Cat_Dog_01There is nothing like struggling for weeks to write one stupid chapter. You start worrying. What’s wrong? All the other chapters came out so fast. Am I running into that dreaded disease called Writer’s Block? Am I losing interest in the story–because, let me tell you, after a few weeks, you sure are bored with that chapter and you really are becoming disgusted with the whole project.

Then, it suddenly dawns on you. Maybe you’ve picked the wrong character to tell the chapter through. Huh. You start thinking it through, and then realize what you must do. You must scrap all 10-20, sometimes even 30 pages of crap you’ve been hammering out for weeks and start fresh in that new voice. You hate throwing stuff out (and I really don’t. I have a massive file for all my stories called: Cut Scenes), but once you do and start fresh, suddenly, you’re writing. Your chapter’s through in a matter of days and you’re happy and mad at the same time. Happy, because YAY you’ve got a new chapter that you like. Mad, because you wasted 3 weeks working on something that was never going to work.

This has been the case for me for the past month on not one but two stories. Because yes, I’m one of those people who writes real novels and fan fiction at the same time. So both of my stories were at a standstill, but hey, now they’re not. I’m glad to be moving forward, finally!

Why am I blogging right now? Because I’m actually writing right now and so amazed (and mad) at my discovery that I had to share it. I also have to share that I now have 40 plus pages of cut scenes this month.

On the publishing front–I’m still playing the waiting game. (Worst… game… EVER). But, hopefully, I’ll start hearing more from people soon. Most of the agents and publishers have a 6-8 window, and I’m approaching 6 weeks for some. We’ll see what happens.

Until next time!

That would be me! I’m the world’s biggest hypocrite. I’m always complaining about people not reading signs or directions and today, I was a repeat offender.

So, good news–I have sent out queries to fifteen different places, agents and publishers. I have heard responses from three, two said thanks but no thanks, and one said, go ahead and send us the full manuscript so we can take a look.

I’m really excited about that, but do you know I misread the directions on submitting to this publisher not once, but twice. The first time, I misread the instructions for labeling my files. The second time, I sent the manuscript to the wrong e-mail address. Both times I corrected my errors, but my gosh. I sure hope this publisher doesn’t think: Well darn, she can’t follow instructions EVER.

I want to blame it on excitement, and just being tired. I keep telling myself not to submit late at night, because I make dumb errors, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Sometimes, I have to submit when I can, or it just won’t happen.

I know I’ve said it before, but preparing materials for submitting takes such a long time. I almost wonder if it’s not harder than writing the book itself.

So, anyway, my full manuscript is in the inbox of a teen lit publisher. I’m crossing my fingers and praying that they like it. But you know how it goes when you send off a submission. Just yesterday you liked your story just fine, but now that you know someone else is going to be reading and scrutinizing it, you’re thinking: Man that story sucks. Lol!

Well, here’s to hoping they don’t think it sucks. They liked the query and the first three chapters (prologue included.) So, we’ll see. And hey, if they don’t like it, it’s not the end of the world. I will continue to submit. There’s power in pressing “send”.

So now, I need to get back to writing new material while I wait. It’s hard, you feel restless, but you can’t put your other projects on hold for months while you wait for responses.

Until next time!

now we wait

First off I want to start off by saying: “BWHAHAHAHA!! I blogged again this month.” Okay, I’m done. Next off I want to share that I’ve submitted 8 times in the past week and half to agents and publishers (one by snail mail). I am no longer lazy or procrastinating… or chicken. I’ve been hitting “send” on e-mails like I hit “purchase” on Amazon. No problem, NEXT!

Now what has been time consuming is getting stuff ready for different publishers and agents. I had a query letter all prepared for agent submissions, and suddenly, they all want cover letters. I had a one page synopsis ready, and they want a one paragraph synopsis… or one that is three to ten pages. They want pasted manuscripts with 1.5 spacing, they want attachments in Courier. They want my query letter to answer their particular questions. Why it’s almost like they want met to tailor my submissions to meet their requirements!–hah, I’m kidding. I just never thought it would take days to get each submission of the same material ready for send-off.

