Tuesday, July 31, 2007

SCBWI L.A. Here I come!

It feels surreal that I'm actually getting on a plane in two days. I went 11 years ago - only time ever - the year SCBWI celebrated it's 25th anniversary. About 400 people attended and it was fab of course.

I hear there are 800 + now that attend. I think I will feel like a mouse. I'm excited, nervous, terrified. Will I be brave enough to talk to people? Will I look like a dork? Will I know what to say without sounding like an idiot if I get close to an editor or agent - or one of those fantastic authors I worship? I need to go calm my fluttering heart.

Hey, please drop me a quick "Yes!" if you're going! Should we do a Blogspot/Live Journal gathering? Or will that amount to about 400 of us? Cool!!

Maybe we should wear name tags with our LJ personas. Hope to see/meet you there! Safe travels and *see* you in about a week!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Rattlesnake Rain!

Good stuff in the mailbox - my author copies of the August Cricket magazine with my story "Rattlesnake Rain"!!! It's the lead story, too - WOW! I'm thrilled. And it looks gorgeous, the illustrations are beautiful! It looks like they took the theme of my story and built the whole issue around it. Need I say, I'm excited?

Check out the issue
from your library or bookstore - or if you subscribe already, enjoy! (The link shows the August issue)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Protect Your Work!

This is a great post by Diana Peterfreund on her blog. She gives out some wise and terrific writing advice - and her first book Secret Society Girl was pretty terrific, too. The sequel, Under the Rose, just came out last month.

I love her latest from Thursday, July 19th - Protect the Work! That's YOUR work - your writing, your time, your ideas, your voice, your style, your strengths, your passion.

Here's a snippet that really resonated with me because this is an issue that's been on my mind a LOT the past few months as I keep rewriting to please everyone else or to *fix* whatever is supposedly wrong with my manuscripts.

". . . Just because someone didn't like a particular aspect of your book doesn't mean you did it poorly. Nor does it mean it's your job to fix that aspect. It's their problem. I read on a blog the other day about a speech that writer James Rollins gave at Thrillerfest (pardon the hearsay, but the lesson is there, even in parable form): "He'd read the reviews for his first book and noticed that many of them commented on lack of characterization. So he was trying to work on the characterization. He submitted the manuscript to the editor, who saw some of the characterization attempts and asked him what he was doing. He told her, and she said that his great strength was making a book a page turner and to stop worrying about what the reviewers were finding wrong." That's protecting the work. Do what you do best. What one person hates about your work will be another person's favorite part. Don't try to be all things to all people, or you won't please anyone."

Read the whole post - it's wonderful.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

As Promised

Repeated words in WIP's . . . only a week late. Hey, it's summer, right?

When I finished the revision into first person from third and I was going back to look at some of the scenes that ended up getting a LOT of reworking - and then ya get nervous thinking you've left in little typos and *loose* words - so of course I had to read it a third time JUST TO MAKE SURE - which I'm still not, but after awhile you just gotta mail it and move on to the next project . . .so ANYWAY, I started thinking about some words that began popping out at me over and over again. So I made a list and did the find/replace thing and discovered there were some words which stuck out like obnoxious gremlins.

Here they are:

1. Miserable - I kept worrying that I'd used this word verbosely, but it turned out I'd only used it 4 times in 80,000 words. I left them alone. Maybe I've just read this manuscript a dozen times too many so 4 turned into 48 in my mind.

2. Quickly - 41 times, revised down to 11

3. Suddenly - 22 times, revised down to 5

4. Instantly - 16 times, revised down to 5

5. Immediately - 11 times, revised down to 6

6. Stared - 28 times, revised down to 10 (My gosh, everybody plus the camels were staring at everything and everybody all the time! Enough already.)

7. Slowly - 18 times, revised down to 3. (My slowly's were actually slowing down the story)

8. Belly - 25 times. I got this down to 12 and patted myself on the belly - I mean back - because it IS a novel about belly dance, after all. But I also have 8 gut's and 12 stomach's and 7 abdomen's.

It was AMAZING how taking out the word usually ended up not just replacing it, but revising the entire sentence and paragraph into something tighter and smoother and more vivid. It was an interesting exercise, but surprising how long it took. But then NOTHING about revision is ever fast.

Formula: E.R.T. (estimated revision time) x
5 = A.T. (actual time)

Has anyone else ever done this, and what are your pet/favorite repeated words?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I've been underground for nearly four weeks because I suddenly decided to write my novel, Secret Rites of the Goddess in first person. If I'd known the work it would end up being I may not have even begun, but there it is. 120 hours later I'm doing the final check-through. And then I want to check out. Actually, I had this goal to revise two more novels this summer . . . silly me.

So the rewrite starts out innocently enough . . . I single space, paginate like a *real* book and make tons of changes along with all the *Jayden's*' to *I* and *hers* and *she's* to *me*. I also cut about 10 pages in extraneous verbage. I'm thinking, hey, this is pretty good. I like the voice better, I'm into the character more. And it only took me a week.

But another voice nags. "Go through it one more time. "
I obey.

I print out a hard copy this time instead of rewriting directly on my computer screen. I use bigger margins and bigger spaces so I can see and make corrections easier. I'm shocked as I'm reading and marking. My pages end up BLOODY! I mean, my red pencil is spilling its guts!

I rewrite the prose even more and I end up cutting 40 more pages of just plain verbage. Yes, 40! I guess I talk more on the page than I do in real life - although my three sons would majorly disagree. So in the end I've cut 10,000 words. It's now 80,000 words. I've put all the changes in and this round takes me 2.5 weeks of 8 hour days.

I'm burned out and couldn't face it Monday morning so I took a break and read two books yesterday and ran errands and took my son to the dentist. I needed that. Um, the books, not the dentist. The books helped me get out of *my* head and help me see the world again. I'm ready to finish today and mail this to a very patient, but highly interested agent.

Tomorrow . . . an interesting observation about repeated words.



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