February 2012 archive

Pass the coffee, please.

Yawn…so how do you function when your sleep is cut up into small portions because your children (ages 5 and 16mos) should be sleeping through the night, and yet for one reason or another are up?

Our first child, started sleeping through the night more often than not by the age of 2 months-WOW.  We were spoiled and didn’t even know it because we were busy adjusting to life as new parents lol.  DD, our second child, has still not mastered the art of sleeping through the night and it’s slowly killing me…

Now, they have started taking turns.  One night it’s DD.  The next night it’s DS.

And then this morning, as I was pressing snooze on my alarm, wondering why I came up with the ‘brilliant’ idea of waking up early to write in the morning, I heard the pitter-pattering…actually no, more like the loud thumping of my son’s feet (I don’t know how someone who weighs like 45lbs could be so loud, but anyway…) in the hallway.  I ask him what he’s doing awake at this time of the morning (this is 5:15 am-remember).  So he says, “well, you wake up at this time, why can’t I?”  So I, of course tell him to go back to bed, using the “I’m a grown-up,” line.  I need to guard this time like a precious gem.  Seriously, now even my obscene waking hours are being threatened?

Ahhh!!!!

Well, it’s a good thing it’s one of my favourite times of year in Canada…Roll up the Rim!  I will be frequenting Timmy’s this morning…

 

 

Cutting…

So, I’m working on the manuscript that I’m determined to revise.

I’ve set out to deepen the conflict.  I know what needs to be done, and I know how I’m going to accomplish it, so that’s good.  But it’s going to require some ruthless editing.  Like cutting large chunks of dialogue that I still like but know aren’t going to move the plot forward, changing around some back story, and deleting some great scenes.

Even though I know it has to be done, it’s still painful.  But then I remind myself that those words aren’t sacred.  That a rejection is a heck of a lot more painful than deleting words…so I’ll cut and then I’ll paste them into another document filled with cut scenes from this book.  That always helps.  It doesn’t feel as bad knowing those words are somewhere.

So, that’s what I’m up to for the next couple of weeks.

Now, back to cutting.

She likes me, She really likes me!

Well, there is nothing as humbling as pursuing publication.  Really…well, besides hospital stays where any modesty you ever had is gone…but that’s another post…

When you’re putting your work out there for someone else to evaluate, words and characters that you’ve put together in the wee hours of the night (or morning) and no one has seen them but you, it can be pretty scary.  After all, your characters may say things that make you laugh out loud or snicker or cry, but that’s you…and maybe you’re crazy.  Right? Don’t you ever wonder, “am I the only one that thinks this is good?”  And despite how real your characters are to you,  you ARE still laughing by yourself in an empty room…

And then when you finally get up the nerve to let your characters out into the big, bad world, they get sent back to you.  Sorry. Not good enough.

So, last week or maybe the week before, I emailed my new manuscript to my agent.  Now, I haven’t signed on that long ago with her, so this process is still new to me.  And this is only the second book she’s seen from me, so I was um…a *little* nervous. And yes, I did have those daydreams where she calls me up and says “I don’t know what I was ever thinking signing you…you don’t know how to write!”  It really is a tough business.  Much tougher than even the *craziest* brides I’ve dealt with in my past life.

This weekend she sent me a quick email saying she read my manuscript and can we chat.  Immediately I inhale as though horrific news has just arrived.  I was sitting in the car beside DH, and the kids in the back seat, staring at the email, looking for a hint that maybe she liked it.

Here’s how my conversation with the DH went:

DH: “What’s wrong?”

ME: “She read it.  And she wants to talk.”

DH: (looking very confused at my reaction): “So?”

ME (Me shocked that he’s not following my train of thought): “She didn’t say anything.  That means she hates it, or there’s big problems.”

…anyway the conversation went circular from there so I’ll spare you the rest.

