Sunday, March 27, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday - Episode Four

This is too much fun!

This snippet is also from RESET.

Last week, we left off with the enigmatic, half human Lewis Hunter experiencing a flashback when he goes to serve a customer in the butcher shop where he works.

“This would make great filets,” I said, pointing to an expensive piece of tenderloin.

She was looking at me - scrutinizing me, a crease deepening between her lovely blue-gray eyes.

I pulled my ball cap further down. She doesn’t know me. She cannot know me.

“Do I…?” Her hand gripped the counter.

Now hurry on over and check out the links to other entries. And next week, why don;t you give SSS a try? Sign up on Wednesday, post your Six before 9 a.m. (Eastern) and that's it! It's a great way to find new friends for Facebook, new writers to follow on Twitter and new blogs to read.

Happy reading!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

CUT! Tightening the Story and Reducing Word Count

I'm so close to finishing my current rewrite of RESET. So close, in fact, that the ending is already written and all I need to do is tie up the last loose ends. (This sounds easy but in fact is not!)

The funny (or depressing) thing about each of these rewrites is that they all felt like a first draft. My characters continue to drop bombs that wreck my plot and I find myself adding or remove entire scenes to have things continually moving forward.

So, yeah.

I've cut a whole lot from that 110,000 word first draft from hell. I mean, seriously, what agent is going to go within a hundred miles of a newbie writer with a 110,000 word paranormal romance manuscript?

You really want to know? Read this post on the subject at Guide to Literary Agents and this one as well as this one at Book Ends, LLC.

This 4th rewrite of my own manuscript is going to top out at approx 85,000 words. I've now crossed off one reason it might be rejected when it comes time to query!

How did I cut 25,000 words? Well, as I said, when my characters dropped those bombs, my plot changed - became tighter. I cut a whole bunch of redundant scenes. I dropped a handful of characters who were unimportant. I dropped a few stages (locations) and merged other world-building stuff together to make the thing a whole lot easier to read.

But doesn't it suck to get rid of all that work?

Doesn't it hurt to know you wrote all those scenes and developed all those extra characters for nothing? No!

Because nothing was written 'for nothing'. In my long-winded first draft, I got to know lots about the world, the characters and the plot... Stuff that's now (I hope) hidden between the lines!

When I begin my read-through and revision of this particular draft, I'll also be looking for ways to tighten my writing, lose useless adjectives and all that editing stuff. Perhaps I'll cut an additional few thousand words. Who knows?

Do you have a really long first draft and now are stumped with how to revise it? Have a look at what Janice Hardy says on her blog (links below). And if you don't regularly read her posts, you should. It's like taking a really amazing online creative writing course... For free!

Happy chopping!

Janice Hardy's posts on word count: HERE, HERE and HERE.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday - Episode Three

So I have not done very well this week on Twitter or Facebook or blogging. However I did get other stuff accomplished and I managed 1000 words every morning on my rewrite of RESET.

Celebrate the little wins, right?

I learned that my first 25 (again, RESET) ended up as Runner Up (4th out of the 5 finalists) in the NTRWA Great Expectations Contest. I could let myself be disappointed with not "placing", especially when I was hoping to be able to at least write "contest winner" in my Query Bio instead of nothing!
(I read on an agent blog - of course can't find the link now -that (agents) don't want to see "my manuscript was runner up in the such and such contest", they want to see "my manuscript won the such and such contest". Not sure how true that is?)
However, for my first stab at a novel, and with zero writing credentials and learning about craft as I bumble along, I'm pretty proud! The Great Expectations contest organizers informed me that there were a record number of entries in my category (Specialized), and that the competition was fierce.

But yeah. I'm so entering more contests!

Okay, on to Six Sentence Sunday! Don't forget to browse through all the other participants' entries. Go HERE for list. Who knows? Perhaps' you'll catch a glimpse of a future million dollar best seller!

Last week, Lewis Hunter (a half human, half... )was just about to serve an unknown customer in his butcher shop. Read back two weeks to see the beginning of Lewis' story.

A woman bundled in hat and scarf was leaning over the refrigerated display case. “What do you suggest?” she asked, turning.

And suddenly my haven was no longer safe.

A hundred images flipped through my mind like an insanely-paced slide show. Lilly lying beside me on the little pebbled beach by the river; Lilly laughing as she chased her dog, trying to pry a ball from his jaws; Lilly standing on tiptoe so she could reach my lips.

Lilly dying.

Happy reading and writing!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday - Episode Two

Happy Daylight Savings Time.

Or not. It's hard losing that hour of sleep! Coffee, coffee, coffee...

