Saturday, February 22, 2014

Judging

If you'd ask me last month how to get inspired about getting housework done, I'd have told you writing. Not in-the-zone writing, but the kind where you force yourself to sit and stare and reread and type filler to get from point A to point B. You know, the writing that you'll end up deleting next time.

I was wrong. Writing is a great way to get excited about housework, but if you really want to get inspired to scrub things that no one sees anyway, judge a contest. That will get your cleaning motors running. I'm a machine, I tell you!

The good news is that I am plugging through the contest. It's a little awkward because these authors are all just like me - they have a finished book (or four) and are trying to get their work out there. Some submissions have great bones but poor finishing. Some are excellently written but I can't seem to get into the characters. Some draw me in right away... Really, it's just like reading anything -- absolutely subjective to my interests and whims (not counting the poor editing that pulls me right out of a story that might be great).  Being a judge doesn't make me more objective, it just makes me not give up.

Judging has also made me wonder about previous (and current) contests in which I've participated. Are they all judged by schlubbs like me? I mean, what makes my wisdom all that and a can of Coke? Nothing. I'm just another writer plugging away toward my word count and crossing various appendages with the hope that someday, SOMEDAY, it will all pan out. Sigh.

On that note, I can only hope that the people who judge my submissions to various contests give me the attention and honesty I'm giving the submissions in my packet. I may not be the reader that will give them the push they need to get into the world of publication, but I will be thoughtful and apply opinions based on my experiences in this crazy world of writing.

And I will do some more dishes. Who knew the grout around my sink was actually cream colored? I always thought it was brown.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Kryptonite

I can spew one hundred thousand words, but summing it all up in two hundred and fifty is horrible. Seriously, fork in the forehead horrible.

Queries are my kryptonite. Not only are they not good, but I suffer a complete psychological shut down when I even start to think about them. When I force myself to write one, I can't even remember what my story is about. I start babbling and think of alternative things I could have written that would be great in m query. It's bad.

Writing a synopsis is not as bad, but it's not fun either. I took a great class this past summer at RWA13 in Georgia which really broke it down. In fact, when I had to write a synopsis for Golden Heart, it flowed from my finger tips. Of course, some really horrible grammar mistakes also flowed (and remained unnoticed by both myself and my husband). Still, it's the best synopsis I've written (now that, too late, I've fixed it).

I see these online classes about how to write a query. I read Query Shark and nod in agreement at the sage comments therein... but when I try to apply it, I freeze.

Do you have any tricks to writing a query?

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Something New

Today will be my first time attending a creative writing group meeting. I was honored to be invited and really look forward to broadening my experiences here. I have my three copies of ten pages from my current work in progress. I have my layered dip and chips. I'm ready to go.

But I'm seriously nervous. Silly? Maybe. I mean, this is m fifth novel. I'm in RWA and involved in the online writing community. I should know what I'm doing by now, right?

Who knows.

The thing is that this book is different from the others. My others, particularly the historical, were so formal. Yes, I occasionally broke grammar rules for impact, but not a lot. This book, well, all I can say is thank you to Darynda Jones for giving me permission to be snarky.

The first time I wrote a silly deep pov thought, I edited it out right away. Slapping myself for cowardice, I added it once more and kept going. This character is the most real, the most flawed and the most open to love that I've written to day because I am not editing out her stream of consciousness. I love it.

BUT... will the new creative writing group get it? They haven't seen my evolution, so they don't know how hard it was to push myself in this direction. I guess we'll find out today. Besides, all critiques are gifts, right? I don't need them to take me seriously as a writer to know that I am one.

One thing all of my characters have in common is, by the end of their arch, they can find validation from within. I guess I need to work on that. :)

Cheers.
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