Thursday, July 31, 2008

Diverted Again

I'm going along steadily with Book In A Week, I've actually been quite disciplined, which is a refreshing change for me. If I keep up my pace for the last few days, I'll actually probably out do my goal of 6000 words and land somewhere in the 10,000 range.
In other news, I found out the other day that Harlequin are starting a new historical e-book line called Undone. They're looking for stories 10,000 to 15,000 words long and for the time being are open to taking proposals from authors who are unagented and unpublished. After my continuing debate about whether or not I should return to my first love - historical romance - this just seemed like a big fat sign. I thought "15,000 words, I could whip that up in no time!" so here I am, starting on another new project. I feel good about it, somehow, writing historical just hits the spot for me. Though I still love everything else I do, and am confident I still may be able to get somewhere with my SOAP series, there's just something about historical romance that keeps bringing me back. So I guess I'm going to go with it for a while.
Once again, posting on my blog is not helping change my BIAW word count!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Target

I'm doing Book In A Week with Romance Writers Australia again this July. Basically you join up with other members, set a word target for the week and try to achieve it. I had a go last year, aiming at 12,000 words in the week, and even though I really wasn't doing anything else at the time, I wasn't disciplined enough and barely wrote half that. So this year I only set myself a small target of 6000 words, though if I write the way I did today for the week, I'll easily over-shoot it. I started off by doing 2,200 words this morning, bringing SOAP book 2 ever closer to the halfway mark. Exciting, yes?
Ok, not so much for you, but happy times for me (happier, of course, if I could get the damn things published.)
Anyhoo, have heard rumors that there's to be a Doctor Horrible part four. Now that really is exciting.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The 'R' Word

There was another rejection waiting in my inbox for me again this morning. For about two seconds, I felt utter defeat. The words 'give up' even entered my mind (seriously? I don't think so!), something that had never occurred to me before. Luckily it was only a brief moment of insanity as I realized that I couldn't give up even if I tried. It would be a waste of time because I know eventually I'd be back in square one, writing and writing while trying to catch an agent's attention. I still have five proposals out, more agents I could write to, the RWAus comps at the end of the year. But you know me, I couldn't help but think "if I don't manage to get anywhere with SOAP, then what will I do next?" Instead of trying to sell an entirely new project, like the Diontians for example, I actually felt like maybe I should go back to the start, back to my historicals. They need a lot of re-working, but I have this on-going love affair with them. While other projects get left by the way-side and I don't care, my historicals are always in the back of my mind, and I often go back to read little snippets of them now and again. Maybe I should take this as a sign that I've totally gone off in the wrong direction and I need to get back to basics. I never did try to sell my historicals, I knew they just weren't up to scratch in the condition they're in. If I do decide to do anything with them, I've got a lot of work ahead of me.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Act III

Act III of Doctor Horrible has been watched and loved. The ending was great, not at all what you'd expect, but that's why JW is so great. Also, it left me going "WHAT? Where's the REST?" which all good shows... or miniseries... or streaming sing-along blogs should.
In other news, obviously after all my depressiveness of getting rejections and bitterness about lotto-winning authors (not literally, just... read the post below this one for an explanation) my sub-consciousness must have decided I need some serious cheering up. I had a dream the other night that The Agent emailed me and said she loved my work, but in her opinion some things needed changing. As long as I was happy to work with her and take on her advice, she was going to offer representation. As if I was going to say no! So I woke up feeling all glowey and very happy, with a new drive for my writing. If only my dream would come true (in the extreme near future). So I'm getting back to it today, going to see if I can get a large chunk of writing done. I'd like to try and get SOAP book 2 finished before the annual RWA comps are due, which gives me about 9 weeks to write 60,000 words. I could do that, couldn't I?
We'll see. Writing on my blog is obviously not changing my word count.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Act II

