Thursday, December 30, 2010

Adventures of an Amateur Writer: I think I'm obsessed!!!

Adventures of an Amateur Writer: I think I'm obsessed!!!

I think I'm obsessed!!!

So, most of you know I've been offered representation by Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary. I'm super excited, not just to be represented, but to have someone like Terrie on my side.

Now comes the problem. I CAN'T STOP WRITING!!! I was told I was on "vacation" as editors aren't back at their desks until the middle of January or later. Unfortunately, my brain won't let me rest. If I'm not working on the manuscript which the offer was made, I'm working on two of my other works in progress.

I'm trying to decide if this is a good thing, or a bad thing. On one hand, I'm doing what I love. On the other, I don't want to get burned out before I really even begin!!!

If anyone has any thoughts on this, feel free to sound off. I hate to think I'm burning the candle at both ends, but when an idea is hot in my head I just have to write it down.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!!!!

Though I should probably be busy working on my work in progress, I can't help myself but watch out the window as the snow falls. What a beautiful day. Then again, I'm not driving in the snow, nor working outside.

My family will be over for our annual Christmas party, of course, weather allowing. This party is a tradition starting over thirty five years ago. My mom and uncles used to get together on Christmas Day, until the birth of my cousin, Gina. After her birth, came the rest of us, so they scheduled the party for Christmas Eve, that way, everyone could spend Christmas Day with their own families.

I have had the honor of hosting the party at my own home for the past three years, and look forward to many more years of parties at my home. Someday, my children, my nephews and nieces will all be grown and the party will be at their homes. Believe it or not I'm looking forward to that day...then I won't be the one cooking and cleaning.

Merry Christmas, everyone, and God Bless You and Your Family!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Finally, one of my goals have been met....WOOHOO!

As of today, December 21, I am being represented by Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary. I was offered a contract this morning.

Funny story about the contract: I was sitting on a low shelf, tucked away in a less traveled aisle of Wal-Mart while speaking to her. When I hung up, and after I high-fived my mom, I did a cart wheel down the aisle. Don't worry, I didn't hurt myself.

This is a step we all work insanely for, and the first step towards a whole lot more work. From here out, there will be revisions, rewrites, waiting, and more waiting, deadlines, negotiations, more waiting, then finally busting my ass to get the book sold!

Thank you so much for all of you who believed in me and my work. You guys are awesome!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I love writing...sometimes

So, as I've said before, I've started a new novel. My characters are very vivid in my mind, all the way down to their clothing size, their favorite foods, etc. However, for some reason, they didn't want to come across as believable on the screen.

Many authors I know come across this occasionally. But they can also tell you how very frustrating it can be. I was 21,000 words in and realized I was forcing it. For those of you wondering, that's about 60-70 pages. I just couldn't bring myself to continue. So, I scrapped it and started over.

During times like these, I like to refer to Stephen King's On Writing. He lays it all out, no bull shit, no candy coating. That man is a wealth of knowledge, and not the kind you pay for and can never use again. Even the great horror master himself has had something similar to writer's block, brain farts in the middle of a scene, etc. Makes me feel a little better about my own writing.

So, my lovelies, you'll have to wait for more information on the newest work in progress. All I can tell you right now is the male is an American Indian, and absolutely masculine and gorgeous. The female is a petite red-head. They both will be Hunters.

Ooh, what's a Hunter? You'll just have to wait. Don't worry, has nothing to do with deer or turkeys.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Synopses questions answered...found a great link!

Found this article while searching for more information on a better synopsis. The article was on Writing Check out the site when you get a chance. A lot of great reading!!!

How to Write a Synopsis

by Marg Gilks

Writers will spend years writing, lovingly polishing and then marketing a novel, and yet they shrug off the synopsis with a comment like "I hate writing synopses."

I hate writing synopses, too. I used to hate them because the ones I wrote sucked all the life from the novel, reducing it to bare-bones sentences that did nothing to capture the depth of the novel itself. Now I hate writing synopses because they are much more difficult to write than the novel ever was. It's not easy distilling 100,000-odd words into a few pages. But it's important.

