Wednesday, December 30, 2009

No Hard Work

Been a bit slack these past weeks on account of Christmas, so haven't gotten as much writing done. Last week my total was around the 8000 mark, and so far this week I've only done 3412. Still, some writing is better than no writing. I should say though that I've been working on the synopsis for the ms I'm going to send to Silhouette and I didn't count that in my word tally. Need to do a bit more editing and some final touches to the synopsis before it'll be all ready to send, but I'm leaving it until after the new year, for no real reason, just that I can't imagine sending it now will get it read any quicker with the holidays here.
And one more thing I had to share, I saw my niece the other day and she was wearing a tee shirt that said "...And then Buffy staked Edward. The End." which I thought was about the funniest thing I'd seen in a long time.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Too Many Ideas

As you can see to your right, I've moved my Writopia Progress Meter and added another for the young adult novel I started today. I've decided its my Christmas holiday project. As if I didn't already have enough things up in the air, but it was at my youngest sister's urging, so when that book gets published, I'll have to make sure I dedicate it to her. The idea was actually originally for an adult market, but we did some brainstorming today and she helped me change it so the storyline would work for older teens. So of course now I'm all excited about it, but we'll see how long that lasts for before I decide I want to work on something else...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

By Request

As requested by Cathryn I've been thinking and thinking the last few days about why I'm finding category so much easier to write than single title.
First and foremost I think it has to do with the length. While I've been working on ST with word counts in the realm of 95,000 - 100,000 words, the categories I've written can only be almost half this length at 55,000 - 60,000 as per Silhouette Romantic Suspense guidelines. Therefore, with much less time to work with, you need to get the story set up, the characters to meet and rolling towards the climax in no time at all. In this way, I guess I felt I couldn't spend so much time setting things up, putting in back story, etc, etc. And by writing category, realizing this fact and changing my writing style accordingly, I think I've found the problem that's been holding me back in terms of my ST.
My CP and other writer friends who've read the first manuscript I wrote for SRS have said they can't believe the difference between my writing styles in the two and clearly my SRS manuscript is far better than anything else I've worked on so far.
The answer I came to is that instead of wasting words and the reader's attention trying to set things up in my ST, I need to just dive straight into the action and let it take its course, which is how I looked at my categories when I started them.
The other thing I think is helping me is the fact that in category style, I focused more on the relationship instead of the story revolving around it and maybe that is more where my strength lies. In my ST manuscripts, I was doing it the other way around, writing the story and having the relationship come second to that.
For now, I really am enjoying writing category way too much to do anything else and I'm hopeful with the great feedback I'm getting and the fact I got a top ten placing in the RWAus Hi5 competition, that Silhouette will take this and subsequent manuscripts.
I also looked up The Agent's website this morning and yes, I am still chasing The Agent, but she is starting to be caught up on by Mr Agent who I am almost equally determined to catch. Unfortunately Mr Agent doesn't represent category romance, while The Agent does.
I know its not necessary to have an agent to publish under the Harlequin Mills & Boon banner, but since at some later date I plan to foray back into ST romantic suspense and hopefully, futuristic/sci-fi romance, I want an agent from the word go who'll be with me all the way.
So those are a couple of my thoughts on the matter. I assume if you got someone to psycho-analyze me, they'd come up with entirely different reasons as to why I find category easier than ST at the moment, but we'll leave that for another day.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Great Figures

I ended up writing 12,135 words this week, down on the 13,818 I did last week, but still, I'm more than happy with those totals. I'm finding that I'm really enjoying writing these category novels, something about them feels a bit more freeing than when I've worked on my single titles in the past. Its hard to explain and I wouldn't have a clue why this might be, but I'm just going to go with it for the time being. Now I'm just debating whether I want to give myself one more week before I start editing, or just get into it from Monday. I'm torn between continuing to just write because its coming to me so easily at the moment, or getting on to the editing since, let's face it, the sooner I get it edited the sooner I can send it off to Silhouette in New York. Although, with Christmas and New Year upon us, I'm probably not losing any time since I imagine most publishing houses will be closed over that period. I don't need to decide right this minute. For now, I'm going to find somewhere comfy to curl up and read Sherrilyn Kenyon's Born of Night. Looking forward to it!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Begin Again, Begin Again...

Last week I finished the manuscript I'd been working on for Silhouette Romantic Suspense and this week I stared a new one straight away. Thought I'd leave the other one for a week or two before I go back to it and start editing. Apparently its always a good way to come at it with fresh eyes.
So I started another aimed at the same line. Its begun well and I'm hoping it'll continue along the same vein. Ideally I'd like to have it finished in six to ten weeks (which is totally doable if I continue writing 10,000 words or so a week as I have been the past few weeks), but I have to take into consideration the time I'm going to spend editing the first one as well. Either way, sometime in the new year I'll hopefully have two books to send to Silhouette. And here's hoping I make it to round two of the Emerald contest with RWAus. That will put me in the top fifteen at least, which is always a nice prospect. After coming tenth in the Hi5, I now have high hopes for myself. And 2010 is the year I'm going to be published!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Almost Done

