Friday, October 31, 2008

Amending the Plan

I didn't manage to reach my target for Book In A Week last week. I fell about 1500 words short because I got called into work early Sunday morning (I know, the travesty of having to work on a Sunday!) Otherwise I would have easily made it. I suppose it just ended up being one of those weeks.
In other news I've amended my getting-published-plan (yes, I have a plan that I do these things by). Actually, I suppose I haven't amended it so much as extended it. I hadn't thought much beyond this round of proposals/letters/competition entries, so I had known for a while I needed to work out what I was going to do next, plus I was starting to feel some burn-out on my SOAP project.
Since the whole writing-for-Harlequin idea occurred to me, I've been thinking and thinking and thinking about it. And then a few weeks ago there was some discussion on the RWA e-loop about Harlequin changing their submissions process over to email.
Now I've never read a single thing with the Harlequin/Silhouette/Mills and Boons imprint on it. The closet I've come is reading a MIRA imprint, but of course that's not category romance, it's their single title imprint. So I went out and had a look at some bookstores, Big W and Kmart to see what was on the shelves. I ended up buying a couple of different imprints: Intrigue, Suspense, and a new one, Passionate Protectors. After reading them, I realized they're actually not that different to what I'm already doing with my SOAP series. Of course, I wouldn't be able to sell my SOAP series to them, it's too long. But I've had an idea floating around in my head for a while that I've been wanting to write, and like I said, I've started feeling some serious burn-out coming on from working on my SOAP series. I think the best thing to do right now would be to concentrate on something else for a little while.
I won't be entirely putting my SOAP series away, just not writing anything new. As you know, I'm about half way through the second book, but I'm going to put that on hold. While I'm writing the manuscript for Harlequin, I'm going to continue editing SOAP book one, and enter it in a few different competitions. But, I've decided that if I don't get anywhere with any of the current agents/competitions, I'm going to take it off the market and do some major tweaking and then probably start all over again. While all this is going on I plan to (hopefully) quickly write and submit to either Harlequin Suspense or Silhouette Romantic Suspense. I think I'm leaning towards SRS at the moment, because from their writing guidelines its probably closest to what I like to write.
So overall, I'm feeling re-energized and refreshed. I like getting to a point in my journey when a new path opens up and I feel that once again I am getting closer to my 'yes.' It will happen. I'm just too determined for it not to. And from most everything I've read, persistence is one of the biggest keys. I will succeed where others will not because I'm just so stubborn that I refuse to give up.
Song: Greg! The Stop Sign! by TISM

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Almost Finished

Today is the second last day of BIAW and I have to admit it's been a real challenge this time around. I guess that's the point of it though, isn't it? Yesterday I wrote 1432 words before my daughter woke up, 68 short of my intended 1500. It's so close that I can't exactly complain about it. With my total tally for the week so far it leaves me with 1668 words to do each day. I'd like to think I might get a bit more done and make it over my target, but I think just getting there will be a big enough achievement this week.
Song: Better by the Screaming Jets

Friday, October 24, 2008

Another BIAW Update

Although I spent most of yesterday not home, I wrote 1223 words late yesterday afternoon. Of course it would be much easier to sit down and write lots and lots of words if I wasn't writing around my daughter sleeping. I can't imagine how I'm ever going to find time to write when we have more than one!
I'm not too worried about this week's remaining BIAW tally, like I said, I should be able to leave my daughter with my hubby and get lots done this weekend.
There was discussion on the RWA e-loop about Harlequin Mills and Boons accepting email queries, which I went and had a look at. The only imprint I'd be interested in at the moment would be MIRA, but they're apparently only opened to agented submissions. Of course there are always stories about writers who totally ignore when an agent/publisher say they're not accepting submissions and sent one along anyway, resulting in them being published.
Not for the first time I'm wondering whether or not I should branch out and have a go at the Mills and Boon category romances. Of course first I'd want to read a few so I know what I'm doing, but I guess my thinking is that it'd be one more option for publication. And I feel I could adjust my writing to suit that style. Although when I think I'm going to find the time to do this is a whole other matter.
Well, better get started on today's word count. I'm hoping to make it to at least 1500.
Song: Resolve by the Foo Fighters

