Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Did not want the full manuscript, thank you. Verra nice, verra sweet, verra disappointing.
That is two out of the five who has it that declined to see more. So I just read the first three chapters... I am sending it out to another agent who requested it and I am thinking the reason that no ones wants to see any more is because it's crap.
This may not be THE ONE.
It is a kick ass query letter. A great premise. But perhaps the writing on this one isn't what it should be. Not shiny enough to set it apart from the pack. Or perhaps I have read it too flipping many times to be a judge of it?
Anyway, I have to make a to do list out today. I have two articles due and one that needs to be edited and sent. Lots of fiction work... I am almost finished with chapter two of the big idea. I have a publishing company that wants me to send my writer's bio and resume for a nonfiction children's book. Lots of work to do on the big event for Northwest Woman.
Back to the drawing board!
Monday, May 30, 2005
I have pretty much taken the weekend off.
For a couple of reasons, first and foremost, my right arm is getting shooting pains and numbness from the pointer finger to halfway up the elbow. I do NOT need this right now and thought I better stop it in its tracks. Secondly, I thought it would be best to put both manuscripts away for a bit while I worked on NW woman stuff and remodeled my bedroom. I wanted to come back to the manuscripts fresh and ready. I think that will help me add words in the long run to POUR SOME SUGAR ON ME and the BIG IDEA. (Not its real name but I am in protective mode right now till it is ready.)
I have been doing crazy amounts of writing the last couple of weeks, both nonfiction and fiction and we also bought a new mouse. I honestly think it is the scrolling through the finished manuscript and the research that is hurting my arm as opposed to the typing. Does anyone else wear a brace? Thoughts?
This is the last day of the holiday weekend. I should take today off as well, but have two articles due tomorrow and I don't want to have to do them both tomorrow. I also need to get another partial off.
Oh, agent question. I had a vvery reputable agent request a partial... well, this is how she did it... "If no one else is reading it, I would like to see a partial of the manuscript."
What can I say? Several agents are reading it right now? If they don't like it I will give it to you? Snort!
That would make an impression. Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.
okay... boring blog is done:)
Saturday, May 28, 2005
For those of you don't know, I homeschool my kids. Always have. Always will. Most of my best friends don't and I could care less. Personal choice. Anyway... One of the highlights of my life was teaching my son to read. It was so fast! Books and writing is obviously a part of our lives, a huge part. I am first and foremost, a reader. Our house was literacy rich, I had taken college courses on the subject and their entire childhood was filled with books, reading, story telling and letters. My son loves to read and at fifteen it is a joy to talk to him about books.
But my Meggy wasn't interested. Could care less. She drew, she danced, she painted, she cleaned her room, but she did not read. Oh no. Her rention is poor unless it is a song or a movement. I tried several different methods. I started getting a stinking suspicion that she was dyslexic. I brought in the experts. Sure enough. So she learned to read, but it was a chore. She has no interest in the world outside her own little world which she paints bright with colors and sunshine.
But what is it like for a mother who writes to have a child who hates to read? Especially since I homeschool her? Painful. Hard. For a long time I beat myself up, wondering if I had done things differently if things would be different. If I had sent her to school, would she love to read? But that's stupid. Many children with the same problems go to school, learn less about reading and come out of it with poor self esteem because they are in remedial classes.
So I have come to some conclusions about things. Not everyone is meant to go to college. Not everyone is academically smart. So she doesn't like to read. So she has little intellectual curiousity. I can tell you what she is:
- Kind. She wants people to be genuinely happy.
- Organized. At fourteen, she has a calendar and keeps it up. She cleans better than I do, organizes better than I do and has an amazing sense of what goes where.
- Self Confident. As a figure skater she knows exactly what she wants. As a young woman she is pretty self assured about her own looks, her own sense of style and taste and where she is going in life.
- Artistic. She can decorate a room better than anyone I know.
- Multi talented. She is a perfectionist and can caulk a sink, change the oil in a car, bake cookies better than Mrs. Smith, fix a lamp, and refinish a dresser.
- Funny. The child loves I love Lucy and does a mean rendition of the Vegameatavitamin bit. She also adores musicals like Oklahoma and My Fair Lady. Because of her skating she also loves opera. She listens to Josh Groban and Gwen Stephani with equal passion.