So far this week I've written about 9500 words, I'm close to getting my Silhouette Romantic Suspense manuscript finished. I just have two or three more scenes to write and it'll all be done. Next week I'll be starting in on the dreaded editing, but I'm very excited about how close I am to getting it sent of to SRS in New York.
I'm thinking about starting another one aimed at their line straight away, I figure if I'm managing to write between 5000 - 10000 words a week, I can have another book finished in about 3 months and by then I should have heard back from SRS. If I've got a second book I can give them straight off, I think it'll give me a good kick start for the 'plan' I have for the next couple of years.
I'm working myself harder than I ever have in terms of my writing, but I'm enjoying every minute of it.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Emerald

Well, like a crazy person I worked my butt off Thursday and Friday and managed to get my entry for the RWA Emerald comp all fixed up and sent off. Since the first three chapters are mostly fairly well polished, yesterday I wrote a query letter and started the synopsis (hate those things!) for the package I'll be sending to Silhouette in New York. As soon as those last 18,000 words have been written, I'm going to send it while I work on editing the rest. I'm assuming it'll be weeks or months before I hear back from them, so that will give me plenty of time to do some editing and maybe start the series I'm thinking about writing for them. My plan is if I get published with Silhouette, I'd like to try and write 2 (if not 3) books a year for them for the next couple of years. Once I've got that experience I'll then look at re-examining my SOAP series and begin querying agents again, but hopefully this time with a couple of published books under my belt.
Gave myself a break from writing yesterday (plus I have a terrible head-cold and felt craptacular) but today I want to try and knock out at least 2000 words.
Better get to it!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Hi5!

I just got my results from entering RWA's Hi5 comp, for unpublished category romances, and I almost fell out of my chair when I found out I'd come 10th, which means I was only four measly entries away from the finalists and having it sent to HMB for a final judgement. The thought of it makes me dizzy!
So of course now I'm very excited about getting the last 18,000 words written so I can submit it to Silhouette Romantic Suspense. Also, courtesy of one of my friends (you know who you are) I've decided to enter it in RWA's Emerald comp, and it closes tomorrow. No pressure or anything...
Well, I'd better get to work then. EEEEKK!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

This Week

Unless you live under a rock or don't have the Internet (in which case, how are you reading this post?) you would have seen that Harlequin announced a new venture this week, Harlequin Horizons, which was quickly renamed DellArte Press when organisations like Romance Writers of America reacted rather strongly to this apparent 'vanity' publishing venture.
I'm not going to say anything much about it, I think everything that could be said has probably already been splashed across the Internet. Although I'd love to throw my two cents in, I'm not one for posting about things that have already been blogged to death. I never commented on Heath Ledger's death, though that really got me. He was a year younger than my hubby and I really, truly believe he was the great male actor of our generation and it makes me sad to think of all the performances we'll never get to see. But my point was when that happened I never said a word, since I'm sure there were more than enough tear soaked posts about it when it all went down.
So no, I'm not saying anything about DellArte press or the alleged news that authors rejected by Harlequin are being subsequently directed to the DellArte web page. And I certainly won't say anything about rips-offs or unsuspecting, vulnerable, desperate writers being taken advantage. Nope. Not one word.
Instead I'll tell you that last week I only managed around 4000 words and this week I'm not faring much better. Probably up to the 3000 word mark so far, but am off to do some writing now and hoping to get a couple of thousand done tomorrow.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Writer In All of Us

Nathan Bransford always has the most interesting posts. His latest one is about the apparent fact that every second person these days is writing a book and questions why this might be.
For a start, I think media has a lot to answer for in this. With authors like JK Rowling, Stephanie Meyer, etc, etc who rose from relative obscurity to become best-selling, richer-than-the-queen-of-England authors with smash hit movies being talked about all over the place, well, I guess its kind of like winning the lotto. Its the dream. Fame and fortune and being viewed as a creative genius. Lets face it, who wouldn't want that?
I've been doing this for many, many years now and while the thought of what monetary windfall I might get from having my books published isn't bad, the thought of being famous, of being a household name, of having my photo taken because I happen to walk into a shop and buy a new handbag scares the bejesus out of me. I don't want that. No way, no how. Even the thought of getting 'fan mail' wiggs me out. I write because I'm compelled to, its in my blood. I try to get published because when I get a little buzz out of something I've written, or something I've read of another author's, I want to share that with people. I don't expect to make very much money when I do finally get published, because that's not the reason I'm here. I guess there's no right or wrong reason to do any of this, but for me thoughts of fame and fortune are the last things I expect from my hard work.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Computer & Woes

I haven't been around much firstly because I've been doing a lot of writing (10,000 words last week) and also because my computer packed it in and I had to take it to get fixed. Unfortunately I also got a rejection from Samhain for that novella I whipped up back in October and then found out I didn't final in this year's RWA STALI competition. So it hasn't been my week all 'round, really!
I'm continuing on working with my SRS manuscript, I have about 20,000 words left to write on it which I hope to get finished in the next couple of weeks, computer problems aside. After that I need to decide where I'm going next in terms of my on-going projects. Do I add 50,000 or so words to the manuscript I submitted to Samhain and send it elsewhere (I'm thinking possibly Silhouette Nocturne)? Or do I get back to the re-write I started on my historical? Or do I go back to my good old SOAP manuscripts? I've been thinking about them a lot lately. Maybe now that I've had some time away from them it would be a good idea to go back to them with fresh eyes and pick up with them again. I did invest a lot in them, probably more than I'd ever put into anything else and no matter what I just can't quite seem to stop thinking about them.
So I suppose I've got my answer then, haven't I?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