The synopsis is the most important part of your submission package and, as such, it has to be developed and sweated over and polished with the same attention you devoted to the novel itself. Along with the cover letter, the synopsis is what sells the editor on the manuscript. If they don't see anything they like in the synopsis, they won't even glance at your chapter samples.

The synopsis is your sales pitch. Think of it as the jacket blurb for your novel (the synopsis is often used in writing this, and by the publisher's art and advertising departments, if the novel is purchased), and write it as though you're trying to entice a casual bookstore browser to buy the novel and read it. Which isn't too far from actuality.

"Okay," you say, "you've sold me. This is something I have to do, and do well. But how?"

One Step at a Time

Rather than being daunted by the enormity of such a task, break it down. Do it step by step.

The first step, of course, is realizing that you're going to have to write a synopsis -- if you intend to market your novel, that is. The best time to realize this is just before you sit down with your manuscript for the final reading preparatory to declaring the thing completed.

Sit down to that final reading with a pen and paper beside you. As you finish reading each chapter, write down a one- or two-paragraph summary of what happened where, and to which character, in that chapter.

Notice any themes running through your chapters as you're reading? Symbolism you didn't realize you'd woven through the story while you were slogging away at the computer for all those months? (The subconscious mind is a wonderful thing.) Take note of themes, too. You may just discover your one-line story summary that agents and editors like so much, if you didn't know what it was before. Or even if you thought you knew what it was, before (surprise, says the Muse, you were wrong).

What you will have when you are done is a chapter-by-chapter novel outline, what I call my author's outline. This is pretty dry reading, and since chapter-by-chapter outlines seem to have fallen out of favor with editors and agents, this will likely remain one of your most valuable writing tools, and that's about it. Don't throw this away when you've done your synopsis, either. You may know the story intimately now, but you do forget details over time. You may decide to revise the novel in the future, and this outline will help you. I've used mine to make sure I'm not duplicating character names from one project to the next. (The subconscious mind can also booby-trap you.) Reading an outline is much easier than leafing through or rereading an entire novel.

Anyway. There is an immediate use for that outline. What you are doing, basically, is distilling the story down into smaller and more manageable packages, step by step. So, you pinpoint the most important plot points in that outline, and you put them into a synopsis.

Notice I said the most important points. We're talking about only those events and motivations that moved the story forward in a major way. We're talking about only the most important characters, the ones your reader will ultimately care about, not the bit players. Right now, we are striving for bare-bones.

"Yup," you say, "that's bare-bones, all right, and just as boring as ever."

Yes, it is. It's also probably still too long, but don't worry about that right now.

Let's See Some Enthusiasm!

Now I want you to envision one or two things while you rework that synopsis:

Imagine that you're writing a jacket blurb for the novel, one that will pique the casual browser's curiosity and make him or her want to buy the book to see what happens. Read a few jacket blurbs, to get a feel for how it's done.

You've just seen a terrific movie. You're describing it to your friend. You're not saying, "The good guy chased the bad guy and shot him and that was the end." That doesn't sound very enthusiastic, that sounds like your synopsis as it stands right now! No, you say things like, "The good guy is wounded, but he knows if he doesn't stop the evil Dr. Death, the whole world is in danger, so he staggers after Dr. Death, falls, somehow gets to his feet again, and at last zaps him with the Good Guy Death-ray to save the world."

That's how your synopsis is going to sound, when you're done: enthusiastic. Enticing. A description that makes the reader want to pick up the manuscript and find out how this happens!

How can you make your synopsis unique, exciting? Start with the main character and his or her crisis. Include snippets of dialogue or quote briefly from the novel itself. Don't neglect to reveal the character's emotions and motivations, those points that explain why a character does something, but keep it brief. If the setting is exotic, inject a taste of it into the synopsis with a brief paragraph. This includes any background information that is absolutely necessary for the reader to understand the story. Build excitement as you near the conclusion of the story summary by using shorter sentences and paragraphs. The synopsis is a sample of your writing; it is a taste of what reading the actual novel will be like, so give it your all.

