Tuesday, January 28, 2014

When bad things turn into something good

Two years ago, in a fit of allegory, I decided to write about my long ago first marriage and subsequent divorce. It wasn't a messy thing in a legal-wise. However, that doesn't mean it wasn't terribly painful to arrive at that point in the relationship or to move forward after the fact.

I wrote a little story about it. The good thing? It just sold.

It was hard to find a market that fit this particular tale. It's a bit off the wall, you might say, but I really wanted to share it. Without the preface of knowing it what it was about, the general reaction was to read it on the surface level. That made it more of a Weird Tale or Fairy Tale. It needed a nudge to read deeper for the story between the words. The angels sang when I spotted, Writing Through Your Divorce. Well that's just perfect isn't it? Turns out, that yes, it is.

Now that's some great therapy.

Look for Sunset Cruise on March 24.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

I'll just sit here and let the story happen

I've never read a book that suffered from a more passive character than the one I'm currently in the middle of. I won't name names, because at this point, I don't have a lot of nice things to say.

My first novel suffered from this in places. It's an easy pit to fall into, just having your charming and interesting main character sit there while wild and crazy things happen all around them. You have so much to tell! You can't wait to show the reader everything about everyone, and don't worry, we'll get to the actual story in good time. Just bear with me, indulge me, won't you? It will all be worth it in the end.

Ah, yes, I've been there.

When I read 'wait, I'll tell you about that later' and 'but I'm getting ahead of myself' for the tenth time, I knew I was in for a rocky read. But I'm sticking with it. Why? The main character is interesting and I'm hoping the promise of a great plotline pans out.

So far, we've spent the first third of the book getting to know all about the main character's childhood and launching into the big thing that I'd hoped would get the pace really cracking. However, instead, we've wandered off into the full backstory's of several other characters. Don't get me wrong, they're well told and interesting, but it's not furthering the plot. In fact, that's at a complete stand still.

The main character has all the promise of wowing me, but they seem content to react to others, going with the flow, and never acting themselves. Thankfully there are other characters to propel the plot forward (when we're not busy learning all about their past). But what I really want to see is this character moving forward of their own accord. Less learning about everyone and everything and more doing.

I find myself wanting to haul out my red pen and make notes. Lots of notes. But the damage is done, it's already published. I'm just hoping that, by the end, I'll see the awesome that grabbed someone's attention and made them want to publish this particular book.

Excuse me now, while I put my optimism back in it's box.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Freak Out

That moment when you go through your current submissions auto response emails, checking to see that everything is in order, no one is way overdue in responding...and you click through to the 'check your status' link...only to find that your story has been rejected. OMG you never got an email!

What about all the other responses you're waiting on? Have they responded? Especially the big one that you've been waiting on for over a year? You know rejection is so very likely. Did it just never arrive? Have you been holding out hope while your inbox long ago swallowed your optimism whole and launched into some twisted mind game? Just how many emails are you missing?

Heart pounding, dread welling in your belly, you pour over your submission spreadsheet, going project by project, referencing the list and your auto responses...

And then the headdesk moment comes. That's not even the market where you currently have  your project submitted. You were so damned busy the past few months that you'd never moved an outdated auto response from your current submission email folder! Gah!

Deep cleansing breath.

Let the waiting resume.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Submission Cycle

With several projects in submission at any given time over the past couple years, I'm pretty familiar with self inflicted torture.

It stems from this: I want to see this story published.

Which leads to: Well, I've got to send that story out into the big world.

And wait.

The waiting ends when you either get good news or bad news. Whichever it is, it's the waiting part before the news that is torture. The news is like a sweet release, even if it's bad news. At least the waiting is over. Of course, that means we have to go back to the first statement, and if that's still true, then onward to the second.

The cycle looks like this:
Yay, I pushed send on my submission email!
Check every twenty minutes for confirmation email.
Whew, okay, I know they received my story. Now off to the next project.
Write a couple pages. Check email.
Read a book. Check email.
Eat. Check email.
Refresh email. Nope, there really isn't anything there. Grumble.
Go to work. Check email.
Work on an old story. Check email.
Check publication's blog/website for response times. Sigh deeply.
Surf favorite websites. Check email.
Check writer websites and commiserate with others who are also waiting.
Before going to bed, check email.
Wake up. Check email.
See a movie. Check email.
Send yourself an email from another account. Yep, your email is working. Sigh deeply.
Decide to just keep email open in the background and then try not to look at it every five minutes.
Write a blog post about your obsessive urge to check email.
Have an all day tv series marathon to keep mind off checking email.
Forget email for a few days, wrap up another story and submit it.

The more submissions you have out there, the better the odds of something eventually turning up in your inbox. Hey, I should go check my email.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Writing update

Life thankfully slowed slightly after the big holiday and the house project is at a standstill. We won't go into detail. My blood pressure needs a break too. Deep cleansing breath.

After five years, my first laptop was ready to be retired. It's now one of my work computers. I awarded myself with a new writing laptop. Writing and enjoyment only. No work. When I pick this little lightweight baby up, it's time for some brain relaxing time. NOT work. After figuring out how this newfangled thingy works...Windows 8 is a different world from Windows Vista, I discovered the Narrator. Woo. Shiny. It reads to me. Now, this is awesome because I hate reading out loud to myself, and as most any writer will tell you, reading out loud is a great way to edit.

With my computer reading to me, I was able to edit two of my shorts (now neatly organized into five folders: ideas / in progress / in edit / submitting / published) from my edit folder and move them to the submitting folder. That means my juggling act is back in full swing with two novels and four shorts seeking homes.

Onward to shuffling stories up the folder line toward a positive end goal!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 one word resolution

For the last several years, I've been favoring the simplicity of a one word resolution for the new year. It seems to work fairly well for me.

In light of a pretty craptastic one two punch at the end of 2013 of two friends dying within a month of each other, the realization that you've got to use every minute wisely came back to the forefront. That, and I've gained a few pounds since the last funeral I'd attended because my usual funeral attire was really darn snug around the waist. But I'm not so concerned about the weight as I am about making time to do what I enjoy doing. So this year I will still work my butt off (despite the irony of still having the weight of it), play mom taxi each and every day, and there will still be stress with the house building fiasco. But I will make as much time as possible to write.

It might not be good, but even under ideal circumstances, the spewing forth of garbage happens sometimes.

So this year, I will WRITE.