I’ve learned to take my time and to read all directions at least three times. Some agents are vaguer than others and leave a lot to creative interpretation, while some tell you to the letter what they want and what they don’t. It would really stink to get rejected due to improper format. I’d kick myself.

Oh, and tell me why, 200 reads later, I’m still finding typos in the manuscript. Even after other people have read and edited, new typos just pop up. I think a little troll comes in the night and deletes single words like “to” from every 14th sentence on every 15th page. Well, maybe not quite that often, but still. Every time I see where a word is missing from a sentence, I think: When did this happen? Has it never been there? Did I accidentally delete it while editing something else? It’s irritating, but then you think, if me and like fifteen other people missed this, then it’s very likely to be missed by fifteen more people. Hopefully whoever reads my manuscript won’t notice them.

So… now I’m playing the “Waiting Game”. The one where you want to check your e-mail every five seconds, though the agents and publishers say: Give me 6-8 weeks or longer. One says: six months. But it still doesn’t stop you from looking. You get all giddy thinking what if someone got my e-mail, opened it right away because your name sounds cool, read your stuff immediately because you’re awesome, loved it, and can’t wait to contact you. Whoo hoo! (And yeah, right.) If anything, when an agent responds within a day it’s usually an auto-reject. I know; I’ve gotten them before, lol.

Here’s the process I’ve decided on to keep me from going nuts. Since submissions take so long and I get so antsy waiting, instead of doing submissions every week, I’ll do them every other. I’ll submit 2-5 times a week, then take a week off to write new material and hopefully distract myself with what I love to do: write. I’ll still check my e-mail a lot, but I’ll have other deadlines to meet as well. We’ll see how it goes. ūüôā

Okay, random change of subject. I want to talk about this creepy book I’m reading. I run a teen book club for the library I work at. The kids voted to read The Diviners by Libba Bray. I’m listening to the audio book of it, because I had a free audible credit. So, I’m chilling, listening, enjoying it… then things in the book get weird and I flashback to being a little kid looking at Freddy Krueger. The narrator, January LaVoy, is awesome. This is officially one book I don’t want to listen to before trying to go to sleep at night because I’ll end up lying in bed seeing shadows and hearing noises. (It doesn’t help that my water heater makes noises like someone trying to knock the house down with a sledgehammer in the middle of the night for no reason.) ¬†Anyways, I haven’t finished the book yet, but so far so good.

To sum up this post: I’m all over the place, but doing what I’m supposed to do. I’m submitting, I’m going to be writing new stuff soon, and I’m keeping organized (somewhat). I’m anxious to hear some feedback, always ready to hear positive things, but hey if I don’t, there are many other agents and publishers out there that I’ve yet to try!

I will blog again soon, I hope. And maybe I’ll have some news :).

procrastination

 

…a procrastinator. ¬†You know what, never mind. I’m not even just a procrastinator. Maybe I’m just chicken. So, I’ve got two manuscripts that I could be submitting. I get all excited and maybe submit once or twice, never hear back from an agent, and then start editing again. At some point you just have to stop and say: I’m done. I’ve said “I’m done” so many times, but this time I really mean it. I’m done.

I have set a goal for myself. I’m going to submit my manuscript 3 times a week, 2 agents, 1 publisher. I’ve been doing my research, I’ve been formatting manuscripts and query letters and synopses to fit what each place wants. And most importantly, I’ve been hitting: send. We’ll see what happens. I’m excited, but not disillusioned. I’m not expecting to get wild and crazy acceptances from everyone I send to. I’m not expecting to hear from them all and get detailed feedback. Hell, I’m just happy to be able to put entries in my Submission Log, lol.

