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Posts Tagged ‘Writing’

Remember that sappy romance novel? Yeah, okay, so, two relevant points first:

  1. Apparently Hallmark makes books.
  2. Apparently for approximately one month only (until September 30) they are accepting unsolicited manuscripts.

You all know where this is going, don’t you? Yup. I found out about it around the end of August, and with the encouragement of my husband and best friend, am pursuing this opportunity. I technically officially finished editing the book on Sunday, and sent it to them for review, however, Hallmark has a minimum word count requirement of 75,000 and mine was at like 71,000. I got inspired last night and at like 5:30 AM this morning and wrote a couple more sections, so now I am at like 73,500, and am hoping my two faithful reviewers can tell me what parts seem to have gaps.

The GOAL is to get their edits next week, take the week to implement them, and then submit! In between this, of course, I have to come up with a synopsis, a query letter, write a paper for school, and keep up with readings and forum posts for school. But it’s possible, right? I’m a bit overwhelmed, but also kind of excited for reaching this new level of being a writer, even if it isn’t accepted.

Of course, in an attempt to write my first ever synopsis, I am following this article from Writer’s Digest that walks you through it, and according to them, the first thing you have to do is come up with one sentence that grabs attention and summarizes your book. I’ve written 23 so far, and have yet to find one I like. This does not bode well for the synopsis.

Also, I seem to be experiencing a level of bipolar. Times like yesterday and this morning, when I’m internally like, “I love this book! This is the best sappy romance ever! Look at this sappy sentence!” and then this afternoon when my heart sinks into my stomach and I’m like, “This is the worst book ever. No one would ever read this. I can’t even write a synopsis for it. Why I am trying.”

What a delightful cycle, and one, I suppose, I must get used to if I am to ever get published? Or really, just being a writer.

cycleofwoe

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I thought it might be time for a tiny little excerpt from my book. You know, just to change things up. This is while Josie is working from home Christmas week so she can working on a drawing commissioned by you-know-who.

It was a lovely, quiet existence that almost allowed Josie to forget she now lived in the city until a knock at the door that afternoon. Josie wiped her dough-sodden hands on her equally flour-covered apron as she hurried to answer it, casting a doleful look at the lump that was supposed to be cinnamon rolls. Her sorrows over the baking disaster were forgotten instantly as she pulled open the door and stared into the handsome face of Keith Richardson. Her mouth dropped open and she half wondered for a moment if she was hallucinating.

He smiled at her, politely not noticing the dough stuck on her nose. “Hello, Miss Grant.”

Nope, definitely not a mirage. That smile, smooth voice, and the responding thumping in her chest could not be faked. “Mr. – Mr. Richardson.” She stammered, trying in vain to push stray hairs back into her braid. “What are you doing here?”

“I was out this way for a client, passed a sign for Linhollow, and thought I might as well swing by and see how things were going.”

“It’s not ready yet.” Josie blurted, anxiety creasing her face. “But I’m working on it! I only took a break to make something for my mom, and – you know – to work – but I promise –“

“Whoa!” Keith held up a hand, almost laughing, but catching himself as he realized how in earnest her panic was. “I didn’t mean I was checking to see if you were working, Miss Grant. I seriously just wanted to see how it was going.” He dropped his hand to adjust the checkered scarf that the wind had already broken lose from its hold. “And, I confess, I was curious to see the farm the drawing will be based on.” He added as he looked around at the softly falling snow. “Though, now, that I think about it, I’m guessing winter isn’t the best time to see what a farm looks like?”

Josie actually managed a smile. “That depends on your point of view. Personally, I love it in the winter- but for a picture of summertime? No, probably not. You can still see some of the landscape, though.” She added quickly, as if afraid he would de-commission the painting based on her comment, motioning across the yard with just enough of a flourish that a stubborn piece of dough flew from her hand onto his Dolce and Gabbana coat. Her hand flew to her mouth and Keith looked down, ostensibly to wipe the dough off, but truthfully to school his features before he gave away the fact that her mouth was now also covered in flour.