When I was down with the brain tumor, she took care of everything... the house, the critters, her brother (a year older) and the cooking. And this was two years ago when the child was 12! Like I said, so what if she doesn't like to read much. I still make her read some of the books she should read, but I try not to make her feel bad about not liking to read. She wants to be a figure skating coach and a personal fitness trainer.
Not everyone is going to be talented at the same things.... the world needs young women like my daughter as well as they need us intellectual types.
But coming to that revelation has been quite a journey for me, I can tell you!
Friday, May 27, 2005
Sending off submissions before they were ready because of impatience. Taking a job I shouldn't have because I was worried about this or that and always wanted to be working. Forcing things before the time was right, before I had learned enough, thought enough, or was ready.
I have a friend who has wanted to be a freelance writer for years. She hated her job, she hated getting up early and her dream was to write for a living in the comfort of her own home. Because of a variety of reasons she never took the plunge. She did some freelancing work on the side and dreamed. When her job ended at the college she was working for, she did what she has always done and interviewed for more jobs. But this time, doors weren't opening right and left. They were shutting and slowly it dawned on her that it was time. She decided to make out a business plan and now she is a full time freelance writer and my, how the doors have opened for her in just the past few weeks! She scored a freelance job writing up marketing blurbs that pays almost as much as her old job. She has come up with more assignments than ever before, including an assignment for a major glossy magazine and, best of all, she has scored a job writing a book on sports trivia for a sports team she already knows inside and out.
The timing was obviously right.
So I am thinking about my timing. For the past six years I have worked my way to a certain measure of success in the nonfiction world. Two books, many magazines and the like. I basically learned how to write and learned about the business. I wrote a couple of fiction books, as well, dreaming about the day when I could earn a decent living writing fiction. I am getting a bit tired of writing nonfiction. Dealing with the sources, dealing with all the PR people, etc. Not that I hate it... some of it is still very exciting. I will never forget the feeling I had when I scored Writer's Digest... 3 times! Or when I realized I was earning more money than I ever had in my life. My first TV interview, first radio interview, the first time someone recognized me... good stuff. Nonfiction taught me that I have really good instincts for the buiness when I am patient. I also learned the importance of networking.
But I am ready for more. Here is what has happened in the last month that makes me feel my timing is right.
- I got the job at Northwest Woman Magazine. Not a lot of money right now, but a world of opportunity. Especially setting me up to PR my own books.
- I am putting together an event that will make my name known to the media here in Portland.
- I have had so many agent responses to my query. I can understand that to a certain degree... all my nonfiction query writing has definitely honed that skill... I got some help from a friend too:) But I have had so many requests for a partial...
- I was asked to join a very good critique group that I would be proud to be a part of.
- My dh says he thinks we can swing going to the Reno conference
- I got what I think is a really fab YA idea and the opportunity to publicize it, create a platform and the timing is just perfect. (If I hurry)
So, I think the timing is finally right for me to get an agent and get published in the fiction world!
Thursday, May 26, 2005
My dh almost agreed that Reno would be a good idea for my career! So I just might make it to the RWA conference. Truly fab as I will get to meet many friends and perhaps score an agent if I don't have one by then. (I hope I do. I hope I do.) I think it would be a fabulous opportunity. I could actually drive there and save some money, though, airfare from here is cheap. I could also get a hotel nearby that would no doubt, be more economical as well... though I would prefer to be where the action is!
But there are ways I could do it and save money. Kimber... your mom still have a room avilable? LOL!
So who else is going????
I have several dialogues going with other chick lit writers also doing a YA. It is good for me to see that others have the same questions and concerns that I do. I think it will make the book better. I sent a rough to a new friend who is looking it over for me...just the first chapter or so. I need three before I can start shopping...three and a kick ass synopsis. I just have so much to learn. I wish I would have concentrated on fiction three years ago!
Speaking of which... I have to write a synopsis for Pour Some. The very cool agency asked for it. I think I will just send the first three and synopsis and look for ways to layer a sub plot into the book that would kick up the word count a bit.
Another awesome thing... Candy from Smart Bitches who Read Trashy Novels fame is coming to the Northwest Woman Magazine's Book Lover's High Tea!
I have three articles to finish this week and then I am going to let myself relax for a bit before tackling the rest of them. My hand hurts and I think it is the researching and scrolling that make it hurt so much as opposed to the typing.
Okay... let's get that article done before the day of running my children around begins!
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Why did I not know this?
How could I have been so stupid?
