Saturday, February 27, 2010

Saturday Second Read Through

I Spent most of today reading through my critique group partners MS.  It's really good.  There are a lot of amazing fantasy elements here that I'm really liking.  Plus it's very fresh.  Not the same old re-hash that everyone seems to be doing.  I hope my comments and suggestions will add to this work, because I think it has great potential.

Now I'm sucked into cyberland and I have to get out!  I need to go to the gym, right now.  I can't believe how late it is already.

I'm reading a great MG book called "Operation Redwood".  It's about a sixth grade boy who's trying to save a stand of old growth redwoods.  It's so well written, and a great story.  The author is S. Terrell French.  Anyone with a middle-grade reader should definately check it out.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Beta Readers

I'm bringing copies of my MS to book club tonight to foist off on my "book club sisters".  Luckily many of them have middle-grade readers, so they are a good audience for my book.  I'm anxious to see what they have to say about it.  I'm a little concerned though because I haven't been able to generate much interest from my neice and nephew.  I'm blaming it on the fact that my 3rd grade neice doesn't like to read, and my 1st grade nephew is a bit young, but you never know.  It might just be crap. 

Of course getting another rejection, now 2 for 2 from an agent is making me maudlin.  But at least she responded quickly to my query. 

I'm really hoping to get some great drawings from the kids who read the story, so I can put them on the blog.  I think it'll be fun to see what they think Milo, Farley, etc look like.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

If Nathan Can, Why Can't I

Blog on Lost that is.  I've watched this show from day one, but I'm still no closer to understanding it than in 2004.   I think in the end they are going to say this whole show has been about being "LOST", cause that's what I am.

I'm taking a few minutes off to watch, but I need to keep working on making notes from the Nancy Lamb book. 

I also need to finish my next revision.  I promised my book club mom's that I'd bring copies for them to read to their kids to our next meeting.  Hello, that's Thursday night.  If I can get the revision done, I'll have to do the updates tomorrow night, print and have copies made while I'm at the gym Thrusday. 

Also working on two things for critique group members.  I'll really be able to focus on that more on Thursday and Friday.

So what else is going on in writing land.  I submitted to a backspace contest via mail yesterday.  The winner gets a scholarship to the backspace conference in New York in May. 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Finished Read Through Complete

I finished reading my critique group partners MS this morning.  Wow, some really great stuff hear.  I kept waking up all night, wanting to get back to reading, but forced myself to stay asleep.  I need my rest.  This was one fabulous roller coster ride from start to finish.

I feel really honored to have this work in my hands because I think I'll be able to suggest a few little tweeks that will make it a very marketable project.  What a remarkable voice.  More to come on this project.

Friday, February 19, 2010

I Should Write a Book about an Ogre, But it Would Have to be a Memoir

I feel like an Ogre at critique group when I have to tell people that they need to change something major or fundamental about their story in order to make it work.  I remember well, how it felt to be told that my story had issues that would require major re-writes.  I also anticipate getting the same feedback from someone more experienced than I am. 

I've been reading and studying and working really hard on my craft, which makes me more "critical" on my critique group partners.  But what I'm coming to understand is that writing is such hard work that no one has time for wasted effort.  And by wasted effort, I don't mean writing a scene where your POV is head hopping, or is unclear.  I don't mean writing a scene where your characters motivations are weak or implausible.  Those are all part of learning to be a great writer.  Those are all part of the 1,000,000 words that you have to write.  When I talk about  wasted effort, I'm talking about writing the same things over and over with minimal alterations and no strategy for creating a saleable novel. 

I myself have put my first novel "under the bed" as they say.  If it ever sees the light of day, it will be in a completely different format.  It needs to be re-worked from beginning to end.  There are scenes that can be salvaged, but much more work needs to go into it. 

As one of my critique group partners pointed out "if it was easy every one would be doing it"  I'm not sure that a lot of people get that. 

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Attention To Detail

Lack of attention to detail is one of my biggest failings.  It never fails to get me in trouble, especially when I'm in a hurry to complete something.  My latest blunder was entering a contest that clearly stated that I needed to not only add the contests blog to my blog roll, but also include the information in my e-mail.  I added the contest  site to my blog roll, but didn't put it in the e-mail.  Major gaff!  I'm sure this will spell doom for my chances in the contest, since they get so many entries, anything that's not flawless will get the boot.

My mom finished reading my story in very short order and found a few corrections for me.  It's always so helpful to have that second pair of eyes, or third pair, or sixteenth pair.  I was pleased to see that after all my hard work, there were only about 25 things that needed to be fixed.  I'm not kidding about that.  25 words out of 30,000 is a big drop in errors.  All of my attention to detail on the final round of red pen revisions must have really worked. 

Tonight is 2nd Thursday critique group, and I'm going to exchange manuscripts with another member of my group.  I'm very excited to read her story.  She has a wonderful imagination and a great voice. 

Even though I'm not doing any of my own revisions right now, I'm still hard at work on other writing projects.  I think I've found a way to resurect one of my older stories and improve the beginning which has always been troublesome.  So busy busy.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

1 Query: 1 Rejection down

I queried an agent I've had my eye on for a long time, and got back a rejection within 12 hours.  Maybe I should be depressed and discouraged by this, but I"m not.  The only thing I would have wished for, besides a gushing offer of representation, would have been some feedback on my query.  I think I know what happened, which is that this isn't the best agency for this particular book.  It's a better fit for my earlier novel, which is why I've had my eye on her for so long. 

