Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
No writing today as I spent the morning researching a low-dose percorten treatment for our Addison's dog, Bella. I think our vet has her on too much percorten and prednisone and both of those can cause serious side-effects. I either have to talk him into trying a different method (that's what all the research was for) or switch to a new vet. If I can find a neighbor who loves their vet, I'll go check them out since I haven't been happy with our vet for a little while now.
So now at 3 pm, I am finally sitting down to try to write. Worrying won't help, so might as well escape into a fictional world where there is always a happily ever after.
Monday, October 28, 2013
Remember in another post I said I wanted to write a standard trope into my next WIP since my first two m/s are a little "different"? I think my brain just doesn't like to conform. I started playing around with the surprise baby/child trope for this next brother, but my brain starts whispering...yes, but make him a virgin. ??? Why would I even think of attempting that? Because I'm guessing most romance readers like their men to know what they're doing in the bedroom. And it would have to be just right or it'll fall flat. I think I'll have to start writing and see what this brother tells me, because I can't just force him to be something he isn't for the shock value. I'll see what happens...
On Life: We had a mini-reunion with family over the weekend in Maryland. Six of the seven siblings and their spouses were able to make it. Yay! And we saw my mom's sister and her husband who are so wonderful but too far away in California. It was great seeing all my brothers and sisters. We may be very different in personalities and lifestyles, but we all love each other and get along. I love that.
Friday, October 25, 2013
A few errands and odds and ends today too. I need to go get more "special" food from the vet for the puppy. We're not sure this food is helping her at all, and not even sure of the vet at this point. He's taken care of our puppy since she almost died and was subsequently diagnosed with Addison's disease, but I'm reading things now that do not "jive" with how he is medicating her. I need to do a little more research into this and print a few articles and see if he's willing to read them and either try them or give me a good explanation for why this different way of treatment is bad. But I think I'll start asking around for recommendations for a new vet. Just in case.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
I had very good progress (finally!) on my synopsis yesterday. I would like to edit it down another 300-500 words. And add in a few lines to hint at the humor. But this one, in all its sloppiness, could work in a pinch. So, I'll spend a little more time on it today, but then might put it aside to write the extra 13k I need for the m/s. My incentive to get that 13k done in the next week is it frees me up to do a mini NaNo before all our relatives arrive toward the end of Nov.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Today I will keep moving forward. I will write. I will be bold. I will write where my imagination takes me. I will write what I need to write. Even if it feels like baby steps, today I will keep moving forward.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Went to the North Carolina State Fair yesterday. Went with #1 daughter and her boyfriend and #2 son. Watched a goat competition. Picture the Westminster Dog Show...only with goats. Saw blue ribbon steers, pigs, turkeys, chickens. Baby chicks (so cute!) which they will no longer let you hold. Very sad. Prize winning quilts, cakes, baked goods and jars of pickles. It was fun, but we have decided we are over fair food. Next year we'll go to see all of the above, but save our money for a nice meal somewhere else. I mean how many times do you need to have a fried Twinkie?
Monday, October 21, 2013
So...I was just starting to get excited for participating in NaNo this year, when it dawned on me that I don't think I can due to visitors and the Thanksgiving holiday. To be clear, I am very excited about sharing time and holidays with people I love!! One sister will visit the week before Thanksgiving and another sister and her three kids will be here during Thanksgiving. Plus #1 son is coming home from his Air Force base in Mississippi and possibly my dad and his fiancé will be stopping by for a night on their way to Charlotte before the holiday.
But the writer in me is still disappointed I might miss NaNo. My other NaNo limitation is I don't think I can start a brand new WIP yet. I have to add 13k to a m/s. I will attempt to do that this last week of Oct, but since we are travelling this weekend, not sure I'll be successful with that. Not to be deterred...I think I will do my own "mini-NaNo" during the first two weeks of November and I'll either aim for that 13k I need, or if by some miracle I get that done then I can start a new WIP during my mini-Na(1/2of)No. That's my plan. Now to hammer out that synopsis (No. Insert eye roll here. It still isn't finished.) and the 13k.
Sunday, October 20, 2013
Who are my heroine and hero?
What do they want?
What/who is stopping them?
Internal and external conflicts.
Character and romantic growth/arcs.
The happily ever after.
Oh, yeah, and if I could come up with a brilliant, catchy opening to make editors/agents drool to read it, that would be great. Plus, a few lines that convey the humorous tone of my writing. (This is always the hard part while trying to be concise.)
After yesterday's work, I have 3 1/2 pages, but I haven't stood back to read what I've got. Could be a hot mess. I guess I'm going to have to read what I cobbled together before moving on today. I'll have to pull on the hazmat suit and dive in. I'll bring a machete and blow torch with me, because you never know, right? Synopsis writing: It's a dirty job.