Thursday, October 23, 2008

BIAW Wednesday

I'm happy to report that yesterday's Book In A Week tally was vastly improved. I managed to write 2413 words, bringing me to just over 4000 words, which is almost 50% of my target. Through the RWAus e-loop, I also heard about another competition I'm going to enter. It's similar to the RWA STALI comp I've entered. The final judge is an editor from MIRA books, so if I can make it into the short list it's yet another opportunity to have my work seen by an editor at a major publishing house.
I also had a discussion with my husband about joining Romance Writers of America. I've always intended to become a member, but it's not exactly cheap. And damn, I just realized I should have joined when the Aussie dollar was worth almost as much as the American dollar. Now I think it's back down to 60 cents or something. Anyway, if I joined them I'd also be able to enter their competitions. Every little bit helps.
Song: O Yeah by End of Fashion

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Slowing Down

Just a quick post for a BIAW update for yesterday. That couple of hours I thought I'd have free yesterday afternoon turned into half an hour, so I didn't get much done. I wrote about 700 words which was 200 down on the previous day. At this rate I'm not going to get anywhere near my target of 10,000 words. Luckily I'm fairly sure we don't have much on this weekend, so I'm envisioning spending all day Saturday and Sunday writing. Bliss!
Song: Hero of The Day by Metallica

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

BIAW Monday & Supernatural - Metamorphosis

I've had a bit of a slow start to BIAW. I only wrote 900 words, which is 600 short of my daily average I need to reach if I'm going to make my target. I admit, I probably could have easily made the daily target, if I hadn't got distracted looking at houses for sale on the Internet. Luckily I know I'm going to have a couple of free hours later in the afternoon, so I should get a good number written then to make up for it. Meanwhile I still didn't get that scene finished I was talking about yesterday. I added about a page (or 250 words) to it, but I just can't get it to work. At least this time the tactic of moving onto the next scene worked fine. And today I'm just going to continue that way. Maybe I can't write that other scene because something about it isn't working. I'll eventually go back and work out what, but for now I just want to get some words onto the page.
Supernatural was great again last night. After being left hanging at the end of last week when Dean was going off to find Sammy and discover him using his demon powers, the continuation couldn't have come soon enough. It didn't disappoint. The intensity of the scene and later scenes when Dean and Sam continued talking about it was brilliant. And I love that nothing was really resolved, even at the end of the ep where Sam said he wasn't going to do it anymore. There was still a lot unsaid, still a lot of issues in the air between them.
Before the season commenced, creators and writers promised that the relationship between Dean and Sam was never going to be the same, and you can easily see how successful they've been. They've done it brilliantly, even while it's so sad. Dean doesn't trust Sam because of all the half-truths and things he's been hiding, while Sam is resentful of the way Dean treats him due to all the 'psychic stuff' Sam's got going on. It's hard to see that there will be any way back for them, in fact it seems likely that they're just going to get driven further and further apart. It'll be interesting to see where this all ends.
Song: Come On Come On by Little Birdy

Monday, October 20, 2008

Head Space

Book In A Week has officially started with RWAus. I thought I might try blogging first to get myself going. I think the reason I did so well last time was because I had a really strong start on the first day. Unfortunately I think I'm going to find it tough for a little while because I'm stuck on this one particular scene I feel like I've been trying to write forever. I even tried leaving it and skipping ahead a scene (something I've never done before) but even that didn't work. I just couldn't go on with the story knowing that this scene wasn't finished.
So I'm trying to get into the right head space to get this little piece finished so I can move on and get the story flowing again. I'm sure it won't end up being as hard as it seems right now.
Supernatural is on tonight, the ep is Metamorphosis.
Song: Everyday I Love You Less & Less by the Kaiser Chiefs.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Back on Top