Okay, so on from that, let’s talk about what I’ve been up to: throwing parties… left and right. Baby showers, bachelorette parties and going to see The Lion King the stage play. Let me tell you that play is amazing: the costumes, the dancing, the music, the story. It was like watching the movie in the theater back in ’93 when I was a kid. It was nostalgic but at the same time, it added new elements to the story. Characters and relationships were deepened, I was in love… and then “Be Prepared” came on. Scar started singing and the hyenas came out…

So, I think they told every male dancer who auditioned for that play, “If you do not have an 8 pack and do not glisten when we rub on oil on your chest, you need not apply.” The hyena troop stomped out on that stage… and yes, they had amazing technique, but the rippling muscles distracted me from that just a bit. Adult Simba was no slouch himself–lucky Nala! I wanted to leap into Simba’s arms too.

Needless to say, it was such a great time I went to see it twice, and they did not disappoint.

So… when my writing buddies ask me what I’ve written this month, I say: Um… It’s all Simba’s fault for being so fine–I mean–talented! But I am getting back on track. I’m going to do something I did a while back and create a writing schedule for myself. I need designated times for editing, writing new original material, and writing other things (fan fiction, my guilty pleasure). Last month, I’d taken to kidnapping myself after work and going to a coffee house with my laptop to write. I ended up getting a lot of new material that way. The only problem with that method is that I ended up at coffee houses filled with cakes and cookies and pies every other day. My willpower is only so strong. (Sigh) So, new pages and tighter pants.

New revelation: Writing is fattening, lol.

Okay, so today is October 4, 2015. Mark this date, because it’ll be another year before I blog again. No, I’m going to blog again this month. In my designated writing time schedule, I am going to plug in a time for blogging too. So, here’s the challenge:Blog more than once a month. We’ll see what happens, lol!

Until then!

 

I can start this entry off with more promises of blogging more frequently, but I know I’m lying. I love the idea of having a blog, I love the way it looks, and sometimes, great things happen and I want to blog. I just don’t. It’s like lying on the couch with a bag of snacks staring at your treadmill, thinking: I want to use that thing. But do you? Nah. Requires you to stop doing nothing and be productive, lol. We can’t have that, can we?

Ironic that this post is actually about how productive I’ve been these past few months :). Here are some accomplishments:
1. Had my annual review at work– Got a gold star.
2. My novel was 127,000 words– edited it down to 99,000 words.
3. Started my own weekly writers group through Meet-up– It’s been 6 months and still going strong, and sometimes is Wait-list only.
4. Went to the San Francisco Writers Conference 2015 and rubbed elbows with agents– Four out of five agents said send me that novel (or some of it).
5. After weeks of being a perfectionist (editing like crazy, again)– I sent my manuscript off last night (bye, bye Mommy’s baby, have a good first day of school… **sob**)

So, after Number 5, I wait for responses. I opened up my dusty, agent submission log (started in 2011 and not used since then) where I enter in the queries and manuscripts I send out to agents, looked at my long list of submissions (2 agents) and see that one of the agents I’m sending to this time around is the same agent who gave me my first rejection letter. ¬†It was a nice standard issue form letter that came within a few hours of my submission. I told myself (to make me feel better) that I must have committed a formatting treason and got an auto-reject. The agent couldn’t possibly have read my work that fast and hated it, right? ¬†Haha. Well, years later, I find out that it WAS an auto-reject! (Not that she might not have rejected it anyway, but still… HAHA, I was right!). ¬†Anyways, at the conference, when the agent gave me her card, she said: Make sure you put my super secret code in the subject line or else you’ll get an auto-reject. I don’t read unsolicited manuscripts from new authors unless I meet them at a conference. ¬†I swear I heard the “Patty Mayonnaise” music Doug heard whenever puffy-headed Patty entered the room, when I made the connection. (Oh yeah, I revealed my age right there in that comment. Nick-toons were the best in the 90s.)

So, I’ve got 10 pages in the hand of one agent, and an entire manuscript in the hands of another. ¬†I’m excited, nervous and relieved at the same time. ¬†Excited, because I’m finally submitting, for real. ¬†I’m ready for my 100 rejection letters! Nervous, because “Oh no, it’s baby’s first day at school, what if someone is mean to him or steals his lunch money?” ¬†Relieved, because I did it. ¬†The manuscript is out there. ¬†When people ask if I sent it off yet, I can say “Yes!” ¬†So, now I have to keep myself from checking my e-mail every hour, like a mama checking the nanny-cam. ¬†My logical brain knows that I’m not going to hear anything for weeks, and that if I do hear anything back this soon, it’ll be “BWHAHAHAHA, how dare you send us this crap?” ¬†But knowing all that doesn’t stop me from constantly checking. ¬†I’m even annoying myself with it.

