August 23, 2011

Just Beta Readers and Stuff Like That...No Biggie

It's happening.

"What's happening?" you ask?

Last year, Annette Lyon described the process of getting published as "Wait wait wait wait wait deadline OH CRAP!"

I have been waiting for that last part for a very long time and with great anticipation.

GRACE & CHOCOLATE has a deadline. I've been working on edits for the last two weeks, a process about which I will blog soon, and just now began sending off the revised copy to beta readers. BETA READERS. Up to this point, I've only BEEN a beta reader. Once. It was awesome (*see Rob Wells' VARIANT).

Now, I get to HAVE beta readers.

I'm very excited. Giddy, in fact.

"What is a beta reader?" you ask? Well, I've found that it can be different for different authors. For me, when I write a first draft, I self-edit 2-3 times, then have my writing group and an online crit-partner read it. These are my alpha readers. I also send it to my mom and she cries. In a good way. I'm pretty sure.

Then, after I get their feedback, I rewrite, revise, fix, switch, add, take-away, and self-edit all over again. Then, I submit. And then, the book is accepted. HA. Actually, that's happened. Three times.

It's pretty awesome.

THEN, my editor is FINALLY given the go ahead to start working on my novel. YAY. She made all kinds of line edits and suggestions for clarity and strength and that was very interesting and stressful yadda yadda, she sent it back to me. I worked with all of her feedback and now, before I send it back to her, I need to know it looks good. No, I need to know it looks AMAZING.

Enter BETA READERS. *claps hands* *throws confetti*

So like I said, it's a little different for every author. I'm just really happy to have reached this point. Just think, any time now, I'll be yelling, "OH CRAP!"

(My mom doesn't like me to use that word.)

I can't wait.

August 13, 2011

Why I Play Games

Last night I listened to my favorite podcast (okay, I only listen to two, and the podcasters are my friends, but it's still my favorite), The Appendix, and as usual, they ended the episode with a writing prompt challenge to listeners. Now, when they issue the challenge, Robison Wells, one of the hosts, always says something like, "Now we have something for our lovely listeners," and I always think, "Well, that's me." Not because I'm egocentric, but because I'm the only listener to accept the writing prompt challenge in the comment box. I don't know if listeners make the attempt on a notepad at home, or if they think about what they might do with the crazy prompts, or if they roll their eyes and think, "Those crazy kids," and get on with writing their manuscripts or updating Twitter. I even thought that maybe nobody else posted their challenge story because I took up too much space or ideas or something, so I stopped for a while. Go ahead. Go look.

Nope. Nobody else plays the game and posts it in the comment box. So...does that make me weird? Well, that's always up for debate, but here's the thing:


When I first joined a writing group, we started our meeting with a writing prompt, fifteen minutes on a timer, paper and pen. We worked individually, quietly. It got our juices flowing, had us connecting seemingly impossible ideas, resolving problems, and opened up fun, provoking, haunting ideas in our heads.

One of my favorite games was choosing 5 random words out of a dictionary, writing them on the board (with their definitions if necessary), and then having to use them in our short story. That made for some pretty crazy ideas. We laughed a lot, and everybody's ideas were amazingly different.

I have a less structured writing group now, and we don't do the writing prompts, so I look forward to the games on The Appendix. They clear my head, especially if I've been at a long edit or I'm stuck in my WIP. Answering a crazy writing prompt reminds me I can do other things, allows me to laugh at myself, makes me stretch and try things I haven't yet, and then wonder, "Can I do that?" I've considered writing in other genres because of writing prompt challenges.

Some of my favorites are pretty goofy, but I was smiling as I wrote them. They're rough. I don't write them on paper first and then copy them into the comment box. I just go for it and maybe go back a couple times to make something connect, but it's pretty much an online freewrite. A risk, I know, but isn't that practice, too? If I can post this stuff up for anyone to see, I can certainly post the stuff I refine, put my whole heart into. So go ahead, go check them out. Remember, PRETTY GOOFY. But also short. Please remember that certain characters, items, or plot ideas HAD to be included.

Expected Wedding Gifts Online giving is so much easier.
LotR Fan Fiction Dragons, anyone?
Murder at Whiskey River Gulchwater Creek A mystery in the old west.
Casting Aspersions This was a fun one. I take some liberties using our hosts as characters. Arrr.
The Tortoise and the Ostrich A Tall-Tale. Move over Paul Bunyan. A little more. A little more.
Thank You, Thank You Very Much A wig can make all the difference.

There are more on other episodes, but don't just read comments. Listen to the podcast. I'm learning a lot from those three hooligans.

My best writing game story? I mean a story about what happened from accepting a writing prompt challenge? I'm not sure I remember the prompt, but I think it was "Martha Stewart gets an unexpected visitor" or something like that. I wrote a story about a frazzled perfectionist woman who'd had a bad day and was about to leave to tackle another necessary errand, then opened the door to find a unexpected visitor on her doorstep: her younger runaway sister, who was crying. The story itself wasn't one of my best, or even one of my favorites.

But the idea became a major plot point two years later when I wrote my fifth novel, my first published novel, GRACE & CHOCOLATE, coming in 2012, through Covenant Communications, Inc.

So maybe you can understand why I'm sold on writing prompt games. You just never know.

August 9, 2011

I'm Still Here!

Hey LOOK! I have a BLOG! And it's darn well past time I get back to it. What is this, SUMMER VACATION? Shyeah right. Like THAT would ever keep me from my BLOG. *looks around*

So, what have you all been up to? I think I officially dropped out of the Summer Poetry Challenge. There is just too much going on and I need my memory capabilities running at full capacity. I did enjoy it, though, and I'm sure the exercise strengthened that part of my brain. A B C D E F G ... see?

So, what is keeping me so busy, you ask? Life, family, house, garden, kids, yadda yadda yadda. But I do have some news on the writing front.

Right this very MINUTE (okay, maybe sometime today) my EDITOR is working on GRACE & CHOCOLATE!!!! Real live edits by MY EDITOR! On MY book! And then, next week, she's going to send them to me! And after I have a small anxiety attack, I work on those edits! THIS IS THE NEXT STEP, PEOPLE! AAAAAAUGH! *spins in spinny desk chair* It will be so GREAT to be doing something after all this time!!!!! And I really LOVE this story!!!!! Can't wait for you to read it.

Also, I received the final proof of my story, AFTON'S SNOW, in my publisher's (Covenant) true Christmas stories anthology. It was beautiful! Scrolly lettering for the title with some flourish and then my story with page numbers in the corners and everything! So look for that this Christmas! I'll keep you posted.

Until I get the G&C edits, I'll continue working on the REMNANT revision. I'm halfway through, and hit a major milestone in realigning a battle scene that used to jump all over the place. Still not losing as much as I need to (it was 734 pages, now 723, needs to be about 650), but it's coming along. It's such a different project than the others, but still has a strong romance story. I haven't been able to work on it in a week, but I need to get through as much as I can before things really kick off with GRACE & CHOCOLATE. WOOHOO!

Dang, it's good to be back.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...