Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Totally Grounded

In case it isn't clear from my previous posts, I have a tendency to obsess about things. And that’s what my book has been to me, an obsession.

For the last ten months or so, my husband has been very supportive and understanding of the neurotic behavior that accompanies most of my creative endeavors. He’s listened to me ramble on and on about my characters and plot changes, and read countless first chapter revisions. He’s the first one to tell me how ridiculous I’m being when I start to get down on myself and my writing. Although, I still think his opinion might be a little biased. :) He’s tolerated dirty dishes and taken care of the kids when I’ve been obsessing over some scene. The man is definitely worth his weight in gold. However, even golden men can only take so much of the crazy lady writer wife.

My kids have been out of school for a month now, and all the things I promised to do once school was out are still sitting undone. And now that I’m pretty sure my manuscript is all shiny and ready for submissions, there really are no more excuses.

Nevertheless, my house is still a mess, and I can’t seem to stay away from the computer. I find myself obsessively checking my email every five minutes, because of course I might die if I don’t see that response from an agent as soon as it pops into my inbox. So, if I’m on the computer already, I might as well check out some blogs and go lurk over at QueryTracker. And it’s all downhill from there.

So now I’m grounded. The only writing related contact I’m allowed to have with my computer for the next week is this blog entry and checking my email. He swears he’ll take the power cord with him to work if I don’t comply, but I don’t see that happening. I usually get my way. But I will do my best to “be good” because I know he’s right. I need to get some structure back in my life, so maybe I can feel just a tiny bit saner. Don’t know if I could ever feel completely sane. :)

I’ll be back next Tuesday to report that I’ve gutted my kids’ rooms and sent the majority of their contents to Goodwill. My office will be completely de-cluttered and all my scrapbooking tools that have been neglected for the last year and a half will be on ebay making me lots of money. :) Well, that’s the plan anyway. Thanks all for stopping by. I’ll see you next week.

Quick side note: Holy crap, Hunger Games was so good! I stayed up until 3:00 last night reading it and finally had to make myself go to bed so I could get three hours of sleep for work. I couldn’t wait to get home today to read the last forty pages. As for the sequel… I may go crazy waiting.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Three more months of this?

Scary Mary

Just have to say that rejections suck. I guess they’re responding at least. Can’t complain too much about that.

So, all this rejection has got me analyzing the heck out of my query, and while I was procrastinating working so hard on it, I came across this recut trailer for Mary Poppins. It seemed like the perfect example of how emphasizing different parts can make it seem like a completely different story. Maybe I’m not emphasizing the right parts. I don’t know. I’m trying to be patient until I get a few more responses. We’ll see how that works out. :)


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Giving in to the pressure...

Went out and bought The Hunger Games today. :)

WIP Wednesday - I'm a wreck

Well, I said yesterday that my revisions were complete and that's all I'm going to say about that today. Nothing else to report and I'm so tired of talking about it. Kind of hate the thing right now.

Even with my disgruntled feelings for my ms, I decided to test the waters a little today with my query. Since it would be too easy to just pick a few agents that rep what I write and send the queries and first five pages out, I went through and found several that specifically state query letter only (no sample pages) and sent my query out to them to see what kind of responses I get. Then, if it's a bunch of rejects, I'll know that it's probably the query that's the problem, and I'll know what needs to be fixed.

I realize this logic may not be solid, but I can't seem to make myself do it without analyzing it to death. This is how I deal. Don't judge. ;)

Now, I'm feeling a little batty. Every time my email pings, my heart gets all fluttery. It's really annoying.

So, how are things going for you? Making good progress?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

One Lovely Blog Award

You’re all probably sick of hearing about my WIP. I know I am. I just want to say that all my revisions are finally done, and after a little tweaking of my synopsis, I think it will be ready to go. Yea! Thanks for all the supportive comments. You guys are awesome! If you want to read my first chapter, you can check it out here.

On to more important things…

Almost a month ago, the very sweet Danyelle nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award, and being the slacker that I am, I’m just now getting around to posting about it. First of all, thank you, Danyelle! I love your blog and the encouraging words you always have to share. I’d nominate you too, if you didn’t get to it first. :)

Now for the nominees:

Becca--For her upbeat posts and super-positive attitude in the often negative world of publishing. And she’s one of my awesome critters, so she gets bonus points for that. :)

TereLiz--Her blog’s only been up a couple of weeks and she already has fifteen followers! Also, she's another of my awesome critters.

Sara--For her post on writing a synopsis. The first one I’ve read that wasn’t totally intimidating, and it finally motivated me to write mine. Yea!

Elana--I know she already received this award, but I love her blog, so she’s getting it again.

