Sunday, February 27, 2011

Oh Happiness!

I just received an awesome e-mail from a friend, our local bookmobile driver (yes we still have one and it's way cool!) and she said this about "The Happy Kind" the older MG I'm querying:

I have been reading since it started raining around 1. I resented having to stop and eat. I LOVE to eat. I usually find YA fiction vaguely boring and predictable, not this story. I'm on page 133. Got to get back to it..bye for now

Giddy happy dance. Little leprechauns of joy are leaping in my belly. Oh to think that someone is reading something I wrote and not able to put it down. Not wanting to put it down. No finer gift could be given to me this evening.

Don't you just love when someone connects to your stories? I mean, yes, we write them for ourselves first and foremost, and of course for the characters who want to come to life, but a book is a living entity and it is at its best when other eyes are on it, interpreting, loving, hating, connecting...and someone is reading my manuscript....right...this...minute!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

My First Blog Award! Thanks Kelly

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Wow - talk about picking you up on a down day. Kelly Hashway from http://www.kellyhashway.com/ presented me with the One Lovely Blog Award.

Here are the rules:
  • Accept the award, post it on the blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and their blog link.
  • Pass the award on to 15 other blogs you've recently discovered.
  • Contact the bloggers to let them know they've won the award.

So here are my blogs that get the award without further ado!

And that's it! Thanks again Kelly for the pick me up.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Expulsion of Writing Downs

Whooosh - I've been feeling that expulsion of air that comes when you go through the "oh why I am writing such drivel, no one is going to want to read this" phase of your writing life.

I'm off the high of "The Happy Kind" and now 6K into "Cast in Gold" my first YA. It' scary to try and switch voice and find my inner teenager. I was a better twelve year old than I was a seventeen year old so it feels sort of painful to try and dig that space back up. Tomorrow night is my writing class and I volunteered for the chopping block with the first chapter of this new WIP. Bites fingernails. Gnashes teeth. Calms the butterflies. Will they like it? Will they hate it?

For those of you who have been at this seriously for longer than I, how in the world do you put up with this inner churn?

And nothing but crickets in the inbox. Sigh.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Beginnings and Back Story

So, "The Happy Kind" is now in queryland. Albeit, in one or two cases, a bit too soon. I realized a couple of things. My first paragraph just wasn't quite what it needed to be. Tully's voice wasn't clear enough, and I had started with dialogue.

A critique partner lambasted me for my 2 pages of backstory in Chapter Two. I convinced myself that she was crazy. Couldn't she see how essential they were to the story? I wasn't info-dumping. How dare she! But it stayed there, her little over the web line voice niggling me. I sent those two chapters off to my beta reader and asked, "too much backstory, is this an info dump?" By that point, I'd wittled it down to about a page and a half. She said it was fine. And honestly, it was. The writing was good, there was dialogue and scene in the backstory, but it just really wasn't essential.

One of the two books I ordered after my depressing rejection on my first full request was "Hooked: Write Fiction that Grabs Readers at Page One and Never Lets Them Go" by Les Edgerton. I love this book. If you dont have it, buy it. So now, all apologies to my critique partner, she was right. I axed the backstory. I didn't need it. I combined those first three chapters into two, and I got more tension. Everything I really needed is still there.

So now, it's just the waiting. To see who might be willing to take a risk on this somewhat unconventional story. I hope someone loves it a much as I do.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Learning to be a Writer=Accepting Rejection Gracefully

I am loving this journey. Even the downs. I received my first request for a full last week then within days got the "didn't quite connect the way I'd hoped to" e-ject. So, in celebration, I bought a YA book that had been recommended and two books on the craft of writing. Yes, 3 books for one rejection is distorted math, but it was my first rejection on a full so I went over the top. But I've decided this is my new tradition, rejection on a full = new book. Seems fair.

A few weeks ago I joined a new critique group started by various members of Verla Kay's blueboards. I'm still sussing out how I feel about it. It's great having so many eyes on my work, really great, and each one brings something of value. But I also have to be careful not to let the waters get too muddied. If I took every suggestion, the final product would be far from my original goal. I do like critiquing though, it helps with my own writing.

I've started my next WIP. I'd thought I'd wait and do a bit more outlining but Sadie's voice kept getting stronger and stronger and now I have 1200 words of my first chapter. This is a Young Adult, and I think I'm going to enjoy the freedoms writing for a slighly older audience brings. My goal is 5000 words per week, which should give me a draft by May or June.

That's all in my writing world, what's going on in yours?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Overused Words

Just
Like
Little
Looked
Back

Today I managed to wittle these widdle words down by half. Amazing how often I could just delete them and everything was still just fine. (see I could get rid of both "justs" in that sentence and it would read okay.)

Just. Who knew? And little is a cruddy little adjective.

Friday, February 4, 2011

10 Reasons Why I Like KidLit

  1. Kidlit is rarely full of whiny, teeth chattering description that goes on and on and on.
  2. Kidlit is rarely a downer, unless it's something like Sounder or The Yearling.
  3. Kidlit is easy to read, most well-written MG or YA books can be read in a day or two.
  4. Kidlit is very often funny and not so often at the expense of others, unless they're a really bad guy and then it's okay.
  5. In Kidlit, Animals are usually regarded in high esteem.
  6. Kidlit has fast plots, and if the plots aren't fast then they're lovely and contemplative.
  7. Kidlit has mysticism and deep meaning.
  8. Kidlit is authentic. It's where it all begins.
  9. Kidlit makes anything possible and loose ends are almost always tied up in an acceptable way.
  10. Kidlit doesn't kill our favorites. And if it does, it's done in such a way that we can accept it without a world of sorrow or despair. Kidlit is full of hope.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Engine stalls.....

Well I managed to rip through a first draft of a new MG novel in about 6 weeks thanks to the multitude of snow days. (This novel had been percolating for about six months with copious character notes so it wasn't conceived and finished in 6 weeks.)

I'm now skipping back through it based on a chapter by chapter beta reader's suggestions, making changes. I've got another reader doing a whole ms read to give me feedback on plotting and pacing. After these two are done, I'll go back through checking my character's voices and tackling the "too many" words I found, like "just"and "looked". When all that is said and done, I have three local friends to read for me, one our bookmobile librarian, one the founder of our local literary festival, and one a friend who was born and raised in these mountains and can help with accuracy of voice and situation - aka believability. After that, maybe I'll send out a few tentative queries.

Lots of work involved with birthing a book. Last night I crashed at 8pm, I gave myself a night off. Day job plus creative job equal tired lady.

Hopefully my engine will rev again soon.