Don't forget that one- or two-sentence story line, or the theme of the story that you discovered. It should go in your synopsis, or in your cover letter. Editors and agents like having this distillation; not only will it pique their interest, but it's something they can use when presenting the novel to the buying board. It's also something you can use, the next time someone politely asks you, "What's your novel about?"

"Wow," you say at last, "this is pretty good! It reads almost as good as the novel!"

Shalts and Shalt Nots

But wait, there's more. Now we get to the "thou shall and shalt nots."

First, acceptable length. One guideline is to allow one synopsis page for every twenty-five pages of manuscript, but even that could be longer than most editors and agents want to see. Most editors and agents, busy people that they are, prefer short synopses -- two to ten pages. The busier ones like five pages at most. I personally consider two pages ideal, and have distilled synopses down to a single tight page. If you've written a thoroughly intriguing synopsis, don't worry if it's ten or more pages long -- but it had better be gripping.

Edit, edit, edit, if you have to! Always keeping in mind that the synopsis must remain interesting and supply the necessary information. Yes, this is the hardest part. Don't know what to cut? Lose the adjectives and adverbs; keep the motivation and "flavor" of the story.

You have to tell the entire story in your synopsis. Don't send the first three chapters and then start the synopsis at chapter four. Don't leave out the ending, hoping to entice the editor or agent to request the full manuscript in order to find out what happens. What they will do is decide you're an amateur.

No matter what tense your novel was written in, the synopsis is always written in present tense (Jerry goes to the bullfight as opposed to Jerry went to the bullfight.)

Format: there seems to be disagreement as to whether you should single- or double-space your synopsis. To be on the safe side, double-space; it's easier to read. In terms of layout, format your synopsis much as you did your novel, or a short story.

The first time you use a character's name in the synopsis, type it in CAPITAL letters. Do this only the first time. Avoid confusion by referring to a character the same way throughout (not "Dr. Evans" the first time, "Jerry" the next, and "the doctor" another time). It's also advisable to identify which character(s) is the point of view character by typing "(POV)" after the first instance of the character's name.

Yes, writing a good synopsis is a lot of work, but think of it this way: not only are you creating a vital marketing tool, but you're honing your writing skills at the same time.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Found my muse for my new male character...

The hero in my new novel is an American Indian. Originally, I saw him with deep green eyes, though I keep finding myself picturing him with beautiful chocolate brown eyes. I decided to do a little research, and find myself an actor to portray him in my mind.

This is who I found....
I mean, seriously.

How can you not want to be in Eric Schweig's arms.

He just fits my ideal hero for this story. I don't want to give away too much, as I'm still working out the kinks in my head, but damn....

He's just begging to take care of somebody. You can't tell me you don't want to melt looking into those eyes. For those of you who recognize him but can't seem to place him, think The Last of the Mohicans. Yep, that's him.

So, enjoy. I'm done for the night. Back at the keyboard tomorrow...can't seem to stay away from this story for very long.

Good night, all.

What a beautiful sunrise....

It's bitterly cold outside, there's frost on everything, but what a sunrise. Everything was pink this morning, and I'm not even a fan of pink. It was absolutely amazing.

I'm exceptionally tired this morning, and originally planned on going back to bed after the kids got on the bus, but my brain is in overdrive. I can't wait to go spend more time with my newest line up of characters.

I love this part of the process. You know, when you don't want to walk away because you might miss something. I love when my fingers move at a feverish pace trying desperately to keep up with my brain...and if you knew how fast my brain moved, you'd be impressed at my typing ability.

I normally have dozens of ideas buzzing around my head at any given time, but this one storyline has been beating at the inside of my skull for the past couple of days. The scenes are just playing themselves out, the plots thickening. I've developed quite a crush on my hero, and my heroine is a sassy, stubborn, independent woman.

Picture a tall - and I mean six foot four tall - Choctaw American Indian, with long, black hair, and ocean blue eyes. Yep, now you can see why I have such a huge crush. He's strong, caring, compassionate, yet macho and masculine! Hell yeah, that's my kind of man!

Stay tuned for more. And if you like the first chapter of Repeated Life make sure to tell your friends to head over to my blog and take a gander. I'm hoping to have it published by next year. Cross your fingers.