 

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Okay, so, things that have happened since last I wrote:

  1. My computer broke
  2. Finished my final paper for my class
  3. Spent the weekend in Lancaster with my friend Ashley
  4. Bought a new computer!

In essence the last couple weeks of the month consisted of being stressed, trying to get my paper done, and getting a new computer. But, as partly a stress reliever, I have also discovered book giveaways!

First things first – Daniel and I decided with how much I use my computer, we couldn’t afford to skimp so we bought a nice one – I got the Microsoft Surface Pro, complete with a smart pen that lets me hand-write on it if I want, and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT! It is tiny and portable and has a detachable keyboard, and can be a tablet, and has a long battery life, and is super fast, and the keyboard is SO easy to type on and, well, I am sorry, old computer – but you have definitely been replaced. I thought it would be hard to get over my old computer, because I loved it so, but new computer (who has yet to be named – maybe Jeeves because it makes my life so easy?) is making the break-up a breeze.

And now that I’ve basically told you all to go buy new computers, let me tell you about these giveaways. So, it all started with my friend Rissa, and was enhanced by that writer’s conference I went to. Rissa told us all about how she enters goodreads giveaways as part of her morning routine (best routine EVER), and so of course we all had to start entering them too. I had entered goodreads giveaways off and on in the past but never kept up with it because, really, how likely is it that you, out of all the thousands entering, are going to be the one to win? Turns out, if you enter a lot, you have a fair chance, since Riss said she had won more than once and, since entering regularly, I even won one! So, start with that, and then add in the writer’s conference.

One of the speakers at the writer’s conference said that, as writers, we had to be on twitter and we had to follow publishers and authors so we could be in the loop with all-things-writing-and-publishing. So, I obeyed. It honestly had not occurred to me before – I thought of twitter as a political/friend thing, not a potential networking opp – but BEST THING I HAVE EVER DONE (other than buy this computer). I see all the new books coming out, all the tips, all the contests and, what has turned out to be most helpful, SO MANY BOOK GIVEAWAYS! Now, in full disclosure, I am mostly following just Christian publishers and authors since that is my genre. But did you know there are blogs that host giveaways like, almost daily? Because I love you all, I am going to let you become competition, and post the sites/people below. For the record, I’ve won two books in the last month from these giveaways.

  1. https://justreadtours.com/
    • these people are pretty cool. They post stuff all the time on instagram, twitter, and their website, and their giveaways often come with other stuff along with a free book.
  2. https://www.prismbooktours.com/
    • Great interviews, and, like the previous one, often gives things away in addition to the free book (like gift cards).
  3. https://lenanelsondooley.blogspot.com/
    • This blogger/author hosts contests on her blog a lot! and because it requires a comment on the blog to entire most of the time, the competition isn’t as stiff as some other places. Plus she always has great descriptions of the book and author to go along with it! Both nonfiction and fiction books!
  4. https://www.instagram.com/suziewaltner/
    • This instagrammer lets you know about all the recent giveaways!

Beyond the giveaways though, seriously, make sure you are following publishers and editors and authors on twitter and instagram – it’s amazing to see how inspirational it is to see constant contact from the community you want to call your own!

Publisher to book writer holding up 'Get on Oprah' sign: 'So that's the extent of your marketing plan?'

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Over the last week, I’ve been far more faithful than I have in awhile to work on my book. As anyone who has been reading this for longer than a few months knows, I’ve been [painfully] trying to edit my sappy romance novel (it’s technically named God’s Masterpiece – but I don’t think I like it. It doesn’t work. I’ve rarely had so much trouble with a title before).

I really do think this revision will make it better – and by re-writing that one scene by hand and then transcribing it BACK to the word document, I’ve rewritten it like three times – but even now as I am typing it back in (and consequently editing it again), I keep thinking it isn’t right. But then, isn’t that what all writers think? It will never be ready?