To take my mind off of it, I could do something productive, like write something new. Hey, I could work on revising the sequel to the manuscript I sent off. ¬†That’s a great idea… or I can lie on the couch with a bag of snacks staring at my exercise machine or laptop and think: Man, I should be using that thing. ¬†Couch and snacks sound good, but nah. ¬†Been there, done that. ¬†Maybe I should research some more agents that I haven’t met and get some more submissions sent out. ¬†But my question is, should I wait to hear back from the agents I just sent to? ¬†If they don’t like the manuscript, maybe they might offer some good feedback as to why and I might get some useful edits made according to it. ¬†But then again, what if the things they hated about the book another agent loves? ¬†At times like these, I wish I had Jean Grey’s powers to not just to read a mind, but to change a mind: My baby is the cutest, smartest, most awesome baby in the world. You like him. ¬†You want him. ¬†Lol. ¬†About 50 submissions from now, I’ll be laughing at this entry. ¬†I’m such a newbie, but ah well. ¬†Gotta start sometime, and I’m way past due.

Okay, so I just wanted to get an entry in here and let WordPress know I’m not dead… “just floating”, being lazy, procrastinating, so don’t cancel my subscription–especially since you already took my money for it. I can’t promise when I’ll do another one of these. I always enjoy writing blog entries when I finally get around to doing them, it’s just the “getting around to them” part that’s so hard.

Until next time–and hey, maybe by then I’ll have some interesting news, or good news, or a new place to live, or a new man, or… ¬†Ah, whatever. ¬†Take care!

“I’m not dead… just floating”–Pink, I’m Not Dead.
Mann, B. and Pink. (2006). I’m Not Dead. [Recorded by Pink]. I’m Not Dead [CD]. London, England: Zomba Music Group.

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 ūüėõ ).

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

Hey!¬† I want to thank all the folks out there who have wished me luck.¬† I think I’m gonna need it.¬† Last week was insane.¬† I do not think I have ever been so busy or tired at and after work before.¬† I’m a youth librarian, and we just had the grand opening for our new teen room on Wednesday.¬† There was so much last minute work to do, and then there was the party to host.¬† At the end of the day, the event was a success and the kids like their new space.¬† (And we like their new space, too, because when we shut the door to their new space, we can’t hear them :D)

So, how much writing did I do last week?¬† Needless to say, I have a grand total of 5 new pages.¬† I need to kick my butt into high gear.¬† What I really need are some days where I don’t have to do anything else but write.¬† I have a few coming up and I hope to get a lot done then.¬† I’m still excited, and still think I can beat this challenge.

In fact, I want to extend the challenge to other authors out there.¬† Let’s race.¬† Send me a line and let me know if you want to do it!

impossible

I’m back and ready for a challenge.

I never was good at keeping diaries or journals.¬† I wondered how long I would be faithful to doing a blog entry at last once or twice a week.¬† Answer: About 6 months, lol.¬† Well, now I vow to do better.¬† I am challenging myself in two ways.¬† Way 1: I will blog at least once a week.¬† Way 2:¬† Well this one’s the big challenge.

I know a lot of people know about NaNoWriMo where you pledge yourself to write 50,000 words in a month.¬† Well, a great writer by the name of Stephen King wrote one of my favorite writers craft books.¬† I don’t really read those things anymore, as I had a writing teacher once say something wonderful: The best way to learn to write in your genre is to READ in your genre, and read a lot.¬† Many rules and grammar lessons and such just don’t apply, especially as current trends in your genre are constantly evolving.¬† And, sometimes writers craft books are boring.¬† If you feel like you’re doing homwork, suddenly writing is not fun.¬† I ran into that rut for a while.¬† Writing became work and no play.

