Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Chugging Along

I've passed the halfway mark for my YA novel, which I was quite happy about. Its taken me four weeks to write half, so I figure in another four weeks I should have it finished. Writing an entire 80,000 word manuscript in eight weeks is a bit of an achievement, I think. But with how I've organised my writing schedule, it's seemed to happen so easily.
I'm very excited about getting it finished and edited to start querying agents. I'm also wondering when I'll hear from Silhouette, I suppose it'll be a few months. Which is why I prefer querying agents. Its more direct, you're not left in the dark wondering when you'll get a response. Slush piles are torture! So Mr. Agent is on top of my list, followed by another agent who works at them same office as The Agent. Of course, I'd like to query The Agent, but she doesn't represent young adult, so that's why I'm querying the agent in her office who does instead.
All these plans are well and good, but I need to finish the manuscript first. Also, I need to do some serious editing on the manuscript I sent to Silhouette, since I also entered it in the RWA Emerald competition. The entrants who made round two will be announced any day now and I haven't done anything to get it ready to send in case I made the top fifteen. Since this manuscript came in 10th in the last RWA comp I entered it in, I'm hoping its not too far a stretch of the imagination to say I've got a good chance of getting into round two.
So, editing it is then... groan!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Time For A Change

As you've probably worked out for yourself, I've change the colour of my blog. I thought it was time for something new and while I would have liked to pick one of many very pretty templates, I'd been hearing about this thing called professionalism and thought perhaps I should move in that direction. So its plain old black on white for me. Kinda boring though!
I've also been thinking about a website but since I'm a cheapskate at the moment and I don't want to pay for one, I'd been trying to find somewhere to have one for free. Of course many of them start off free, but eventually you have to pay for your domain name or a monthly fee or something that ends up not actually being free at all.
And then there's things like Wordpress (shh! I think they're in direct competition with blogger, so this post might mysteriously go missing) who are still just a blog, but offer the option of having a couple of different pages. I am leaning towards moving myself over there to incorporate some other author related information along with a blog, but at this point in time I'm jealously guarding every spare minute I could be writing, so don't really want to expend the time or energy swapping and setting everything up.
In other news, I'm getting towards the halfway point on my young adult novel. I've written just on 9,000 words the past two weeks, but am hoping to get a few more than that done this week. So far I'm up to just over 4000, but I'm planning to get a little bit more done tonight and will try and push past the 10,000 mark for this week. The quicker I get words down, the sooner I'll be finished and will be able to start querying agents and publishers.

Friday, January 15, 2010

That Old Submission Feeling

As of a few minutes ago, I just got back from the Post Office after posting my submission to the slush pile of Silhouette Romantic Suspense Books in New York. I've been debating whether or not I should also query The Agent with this manuscript, because as I stated in a previous post, The Agent does represent category romance. But for the moment, I just feel like concentrating on my young adult novel, which as you can see by my word tally on the right, is coming along quite nicely and will soon eclipse the SAS manuscript I'd also been writing.
I suppose it'll be a few months before I hear anything from SRS. In the meantime I'll get these other projects done and ready for submission. 2010 is going to be a very productive year I feel!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Twilight Series

When Twilight first hit the shelves, I read it all those years ago, before New Moon came out, before it was a bestseller, before movie rights and screaming teenage fans. And you know what I thought? "Meh." It didn't make me want to rush out and buy the rest of the series.
Now obviously I'm wary of criticizing other people's work. I know what its like to toil over words and sentences and paragraphs.
The reason for this post is because I recently went to see New Moon and I must admit, without hearing it from Bella's point of view, I was much more interested in the storyline. So I borrowed the last two books off my sister-in-law because I wanted to find out what happens, even though she (and a couple of other people I know) warned me not to because Breaking Dawn in particular, is not great. I'm 3/4 of the way through Eclipse now, and it really is beginning to drag on me. I think once again, its partly due to Bella's character, but also to do with what I call the Harry Potter phenomenon, which I'll explain in a moment.
There are a couple of reasons I don't like Bella's character and partly, Edward's. For one, I actually really want Bella to end up with Jacob, even though I know that's not how the story is going to go. I also find it a bit annoying the way Bella just decided she was going to be a vampire, in detriment to anything else. She's so willing to give up her whole life, family and friends to become immortal, yet balks at the idea of marrying Edward first.
I read a paragraph that really struck me as wrong last night and cemented my decision not to like her. Despite knowing that when she turns, she'll most likely lose control and kill people to feed, she all but dismisses the idea, even though from the start of the book, she's been torn up about names listed in the news of people in Seattle killed by a group of newborn vampires. I think the sentiment was something along the lines of, if it meant being with Edward, she would just deal with it, or whatever. And it struck me as very selfish and a tad unrealistic. And did I mention extremely selfish? Like, hey, you five people have to die just so I can be immortal and live with my high school sweetheart for eternity.
It also annoys me how good she is at ignoring the feelings she has for Jake and won't even consider the possibility of any other life when she's only eighteen and can't really know what she wants, plus she goes on about how mature she is, when I find her actions quite immature and ignorant. People, in particular Edward, are trying to convince her to wait so she's sure its what she really wants, but she's hung up on getting older and won't listen to them. In this respect, I guess it makes her a pretty typical teenager.
So though I'm nowhere near finishing it, and I will finish it despite the fact I'm not enjoying it, I'll be interested to see how much worse it gets in the last book, which a couple of my friends expressly warned me not to read.
Ah yes, the Harry Potter phenomenon. This is where a newly published author hits the jackpot and makes it big on their first book/series out. As subsequent books are released, the publisher knows no matter what's inside those pages, people are going to buy it and read it because its not an author or title any more, its a brand. Therefore, it is my belief (and someone feel free to correct me if they know better and I'm wrong here) that the editors only do the most cursory revision of the manuscript and publish it basically as the author has written in. This results in pages of scenes and conversations that either don't need to be in there, or could have been condensed down into a few succinct paragraphs and probably had more impact. Which is why I never finished reading the last few Harry Potter books, there just seemed to be pages of rambling I found hard to wade through. As it is with Eclipse, while pages and chapters are going by, nothing really seems to be happening as Bella flits back and forth between Edward and Jacob, determinedly wanting to become a vampire while at the same time, still too scared to make the huge commitments. In my opinion, this book could have used a good pruning to weed out repetitive or unnecessary scenes.
So I never quite understood why these books were as big a success as they ended up being. But that's just how I feel and obviously I'm not in the majority here.