Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Random thoughts about this journey...

Christmas musings....Above is a picture of myself and my friend, Erin + her adorable daughter Ruby, from our December writers group, which was awesome as usual. December has brought lots of new things for me. First of all, Flash is coming along. Currently the word count is at almost 14,000 which is great. Like I've said before, I plan for it to wrap at about 65-70K. Progress is awesome and I am absolutely loving writing something new especially considering it will have no market or length issues! Hooray for awesomeness! I am hoping to have the MS complete with at least a rough edit done by April when I hope to attend a conference in Texas and Utah.

My brother has been trying to help me meet up with New York Time best-selling author, Brandon Sanderson so I can talk to him about my work but that hasn't panned out yet. Apparently my brothers girlfriend works for Winn Sanderson, who is Brandon's dad, and he was willing to meet me and personally introduce me to his son and that would have been fabulous but Mr. Sanderson(the elder) lives in Idaho which is quite a drive. I don't know that we'll ever work that out but it would be super cool if we could. I really appreciate their efforts on my behalf.

I've been having some discouragement issues but that does go with the territory. In my writing group I have a friend who got Stephenie Meyer's agent, Jodi Reamer to represent her a few months back and she(the friend, not the agent!) recently told us that she has a three book deal with a well-known publisher. That's great news for her! I am thrilled for her and also kind of jealous...can't help it. She deserves her success though, for sure, and has been at this longer than I have. Also another friend from writers group that has been querying was telling me she'd received three rejections or something but they were on partials and fulls. I haven't even had one request! UGH. I'm up to 10 rejections out of 19 sent and I know, I will and should, have a ton more rejections(because I nee to query WAY more). I just wish I'd at least get requests for partials.

I find it harder to get rejections from agents that didn't have sample pages or chapters than those that did. I mean, a query letter really doesn't show much about my writing style even though I've taken lots of time trying to perfect it I still have no idea if it really conveys my story. If they read sample pages or chapters and just don't think it's for them it's a lot easier for me to take cuz I get that. I got a chance and didn't wow em. That I can deal with cuz no, not everyone is going to love me and I'm aware of that. Oh well, who really knows. Most of the rejections I get I don't mind so much, but I have a list of "dream agents" and when I get one from one of them it inevitably makes me a little sad. This is a process and I'm sure it will be full of ups and downs and more than a little self doubt. Writing is subjective and it's impossible to be objective about your own work. I just sincerely hope I'm not that author ten years from now still beating a dead horse when I really have no talent.

I do believe I have talent though. I really, sincerely, believe that I can write and that I'm good at it. It's all about timing and finding the right person at the right time who can see that too! Keeping a positive attitude and forging ahead with Flash, which will be marketable and I'll know isn't being rejected because of word count is a positive step for sure!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Flash!

From Drop Box


Just a hint about my new project. It's set fire to my soul again and I love when that happens! I started writing a new story, Flash, on Thanksgiving day and it's filling the pages at a rate I can't believe! It will be far easier to get an agent with this story in my opinion. It has no market questions, it's a definite YA crime drama or thriller and it will be complete at no more than 70K words, probably 65K is quite do-able on it. I'm excited because it's an awesome story and has been so fun to write so far!

As for Hourglass (renamed Rewritten), I'm taking a break from it for a while. I need it. I've decided a few things for sure though about it. #1 it's not a YA. No more going back and forth on it and I'll only query agent's who are interested in adult genre or both. In fact, I think I may even age my MC's up a little. Ally may go from 19 to 21 and Grant from 21 to 25. It's BIG news for me but I think it's best for the book and might actually help the story. It would still be perfect for the New Adult/Post Adolescent genre but it just isn't YA and I'm ok with that, finally! It;s only taken me seven months! LOL

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful

I'm a little sad that I wasn't a finalist in the St. Martins Press contest but I'm moving on. Rejection is a part of this and I knew it would happen so I must chalk this up to another bump in my journey and move forward. I've been doing a lot of editing this week and have fallen in love again with the story, which is a good thing. Word count continues to drop and the story gets tighter and tighter as I tweak my prose. All is good. I'm so blessed to be doing what I love. I've been writing since I was a child. Its been an escape in times of heartache and a joy in times of happiness. It's really hard to be objective about your own work so I often second guess it. I don't want to be that person who keeps pushing something that just isn't good. I keep wondering, is this really good? I think I will reach a point where I will set it aside and move to the next project. I do think I can do this. I do think I have talent so it's just a matter of writing the right book, right? Anyway, once this last edit is complete I'll do a month or so more of querying. I'll be working on another project.

