January 10, 2010

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… Literally. I was unable to talk above a whisper yesterday. Even now, my voice is all scratchy and it hurts to talk.

Being without a voice gave me pause and made me think about what it would be like to lose my writing voice: Not much fun.

Some writers struggle to find their voices. Not me. I’ve always known where mine was. For as long as I can remember, people have told me I write like I talk. They can hear my “voice” in the words on the paper. In fact, I once got an e-mail from a guy who wanted to meet me because liked my  column in the newspaper. (No romance developed, but we became friends.)

Not much has been happening on the writing front. I’m still working on that query — I think the tables are about to turn so I can start kicking its butt. (About time. I’m tired of feeling battered and bruised.) I’m also about to print out “Blind Date Bride” so I can read through it and start editing.

Our NARWA meeting is a little less than a week away, on Jan. 16. I’m excited for that. It always gives me a writing nudge.

December 27, 2009

Progress, Query Letters

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With the holidays looming, I took a brief hiatus from the blog. Even though I didn’t blog about a darn thing, I continued writing — or at least thinking about writing.

That’s half the battle, isn’t it? By thinking about that darn query letter, I’m getting that much closer to getting it written.

Okay, maybe not. Right now I feel like my query letter has dragged me behind the building and is pushing my face into a snowbank while it kicks my a$$. But I feel certain I’m about to turn the tables and whip that bad boy into shape.

Even though I haven’t accomplished much on my query letter yet, I did manage to get more editing done on Cassie & Dustin’s story (the second in the series that also contains my 2009 GH entry). I think the head-hopping is now a thing of the past. (Of course, so are about 5,000 more words. I think the MS now sits at about 43K … so there’s more rewriting to be done.)

It never ends, does it? I certainly hope not.

P.S.: I also spent some time putting together the newest issue of High Country Highlights, the newsletter for Northern Arizona RWA. I’m looking to zap it out to members very soon now.

December 19, 2009

Progress, quest

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I’ve set “Blind Date Bride” aside for a couple of weeks, letting it rest before I start editing. But now I’m at a bit of a loss. What next?

I have other manuscripts I could be editing/rewriting/expanding, including the two that follow my GH entry. (It’s part of a three-book series, “The Women of Willow’s Grove.”) Both are at least 10,000 words too short for a  category romance, and they need other help.

There are also two unrelated stories — one set in Indiana, one in Arizona — that are both about one-third written. Started after I joined NARWA, they don’t need as much in the way of life support …

But what I think I really need to do is start looking for an agent. That means sending Brad and Erin’s story out into the big, bad world. And that, of course, will involve writing a query letter.

That’s where the title of this post comes in. Even though it’s short, I’ve come to the conclusion that a query letter is quite possibly the hardest piece of the puzzle to write. Yes, harder even than the dreaded synopsis.

Why? Your query has to catch an agent or editor’s attention, conveying the heart and soul of your story, along with its tone. Emphasizing your qualifications, if you have any, isn’t a bad idea, either.

And it all has to be done in a single page.

That’s a difficult — but not impossible — task. I think I’m up to the challenge. I’d better be, if I expect to ever see publication.

December 8, 2009

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I only went to bed three hours ago, but when the Boyfriend called this morning on his way to work, I was too excited to go back to sleep.

Why? I finished “Blind Date Bride” early this morning. It was about 5 a.m. After an early night at work (due to the blizzard, we cleared the paper by 9 p.m. — why can’t we do that EVERY night?), I headed back to the house to write.

At first, I sat with the laptop on my lap while I watched TV. Then, at 11 p.m., the satellite dish went out. It was just me, the laptop and iTunes on the computer.

I was on a roll. Since Kelly helped me talk through my Black Moment, and I already knew exactly how I wanted it to end (with a wedding — a real one, to contrast with the TV-network-hosted one at the book’s start), I just kept going … and going … and going.

Like the Energizer Bunny, I wrote, until — at a little before 5 a.m., I thought the momentous words “The End.” 90,300 words, 334 pages double-spaced in Times New Roman.

My question? What do I do now? I’ve  been so focused on finishing this thing that I’m at a bit of a loss.

I think I’m going to set it aside for a few days at least, and then give it a good read-through so I can start editing.

Today, since I’m not driving anywhere, I bake! I have several batches of WW-friendly cookies planned. (Originally I’d planned to bake AND write. Maybe I’ll work on one of the other two WIPs on my computer … or start working on that query letter for my GH entry, “Operation Snag Mike Brad.”

So many options … and the rest of the week stretches before me, a “staycation” on my schedule. I’m off through the weekend. Woo-hoo!