We_Can_Edit

The publishing house’s edits came last Tuesday. Yes, last Tuesday. I read the e-mail from the publisher which gave general directions on how to proceed in the editing process and then gave praise. The editor said: “Wow… this author is freakin’ fabulous!” Made my morning. I went to work in the best mood.

Then, I had to decide when to look at the edits. I have been on such a roll writing the sequel that I didn’t want to switch gears right away. I decided to get book 2 to a good stopping point. I didn’t want to stop in the middle of an action sequence or while I was building tension. I didn’t want to come back and have to reread to try to find that inspiration again. So, I gave myself a deadline. I said that I would write either 25 pages more or complete the current chapter because the story would totally change pace after the occurring events.

But let me tell you how tempting it was to break open those edits. I kept gazing at the e-mail all week, like hmm… just a little peek. But I resisted, because I know me. I would open the attachments and be a No Limit Editing Soldier on book 1 for the next week or so and lose my stride on book 2.

So today, I got to my perfect stopping place in book 2 and cracked open my edits. The first attachment was just a generalized one-pager with overall notes about being careful of word repetitions and overuse of ellipses, em-dashes and dialect. However, there was a special emphasis on the dialect suggestion to let me know that it was only an opinion. So, then I had to think about just how much dialect to change if it isn’t crucial.

So, after I let all that sink in, I opened the actual story with the track changes in it. The notes in the suggestion column are easy to follow, and there are even some compliments tossed in there. The editor offers suggestions for word repetitions and does a good job eliminating unnecessary words.

I look over and see that while my document’s 94,000 words there are only like 1700 revisions throughout the whole piece. So, I’m like okay, that’s really cool.  I’ve heard stories where people say an editor ripped their work to shreds, but here it’s not so. I like the usage of overall suggestions and I love the grammatical advice. Sometimes you just don’t notice lazy habits until someone points them out.

I want to give a shout out to everyone who has ever critiqued or just read through The Fourth Piece. It was a clean manuscript before submission and it’s all because of my unpaid friends and editors. That being said, no matter how clean you think your work is, there’s always stuff that can be better… and always a typo.

Going through the edits and accepting or revising changes and justifying leaving something the same is fun. The only pain now is Microsoft Word. The more comments that are left in a document, the slower the program moves. Grrr…

But it’s okay. I’m making pretty good progress. I think I can have this done in a week, and then I’ll wait and see what happens next!

Oh, and as for the sequel, I reached 115 pages in a month. Hopefully I can get this draft done before my birthday in April. How awesome would that be? Then I’d start… book 3. That’s kind of scary to think about. Book 3 is the end of the main story–a story I’ve wanted to tell since 6th grade.

Sniff, sniff, my baby is growing up.

Thanks for reading my rambles. Until next time!

 

 

 

 

So, I know I’ve posted before about writing sequels and how much it kind of sucks. The sequel I’m working on now, which is the sequel for the book I signed the publishing contract for 🙂 D :), has had four lives. One of these lives made it to page 220 before I decided the story was going in the wrong direction. The second lived to page 20, before a genius read it and said, “You need to flip-flop the events.” The third had a promising life. It was going smoothly, people in my critique circles loved it….

Then, the publisher accepted my first book and said: “The ending is a little lackluster. Can you spice it up?” So, needless to say, the first book got a new ending which ended the third life of the sequel. Now there were some people who were upset about the third’s brief life and quick death–and hey, I really liked that version of the story too.  But you know what, the fourth life was born about a month ago, and it’s been pouring out of me at rapid speed. It has almost reached 80 pages and, in those 80 pages, the plot has advanced further than 220 pages of the first version of the story. I’m actually in Act II. I’ve never gotten past Act I in the lives of the other sequels. Having to kill that last book is probably the best thing to happen to this story.

So, yeah, I’m having fun writing a sequel. I never thought this would happen, but then I’ve never felt this connected to a sequel either. Maybe it’s because I’m actually pretty comfortable about the events of the first story now, so moving on is something I feel better about doing. That being said, I might get the edits back from the publishing house’s editor that will nicely say: “Write it again!”

We’ll see. I’m so new to this. I’m actually excited to see red marks and wondering how much control I’ll have over the edits if I don’t agree to something. It’ll be interesting and fun.

So… here’s something I promised, some head-shots from my photo shoot a few weeks back. If you noticed, my profile picture has changed. That is head-shot one. Here’s another!

headshot 7

Thanks for reading guys! Happy New Year and take care!

 

 

mugshot cat

So, now it’s time to start thinking about how I’m going to look inside my book jacket and on author pages. I mean, I know some people selfie it up, but I’m not trying to have a selfie in my book. When you see pictures of authors in their books or on their pages, you can automatically tell when those shots are selfies. I don’t want people opening up my book and snorting at my blurry selfies.

I’m a member of a great Meet-up Group and the organizer is  a photographer who believes all women should have a great head-shot for professional purposes. She put together a few head-shot days at a discounted price and offered make-up services. I missed the first one, so when she put the second one I took that as a sign to get my picture taken.

