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The Writing Spectacle

The musings of one writer about her craft, the spectacle of writing, and life in general.

Updated: 2018-03-07T17:50:39.271-06:00




From now on, all new posts will be at The Writing Spectacle II. I look forward to seeing you all there.

Thank you.

-B.E. Sanderson

An Ending and A New Beginning


The time has come for I-shrugged to bow out of my writerly existence. It's served me well these past few years, but as I was laying there thinking about my career and my future as a writer, I realized that it's not pertinent to what I am as a writer.

So, as i-shrugged.blogspot withers into nothingness, a new Writing Spectacle is born. If you enjoyed reading what I had to say here, please follow me over there for more musings, rants and daily affirmations of my sanity (or lack thereof).

Fear not, though. This blog will remain (it has to - I'm linking to it) in perpetuity - or at least until Blogger tells me I can't have it anymore. The Agent Sites post will still be there for those who need it, as well as all the other important stuff. I'm just switching locations to give myself a better - and more writerly - place to live.

I'm also going to try and give you more intelligent and useful posts than I have in the past. I'm going to try to get out there and network more. And who knows, if my readership grows, I may even try to get some guest bloggers every now and then. (Time will tell about that.)

In short, what I'm trying to do here is give myself a jumpstart. A new blog and a new attitude for the rest of the year and the years to come. Come along with me and see what the future holds.

Almost Human


Well, if that wasn't an adventure, I don't know what is. After a mistaken belief that I was over the worst of it on Tuesday, Wednesday arrived and showed me what the worst of it could be. I wouldn't wish that crud on my worst enemy. (Well, maybe... I know that in my illness induced daydreams I did consider going over to a certain person's house and licking his doorknobs. If anyone deserves this, he does.)

The only upside to laying on the couch hour after hour, trying not to wish for death, is this:

It gave me a chance to think about things. Perhaps all that thinking has shaken some things loose. Hard to tell as I'm still a little muzzy-headed. I do know that things haven't been right with the writing yet this year, so I think I need to shake things up. (If that makes any sense.)

I'll reveal all in the days to come. (Or as much of 'all' as I have figured out at this point.)

Hope all of you are well, and things are peachy-keen in your worlds. =o)

I've Got It Too*


Sorry about the silence, but whatever my family has, I got too. (Though nowhere near as bad. Yet.)

So, between taking care of them, and trying not to cough up a lung, and taking over my daughter's dish duties (without which we wouldn't have clean bowls for soup), and laying on the couch storing energy for the next task, I've been lax online.

Of course it doesn't help that I can't think of a damn thing to say that doesn't involve whining. You don't want to hear it, and I don't want to either.

Hope y'all have a great day, and here's hoping I'm somewhere near normal soon.

*Ever see Muppet Treasure Island? It's from the "Cabin Fever" production number.

Overheard on the Street


Overheard just now. Three teenage girls walking down the sidewalk. Before I can even see them I hear one talking on her cell phone...

"I miss you already... What do you mean you don't care that I miss you?... Tell me you miss me too... I'm not hanging up until you tell me you miss me... Tell me you miss me... Tell me you miss me!" (Keep in mind this started halfway up the next block and was still in progress at the other end of my block.)

Is it just me or should she have done consulting for the movie "How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days"?



Greetings from what I am jokingly referring to as 'The Plague House'. Whatever crud is making its way across the continent has landed here.

I don't have it. Yet.

Hubby does, and dearest daughter came down with it this morning.

If you have it, you have my deepest sympathies. In honor of this situation, I am making chicken soup. (And with all the flu supplies I bought, the pharmaceutical companies should be sending me a gift basket.)

Good luck out there.

Putting Customer Service Back into the Chain Store


Yesterday when I was at Borders, I was approached by an employee with a book in her hands. Now I was in the middle of using their computer to find some of the books on my list, and at first I thought she was going to be the third person to ask me if I needed any help. Instead she started talking to me about the book in her hands. (Sorry, I don't remember the title - but it was women's fiction, and I'm just not that into it.) After I gave her my standard 'thanks but no thanks', I started thinking about what it was she was doing.

And even if it started out a little annoying, I realized it was a great idea. I thanked her for the effort (nicely, of course) and she said it was a new thing they were doing at their store - choosing books they liked and talking to patrons about them. Afterwards we got to chatting, and she brought me another book she liked - because she asked if I'd heard of it, and I had. I didn't end up buying that book either, but I did end up buying a couple more books because of her and her co-worker. They were both so helpful and friendly. Well frankly it shocked the heck out of me.

