Tag Archives: writing journey

And once again

I finished!
Only it was different and it’s not completely done.
I wrote this book long hand, in reporter’s notebooks and steno pads with my favorite pen. And I had a great time doing it.
I’m having serious tech problems at work. The computer was getting between me and my book. My book I love. So I chunked the laptop and ta-da, a writer was reborn.
I have a callus on my index finger again. First time in a lot of years.
The draft has a ways to go before it’s really done, but I love the base story, the pace, the conflict. And of course, I LOVE my hero.
Woo Hoo.

and once again Gray’s Anatomy was amazing.

Make me Feel!

One of my best friends loves Nora. She buys everything Nora writes. Sometimes in hardback and paperback.
She says Nora’s safe but it’s more than that. The reason she loves Nora so much is that there’s always some place in the book that gets her. Her heart hurts. But she knows everything’s going to be okay.
She gets her happy ending.
I feel the same way about a lot of my favorite authors, my favorite books.
I want to feel.
Not a little. Not just sometimes.
But throughout the entire book.

That emotional connection is something I push on my j-students. I’m always saying , yeah it’s a nice idea but WHO CARES? Make me care. Make me feel. Make me think.
Make the connection or the words are just a bunch of black blobs on paper.

In journalism, my students look for the details, the truths, the parts of a whole that will connect. It’s not always easy.
In fiction it’s essential.
I hope my books out in publisher land right now do that. I can’t imagine the competition
they’re up against or the tired editor who might be reading the first page, then hopefully the second and third and on and on.
Whatever else, I hope the editor feels when she reads my manuscripts.
I think that might be the key to the Call.

I know it’s the key for me as a reader.

What’s best for the writing

One of my friends recently made a decision to give up some of the “clutter” in her life in order to give more time to her writing.
I applaud her decision.
I’ve been writing a long time with varying success. Each book gets better, I think, but not quite good enough.
In the last couple years I’ve finally written books that combine strong plot and strong romance with strong writing.
Will those books sell? I don’t know.
I certainly hope so.
Learning to say no has been an important part of my growing process as a writer. It wasn’t always easy, but it always paid off in the end.
We’re not super heroes. We can’t do it all.
But we can focus on our goals and our dreams and doing what we can to make them a reality.

Just finished watching Love Monkey.
It’s awesome.

YES!

I entered the Intrigue pitch contest and I won. I get to pitch Missing to Allison Lyons in a live chat in a couple weeks. Woo Hoo!

Interesting:

You Are an Espresso

At your best, you are: straight shooting, ambitious, and energetic
At your worst, you are: anxious and high strung

You drink coffee when: anytime you’re not sleeping

Your caffeine addiction level: high

Movies

Next to reading movies are probably my favorite way to pass time.
I spent all day with my writing group so I watched The Terminal tonight. The movie had tons of great reviews and I’m a big Hanks fan, so I was looking forward to it.
It wasn’t that great. The acting was wonderful but the script just lacked, well, a lot. I wanted to believe it. I wanted to love it. But in the end it was just so-so. I think a big part of that was because it seemed like the writers wrote from scene to scene without any real continuity or flow. I guess if it were a book and I were the editor I’d call it episodic. Of course it was a hit in theaters and obviously WASN’T rejected, so what do I know? πŸ™‚

One of my CP’s showed me a new book she bought. it was almost my exact plot from a book rejected a couple years ago for being unbelievable only hers had a high concept spin. This published book is about a town bought on e-Bay. My land developer just bought land in the small Texas town the normal way. πŸ™‚
Hit home once again the reality that there’s no such thing as an original plot so the voice better be amazing. I hope I’m getting to that point in my writing. And actually after looking at the back cover flap of the book my CP bought I saw how the author worked to put a slightly unusual spin on several of the elements. Made me see the importance of digging a little deeper when I do plot.

I’m working on my next Women’s Fiction right now. It’s gritty. I’m experimenting some with the story telling. The opening is all back story, but it’s essential to the book, essential to all parts of the story. I tried writing it in traditional novel format but it was drawn out, slow. In the middle of a scene I saw my heroine sitting on a front porch looking out on a dusty road. She was older and somewhat content and totally different from what I writing and she was telling me her story. It was awesome. I could see her so clearly. So I deleted what I’d written and told the backstory in a three page first person prologue. When she was done talking it was time for the NOW story. I moved to third person.
I have no idea if this is going to work but I’m going to try it out.

Crazy

I have three things in NYC right now. 2 fulls. One Q&S. Makes me very happy and very interested in the mail when I get home. πŸ™‚
Work is nuts this semester. And I’ve discovered something very unpleasant about myself: God forbid I freak out. The minute I do, I start freaking out about everything. Not fun!
Good note: I’ve lost 12 pounds since I started back with WW and the Y. Woo hoo!
Bad note: Not writing much. But I will.