Now here comes the dilemma. I’m infamous for taking mug-shots. I am one of those people who has to smile in all my pictures or I look mean. But you see all these great shots of people not smiling and looking all intense. However, when I try to do these looks, I can picture myself holding a metal plate with a number on it.  So, I went into the photo shoot thinking the pictures would be nice pictures of me, but nothing to write home about because, well, I just don’t take good pictures. I’m the person who runs and ducks and dodges the camera. If I’ve got something to put over my head or face when a camera flashes, I’ll use it.

So, I get to the photographer’s place with my wardrobe changes (excellent reason to shop for myself instead of buying Christmas presents, btw), ready for pictures. I get my make-up done and told how to pose and all the while there’s awesome music playing. I was so comfortable and had a blast singing and dancing and posing, and that blast ended up photographing really well.

I picked out some shots I liked (and those were all before retouch, so I’m really excited to see the end product), and I’ll see which ones I end up keeping. All in all I got some good head-shots today, and a couple of mug-shots, but those were too funny.

Today was great. I’m starting to feel more and more official. Now, I’m just waiting hear back from the editor about story edits. While I’m waiting, I’m still writing. I had to change the ending to the first book, so now I’m rewriting the sequel–again. But this new beginning is really working for me. I’m glad I started anew.

So, next time I post I hope to be able to make comments about the editing process when working with a publisher. Maybe I’ll have one of those head-shots to post too… (and maybe a mug-shot, some of them were hilarious!)

Take care!

 

 

 

 

 

minions celebrate

I don’t want to jinx it because the ink hasn’t dried, but I just signed a publishing contract.What does that mean? It means my first book is being published! Published! I will see my pen-name on a book cover. I think I’ll scream or maybe even cry when I hold the actual book in my hands.

Non-writers don’t understand. They cheer and pat you on the back and then look at you strange when you keep dancing on. I’ve been doing the running man, the MC Hammer, the cabbage, the twerk, and a couple of other dances I made up for the past few days. This is a life goal. This calls for celebration.

And the book being published is a story near and dear to my heart. I’ve been working with these characters since the 6th grade, building them up and giving them story. The drafting process was not easy. There are so many different versions of this story on various disks and old computers. Heck, in old spiral notebooks, back when people used to hand-write things.This is the story that received no love what-so-ever when I work-shopped it in grad school. Give it up. Write something else. You’re not a good enough writer to write this story.

I shelved it for years after graduation and finally came back to it almost 2 years ago with a fresh new outlook and confidence in my writing that I had lost along the way. The publisher read the manuscript in a matter of days, gave me glowing feedback, and then made the offer. The contract came in a few days ago.

I did some research on what makes a good contract and what makes bad contracts and compared the articles and examples to mine. It looks great, but one of my co-workers has a fiance who knows legal people so he offered to read the contract over for me. He also offered to call in a second opinion from others who work in the creative property side of law.

Everything checked out… and so I signed! Whoooooo!!!! “Do the Humpty-hump. Do the Humpty-hump!”– Yeah I just dated myself, but whoooooooo!!!

So here is something else that’s amazing: one of my co-workers is also a writer, a fabulous poet, who is getting his book published as well. He was the one who pushed me to start seriously submitting my book and gave me a deadline. He said: You must have  published book in hand by December of 2017 when I retire. I said: You’re on.

So, we’ve been dancing together. Now, I wasn’t going to make the announcement to my other co-workers or anyone outside of my inner circle until the ink dried… but my poet co-worker went to the boss and excitedly told her: Eboni has big news, big, big, news, but she can’t tell you yet.

Well, at work we’re experiencing a staff shortage. People are getting married, having babies, and moving away. My boss kind of got a little freaked out, because she was afraid I was going to say I was getting married or pregnant. She approached me when I returned to work (after an awesome Halloween week with my sister), wanting to know my news right then, and I had to tell her. Not to worry, boss, I’m not popping out any little people and I’m not wearing a ring. I’m just getting published. 🙂

Published!

So, the contract is in, and now I’m making the suggested revisions with a deadline of November 18th. I can’t wait for the next part in the process.

Until next time!

2014-09-07 18.37.44

Hahaha! Okay, yes, I am not dead. Just incredibly, incredibly lazy! But oh-so-much has happened in my life as well. So, I’m no longer in Florida. After a year and a half, I accepted a new position in California. I always told myself I was going to be a California girl, and now it’s happened. It’s hard to believe sometimes, but hey, I’m here and I love it.

I love my new job, I love my new place, my car loves driving through the hills and mountain routes. I’m still trying to make myself a niche here. Finding writing groups nearby is a little difficult, and the things I like to do with groups I’d love to join are often far away. But hey, I try. It’s not exactly torture making a two hour drive to do something fun when your end destination is San Francisco ;). Beautiful city.

