Monthly Archives: March 2010

Reasons to Celebrate

So, as I mentioned in a previous blog post, I received a critique of my young adult fiction book which made some interesting suggestions.  While I won’t implement all of the changes that were suggested the critique definitely made me see things in my story that I hadn’t seen before.  (It’s so hard to read your own work with different eyes, isn’t it?  It really takes someone else to show you how.) 

One of the more valuable pieces of advice was the idea of a subplot that I’ve chosen to work into my story.  It’s meant the reshaping, rewriting, reworking, reliving of every chapter of my story but alas, it has added 10k words to my story (so far) which up til now only qualified as a (long) short story.  

It’s exciting to watch my story develop into the novel that it is in my head.  Every 10,000 words is a reason to celebrate.  I look forward to the day that I’ve grown so much as a writer that celebration is only called for when I finish a novel.   For now it’s the smallest milestones that I commend myself for.

Reason #2 to celebrate, the 1/2 marathon is in 3 weeks!  I ran 10 miles this weekend!  Like writing, I take training for this race one day at a time.  Unlike writing, I do not look forward to running anymore, it’s become a psychological struggle to continue to train when I’d much rather lift weights (who ever thought I’d miss p90x?) or do aerobics (I miss you, too, Shaun T/Insanity!)  I can’t wait to get this race run so I can move on to something else but the mental rewards of crossing the finish line will be worth it!!

If your thing is writing or running (or both), hang in there!  Challenge yourself every day to do something hard!  It will pay off.


Perpetual editing

I’ve been making the changes to the subplot in my young adult fiction novel.  It’s quickly become the snowball I expected and I’m getting more frustrated by the day.  So far, I’ve rewritten the first 25% of the novel and created my 3rd timeline.  As any writer of a fiction novel can relate to, the smallest change to your story creates a domino effect that has required me to return to the beginning and check for the smallest details that may now conflict with the story. 

When will it end?  Some days I worry that this novel has become a perpetual ‘unfinished project’ like my garage and upstairs bathroom.  Is this a normal part of the writing process?  I already feel that my next novel will start off much closer to the finished product than this novel could ever have hoped to be but I’m starting to worry that I’ve OVER edited this one.  Is this possible??    

I’m determined to have the entire novel re-edited before the end of April and beginning of summer.  I’ve given myself a goal to begin sending out queries by May (before the kids are out of school).  I hope setting a personal goal for completion was the right thing to do.  Being unpublished makes one second-guess every move… 

Good grief, writing is hard work….but so worth it.

Contest News!!

Since getting back my critiques from a contest I entered I have been depressed.   I didn’t think I scored well.   I’ve been telling myself that a 78 out of a possible 100 could have been worse but I had no real perspective…until now! 

Today while digesting my own scores and deciding which suggested changes I was going to implement I received some inspiring news.  A fellow writer and mentor is a finalist in the same contest!  Her entry was in a different category than my own but her overall score was only 11 points higher. 

I’ve chosen to look at this as good news.  While that means I need to improve by a point in at least 11 areas…it means I only need to improve a point in 11 areas.  And for me personally it means I need to revise/rehash/rethink/redo my summary because that was where I took a beating.

As an aspiring writer I need constant inspiration and motivation to keep going and today I was inspired.  I hope she wins and has her novel published.  I will be the first in line to buy her book!

Fellow authors, don’t give up!  Find inspiration.  We all need it.  Keep on keeping on.  The rewards will come….someday.

To Write or Not to Write

The consensus says that the most important thing to do when you’re still a virgin (unpublished) writer is to simply write.  No matter what you write about the imperative thing is to condition yourself to put words on paper (a computer) on a consistent basis.  While I recognize why this is great advice I have trouble implementing it.  The biggest writing hurdle for me is not finding the words I want to write but finding the time to do it.  While I could write in 30 minute increments almost daily that in no way equals the quality or quantity of writing that I can do in 3 consecutive hours. 

Good advice I’ve come across is to use the smaller increments of time to focus on researching agents or publishing houses, working on the outline for another book, polishing your query letter, etc. which works out to be a great way to still make those 30 minutes productive.  Of course the frustrating part is that I often go weeks where those 30 minute windows are all that I’ve had and I can polish a query letter to death but without a polished story to submit it’s all in vain.  Perhaps in time I can learn to crank out 1000s of valuable words in those short intervals and still manage to string it all together into a plausible, engaging story rather than spurts of great ideas strung together when time permitted. 

Wish me luck!

Meeting the Challenge

I’m training to run a 1/2 marathon in April and it occurred to me today on mile 3 that I hate running.  Boy do I hate running! But I love a challenge.  The challenge of getting through 12 weeks of training for race after race (although I wouldn’t call it a race when my goal is merely to finish in the upright position) is what keeps me signing up.  The psychological mountain I have to scale to get through the training and race day is immense which makes the mental (and physical) rewards that much more fulfilling.

 It occurred to me that that’s also why I continue to write year after year.  It’s the challenge of finding the time and energy to complete a story that is a part of me that keeps me going.  The accomplishment of completing something that takes so much time management and consistent dedication in my life (being a single parent of 4) results in a giant mental pat on the back with each story I complete.  Lord knows I wish I could say that it was the financial and social rewards that keep me doing this but I’ve never experienced either of those for my writing so it wouldn’t be true.  (Maybe someday I’ll find out and I’ll let you know).  Of course there is a catch 22.  Because of the dedication and committment involved in writing it becomes that much more frustrating to continue to be unrecognized (unpublished) after devoting so much of myself to something that I’m so thoroughly passionate about….

Ok, so I know ‘Blogging 101 For Writers: Rule 2,’  was not to get off on a tangent about things that have nothing to do with your story or writing (this followed Rule 1, ‘Don’t talk about what you ate for breakfast, your last bowel movement or lack thereof, your teenagers ability to appear mature one moment but morph into a toddler-like mindset at a moments notice…’, another words save your personal life for your other blog).  That being said this will (probably) be my last purge of random information with no real purpose other than to get something off my chest.

How do they do it?

I managed to plow through most of Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein, Dead and Alive this weekend (I don’t think these characters compare to Koontz’s Odd Thomas but you have to love Erika 5, Jocko, and Victor) and as always with authors that produce story after story I found myself wondering, how do they do it?  How do they find the time to write in such quantity?  Does Dean Koontz ever experience writer’s block?  Does Nora Roberts ever get consumed by doing her taxes for a week and lose the ‘groove’ that she had going with her storyline before she was sidetracked by her CPA?  I’m guessing that Dean Koontz has indeed experienced a mental block and Nora Roberts has at some time been up to her elbows in laundry, errands and taxes like the rest of us but it’s hard to imagine.  It’s even harder to imagine a time when writing will not be an astronomical feat in time management for me.  Will there be a time when I can actually finish a story without stopping to tend to bills that are due, laundry piling up, a house to clean and kids to take to practice?  It will be a LONG time before that day comes.  In the meantime I will try not to become frustrated with those that seem to find 25 hours in a day to devote to writing and instead find inspiration in the idea they overcame their own obstacles to get to the place they find themselves now. 

After all, these frustrating times will be the inspiration for all of the stories I have yet to write…