New Toy

This post isn't just any post. I wrote it with the new Intelligent I got yesterday. So now I don't have to be sitting in front of the computer to write. All I need is my magic pen and a notebook and I can write anywhere at any time. The pen memorizes what you write and then later you upload it to the computer.The only problem being I'm going to have to get used to writing long hand again instead of typing. I got a cramp in my had from writing one paragraph because I just don't write with a pen that often these days. I suppose I'll get used to it quick enough again. So here's to getting heaps more writing done!
Oh, and an update word count wise, I got another 2000 words done Thursday, bringing the weekly total to 7000. Not bad, but maybe I'll do better with my new toy.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Not Much

Just a quick post, with nothing terribly interesting to report. I'm obviously waiting to hear back from Samhain with no word yet. In the meantime I've gone back to working on my Silhouette Romantic Suspense manuscript as I planned. So far this week I've written just over 5000 words. Not bad for 3 days work I guess. Since the past couple of days at home have been somewhat chaotic, its probably actually a really good achievement. I guess if I could average out 5000 words a week, I'd have the manuscript finished in another six to seven weeks. Seems a long time since I'm an I-want-it-finished-now kinda person. But I can only write so much and short of staying up all night every night for a week, I'll just have to be patient.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Ground Zero

Today is the day!
Later tonight I plan on submitting my manuscript to Samhain. I still have a few pages to go over, but otherwise its all ready to go. The synopsis (shudder) is written and I'm satisfied with it. Not ecstatic, but it'll do on such short notice. The query letter is right to go, all I really need to do is put it all together. I'm actually pretty excited about it and proud of myself for getting it done, all in 23 days. After its gone I'm going to start writing the second one and also get back to work on my Silhouette Romantic Suspense manuscript. So while I've got this to submit, I've still got plenty of work to keep me busy.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Seven Days

That's right, seven days to go before submissions close for the Samhain Angels/Demons anthology. I'm about halfway through editing with my CP and I think we're going along ok in terms of time. She's given me really good feed back and we're obviously both hoping the editors will like what they see. If not, I think its going to be worth adding words to it and sending it to another publisher or some agents. Or maybe not some agents. I'm kinda sick of querying agents at the moment, even if I have been getting really good feed back from them.
Anyway, I've had enough work for today, think I'm going to have an early night.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Question of Self

Nathan Bransford has had a lot of interesting things going on over at his blog lately. Yesterday there was a post about writer sensitivity and today a follow up post about one comment in particular. This commenter suggested the senstive/bitter/prone to abuse agent and editors writers are often lashing out because of many other factors in their lives. By pursuing their dream of writing, they've lost thier job, their marriage, their kids, have all but failed in the eyes of everyone they know. The commenter went on to say as writers we should take a hard look at what we're doing, whether we should be doing it, whether its become not a hobby, but an addiction.
I'm guilty of the occasional (or not so occasional) rant about these writers making it harder for the rest of us. And these questions posed would be very hard for many people to face or even begin to answer.
For myself, I know my writing drives me hard and borders on addiction, I just said something along those lines the other day. How else would I force myself to find time to write and edit in a house with two kids under 2? I've structured my writing as a career, making sure I have a balance between family and work. If I had to give up one for the other, my family would always be first. At the end of the day, no matter how many books you write, they can't love you, support you and comfort you as only a family can. So I do find it sad that some people give up everything in life to chase their dream, only for it to eventually go nowhere. You have to wonder where the point is that will say to them its time to cut your losses and regain what is really important in life. Maybe for some, there isn't one.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

De-railed

Once again I'm using precious writing/editing time to blog, naughty, naughty! Especially since I woke up sick on Monday morning and haven't touched my Samhain manuscript since Sunday. I've got 10 days to get it edited and submission-ready. The feed back I've had from my CP so far has been positive, so hopefully things will continue going smoothly and successfully for me.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Go Me!

Well, I did it. Despite having the handicap of a toddler and 6 week old baby in the house, I managed to write a 25,ooo word novella in a week. How did I do it? We'll probably never know, but I am quite please with myself.
Now all I need to do is get it edited and write that dreaded synopsis and we'll be good to go. I've also done a bit of research on other publishers so if Samhain don't take it, I might have somewhere else to send it, though it will require me either adding words or taking some out. According to their website, I should hear back from Samhain by the 16th of November.
Fingers crossed in the meantime.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

All It Takes Is One...

...rude person and everything goes to hell.
I should be writing. I KNOW! Don't tell me again, but I couldn't help popping over to Nathan Bransford's blog to see how his little paragraph comp was stacking up (2000+ entries and counting) and his last post was asking people what they thought made a good paragraph. Of course I couldn't read the post and then not read people's comments. So off I went, scrolling through 200-odd comments when I should be writing.
Most of it was run of the mill opinions on what people did or didn't like. Then a published author came by and put her two cents in, causing the following commenter to write something rude (of which we will never know because Bransford deleted it and told her she was rude) and then someone further down the page accused the agent of being a control-freak and stating that comments should be left even if he doesn't like their content (and I agree with the person who said something along the lines of it being Bransford's house and yard and if someone else doesn't like things they can take their ball & glove and go home) and then it was all on. Really, you couldn't write stuff like this. Well, you could, but it wouldn't be as spontaneously entertaining.
So that was my amusement for the week. I try not to spend too long reading blogs, etc, but how can I not when sometimes they're so damn riveting?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dumbfounded