I've had no motivation the last week or so. Ever since I got that last rejection I just couldn't bring myself to sit down in front of my manuscript and do any decent work on it. Last night I talked to my husband about it. Lucky for me he's one hundred per cent supportive of me and this crazy career I've thrown myself into.
After talking it all out, sharing my frustrations and knowing he feels the same way on my behalf, I felt much better and now have renewed energy to get back in there and continue slogging away at it all.
But it did make me think. Like I said, I'm lucky because my husband, the rest of my extended family and friends are all very supportive and believe that I can do whatever I set my mind to. But what about the struggling and yet-to-be-published authors out there who don't have that support base? I find it hard enough as it is without having to defend my choices to the people around me. And I know for many aspiring authors, that is the situation they are in. They're on their own, and maybe the people around them aren't so encouraging and use every rejection as a "see, you're not going to get published."
So today I can get back in the game and I don't know if my husband, family, and friends will ever know how much I appreciate and rely on their continued and unquestioning support. Hopefully, one day I will be able to repay them in kind.
Song: Lodi by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Staying the Distance

It seems that when I get a certain number of rejections, when I start feeling like I'm not getting anywhere, all I want to do is put away my current work and start somehting new. I can underatnd why. The more rejections I get, the harder it becomes, the smaller my list of agents grows and the less hope I have that I will actually sell this project. Starting something new gives me refreshed hope. I can think "one day in the future, I'm going to get this published" and there's no rejections sitting in my inbox from agents telling me otherwise.
But apparently persitence is the key. So no matter how much I want to move on to something else, I need to stick with this for the time being. I still have avenues to pursue and I still really believe I've got something with my SOAP series if only, if only, if only, someone would just give me a chance. I can't wait to get the judges reports back from the RWA STALI comp, maybe then I'll have some better idea of my direction.
Song: Welcome to My Life by Simple Plan

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Agents and Supernatural - In The Beginning

Two posts about Supernatural in a row? It must be that time of the year.
Before I get into that though, just thought I'd mention that I got a rejection for Agent A this morning. She didn't waste any time making up her mind. It was the same as all the other ones. It just wasn't right for her but that didn't mean it wouldn't be right for someone else. But what does that really mean? Obviously the idea is coming across well enough, but is something not working in the actual manuscript? I wish one of these agents would actually take five minutes to explain a bit more in depth. And in all honesty, I am thinking about emailing Agent A and asking. The worst she can do is say no or ignore me. I won't have lost anything for it. Meanwhile it's been 4 weeks since I queried Avon and now I'm wondering whether to keep waiting or send them a follow up. Its so hard to know what to do in these situations.
Also, my dad asked me an interesting question this morning. He asked how I felt about trusting the integrity of the system, in that what's to stop an agent taking my idea and getting one of their writers to re-write it. That's the kind of paranoia I try to avoid. I don't really have a choice. Ok, maybe it could happen, but I have to do my homework and make sure I'm only dealing with agents who are above-board and hope that it doesn't happen to me.
So, onto Supernatural.
This ep was interesting because Dean was sent back in time to learn the truth about what went on with his parents and the yellow eyed demon. I thought it was great that they did an ep where the boys were totally separated and had no contact whatsoever.
Although Sam basically wasn't in the ep, his impact on it was not lessened. It is quite clear that Sam is already well on the road to the dark side, and I wouldn't be surprised to learn later in the season that Ruby has been working for or working in place of the YED all along. I also don't think Sam really realizes how far gone he actually is. This was highlighted by the end of the ep where Castielle says to Dean: "your brother is on a dark path. Stop him, or we will."
I still can't believe they ended the ep there. I think that's the first time I've ever really gotten frustrated by SN (apart from the end of S3 where Dean was left in Hell). They've always been really good about wrapping things up and keeping things contained. Not this ep though. They had to leave us hanging. Now I can't wait to see what happens when Dean finds Sammy using his demon-given powers along side Ruby. Also, I totally won't be surprised if Sam and Ruby have been sleeping together. I can see things are going to get worse between Sam and Dean before (if) they get better.
Song: Leave Out All The Rest - Linkin Park

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Supernatural - Lazarus Rising