Now what do I do?
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Dear Super Agent. stop.
If you are reading my partial. Stop. Let it sit on your desk and if you're thinking of reading it. Stop. As long as you don't read it I have hope. Stop. While it is sitting there it will get better. Stop. It will amazingly morph into Super Seller Novel and you will want to see more. Stop. If you think I am stalking you. Stop.
It was an agent I would have liked to work with. I wish I would have crossed my t's and dootted my i's better. I noticed some mistakes after sending it of course. Is it that or did the partial not live up to my smashing query?
I know I shouldn't be depressed. But I yam anyway. More later.
Monday, May 23, 2005
Where do people find great critique partners? Those friends who are not only honest, but accessable. Professional, yet not too busy for you? Someone who is helpful and can give advice more useful than,
"Well, why'dya have to go and make her say some durn fool thing like that?"
"Because that was the whole point of the book, Dad."
"Seems sorter silly to me."
"Simply wonderful, sweetheart, I laughed till I cried."
"She died, mom."
"And you wrote it so well."
"Why don't you name one of your characters, Carol? Your Great Aunt Carol would get such a kick out of that!"
"Okay, Mom, I will name the teacher, Carol," I say, through gritted teeth.
"No, it has to be a speaking part."
"Mom, this is a book, not a play, for crying out loud!" (See how I slipped in that cliche while you wern't looking?)
And so on and so forth.
All the really great and published writers have great and published critique partners. I have come to the conclusion that this is some sort of secret key. I should put out a want ad.
Wanted: One slightly used (read experienced) critique partner.
- Must be able to spot improper pronoun use from a great distance.
- Must be enthusiastic, supportive and knowledgable.
- Must be able to kick ass and ask the hard questions such as, "You do know how to spell, don't you?"and, "Have you honestly been anywhere that people actually speak like that, cause I haven't," or "Just how stupid do you think your reading audience is?"
- Must be published, have multiple works in progress and still have time for moi!
- Must have eerie encyclopedic knowledge of all living things.
- Must not in any way, shape or form resemble my mother or even someone who looks like my mother.
If you feel you fit these qualifications, run, run like the wind cause you don't want me for a critique partner.
Sunday, May 22, 2005
I have a prominent radio personality coming... she is a writer as well, I can tell from her uproariously funny nightly commentaries. I also have the senior editor of features for the Oregonian coming and have talked to a few TV people as well, though I don't have RSVP's yet. I have two other authors coming besides Jane and I just received some signed copies of books for the raffle. I have a couple of donations for the raffle and a nursery is donating the flowers. This is a fun thing apart from writing... though a part of the writing world, I suspect. I can't wait till I am throwing my own eighty's party for my book release.
Yesterday was a mad, mad, mad, mad day. Too much driving around. I did finish up one article, though I will have to go over it today to see how it turned out. Very difficult one. Medical articles are like that.
I also did some more tweaking on my novel... YAY! I added some really good stuff and caught a lot of little mistakes. I am about 3/4 of the way done. I am looking for little things like continuity now... does she have the same mannerisms toward the end of the novel that she did in the beginning? Are there enough sub plots to give the story depth? Is the resolution too easy?
My big idea is simmering. Deirdre over at the Knight Agency said she would look at it, so it will have to be well done and well developed. I finished the first chapter, but my high concept line came to me afterwards and I will have to change it up a bit to fit. I really need to work on that.
Today, I will....
Tweak novel a bit more.
Finish bedwetting article
Work on Big idea
Make the changes my editor wants on two articles that I thought I had already laid to rest!
Better get to work.
Friday, May 20, 2005
I love cyber friends for that very reason, especially writing cyber friends. You carry on a conversation on your own time. The other person understands if you don't talk nonstop because you can actually get up and leave the conversation for a bit and no one is offended. You can get involved in what you are doing and not bother with them. When real friends come over you can't do that. You have to give them your full attention. They stay for far longer than you would like and take up far too much focus. If they were online you might have just exited them and gotten back onto the task at hand. Or you might have gone stealth to get some work done without interruptions.
But sometimes writing does get lonely. Right now I want to talk plot with someone. My great idea has grown wings and I need, need to talk it over with someone who knows what I am talking about. I love my family and friends, but most don't have a clue. Can't instantly grasp the possibilities, don't understand all the implications of changing POV or setting. Where oh where are your cyber friends when you need to chat?