I should be writing, I know. I'm still behind, only got 2000 words done today, which is better than nothing but still leaves me at a disadvantage if I want to stick to my original goal of finishing the manuscript by Sunday.
Anyhoo, over at Nathan Bransford's Blog, he's holding his annual paragraph comp. I know I'm forever complaining about rule-breakers, those people in this industry (and every other aspect of life I guess) who either disregard or think they can work around plainly stated rules (ok, sometimes they're more like strongly worded suggestions). I often see agents posts bemoaning the fact that if these people would just stick to their submission guidelines, it'd make their lives a lot easier and probably not so cynical about dealing with us unpublished authors.
Which brings me back to Nathan Bransford's paragraph comp. What is a paragraph, that is the question. It seems fairly straightforward. A paragraph is not three hundred odd words. Its might pass in at a hundred on the outer rims of believability. Its probably more around fifty. In Bransford's comp rules, he didn't specify a word count, which is fair enough. But he did say "a paragraph that is overly long may lose points in the judge's eyes. Use your own discretion. Please remember that the paragraph needs to be a paragraph, not multiple paragraphs masquerading as one paragraph."
So why, why, why have people posted pages and pages of work (more importantly, why do I torture myself by being so stupefied by it)? Do they think the rules don't apply to them? Do they think their work is so fantastic that Bransford will call them up and beg them for their manuscript even though they couldn't follow simple instructions in a single paragraph competition. Do they not realize they're more likely painting themselves as one of those problem writers who doesn't take critique or direction well and would probably be a royal pain in the butt to work with?
No matter how many times I see something like this, it still blows me away.

Lagging Behind

Apparently I didn't pick the best week to try and write an entire novella. I'm lagging 5000 words behind my projected aim. On Monday I had one of those days where the kids slept at different times, so I had at least one of them up at one time or another all day, resulting in very little writing but total exhaustion by 8:30pm. Yesterday I forgot about a meeting we had scheduled out of town, so once again, no writing was done. I'm hoping today will work out better and I might be able to gain that 5000 back and maybe get a few more done on top of that. I really want to prove to myself that I can get this done, no matter what comes up in the meantime.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Running Tally

I was on a roll yesterday and I'm happy to say I'm right back into the swing of things. Yesterday I managed to get 5,500 words written, almost double my daily aim, which obviously made up for falling short the day before. I have a feeling I won't be so successful today since I have some family things to go to and at some stage need to get some groceries, other wise we'll be going hungry this week. So I'm off now to write some words over breakfast.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

New Project

I know, I can't help it. Another new project. In my own defense, its not my fault, I just couldn't help myself.
I was looking at smaller presses and e-publishers this week and while looking at the Samhain submissions page I noticed they're taking submissions for an angels & demons anthology. Of course, I was immediately interested and then started having ideas and then thought "twenty to thirty thousand words isn't very much, I can knock that off easily before the closing date."
I made a start yesterday after a whole lot of research. I could have just made a lot of stuff up, but I wanted to go with actual demon and angel mythology. I spent a couple of days looking for demons and angels who would fit the story I was planning on doing. What I didn't realize is just how many different types of demons and angels there are.
I wanted to get at least 3000 words written yesterday, but didn't quite make it, finishing for the day on 2,400. I'll try to make up for the loss today. I figured if I wrote three to four thousand words each day, I'll have the basic manuscript finished in 7 days and that'll give me just over 2 weeks to polish and edit. I don't expect much of myself do I? Oh well, I figure its good practice for when I actually get published and have deadlines to work to.
Anyway, blogging isn't going towards my word count, so I'd better get to it.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Procrastination

I should be writing, both the kids are asleep and now is a good a time as any, but I can't be bothered. I wrote 4000 words on my SRS manuscript yesterday, that's more than I've done in a long time, so I can't feel too useless. Of course nothing will ever get published if I don't finish the damn things, but even that isn't enough to motivate me. I might do a read over of that historical I've been working on, though I'm sure as soon as I get into it, one of the kids will wake up and then I'll be annoyed because all I'll want to do is keep working and not watch the Cars DVD for the kazillionth time.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Or Not

So my big plan of getting a whole heap of work done on the weekend amounted to nothing. I wasn't too upset about it though, these things happen when you have a family and of course I wouldn't trade my family for anything in the world.
Luckily I have managed to get a good amount of work done today on the manuscript I've started aimed at Silhouette Romantic Suspense. Now I just need to find some friends (aka victims) to give it a read over for me. Can't wait to get it finished and edited and sent off to submission.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Weekend Work

Its the weekend and I've finally managed to get the partial submission sent off to that agent who requested them earlier in the week. It says on their website they respond to partials in 2 months or less, so I guess it'll be around the end of November before I hear anything.
I'm looking forward to fobbing the kids off on hubby so I can get some decent work done instead of working in snatches here and there around their nap times. My CP had a look over the smaple (yes, I know its spelled wrong, private joke.) pages I sent her and is very excited about this re-write idea. I can see where she's coming from. Compared to the current manuscript, my new work is much tighter and has more impact, and with a bit more tweaking (aka torture) from my CP, it'll be all shiny and ready for publication in no time.
I know I've been working at this gig for a lot of years now and I've said it before, but I really feel I am closing in on that final hurdle. Any day now, I'm going to get there and then (God help me!) there will be no turning back and I'll have real life, scary deadlines to work to. I never said it was going to be easy, but I'm looking forward to the challenge.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Good News