Saturday, October 19, 2013
So, today, more moving of dirt. Then the spreading of grass seed. I believe tulip and daffodil bulbs are ready to be planted. This is a lot of work to feed the deer, yes? Because I know they are going to eat those flowers like they're bars of Ghirardelli chocolate. Hopefully the 1st two of this list can get done before any rain arrives.
On Writing: I accomplished nothing on my to-do list yesterday. But, I did get two thank you notes to judges written and sent. That was really at the top of my list, only I forgot to put it on. So, today I seriously need to work on my synopsis for WCTBL? Seriously. I really mean it.
Friday, October 18, 2013
Writing To-Do List:
#1 Synopsis for Why Can't This Be Love?.
#2 Edit and add to WCTBL? I'm not happy with the ending, so I need to work with it a bit.
#3 Begin brainstorming/plotting for my next book.
#4 Write a query letter for Bringing Delaney Home. The full of Delaney has actually been with an editor for not quite three months now. I'm going to get a query letter ready so I'm ready to send her out once I hear back. (I like to prepare for worst case scenario and be happily surprised if it isn't needed.) *I just realized I finally have some bling to add to my query since Delaney has now finaled in a contest.
Okay, I need to get going on this to-do list, since later this afternoon I'll be working. Shoveling dirt.
Fun fact: Drinking beer is a functional workout too. Yup, biceps :) .
Thursday, October 17, 2013
To break it down: I have 2 completed romance manuscripts. My first, Bringing Delaney Home, I entered into a contest in February. It was my first contest ever and before I had anyone read/critique my m/s. I must say the judges were very kind and generous with their critiques. Not only did I not place in that contest, but I don't even think my scores were very good. But, boy, did the judges comments give me a lot to think about so I could edit and improve my manuscript. That was invaluable.
Next, I entered the *new and improved Delaney* in its 2nd contest. I found out in the beginning of Oct that it has finaled. (Yay! My first final!) And again, with some wonderful comments and critiques from the judges, (can you believe writers carve time out of already busy lives to judge voluntarily?! Fricken amazing!) once again I was able to make Delaney a stronger manuscript before sending it back in for final judging. Delaney is now the bionic woman at this point. (And if you had read the m/s, you'd think this was funny. Trust me.) Now, of course, Delaney is the m/s I entered into SYTYCW, which as you know, did not make it past the first cut. It's possible my voice is not a good fit for a series line. Delaney and I are still trying to figure this out.
The opening chapter of my other romance manuscript, Why Can't This Be Love?, has caused havoc from day one. (See posts We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Program...and My Wonderful Critique Partner for the full gory details.) I made a few changes hoping to fix some of the problems with chapter one and entered it into a contest in August. Because, at this point, I really just needed an unbiased read and opinion of this m/s and my writing. Well, guess what? This week I found out WCTBL? has finaled. Totally unexpected, but so wonderful because I was beginning to think I'd end up a crazy lady writing only for myself. Like I said, I write with a quirky, humorous voice and until this contest not too many people seemed to dig it, let alone love it. Well, these latest judges did. Woohoo! And these lovely judges, who again, donated their time and expertise to read not just my manuscript but many others, also included comments that helped me improve my writing and my manuscript. And yes, they may be the only two people in the world who find enjoyment in my writing, but it was fun to make someone smile. I finished the edits on the contest entry and emailed it back this afternoon.
So, that is my contest experience. Not a lot, but what a great learning curve. My two cents: If you enter writing contests to win, it will probably be disappointing half of the time. Maybe more. But if you enter contests to learn...you can't lose.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
~I met lots of great women that I now consider friends.
~the m/s I thought I was going to enter, but didn't...is better because of it.
~the m/s I did enter is stronger because of it.
~I was able to get my 1400 word synopsis for m/s entered down to 750 words. Which I previously couldn't do. Nothing like pressure to help get something accomplished.
~I've connected with my second critique partner. Yay! That alone was worth the price I paid...what was that? Oh, yeah, here's another beautiful silver lining...
~all of these great things were FREE. Yup, no entry fee, but quite the mother lode of benefits!
So, a big congratulations to, yes the Top 50, but to all 650 writers who took a risk and put their work up there for all to read and critique. Because that's what writers do. And it's not always easy. The amount of talent in all those chapters was ridiculous! Be proud people, go forth and write some more!