Beware of Supernatural spoilers in this post if, for some insane reason, you haven't started watching Season 4 yet...
I realized that although I mentioned the other day that Supernatural was starting again here in Oz, I never said what I thought about the episodes. I say episodes because we were lucky enough to have a two hour special, screening both Lazarus Rising and Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean Winchester.
LR was extremely great. I thought it was all done really well. And the part with Dean digging himself out of his own grave? Wow. I mean, hell, if that angel was going to save him, he could have at least dug up the coffin first. But I guess that wouldn't have had me holding my breath for the first five minutes.
The reunions with Bobby and Sam pretty much went as I expected. It took some convincing for both of them to realize it was actually Dean. And I just have to say, boy had Jared Padalecki bulked up over the break. Or maybe the creators were just clever enough to make it seem that way. I mean, we all know that he's always had a totally ripped body from the couple of tee shirt-less scenes he's done. Anyway, getting back on track...
I had a suspicion pretty early on that it was an angel, or arch-angel or some sort of good-guy that had saved Dean from 'the pit.' Call it writer's intuition I suppose. I always just think "what would I do if I were writing the script?" and nine times out of ten I'm usually right. I should so totally write for these guys. I have some great storyline ideas, never mind the fact that I have no idea how to write a script. A novel? No problem. Scripts are a whole other ball game.
Sorry, I seem to be going off on random tangents today.
Back to SN, the next issue we come across is Ruby. Now, I'm sorry to the actress who has newly acquired this role, but I think so far I like last season's Ruby a lot better. She had more kick-ass attitude ("Does anyone have a breath mint? Some guts splattered in my mouth while I was fighting my way in here.") And although the character would obviously be scripted and written the same way, execution was never going to be. This Ruby seems to be more doe-eyed and apparently afraid of the angels. Well, fair enough, but the last Ruby would have come across as totally pissed and sarcastic. This one? Not so much.
So Sam promised Dean not to use his psychic abilities. But what do we find? Sam express-posting a Demon back to hell using only the power of his mind and right hand. Demon like? Totally.
Which brings us to a very interesting point. Sam was supposed to go dark-side and lead the demon army. In my opinion, he's already taken that freeway exit by doing exactly what Dean asked him not to. Meanwhile, God apparently has big plans for Dean (and then there's the prophesy. We couldn't have God involved without a prophesy, could we?).
So can we see the total contrast here between good and bad? Darkness and light? Will Sam and Dean end up facing off? Will Dean be forced to kill Sam just like Daddy-Winchester told him way back in Season 2?
I find it interesting that Dean ended up on God's side while Sam has gone the other way. Dean was always the darker or the two, willing to push the boundaries, always getting closer to crossing the line, whereas Sam was his moral compass, often bringing him back from the edge. Although, truth be known, we have seen some role-reversal going on in Season 3 in particular. And there's always the threat hanging over their head from when Dean brought Sam back at the end of Season 2 and the yellow eyed demon said to Dean "how sure are you that what you got back was 100% Sam?"
So well done to the creators and writers. They haven't disappointed and have in fact raised a lot of interesting questions. Its been said before, but if you've never watched Supernatural, now is the time to get on board. I'll be looking forward to see what else they throw at us this season.
Oh, by the way. Was on youtube and some people have invented what they think the opening credits of SN would be like if they had one. I thought this one was actually pretty good. Not to mention I'm a fan of the song. ;)
Song: Supermassive Black Hole by Muse.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Problem?

I was reading an agent blog today and the entry was about common mistakes they see in requested pages. The post mainly focused on what is commonly called an 'information dump.' To explain, an information dump is usually found somewhere in chapter one and will be a whole load of background information about the character/s. Since I was in a bit of a hurry this morning, I only gave it a cursory read and then of course spent the rest of the day wanting to look at my own work to see if I'm guilty of this crime. I finally found five minutes to look at the opening chapter of SOAP book 1, and of course immediately found three separate places I'd 'dumped' information. After that I spent the remainder of the day thinking "is this why agents have been passing on my work?" But then I just went back and read what the agent was saying slowly and luckily I think I'm ok. I think what this agent was trying to say was that if there's just pages and pages of back information, with no present action or dialogue, then it would be a problem and an immediate 'no' from them. However, I really think some background information is obviously necessary. The trick is to weave it into the action and dialogue, instead of bashing your reader over the head with it. I think mine is ok. Probably not great, there's probably some other way I could have done it better and it's a mistake I'll be aware of avoiding in the future. No one has ever pulled me up on 'information dumping' before, so it can't be too big an issue in my work. I still believe my work is good enough to get me that currently-elusive 'yes' from an agent or publisher.
Oh, and I still haven't heard back from Avon, which I'm taking as a good sign. Hopefully it means my query actually made it to an editors desk and is being considered for a request.
Song: Pacifier by Shihad.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

