I’m Going to Finish!

I’m going to take an unfamiliar moment of vanity and egotism and say,

I ROCK!!

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The week before the conference I was so busy getting ready for the conference that I didn’t get much writing done.

  • 5/13 – 7 pgs – 1hr48min – CH 10 DONE
  • 5/15 – overall edit of 1st 10 chapters – about 2-3hrs
  • 5/15 – 2 Queries written

This last week was different.

  • 5/19 – 1 Query written
  • 5/20 – 25 pgs – 5hr25min – CH 11 & 12 DONE
  • 5/21 – 15 pgs – 3hr29min – CH 13 DONE
  • 5/22 – 18 pgs – 2hr45min – CH 14 DONE
  • 5/23 – 14 pgs – 2hr12min – CH 15 DONE

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In the past when I’ve had a lot of progress, it’s because I didn’t need to change a whole lot. That’s not true this time. Most of my progress wasn’t fast. Instead I worked in increments multiple times a day

It was like a lightning bolt hit my brain (how cliché) on Monday. I spent a lot of time writing that query to the agent whom Mr. Warnock referred me. My MS isn’t 100% completed anymore and far from polished because I’ve added so many new scenes. How could I send her a query with an incomplete MS? She’d tell herself I’d be a waste of time because I’m new and unproven and trash it.

People might argue saying I have finished it before and if I promised her to finish it again by a certain date, she might trust me.

I asked myself, “Why should she trust me? What if I didn’t pull my weight? Her time would have been wasted.”

It’s practical business sense. Nothing personal.

Another worry to think about was that I’d be visiting my family in Colorado and they were filling up all my vacation time so I wouldn’t have time to write to get my MS finished by the time I wanted to tell the agent.

When I told this worry to my husband, he said the solution was easy – finish it before I left and submit it then.

At first I balked. How could I explain to him that my creating something from nothing was different from the scientific papers he writes? I tried once or twice in my head but they sounded like childish excuses so I kept my mouth shut and decided it was worth a shot.

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There were times it was slow going and I have a sneaky suspicion at least some of the new stuff is stinky poop.  At other times inspiration hit from various places/people and I went with it. I seriously enjoyed writing those parts so I hope they worked.

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3 chapters left (unless I add in a 4th) and then I get to go back and polish it. I guess finishing my MS before the end of June wasn’t as impossible as I thought.

How is your writing coming along? Powering through it or slogging through it?

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Words of Wisdom From Stephen King’s On Writing

I attended the Write on the River conference on Saturday. I intended to listen to Jess Walter, the Keynote Speaker, Friday night but I got the location wrong. It’s too bad – I heard it was really good.

I didn’t have time to write up a post about it but I will later.

Today I’ll just give some tidbits I’ve read about in Stephen King’s book On Writing. I’m not even remotely done with the book because I keep getting caught up in other books.

I was so stressed about getting ready for the appointment with the agent on Saturday that I put King’s book aside to read more fluffy things that took less thought.

Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake and Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore. They’re good books. Still reading Texas Gothic. Both are YA. Both are about ghosts.

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Have you read On Writing? Did he say anything that struck home for you or that you particularly enjoyed?

A Week Spent Researching And Reading

Last Sunday I was super psyched over my MS progress but hit a wall with what I wanted to happen next in a scene. It was a fresh scene that I was adding in but hadn’t thought about so I was content to let my fingers do the thinking. This tactic usually works for me. The beginning inevitably sucks but it usually leads into something that’s good or at least passable for the time-being.

Unfortunately, while I made passable progress that I thought I could do something with later, I ran out of steam and lost the thread. Considering the excellent progress I had made, I wasn’t bothered by it. A night of rest would refresh my brain and it would come as it generally did.

Not so. I thought, “Okay, take the day off. It’s not a big deal. You can focus on reading The Forest of Hands and Teeth.”

51eRxl6mykL__SY344_BO1,204,203,200_(I put up a semi-review about it on Goodreads.com. I picked up the book because it was one of my library’s book club favorites and because the title looked interesting. I can’t imagine why it was a favorite and I do not recommend it unless you enjoy reading the same mental quandaries over and over and over again. For being written in 1st person, it doesn’t give a whole lot of emotion either. That being said, it did have its exciting parts – or I would never have finished reading it – and I did cry once or twice.)

An entire week has passed without a single word being written.

Why? Because a friend of mine came back from her vacation in Greece and she had oodles of pictures to show everyone on Tuesday.

The pictures were like a slap in the face. A slap to my brain actually. It opened my eyes to what my MS was lacking. I had been searching for something in it but didn’t know what. Honestly, I didn’t even know I was searching but when I saw these pictures I knew I had been searching and I knew what for.

This last week I’ve read until my eyeballs wanted to explode and I’ve scoured the internet in search of this:

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Solid gold! I have lots more pictures like these now that make my imagination whirl.

I can’t remember where I found all these photos. I used Images on Google for the water photos and some real estate sites for the villas.

I also started up a Flowers board on Pinterest for pictures of the Greek flowers I found.

I still don’t know how I’m going to finish the scene I’m stuck on but I no longer care about that. I’m currently thinking how I can change the first couple chapters to add in detail about the house Sophy’s in.

I have one week to get as much done as I can for my appointment with Andrea Hurst. I’m stressing now. I was full of confidence before but now I’m full of doubt.

Of course.

Le Sigh.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? I totally want to go to Greece now.

End of Week Progress Report

My editing progress this past week has been slow but continual. As always, slow progress indicates fresh additions of some sort. I have a horrible feeling that at least some of these additions will prove to be poop when I go back to edit them.

