Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Euphoria Of Being "Finished"

I printed up and packaged my full for shipment tomorrow. After having stared at this manuscript non-stop for the past two weeks or so, it is such a relief to feel I've actually gotten to the point where I'm satisfied with how these pages look. Granted, I know I'll probably do a 180 down the road, but for now I can't find a single thing I'd like to change about my book. That doesn't mean this potential agent will love it, or even if she does that I'll sign with her, but I'm very happy with what I've created. I actually pulled another "Joan Wilder" -- something I did when I finished the original draft. With the tears, came a huge sense of accomplishment. I did it. True, I did this months ago (with the same book), but I'm so happy with it's current version.

In total, I added three chapters, approximately 6500+ words -- probably more because I deleted quite a few random words/sentences here and there... So, YAY me. What's really wonderful -- I added some kick-butt funny scenes... man, I'm constantly amazed by the things I come up with. I often wonder if I push the envelope too much, but I hope that everything comes across with a good dose of humor. Lord knows, I LMAO...and these scenes are meant to be light-hearted. Granted, even I never saw some of these "ideas" working their way into the book. My mind -- it's scary in a completely delightful way. (g) At least I think so.

What's really exciting is that now I can focus on other wip's. My only problem is deciding which to work on.... Oh well, at least I've laid THIS one to bed (hopefully, it will stay there!).

Friday, January 26, 2007

A New WIP Brewing

One thing I love about writing is that there never seems to be a shortage of ideas -- the places you can draw them from are so varied and abundant. Recently, I had a dream that's going to be the basis for a new YA urban fantasy. I'm very excited, because it's something I've never heard of before -- seemingly original. Whether or not that's true, I can completely build my world - set the parameters, etc. without any kind of outside influence.

Right now I'm shaping the idea in my head -- it's still sort of nebulous, with a few things coming into focus slowly. It's a very exciting stage for me. I love the birth of an idea and watching it take form as you mull it over and pound it out. I've shared it with a couple of people -- everyone has agreed it sounds like an interesting, fun read. Now I have to translate it into words.

I don't know when work will begin on this, but hopefully my dreams will continue to shed light on what it should be.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Learn From My Stupidity

I did the stupidest thing tonight and it cost me a couple hours of time, not to mention a few handfuls of hair. In an attempt to get my partial ready, I read through the first 100 pages of my MS last night, saving the changes, etc. Anyway, earlier that day, I cut out the pages I would be sending and saved them in a different file. So -- I had two versions floating around on my hard drive.

Here's where it gets stupid.

A friend looked at the pages for me and guess which file I integrated her suggestions into? Yep, the saved partial file (without the changes I made last night). Ugh. I had to do a split screen and go through line by line to catch any changes I made. My eyes are practically crossed at this point.

I'm sure most of you save versions by date, or whatever -- The point being, you have enough smarts to not do something this silly. At least I hope. (g) Now I'm wondering if I've done this in the past. There have been times I could've sworn I changed some lines, only to find them the "old way." I'm saving by date from now on...or revision number. Something. LOL.

Anyone ever done something like this? Please tell me I'm not alone.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Crits -- Are they worth the time taken away from your writing?

My answer would be a resounding, YES!

In my opinion, there is nothing more informative (well, besides reading extensively) than taking the old red pen to someone's pages. I think at times we become so personally involved in our own writing that we're unable to see the flaws. By taking a step back to look at other wip's, you're given a chance to see what works and what doesn't. There's no better learning tool out there and it gives you so many things to take back to your own work.

I recently received some comments from a beta, saying I was being redundant in my writing. Repeating with dialogue/action what I had already shown through other dialogue/actions. I had no clue what to say to it, because I couldn't see it. It all finally clicked when I was critting this evening, and now I can go back to my own wip and snip snip snip to avoid doing the same thing again. (No guarantee, but at least I'm going in the right direction.)