Went over yesterday and watched Act II of Doctor Horrible and I have to say it just gets better and better. Hopefully it will either come out on DVD in the near future, or it will be so successful it'll become a regular thing.
Not much to report today. There's been some discussion on some agent's logs about how much information you should give them in terms of your writing career. For example, if most agents see you've put in your letter "this is my first manuscript" its pretty much an immediate no. However on the flip side, they also don't want to hear that you've written 15 books and haven't managed to get any published.
I've been having a few 'down days' in terms of my writing this week. On the back of 3 rejections in 3 days, I guess its not surprising. My auntie was trying to be helpful and sent an article she'd seen in one of the news papers about getting your book published. It was an interview with an editor over at Allen & Unwin who does 'pitch Fridays' basically if you send her a query letter (by snail mail or email) and aim it to land on her desk on a Friday, she'll guarantee it'll get read.
I guess this article would have been helpful for someone just starting out, but it didn't tell me anything I didn't already know.
What it did tell me was stories about people who were the one-in-a-gazillion lotto winners who, simply because of fate (it seems) they managed to get the first book they ever wrote published and immediately went on to become best-selling authors. I don't have any problem with these people. They were damn lucky, so kudos to them. What I don't like is being reminded of it after having faced 3 rejections this week.
I suppose its just really, really frustrating, as those in the industry would know. As far as I can tell, I'm doing everything humanly possible, straight by the book, in order to find an agent. Even by some agent's own admissions, there's nothing wrong with my queries, my manuscript, my writing, nothing they can immediately reject me for, it's just that they weren't so excited about the premise. So seeing something like this article, telling me to do what I'm already doing while reminding me that some people didn't even need to try, they apparently just fell over their publishing contracts, doesn't improve my mood.
I sound bitter, but I don't mean to, I suppose I just needed to get it off my chest.
I need to keep reminding myself that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. A plan at the end of this year. If I haven't found an agent by September, I'll be entering the first 2 SOAP books in the annual RWAus comps. And I'm determined that I will make the short list this year. I think I could have made it last year, if not for totally screwing up the punctuation and grammar (I entered it in American instead of Australian. Duh.). This year there will be no such mistakes, and I don't want to win (though of course it's not like I'll be disappointed if I do) I just want to make the short list so that my manuscripts will land on an editor's desk, as the final short list will be judged by an editor at a big publishing house last year it was Berkeley, not sure who it's going to be this year. So that's my big hope if I don't find an agent before then. I'm still hoping The Agent will take me on. It's coming up to 10 weeks now. I'll give it another 2 before I shoot her off an email, keeping all extremities crossed for luck.
Please, God, or whoever is out there listening, please let her want to take my book.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Joss Whedon Sticking It To the Man

Just a quick post to say I've watched Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog Act one and it was GREAT! I love it already. Neil Patrick Harris is brilliant as a bumbling-wannabe super-villain, while Nathan Fillion is the best ass of a superhero I've seen in a long time. Seriously, even if you don't like Joss Whedon or think a musical is a dumb idea, go and watch it anyway, it's worth it just to help JW stick it to the man (like a certain network that had the short-sightedness to cancel Firefly. Idiots. Well see? We don't need you!) the best way possible, by revolutionizing media and the way we can access the things we want to watch.
On a side note, I got another rejection today. Sniff. I'm not going to dwell, but I might watch Dr Horrible again to cheer myself up.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Call to Arms

I've had an interesting week this week in terms of my writing. I received a form rejection (the first one for SOAP book 1, I'd been getting really positive rejections until then) from an agent I was kinda hoping might be interested in this manuscript. But I couldn't be sad about it for too long. I'd had this week marked as the week I'd send out another round of letters to agents. When I started looking up the agent's websites on my list, I found one of the agent had posted the following on their blog: "I want to find 3-4 romance authors who have great contemporary romances (sorry paranormal and romantic suspense authors—as I keep saying, I have some great authors already writing this in my stable so I don’t want to have too much competition within the agency). Please send me great stories with well developed characters, fun plots and great locations (I’m an armchair traveler so don’t hesitate to set your stories in your hometown of Wichita, Kansas or Phoenix, Arizona; I’d love to hear about those places). Send all queries via email and let’s get some good stories going."
Ok, so my SOAP series isn't set in Wichita, Kansas, in fact the first couple aren't even set in the USA, but I really felt this might be my opportunity to have my work more seriously considered. I sent off an email query straight away, along with a couple of others to some other agents on my list. I told myself not to get my hopes up with this agent any more than I would with any other agent, but its probably already too late! I've probably got about 4 weeks before I start emailing The Agent. For those of you who don't know who The Agent is, it was the agent at number one on my list who, excitingly, after reading my query letter wrote back saying she "would love to read my work." Their response time was about 12 weeks. I'm hoping she'll just get back to me in the next couple of weeks, coz I don't really like having to chase around after things, I feel like I end up becoming a serial pest!
Anyhoo, aside from all of this agent excitement, I haven't been able to stop thinking about my new idea, the Diontians series. One part of me thinks I shouldn't be putting so much energy into it and leaving SOAP in the lurch, while another part of me thinks "well it is about time I moved onto something new, if I can't get SOAP published, then I need something to fall back on."
Interestingly enough, the other day I read a guest blog from an author on one of the agent blogs who was talking about her journey to getting published. She completed 11 manuscripts before she got published, which made me feel not-so-crazy about what I've been doing with myself. I'm up to five, so I'm not doing too badly I suppose. Of those five, I've only tried to get 2 of them published, it may be a long time before the others (a couple of historical romance) see the light of day - if ever. The need a lot of re-writing and editing.
Meanwhile, the other day I finally bought Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. I'd been planning on reading it for ages, but with the movie coming out, I thought I should get my butt moving. I like to read things before I see the movie so I can compare notes.
Right, well I'm off to do some housework. I really wish I could do some writing, but things aren't going to clean themselves.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Out of Control

