26 June 2013

Must. Write. Now.

I just came up with the best book idea EVER!  Anything to keep myself from editing the book I've already written, right?

No, but seriously, it's the best idea ever. I have it plotted and everything after only 2 hours of fiddling with it. I need to clone myself.  That's all there is to it.

20 June 2013

Anything you can do, I can do better

Today is all about procrastinating.  Have I worked on my manuscript? No. Have I started getting ready to go into work tonight? No. Have I started folding those clothes that are piled mountain high on my bed? Ha! No.

I could tell you what I have done today. I submitted homework online (phew) and I have played on Google.

In my eternal quest to be the best erotic romance writer ever, I have googled all sorts of things that I have little to no understanding of. For example:

- Do I need an agent?
- What do I need to do in order to get published?
- How do I beef up my writing resume?
- Are there any writing contests out there?

I found answers that I expected. Do I need an agent? The answer is no, but I will probably want one. What do I need to do in order to get published? This question had an easy answer - finish the damn manuscript (like I didn't know that already). How do I beef up my writing resume? Publish shit. Are there any writing contests out there? Bunches.

What I was most intrigued by was the contests. Maybe it's just because I'm naturally a competitive person and have been accused of being a perfectionist by *cough* a few people. I compete with myself and with other people - other writers, in this case.

And here comes the trip down memory lane...

When I was young (I can't remember how old, but I think around the ripe old age of twelve) and wanted desperately to write for Harlequin, I submitted an entry into one of their romance competitions.

Was it a finished work? No. Was it good? It was laughable, honestly. But the point was, I did it. I found the call for submissions by doing what I always do - surfing the net. And I thought, if someone else can do this, then so can I. If a person can sit down and string words together and somehow manage to produce a publishable work, then why shouldn't I be able to do the same thing? After all, isn't that what a story is essentially? Words?

It wasn't until I was much older and slightly wiser that I realized that writing was a bit more than that.  Just because I was able to read at that age, didn't mean that I was able to write, but I did it anyway. Not because I was good, but because I enjoyed it.

I can't remember exactly what I produced, but it was terrible. I wrote exactly what was required for the submission and tried to even put in a sexual punch (like I said before, laughable). I printed it out, shoved it into an envelope and dropped it in the mailbox, my mind humming with delusions of grandeur. They were going to love what I had written. I was going to be offered a huge book deal. I was going to make millions and everyone was going to be impressed that a twelve year old was able to produce such a masterful piece of literary genius.

Six to eight weeks later, I got a response.

"Thank you for your submission. The winners are as follows." Was my name on that list? Um, no. Did I let it get me down? Nah. I went right back inside, sat down at that old POS computer and wrote something else. That one sucked too, but that's not the point. I was going to be better eventually. One day Harlequin would be begging me to write for them and I had better start practicing now so I could have an edge later.

Well, sixteen years later and Harlequin still doesn't know my name. My tastes have changed slightly and now I lean more towards the erotic rather than the old school virginal love stories and have started to replace things like "quivering member" with "stiff cock". But one thing remains - the quest to be better.

So, today while I was googling and stumbled upon a site that listed dozens of active competitions, by brain started humming again. Maybe I've reached the point in my life - and my manuscript - where I can try again and submit to another competition.

Why the hell not?

What I want to know: Has there ever been a point in your life where you have finally decided to try again? Were you successful? And if you weren't, what did you do next?

13 June 2013

Ready to Edit - FINALLY!

It took me longer than I wanted, but I finally finished the rough copy of the first book in my series.  And what followed was a long sigh of relief...

I write in Scrivener, so I went ahead and compiled the document into Word to see what I was dealing with.  It ended up being 286 pages that still need to be edited (yikes!).  So any relief I was feeling before is now gone.  How am I supposed to find the time and the energy to sit down and go through page after page after page...?

Writers have done it before with much larger works than mine.  Poor Tolstoy managed to find the energy to edit "War and Peace", so why can't I?  After all my book shouldn't put me into a comatose state like "War and Peace" and "Anna Karenina" did.  Where there's a will, there's a way.  (Go Tolstoy for rocking it out!)

I also have the most amazing friends who have been pushing me to finish this since I began brain storming last summer.  They sat there and didn't strangle me when I went on for hours and hours and hours, trying to figure out the most minute details of my plot and story world.  And when I started going on and on about the genetic code of warlocks, they didn't unfriend me from Facebook or set my computer on fire.  That's love and support right there. 

