So I guess I'm on my second (well third) really novel. But since I haven't gotten published yet--oh well.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sitting on the edge of my seat!

So this week, I've been sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to hear back from my beta readers (people who read my book and give my advice to make it stronger).

So one person has gotten back. She said she loved it and can't wait to read the sequel---but she's also my sister. So I take it with a grain of salt, but she also did get into it and read it in two days--which is fast for her. So that's a good sign!

My brother who will be a true beta reader is still reading it and taking notes. This is what he told me. I think the notes are on things I need to work on, which is a good thing. So aggh!

I gave out two copies today, and I should hear some stuff at my writer's group meeting this week.

I've got to mail two copies, and then I'll get those back and go into my first round of revisions.

I've felt at loose ends in the evenings without the thought of a novel, so I decided to start the other project I have on the back burner. It's not the sequel to the first one, though that is a planned series. My new novel is more of a romance--kind of in the style of Sarah Dessen meets Meg Cabot. In case I never said my first book is a contemporary fantasy--though I may change it to a more urban fantasy in later revisions. And I intend on only writing young adult books.

So I need a title for my first book--do you have any suggestions? Since no one actually reads this blog, I guess not.