So, I did it, as you might have noticed from the fancy word count thing-a-ma-jiggy I've recently added to my blog. I started on the new idea. As you can see I'm calling it the Diontians series at the moment, for reasons known only to me. That's all I wanted to say, really. Powers beyond my control encouraged me to start working on a new project, but I'm not going to let the SOAP project get left behind, I'll just have to work out how to organise my writing time better so everyone gets equal share. Anyway, I wrote 1000 words this morning, so I might see if I can get a few more in today.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Every New Beginning is Some Other Beginning's End

If you're a music guru, you might realize that today's title was STOLEN! That's right, it's the lyrics from a song by Semisonic, and one of my favourite.
Anyhoo, it was fitting in some ways because yesterday I came up with a (brilliant) new idea and now I'm all gung-ho for starting it. Just one problem: do I really want to start yet another project? Shouldn't I finish my WIP, the second book in my SOAP series? Or since I don't have an agent or publishing contract in sight for the first SOAP book, am I wasting my time by writing to second one? I've been so much closer to landing an agent this time around with SOAP, had some really good feedback, but so far no agents have been very excited about the premise. Is this going to stop me from actually finding an agent? Is this new idea better, and that combined with the level my writing is now, will it be more likely to attract an agent?
Why is it everyday I find myself with ten new questions and no answers to any of the questions I already had?
After all that, I think my brain is going to explode, and I'm really hungry.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Back to It

After doing not much writing to speak of in the past few weeks I came out today and managed to write 3000 words. I had my usually 20,000 word slump, but now things seem to be running smoothly again. As it stands now, I'm up to 28,000 words leaving me with around 67,000 to go. This is probably the first time I've ever really taken note of word counted and counted down to the end. I usually just get on with writing. Another thing I've done that's different this time around is I've actually done a little bit of planning, which is totally not my style. I've been a confirmed pantser until this point. I have no idea why I suddenly felt the need to make a flow chart of key scenes. I suppose it could have been partly because I had a couple of option as to which way the plot was heading and wanted to see how they were going to pan out. It also helped me come up with a new idea for later in the book. I suppose this is a good idea to go about things. At least this way I might be less likely to have to cut out 50 pages of work and do major re-writes when I discover that the plot went in the wrong direction. I've had a few experiences like that!
Anyway, I've also started getting the manuscript ready for competition. The annual RWAus comps are coming up in September, a bit earlier this year. I know its still a fair way away, but I'm determined that this year I'm not going to make the same mistakes and I am going to make the short list. I don't know whether I blogged about it or not, but I made some really basic errors last year which lost me a lot of points. But not this year!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Disposable

I'm totally up for stealing, so here's this:

Washington Post article on the quality of books published today.

It was linked on an agent's blog, she was asking what our opinion on it was.
Personally, I'd never considered my work as disposable before. I suppose I never considered it much beyond the shallows. I write it, I love it, one day I hope an agent and publisher will love it so that book-buyers around the world can love it (or not) as well. I never thought of my unsold copies getting mulched. Of course, I did know that it was a fairly common practice and it may sound stupid, but I never put the two together. I can say straight up that I am not in this game for wealth and fame. If that was the case, I would have given up years ago, because lets face it, this job isn't exactly making me any money. After seven years, I'm yet to make a dollar.
This article is interesting in that it talks about where the future of the publishing world may lay. Major publishing houses hoarding all the power as we know it today may become a thing of the past as print-on-demand and self publishing becomes more accessible and an easier way for an author to get whatever they have to say out into the world.
Once again, I find myself coming back to WeBook. I still can't decide what I think about it. Should I put some work on there, devote a large chunk of the time I used to spend preparing proposals for agents, writing to agents, looking for agents, reading agent blogs to keep up with what they're doing and instead commit myself to becoming a webook star? It would take hard work and strategy because I have no doubt that being successful on webook won't just come down to my writing, but how well I can put myself out there and catch people's attention. And if I do happen to make something of myself on webook, what does that mean for my other work and more traditional career path? Would agents and publishers avoid me like the plague because I've got myself all tied up in webook, or would it actually help me attract an agent? Does it just come down to the fact that I might be too afraid to embrace new technology and the changes that brings, as the publishing industry apparently takes a new direction?
I knew the path to publishing was going to be a hard one, but all the time new scenarios are thrown into the mix. And I've totally forgotten what my original point was, so I think I'll just get back to my manuscript.