Daily Progress:

  • 4/25 – 4pgs 1hr50min
  • 4/28 – 4pgs 1hr28min
  • 4/29 – 1pg (1.5 technically) 49min
  • 5/1 – 2pgs 1hr13min – ch 7 done
  • 5/2 – 11pgs 1hr15min – ch 8 done

Current Page: 118

Total Pages: 235

Total Word Count: 65,700

Minimum Desired Word Count: 80,000

So far I’ve added in 5,700 words since starting this rewrite. This project has been frustrating with word count. The MS started off with a total count of close to 90k. Then I decided to change it to Young Adult so I hacked it up till it was about 70k. Soon after I found out that’s still too long for Young Adults so I whittled it down once more to 60k. Then last Autumn I discovered New Adult and began to add in 20k.

One good thing about all of this is that every time I have to add in or take things out, the MS gets better. The only time I feel weighed down by it is when I think of the work ahead of me. It gets overwhelming so I focus on the current chapter and try not to think ahead.

As the Write on the River conference and my appointment with Andrea Hurst (literary agent from Andrea Hurst and Associates Literary Management) grows nearer, I grow more nervous. I have a lot left to rewrite and not a whole lot of time to do it in. Having it all finished before the appointment isn’t a high priority for me right now because the requirement was to have at least a 1st draft done, not a polished final draft. However, I do want to have as much done as possible in case she or one of her associates likes the idea/beginning and asks for the full MS.

Also, I want to use that last week to get a new synopsis and query ready for the appointment. I’m a terrible speaker and have difficulty giving a verbal pitch so I want to work on that especially. I don’t want her to toss me out merely because I’m a verbal moron.

On a side note, I’m putting less effort into my blogging lately because I’m focusing on my writing among other things. For the sake of my brain, I’m going to cut down my posts to once a week every Sunday. This is temporary until I’m done with this MS.

If you write, how often do you change your manuscripts before you “finish” them?

Meeting Best-Selling Author Marissa Meyer

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Let me first say how AWESOME it was to meet Marissa Meyer! She was friendly and fun and her main interests coincided with mine to such an extent that I’m pretty sure, had we grown up in the same school, we would’ve been great friends.

Sailor Moon (I wonder if she likes other anime?), fanfiction, fairy tales, mermaids (Disney’s The Little Mermaid to be precise), writing since childhood, reading (similar authors I mean), Star Wars, etc.

(Side Note: If you’re interested in reading her Sailor Moon fanfiction, her penname is Alicia Blade.)

Having not grown up even remotely near each other and her being famous while I’m pretty much a nobody, I think it’s safe to say we’ll never be friends. If she took a chance on one of her oodles of fans I think we’d hit it off pretty well but I know enough not to try or hope. That’s too stalker-ish for me.

That being said, maybe I’ll have a chance if I ever become famous as well.

One of the many stories she told us of her interests included a Halloween from her childhood when she was told to dress up as a Klingon. No, she doesn’t know anything about Klingons except that they don’t smile. Her family kept telling her to stop smiling so much – Klingons don’t look so happy.

When she said she once dressed up as a Klingon (she showed us a picture of it too) as a kid, my first thought was of a joke my sister and I used to say about me:

I’m a Klingon and I come from Uranus.

HAHAHA! Yeeeaaaah, I’m a loser.

Lots of people showed up so the signing line was long afterwards, but I was happy to wait while talking with my newfound blogging friend, Hayley Knighten! Her blog is called Books are Delicious! and you can also check her out on Facebook, Twitter (@hayleyknighten), Goodreads, etc. She also does book reviews for the online entertainment magazine WatchPlayRead.

She had enough forethought to bring a camera with her so I took a picture of her and Meyer together. I found out later that this was not Hayley’s first go at meeting a major author. She knew to come prepared.

It never occurred to me to bring a camera – I was content to lament the fact that I don’t have a smart phone. I don’t keep the pictures I take with my “dumb” phone. I used to but then I lost them all anyway for some reason when I switched phones so I gave up on saving them.

Then it was my turn to get my book signed. I bought Cinder ahead of time specifically for this purpose. Had I had more cash, I would’ve bought Scarlet at the signing but we’re so low this week that I can’t even spend $12 for the race I was going to run this weekend. Oh well.

Anyway, Meyer had also brought freebies for people to take! I wanted one of everything but didn’t want to be greedy as there were still people in line behind me. So I contented myself with a bookmark and a Team Scarlet button pin.

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Now that I think back though, I could’ve taken a Rieux postcard (I think it was a postcard). There were lots of those…

Oh well.

I wanted a Team Cinder as well because she’s my favorite but… I have a special liking for Little Red Riding Hood so I chose Scarlet.

I’m all grown up and thinking of others now. It used to be when I’d take as much as I could of anything free with no thought to anyone else. When did I become so thoughtful?

BARF!!!

One final note…I thought beforehand on what I might say to her when I met her but when she was signing my book all I could get out was that I was really excited to meet her and that I’ve been working on my own book for the last 2 years or so. Her success gave me renewed hope that I’d make it too. Then I thanked her and told her to have a good one.

Kinda lame but I didn’t want to hold up the line like some other people did (not that I grudged them that because, as I said, I was happily employed talking to Hayley). I said the most important of what I wanted to say so I have no regrets. In fact, talking about pettier things such as our coinciding interests probably would’ve made me feel awful afterwards so I’m glad I held my tongue on those.

For once I didn’t stick my foot in my mouth! WOO!!!

What author(s) do you want to meet?