Of course, they may have all gone stealth at the same time!
Thursday, May 19, 2005
Ahem. Sorry about that. Moving on.
As I said, I have completed first chapter of brave new idea YA book. It goes well for first draft. Novel goes well too. I am finishing up added plot line. Just when I think it is a really good book, I get very fearful that it is not and I am wasting everyone's time. Normal writer's idiosyncracy. If at first you don't succeed, run to the closet and whimper till you get brave enough to do it again.
okay... off to write about bedwetting truths, morning sickness and dad's and flex time before I can even pretend to head for Pour Sugar on Me.
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
He has a new shift and is now working four ten hour days and gets three days off. Which is great because he always worked ten hour days anyway. But he rarely took three days off. So now he is home Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays.
This week, knowing that I am under the gun with deadlines, agent requests, and new ideas, he basically relieved me from all duties. He cleaned the house, did all the laundry, and ran the children hither and thither. And as I said before, they go to hither and thither A LOT! Last night he even TRIED A NEW RECIPE. Lemon Chicken which turned out quite tasty.
This is most surprising because this is from a man who once fought the career (or dog's rear as he used to call it) tooth and nail. It made him nuts in the beginning that I could work so hard and not make a penny. I would get a stray check in the mail and he would say, "What are you up to now? Three cents an hour?"
A type A personality with OCD tendencies, he thought my time would be much better spent cleaning the toilet, the sink or the baseboards. (Don't judge him too harshly, you should see his DAD!)
"Oh ye of little faith!" I cried, while flipping him off. (Letting him know I was NOT his mother) I knew what I was doing. I could see the big picture while all he could see was a sink full of dishes.
This morning he told me that he railed against these changes because he still thought he could mold me the way he wanted me. Now he says I am stronger, more self assured, sexier and more authentcally me than he had ever imagined I could be and he thinks it is because of my writing. And he has fallen in love with me all over again. (I knew there was a reason for the Lemon Chicken!)
And I thought I had grown.
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
So which one is tell me and which one is show me?
Sigh. I have been writing too long. Still working on Pour Some. Yes, I am sending it out and it really is finished, but I realized it needed something more so I am adding and am hoping that I am not adding the proverbial straw.
What I really, really want to do is to work on my YA series. I keep going back to it. Filling out the plot a bit. Creating characters. The fun stuff. Is it sad that I have the platform built before I have completely filled out the plot? Or am I being practical? Problem is that it should be up on auction NOW.
But first things first and right now I should be focusing on Pour Some. And of course making the money with my nonfiction that keeps the family going. And yes, that means articles on incontinence myths and hemochromatosis.
I really want to go to RWA, but I don't think that is going to happen. I wouldn't even have to take a plane for crying out loud! Maybe next year.
Okay... am now done with the post without a point or the pointless post. Will go read those with a point before getting started on my writing.
Monday, May 16, 2005
Then came the Internet.
I had found the outlet for my passion, the means to a dream, the food for an obsession. (That last part was from my husband who was reading over my shoulder. Swatting him away)
I am now a part time (HA) writer. Make that full time. We all know it's true. Now I sit in front of the computer and howl in front of a glowing screen. Sometimes I really am laughing, other times just howling. I have been known to sit for hours muttering about this and that, grinding my teeth, marking things in one of many little notebooks. Sometimes I don't shower. Sometimes I don't get dressed for hours. I do this weird thing with my right hand where I will be perfectly fine for an hour or so and then, cursing, will shake my hand and arm wildly around my head for several minutes and flex my fingers uncontrollablly.
My children think I have lost my mind. They bring new friends home and whisper, "Don't mind the woman in the corner... she's on Deadline!"
"Is that a new drug?" they whisper back, a little afraid.
"Yes," my children say, nodding wisely. "You don't want to interrupt her. Especially with the words, I'm hungry."
"What happens then?" the newcomber asks, fascinated.
"She turns, her head opens up and she screams 'FEED YOURSELF,' blowing back your hair with the fiery winds from hell."
(My children have the gift of story telling too)
Sunday, May 15, 2005
Sometimes the life of a writer can be a bit frustrating. The ups and downs, the numb fingers, the joy of an acceptance (Or even a reply;) the agony of defeat... oh wait. That's sports. You know what I mean.
- Tried to add some links to my blog. Couldn't figure it out and had to stop before I broke something. (Number one frustrating thing.)