I've been wondering if my title was the right one for awhile now and this morning I think i decided it isn't. I'm thinking of calling it, Rewrite. I think that is more compelling and really says what the book is about in so many ways. What do you think?

If I never have a book for sale at a book store I can still be thankful that I enjoyed my life, my kids, and my writing even if no one else did and that's the important things when you lay your head on the pillow at night. I have so many blessings! Happy T-day! :D

Friday, November 20, 2009

Why and how I write...

I got this survey here and thought it might be fun to do, so here goes! If you do it on your blog please post a link in my comments! I'd love to read your responses! Or just answer it here in my comments!


1. Are you a “pantser” or a “plotter?”
I'm a pantser. I get a great idea and build on it. generally I have an ending in mind but that doesn't mean that is how it will actually end. Sometimes I sit down to write and by the time I've finished I'm shocked at what my characters have been up to! They definitely have their own spirits and lives. I'm only gifted with the chance to help them tell you who they are and I relish it!

2. Detailed character sketches or “their character will be revealed to me as I write?”
Again, being a "pantser" my characters let me know who they are as I write their story. I usually have a basic idea what they are like but they often surprise me with their reactions to situations I write them into.

3. Do you know your characters’ goals, motivations, and conflicts before you start writing or is that something else you discover only after you start writing?
I would say that I do know what they are facing in advance, at least at the core. If surprising things happen though that can change but generally it only tweaks the original ideas.

4. Books on plotting – useful or harmful?
I've done a lot of research on everything related to writing and publishing and I've learned a lot but I've also found that the more I read the more conflicting opionions I find on whatever I'm researching. That's made me end up more confused than I was to begin with. I think there's a delicate balance here. I listen to my gut and hold on, hoping for the best. I use the knowledge that makes me feel strongly. It's a lot of trusting myself and what my intuition says to do based on what info I've gleaned.

5. Are you a procrastinator or does the itch to write keep at you until you sit down and work?
I love to write and the characters and stories won't shut up in my head so I tend to be more teh itch follower, to the point that my daughters and hubby worry they may be going to school/work naked if I don't get my stories out!

6. Do you write in short bursts of creative energy, or can you sit down and write for hours at a time?
Both. There've been times when I've been manic about it, really on a mad writing groove, so to speak. My kids think I'm nuts and I probably am but I LOVE when I'm writing in one of those grooves. It's primal. There are other times when I just write without the manic groove.

7. Are you a morning or afternoon writer?
I write whenever I can. Generally that's early Saturday and Sunday mornings, evenings after my kids are in bed, and preschool days when all of the kids, including the twins are gone.

8. Do you write with music/the noise of children/in a cafe or other public setting, or do you need complete silence to concentrate?
I MUST have music. I don't mind noise because that is my life but that said when I've been in a manic writing groove I've wanted all sound except the music to cease. My kids talk to me and I say, "Shut it! I'm writing here!!!!"

9. Computer or longhand? (Or typewriter?)
Computer!

10. Do you know the ending before you type Chapter One?
Yes, but that doesn't mean when I get to the end it hasn't changed.

11. Does what’s selling in the market influence how and what you write?
No. I write what comes to me and what I feel passionate about!

12. Editing – love it or hate it?
I loved it in the first round but now....I'm kind of sick of my book because I've read it sooooo much! I'm finding it difficult to finish the edits. I've fallen a little out of love with the book I'm editing but I when I'm in it again I remember why I loved it to begin with.