I checked my email this morning to find I've already got a bite - one of the agents I queried a couple of days ago has asked to see a partial of my manuscript. So I'll be sending that off as soon as I get the chance, which unfortunately won't be today as I already have a few other things I need to get done. Still, exciting news. You're probably thinking its dumb that I still get excited when an agent requests a partial. How many times have I been here, done that? But still, it makes me excited because this could be the one. I've come this far, I'm more than half way down the road by getting these requests, I'm not going to keep getting rejected forever. Eventually someone will say "yes, we would like to offer you representation." And this time it could be the answer I get.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Yes, I've Moved Again

Sorry for those of you who've already followed me half way around the Internet while I try to find myself. I guess I had a knee-jerk reaction to some weirdo calling me up in the middle of the night a year ago now and figured wiping myself from the Internet was a good answer to the problem. Anyway, I think I'd rather just remain me and publish under my own name, so I should be prepared for any unfortunate unpleasantness that comes along with that.
Back to writing stuff, I sent off four query letters/proposals on Sunday, so we'll see what comes of that. Also, the grand re-write is going well so far, even though I've only written 4000 words. Its going to be slow going because I honestly don't have as much time for writing as I once did, but I'll get there eventually.
I'm off to park myself in front of the TV since the new season of NCIS is starting her in oz tonight. I have exactly 8 minutes until that happens, so I'd better get snacks and make myself comfy. I can't wait, the cliff-hanger from last season has been driving me nuts!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Sucker for Punishment

I have to question my motives, really, I do. As you might know, I've been working on my old historical romance manuscript with my crit partner through Romance Writers Australia. Though things have been going along quite well (evidence of which is supported by the great rejection I got from The Agent a few weeks ago) but I've been having some issues with the manuscript. I don't like the prologue and several other scenes, and had not been able to stop thinking about The Agent's statement that she wasn't riveted by the execution, despite saying I'm a talented writer.
From fellow writers I've had either one of two responses upon discussion of the rejection. The first being that the execution is something I can work on and I'm closer than ever to getting an agent/publishing contract. The second has been that this type of rejection is similar to the old "just didn't love your voice/wasn't passionate about it" rejection which I can't do anything about because my voice obviously isn't so changeable. Instead, I just need to plod on and submit to some other agents.
When taking all of this into consideration, I of course came to a decision which means a tone more work for myself. Yes, I am going to query another handful of agents, but in the meantime, I've decided on the grand re-write. This isn't the first time I've considered doing it to this particular manuscript. Maybe I should have saved myself a lot of time and trouble and just done the re-write in the first place. One of the major issues I think stems from the fact that this manuscript is practically the first thing I wrote, seven years ago now. Obviously over the ensuing years my voice have evolved and refined, I know a lot more now than I did then, so I really think the manuscript is coming from a place where I just can't fix it anymore.
So I started the grand re-write last night, sent a smaple (as I always spell it for some reason, duh) sample to my CP to see what she thinks about the whole thing and we'll go from there. Despite my dislike of the project as it is, it would be a whole lot easier if the next agent I query sends me a big fat "YES" email.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Is That It?

This isn't going to be a very long post, I just dropped by to say that yesterday I wrote an entire paragraph, and it wasn't terribly riveting. So I've made a slow start. I also came to the realization in the shower this morning that if I'm going to ever get anywhere, I need to do some re-organizing of my life and set some actual structured writing/editing times. And possibly disconnect my laptop from the Internet at said times...
Writing a blog certainly isn't helping me increase the word count on that single paragraph, but at least it seems to be waking my brain up a little.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Gone and Back Again

Its been three months, I'm really good at forgetting this thing for long periods of time. In my defense, I've had some family stuff going on, which although is behind me now, still in some part means I'm really busy and don't have any where near as much time for writing and blogging and twittering as I once used to. Gone are the days when I had no one to answer to and could spend all day writing if I wanted to. Damn, I wasted so much time!
Right, well in writing-related stuff I heard back from The Agent and while the news wasn't what I was hoping, in that she didn't offer me representation, she did tell me she thought I was a talented writer and a few other good things about my manuscript. She did say she wasn't riveted by the execution. What the heck does that even mean? So I really couldn't be too upset about such a positive rejection. I've sent the first 3 chapters into the Romance Writer's Australia STALI comp and also entered the High Five with a category romance I've been working on in secret, aimed at the Silhouette Romantic Suspense line. So we'll see what comes of that. And when I get back into the swing of things, I have several other agents I plan on querying. I'm also battling the part of me that's wanting to return and work on my SOAP stuff. Seriously, I don't have enough time to spread myself so thin and worry that if I don't concentrate on one thing at a time (or maybe 2 at the most) then I'll never get published. Which is something negative I refuse to dwell on because I will get published at some point, I just have to keep working along like I have been.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Gloves Are Off