Anyway, overall it could have been much worse.  It could have taken her weeks to get back to me with a rejection.  As all fo the agent blogs say, just because they reject you, doesn't mean there's anything wrong with the project, just not a good fit foro them.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ready for First Readers

It took all day and late into the night to type up all of my revisions.  Now I'm ready to have the kids read it.  But that means taht I'm done with it myself for the next couple of weeks.  I'm going to miss Milo and company. 

Of course, I have critique group coming up this week.  I also need to work on my synopsis and query letter.  Then start querying.

Friday, February 12, 2010

By George I Think She's...Almost Got It

Wow!  I can't believe it, but I think I almost have this punctuation thing down.  I can actually look at a sentence I wrote and see the mistakes I made.  Then I can fix them without having to consult one of the four reference books I have spread out around me.  I never thought I would get to this point.

So I'm finished with my line-by-line edit for punctuation ahead of schedule.  Now I just have to go through all of my strange words, and hyphenated words, and make sure I get them right. 

I'm sure it will take most of tomorrow to type all this up, but then...

I admit, I'm dragging my feet a bit.  I'm going to miss Milo and company terribly when I'm not working on him every day.  But at this point, I just need feedback from someone else.  I can't think of anything else to change.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Seeing Red

My manuscript is bleeding from all the red ink I've used on this revision.  I intentionally waited until I was down to the dreaded punctuation review to use any red ink on my MS.  Now that I'm going back to front, line-by-line, with four different punctuation referrences spread out around me, my manuscript has become quite gory.  And I'm not talking about the story. 

I just don't know how it's possible for one well educated woman to be so obtuse about punctuation.  I mean seriously.  I just still don't really get it.  Don't get me wrong, going line by line, I've finally figured out how to spot some things, but others I have to labor over. 

That makes me wonder if anyone, other than editors really knows this stuff.  How did I get a 3.87 in my MBA writing like this?  It's crazy!  But I am determined.  It's going to take all week to get it done, but I'm going through every line to make sure that they have the best punctuation I can provide.  Whether it will be right or not, who knows?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Grammar Girl, HELP!

On Sunday, I listened to the tape I made Saturday on my new digital voice recorder.  It sounded so funny.  Especially to Mitchell.  He was really freaked out.  He looked at me and my mouth wasn't moving, then he looked at the recorder and my voice was coming out.  He looked back and me, then he just took off.  It was about an hour before he'd come back in the room with me.  But of course, he got over it and flopped down right in the middle of my MS. 

Now I'm to the dreaded grammar and punctuation review.  I've put it off as long as I can.  Luckily I have my Grammar Girl handy and I can usually find a good answer there.  This is going to be a long haul, so wish me luck.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Reading Aloud

I spent all day re-typing my MS with my last three rounds of revisions.  Now I'm ready to read it aloud.  Like most people, I think my voice sounds wierd when I here it on tape.  It sounds like my sister.  Luckily I like my sister's voice because once I read it aloud, I need to listen to it on tape and make changes based on that. 

Friday, February 5, 2010

Critique Group Meeting

We had a great critique group meeting last night.  I really benefitted from some excellent feedback.  One thing I had overlooked when describing one of my characters was that if he had a physical deformity in his mouth, he would talk differently, or at least have some other symptoms from his deformity.  Great catch.  See, I thought I had this all nailed down, but that one got right by me.  So back to the drawing board to add to this part of the dialogue.

I really appreciate this feedback and I hope that people appreciate the feedback I have to offer.  Sometimes I feel that I am a little harsh, and I am at a phase in my own evolution where I tend to notice what's wrong, more than what's right.  I have been reading so much, so many books, so many blogs, and really trying to apply that to my own writing.  When I go to critique group, I want to share that knowledge as much as possible.  I wish I could say that I love everything I see, but I just don't work that way.  It's a waste of my time and a waste of everyone else's.  And there's just no time to waste.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Are We Done Yet?

Still working on my revisions.  How is it possible to go through this book 24 times and counting and still find places that so obviously need to be changed? Every time I go through this it winds up looking like it's bleeding.  Then I start with a blank white copy and... 

Anyway, meeting with the critique group again tonight.  I think this twice a month format is going to really work well.  I'm also doing a manuscript exchange with one of my crit group members.  I'm really anxious to read her whole book, so it'll be great.  But that will be two weeks from now.  So the clocks ticking to get this into the best possible shape by then.

I started thumbing through my Chicago Manual of Style.  HELP!  This is worse than finance and accounting put together.  Have I mentioned that my brain does not work this way? 

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

America's Next Top Model

I think I'm going to give up writing and go out for America's Next Top Model.  I think I have a better shot at it than becoming a writer.  Ha!  Just kidding.  Sometimes it just seems so overwhelming.  I was reading an agents blog where she gave a break down of the 124 manuscripts she had reviewed over the past several months.  Out of those, she chose to rep 2.  Wow.  And those 124 probably represent hundreds if not thousands of queries she recieved.  Pretty long odds. 

Still I believe in my story.  I've got to give it a shot, but if anyone thinks being a writer is easy, think again.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

All Heck Breaks Loose

Work has gotten CRAZY today.  I'm glad I've gotten so much done on my MS because I'm not going to have much time to work on it during the day.  Things better get back to normal soon, because the only reason I do this horrible job is because I have time to work on my MS during my work day. 

I have so much to do and so little time.  But still hope to be able to start querying agents by 2/15/10.

Monday, February 1, 2010


I'm revising for sophistication and coming up on the home stretch with my revision process.  So I've started spending some time thinking about my query letter.  I'm considering sending it to the query shark.  She gives awesome advice and doesn't pull any punches.  Just what I need. 

I"m also ready to start thinking aoubt letting some youngster read it.  I've got eveyone in book club excited about it.  Hopefully by Spring Break it will be ready to go.