- Dh forgot to pick up coffee last night so I am stuck with green tea. Which is probably better for me, but not the same, by any means. (Number two)
- I didn't get expected check yesterday... Just how long am I going to have to wait, people? Don't these editors/publishers know I have coaches to pay? (Number three)
- I wanted to sleep in and the cats woke me up. Why did I think it was a good idea to collect six cats?(four)
- I finished up only one article yesterday. Which means I have two today and I desperately need to work on my fiction. (five)
- Why, oh why, was I so stupid to let my fiction take a back seat to my nonfiction? I would be so much further ahead right now, both career wise and craft wise had I been more consistent. Oh, yeah, I had to make money, that's why. (Six)
Okay... to please the Gods of Karma or whatever, I must now write down six things that are going well.
- My query for Pour Some Sugar on Me has generated much agent interest. Two of them from my, "would die to work with this agent,"list!
- I am actually making a decent, if inconsistent, living as a writer. (That is an amazing, wonderful gift from the heavens)
- My brain tumor is still a dead mass in my head and the radiation thus far hasn't turned up any ill affects like sprouting a moustache or a second nose.
- My teens still like to spend time with me and my dh, when not making me absolutely bats, is still pretty fine. It's been sixteen years, so that is definately a bonus.
- I've lost forty pound since November and even though I have about 25 more, I am holding steady.
- My editorial jobs at Northwest Woman are challenging and fun even if they don't pay much of anything.
There, all evened out. I feel a bit better. Except now I am hungry!
I HAVE NO COFFEE FOR MY SUNDAY MORNING BREAKFAST!
Saturday, May 14, 2005
Then I find her personal blog. Very cool! She talks about all sorts of writing related things and I am delighted. She also has some fab links to other like minded bloggers and I keep going back to go from one to the other. It's how I pass the day. A little writing, a little reading. I, of course, am far too much of a professional to actually approach this woman via her blog... that would be tacky. I just lurk around... Then I get busted. She has a counter. Her counts are way up. For all I know she can get my computer number and match it to my email. I know people who can do that!!! She used the word SPOOKY. I saw my career crashing and burning... So I left a small and humble note. And left. Won't ever go back. Okay... maybe just for a little peek. Later. After my heart beat returns to normal.
I was reading several blogs extolling the need for high concept YA novels. The first novel I ever wrote was a YA novel. I learned a lot writing that novel though I never sent it out for viewing. (For good reason) But this IDEA could be very, VERY big. And time is of the essence. I have the three book concept. I have the perfect name for the series, the perfect name for the individual books. I even have characters floating in my head. I just have very little on paper for obvious reasons. So. Should I write up a query, send to a couple of agencies and work my arse off on getting three chapters done or should I wait until the chapters are done. I am not published in the fiction world as of yet, though I have 2 nonfiction books published and many, many magazine articles... Does that, along with the regional magazine connection, give me the guns to just to query an agent who is looking for this material right now? What if they are already considering my chick lit novel for representation?
Ideas? Thoughts? Alcohol?
Thursday, May 12, 2005
"A driver," I said.
My children tell me they have yet another event and I whimper. I once drove 105 miles in a day and never went further than twelve miles from my house. Keep in mind that as a writer... I work at home.
I am over forty, by about five months actually, and I wonder where the witty, relevant, wickedly funny reads are for women my age. I love sex and shopping and having a cosmo... but at forty I know there is more to life. Like the stairmaster, wrinkle cream and teenage daughters who are suddenly sexier than you are.
Like balding husbands, aging parents and crossing your legs when you sneeze. Don't get me wrong... I still love Doonie and Burke and Juicy Couture. I just find myself calculating the costs of my daughter's skating coach and making my stylish, no-name green handbag last a while longer.
So I am writing witty, relevant, wickedly funny reads for women my age. Okay. The jury's still out on that one. I do have agents interested, though. My first manuscript is called Pour Some Sugar on Me. Anyone else here remember Def Leppard? That is the one making the rounds of agents as we speak. While that is happening, I am polishing the novel and trying to manage my non-fiction writing career which keeps me wildly busy. I write for many magazines as well as being the Portland City Editor for Northwest Woman Magazine. I am also developing a series of novels you could call mommy lit or hen lit, as opposed to chick lit. Because I just so love being called a HEN for crying out loud!
About as much as I love driving 105 miles in a single day.