Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Turkey week!

What I'm reading now: Black, by Ted Dekker

Thanksgiving's almost here! Family, friends, and food is on the horizon, and even more shocking, I'm doing my first (and last) Turkey Trot. A local 5k, and yes, I'll actually be running. For the first mile, at least. Good news, it's supposed to be almost seventy tomorrow, which I am very much a fan of. Last year it was zero. Those of you who know me know I bring out a parka for anything under sixty.

On Sunday I finally finished my most recent round of edits. Now (only a month later than I wanted to...) I can set the ms aside for a few weeks. During the lull I'm supposed to keep writing and reading, so Mr. King says and so I will listen. In that spirit, I'm already ten pages into a new novel that's going much smoother than the first, probably because I kind of have an idea of what I'm supposed to be doing now. Another YA. No magic, persay, but does involve an 'other' world my main char will have to deal with. This one's set in present day so I'm having lots of fun adding in things like Alienware laptops and Metallica posters.

So I get to focus on the real world again for a while! Man, have we changed presidents or anything since I've been away? Come out with the iPad 6? Started the zombie apocalypse? I feel like I'm resurfacing from a tornado bunker I've been stowed away in for at least the past four months. Maybe I'll even do laundry this week. Or clean the house.

Or play Assassin's Creed: Revelations, because it just came out and obviously that's the best use of my time :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pikes Peak Writer's Conference 2012

What I'm reading now: Black, by Ted Dekker

Well, I've done it. Taken the plunge. Put my money where my mouth is, and I'm registered to go to the 2012 Pikes Peak Writer's Conference! I've preregistered for both a pitch session and an appointment, and though I won't know for sure if I get an appointment until it gets closer to the event, slots are assigned based on registration date so I think I've got a good shot at getting my first choices. We'll see, I guess! These are my three possibilities (in no particular order):

Lou Anders
Hugo award winning editor at Pyr Books, sci fi/fantasy fanatic and he's also an art director - sweet!

Kristin Nelson
A Denver-based agent and avid blogger. She always has great advice for both published and non-published authors, a very honest and open and fun person! Plus she's local :)

Taylor Martindale
An agent at Full Circle Literary who's looking for contemporary YA fantasy. No blog link yet that I've found to follow, but from her bio she sounds like the kind of person I'd get along with fabulously.

The conference isn't until April and wow I'm grateful for that. Still so much to do on the manuscript. And while I'm excited to meet so many editors, agents, and fellow authors, I'm going to be way out of my comfort zone come conference time (you mean I have to go over there and... and... introduce myself??). But I've never wanted something so badly in my life as getting this little novel published, so I'll do it. Countdown's started!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"No one said it would be easy. They said it'd be worth it."

(Thanks Bailey for the inspiration for the title quote!)

What I'm (still) reading now: The Shining, by Stephen King
Query letter update! Okay, it's really not that exciting. In fact, thinking about it now is upsetting my noodle lunch. Just received feedback on the round 2 version of the letter from my 'How to Get Published' instructor, who commended me for perfect format (yay!), but has advised that I need to shrink my synopsis from 2 1/2 paragraphs to 1. At this point I'd rather be abandoned, soaking wet, in the middle of Antarctica. That thing is going to be the end of me!

Writing this book is the most time-consuming, frustrating, amazing, maddening, confusing thing I've ever done in my life.

It's difficult to explain the almost manic highs and lows of the process. One day I feel ecstatic at discovering a new scene, the next I feel overwhelmed by the pressure to do everything perfectly. Is there enough (or too much) internal thought? Do I describe each setting appropriately? Are my characterizations consistent? And I'm in the "writer's vacuum" right now, because I can't show the work to anyone yet, it's not ready. I feel like I could edit it forever and it would never be ready. How do I know when to stop?

There's also this little problem that right now, my writing style is highly impressionable. I read Stephen King, and suddenly I'm rewriting with some of his tone. Which would be great if the whole novel was written that way, but I've read different books at different stages of the edit and I'm somewhat terrified that the work's going to sound like five different people wrote it. I've lost my voice, I guess you could say. Not really sure what to do about that, except keep writing. And editing. And revising.

My sanity will have to wait.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Just 5 More Months...

What I'm reading now: The Shining, by Stephen King
Weirdest thing I saw this week: When you're running down your local bike path, you expect to see things like strange cycling outfits and families pulling those little buggies behind their bikes, sometimes with dogs in them instead of kids. What you do not expect to see is a medieval battle over a bridge. Full costumes. Swords. Wizard hats and wands. Stabbings and elaborate deaths. Oh and no, this was not on Halloween.

I've officially entered the 2012 Pikes Peak Writers Contest! Except results won't be in until mid-March. That feels like a long time to wait, but it'll be worth it. The top 3 entries in each category earn recognition at a conference that follows in April, but just getting back a critique from industry professionals (the judges are usually agents) will be well worth the entry fee. Because honestly, one of the hardest things about writing for me is just not knowing. How do I know if what I've written is any good? How do I know if I'm getting any better? What's still missing?

Though I will say, writing the synopsis for the contest made me realize my current ending, um, sucks. I don't explain enough, because I keep thinking "it's so much creepier if I wait to reveal why in book 2." Heck with that. It's time to get inside the head of my deceptive little villain and add some weight to the decisions made at the end of the book. So, as I go happily through my draft for revision 3,942,034,020,349,934, I'll be redoing the ending. Smile.

In the meantime, I'm curious if anyone else has ever been to a writers' conference or entered a writing contest? Or if you know of any others coming up soon in the Colorado area?


 

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