Its been another busy few weeks. I got the first 3 chapters into really good shape and then sent a query to The Agent. Yes, we're back to The Agent again, my number one agent on my long list of agents who I would love to work with more than anything. Excitingly enough, she replied the very next day and asked for the first 3 chapters and a synopsis. If you've been reading this blog for long enough you know how much I hate writing the synopsis. Well after more drafts than I can count and a lot of patience from my CP, I actually ended up with one I was quite happy with. I put it all together and then sent it off on Saturday, so now I just have to wait. I'm guessing it'll probably be a good 3 months before I hear anything, going on the guidelines on their website and past experiences. So I'll just continue on with the editing until the rest of the manuscript is requested (hows that for positive thinking?)
While reading agent blogs in my travels lately, it seems there are more bitter writers leaving sour comments about the place lately. Maybe they feel better after leaving bitchy anonymous comments and I can understand their frustrations, but they need to learn that its all part of the process. They wanted in the game and now they don't want to play by the rules. As I have believed for a long time now, its those of us with a level head who continue to persist that will make the finish line. They say the average time it takes an author to get published is 10 years. Well I'm coming up on 8 this year, so I figure I'm right on track.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Uninteresting

So I'm afraid the string of uninteresting posts are going to continue, since I'm doing nothing but editing and editing at the moment. No writing to speak of at all. Even though the work is tedious, its also exciting to see the manuscript evolving into something more than just words on a page.
I'm also looking forward to entering it in comps and starting another round of queries. Last time I managed to hook the agents but lacked the follow through. I think with this work I might actually now have the follow through. But that's still a long way off yet. For now, I'll just keep concentrating on editing.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Pit Stop

Hey look at this, two posts in one week. See? I am making an effort. I have nothing interesting to report beside the fact that my email account is back in my control and not in Chinese anymore. And since its Tuesday and Tuesday is my designated, official 'work' day, I'm just about to go start on chapter 4 & 5 edits from my CP. So I've got plenty to do!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Sudden Death

Yes, my blog did seem to die a sudden death, didn't it? I just disappeared off the face of the... well, net, one day. I can tell you that it was because I was very, very busy. You see, I've been editing my historical manuscript with my crit partner (or CP in the lingo.) Remember her? Yes, I've spent every spare computer moment editing until my brain was spinning.
Oh, and I also joined Twitter. Apart from keeping up with agent and publisher related stuff, apparently its also good for stalking celebrities. Though, once I'm published I may not think that's so funny any more.
The reason I finally found myself stopping by here is because my email account got hacked (fricking bastards, think its funny, do you?) and so I was going around to everywhere I have anything on the internet and changing my passwords. So that's that. I'd better keep going with it, and I will try to blog more often.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Groan

As of four minutes from now, the AFL (Australian rules football) season is about to start again and my hubby couldn't be happier.
All I have to say is *groan*
Song: Angel's Son by Sevendust

Monday, March 16, 2009

Reality Check

Now I'm in for it.
As of, well last week I guess, I now have a real, official, butt-kicking Critique Partner (EEEKKK!!). We're going to be going over something like a chapter a week, so hello serious work. As I said in my last post, I need to organise some actual structure kid-free writing time, its the only way I'm ever going to be able to get anything done.
But although the prospect of all this work is a little daunting (since I've certainly been doing things on my own very casual time line until now) I'm also pretty excited about it. I think I've been needing this for a long time now, someone else to be accountable to, who will always tell me straight. I feel like this latest move has really put me on the home stretch, now that I'm going to be doing this its like taking those final steps before publication. This is the last leg that's really going to get me over the final line.
So here's to lots and lots of hard work and great reward!
Song: Walk Through The Fire from Once More With Feeling, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Another Day Goes By

After that post the other day I managed to get a couple of thousand words done on my ms, but since then I haven't been near it. For some reason I just seem to be really busy at the moment doing other things, but still feel like I'm not really doing anything, if that makes sense. I'm hoping to go off and do another couple of thousand now, but I also know that I have washing to hang out and our there's been no housework to speak of for about a week. So what exactly have I been doing with my time? I have no idea. Obviously I need to find some time management skills or something. I keep saying I'm going to pick some set mornings or afternoons and send my daughter off to her grandparents for a few hours so I can get some serious writing done (not just snatches here and there when she's sleeping) but once again I've never done anything about organising it. I guess I'll have no choice if I want to get any work done once kid number two comes along.
Right, well instead of rambling I should actually go do that writing I keep talking about.
Song: The Wheels on the Bus, Barney Style (damn that annoying purple dinosaur that kids loves so much!)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Where Have I Been (the Sequel)

Well I had to tack "the sequel" onto the title of this entry because I've used it before.
Yes, where have I been? Not anywhere near a computer, that much is obvious. I've just had one of those months (or has it been more than a month?) where life got in the way of any writing I may have aspired to. I didn't even check my email for about 2 weeks and when I finally did there was 500 or so to wade through. But here I am again, with nothing terribly interesting to say except that I'm back and on my way to do some writing. I have a bit of catching up to do if I still want make my target of having a finished manuscript by June. I have just over 50,000 words to write, but I will have it done!
Song: When I Come Around by Greenday

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What?

