Thursday, August 31, 2006

Not A Genius, Just A Big Fat Liar

I'm not reading The First Mistake by Merline Lovelace. I haven't even cracked the spine yet. I have gone back to Ain't She Sweet? Wanna know why?

My current manuscript, FP, isn't a suspense. It is, was and always will be a contemporary romance. I was just feeling sorry for myself and thinking that I couldn't handle writing contemporary. Know what? Maybe I can't, but this story and these characters refuse to let me turn it into a suspense. And like a good author, I'm listening to the voices in my head and saving the stalkings and attempted murders for my next RS manuscript.

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Okay, maybe only in my own little world. But still, I'm allowed to think it.

I've spent both days of my weekend working on a different story, a romantic suspense story that I started last year and only wrote 100 pages for. After my disasterous (okay, maybe too strong) attempt at a contemporary, I had to write some suspense just to start believing in myself and my talent again.

It paid off. I've got a 25-page first chapter that I love. I'm working on the synopsis and then I have to figure out when I'll be able to finish this book (RR). I say this because my contemporary turned suspense must be revised ASAP.

I love my Scottish village (as you all know). My Scottish book is done. Yes, it has HUGE revisions ahead, but now that I've decided to turn it into a suspense, I can have fun putting the pieces together and revamping my plot. This book is still close to my heart and is scheduled for contests and queries in the not-so-distant future. Also, since this one is the only thing I have close to being completely done, this manuscript, FP, is the one I'm entering in the Golden Heart this year.

Too much to do and still not enough hours in the day. Guess I better make the most of them, huh?

Friday, August 25, 2006

A Perfect Marriage

I was about to put up a post that read "We Interrupt This Blog For A Major Revelation. I Suck!" My CP gently took my first chapter that I so lovingly fashioned and again pointed out all the problems. Yes, that's what a good CP is for and I'm eternally grateful for her because in my heart and soul, I love the story, but I knew the problems were still there.

So, I watched TV. And had some tea. And thought and thought and thought some more about my jump into contemporary manuscripts. For an ego boost, I decided I would write a little suspense tonight because I KNOW I can do that well. That is and always has been my strength. But I just had to take a 10 month detour and write this contemporary that STILL isn't finished.

So, I had another cup of tea. And decided to fix my latest RS (which already has a chunk written) and submit that for those contests I wanted to enter next week. And I started to think again about why I'm torturing myself with a contemporary when I'm obviously having so much trouble with it. I have learned SOOOOOOOOOO much over these 10 months so I will never regret the time spent, but something else poked into my head.

I am a suspense writer. That's where my strengths are, that's the first type of book I pick up to read. I have to go back to that. And these thoughts led to one more. Why can't I combine my love for my fictional Scottish village with my love & talent in RS?

So, tomorrow FP's first chapter gets ANOTHER face-lift. This will be draft 5, but I really feel it's the right choice. It also seems that my characters have been trying to tell me that all along and only my CP has picked up on the message. Until now.

My weekend goal has now morphed into fixing 2 RS entries for those contests next week. If both don't get done, so what? I will enter both contests with at least one manuscript. Wouldn't it be awesome though if it could still be FP? I'll let you know!

Monday, August 21, 2006

One Chapter At A Time

I'm just about done the latest version of my opening chapter and I LOVE IT! I can't believe how much better this one is compared to the crappy one I entered in two contests a few months ago. I'm so glad my 3rd draft (or most of it) sucked so that I get to revise and make it awesome! Which it is, of course! Even my CP will agree with me when she gets it.

Now I just have to figure out the revisions for the rest of the manuscript. I know one thing, though. It will be a bumpy ride to get to "The End", but it will be SOOOO worth it when this puppy starts finaling in contests and gets me an agent. But more importantly for me, it'll be worth it when I know I've created the best story I could.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Life's Little Gems

Four days down. 171 to go! Actually, my first week back to school hasn't been that bad. My classes aren't as bad as I thought. The kid who said he should kill himself because I'm his homeroom teacher has already started whining about how bad he is in writing. So what did I tell him? Practice makes perfect! We compromised and I got him to write his thoughts out on paper for that class period. After he rolled his eyes and stomped back to his seat.

Writing. Huh? Me?

Nothing. Nada. Nil. I sent a couple of questions to my online critique group and got some great brainstorming feedback. Yet, I still haven't written anything. I got to a point that I threatened to start a new story. My CP threatened to quit if I don't take this story to its end. It's written, she reminds me, it just needs to be revised and polished. I want to finish it and I know I NEED to finish it, I just haven't been in the right frame of mind to do it.

There are 2 contests coming up that I really want to enter with this manuscript. I've got about a week and a half to finish the first chapter and get it revised, which is totally doable if I get my butt in gear. My gut is insisting that I enter these contests. The final editor judge for one of the contests is the exact editor I planned to query with this manuscript. Between this and a few other things, it just feels like fate is stepping in here for me and I cannot let this chance pass by.