13. Why do you want to write?
I can't imagine doing anything else. I love it and the stories won't let me not. It's a love of mine and I couldn't stop if I wanted to.

14. Do you want to publish your work? Why?
Yes. So much. I love my stories and love for other people to experience them and love them as well. It will be so humbling and amazing when that can happen!

15. Do like to write alone or do you like to work with others?
Alone. I do like my critique group but I don't think I could collaborate. My head knows what it knows and my heart agrees! :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Query stats and contest

Since July I've been worrying about genre for my book. When I began writing it it was intended as a YA or Young Adult targeted book but as the book took shape the MC's (main characters) ended up being 19 and 21 and the 19 year old is a mature 19 year old. So it kept nudging me in the back of my head that possibly it might not fit the YA market which was upsetting to me because I want the audience of both Teens and Moms that read and enjoyed Twilight. I feel that if the book gets published as adult it'd be a hard sell for the teens. And if it gets published YA it would be a lot easier but it really is questionable whether it belongs there. So this week it was announced that St. Martins Press (the YA imprint of MacMillan) is launching a brand new "New Adult" genre and to celebrate and get it off the ground they're having a contest to find books to publish. St Martins doesn't generally except unsolicited manuscripts but they are right now. That's HUGE! You can go here to find out how and where to submit your entry. The contest runs through November 20. It would be so exciting if they requested a partial and then a full and then...well, it would just be cool! I'm trying to keep a level head about it but it would be so perfect for my book. Anyway so far I have queried 7 agents and have 3 rejections. I'm fine with it! I expect lots of rejection and feel that each one I get brings me closer to the one that will say yes!

Still editing like mad and really wishing I could be done with it so I could write!!! I need fresh material inteh worst way!!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sent!


I sit here feeling a little fluttery inside because about half hour ago I wrote an email and hit send. I've officially sent out my first query letter! OMG!!!!! Somebody grab my heart and put it back in my chest! It's done and can't be recalled. I have a positive outlook but I don't have high hopes. You walk a line there but I think I'm good. I really don't expect anything out if it but I sent it and you never know. I'm just proud to have done it! :D Tomorrow I hope to get some writing in on my NaNo WIP (work in progress) and do some more editing on Hourglass...not to mention laundry and kids and cleaning and well....you get the idea! Ok....going to bed. Heart still beating erratically! WOW!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

NaNoWriMo!

I've signed up to participate in National Novel Writing Month and I'm pretty excited about it! You can find out more information on it here. I'm working on a YA thriller called Vengeance for the Mostly Dead. Well that's one of the titles I've played with for it so far. I haven't started writing it yet, well, not on paper anyway! But November 1st is tomorrow so I've got to get those queries out!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Like...cool!


After much weeding "JUST" is smaller! I feel better about that. Now I'm trying to figure out why "Back" is so prominent? I know why "like" is. It's the similies. I find this whole wordle thing very interesting. It's actually very helpful to the editing process because it shows me what words I need to check into. So, I'm going back to work still working on edits but I've got a clean 50 pages and a query letter ready to go! I did remember that I need to write a full synopsis and apparently I should be scared about it but I'm really not. I know my book so it shuoldn't be terribly hard to summarize it. Maybe I'm missing the boat? check out www.wordle.net to get your own word cloud! It's dandy!
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Thursday, October 15, 2009

JUST peachy...


So, Nathan Bransford, literary agent extraordinaire, used this website with his contest and it was super cool so I did it too. Thanks Mr. Bransford! http://www.wordle.com It generates a word cloud based on the frequency of words in a passage, manuscript, poem etc...

So, I copied and pasted my entire manuscript into it and this is the image it produced based on word usage in my MS. So yeah...remember when I posted about weed words? I do. Guess why? JUST! Oh yeah...my old friend really wants recognition! I love that! Not. So anyway, good times. It's actually some very interesting feedback. The good thing is that he copied and pasted his entire comment section with over 2500 first paragraphs and "Like" was the biggest in all of those so at least there I'm not so weird. Well, at least not in that one way... ;)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hourglass teaser...1st paragraph.