You know, I am probably the person that is actually true for, unlike others. 😛

But, as I mentioned very, very briefly in a recent tweet – here’s my current issue: So, Josie is supposed to be quiet and shy and pretty awkward until someone gets to know her (yes, basically exactly like me). But at the same time, she is more confident when she is on her own turf (a.k.a., her home) – and i know this is accurate, because it is exactly how I am. But when trying to translate that to a book, I feel like it comes out, 1. like she is inconsistent character-wise and 2. Like she is annoyingly awkward and can’t stop blushing, which no one likes to read about.

So, that is what I’m trying to work through right now. How to make a heroine that is awkward, without being annoying and still at least a little endearing, shy and uncomfortable, but able to hold her own especially on her own turf, caring, but still gets impatient with her very sick mother (who, by the way is a conundrum herself, since she has cancer, is weak and sick, yet never stops talking and nags part of the time and is loving the other part of the time).

Characters. They drive me up a wall sometimes. Kind of like real people. In which case, maybe it’s okay?

And – that’s my ramble for today.

Writing_Problems_from_Writers_Write

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Yeah, so I didn’t write Saturday and Sunday. I thought that I would have energy after cleaning to write for 10 minutes, but I was mistaken. I am sure that had nothing to do with scrubbing the kitchen floor until 3:00 AM Saturday night. But I wrote for a longer amount of time Monday and Tuesday – I don’t know if I quite made it up, but at least a little. I am really enjoying recreating this scene and I think it is going to be better this time. We are getting more of Keith’s perspective this time round, which I think will be more refreshing and help us get to know him a little more.

This is taking a lot more time than I expected, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I want to hurry the process now that I am determined to get this done and submit it, but I need to remind myself that it is better to get it done right or I am just going to rewrite it again anyway.

write without fear

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Okay, I failed – mostly. I did not write yesterday. But I did write today! For 20 minutes instead of 10 to make up for yesterday. I’m becoming rather pleased with the progress in the rewrite and am beginning to have rather high hopes for it. But I am sure you are curious as to why I didn’t write yesterday.

Well, I actually had a pretty good excuse. I was in meetings most of the day and then we started spring cleaning! We were cleaning right up until we fell into bed with exhaustion – and only completed one room.

For those of you who don’t know, spring cleaning is a far bigger event than most people realize. At least, PROPER spring cleaning is. Because it involves moving all furniture and scrubbing or vacuuming behind it, wiping all baseboards, washing all walls (and using Mr. Clean sponges on the stubborn marks), unloading all cupboards and pantries to wipe them out and re-load them, and, the most important part, scrubbing all hard floors on hands and knees. Yes, hands and knees. I’m sorry, but no matter how good modern mops are, they still do not do what scrubbing with your own two hands will do. My husband didn’t believe me until the first time we did it. Ever since he saw the water after scrubbing a supposedly clean floor, he’s a huge advocate of proper scrubbing twice a year. And of course, washing all curtains and dust ruffles and rugs.

And if you don’t believe me, you should try it – just once – do proper spring cleaning and you will be stunned by how much dirt you actually get up, how much work it is, and how much you love the feeling once it is all done. It’s all that gets us through that 4 or so days of cleaning – the memory of how it feels once it is done. Of course, having a pitcher of margaritas on hand for last night while cleaning also helped, but that is neither here nor there.

Good luck to all of you who are also conducting spring cleaning!

Spring-Cleaning-Posted-500

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I did actually do my 10 minutes yesterday, but didn’t get a chance to do a post. And I did them again today (just now!) So far, I am not super far in rewriting that scene, since I am doing it really in 10 minute increments, but it is interesting to me to see the different turns it is already taking. Like, so far the essence has remained the same, but the characters are behaving differently. My pen insisted on looking at Keith’s point of view instead of Josie’s when Josie went to check on her mother, and they ended up sitting awkwardly in the living room right after he arrived instead of him watching her attempt to cook in the kitchen. I am trying not to think too much about what I have already written in hopes this comes out more naturally than that one did and so far I think it is succeeding, since it seems much more natural for Josie to send him to the living room than invite him into the kitchen. Also, it’s fun to create again instead of just editing.

'It was a last-minute change, but a good one.'

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