About Time

I'm finally about to do a serious edit on SOAP book 1. I've done basic edits, structural edits, etc, but no full-on, search-for-every-possible-problem-edit. Of course, the first three chapters have been edited to death, with them being sent off to comps and agents, but the rest has been lagging behind. So I'm going to start doing in in preparation for the entire manuscript being requested by Agent A or the editor who is judging the short list for the RWA STALI comp. Optimistic much?
Anyhoo, yesterday I went out and bought a laptop stand and a separate keyboard. I've been having some trouble with my wrists and fingers being sore lately, and I'm kinda scared I'm giving myself RSI (Repetitive Stress Injury) so I thought maybe I should do something about that since I've known for a long while that typing too much on laptops can be bad for you. Actually I'm probably going to be worse off because I got a wireless keyboard and I can already envisage myself slouching back in my chair, feet up on the desk with the keyboard on my lap. I'm sure that will be much better for my back and wrists and hands...
Song: It's Like That - Run DMC vs Jason Nevins

Monday, October 6, 2008

Out of My Hands

I sent the requested material off to the 'Agent A' this morning. I gave some last minute read overs, but there wasn't really anything I could or would have changed. So now Agent A has it and I'll just have to spend the next two months waiting to hear back. By then I should also know whether I made the short list for the RWA STALI comp.
And I just thought I'd mention; you know what I love about Agent A? She didn't want to see a synopsis. Alleluia!
Thank God. All she wanted was the chapters and hopefully they'll speak for themselves.
Meanwhile, I've signed up for another Book In A Week with RWA. That will be starting in about two weeks from now and since I did so well with my last aim, I upped the stakes and am shooting for 10,000 words this time around. Should be a bit more of a challenge.
Supernatural starts back on TV here tonight. WOO!
Song: Grand Theft Autumn - Fallout Boy

Friday, October 3, 2008

Request!

I was heading off to bed, but thought I might quickly check my email since I'd been working all day and hadn't had the chance. Being a member of RWA's e-loop, if I leave it for more than 24 hours I end up with about 200 emails to sift through.
There was the usual RWA chatter, a few emails from friends, and then in amongst all that was an email from an agent requesting more material. Oh, the feeling of excitement and triumph at that simple line of 'we would like to see more'. I'd been having a seriously crap week, but that just cheered me right up. My husband was just as excited and wanted me to email it all straight off, but I told him I would do it in the morning when I have a clear head. I wouldn't want to get this far and screw it all up by making a stupid mistake (like putting the wrong agent's name on it or something!).
Just when things seem so negative, like I'm getting no where seriously fast, all it takes is one little step forward to bring me right back up again. I can do this. I know I can do this. I just have to keep working. It will all fall into place eventually.
BTW, I've decided to start putting a little finish-off at the end of my entries, what music I'm currently listening to, just for something a bit different.
Song: Come Alive by the Foo Fighters.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Where Have I Been?

Actually, I don't know where I've been. Here, but not in front of the computer. I spent last week getting ready, printing off, and sending my entry for the RWAus STALI comp. So it's all gone now along with lots and lots of hope. I've also been busy with non-writing-related stuff and sick. The whole sick thing has been extremely energy-sapping, so I've done no writing in the past couple of weeks, much to my frustration. I'm going to have to find time in the near future to sit down and get some done, because I get a bit jittery if I go too long without doing any writing. I guess I'm kinda addicted.
However I know I'm probably not going to get that chance until next Monday, because I'm fully booked between now and then.
On the agent front, I haven't heard back from any of the agents I queried in the last round. I also haven't heard back from Avon, which is unusual because they have on their website (and I know from previous experience) that they usually respond within two weeks. I'm not going to do much about Avon except keep waiting, but I might send some follow up letters to some of the agents. And speaking of follow up letters, the ones I sent several weeks ago to agents who hadn't got back to me from May never replied. I'm not all that surprised and I'll just move their names into the 'no response' folder in my computer.
I can't remember from last year how long it was before the results of the STALI came out, and I guess for the time being my hope is riding on those two entries. And I suppose soon I should consider which agents to write to next. You know, no response is worse than a rejection. I hate being left in limbo. I'd really rather know either way.