April 2010


I didn’t get much writing done Monday, but I did almost finish the next NARWA newsletter.

The only things left are the calendar, my editor’s note and a blurb on our chapter’s GH finalist.

I have a block on the editor’s note. That’s ironic, considering how much writing I’ve been doing lately.

Just wanted to stop by and give y’all a quick update. It’s time to update my “word count countdown” box, too. I’ve been neglecting it (but I have been keeping track in my Excel spreadsheet). It should be up to 70K+

There’s not much to report here. Despite having a wisdom tooth removed Monday, I’ve been keeping up with the writing.

Mainly, I’ve been busy exploring my hero’s reasons for stripping and my heroine’s motivations for wanting to be married by 25. (With one less wisdom tooth — I’m now down to one — I’m having trouble seeing any wisdom in either of their hangups.)

Bree & Mike’s story is now up to about 42,000 words, leaving me to add 13K more to get it to category length. It’ll probably take a couple more read-throughs to get there, but I’ll do it … and then all three of the stories in my “Women of Willow’s Grove” series will be ready for prime time.

I spent some time tonight reading through parts of Bree & Mike’s story, and I’ve come to the conclusion that he might be the best hero in my Women of Willow’s Grove trilogy.

Not surprising, considering he was going to be Erin’s hero (until Brad got in the way). He sprang, fully formed, from the depths of imagination … with a little helpful inspiration in the form of a guy I used to work with.

He’s Greek-god gorgeous (of course!) and he’s not afraid to use his looks to fuel his playboy reputation. He earns extra cash dancing at Willow’s Grove’s only male strip joint, has an aging cat named Augie and isn’t at all the playboy everyone thinks he is.

See? Already he’s more interesting than Brad and Dustin combined … No wonder I haven’t gotten many nibbles on my query for Brad & Erin’s story.

I have other heroes that I like, too. Matt is great and I love Damien best of all. But Mike James will always be my first. And as such, he’ll always have a special place in my heart.

Thanks, GI — wherever you are.

I got another rejection from an agent this morning. I’m beginning to think I need to set Brad & Erin aside and start querying on something else …

I wonder if “Blind Date Bride” ready for the big-time?

I know: If I have to ask, it probably isn’t.

Today, I’m ordering a new part for my laptop off eBay. Hopefully, I’ll have my own back soon.

Today, my writing session at Starbucks allowed me to reach another milestone: Cassie & Dustin’s story is now the correct length for Harlequin American Romance.

They want 55,000 to 60,000. Cassie & Dustin now come in at 55,686.

That makes another completed first draft. I had to add about 10,000 words to beef it up to the meet the word requirement. (I’ll have to do the same thing to Bree & Mike’s story, too. Guess that’s next on my list.)

Also on my list? Printing this puppy out for editing purposes, but that will have to wait until I get my computer back. This one isn’t equipped to print with my printer.

Crap. It just hit me: Now I have to write a synopsis and query letter, too. Ugh. Can’t I just hire someone else to do that for me?

I recently discovered the blog of Nathan Bransford — Literary Agent. He’s both witty and wise … and rumor has it that he responds almost immediately to queries, whether he wants to see more or not. I’ve yet to test that myself because I haven’t quite perfected my query for “Blind Date Bride” and he doesn’t do category romance.

Anyway, after reading his latest entry, “The Greatest Strength of a Writer: Willpower,” I was inspired.

The last line, in particular, spoke to me:

If writing is always fun, you may be doing it wrong.

So simple, yet so true. For years, I’ve been one of those “I write when the muse inspires me” people. As a result, I haven’t gotten much done. Several partial MSs lurk in my computer files — all about half finished.

Now that I’ve committed to writing more regularly, first preparing my Golden Heart entry, then in the NaNoWrimo and now through our NARWA Word Count Club, I’m accomplishing a lot more.

  • I entered a revised version of my very first MS (Operation Snag Mike Brad” in the Golden Heart, didn’t final and just found out my scores were solidly mediocre.
  • I wrote about 25K of the 40K I wanted to get done during the NaNo, finishing the complete MS in early December. I’ve done some revisions and just shipped off the first 55 pages to the Orange Rose contest. (Blind Date Bride)
  • I finished the first draft of another category-length MS. (Beauty and the Ballplayer)
  • I’m almost done revising and expanding the second story in my “Women of Willow’s Grove” series. It was about 10K too short for category romance … now it’s just about right. (It’s tentatively titled “Daring to Love,” but I’m thinking it needs a new title.) Next up: fixing all the head-hopping in the third book in the series, “To Catch a Wife,” and expanding it. (It’s also about 10K too short for category.)
  • I’ve started querying on my GH entry (receiving about 5 e-rejections in response to my e-queries). I also just finished a query and synopsis for “Blind Date Bride,” but haven’t started querying yet because I’m not sure it’s ready.

Whew! That’s a lot of work in the last seven or so months. And I owe it all to commitment. Sometimes I even sit down to write when I’d rather be doing something else.

OK, that’s rare. These days, I don’t want to do anything else. Our NARWA guest speaker back in January, Jennifer Ashley, lit a motivational fire under my behind when she said, “Treat writing like your day job and it will become your day job.” (You can read my post-meeting blog post here.)

Tomorrow is a day off from work. I’m planning to get in some more quality writing time … after I sneak in a workout. I’ve been neglecting my health/fitness goals lately and need to get back on track.

That whole “butt in chair” thing works in a healthy lifestyle, too — except it might better be phrased as “feet on pavement” or “butt in gym.” The point is, you have to do it regularly to get good results.

It appears that “Operation Snag Mike Brad” was solidly in the middle of the pack. All but one of my scores was in the 6 range. The last one was a 5.7.

I’m happy with that. At least no one hated it. I was half afraid that I’d get a 2 or 3.

According to the letter that included my scores, I scored an overall 30.5. Anything below 33 was in the bottom half.

I don’t pretend to understand standard deviation (whatever that is!). But I’d rather look at it like this: If a 9 is the top score, and my scores were 6s, I’m not doing all that badly.

So I didn’t final. There’s always next year. With the judge’s comments I’ll be getting back from the Orange Rose contest, I should be able to improve “Blind Date Bride” before the GH judges see it.

I’ll probably revisit this topic again, once I’ve had time to process what happened. Right now, I’m tired. Think I’ll head to bed.

***

I didn’t head to bed. Instead I went home and typed up today’s handwritten pages, then played online. I found this very helpful article on another blog.

Next Page »