Monday, February 21, 2011


Ever since I went through the process of revising & reworking my query a few weeks ago, I've been thinking a lot about the conflict in my book. Some of the main questions I got were "What's the conflict? What's your main character's big decision?" And at first I had a difficult time answering that. Which, of course, is probably not good.

Look, when I set out to write this book, my first goal was just to finish the damn thing. The first draft was an utter mess. After the first two rounds of revisions, I was already sooo much prouder of my work. I think I have a fun, interesting story. Is it an earth-shattering piece of literature? Um, probably not. Will my words inspire and amaze people? But will it entertain them for a few hours? I certainly hope so. That's all I can really ask for.

That being said, as I work through the final revisions, I've been thinking about a few more things I want to add. I want to make the conflict Sophie (the MC) is feeling very, very clear. I want people to FEEL the struggle she's going through as she comes to her grand decision at the end of the book. Last night before I fell asleep, I had an idea hit me (as I've mentioned before, I always seem to get ideas right before I fall asleep). It's nothing that will change the overall tone of the story- like, all of a sudden there isn't going to be a pack of angry witches coming after her for her powers or anything. Her conflict will remain mostly internal. But I think I can make it a little clearer what her struggle is. I really want people to get sucked into her story and NEED to know what the ultimate decision is going to be. Something to get them to keep turning the pages.

I think I'm getting there. I know I wanted to start querying this week, but right now it's more important that I have an awesome story. So, hopefully my readers won't mind one more read through...and then I can still start submitting it this spring. I'll say end of March is my new drop dead date. Hey, it'll still be somewhat early in the year...right?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Girls just wanna... yummy food, drink wine, and watch hot vampires! All of that = FUN. Well, I mean, at least that's what some of MY dear friends and I really, really enjoy doing. I've mentioned my love of The Vampire Diaries here before, and now that the season is back in session after the holiday hiatus we're back to our usual Thursday night shenanigans over at Karyn's apartment. In fact, we never really took a hiatus ourselves. While TVD was on break we watched the first season and some of the second season of True Blood, and we're completely addicted to that show as well. Tonight I'm hosting a girls night at my place so we can catch up on more True Blood season 2 episodes, and, of course, eat a ton of food and drink a ton of wine.

I look forward to Thursdays every single week. Don't get me wrong, I love my husband and spending time with him is awesome too, but there's just nothing like being in a room with a few of your wonderful friends and squealing like a 15 year old over shirtless boys on TV without anyone judging you. I'm so glad we started this little tradition, and I hope we continue it indefinitely. Even if TVD goes off the air and we have to find another show with hot boys to fill the void. I just hope whatever show that is also has Ian Somerhalder on it.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Right on target

I know I've mentioned here before that I'm not a huge procrastinator. That being the case, I'm thankfully moving right along with my manuscript and my goals for it. I think when I originally finished the very first draft back in early November, I wanted to start the submission process by the end of January. Well, two more drafts later and I realize that might've been a lofty goal.

Writing my query letter was seriously one of the hardest and most painful things I have ever done. Thanks to the good people over at AgentQueryConnect, about a week after I posted it I finally have a clean, finished version. It changed dramatically from where it began, but I think I have a winner now. Time will tell- if it captures the attention of some agents, then I'll know! If I get rejection after rejection, then I'll know it needs revamping.

So this weekend I spent some time working on line edits from my readers. I want to thank Debbie, Colleen, Karyn, & Holly for catching all those typos and missed words! Clearly I think faster than I type at times. I also made a couple minor changes to the story; just a few things that were nagging at me after I went through the whole query writing process. It's funny how just going through that made me see some of the holes in my story.

I have to reread the whole thing again and try to tighten and clean it up as much as possible. I want to rewrite certain sections that have always left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth- they just don't sound "pretty" enough, if that makes sense. Lastly, I need to write my synopsis, which I plan on trying to do as I reread. I have to read up a bit on how to write a good one, cuz I have no idea where to even begin or how to keep it to 3-5 pages. THAT should be interesting.

Regardless, I'm pretty sure I'm on track to get the submission process started by the end of this month. I just got butterflies in my stomach when I typed that! I can't believe I'm really going through with this! I honestly had no idea I would ever even get THIS far. Time to grow some thick skin and get ready for rejection! But hopefully there will be at least a couple agents out there that want to hear more.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Speech I Needed to Hear - by Sara Zarr

Please, if you know me at all, take a moment to read this AH-MAY-ZING speech by Sara Zarr, author of the fabulous Sweethearts (I heart you, Cameron Quick!). She gave this speech at a Writer's Conference recently and it almost brought me to tears last night. It's so relevant to what I'm going through right now as an unpublished, wannabe-author.

Sara Zarr's speech

I kinda love this quote:

"Creative lives require us to be blind optimists. Keep writing the stories you want to write. You have to have faith that what matters to you will be a story others want to read. You have to have faith that if you show up to the page, something will happen. That all the stories haven't been used up by other artists."

And this one:

"Nurturing a creative life doesn't happen with the wave of a magic wand. It's not about changing the content of our lives but how we experience them, putting ourselves in a safe place where we can nurture our gifts."

Amen, Sara.

Everyone, go read Sweethearts. Like NOW.