Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Did you know that a lot of agents take a sabbatical from about December 15th through January 15th? Neither did I. So, I guess I'm on a forced sabbatical too-- from submitting to agents, anyway. But the time won't be wasted! My new, revised, plan: have 10 agent submissions, plus my synopsis, ready by January 15th. We'll see how it goes. Too bad the rest of life can't just stop a while so that I have time to do all the writing I want to do...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Holy Crap, Somebody Found This Blog!

I don't know who you are out there in California, and if you reached it by mistake or on purpose, but thank you. Nice to think that somebody is reading my rambling (or, at least, accidentally dropping in) besides me.
Onto other news... Okay, so I need a synopsis. My goal had been to send out my query to two agents a week, but I'm beginning to realize that it may take even longer than that. For one thing, they ask for different things. One agent wants a query and five pages of manuscript, another wants just a query, another wants a synopsis. I was hoping to get away without the synopsis-- which shows you just how truly inexperienced I really am. The other thing that is taking a while is that my query letter really can't be just the same for each agent. Not only do they want different things, but they seem to like different things (surprise, surprise). Some like a query that is personalized, others want to get straight down to business... I guess it all comes down to knowing as much about the agent as you can, and then trying to customize each letter to them.
So, I am busy writing a synopsis that hopefully I will be able to send out in the next couple weeks. I will probably read it to my writing group-- ANWA (American Night Writer Association, in case you want to know, which actually has chapters in a lot of different places). By the way, somehow I ended up being the "host" house for all of next year! I'm not sure how that happened... I've only been two times. For some reason I had convinced myself that cleaning my entire house so that others could meet here was somehow easier than getting in my car and driving somewhere else. Crazy...
Anyways, back to writing. My goal is to have two agent submissions by Christmas, and then the rest will have to wait until my synopsis is complete. It's all a waiting game, isn't it? Good thing I'm not counting on writing to make a living! But seriously, wouldn't that be awesome if I could?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

What I love...

that I use this blog mostly for the blog list on the side. Sad, sad, sad.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

My First Submission

In a time full of firsts, here's another one: I finally sent in my first submission! After touching up my manuscript (again-- is it ever really over?), I sent it in to Scholastic. They don't usually take unagented submissions, but because I recently went to a writing conference where an editor from Scholastic was speaking, she gave everybody in attendance 90 days to submit one. Of course, I couldn't turn down a chance like that-- even if the likelihood that she'll accept it is extremely unlikely. But, who knows? Maybe a year from now I'll be blogging about how I got published by the very first person I sent a submission to (we all can dream, right?).
So now, my goal is to find an agent. I have a growing list of options, and I've decided to try to send something out to two agents a week, until I run out of agents. Why not send to all of them on my list right now? Because each agent likes specific things and I need to revise my query for each of them. It takes a little bit of work.
I'm also starting on the second book. I know exactly how it's going to start-- and end. It's the whole middle part that's a little foggy. I've even got the third book worked out (beginning and end). I really need to get the second one written-- so I can then spend countless hours revising it. Hmm, maybe I'll wait until after Thanksgiving weekend to get started on that...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My First Critique Group

Last night I went to my first critique group. There are about 15 women in the group, all who write various forms of literature and a good number that are published. I really enjoyed it.
We each had seven minutes to read the material that we brought, and then another three minutes of critique (time was kept on a timer). Everybody was positive with each other, but offered some very helpful things.
No, nobody jumped for joy or begged emphatically for more after my seven minutes was up (I'm still waiting for that reaction from somebody-- anybody. Sometimes I wonder, did the people who read the first chapter of Harry Potter or Twilight instantly know what a hit it would be some day? Not that I expect that sort of success ever, but I still wonder).
Overall, the meeting was very helpful and the ladies offered me some good suggestions that I will definitely take. The greatest part about it was just being able to interact with other people who enjoy the same things I do, and see their minds at work.
Can't wait for next time.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The "In Crowd"

When I was in junior high, I distinctly remember sitting in the cafeteria, staring longingly at the "cool table." I watched the cheerleaders with their boyfriends in tow, their cute little skirts, the jelly bracelets stacked high on their wrists and their teased up in just the right way (yes, that's how old I am). I longed to be part of that table so much it hurt.
Then I grew up. I learned to like myself more, to be less worried about what other people think. In fact, my "cool table" envy disappeared entirely... or so I thought.
But it has returned with a vengeance. Every time I see an author's blog, read their success stories and how they got published, learn about the long lines at their book signings, the old feelings come back so strong I can feel it in my bones. I want to know these people, go where they go, do what they do. I want to write about my trip to New York to promote my book, give thanks to my countless fans, celebrate the UK edition coming out soon. I want to be in the "In Crowd."
Maybe someday... sigh...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

My Last Edit... Almost

I just finished re-editing my book for about the hundredth time. I'm hoping this is the almost final one before I begin sending it out to publishers and agents. I have one last group of people reviewing it, and once they've given their edits, I'm done!
I've been working on this manuscript now for about a year and a half. Right now, it's about 71,000 words (I know this, because that's one of the things they ask you to include in your query).
Some of the things that have changed over that time:
Every character's name except the main character
I wrote it in third person, changed it to first person, then back to third
The love interests of the main character
The ages of the love interests of the main character
The death or life of the villain at the end
The identity of the villain
POV-- multiple views narrowed down to one. (By the way, I actually found it very helpful to write from multiple views first, although at the time it was an accident. When I finally wrote it just from one character's view, the other POVs helped me know what all the other characters were thinking, and why they were acting the way they were-- even though it wasn't included in the manuscript).