But that night I did speak with my agent and she liked it!  She talked about my characters (like they were real people and laughed too-see we’re not crazy!) She also spoke about some moments that she really liked, that were emotional…

It made my night.  Really.  I got off the phone feeling like maybe I can really do this…

 

 

When do you write?

I always used to write in the evenings and nap time (when DS was small).  Then he outgrew the nap and I would wait until his bedtime and work until the wee hours of the night.  I would have to divide up this time with our business obligations as well, but somehow I was able to do it.

Then DD came along.  And even though I still write in the evenings I find I’m struggling with word count.  By the time I shower (I’ve started doing this after kids go to bed b/c I have an urge to wash myself of the kid-induced mess that somehow always gets all over me + I feel like it mentally prepares me to start the second part of my day) get settled at my computer, clean up the kitchen (and by clean I mean things hastily put away, not sparkling)throw in a load of laundry, feed the cat, brew some coffee, it’s usually 8pm.  So I’ll work from eight to midnight.  But from around ten o’clock productivity starts waning.

So, my new plan is to try and wake up early in the morning…I’ve tried it for two days…and it’s AMAZING.

Word count up.

Energy up.

Mood up.

There is something so exhilarating about waking up to a silent house (when you are used to waking up to chaos) and brewing a cup of coffee and drinking it in silence, in front of my computer.  And I’m actually still able to use my evening writing time, but I’m going to go to bed earlier so I’m not exhausted when my alarm goes off at 5:00am.  It’s also great starting the day feeling that I’ve already accomplished something by the time I drive DS to school.

I think I’m onto a good thing…this was the year I said I’d come back with a bang.

And I intend on following through.

The Inspirational Post…

So somewhere out there, in the world of aspiring Romance novelists, is a very, very, happy person.  Congratulations to you, mystery winner!

Now, in case you are one of the entrants of SYTYCW who didn’t get THE call today and you’re feeling kind of down, I’m hoping this will help motivate and inspire you, as much as it does me.

“Between you and every goal that you wish to achieve, there is a series of obstacles, and the bigger the goal, the bigger the obstacles. Your decision to be, have and do something out of the ordinary entails facing difficulties and challenges that are out of the ordinary as well.
Sometimes your greatest asset is simply your ability to stay with it longer than anyone else.”

~ Brian Tracy

I think sometimes we can be hard on ourselves when we don’t achieve our goals in X amount of time.  Sometimes, we don’t give ourselves credit for all the effort, time, and sacrifice we put towards getting published.  Many of us have jobs, kids, ‘lives’, and we use up almost all our free time pursuing publication.  It’s so easy to get discouraged.  It’s so easy to think ‘it’ will never happen.  But as long as you keep writing, it will.  How do you know that the next manuscript you send out there won’t be the one?  If you quit, you’ll never know.

That’s about it for motivation, sorry, I gotta get writing!

Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Top 5 Things to Do Until SYTYCW Results…

 

1) Clean the bathrooms in your house.  Seriously think of this-What’s worse than cleaning the toilet?  Cleaning the toilet when you find out you didn’t win SYTYCW!  And, if you DO win, at least you won’t have to ruin the fun by then cleaning the toilets!

2) Write, Write, Write.  Write until the bitter end.  And if the end isn’t bitter for you, well, then you’ve got some chapters towards that book you’re going to show your new editor!  And if the end is bitter, well then you’re ahead of yourself when you *may* take off a few days to wallow in self-pity.

3) Go out with a friend(s).  Seriously, not a writer friend, a *Normal* friend.  I did this last week and it worked.  A whole evening was spent discussing normal things…

4) Watch TV. Watch a Movie…do all those things you normally don’t have time to do because you’re busy writing at night.  Because there is nothing worse than sitting at your computer accomplishing nothing because you can’t get this contest off your mind!  So, you might as well give yourself a break and have a fun night.

5) Eat.  It doesn’t have to be *bad* food, but it should be yummy, indulgent food.  Last night I made homemade Guacamole.  And even though, yes, technically Avocado’s are very good for you, when you consume half the bowl, the bazillion calories probably negate the good for you points.

