Tuesday, February 24, 2009

My New Computer

This post is late because I (actually my husband) was in the process of switching stuff over from our borrowed computer to my new computer. We had a hard drive failure in January, and didn't want to go into debt, but new our refund was coming February. We had three people offer to lend us a computer, and so we were so grateful for so many generous people. We got our new computer this weekend!  Yipee! After a lot of debate we went with a laptop so that I could take it with me to conferences.

I'm going to my first writer's conference in June! Yeah! It is the Young Writer's and Illustrator's Conference at BYU. (I just noticed I'm a little exclamation point happy, and will try to refrain the rest of my post.) I'm super excited about the conference, and the computer. My husband and I made a deal that as soon as I had a finished novel, then I would be able to attend the conference. Thus the finished novel means a conference!

The writer's group that I attend and co-lead just changed format, because of the addition of two members. I'm actually very happy about the changes. We will email our work a week in advance, giving people a chance to read it on their own, and mark it up, and then get it back to us. It should be much more effective.  

And I'm working on applying for a few grants. Here is to hoping that I get them. It will look good and give me something to put in my bio portion of my query letter. I'm still hoping to start querying by the end of March.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Week to Edit

As I said, in my previous post, I broke through my editing block. And I'm super excited to focus solely on editing this book and getting it done.

Then I just have to perfect my query.  And I'm sending it out into the world. But that's a little ways off first.

I'm also getting excited about my next project. I'll call it WS. I love the title for this book. And I like the characters and what is supposed to happen. This book has real potential, and so I'm excited to get working on it, but I think I need to finish up book one (which still does not have a title) before going into the next one.

Writer's group is this week, and I'm excited, and working towards being done by then.


Friday, February 13, 2009

We Interrupt This Regularly Scheduled Silence . . .

So, yeah, I'm more of a Sunday only poster. Lots of reasons for this. The first mainly that I don't allow myself to do any of my writing for profit or for future profit on Sunday. And the second is that I'm too busy doing my writing for profit or for future profit on the other days of the week or trying to distract myself from doing it.  But I wanted to share--


Yes, I know I am yelling--actually screaming the words out at you as I dance silently in my chair at home. Oh those on the Internet that care I broke through!  And just in time too.

I found a little extra motivation somewhere deep inside--I reread my novel and decided it wasn't completely worthless again. Actually I think it's pretty good. But it's like how I am with my kids. I think they are adorable. I love them. They have beautiful smiles. But I'm their mom, so I know I'm slightly biased. But I do get the occasional compliment on their cuteness--which makes me know my instincts aren't off base.  

This time it wasn't so much a compliment, but a realization that yeah I can write, and I did write my first novel, and yes it is worth reading. So naysayers beware!  I figured out what to fix and how to make it stronger, but overall I'm happy with my work.

Don't worry, I'll sink back into my moments of self despair and doubt soon enough.

On another note I hurried and wrote out my synopsis last night. It needs a lot of work, but now that I have my first draft the revisions don't seem as daunting. I seem to work best at throwing stuff out really quickly and hoping for the best. Then coming back and fixing it and tweaking as I go.

And as to my revisions, I truly think I will be done with my second draft on Wednesday night. Just in time to enter the SCBWI grant. And to start my third revision so I can start querying agents by my birthday!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Week of Nothing

So it's not been a great week for me in many aspects of my personal life. My car broke down, and on and on. My writing jobs aren't horribly stable, which I knew, but I hate being reminded of and I got a doozy of a reminder this week from more than one company I work with. It just reminds me of the necessity of diversifying until I sell my novel. Then I'm not going to diversify--assuming I make a decent advance on the book.

With the frustrating news, and my apparent lack of knowledge on the art of revision I have gotten nowhere. I didn't even open my writing program or work on novel number two which is at a frustrating place. I like the start. I have my basic plot outline, but I don't feel like enough is happening. This is a total shift from novel number 1--which is fantasy and full of action, along with character growth. Novel number two is much more about character growth, and coming into your own. It is a true coming of age story, and I guess I need to relook at my plot points. I think my outline just says hit this idea, and this idea, but I'm really vague on the ideas.

Also I may not be the type of writer who can work on two books actively at the same time. I'm thinking about that. Not the planning, thinking about, dreaming up characters and situations type working on, but actual down and dirty writing kind of working on.

My solution to my revision quandary. Read my novel tonight. cover to cover. I can do it. I am a fast reader. Then tomorrow, I'll write my synopsis, chapter by chapter, and then from there determine what I need to do. I've got a few big twists and then I need to just work it in. My goal is truthfully to be done by this time next week with my second draft. I'm hoping it can be done!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Ending Poll

The results of my ending poll were decidedly in favor of my original ending. It's what the whole novel is pointing towards, but I think I could clarify something so that it wouldn't bother the initial reader. It's just a little clarification, shouldn't undo the big ending.

And I've gotten the big feedback from my brother. He is an aspiring writer as well. He has taken creative writing and thus know how to critique with word choice and he is a guy. So he is the first guy to finish the book. Go Bob! His feedback was helpful. 

But still I find myself stuck, unable to work on the rewrite. I get a few words out, and then I quit. I know it needs to be done, but I've got this huge mental block. Just huge. How do I get beyond that to get my novel done?

I almost wish I had an editor who could tell me specifically what was broken--and how to fix it.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

My ending is weak

At least that's the feedback, I got from one of my readers. I am now taking an ending poll. It is essential to get honest feedback, not just a general pat on the back you wrote a novel--good on ya mate--kind of thing.

The problem with my ending according to this reader has to do with what I've planned for the next book in the series. She is one of the only people who knows what that is, and so I can kind of see her point, but at the same time I like it.

My problem with my ending is that I don't know if I've wrapped up everything as well as I should. But I'm not worried about my ending overly much until I rewrite the beginning and middle. Two little relationship changes between the main character and two other characters call for major rewrites, a whole new family dynamic, and hopefully--I think it will be--a stronger novel.

My question is how to balance developing the characters and fleshing them out without throwing off the pacing of the novel. I think my pacing is pretty good. People can't put down the novel by the time they reach page 80. I know I'm working on the first 80 pages to make it hard to put down from the beginning, but I need to flesh out the characters and build the relationships. 

It will come. I know it. Any advice or tips welcome!