Sunday, September 23, 2007

Just Keep Going

I was on a roll on the new book, "The Pardy Boys," the first book in a series I want to write. It's the 'through' book I'm working on while letting "The Abominable Plan of Dr. Rasp" sit and get read. I was tooling along at a really great clip when I suddenly ran out of outline mid-book. What now? How will I keep going? But I did it, I just kept going.

It wasn't very comfortable at first because I was in limbo. Certain decisions had to be made that would affect the entire series of books. I began back-tracking, landscaping, looking forward and back, charting. I even went out of my outline form into an excel spreadsheet. Oh God, it was proctrastination, time-wasting, dilly-dallying. But began to pay off. The wandering, meandering, lost-feeling journeying started to go from hydra-esque split roads back onto a single path.

In two days I'd gone from a roadblock to a road map. I had plots for all six books, and a throughline that connected them all. Not every 'i' is dotted, not every 't' crossed, but that would be procrastination. Now I'm ready to just keep going, and I did it by trusting that staying at the page would take me somewhere, and not letting myself off the hook because it seem too big a task.
When Is It Done?

Books are not like a bird in the oven, you can't just stick a fork in it to see when it's "done". I recently read that Hemingway said "A book is never done, it's just due." And that gave me some relief. I know when I'm headed in the right direction, but sometimes I'm not sure it's finished. But having it due is important. And any amound of due will do. I recently finished a draft of a kid's book I'm working on. "The Abominable Plan of Dr. Rasp" is something I've been thinking about for a long time. But only when you print it and have a place to send it does it seem real. Having to find young readers and send it out helped make it tangible for me. Spelling errors lept off the page. Chapter headings were suddenly so obviously in dire need of renaming. It seemed messy and awkward and just not ready to send out at all. And that's when I realized it was the perfect time to send it out.

It needs commentary, opinion. It needs someone to love it, someone to hate it, and someone to stop reading because 'it just wasn't for them.'

So off it's gone. And now it's in the trough. I'm waiting for responses, not ready quite yet to needle people about why I didn't get a response on the first day saying 'I LOVED it, you're a genius. I'll settle for 'yes, I read it.'
Death of an Idea

I gave something up. For a while. A novel I'd worked on for about a year. It's too hard to say that I gave up on it forever. But I think the idea just won't work. (sniff. whimper.) But I also feel relieved, and that seems to point to my decision being the right one. If I was still fighting for it, then maybe it would be a sign that it's still alive, but I've already moved on to other projects and haven't even thought about "A Night in the Park" once.

Knowing when something isn't working is just as important as knowing when it is. The project was a struggle, trying to shoehorn in too many characters, too many plot points, too many loose threads. Can one even 'shoe-horn' a 'loose thread'?

So it's on to better, more fulfilling projects.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Because you can never be too insecure, I'm now worried about what to send in and how. I've had a website for about two years, but now that two agents are interested in material, I'm suddenly seeing every blemish for the first time. I'm convinced that if I don't have it all ready and perfect now, now, now, that I'll never get another chance.
It's odd how prepared I am to write, and how totally unprepared I am for the business of submitting and publishing. There is this idea floating around that publishers only want polished shelf-ready manuscripts. But the agents I spoke to said they would be willing to work with authors to polish the work before submission. Still, I hesitate to submit any but the most finished work lest I put a bad foot forward. But I laugh at myself becasue I always dreamed of this moment, the moment where I had agents I was interested in and who are interested in me. And now that it's here, I'm second guessing every decision, losing sleep, and generally freaking out. Hire an editor? Let the agent see the rough manuscript? Buy runstones and cast them before the full moon, or wait for Mercury to leave retrograde?
Either way, I'm moving forward and it's exciting to know that at least what I'm pitching verbally is interesting enough for an agent to request. Now for synopses of books, polishing of short stories, and the redux of a website that took me months to build. Maybe simpler is the way to go. All the sold authors have are the books they've finished. One page with a few pages describing each book. But as an unsold novelist, I'm trying to gain readers. Still, maybe it's overkill. Oh to have one book and just sell it. Variety is not really helping at this point. Wah! Panic! Maelstrom of doubt!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


The second International Thriller Writer's Conference is over, but it's shockwaves will be felt for months. Ok, that's the thriller writer talking. But seriously. I planned for a year, saved for six months, and all to prepare for one intense week of New York. I met a couple of agents with a promising interest in pitches I gave, met more writers, saw some great panels and learned more than I could cram into my brain; hence a very full notebook, the notes from which I vow to type up before the week is out. (Confession: last year's note are still in a notebook somewhere.)

My search for an editor for "A Night in the Park" was very mixed. Some people asked why I'd need one, others recommended doing whatever it took to get the book out, and one agent said that most agents will edit as part of representation.

I'm daunted, overwhelmed and inspired by return. My house seems messier, my life more complicated, my writing less accomplished. But the dishes and bills and dust can wait. I'm writing as soon as I log off this entry.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Yeah, this is what it feels like sometimes. Back went out (see personal blog), and I feel like I'll never finish this book. So what am I doing instead? I'm blogging. But my argument is that it gets the juices flowing, right? I'm already "writing" if my hands are on the keyboard, fingers flying. Once I finish blogging, I'm all limbered up and ready to hop on over to the novel, right? Yes, definitely.

I did publish again and I can't believe I didn't announce it joyously to the world atop my apartment building. My friend Emily hooked me up with a friend of hers who does a lot of magazine work. A new "alternative marriage magazine" called Bond was looking for some writing. It ended up being a 95 word piece on the "threshold" marriage custom, you know the on where the groom carries the bride... across the threshold. The magazine looks fantastic and I really loved the experience. Their next issue will be out of London, and I'm sure they're going to be flying me over for a piece on Madonna and Guy Ritchie's untraditional situation. Well, that's what I'm pitching them anyway.

The novel, it has to be done by July 8th because that's when I'm leaving for the 2nd Int'l Thriller Writers conference in NYC. Whether it will actually be finished or not, who knows. But it's good to have goals, escpecially when you're procrastinating by blogging. The plan is to re-pitch it to the agents I met last year, pitch it to new agents I meet this year, and come out with representation. I will leave the steno pool!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I'm getting published.
Small journal called Adventures for Women.
Piece is called "House of Plenty."
Read it and give me some feedback.