So, that’s my little list of things…4 days left…Good luck everyone!

Oh, maybe I should have added laundry to the list…

Goodbye!

Done.  Gone.

After staring at my open document for half an hour, I hit send and emailed my manuscript to my agent.

And now…I worry.

This is only the second book she has seen from me since I’ve signed with her, and I must admit I’m shaking in my boots. What if she doesn’t like it?  What if she thinks…I’m not even going to type it! When did I become so insecure? Oh, yes, when I started submitting manuscripts and having them rejected, lol.

Wow.  I got issues I guess, huh?

So, now I’m waiting to hear back on what she thinks of this manuscript and waiting on the results from SYTYCW.

But, I do have plans to keep busy.  I’m going to revisit a manuscript near and dear to my heart.  It was one of those “almost” manuscripts that did get an “R”-but with feedback. I feel like I’ve grown as a writer, and I think I know what I can do to fix it.

It’s going to be an interesting, if not neurotic week…

Less Than One Week…

And the winner of SYTYCW will be getting an email, or phone call, or something!

It’s crazy to wonder how many aspiring writers have entered this contest?  Anyone want to bet?  This year people had to send in a full manuscript, so that has a lot of people guessing that there were fewer entries.  I think last year’s contest had around 800 entries.  Yikes!

Funny about contests-obviously you enter with the hopes that you’re going to win.  But then I go through a phase where I’m thinking how could I possibly think I even have a shot at being the winner?  Out of all those people who entered, what are the odds that I’ll be chosen?  Winning a lottery would be more likely! Why did I even enter?

All the angst, the nerves, the daydreaming, the phone stalking, the inbox refreshing on the announcement date…

Ah, yes, I guess it has something to do with the grand prize being PUBLICATION with Harlequin.

So good luck to all of us who entered, who tried, who put their hearts out there.

It’s going to be a crazy few days!

Congratulations, Olivia Miles!

So, it was a day like any other with two kids.  I was driving my son to a sports class, daughter in back seat.  It’s late afternoon, my son is complaining about why I always give him apples as a snack and that they are so boring.  16-month old, yelling MA-MA at the top of her lungs and I’m desperate for an escape…

So I check for Twitter updates at a red light.

NEVER, EVER, DO THIS. 

If you are in a business where people’s lives can be changed by just one phone call, never ever do this.

I see a tweet from Olivia Miles:   OMG.  I just got…..THE CALL!!!!!!!!!!!

Then the light turns green, kids whining escalates, and I’m almost off the road….

Seriously, the biggest Congrats to a great writer, and a seriously wonderful person.

I will be first in line to buy her book!

Congratulations Olivia!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Check out her Call Story-because it really is one of the best call stories I have ever read.

http://www.oliviamiles.net

 

I’m so sorry I did this to you!

“I’m sorry.  I’m so, so sorry I did this to you!”

I have trouble embarrassing my characters.

I can do troubled pasts and stuff.  In fact I love a brooding, tortured hero.  BUT, I’ve discovered with this manuscript, that I have trouble humiliating my characters.  Even though it’s not in the present, I found it really difficult having my heroine explain the ridicule she had endured in high school.  I had to have a glass of wine (uh-oh, don’t read that post below about wine or it’s going to look like I’m developing a bad habit) in order for her to get her past out.

I’m one of those people who, when watching a movie or TV show and someone embarrasses themselves I cover my eyes and cringe.  I just feel so embarrassed for them.  That almost stopped me from writing the scene with that intensity and honesty.  I was so embarrassed for her.  I didn’t want her to have to relive it-and then tell the hero.  But then, if I didn’t write it like that, and didn’t make it that bad, I think it wouldn’t have had the same impact.

I re-read the scene and I found myself covering my mouth and cringing.  Poor girl.

Oh well, maybe that means the writing was real.

How about you?  Any problems humiliating your characters?

 

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