I entered a first paragraph contest on Nathan Bransford's blog and it gave me an idea. So, this is the first paragraph of Hourglass. This series will be a trilogy of paranormal romance which, (for those keeping track at home) is the same genre as the highly popular Twilight Saga. My books, however, DO NOT include vampires of any kind. So anyway...here it is, paragraph one:

HOURGLASS

Dawn is an enemy to me. I consider it little more than a silent, unrelenting monster I can’t hold off. Morning sneaks in like a thief, stealing the only peace I have left, the obscurity of night. Every new day I wake to the same cutting reality, the same wounds. Still, the days pass like an endless blue stream. Sometimes they rush and sometimes they creep. The villainous sun shines in through my window, without fail. I fantasize about pulling my shades down, blanketing myself in the comfort of my bed and pretending I don't see the blinding light of day. Then I could stay forever lost in sleep and dreams.

TO BE CONTINUED....

What do ya'll think? I have rewritten the first page so many times I can't even count them anymore but I think this one will finally stick! At some point I have to just say I'm done editing!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

James Dashner



Yesterday I went to author James Dashner's release party for his book, The Maze Runner. It's so exciting for him and it was great to be amongst the excitement. I couldn't help wishing and hoping that someday that will be me and that gave me renewed motivation to pick that manuscript up and GET IT DONE! It's funny, I used to think the book was so good but now I'm super sick of it because I've read it sooo many times! But I've got my goal to meet and it's important to keep it in perspective. So, I'm recommited! Yeah for me! My three other works in progress just need to wait till I get the edits done on this book and a first round of queries out!

One other fun thing, while we were at the release party, one of my daughters, 9 year old Emma came up to me with a book in hand saying "MOM, MOM...we HAVE to get this book!!! I love it!" In her hand she had an autographed copy of the lovely and talented Shannon Hale's book: "Rapunzels Revenge" It was fun because Shannon happened to be sitting on the ground reading t o her children and Emma thought that was super cool! Also, my 11 year old(well almost) Celia was startstruck by James Dashner. It was so fun!

I hope to join the ranks some day of published authors!!! Congrats to James!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

NEEd More opinions!!! Please help!

When a grieving Allyson Hales meets the handsome, time traveling detective, Grant Pierce, her future has never been more unclear and every night,in dreams, Grant rewrites her past, changing her history. But as attraction pulls them together circumstances threaten to tear them apart forever. Ally doesn’t know Grant’s dangerous secret. He must protect her from a war between benevolent time travelers and malicious ones. By falling in love with Grant, Ally has unknowingly made herself a pawn in a very dangerous game and Grant’s love could destroy the one thing they both want most, a future together.

What do you think? Comments are very much welcome and requested! This may be my only chance in some cases to get an agent to even request a partial of my manuscript so it has to grab you and make you wonder enough to want to read the book! COMMENT away!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

It's Query time!

So, I've been working on the dreaded query letter and it's a nail-biting frustrating ride, I must say. If you read here please, please, please( did I say PLEASE?) read the following mini-synopsis and comment with whatever thoughts you may have. There are so many conflicting opinions on this in web-land! So, without further ado -

Allyson Hales is a level –headed and goal oriented 19 year old, living in the beautiful state of Virginia among oceans, forests and mountains. When her fiancĂ© is killed on the way to their wedding, she’s plunged into a deep depression and isn’t sure she’ll ever recover.Then she meets Grant Pierce, a young, time traveling, detective, who starts appearing in her dreams, essentially rewriting her past. With Grant in her life she envisions a very different future than she’d ever imagined.But Ally doesn’t know Grants secret or that falling in love with him, she’s made herself a pawn in a war as old as time, pitting good time travelers against dangerous ones.No matter how much Grant loves Ally and may fight to protect her he fears he can never give her the future they both yearn for.class

Comment away!!! I need the help!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Retrospective

I've been busy editing Hourglass...but I'm getting so close and writing the query letter is making me break out in a cold sweat! Anyway, I've started Book 2 which is tentatively entitled, "Retrospective." Not sure if I love it yet but it's something to call it, for now. It's amazing what's happening with my beloved characters so far in Book 2...who knew??


