Submissions Are Nigh!

I finally sent in my first submission. This one wasn’t to a publisher or an agent. I entered a contest called WoW: Women on Writing Contest for Flash Fiction. It’s not a fantasy or sci-fi, my usual niche of writing. Having to write something in less than 750 words and tell a complete story was pretty hard, but I think I did OK. Time will tell if it was good enough to win. If not, I’ll submit it to some pro-paying markets.

I’ve been tinkering with various networking sites, like the AbsoluteWrite forums, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads. You can see I’ve added a Goodreads bar to the right side. If you are interested in what I’m reading, you will be able to see that there! Right now, I have two fantastic books waiting on my Kindle App for me to read – Richelle Mead’s Shadow Heir and Kim Harrison’s A Perfect Blood. Unfortunately, they are both being back burnered right now because I’m reading another fantastic novel. Mine!

Twice Sworn is my novel. I’m still working through what I hope to be my final rewrite/edit. I have an editing partner (I’m reading her book and she’s reading mine) as well that’s really helping to strengthen it. I’ll find a beta reader or two soon as well. I’m almost there with it! Here’s what my rough draft of my query looks like, so you can get an idea of what the book is about:

TWICE SWORN is the story of Alexandra Ward, a human mage and private investigator who has gotten caught up in the troubles of the Asura, immortals who wield strong magic and who live by the words ‘power is life.’ The Asura bond with willing human mages, but once sworn, it’s impossible to break it. Impossible for everyone except Alex Ward. Having once been sworn to an Asura named Jerrod, she managed to break her bond and leave that life behind. Unfortunately for her, it won’t stay left behind. She runs into Jerrod again while investigating the disappearance of a bride on her wedding day and gets drawn back in.

When she discovers that an Asura she once cared about has been killed, she readily heads back into the fire and intrigue of Asuran politics. What she didn’t expect was to meet a bonded human who turned her head, a complication she didn’t need in her life.

I found an agent I really, really want. Which means I’ll be terribly disappointed when I get a form letter back telling me she’s not interested at all in my book. Once I’ve completely rewritten the end of the book and have a strong query letter, though, she’ll be hearing from me, so wish me luck!

It’s Not Writer’s Block If I’m Writing

Writing is both easy and hard. It’s very easy to brain dump – I do it all the time. Then I go back and re-read my brain dumps and realize everything I wrote is crap and every line, every word, needs to be replaced. That’s the hard part for me. I guess most would call it the editing process. I can write story after story after story if I don’t have to re-read and edit them.

Couple that with the fact that I’m never truly happy with what I’ve written. I’m still working on that 750 word short. The story is complete and essentially told, but I’m not nearly happy enough to submit it. I think I’m OK with the first two paragraphs, but the rest needs a complete rewrite. However, this is my problem with everything I write. By the time I get the rest rewritten, I’ll go back and read the first two paragraphs and realize I HATE them. Right now, I’m liking them:

If gray were an emotion, it would be despair, I thought as I stood outside an old gray farmhouse, looking around at old gray barns, across barren gray fields, and up into a gray sky. Refocusing my attention on the reason I was out in the chilly morning air, I noticed Benjamin Collier was not gray. Upon closer inspection, I became aware that he was pretty cute, in his flannel shirt and raggedy jeans. If he shaved off the scruff on his face and cut his hair, he might even be called handsome. I shook that thought off, because in truth, something about him was completely unappealing to me. I wouldn’t figure out what that something was until later, when it was too late.

Our reason for gathering out here at this desolate place was a scavenger hunt of sorts. We were here to learn about the life and times of Benjamin, or so he said. I received the email to this “exclusive” invite-only event and was both excited and a little skeptical. The prize was supposedly the chance to be published nationwide, and being an aspiring writer, that sounded almost too good to be true. After talking it over with my best friend, she convinced me to at least show up.

I have to get over this. I know I have to get over this, if I hope to be a published writer. But that’s easier said than done.

My novel is the worst example of my issues with my writing. It’s done. It’s been done three times. But then I decide there’s some plot point or character name or description I just hate and have to go back through and fix all the instances of my referencing that. That’s not stopping me from working on the sequel or the query letter though. I am DETERMINED to get this novel out to agents in the next month.

I’ve been spending a lot of time reading the AbsoluteWrite.com forums¬†and that’s been helping with steeling myself to submit my writing, but not so much with my time management skills. I haven’t been writing as much as I’d like (and the kids being out for President’s Day does not help either!) I’ve also been adding folks I want to read about to my Twitter account (authors, agents, publishers and the like) and some of their tweets are also pretty enlightening. I’m doing everything write but editing my works, so that’s my focus the rest of this week. I’m going to edit, edit, edit.

FIRST!

I know, it’s a pretty unoriginal title. Sue me. I’ve been writing or reading about writing all day and my brain is tired.

This is my first blog post. Stating the obvious – it’s something I’m fantastic at! Right now, I’m working on four separate projects. Here’s a breakdown:

1. A less than 750 word flash story for a contest. I’ve never entered a contest before and I thought, why not? How hard could it be to write a compelling story in 750 words? Well… I’ve got news for anyone who had that thought. It’s freakin’ hard! Regardless, I’m pushing through and going to write the most compelling 750 word story I can muster! Wish me luck. I’m on my 3rd draft and it’s not even close yet. It’s a… crime/mystery piece? I guess? There’s nothing supernatural about it – it’s just about someone who does something bad to good (and naive) people.

2. My novel. It’s called Twice Sworn and it’s in its third rewrite. I’m going to finish this thing and start to query out by the end of March if it kills me! Oh and here’s a mock-up of what I want the cover to look like. Yeah, I’m no artist! Laugh on!

3. Another short (not a flash short though, just a short) that’s autobiographical. When I was 10, I knew a boy, the first boy I ever kissed, who was fearless and amazing and always a little dirty. He was older than me too. He was killed, drowned by an alligator, in the local river. Many of my memories are fuzzy or have faded over the years, but my memories of him and of my reaction to his death are still strong with me. It will be both a light piece filled with childish joy and hijinks, and a tragedy, because it has a very real and very sad ending. I’ve started it and it’s proving hard to write, but it will be worth getting out in the end.

Click to read newspaper article about Robbie Crespo’s death.

4. A project for the iPad with my dear friend Stephen Russell. I’ve started it and have a pretty good idea where I want (part of) it to go. This will be a long term project -and a successful one! – I hope.

I’ve also decided to start blogging! I’m going to write as much as possible to get that muscle at full strength again, since my foray into another career put the writing on hold. I’m glad to be back and I’ll be stronger than ever soon!