Hopefully, my little crew of editors don't find any blaring mistakes in this last manuscript version. Every time I make a change I literally have to comb through the entire manuscript to make sure that I tie up all the loose ends. That gets quite time consuming when the manuscript is over 200 pages.
I've also found that whenever I make a change or edit something, I have to go back at least once and re-edit my edit. Usually, I can't do this in the same day or I'll miss the problems. I have to walk away from it for a day or two so I can look at it with a fresh mind.

It never ends...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

My First Writers Conference

I went to my first writers conference today and LOVED it. Before I left this morning, I stuck my leather bound writing journal in my purse thinking that most people are probably going to have notepads and think my journal is overdoing it a little. Then I get there and the woman I sit by pulls out a decorative journal and sets it on the table. Later, they gave out writing journals with the SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illistrators) logo on it. Ahhhh, these are my people!
Anyways, after a day full of classes that I found very helpful, I got to have an editor critique my first ten pages (for an additional cost). We sent in the submissions when we registered for the conference, so the editors had already read and made notes about our manuscripts. These were his comments about mine (his answers are in bold):
Manuscript (neat, professional, free of errors): Good!
Genre/Form (appropriate , best way to deliver the material): Yes
Story (compelling beginning, well-developed plot):Very Real Story
Characterization (skillfully developed, believable): Easy to identify with the characters right away
Dialogue (realistic, advances the plot):Well done
Point of View (clear):Good!
Writing (fresh, effective word shoice): Very Good Writing
Mood and/or tone (evokes proper response in reader): lots of emotion. Good!
Additional Comments: Good writing. Lots of promise.

Okay, can I just tell you I was so excited? Obviously, since I've been home ten minutes and already copied the whole critique onto my blog!
Alright, I've got to go help put the kids in bed. I just had to share my happy moment.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Not a First Anymore

So there have been 39 times that this blog has been viewed. So far, it is still just me. But in my defense, I haven't actually checked my blog 39 times. Every time I switch from a new window, like right now as I am writing this post, it will be recorded as another time my blog has been viewed. Regardless, so far my writing hasn't had much of an impact on the world... at least this blog if for me anyway...
Some good news though. I found out two days ago that my book is going to be looked at by an editor at the writing conference. So there was a spot for me after all. Yipee! The only problem is that I have already changed my book since the version I sent in. Big changes. Like switching it from third to first person kind of changes. Oh well. I am confident his feedback will still be helpful, I just wish it was more updated. But there is never a time that I'm not working on my manuscript. It's always changing. Numerous times I have given a hard copy to somebody to edit or review for me, and by the time they actually get to it, it doesn't matter anymore because everything has changed.
I guess the secret to rewriting is to edit the story over and over again until you just can't stand to look at it any longer.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Writing On Sunday

One of the things I've been pondering is whether I should work on my manuscript on Sunday. It seems like a pretty peace-invoking thing to do, but it can also be pretty distracting. If writing is something I plan to do for a long time, then I should probably reserve Sundays as a time to focus on more Spiritual things.
Either way, tonight I am too tired to do much more than write this post, so goodnight.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Right now I am waiting to go to my FIRST writer's conference. I sent in my FIRST fifteen pages and paid extra to have an editor take a look at them and give me a critique. I got the confirmation that I'm going to the conference, unfortunately they said that there were a bunch of manuscript submissions, so they had to turn some away. They are notifying those whose manuscripts are accepted by email ("a notice will be sent shortly"-- two days ago, and I never got a notice) but the rejects (like me, probably) will find out when our sad little papers come limping home by return mail. My FIRST rejection.
This isn't really a big deal, but it's a FIRST, so I thought I'd record it.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Why This Blog?

Basically, I am very selfish, and self-involved. One blog is simply not enough to contain the brilliance that is me. Also, and probably more to the point, my family and friends that follow my other blog would get totally bored of all the book talk I intend to do on this blog. So, I am simply writing it for the wide world to read, although I am fully aware that I may be the only one ever to see it...or be interested in it...or ever read this paragraph...
So I have written a book. It's a Young Adult Paranormal Romance. In other words, I have become a new resident of Stephanie Meyerville, just a short distance away from J.K.Rowling Town. And what have I discovered as a new resident? There are a TON of people here. I currently live in the unpublished part of town, where every house tries desperately to look different from its neighbors but ends up looking exactly the same and every yard is littered with discarded reject letters. I am proud to say I have yet to receive a reject letter, but that is only because I haven't sent my book out to agents yet.
Uptown are the published authors. They have the manicured lawns, the beautiful views, and every once and a while us downtowners drive by in hopes to glimpse their glory and stare enviously at their houses.
Okay, enough of the metaphor.
So I wrote a book. And now I have been studying exactly how you get it published. What I have learned so far is that it is a LONG journey. After slaving away for months and usually years to complete your novel, you then have to muster all the creative genius that you possess into writing a query letter that essentially condenses your book into one short paragraph. If this weren't difficult enough, it has to be brilliant enough to stand out in the ocean of query letters that the agents receive daily. On top of that, it somehow has to withstand the agent's bad days, deadlines, and all the other things that an agent deals with, and inspire said agent to stand up, shout for joy, and proclaim that they must have more!
Of course, it will still take a few months to find out if that was, indeed, their reaction because most agents use snail mail and request that writers do the same. Why do they do this? I'm not sure of all the reasons, but I can tell you that my manuscript somehow sounded completely different when read off a printed page as opposed to on my computer (reading it out loud was a whole other story all together).
But, I have discovered that I love writing. Love it. I would and will still do it even if I never get published. I have edited my manuscript to the point of exhaustion and I am ready to start the sequel.
Thanks to my husband, who has gathered the kids together the last few nights to tell stories, I even came up with another, more child-friendly story idea that will relocate me strait into J.K.Rowling Town. Hmmm, I sure hope the weather is nice there...