Also, I have another project in the works, currently entitled, "Text Me, I'm Yours." This one will most definitely be for the YA market. My protagonist is 16 and she acts it. I'm liking it so far! I think it's an interesting idea and it's been good to write so far...


Still planning on sending out 15 query letters by months end! WISH ME LUCK! (and a tough skin) I'm gonna need it! ;)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Rough edit is done!



I completed the rough edit on Book One on labor day at 2 AM! Now I need to print it out and edit with a hardcopy manuscript and pen. Just a few more edits to go but I've decided to really focus on the first three chapters so I can get my first round of queries out. Then I wait for rejection or representation (I can dream!) while finishing the edits and writing Book Two....I can't believe I'm doing this!!!! I'm working on a query letter and it's almost worse than writing the book! It has to be perfect because it's my into to potential agents...STRESS!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Repetition....and OH, the WEEDS!!!

The worst weaknesses in my writing style are driving me crazy. I'm repetitive, I assume my readers will be dumb and unable to infer a thing and last, but by no means least, weed words. These are probably common problems but they annoy me.

As far as repetition goes the problem is two fold in my manuscripts. First of all, I always say something and then repeat it another way. I do this by the paragraph! Frustration. Also, word repetition. Last night the word "door" was used in a 4 sentence paragraph a total of 4 times. :/ That's stellar writing!

Next, I am forever telling the reader what they already can figure out for themselves, which is pretty much faithless writing on my part. I don't trust that I'm a good enough writer to describe from my text something so that the reader gets it. I will say, for example: "Sammy's face went white. His eyes were as wide as bottle tops and his body trembled. Obviously, this scared him." #2 sentence isn't even kind of needed. We get that. Sigh...

And last...last are "weed words." Weed words are the superfluous words that pop up all through your manuscript. They're pesky, common and aggravating. Well, those aren''t the words. That's what the words are. LOL Ok...done trying to explain that. My weed words are "that," and "just." ie: I just really need to tell you that you are driving me crazy and you need to stop, stop, stop it!! Wow, there are so many issues with that sentence I don't know what to do! I went all out with it though. Here's how the sentence should be written: I need to tell you; you're driving me crazy. You need to stop it! Although really, that: stop, stop, stop it, could have to do with characterization and might be OK.

All of this is stuff I've learned from writing but I have to say also, I can't stress it enough, If you want to be a serious writer, an "Author", GO TO A WRITERS WORKSHOP!!! Seriously. GO! Chapters 1-15 of my book were written pre- BYU Writers Workshop and I can definitely tell. There is a glaring difference between those chapters and the post-BYU Chapters I'm doing now. My writing improved so much over that week I thank heaven every day I went. The pre-BYU chapters took hours and hours to edit. I had to restructure almost all my sentences and clean up all the three above mentioned issues. The chapters I'm working on now are pretty quick edits.

Ok, well, as I've been editing I have discovered so much about writing. But I'm happy to say that I'm editing chapter 19 now. There are 28 chapters so I'm getting somewhere! Hooray! Now all I need to do is not think about the 4-5 more times I have to edit it after I'm done with the rough edit...

Oh - and one more really silly thing but when I wrote the word "Author" above I felt like herald angels were singing and it was neon lit and spotlighted. Do you think that makes me weird in any way? Oh, never mind, better not answer that one. And anyway, I know the truth.

Happy Writing!

Melony

Monday, July 27, 2009

FINISHED!