Jessjordan--For making me laugh on more than one occasion.

Tori--For being a better friend than anyone deserves, and for trudging through the extremely awful first draft of my novel and still telling me she liked it. :)

Cheryl--Longtime good friend and all around great person. Also, another of my awesome beta readers.

Jill--For understanding and laughing at all of my jokes, even the ones that aren’t very funny.

The support of friends is invaluable on this daunting path to publication. I couldn’t do it without all of you! Happy Tuesday!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Rambling, Whiney WIP Wednesday

I think I posted something last week about being close to ready to query my WIP. That seems so long ago. Since then I’ve cut another 3500 words, including my favorite scene. I’ve felt like it needed to go for a while, but I was clinging to the delusion that the book needed it. It didn’t. So sad. :,(

The closer I get to my completion date goal, the less I feel like it’s ready. I know I’m totally psyching myself out, but I don’t really know how to get around it. Sometimes I think I just need to jump, and deal with the consequences, but what if I blow my chances by jumping in too soon? I’m totally overanalyzing everything, and it’s making me absolutely crazy.

Maybe by this time next week, my first batch of queries will be out the door or out the virtual door at least, and I’ll feel like I’m moving forward instead of backward. Maybe my head will be spinning. Either way, something will be happening. Progress is progress, regardless. Right?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Sucktacular Synopsis

I previously expressed my distaste for the three-prong essay, but I think being forced to write a book report is even worse. And that’s basically what a synopsis is--just another book report.

After months of procrastinating, I finally wrote mine yesterday. I was surprised by how easy it was once I got started, but I can’t say that it’s good or interesting. In fact, it makes me feel like my book kind of sucks.

Oh, well. At least it’s done, even if it's awful.

So, what do you think? Is it possible to write a good one? Or do they all suck?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

WIP Wednesday: So Close

I’ve been a bit of a slacker lately when it comes to my blog. Well, and a few other things. When school lets out, things have a tendency to get a little wrong side out and backward around here. That and I’ve really been focusing on getting my WIP ready to query.

I have some pretty awesome critters that made some really great suggestions, leading to a major overhaul of my manuscript. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve eliminated a chapter and three characters, rearranged a few scenes to help with pacing, and chopped over 5,000 words--making the total number of words chopped over 27,000. Wow. That’s kind of painful when I add it all up. But things are definitely moving forward on that front.

Now I’m working on polishing up my query letter and making sure my manuscript is super shiny. I should be querying by the end of the month, which is a little nauseating, when I really think about it.

Also, I have to say that I’ve been very pleased with all the lists posted on Agent Kristin Nelson’s blog lately. Nothing resembling mine has been listed, so I’m hoping that’s a good sign that what I have is unique and fresh enough that I actually have a chance. I’ll consider anything to keep myself moving forward--delusional or otherwise. :)

So, how are things moving along for you? Moving forward? Moving backward? Going crazy from all the rewriting/revising?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Just a Little Lower on the Right

One of the first things a design student learns about is balance. In every work of art, whether it’s a painting, a sculpture or the way accessories are arranged on a fireplace mantel, there has to be balance. Some think that symmetrical balance is the way to go every time, but I prefer asymmetrical. It’s much more interesting to look at, not to mention the challenge involved in achieving it. I always enjoy a challenge.

This Degas painting is a good example. The water pitcher on the left keeps the painting from feeling weighed down on the right, giving it asymmetrical balance. It’s all visual perception, and I’m sure there are some people that don’t notice some of the subtleties involved. I’m a very visual person, so for me, this has always been a relatively easy concept. Writing is a different story. Yes, I noticed the pun.

Balance in writing, while just as necessary as balance in art (Calm down. I’m not saying writing isn’t a form of art.), is harder to achieve. At least, I think it is. There’s so much more to balance. Consistent pacing is extremely important and probably one of the most difficult things to accomplish--making sure the slower parts still have an appropriate level of tension and that those are balanced by faster/more intense parts and vice versa, and maintaining the same pacing throughout 80,000 words or more. And characterization--making sure our characters aren’t too one-sided, and that they don’t have the happiest or crappiest lives ever. There has to be some good with the bad. The concept can even be applied to something as simple as sentence structures and not relying too heavily on any particular structure.

This is what keeps it interesting. That’s what we’re going for with our writing, right? The ability to write something others will find interesting and maybe beautiful and want to share with their friends?

So what things are hard for you to balance in your writing? And how do you find that balance? Is it something that comes naturally? Or do you have to work at it and do a gazillion rewrites before you get it where it needs to be?

And did I use the word balance enough times? Here’s one more for um, balance. :)