Oh, yesterday I read an old post on the blog Seekerville (http://seekerville.blogspot.com/) by Bob Mayer on writers feeling like a fraud and believing in oneself. I know this is not unique to writers. I think it must be a human trait because I have seen this mentioned by people in all walks of life. I have felt it myself. When I was young (high school young) I was a ballet dancer. I was pretty good. Went to NYC for auditions and won 4 scholarships to 4 of the best ballet schools (Joffrey, ABT, SAB and Harkness for any ballet aficionados.) So, I had some talent. BUT...in the back of my mind was always this fear that one day a teacher was going to find out that I was only good because I was doing it wrong; that I was a fraud. And once they discovered that and made me do it the "right" way, I'd be no good. I used to have dreams about it.
So, when those doubts start to poke at me on my writing journey, I try to focus on how my writing makes me feel. Am I proud of it? Does what I write and the process of writing make me happy? So far, the answer is yes. My learning curve is going in the right direction. Would I like for other people to get pleasure from reading my work? More than a little kid wants a basket of puppies! But at the core of it, I have to write for me. I have to be happy with the process and proud of the product. That is the part I can control. Anything above and beyond that is a blessing.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Ferdinand Foch, Battle of the Marne, 8 Sept. 1914
On Writing: This is my theme for the next three days. I am editing two different manuscripts.
Hope Plan to have one finished today. The other finished by Thursday. Like the scene from "Apollo 13" when the engineers have to fit a square peg into a round hole to save the astronauts lives.
Monday, October 14, 2013
#1 I have a manuscript that I wrote intending it to fall into the romance "series" category. But someone suggested to me that my voice may not "fit" into a series line, so now I have to decide, do I keep trying it for a series line, or set it aside and chalk it up as a learning/ writer growth exercise? Or...behind curtain #3... do I look at the plot and see if I can't add some twist or subplot that could turn it into Single Title worthy book and see if my voice is a better fit there? I think what I'll do is finish the synopsis (I have a rough (think rough enough to get splinters) draft) and see if I don't get any ideas as I do that.
#2 Plotting my next WIP. I have written two manuscripts about two brothers. There are three more brothers. (You knew there would be, right?) So, which brother do I want to write about next...Whichever brother I choose, I am going to work in a standard trope or two for this m/s. My first two m/s haven't really contained or focused on any. So, which trope to do is another question...friends to lovers? Secret baby? Marriage of convenience? What are your favorite tropes? Which tropes am I forgetting?
#3 Our family Christmas letter. I know, I know, I hear you! It's only October! But by default, I am the family Christmas letter writer, and I have failed to write one the last two years. Maybe longer. Life just got too crazy, you know? I think it started when I went back to school to finish my degree. Who wants to write a letter during/after a 16 credit semester where half my classes required me to write multiple papers? Apparently, not this girl. And then our twins graduated high school. And then we decided to move out to the country, so had a house to sell and one to build. I am determined to write one this year- even if all it says is, "Merry Christmas." That's what I've got cooking. How about you?
Saturday, October 12, 2013
But, I'm pretty new at this, so I'm writing what I want to. What I need to. And then depending on how editors and agents react to that...I can adjust accordingly. It's a learning process. I am definitely learning as I go, and crafting better stories each time. Heck, each draft/revision is better than the first, so it's all good right now. Each contest makes me really consider my first sentence, my first five pages, my first chapter, my conflict, my plausibility. See? Win/win.
Or, as James T. Kirk says in Star Trek, "I don't believe in the no-win scenario."
Friday, October 11, 2013
Thursday, October 10, 2013
On Life: I'm missing my mom a lot today. She's been gone ten years now, but some days I really feel the loss of not having her with me. Maybe because with all of the writing, contests and submitting, I think she'd get a real kick out of it. She loved to read romances. She looked forward to her Harlequins in the mail every month and was a voracious reader. I was blessed with my mother. It was like winning the lottery of parents...she was that wonderful. Today is one of those days when I wish I could pick up the phone and call her.
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
#1 Finish reading/editing Bringing Delaney Home
#2 Tighten synopsis- shorten by 1/2. (Did I just roll my eyes?)
Then, when both of those are done...read a few more SYTYCW entries. I think I have a glimpse of the fun part of being an editor. I love to read an entry that has no comments, fall in love with it, tweet about it, and get other people to go read it. Fun for me and great for the author and the readers.
I realized I never reported back on the BBQ smoking. If you are vegetarian or vegan, now is the time to turn your head or stop reading.... okay? The BBQ ...Was fricken awesome! We had done the pork shoulder before, but never beef brisket. Oh. My. Gosh. It was amazing. I ended up using the first rub I found on the Internet, and I wouldn't use the same one again, or at least cut the salt waaaaayy down. But, words do not describe how good smoked meat over a low heat for 10+ hours is. I am honestly going to research smoking a turkey after I am finished with my SYTYCW entry.