On my perusal through various agent's blogs this morning, I came across a little post from the Caren Johnson agency that just boggles my mind:
How Not To Query.
Briefly, a writer who was querying agents used the same email and just kept forwarding it on, so that the address of every single agent that came before Caren Johnson was listed above the actual body of the email, meaning the poor person who read the email had to scroll down and down and down to find the letter. And then? It wasn't even a genre they represented.
Why?
I don't understand these people. I treat this whole writing gig as a business interaction. I strive to remain professional and level-headed. I do my homework. I want the agents to know I know who I'm querying, what they represent, how they like their query letters/proposals/submissions to be presented, because literally every second agency wants something a little bit different. Some want only a query letter. Some want a query and synopsis. Some want both of those as well as the first chapter. Some want the first five pages and a query letter. It doesn't make any difference. I give them what they ask for because I want them to take me seriously. And also, to do otherwise would be a waste of my time and theirs.
So what are these people, like the one mentioned above, thinking when they go about doing these things? It partly makes me frustrated because I just think if there was some way to weed out these people who don't bother doing background research, who send in whatever they feel like, who reply to form rejections with abusive emails, who serial-query agents over and over until they become spam, who apparently have no concept of what it is to act in a professional capacity, then maybe, just maybe, the percentage of us who follow the rules and are actually very serious about this industry might have an easier time of it.
That's my rant for the month.
Song: Heavy Heart by You Am I

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Still Going

The big Re-Write is still going along well. I've continued doing lots of work on it, in fact I wouldn't even have a clue how many thousand words I've written. All I know is that in the last week I've managed to add 4 chapters to it. Of course, I do have a slight advantage. Since it is a re-write, I've been using a bit of material from the first draft that still works in with the new manuscript. However I do feel that this second version is much improved and hopefully that will be reflected when I start querying agent. I'm up to 40,000 words overall, which puts me at almost halfway. I don't know about anyone else, but it's exciting when you get past that halfway point and you're on the downhill run, getting closer and closer to completion.
Song: Ashes to Ashes by Faith No More

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Burst

I know, I write in fits and starts. I'll go for weeks and barely type a word, then all of a sudden I sit down and pull 5000 words out of nowhere. Of course, I'm not complaining. Writing that 5000 words yesterday made me very happy. If only I could sit down every day and write 5000-odd words, I've have this manuscript finished in no time!
I do know that I seriously need to do some hard work and get it finished though. I'm starting to get the itch again. The urge to start sending queries to agents. I suppose if I get some of that discipline I'm always talking about, my aim to be finished by June might not be so far off.
In other news, I found out yesterday that I got into the first RWAustralia Bootcamp for the year. It's kinda like a bunch of mini online workshops or conference. I applied for the intermediate to advanced one, since after eight years I can't really be considered a beginner any more, can I? Anyway, it should be good, we'll be doing Character Arcs with author Diane Gaston, Dialogue with author Robyn Grady, Sexual Tension with author Carol Marinelli, The Language of the Synopsis with author Denise Rossetti (which I'm really looking forward to, I think I need it, which you'd already know if you were aware of my loathing of the synopsis), Looking After Your Writer's Body with Dana Fletcher-Scully. We also get to do some question time with Keri Arthur and Anna Campbell, which will be very exciting! Sometime between now and then, I need to work out some questions to ask them that I can relate back to my own work and experiences. All these things are helping me get closer to landing an agent.
Song: Miss You Love by Silverchair

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Atrophy

I know I haven't mentioned it for a while and obviously if you've been over to the site nothing is happening still. But it will! It is coming. It's just taking a little bit longer to execute than we had hoped.
There's not much else to say today. Yesterday was a public holiday here in Oz, Australia Day. As usual it was really hot, but not as bad as it's going to be for the rest of the week. For the next six days they're predicting we'll be having 40+ degree temperatures. That's 104 degrees or hotter in American. After six days straight of that sort of weather I can imagine there will be a lot of cranky people about. Talk about a heat wave. Hopefully this will be the worst of it for the rest of summer and there won't be any major bushfires anywhere.
Anyhoo, I have grand writing plans, so I'd better go do something about them.
Song: Angel's Son by Sevendust

Monday, January 26, 2009

One Of Those Weeks

So obviously I was missing last week, it was just "one of those weeks" where nothing seems to go right, complete with a broken window in a wind storm on Thursday and waking up to a dead toaster on Saturday. Although my Internet access was limited, I did manage to squeeze in time to work on SOAP book 1 and added a nice 4000 words to the re-write I'm currently doing. It is coming along well when I do actually sit down and concentrate long enough to write anything. I always have plans of becoming more disciplined and spending more time writing to get the manuscript finished, but I'm hoping that since I've stopped working (which is another story altogether) I will actually be able to structure my time a bit better and start getting chapters written more regularly.
Song: A Thousand Miles by Vanessa Carleton

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ironing Out the Wrinkles

Lyn commented that she really liked my last name and wondered why I was taking a pen name. And you know what? I really like my last name too. Sorry folks, to mess you all around, but I think I'm going to go with half and half.
Jenna Anastasi.
The reason I've decided to take a pen name, without going into great detail, is to protect my identity and my private life when I do actually get published.
This will be the final change, I promise!
Song: He Got Game by Public Enemy

All Done

Well, if you're here you'll have noticed that the change over has occurred, two days later than I intended, but changed nonetheless.
I've been really busy the past week or so, which is why I haven't had time to blog. But it hasn't all been bad news. Last week I added 1200 words to my manuscript and this week so far I've done 1000. It's not heaps, I know, but it's a start for the new year. It's taken me until almost the end of January to get back into it, so I'm happy that I finally did.
I did end up sending the first chapter to Firebrand Lit as I had hoped to do, under my new pen name. They said that if they want to see more of your work they'll get back to you by the 1st of February. If they do ask to see my ms I'm banking on them asking for the first three chapters and a synopsis since I'm only half way through the now-famous Re-Write. I really need to get my butt into gear and get the thing finished so I can start querying agents again. Sometimes I feel like I'll never get published because I can't get myself to sit at my desk and actually write anything!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Changes

This post is a warning to let you all know that this blog is going to be changing soon. Due to several reasons, I have decided to take on a pen name, and this blog will be swapping over to it as of a week from now, just so you all have time to get used to it. Even the web address will be changing. From now on, I'll be writing as Jenna J. Faith.
Therefore, the new web address will be jennajfaith.blogspot.com.
I hope this won't cause anyone too many problems. Nothing else besides the name will be changing, so please, keep in touch!
Song: Faith by Limp Bizkit

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Slack!