Just now after a 5 day recess I finished book 1, Hourglass. I am super excited about it! I rewrote the ending 4 times and I think I am finally happy with it. Well, outside of editing when I will probably rewrite it again. Now I need to print it all off and actually read it from page 1 to page 234. It will be interesting to see how it all flows. When you write you write chapter by chapter and it will be fun to actually read it all the way through...Anyway, today is an exciting day!!! Book 1 DONE!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Writing Group 2



Saturday was a great night with my writing group from teh BYU Writers workshop back in June. I am so glad I went to that and if you are a writer I highly suggest attending a conference of some sort. I learned SO much! But also, I met all these wonderful women and we get together to share ideas and critique each others work. It is just an awesome thing! I ave two groups and they are both terrific. Ally, who is the dark haired beauty above, is already a published Author! She has several books available through Deseret Book. i only wish I could be like her! :) I hope for the best for all of us in our publishing endeavors but I pray that we all keep writing and trying regardless of the outcome! Thanks ladies for being so great! We missed those who didn't make it! Janette - that means you! :)
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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Writers group: JOIN ONE!

If you are a writer and you want to be serious about it and get published (not that I would know about that...BUT) Join a Writer's Group! I went to my first one last night with 3 other writers and we have a great time. We read each others manuscripts aloud and then listened and offered critiques. This is very helpful to the writing process and can also share creative ideas and plot ideas etc etc etc...So, do it! Thanks to Chris, Stephanie and Rebekah for being there last night and commenting on my work! You guys rock! Oh - and in addition to sharing ideas and critique we shared a yummy dessert! thanks Steph! :D

Monday, July 6, 2009

To rewrite or not to rewrite?

That is the question. I had decided to just stop all of that and finish the book first. Then I planned to edit, edit, edit and rewrite like crazy but this weekend I went against all I had decided, double-crossing my own value system yet again! Oh well, I got a lot of good paragraphing and formatting done. I am so close to finishing this book I am back to writing again so expect good things! Book 1 will be complete soon! In the meantime I am considering just cleaning up one of my picture books and sending that out to an agent or two?? Get that ball rolling? To send or not to send??

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I can see the end

I am in the home stretch!!! I have loved writing what I have been writing in these final chapters. I did have a moment last night at the movie(The Proposal which incidentally is about a publisher! manuscripts everywhere!!!) they showed the trailer for The Time Travelers Wife and I freaked out a little because there appear to be some similarities to my book. My wonderful husband pointed out, in an attempt to calm me, that my book is very different and that time travel is really the only thing that is that common. I really hope so. I haven't read the book for fear of subconsciously putting anything similar in my book. Anyway, I am excited to see what Ally and Grant will do next. I truly believe they have minds of their own that are only shown through mine. I don't know where it comes from. I just type. The book writes itself. It is hard not to think about what could be if I could get representation and a subsequent publishing deal. Regardless I am committed at this point. When book one is done I will write book 2, I have to. I want to know what will happen next there are too many unanswered questions in book 1. It is like I am a reader wondering what will come next but I am writing it as it comes....I love this!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Hourglass - A dream is born

I haven't done anything with my children's books but I would still really like to get them published. The new thing I am doing is writing a novel. I have started many a novel throughout my life. I have never actually finished any and usually only got a few pages in. Ideas always seemed to fizzle out. I refused adamently to read the Twilight series for a long time because it was just so everywhere. Everyone was talking about it, everyone was reading it. It was out of control in my opinion. The movie came out in November and I took Kenzie to see it. I was enamored with it. I wanted to read it then but nobody had the books and I just forgot about it till the movie came out in February or March. I got all 4 books on audio tape and devoured them. I listened to all 4 in 7 days. We got the 2 disc version of Twilight and Kenzie and I watched the 2nd DVD. In that DVD there is an interview with Stephenie Meyer that made an impact on me. I don't dream a lot but when I do I have a lot of great, vivid dreams over the years. Twilight was born out of a dream. She decided to write it down. I decided that the next time I had a dream I was going to write it down. Strangely, I had the dream mid-April. It was vivid. I have been writing ever since and my music has also inspired me with ideas. This one dream has evolved into what I belive could be a series. Who knows. I AM going to follow through with this though. My next step is to finish the book and send out querie letters. I absolutely need to find an agent. I realize the chances of my work getting published are probably not high but it is a dream. You never know until you try and I don't want to look back and think what if.... I hope to post here my progress.
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Work In Progress, Flash...

Work In Progress, Flash...

What I'm Reading now....

What I'm Reading now....