By the way, I am writing this post (essentially tomorrow's post) so I don't use writing a post as an excuse to not get my to-do list done. See how serious I am about finished my list tomorrow? Okay, that's it for me tonight since I've got things to do tomorrow!
Another fun HIMYM episode last night. It is one of the very few TV shows my husband and I watch, and as it's the last season we're making a point to watch each one when it airs. No spoilers. I'll just say this week's was better than last week's.
On Writing: Tomorrow is the last day for entering the SYTYCW2013 contest. There are over 530 entries so far. So many great writers with fun creative ideas. I guess the next thing the public will see is the full top 10 manuscripts which the editors will pick out of their top 50. Those 10 will easily be strong and entertaining based on all the chapters I read, so it'll be fun to read them and root and cheer people on. Wishing good luck to all who entered.
I hope writers who didn't get many comments on their entry don't get discouraged. Honestly, there are just too many entries to even make a dent in reading all of them. So, comments or no, I hope every writer who entered pats themselves on the back for the accomplishment of writing a manuscript, and then uses this contest as a springboard. Finish polishing the rest of the m/s, get that synopsis written and then send off some query letters and get your work out there. Come on people! I saw lots of great writing in this contest...which means potentially...lots of great romance books!
For me, I think it's time to start brainstorming my next book. As I'm doing that I can probably begin my first round of edits on "Why Can't This Be Love?" That is the m/s I was planning to enter in the SYTYCW contest, but then didn't since it hadn't been through any edits yet. But, silver lining, my first page and first chapter are stronger because I got them ready for the contest. Plus I wrote the 100 word pitch for it too! I've got a (very) rough draft synopsis that I need to finish also.
Sunday, October 6, 2013
We've been smoking BBQ pork butt and brisket all day. It smells luscious outside. We were just discussing smoking a turkey for Thanksgiving this year, so we'll probably need to practice later this month and work out all the kinks before the holiday. I guess the only concern would be if smoking made the white meat too dry. I'll have to research it. I know deep frying turkeys is popular, but not sure about smoking. Okay, I'm off to eat BBQ and check out some football! Happy Sunday night!
Saturday, October 5, 2013
We've got 3 of the 4 kids home, which is always fun, so I have to come up with something to cook for dinner. I believe I heard one of the kids trying to plan a family game night. Tomorrow we'll pull out the smoker for some BBQ pork butt.
On Writing: The editing I'm doing is from some feedback I received back on a manuscript. I have to rewrite a few things. Some rewriting is no problemo. Easypeasy. But other rewriting causes a ripple effect and once you make a change you have to go back and make sure everything it touches is fixed too. I've got both of those. Two changes that create ripples, so I'm trying to make sure I don't miss any changes associated with those. I had to omit a scene, which, honestly, I should have done on my own. It was a scene that had my heroine coming across a little bitchy. Granted she's at a low point in her life, so a little snarky, but I don't want readers to think she's a bitch. It had been rubbing me the wrong way each time I read it, but I let it stay because it was in the original draft. Also because it was hard to come up with something to replace it. I think I finally managed that yesterday. That's it for me. What are y'all up to today?
Friday, October 4, 2013
And the laundry and vacuuming that I was part of my plan yesterday...? Yeah, now that's part of today's plan.
Oh, the wisdom teeth extraction went well. #2 son is recuperating and eating soft foods like a champ. Hopefully he won't be too sore today. #2 daughter arrives home today. Both are on fall break from college. #1 son has another Air Traffic Control test today to move further along in his Air Force training, so we've sent up a prayer for that.
Okay, off to execute the plan...
Thursday, October 3, 2013
On Writing: I've been reading some of the SYTYCW chapters and commenting. I try to point out the good stuff but I have left a few observations that *I think* would help make the chapter stronger. I hope it isn't coming off as snooty, but I know one of the main reasons I entered was for comments from other writers. If I'm going to learn and end up better a writer after this is over, it helps to get feedback. But I know not everyone feels that way, so it is tricky.
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
#2 son gets his wisdom teeth out tomorrow after classes. It's the first day of his fall break and the best time to get it done. He only has two, so shouldn't be too bad. (Easy for me to say, right?)
#2 daughter (#2 son's twin sister) is coming home in two days for fall break. Yay!
On Writing: I finally submitted my chapter to SYTYCW13. I ended up going with Bringing Delaney Home, since I've done more editing on that one and feel it's a stronger story because of it. I have some more editing/revising to do on it during the next week, but then I'll go back to my newer manuscript and start the first real edit on it. Then it's on to a new WIP. Yippee Ki Yay...