My manuscript deserves to be a winner. I just have to remember why.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Great Start To The New Year

We had our Back-To-School Night tonight where the parents and kids get to meet the teachers, see where they're going tomorrow and view their classrooms. A student I had last year in my 5th grade class walked up to my classroom and stared at me. "Ah! I forgot," he started off. "You're my homeroom teacher this year. I should just kill myself now!"

Nothing says welcome back to the academic world better than that, huh?

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Slicing & Dicing

50 pages have been cut out of my current WIP. A solid external conflict has been added, and so much more changes because of that. But, I can't wait to get to it! I've done very little work over the last week, mainly because I'm trying to get set for the school year to start on Tuesday. I'm hoping to have a new, exciting first chapter ready to go sometime this week! My CP is going to critique it and then I want to enter it in another contest. I've got a really good feeling about this new path I'm taking!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

So Much To Do, So Little Time

And practically no writing time! I say practically because I have been jotting down lines and thoughts here and there while I've been cleaning my classroom and attending staff development.

I want to celebrate my CP's good fortune with you. Two of her manuscripts finaled in the Shiela contest, 1 in first place and 1 in fifth. Yay! I've told you before remember this name. Jenna Stuart. Her historicals will be on shelves in no time.

For me, I got another agent rejection today and the only part about it that bothered me was the fact they didn't even seal the envelope closed. Obviously not the right agent for me. I just know my agent is out there waiting to fall in love with my characters as much as I have. We'll find each other one of these days!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Checkin' In

School's officially started for me. Meetings all week, learning new duties, refreshing my memory on old ones, catching up with staff. Right now I'm excited, but come back in a few weeks and I guarantee I'll have a countdown of the number of days until winter break.

My CP threw my dreams on the floor and did some ritual dance on them. Okay, no. She wasn't that cruel. (To give her credit, she's the best CP I've ever had and that's why I love her and listen to her!) She assured me that I can write contemporary, but I have some serious revising to do to get there. Okay, again she didn't say serious revising. Those are my words, because after I read through her comments I totally see what she means. And so I had a long, serious talk with myself about where I am, where I want to go within the next year and where I intend to be long-term. After some soul searching, Pro/Con list making and fact retrieval, I've come up with this:

I want to be a multi-genre writer. I have strengths in RS that I've honed over the last few years (and manuscripts), but right now my heart and soul are in the contemporaries. I'm discovering strengths here too that I want to pursue. My orginial reason for starting the contemporary was to explore, expand and understand more about character motivation. While this is still important, I didn't count on getting so sucked into this contemporary. (See previous posts for details.) I used to write a story, rewrite it a few times, start sending it out and then lock it away in a closet somewhere never to see daylight again. Whatever feedback I got on it, from agent or editor, I applied to the next book and I never bothered to stop and revise again. I know plenty of people who say it's not good to rewrite the same manuscript a zillion times, but I think the good writer, the successful writer finds a happy medium between my whirlwind approach and staring at the same thing for months. I decided I want that happy medium for myself.

So, I'm gutting again. Sometime in the next week I'm going to pull out the scenes I think are essential to the story and then I'm going to build again. For the first time in my writing career, I'm willing to take the time to slow down and revise. I don't want to throw this manuscript into the closet. I want to write it the way it needs to be written, tell the story longing to get out and nurture my fictional world until everyone wants to live there!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Good News All Around

I went to work this week for a few hours and started getting geared up for the new school year. (Teachers start 8/7, kids 8/15) Seeing as this is my 3rd year teaching these same classes, I'm finally at a place where I'm comfortable to really start catering my lessons to the individual classes. I also found out I got a nice raise.

I'm a little nervous about my new additional duties at school (ESL Coordinator), but I'm excited about it too and the 2 workshops I have next week just for this part of my job. It's what I've wanted for so many years and now I have the opportunity to do great things for my school!

My CP tells me I CAN write straight romance, however I apparently have this inner struggle between RS and non-RS and it shows in my writing. She assures me though that the problem is totally fixable and we'll be working on that soon.

I pulled notes out of hiding on my next romantic suspense and I discovered that I have the perfect first 5 pages. Now I'm dusting that manuscript off so I can finish it and start entering it in contests. I also wrote quite a few notes down for my next contemporary in my lovely fictional village.

I've written a schedule for my writing- contests to enter, revisions to complete, queries to send, new manuscripts to start. Of course, this schedule is flexible considering things don't always go according to plan.

I got a rejection from an agent, which bummed me out, but she took the time to line edit 7 pages for me. That in itself was cool enough, but when I sent her a thank you e-mail, she e-mailed me back, told me to keep going, that I am a good writer and that if I had any editing questions to contact her. I feel like I'm on another rung of the ladder now that I'm getting personalized rejections AND words of encouragement!