Now is the point in time where I will use their input more than ever before.  There are a bunch of people willing to help me edit (once I go through it myself once or a dozen times) and all of whom bring something unique to the table.  Some people have even read the rough copy several times, gave me all sorts of ideas, and then didn't kill me when I trashed what they had just read.  Some are avid readers of the genre I write who have unwavering opinions about how these types of books need to be written.  Others are sticklers for grammar and are able to identify the passive voice is an instant (and will yell at me about it).

So, now that you've read all of my mumbo jumbo, the SparkNotes version is this:  With the right friends, anything is possible and with my friends, editing shouldn't send me into full on panic mode because they have my back.  It will be a breeze.  ;)

04 June 2013

Racing Toward the Finish

Hey all,

Today I find myself racing toward the finish line.  Another 10k words or so and I'll be completed with the first draft of my first book.  Awesome, right?  I think so.

Getting through 7k words in a day has never been an issue for me as long as I have the time, the right playlist and minimal distractions (I'm sorry Facebook, but you're going to have to go away today).  Pushing it to 10k+ is doable as long as I'm chugging away at full speed over the next 10-12 hours.

So, here's the problem(s).  Tomorrow is the first day of the summer semester.  Yay!  And on day one, we have our first test which is double the fun.  Over the past few weeks I've basked in the glory of having all of this free time to work and write.  Now I get to add school to the list of stuff I have to do yet again.  Hooray...

Since this is the last day of my summer vacation, I feel like finishing the book is even more important (not worried about the test - I know my shit).  With that in mind, I sit down in front of my computer screen, crack my knuckles and prepare for many hours of writing.  And I'm blocked.  F*cking fantastic.

The way I see it, I have two (maybe three) options.

Option 1:  I could walk away and give the book a rest until the summer semester ends because, let's face it, writing when I'm supposed to be studying is never a good idea.  But do I really want to put off finishing my story for another 8 weeks?  Um, no.  Not to mention that's just difficult.  I have the feel of the story now and to put it off only means that it's going to be that much more difficult to get back into it.

Option 2:  I could sit here and try to figure out what's blocking me.  Is it that I don't know where the scene is supposed to go?  Yes and no.  Am I sad because I've invested so much time and energy into this story and these characters that now as I approach the end, it's just going to be hard to say goodbye?  Maybe.  But really, what choice do I have?  I have to finish or I'll just be repeating the same thing I've done countless times before.  Starting and stopping.  And everyone knows how far that's taken me.

Option 2.5:  In addition to figuring out what's blocking me, I could sit here and just pound out something.  ANYTHING.  After all, editing is done for a reason.  I know how the book is going to end, but as of right now, it is getting there that is the problem.  Perhaps bullshitting my way through for now is what I'm going to have to do and then fix it later.  Fingers crossed, maybe in doing that I'll figure out what works and what doesn't and thus break through the block.

Wish me luck.

01 June 2013

The Birds and the Bees

I was lurking on the internet this morning and reading various threads on different websites, including one that was asking the age old question: How do you feel about your parents reading your sex scenes?

And in all honesty, I shudder to think about it.

Let me make myself perfectly clear here.  I'm not embarrassed by the sex scenes I write.  I'm good with anyone and everyone reading them and knowing that I put them out there - except my parents. 

I'm in my late twenties and have a child, yet I still like to sometimes pretend that I have no idea what sex is.  (Q: "What do you mean you're pregnant?", A: "Sorry Dad but I have no idea how that happened.  My boyfriend must have just sneezed in my direction.  I should have picked up some more tissues when we were out..."  You get the point.) 

Obviously my parents know I'm full of shit and choose to love me anyway, but maybe I'm not giving them enough credit.  Do I think my dad would brag to the neighborhood gossip about my book, letting them know what awesome sex I write?  Doubtful.  But do I think he would brag to that same person that his amazing, smart and beautiful daughter just published her first novel?  Absolutely.  And do I think he'd care what she thought when she opened up said novel and read those explicit scenes?  Hell no.

And my mom's response?  She'd probably tell all her girlfriends to go pick up a copy and want to know when I plan on taking her out for a celebratory pedicure.

So maybe my hangups on letting them read those scenes are my own. 

Because when it comes down to it, my parents are my parents and they love me regardless of what I do and sometimes because of it.  If I were lucky enough one day to get published, they'd celebrate it not hide in shame because their only child sells love and sex for a living.  And that's why I have the best parents in the world.

And to hell with what the old bat down the road thinks.