Archive for Writing

Nurturing Your Inner Critic

There are many books that explain the process of reworking your work after you’re done with the first draft. I love all the workshops offered including Margie Lawson’s EDITS system. I love highlighters and boy, does this woman show you how to get the most out of them!
I think what makes me amazed is letting go of the inner critic when writing the first draft. It’s the other drafts that I’m looking to speed up my time in cleaning up my manuscript, graphic novel script or short story. In the rewrites, edits, and revisions my inner critic must make a bold, if not dramatic, entrance and stay a while until the manuscript is polished.
I write short books, 65K+ words in five weeks and then choose to spend double that time (or less) on rewrites. This is the time I let my inner critic out. There is no time for my ego or trying to hold my precious paragraph hostage because this is a time I truly want my inner critic to win.
At the moment I have surrendered to my inner critic knowing that its purpose is to serve me and my future reader with a damn fine novel. What about you and your Inner Critic?
What kind of writing do you do? How many rounds of edits, revisions or rewrites do you go through before submitting your work to agents, editors, magazines, etc.?

Pitching to a Literary Agent doesn’t have to be like Speed Dating

I’m not much of a speed dating type of girl. I get my romance tips from comic books and film noir and believe in the date ’em one at a time approach.

A couple of weeks ago I pitched to agents and there were some that were reserved and others that just clicked with me. While I’m happy for the opportunity for meeting multiple agents I’d prefer their submission to be special. Meaning, I’m not into multiple submissions. I know with many writers it’s a shotgun approach to submission with the thought that a writer may miss their window of opportunity.

I can’t live like that because when I send you a manuscript I want you to know that I sent it to you and only you. I picked you out of the sea of agents to show you my work in hopes that you believe I have the chops to write well and in hopes that we can work as a team. It’s a two way street. We can be of value to one another and make a good team.

I know the term EXCLUSIVITY towards an agent is frowned by writers but I see it as something special.

Really sit with it, meditate on it.

An agent is believing in your work so much they want to be first to see it. The good point is if you both gel then this could make for one awesome business partnership. The negative means you don’t get to “date others” for about two weeks to a month while the first agent is looking at your work.

If rules/boundaries are established with the first agent that they will only have a certain amount of time to look at your work then what is the problem?

You give your word or a handshake or both and send out a manuscript to one agent at a time and while you’re waiting you write, you edit, you enter contest, you hope you’re both the right fit. After a month has passed you either get rejection, acception or silence. If it’s silence then speak up and tell them that you are asking for a response so that you can proceed further since this is a career choice for you. Let them know that you respect their time just as you KNOW they respect yours as a professional writer.

No matter what you do sending out submissions is a waiting game and for that it’s stressful and it’s a hard lesson on being patient. Personally I’d rather get feedback one agent at a time than from multiple agents all at once and try to decipher too much feedback.

Do not ever make your decisions based on fear or anxiety. Be wise about your choices and if you decided to shotgun submit then good luck to you and for those that prefer one at a time then good luck too.

Writing Music

So Peter Gabriel’s STEAM has me in the mood to write but I’m wishing for some Steampunk inspired music. The question is, What does Steampunk inspired music sound like and who are the artist? I love Frenchy and the Punk but they aren’t available on Pandora. What artist(s) would you suggest listening to in order to get into a Steampunk mood?

Update: I found this along my travels: http://youtu.be/0bQ5EMLIYvU

Prolific

Highly inspired by the prolific writers of Jonathan Maberry and Neil Gaiman, I have decided to take my plethora of stories and write them in the media they were intended including short story, traditional novel and graphic novel scripts. This year I finish 2 full novels, a graphic novel script and 3 short stories. Why? Because I have a cappuccino maker and I know how to use it!

CTRWA Fiction Fest 2012

So I did it. I pitched my second novel to five agents at the CTRWA Fiction Fest yesterday. All of the agents were not only professional but so kind.

I’ve worked with agents before but only in a casual way and heavens, never pitched to them.

After 5 years of writer’s block I got over it with my first Steampunk novel, written during NaNoWriMo and then with this current novel.

So I pitched an unheard of sub-genre in Steampunk and 3 agents asked for full manuscripts and 2 asked for partials. So yep, by RWA standards I’m a PRO and by my standards I’ve succeeded by moving past my block. I’ve succeeded in allowing people to read my work. I’ve succeeded in taking critiquing of my work and using what works and leave the rest and not taking it personally.

Everything after this moment is just gravy.

L’Chaim is in draft mode

3000 words are done and now for the important part of it all to be done. EDITS! I have 5.5 days to finish it before sending it off to my critique partner to get blue penciled to death. Can I make it in time? Will you hold my hand when I submit my work? Thanks. You always were a good friend. ^.^

ShortStory

What in the flagnog have I been doing for the last 11 months? Well for this past month I have a few deadlines.