So, here’s the story for last weekend. So, I joined a Harry Potter community that had a Start-of-the-Year Feast in Golden Gate Park on Sunday. Members were encouraged to dress up and bring a potluck dish in the tradition of Harry Potter. (I brought healthy cucumber sandwiches because it looked like everyone else was bringing sweets–which were delish btw!) So anyway, I did some impromptu karaoke, wandered some nature trails, saw some sights, met some new people… and got my car locked underground in a parking garage.

Yeah, you read that right. I parked my car in a garage that said it closed at 7:00 pm. No problem, the picnic would be over by six. So, anyway, picnic ends early, My friend and I, plus a new guy we met at the picnic, goof off in the park for a while. Then my friend and I make our way back to the parking garage only discover villainy. The entrance to the parking garage must have closed behind us, because… WHERE IS IT? We wander around, retracing our steps for almost 30 minutes. By the time we figure out how to get back into the garage, the doors are locked and the gate is barred. We sit outside the gate, staring at my beautiful red car through the metal rungs. What to do? There are no phone numbers to call. My genius friend Googled (gotta love Google) the parking garage and we get the number for management. A guy with a thick accent who sounds like he’s singing Italian opera while he talks answers and says he’ll be there to let us in, in a minute.

The man pulls up in a sedan, lets us in, we jump in the car and follow him out to pay the garage toll and head home. As we pay, he then tells us: “Good thing you called when you did! We charge people 450 dollars to park here after seven. Hahahahaha!”

“Hahahaha” my foot, but I kinda think he was making that up :D.

So anyways, that’s what’s been going on life-wise. Writing-wise, hey. I finished yet another novel draft and am making good headway on a sequel to that novel. In a month or so, I’m going to go back and do a full body edit to the draft and have a group proofread it.  Then, it’s back to querying. I would love to attend another writers conference and personally meet with some more agents. So, I’m always on the lookout for conventions in the Bay Area. (Hah, I’m Bay Area now :D.)

So, yeah, I’m back, better than ever… and hopefully, it won’t take another almost two years for me to blog again!  Take care!

So… April 10th has come and gone…

I celebrated a happy ___ birthday (Whoo hoo!) I got a shiny, new car as a gift to myself, but today I’m going to have to part with my old one. I’m really kinda sad about it. My old, green car is the first car I bought myself. He’s seen me through ALL of college (hoo boy), ALL my first jobs (ha!), and through multiple states (Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Lousiana, Alabama, Georgia, Florida). He’s even been to Disney World (well, close enough to it, we went to Universal Studios 😛 ).

So, today I say, “Goodbye J’son II.” (J’son I was my R-13 clarinet I sold my senior year of high school). I’m taking him to Carmax where he will be appraised and maybe even put on the market. May he find a terrific second owner. But is it wrong of me to hope he breaks down and can’t be driven anymore? I hate to think about a stranger driving MY baby. If I was still in Texas, I would have given him to a family member. If I had a house, he would have been the car that chills in the garage.

Siiiigh… Okay, after all that car talk, let’s get on to the writing business and why this post is called Epic Fail, lol.

Back to my opening statement, April 10th has come and past and I didn’t complete the Stephen King Challenge. I have come to the decision that while I do think Stephen King is wonderful and a novel can be finished in a month… that plan usually works best for people who don’t work full time at jobs that require overtime. If I was still doing a part-time gig, or teaching and had my summer off, I think I could have done it :).

BUT… and this is why the Fail is not Epic, I do have a good start to the novel. I’ve got 70 pages, and over 16,000 words. I’m still excited about the material and moving forward. I still want to challenge myself and set a time period for completion, but a more realistic one. I have a good writing buddy who suggested a book to me called: The 90 Day Novel. Well, I have done the first 30 days, right? So, I’m giving myself 60 more, starting today!

THE NEW CHALLENGE: FINISH FIRST DRAFT BY JUNE 12, 2013.

What is great about that is June 12, 2013 is also the kick-off of the library’s summer reading program, and I’m going to be extremely busy after that date. So, it’s on! I’m ready, and hey, this time, I think I can do it!

And now, the moment you’ve been waiting for, I said if I failed the Stephen King Challenge you all would get to throw bananas at me. So… let ’em fly. (Oh, but not at face… or the hair… let’s just avoid the head, okay?… um… okay? …crap.)

watch out for flying bananas

Haha, so I got my first rejection e-mail.  Wow, you know a few years ago I think I might have been choked up about it.  My baby was rejected, and with a form letter no less, but hey, the form letter had my name on it!  And they were so quick about it, too.  I sent it off yesterday, no joke, and got the reply today.  I was expecting to wait weeks for that first “No.”  Either the lady really hated it, or I did a major formatting “no-no.” 

Haha, anyway I think that was less nerve wracking than waiting for someone to call you back after a job interview.  Those guys can take forever to tell you “No way!”  This lady took 24 hours… that is, if she even read it.  I kinda think she didn’t because it just came back too fast.

So, now I feel accomplished.  I actually submitted my work to a complete stranger for scrutiny and I’m ready for more.  To rejection, I say: NEXT!