I've barley written anything since before Christmas and I'm feeling so slack about it. I have to work again today (on a Saturday, oh, the travesty!) but I'm vowing to get my butt in gear next week and put some serious words to paper.
RWAus is starting a new "weekly challenge" thing this year. I'm not a hundred per cent sure what it entails, but I'm considering joining up because it might force me to be more disciplined about my work. Also yesterday I signed up for one of RWA's bootcamps. They're kind of like a mini-online-conference. Since I've never actually made a conference yet, I thought it'd be a good idea to do one of these instead. It's not until March so I've got plenty of time to plan for it.
That's about all the news I have today.
Song: Themata by Karnivool

Friday, January 9, 2009

Oblivious

Sometimes things happen that remind you just how crap people can be. This morning I had to go pick my sister up. Not to far from where I live there's a huge lake where there's a lot of wildlife and all along the road there are signs about driving carefully due to animals sometimes being on the road. As I was driving along, all the traffic had slowed down and stopped because there was a group of ducks on the road. Everyone was carefully avoiding them as they wandered across the road. And then, from the opposite direction, this guy in a four-wheel-drive came along. He was totally oblivious to the fact that all the traffic in front and opposite him had slowed to almost a standstill. I don't know what he was thinking. He swerved around the car in front of him that had all but stopped for the ducks and then just plowed straight through them all. My sister and I were shocked. I don't know, maybe he didn't care, or was just in a hurry and was impatient and didn't consider why the rest of the traffic had stopped. It just makes me angry and is an upsetting start to the day. I don't understand. If you approached a group of cars that were either stopped or slowed down, why would you just swerve around them and continue driving so fast through? What if it had of been a person who'd been hit by a car and that was why the traffic was stopped? That guy would have just plowed through and made the accident worse. Everyday, you see people driving around on our roads who quite obviously shouldn't have a drivers licence.
Song: Window and the Watcher by Butterfly Effect

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Re-Written

I did it. I chopped and re-wrote the first couple of pages. Once it was done I sent it back to Cafrine for her opinion. She replied and told me she was sad to see the opening line go, because she really loved the way the book started off (and I began thinking, "oh-no, what have I done?"). But then she said while what I have before was good, what I have now is so much better. That annoying character is still there, but now he's not annoying anymore. And while it all links in with the rest of the book, it also reveals what sort of character my heroine is without being blatantly told.
Now I'll pass it on to my Editorial Advisor (aka my sister-in-law) and see what she has to say about it. But I'll tell you this; I feel like I'm close. Much closer now. Closer to the product which will be The Book which will launch my career as a published author. Bring on 2009!
Song: Nosebleed Section by Hilltop Hoods

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Opening Scene

I gave the first three chapters back to Cafrine after I'd had a go at fixing the issues she'd pointed out to me. She got back to me quickly since I mentioned to her I want to submit to Firebrand Lit by the 15th of this month.
It seemed I'd manged to improve everything except for the pesky opening scene. I have trouble with these, as I know many writers do. Obviously the opening scene needs to have several functions.
1) it needs to draw the reader in immediately and hold their attention
2) it needs to be relevant to the overall story
3) it needs to start revealing information about the characters and plot without the reader feeling they've been hit over the head with it
I've always had trouble finding a balance between these three elements. When I concentrate on one I seem to lose the others. At the moment my opening scene is attention-grabbing and is relevant to the overall story, but it tells rather than shows information about my main character. Also there's this other non-consequential character who is really annoying me. So now I'm thinking about how I could start my book with all three of these elements and excluding the annoying character. You know me, when I can't fix something I re-write. Unsurprisingly I'm about to go chop the opening scene and write something new. Wish me luck!
Song: Holy Grail by Hunters and Collectors

Friday, January 2, 2009

Another New Year

The 1st of January has come and gone, and obviously Cafrine and I haven't post the first blogisode of Atrophy. Being Christmas and New Year, we just haven't had time to meet and finalise the ending of the ep and edit what we've already done.
In terms of my own work, I've been continuing with editing the first 3 chapters of SOAP book 1 and have posted the first 2000 words to my new critique group I've joined through RWA. It'll be interesting to get some feedback off a totally objective 3rd party. I'm also going to send it back to Cafrine with the changes to see if I've managed to improve the things she mentioned before. If it's looking better, I'm then going to send the first chapter to Firebrand Lit's holiday query thing they've got going.
And after all that, I'm finally going to get back into doing some straight writing, no strings attached. I need to get SOAP book 1 re-completed so I can work on it as a whole and hopefully in the next few months get myself back to a place where I'll be ready to query agents again. Last year I got further than I ever had before, I came so close to getting an agent. I have to believe that this year will be the year I finally cross that hurdle on my journey to publication.
Song: Light Surrounding You by Evermore