Monday, October 31, 2011


Per usual, I have waited until the very last minute to make this happen. All of October I've been going back and forth with myself as to whether or not I should participate in NaNoWriMo.

"You should do it!" I'd say. "You love writing."

"I know, I know! It's just that I have this seasonal job coming up and winterguard just started and I'm the idiot that decided to coach two teams." This from another voice in my head. The one that likes to make legitimate excuses that I frequently ignore.

"But you totally whipped out a 110,000 word novel in 4 weeks before." Ah, yes, this one is not the voice of reason. This is the one that reminds me that I can do amazing things, even when I have absolutely no time for them.

"Well...there is that." Me. The real me. The one that looks back and wonders how the heck I finish anything.


It's been decided. I signed up ten minutes ago. I even know what plot I'm going to use. See how prepared I am? And I'm uber excited to be writing again. Haven't written a word since I finished Antithesis. Pretty stoked to let that one settle for another month as well. I'll get back into it in December and work out any kinks that remain.

I know that lots of my writer friends will be participating, so search me out! I'm looking forward to sharing this month with you!

All the best,

Friday, October 14, 2011

Is it so Hard to be Helpful?

I'm having one of the days where I just want to strangle someone. It's not so much that anything is going wrong exactly, it's just that I'm getting beyond irritated with other people's inability to see past themselves and their own beliefs. I'm seeking help for my writing, yes, that's true, but that doesn't give you the right to criticize what you haven't even read. How could you know that my stuff isn't ready for an agent, have you read it? Last I checked, you hadn't. 


I need to take a deep breath...hold on...

I am a pretty positive person. I work with teenagers and I believe in instilling hopes and dreams and having faith in a person and their ability to achieve something great. Don't get me wrong, I don't believe in giving them delusions of grandeur, but I believe in encouragement and self confidence.  

Maybe I'm just feeling defensive.

Recently someone told me that people should be able to give criticism in a positive way and actually want to help. Actually, it was a fellow winterguard coach talking about accepting help from someone you know is so much better than you. There shouldn't be the words "never" or "can't" involved. And I feel like in this writing world I'm getting a lot of that, from people who have never met me, never read anything I've written. It's just you're not ready, you can't do this, don't do that. But when am I actually going to get something that's helpful? I realize that when I post my query, I'm asking for your help, but if you're not actually going to help, why bother responding? I want concrete advice, not just a wishy-washy insult to my writing style (which btw, you've never read.) Months ago when I posted my first query I got SO MUCH helpful advice. Now it seems like I can't get anything close to that.

What I really think I want is myself, in the form of someone else. Someone who can encourage as well as give solid advice. I want someone who will not automatically tell me that my stuff isn't ready for an agent, but actually tell me how I can improve so that it will be ready. Stop with the assumptions, cut the crap. I've had enough.

I need a writing circle, some local people that are willing to work together. But since I live in Michigan, which is apparently a lame state, there doesn't seem to be any of those around here. I just want some positivity for once! I'm sick of being so proud of something I've accomplished only to have someone who's never read it tell me it's crap.

I'm not an idiot. I do realize that a manuscript isn't ready for agents a week after it's finished. I knew this when I was ten. But thanks for telling me again and again and again, just in case I didn't know. Maybe next time you could not waste your time and tell me how to make my query better.


I feel better now.

Happy writing friends. You are all amazing and I know you can accomplish great things. Don't let other people tell you that you can't, because you can.

All the best,

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Moving Forward

It's happened! I took my OB board and passed! Woohoo! But that's not all folks. As of a couple of hours ago I finished my latest manuscript. I don't mean finished finished, but I completed the first draft and I'm uber excited. I'm insanely in love with this manuscript, the characters, the plot, all of it. I can't wait for it to be ready to query. 

So I've noticed in the process of writing this MS that I've grown a whole lot as a writer. I have hard evidence of this, too. During one of my off task moments (one of the many I had in the avoidance of studying) I printed out the first few chapters of my first manuscript. I've edited this manuscript about six times. I thought at the time that I was getting close to having it ready for agents. I took a red pen to the chapters. I marked the heck out of them far worse than any English teacher's nightmare.

So. Not. Ready.

Don't get me wrong, I love that story too! I love the characters, I've written 4 books about them. I want those to be published, too. Sadly, that's not going to happen until I work some more on them. While this depresses me, at least I'm willing to accept it. Writing is a learning process, is it not? 

This has led me to the conclusion that I must query my current MS first. I feel this is a good move for several reasons. One, it is a stand alone book. I've heard repeatedly that stand alones query better than series. Two, it's written better. The plot is more succinct. I found my niche. The characters are very true to themselves and believable--but this is just what I think. I've yet to beta the MS. After my first swipe at editing I'll be looking for a beta if anyone wants to volunteer :) And if I query this MS first I'll have my foot in the door for querying my series at a later date when it's all ironed out. 

Here comes the red light on all of this. 

I. Hate. Editing.

With a passion. I hate filling plot holes, I hate grammatical editing, I hate rewriting scenes. All of this only in my own work, of course. I can edit the crap out of someone else's document, but only because I know I don't have to make the corrections. Motivation is key here people. 

Another thing that comes along with the editing process is other people's opinions. I posted my current query letter for this MS and got a lot of negative feedback on it. Nit picky stuff that has nothing to do with my letter. My book is about a Ginger, some people freaked out about my usage of this word. I mean, really? Are we five? If you can't read a book with things like that in it I suggest you don't turn on the television or walk outside because something might offend you. I also got nit picked for my usage of the word dimension and given some mathematical equation. Does anyone know if there is a law against using the word dimension in a mathematically incorrect way? Please! Point me in the direction. 

In all seriousness, if I'm using the word dimension in a mathematically incorrect way, is this going to make a difference with agents? I write YA, I'm not trying to get a show on Sci-Fi (or is it Syfy now?) It's not such a big deal to change dimension to "world" or "reality" if necessary.

Well I'm off to bask in the satisfaction of crossing things off my to-do list.

All the best,