29 June 2008

Nose to the Grindstone

So I've been neglecting my blog posts a bit recently. I've been spending lots of time on Agent Query, helping lots of other people with their novels and not doing much work on mine. Oops! ha.

So something happened at my "normal" job about a week ago that made me think hard about what I'm doing with myself. And the honest truth is that I have no idea what I'm doing - why I'm working at a job where I love the people I work with but hate a lot of the actual job, and the pays not exactly spectacular; why I'm sitting around waiting for my husband's job to whisk me away to someplace better, even though there's no guarantee that will ever happen. And then I realized I'd be amazingly happy if I could sit at home and just write. Write and write, and read, and query, and hopefully get published. Of course we can't afford for me to do that just now. But who knows... maybe it won't be too long.

In the meantime, I have to use every spare moment I can grasp to really get serious about writing. To finish writing and revising Charlotte (I still need a better working title than that!) and get to work on the next one about Bree and Luke (which has the kick-ass working title of Confessions of a Non-Believer). I need to get a good query together for Charlotte. I need to send it to lots of agents. And I need to do it by August 15.

That's my self-imposed (and therefore liable to change), very ambitious deadline. August 15, 2008, I will send out my very first ever query letter.

So I'd better go get writing.

15 June 2008

It was a dark and ugly novel....

And I'm writing it! ha. This whole process of having my manuscript read and critiqued by others is turning very interesting. Early on, Young Adult and Chick Lit were two of the genres my readers tended to associate with the book, which is not where I wanted it to be. I wanted it to be more adult and commercial, and I tried to focus on that with my revisions. Most of that came sheerly from changing the language/style of writing, but then I started adding and changing plot elements to achieve my goal.

Now, a few months down the road, I've gone from lighthearted Chick Lit to what one reader has said is something dark and ugly. Dark! Really! Some writers might be offended if they received a comment like that. And believe me, it crossed my mind to react that way haha. But ultimately, there are two things I've realized as a result that make me not offended, but extremely satisfied.

1. You just can't please everyone all the time. Not gonna happen, and I don't plan on trying. An opinion is an opinion, and I can do with it what I like. Ignore it. Worry about it. Use it to inspire me. Let it get me down in the dumps. It's up to me. So I'm learning from this one, but it's essentially going in the trash bin without me losing any sleep over it because of number......

2. Someone is having a hard time with my story, and that's a good thing! I knew before I started writing it that it might cause some knee-jerk reactions. I realize now that the way I wrote the story the first time was with the intention of soothing the reader into believing it was okay. Charming them into seeing how what they thought was a cut-and-dry ethical issue had more subtle grey areas. But why the hell did I want to do that? I don't know, but I know I don't want to do that anymore.

There are moral issues in this story, sure. But why should I sugarcoat it? I need to be bolder, more assertive as a writer. I need to make my reader uncomfortable and hope they'll stay with me long enough to see the happy ending through. If I'm going to change their minds about something, I want them to make the change freely, after some real hard thinking. Not after I've watered it down enough to make it easy to swallow. And the reader I really want is the one that will stick it out to the end, not throw a hissy fit and point fingers at my morality because I've made them too uncomfortable for their own good.

And while I'm on it - I'm either crazy, or some people are just really uptight, because I don't see why anyone would get quite so worked up over what I've written anyway. It is just a book, after all. Fiction.

05 June 2008


Don't know why it's taken me so long to get around to this post, but here it finally is! I've found a great new resource called Authonomy. It's run by HarperCollins publishers and it's very cool! As an author, you can post as much or as little of your novel as you want. In order for others to be able to read your book, however, you have to have at least 10,000 words. This helps ensure that only serious authors post. If you've got 10k words, chances are you're pretty serious about writing and publishing. You can also post more than one novel if you want to. Other members read as much or as little of your book as they want, and then offer comments! You can read and comment on other people's books, too. Sounds cool, right? There's even more.

When you find something you like, you can add it to your watchlist. Or you can "back the book" by placing it on your virtual bookshelf. You have a limited number of spaces on your bookshelf, and other members can see which titles you put there, so this is a way for you to point out the best and the brightest, so to speak. And just imagine if lots of people put your title on their bookshelf! How awesome would that be?

And the interface is pretty rockin' too. When you want to read someone else's book, you don't have to clutter your hard drive with downloaded files or worry whether someone else is using the same word processing software you are. Once members upload their chapters to the Authonomy site, everything appears within the webpage! Simple as that.

Now, not to burst your bubble or anything, but Authonomy is only in its beta release. Membership is by invitation only. If you put your email in on the website, you can hopefully get a beta invite of your own soon enough! I'm SO glad I accepted my invitation because I've gotten several positive comments about my first nine chapters so far! I'm waiting to polish up a few more before I post those also. I definitely recommend this site to any serious writer looking to market themselves and their writing.

Now don't worry, Agent Query, I'm not leaving you! AQ and Authonomy are very different resources, and I love both for the different things they offer.