Great book: Read Memoirs of a Geisha. Incredible book. Amazing story. I”m also reading Nancy Kress’s Creating Dynamic Characters. She mentions Judith Guests’ Ordinary People, so I watched it today. Amazing movie. I’m definitely going to find the book.

Lots

A week straight counting points and I haven’t been hungry. And actually I’m not really surprised. Losing weight isn’t difficult. (I’ve probably lost thousands of pounds!)
Keeping it off is. For me the key isn’t so much food as it is exercise.

The Book of Daniel:
I didn’t watch it but I have to say NBC is brilliant. Our local station brought several clergy in to watch the show and discuss it in advance. For the last week they’ve had at least a 2-minute Book segment every day, playing up the controversy. Great way to turn an ad into what people see as a story. (Other stations even picked it up. Like I said BRILLIANT!) I didn’t watch it so I don’t know what I think, but the reviews I saw ahead of time said the show had a great opportunity to be edgy and instead uses the religion angle as a shallow clichΓ©’d gimmick.

The Miner Tragedy:
I’m surprised more people aren’t saying this. The media deserves to be called on the carpet on this one. Live TV isn’t news. It’s entertainment. If it were news some of the so-called reporters would verify their information instead of having to say oops after the fact. It’s happening more and more these days. The newspapers picking up the story and running with it are even worse. I tell my students all the time that if the public can’t trust the news, democracy’s in danger. Maybe the journalists working at this level need to remember, it’s not just a job or a ratings war. They hold the future of America in their hands.

Work
I was invited to teach at the Columbia Scholastic Press Association conference in New York this spring break. Woo Hoo. I’m not going this time because I’m going to Boston at the beginning and I can’t be gone from my family the entire break. That would stink. But it’s so cool that I was asked. I hope they’ll ask again another time. But when NYT Upfront asked me to fill in on their editorial board and I had to turn them down, I never heard from them again. I had to turn down the chance to sit in the editorial offices of the New York Times, the chance to smell NYT ink, because I was teaching at another workshop that weekend. It killed me to say I can’t but please remember me because I’d love to another time. A year later I think I missed my chance. 😦

Lots of sales
Not for me, but several first timers sold to Harlequin. Silhouette this week. Exciting, inspiring. I can do this. On that note, I entered the Intrigue log line contest. Yikes. 2 sentences to tell your whole story. Not easy. If they don’t pick me, that’s okay. I’ll just send in a partial with a query and synopsis. I’m pretty sure they’ll ask for a full on that. It’s very much an Intrigue. And I think it’s pretty good.

A-ha!

Funny how a trip to Target with a teenaged daughter can create an a-ha moment.
Sitting in the car at an incredibly long red light I was struck with how we reach these points in life where we’re forced to make choices. Sometimes these points are obvious. Sometimes, we barely even register that a choice was made. But those choices send us in different directions. Kind of like turning points in novel writing. And it’s at this cross roads of sorts that our stories start.
That sent me into thoughts about what we show our readers and what we hold back. I love watching horror films, seeing the monster around the corner, knowing what the character on screen doesn’t. That if they turn right, they’re dead. Left, they’ve got a chance. But I love those scary moments that come as complete shocks too.
The writer has to craft their story to make the most of both these elements. That’s our job. To master the craft. The work it, mold it, create.

Deep POV

Cindy Dees came and talked to my local RWA group once. She was incredible. Her character worksheets have helped me get into my characters in a way nothing else has. She suggested we write what we know. I choose to research lots instead. (My life is BORING. I don’t want to write what I know!) My new WIP is another one of those research things. I’m watching a lot of the Food Network since my hero cooks. For some reason all this watching made me think I could cook. And actually supper tonight was awesome. It was the cleaning up I had a problem with. Somehow I took the edge of my thumb off with my new Pampered Chef slicer.
😦
So much for research.

The importance of dreaming big

The other day a friend asked if I’d sold a book yet and I said no but I had two in NYC and he said well, one of those will probably sell, and I just shrugged and said I was working on something new and the friend’s wife got a weird look on her face and asked why I keep trying when I just get rejections before she lost interest and started talking about french fries and I was left to ponder her question which meant absolutely NOTHING to her and everything to me.
Why do I keep trying?
The answers pretty simple.
Why stop?
I mean seriously, I have these stories in my brain and I get to write them and submit them and hope and pray and dream of one day sharing those stories with someone other than my critique partners. πŸ™‚
I can’t imagine life without dreams. I’m sure people live like that, but not me. I’m going to keep dreaming, keep hoping, keep writing. Will I sell a book? I think so, but I don’t know. But the one way to guarantee that doesn’t happen is to quit. And that’s just not my style.
So here’s to dreams and never letting them die! And friends who ask questions that keep me writing!