Excited – or is that Terrified?

For the most part my manuscript is done.

Wait. Let’s rephrase that.

It’s written but far from done. Tomorrow, I start the exciting journey of editing. Making this cherished work that has consumed every spare moment into a living breathing entity. One that agents and readers alike will enjoy.

I am so excited!

I have beta readers who helped me along the way (bless each and every one of you) and their suggestion have made my scenes stronger and tighter. Now, I get to work with a professional editor and four other classmates to polish it.

Ok, maybe terrified is a better word.

If my heart doesn’t quit jumping every time I start thinking about what could possibly go wrong, I think I’ll be ok. I think.

I am so excited to see what I will learn. There is still much about writing that I don’t know that at times it gets a bit overwhelming. I am hoping this class will show me some of the things I have done instinctively are correct. Maybe I know more than I think. Let’s hope so.

No writer should believe that every thing they write is perfect. At least not if they want to become better writers. On the flip side, you have to have confidence in your writing style, your voice. Listen to constructive criticism (ignore the hateful type, it isn’t worth your time). Really look at what they are telling you and then decide if it fits your writing vision. Many times, the suggestions (and that is all they really are) will make your story stronger. Sometimes they won’t.

Listen, but don’t lose your voice. It is after all, your story and you have the the right to do one simple thing.

Say no.

I hope I can follow this advise. Remain true to my voice, yet listen to advice from other writers and professionals.

Wish me luck!


Query – My new four-letter word

Yes, I know.

Query has five letters in it. However, while attempting to write one of these, more four letters came to mind than anything else. Not really the kind of words you want to send to an agent or publisher. At least not if you want them to represent you.

I have never before come across anything that terrifies and aggravates me at the same time. Our stories sing to us and if we listen, the words flow across the pages.

Then there are query letters.

Just as important as a well written story, the query letter forces us to compile in a few words the heart of our story, why we love it and why an agent or publisher should love it too. It has to grab the reader’s attention and convey your conflict, character and conclusion in less than a page.  Yes, a single page. That single piece of paper must compel you to want to read my story. For someone who writes novel length stories and doesn’t  write anything small, that is torture and should honestly be banned in all civilized nations.

Well, OK. Maybe I’m exaggerating just a tiny bit, but really, it’s just not nice.

Some people like writing query letters and are good at them. I even know a few.

I am NOT one of them. One of these days, I want to sneak into their brains and find out what that feels like. I haven’t yet figured out how to get them to write mine.  Working on that. Maybe once I have a few hundred (I really hope not to add another zero to that number) I will learn to love them. And maybe even become one of those that is good at them.

Until then, I will continue to work through them, fine tuning and polishing my letters until they shine.

I’ll try to keep the four-letter words to myself.

Checklist (or is that Sanity Check?)

√ Writing finished on MS

Well, OK. I found a spot that needed filling that I didn’t see before. Hopefully my beta readers won’t completely kill me.

√ Editing/revisions on MS – Ongoing but mostly set

 Yes I admit it. I am one of those who tends to revise as I’m writing.  Not necessarily a bad thing, but there are times I really do have to force myself to stop and just WRITE! 

Class (hopefully) starts in June to polish MS

I have stocked up on Dr. Pepper for those last night class sessions where I have to fix a scene (or two, or five – sigh). This last step excites and terrifies me. Excited to learn new techniques that have eluded me until now – terrified that I will not get them right the first time (yes, I am a perfectionist – working on it!). Overall, just raring to go!

I try to focus on always moving forward. New ideas have blossomed from strange places and juggling them is often a challenge. Sometimes it’s really hard. You wonder am I really ready to send this out?  Should I get more feedback? Am I insane?

For me, I am working on the first question, eternally waffling on the second, and completely convinced the last one is true.

The good thing about this whole journey is that I am enjoying it. Yes, even the down parts where I try to convince myself that this is just a fools dream. That’s when my writing partners step in and kick me in the butt. (They are very direct!)

Remember why you started writing in the first place.

I bet most of the time the answer is, “Because I love to write.”  That’s what you have to hold on to and never forget.  When you do, have great people (great friends!) remind you and in some cases, inspire you to reach heights you never expected.

Writing is a journey – enjoy getting there!

Life Happens – Use it!

No matter how hard you try sometimes, life happens. Usually interfering with your writing goals, schedule and general attempts to put words down.

Hair pulling, paper ripping (who needs a mechanical shredder) frustrations reign!

This used to bother me, but I decided I would make it work for me. Don’t misunderstand. It still drives me nuts when I have a scene or story idea plaguing me and I can’t even get near a computer or notebook to get it down. However, that said, sneaking a quick five minutes to jot down the anger and frustration sometimes leads to a fantastic scene later when I can write!

Writing for me is a release, so sometimes those pent-up emotions help a scene explode into being. The scene may have nothing to do with the problem causing my frustration, but it does help me understand how my character might feel in an equally tense situation.  The emotion, the physical strain on my body, and the release when it gets resolved or in Malcolm’s case, the series of really bad puns to lighten the mood, all help make the writing ALIVE! They make my characters real and hopefully engage my reader into the story.

So get angry! Get frustrated!  Loose it against your characters and scenes.  You may never use anything that you write, but you’ll be writing.

And THAT is the point!