This week's SSS installment - an official entry - is again from RESET. This excerpt (almost) follows last week's and we are still in Lewis Hunter's head.

Seeing Lilly thrashing in the throes of her vision, and then risking everything to sit - for those few precious moments - by her bed in the hospital… It had rattled me so much that I forgot my rules about catering to my human half.

“I am human.” It sounded good to say it out loud every so often.

But don’t forget what else you are.

I scowled, nearly cutting off my thumb when the front bell chimed.

Take some time and read through the other entries. You can find the list of links HERE after 9 am Eastern.

Happy reading!

Juggling Skills - or Lack Thereof

ACK! My posts are getting sporadic. I'll try to do better in the next few weeks. Thanks for the new follows. It's fun to see the list grow. When I began this blog, the number of people reading sat at BIG FAT ZERO for months. So, a BIG thank you!

So, yeah. Juggling. I can't do it. My husband can juggle 3 items (soft, round items. Not knives or anything) and he tried to teach me. But I drop stuff. And soft, over-ripe oranges go splat.

And then there's LIFE juggling. You know what I'm talking about. Most of my aspiring writer friends are trying to balance writing (and all that social networking that must accompany it) with a career/day job (usually uber-boring, by comparison), kids/dogs (or both), and any number of other things from a sick, live-in parent, a farm, volunteer work and the list could go on and on.

I am struggling with juggling.

I can barely find the time to get my day job work (luckily, I telecommute) and my farm chores done by the end of the day. Add social networking to the mix (Blogging and commenting on blogs I follow, Tweeting, Facebooking) it seems that writing - the one thing to which I would happily dedicate my whole day seems to be taking a back seat.

Here's what I plan on doing next week. Or, perhaps the week after since I have a big work project over the next several days that will probably throw me for a loop.

1) Try to limit the number of blogs I read/comment on.

Blogging is time consuming. But let's face it. There is a wealth of learning and networking to be had by reading and commenting on blogs. Plus, if you want people to read and follow your own blog, you've absolutely got to do this. I've 'met' a tone of great writer folk through blogs. But, My Follow list is steadily growing. I need to skim titles and read only what catches my eye. Or something.

2) Use Tweetdeck or something to schedule Tweets.

I am a novice Tweeter, but I'm trying. I just find Twitter so time-sucking! Anyone got any other tips? Please let me know!

3) Cross post my Facebook and Twitter updates or at least some) to kill two of those birds with one stone.

4) LIMIT my online Twitter and Facebook time (yes, my posts are woefully infrequent, but I still find myself spending a lot of my time there!)

5) Schedule writing time.

Like exercise, writing won't make time for me. I've got to make time for writing. My muse is at its best anywhere from 3 am to 6 am (with 10 cups of coffee of course). That still gives me time to get farm chores done and hike my dogs (see exercise, above) before I need to sit at The Work Desk. Of course, then I'm wiped by 8 pm!

6) Take a day of from writing once a week.

I know, this seems counter productive. But honestly, my WIP or revisions benefit from a day of not actively thinking about it - that's when most of the questions get answered and problems get solved. Tip: Carry a small notebook and pen with you EVERYWHERE. The answer to your plot problem will come at the most inopportune times!

So, what do you all do to juggle everything? Are you like me, dropping oranges or are you an expert, like Bobby May?

Happy Juggling!

And remember....


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday!

I stumbled across this blog a couple of weeks ago. It's not really a contest, per say, but more a place to share and comment on little snippets of writing. And hey, we can all learn from each other. Though I am not sure how to participate officially, I thought I might participate unofficially, just for fun.

I am struggling to keep up with writing, social networking, our farm and animals and a new job, but I hope I'll get back into the groove again when I've got my new routine down. (Gah, someone please give me Twitter tips - I really, really suck at Twitter!) In the meantime, this will be an easy way to ensure at least a weekly blog post!

This week's Six Sentence Sunday "entry" is from RESET (currently undergoing huge rewrite #3). This one tells us something about Lewis Hunter, the hero (who in my head looks exactly like Alex Pettyfer *swoon*).

Melvin Hunter’s Butcher Shop, established 1934, was both haven and prison.

It was a haven for my anonymity; this was not a place a girl like Lilly took a second glance at a man. Even if she ever set foot inside the door, which was about as likely as me turning vegan, she would just see a guy in a green ball cap and a bloodstained apron.

It was a prison for the very same reason, and I was on self-directed lockdown. At least I had an unlimited supply of steak. Yesterday, I hadn’t even bothered cooking it at all.

Thanks for reading! Hey, why not give Six Sentence Sunday a try yourself? Comment and link your SSS below!