I've learned so much over the past year I've been involved with online forums. I'm still pretty much a spazz when it comes to identifying different aspects of the technicalities, but I'm at least starting to recognize and zap my problem areas. I'm very encouraged by this.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


Over the past couple of years, as I've sort of immersed myself in the writing world, I've heard many people refer to the revision period of a novel as the time when your work truly begins to shine. Some authors claim it's their favorite thing to do, that they can't wait to rip and shred and transform their writing into their finished product. Doesn't that sound lovely?

For me, it's far from poetic. I loathe revisions, even if I do respect them as a necesary part of the process. I'll admit that I'd rather be writing new things, though. Going back to rehash the same chapters over and over is a tedious process in my opinion. A segment that took me two hours to write, takes me at least twice that to hem and haw over how I can change the description of the surroundings to make it more vivid, etc. I'm determined to push through and make FAKING IT the best it can be, but man, I'd pay big money to skip this part of writing.

After some mild success with my first round of queries, I'm getting ready to embark on a new set. Hence the sudden need to rip my hair out over these chapters. I just finished chapter three -- only about twenty-one to go. Oh the fun of it all.

Anyway -- despite my complaints, I can see the manuscript improving as a whole. The descriptions I'm adding are setting the scene better, making what I have pop. So, even if I hate it, I keep reminding myself it's for the best.

Anyone want to share their revision experiences? Is it just me?

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Welcome to My World

A lot of people ask me when it was I decided I wanted to write. I always answer politely, "I can't remember a time I wasn't a writer." I have vivid memories from when I was young, perhaps 5-6, of making up songs -- sometimes all day long. They covered very complex subjects such as the sandbox and Barbie... In elementary school I used to write out short stories to share with my older sister and her friends. I had a knack for the angst-ridden teen story (the evil girl trying to steal the good girl's boyfriend). In high school -- well, I'll admit I didn't do much writing, but I was an avid daydreamer and a slacker to boot.

Over the years, I've tried numerous times to write novels. I always got caught up in the "rules" of how it's done. When I couldn't start from the beginning, couldn't write an outline, couldn't write out the plot points, etc., I figured there must be something wrong with me. Perhaps this writing gig wasn't my thing. To illustrate this point, I remember writing this random scene I had knocking around in my head. I showed it to my sister, who flat-out refused to give me an opinion because she had no idea what the story was about -- what came before, what would come after. And because I couldn't answer those questions, she couldn't say whether she liked it. Well, that sent my dreams down the tubes because I thought it was bloody genius.

About two years ago, I ran across one of my favorite author's websites, where she explained how she writes in "chunks" -- out of order, no set plot, no outline -- just these random "kernels" that eventually took shape and, when ordered, created these wonderfully rich books the world had fallen in love with. I took one look at the description of her "method" and realized is was what these past failed attempts of mine had been. I just had to come to grips with the fact that my writing style is different than the norm and that it was OK. So, I did.

I immediately began working on Child of the Mist, which is a Scottish historical time-travel. Yeah, I know -- but honestly, I'd fallen in love with the world Gabaldon created in OUTLANDER and, when I finished the series, I wasn't ready to leave. So, I figured I'd give it a shot. About a year later I had 100K written and enough insight in the biz to know a 300K monstrosity would most likely never see the light of day -- at least not one written by a first-time novelist.

And that was when the Narc series and Madison Krauss were born. As a former undercover drug investigator, my personal experiences lend a lot to the work and it has now become a wonderfully surprising series that I absolutely love. If I could write these books for the rest of my life, you would be looking at one seriously satisfied woman. They are completely goofy, sometimes touching, sometimes terrifying tales that I sincerely hope the world will embrace.

And finally, I just recently began a YA novel, titled By The Pale Moonlight. It's an urban fantasy about werewolves, and honestly, I love it, too. You could say I'm diversifying my portfolio.

As stated in my profile, I'm also in my second year of law school right now. Writing and attending school is proving to be a very difficult balancing act, but for now, I do my best.

I've set up this blog to discuss writing -- share my goals, my dreams, my disappointments, and hopefully one day, my success. Welcome!