OSNB


Thanks to one of my NARWA sisters, I found another contest to enter … a chance to win a pitch with a Harlequin American editor. Since I’ve long envisioned “Operation Snag Mike Brad” as an American Romance, I decided to go for it.

I can’t say I always envisioned it in that line. When I first wrote it, I had the Love and Laughter or Silhouette Yours Truly lines in mind. But since those are both defunct (sadly, if you ask me), I switched to AR.

The entry requires a one-page synopsis — something I’m getting better at writing, I think — and a logline.

Having never heard of a logline before, I did a little poking around at eharlequin.com. Apparently it’s also known as a “concept line” and is designed to give the editor a broad picture of your story.

One way to write one is to start with a well-known storyline, then reveal the twist that makes your story stand out. You can also use a familiar book or movie as your starting point, so you come up with something like “Elle Woods meets the Terminator” or “Beauty & the Beast set in outer space.”

The advice is straightforward enough, but I’m finding myself confused. Maybe it’s just because my MS is a big, confused mess.

I hope not.

Anyway, here’s the logline I’ve come up with so far:

“Operation Snag Mike Brad” blends “How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days” and “Some Kind of Wonderful” — but in reverse.

In “How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days” you have a reporter working on a story and using outrageous advice to get dumped. (Erin is a reporter following a book’s outrageous advice to snag “the man of her dreams” while she’s chasing a big story that’ll get her out of small-town Indiana once and for all.)

In “Some Kind of Wonderful,” you have a guy who thinks he’s in love with one girl but ends up realizing he’s in love with his best friend. (Erin thinks she’s in love with Mike but ends up realizing he’s more like her best friend and she’s really in love with with Brad instead.)

So both flicks apply — at least loosely. The “reverse” part is the whole using the book to snag the guy (not lose him) and the fact that it’s the girl, not the guy doing the falling.

I’m still not wild about it. At least I have a few more days to play.

Sadly, not much writing has happened since Wednesday (and that writing didn’t count toward my Word Count Countdown, because it wasn’t actually writing on any of my WIPs).

This type of limbo is much more fun!

I’m at a certain point: Finished MS but no query or synopsis — and since our NARWA meeting next Saturday is on the dreaded synopsis, I’m kind of trying to hold out before working on one of those.

The query and synopsis on “Blind Date Bride” are mostly finished, but I’m still a little scared to send that one out there. I did get a rave review from one of my NARWA sisters, who described it as “delicious.”

With a review like that, why am I not sure? It’s probably plain old fear of rejection — again. I’ve already gotten tons of rejections on Brad & Erin’s story, so why would I expect this one to do better?

Well, it was written much later. Brad & Erin’s MS was my first, and even though I’ve edited it so much that parts hardly resemble the original draft, it could be that it’s just not good enough. Pat said she can tell a huge difference between that one and “Blind Date Bride,” that my writing has grown and changed.

So maybe it’s time to bite the bullet, finish the query/synopsis and send it out there. It’ll immediately expand my agent pool, since this one’s a single title instead of category.

In an effort to get over the disappointment of not finaling in the Golden Heart, I’ve been a busy, busy writer. 😀

No giving up for me, no sir.

I spent the weekend working on a synopsis for “Blind Date Bride” and reworking the ending on my losing GH entry. (I’m getting rid of their silly argument for a meatier one. There’s probably still not enough conflict, but I think it’s getting closer.)

I also discovered I may be eligible for PRO status with RWA. I’m going to look into that.

What to do, what to do?

I’m at a bit of a loss again. After writing more than 1,000 words on Meg and Matt’s story yesterday, I’ve hit a block. If I take a page of advice from the “write quickly and often” book, I’ll sit down and make myself write something — anything.

But maybe I should continue working on my new synopsis for “Operation Snag Mike Brad” — the one that puts more emphasis on the conflict (you know, the one that may or may not actually exist in the story. I’m trying. It really does have more conflict than it used to.)

I’m not sure it’s worth sending out more queries on that one until I resolve the conflict issue.

Or perhaps I should do something else altogether. “Blind Date Bride” needs a query letter and synopsis. I’m thinking about taking an online synopsis-writing class that starts in March, though … so maybe I should wait on that.

This is the story of my life these days: I seem to have a short attention span. I can’t settle down to any one project. Yet I need to keep making progress on my Word Count Club goal. I don’t want to be the one to fail.

I also need an editor’s note for the next NARWA newsletter. I’m thinking my topic will be … drumroll, please … rejection. I’ve certainly handled enough of it lately to consider myself an expert! 😉

Based on the contest feedback I got on “Operation Snag Mike Brad” today, there’s no way in hell it’s going to final in the Golden Heart.

Guess that means I don’t have to worry about coming up with $425 to pay for Nationals, eh?

I got scores back from a contest I entered right before I sent everything off for the GH. One judge gave me an 80 out of 100. The other two? 60 and 57.

I can buy 60’s assertion that there may not be enough conflict to sustain the story. (She should have seen it BEFORE I beefed up the conflict in one of my rewrites!)

However, I find 57’s comment that I don’t know how to use punctuation insulting. It reminds me of my freshman year of college when my World Cultures prof (who taught art history) tried to tell me I couldn’t write an essay.

I know punctuation, darn it. I’m a freakin’ copy editor for God’s sake. I may not do old-school punctuation, but what I do is perfectly acceptable in journalism. And I should think that if my punctuation was that darn bad, someone else would have pointed it out to me when they were proofing my GH entry for me.

Nary a peep, though. So I’m inclined to write that one off as ravings.

Guess I should be thankful that all my scores were at least a 2 (shows promise but needs improvement).

I’m sure I’ll be able to look back at the scores with more detachment later, so I can get more out of them. Next week … maybe next month … Right now, however, I’m still smarting.

E-mail was not my friend this morning.

Remember the agent who requested more of my MS a couple of weeks ago? Rejected. After careful consideration, they decided it wasn’t right for their agency.

Sounds like a pretty standard rejection, I suppose.

However, there was also an encouraging note.

A very cute concept but this didn’t feel big enough to be single-title for me. Good luck with this project.

So it would seem (though I don’t recall seeing this in their submission info) that they only represent single-title manuscripts. I’ll definitely submit the query on “Blind Date Bride” once I work it up.

Guess I’d better get busy on that, eh?

Last Saturday, we had our NARWA meeting and I was inspired to launch “Operation Treat Writing Like a Day Job.”

Today I capped off my operation, which admittedly isn’t as amusing as “Operation Snag Mike Brad,” with another good day. I wrote 1,421 words on Meg & Matt’s story (still untitled) in two writing sessions — one at Starbucks and one at the house.

That brings the week’s total word count to 6,209. I’m 6 percent finished with NARWA’s 100K word count challenge. Can I get a woo-hoo?

I’d have stayed at Starbucks longer, but I was falling asleep in my chair. I left because I kept thinking about how embarrassed I’d be to wake up drooling. Well, that and the fact that I couldn’t stay awake long enough to concentrate … I really like my writing time at the Bucks, and I don’t want to do anything to embarrass myself so I can’t show my face there again.

Once I got home — and helped shovel off our deck (again!) — I was awake enough to start writing again. Now, about 400 words later, I’m ready to nod off again.

So even though it’s very early for me (only 10 p.m.), I think I’m heading off to bed.  The operation continues tomorrow with the start of Week 2 … perhaps it’s time to do a little more editing on “Blind Date Bride.” And Monday, I’ll ship off a couple more query letters.