But anyways, I digress, Stephen King says writers should get all of their first drafts out in a month or you lose focus and intensity on what you’re writing.¬† I find the longer it takes me to get a work out the more spread out my ideas become and I have to do a lot of “tightening” up editing.¬† I’ll use my fan fiction as an example because I have finished fan fiction stories. ;). I find that the fan fics I finish in 4-6 weeks are tighter with better structure and more consistency than the ones I take a year to finish.¬† Mostly because my writing style is always growing, so you can tell what I wrote in January from what I wrote in May, and mainly because my interest in the project wans over time.¬† By the end of the year, I’m thinking about and working on different projects, so my focus is split.

So, I challenge myself.¬† I have gone back to a project I shelved for a very long time (7 years).¬† It is a novel that I’ve wanted to write since I was a kid, but I put it away because I let a lot of people tell me it was implausible and no good.¬† I’ve reworked the concepts and characters and I wanna try it again.¬† I’m very excited, but I also don’t want this to become another 6 year project.¬† (My last book took that long and now the edits are taking forever because… well, the writing differs in places and it’s too spread out due to me writing parts of it over the course of years).

So, here’s the bet: I bet that my novel, The Fourth Piece, will have a complete first draft by¬†my birthday on April 10th.¬† I have given myself 4 weeks (1 month) to deliver.¬† If I loose, well, you guys can throw net bananas at me.¬† I will blog at least¬†once a week to report my status.

Whoo, four weeks.¬† I can do it, I can do it.¬† When I’m not distracted, I’m a fast writer, and I have a bit of an outline to go off of.¬† Well, wish me luck and ice cream for banana splits.

You guys take care!

challenge sign

So, I’m trying to write a sequel. ¬†It started off great, and now I’m stuck. ¬†I’ve been going to a weekly writers group and a few of them say I give too much back story away too soon, but then I have other people say I don’t give enough back story away soon enough… and I’ve had people say: Hey, I think you’ve found the perfect balance.

I am trying to stop myself from revising every time I read back through the work to figure out where I am.  Too much revision keeps you from finishing anything, or makes a 6-month project turn into a six-year project.  It took me four years to write the first one, I do NOT want to take that long for the sequel.  I gave myself a 3 month goal.  I think I can do it, if I could just get over this sticky patch.

I’m actually outlining to see if that can help me out. ¬†We’ll see.

Okay, now it’s rant time. ¬†The security alarm in my apartment still doesn’t work and guess what it decided to do ALL day and ALL night last night? ¬†Chirp! Chirp-chirp-chripity-chirp chirp! ¬†Chirp! Chirp! CHIRP! Chirp! Chirp.

Did I sleep?  No.

Did I have to get to work early this morning?  Yes.

I called the complex and they gave me a code that is supposed to make it stop.

If it doesn’t work ye all shall see me on the news.

 

Yay, I heard back from the agent I sent my full manuscript and synopsis to.¬† She took exactly one month from the day that I sent it to her.¬† She didn’t give me a standard form letter; she wrote me a nice, brief, note.¬† She said that while I am a promising new author she felt that she could not empathize with the main character enough to be able to champion her story.

I take that as positive feedback.¬† She didn’t say: Yuck, this sucks.¬† Or you need to read these craft book or revise.¬† She just said: You’re good, but this isn’t my cup of tea.¬† Good luck! ¬†Lol.¬† So, now it’s time to decide who to¬†send to next.¬† I really should start sending out to more than one place at a time.¬† In fact, I think I will this time.¬† I already know one place I’ll send it to next; I’ll hit up The Writers Market for some more.¬† I’ll try to do a submission a week :D.

And while I’m doing that, I will not stop writing.¬† I will keep writing my sequel, and hopefully finish it before the summer is up and move on to the last¬†book.¬†¬†I just feel like I should have so much more material than I do.¬† Once I get my apartment in order (oh, by the way, the rest¬†of my stuff got here today, WHOOO), I will be able to concentrate more on writing.

Okay, I’m about to discover the joy of unpacking… again.¬† But yay to hearing back from another agent, and getting a personalized note.¬† And once again, I say:

NEXT!