I have until the end of this month to write a 3K word sci-fi story about a woman seeking revenge for the murder of her twin. I’m sending it off to a well known sci-fi publishing house once it’s made all shiny and pretty.

At the same time I’m writing a short synopsis for the 70K+ word novel I’m writing for a writing contest this February. This is a culinary Steampunk Mystery Series that I’ll be pitching to agents as Spring of this year.

Got words of encouragement? Stickers, cookies, truffles or other rewards for goals attained? Let me know!

Giving away your cash? Send me some too!

I’m actually smirking at several batches of underwear in a twist over this new business venture Harlequin has launched.

People, People, please!

If some writers believe that the shortcut will garner them big bucks in publishing then by all means allow them to self-publish to their heart’s content.

Changing the business of the Romance Industry one sucker wanna-be writer at a time.

Goodness knows seasoned writers can’t teach everyone the lessons to be learned about the publishing process, and heaven forbid if lessons on patience, percerverance, and thorough knowledge about the business-side of the industry go ignored. Like my Momma always says:

Hard heads make soft behinds

Ultimate Power Couple

In the afternoons I like to listen to Neil Gaiman in my car and as always make funny faces as I drive and listen.

It must make for great conversation to those that see me at stoplights!

At the moment this is no different than the time I listened to the brilliantly talented Lenny Henry of Chef! fame, read Anansi Boys. It was not unusual for me to get in my car to listen to all the voices of characters that made me smile and grateful I had found the only sanctuary on my property that my little boy can not find me. Wait! He’s in the backseat munching on carrots, pretzels, bagels, grapes, raisins, etc.  (If it’s healthy my kid will eat it.)

Despite the evidence to the contrary I do wish Lenny Henry and Gaiman become a couple so that more audio art can come of their union. I’m just sayin’.

Goggles and Booth Babes… Oh, the horror!

Recently I cleaned out my basement and I came across a late 19th century typewriter and really wished I had the mind of an engineer. Okay, specifically the mind of Jake von Slatt.

If I had half the ability to do what he does I would make my 2nd Empire Victorian home into a Steampunk living museum. Yes, I know my fellow nerds, that Steampunk is more than the aesthetics, but how else can I show my love? Wearing brass goggles to a job interview is NOT going to work in my favor unless Terri Cunningham of DC/Vertigo Comics has decided to hire me. Yes, I’m looking at you Terri!

Though my hope is to one day work for Vertigo, I know as a writer I must be proactive in making my own breaks so during these next few weeks I’m busy finishing  my latest short story entitled L’Chaim. I want to have it finished, edited, then reedited in time to pitch it to some of every sci-fi geek’s favorite magazines, but mainly I want to have it finished for my mum as a belated birthday present.

L’Chaim touches on the vein of one of her favorite shows, the original Outer Limits, and I thought what better way to say, ‘I love you mom’ than with a sci-fi story with a touch of horror?

It’s amazing that the stories that have come to me have allowed me to pay homage to past influences but also allow me to break free of my own personal writing constraints. I’ve also learned that I write each scene to different types of music, but one constant is when I’m writing an action scene I always have electronic/techno playing on my laptop.

Oh Prodigy, Carl Cox, and NIN, I heart you!

This totally makes for one heck of a soundtrack for each one of my stories. Yes, I actually put a soundtrack together after I finish my stories and then read them in conjunction with my music selections. I wonder if there are other writers that do the same thing. Maybe I’ll ask when I go to the several Conventions that are on my schedule beginning at the end of November until October 2010.

Speaking of conventions, I’m planning my costumes for PhilCon, Comic Con San Diego and in NYC. If I get invited to more in the next 12 months I’m more than happy to oblige someone an experience with my dry humor and my naturally perky disposition.

For my friend, the horror writer, Gary Frank, I’ve offered to be a self-imposed booth babe and dress up in Intuitional Memory garb along with vicious copper tubing. Unfortunately, I couldn’t offer him another character to dress up as because I’m a wimp. What? You ask. How can you, Nerd Grrl, fearsome creature be a wimp?

I’m not into horror.

Ask everyone and they’ll tell you I only watch scary movies if I have it on mute and I’ve activated the closed-caption. It doesn’t seem so scary when you read “AAAAAAHHHHH” instead of hearing the scream. No, really. Try it.

When I bought Gary’s book I decided to read it during my meditation vacation in England. In my tent.  AT NIGHT. Yeah, I got to page 9.

It’s been over a month and I’m still scared. When I saw Gary and his wife recently I asked him if he could go through the book and write in parenthesis, wherever applicable, “This is the scary part coming up.”

He stared at me like I had a stack of pancakes on my head.

I love change and reading outside of my genre is definitely a change I’m willing to make and I’m sure that when I find a few hours to myself I’ll finish the book in its entirety (only 388 pages to go) and be too afraid to sleep.  This should make Gary smile since we both know that it’s all in good horrific fun!

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