Those two gals brought customer service back to a big chain store. Usually when I hit Borders, I just want to get my books and be left alone. After ten minutes I feel typically like every employee has asked me if I needed help - in that 'I really don't want to help you, but I have to ask' way they have. These ladies were serious, and they were helpful. The other gal - not the one with the book recommendations - actually went into the back to find me two books that were in stock but hadn't been shelved yet. She and I got to talking about The Dresden Files and she recommended a similar series I'd never heard of (and plan on buying on my next go round).

If I remember correctly, Borders is having troubles right now. Last year there was talk of them going out of business, and in a way, I can see why. They don't stock nearly as much as B&N and as I said, their employees are usually annoying. It's hard to stay in business that way, but if they can just up the number of helpful, friendly employees, they might just make it through this economy.

They just need to clone those two ladies, or at least have them give pointers to everyone else.

Oh, and I do need to give a shout out to the cashier there as well. She was just a friendly and helpful, and she made my daughter's day by complimenting her on her dagger necklace.

Wouldn't it be great if people like that were the only kinds we ran into when we shopped?

Book Jamboree


I did it. I admit it. I bought too many books today - and I didn't even scratch the surface of my list.

Okay, so I'm not exactly contrite about it. I love books. If it wouldn't destroy the pristine covers, I would throw them on the floor and roll around in them. (And I like to keep my books as pristine as possible for as long as possible. I'm demented that way.)

Anyway, I loved the shopping, hated the driving, and had a nice lunch while I was in a real town with real restaurants. What I didn't love was the fact that Borders was out of several titles I wanted. If I'd driven another half-hour, I could've been to B&N and gotten them - I just know it. (Mainly because I saw some of them there on my last trip.) I'm currently working through the backlist for Lynn Viehl's StarDoc series, and while I have read the last two, I've only read the first one. Totally chaps my hide.

On the upside, I discovered a new (to me) bookstore, and found a couple books I didn't know I wanted. And it was only five minutes from Borders - toward home - so no extra driving. Yay.

So now I'm pooped, but satisfied. In my TBR stack now are:

Highlander Outlaw by Monica McCarty!! Finally. I almost screamed because I thought Borders was out. Then I realized it was shelved with the new fiction instead of the rest of the series.

The third book and the newest book from the Dresden Files. (Working through that backlist, too.)

Two books by Anton Stroud. (I don't remember who recommended him on their blog, but thank you.)

The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance

The Killer Year anthology

Just to name a few. There may be more, but the titles escape me and the bag is in with my sleeping husband.

What are you reading right now, or what are you waiting for the release date of?

Spring Ahead


It's that time again, ladies and gents. Time to turn your clock ahead one hour.

Personally, I hate this daylight savings thing. It had its purpose when the business of America was primarily agriculture. Now it's just outlived its usefulness. I mean, really, what do we need it for anymore?

This one is always worse for me than the Fall one. Something about getting up an hour early every morning and trying to go to bed an hour early kills me. I'll be dragging ass for a week or so. *shrug* Stuff happens, so I need to just get over it.

How does your body adjust to the time changes? Everything go fine for you, or are you like me? And what do you think about the idea of getting rid of the daylight savings thing all together?

Taking the Plunge


I took the plunge (as well as Kristen's advice) and joined the Romance Divas forum yesterday. After spending time both last night and today reading posts and acquainting myself with the site, I jumped in and posted. So far, so good.

Seems like a nice group of writers, and sans flaming or crabbing or general snertiness. Yay. If you haven't been there, check it out. Lots of interesting information, and camaraderie, and writerly-ness.

Considering how my last two forays into writers' forums turned out, wish me luck. Although I don't think I'll need it. I'm just going to be good and not get involved in flame wars (not that I think there will be any - the mods keep a tight rein from what I see).

Eclectic Post


First off I'd like to vent a bit about the book distributor for my area. They went belly-up and I haven't seen new books at the local stores for weeks. Weeks without new books! I'm seriously jones'n. This means that despite the fact Monica McCarty's latest hot Highlander book has hit the bestseller list, I haven't gotten a copy yet. Wah.

In happier news, I'm going to a real bookstore next week, and Borders should have a copy. It's on my shopping list along with eight other titles (so far - I may not be done writing the list yet). By this time next week, I should be happily surrounded by new reading material. It's just a shame I have to go out of town to buy books*.

As for writing, a read an interesting post this morning over at Karin Tabke's blog. She had a guest blogger by the name of Charlotte Featherstone, who wrote about staying true to yourself and to your characters. The hero of her recently published book Addicted could be considered unsympathetic (because he's an opium addict), and because of this I have no doubt she had one hell of a time getting it published. But she had to write him that way in order to remain to true to the story. Good reminder to us all, and a very positive note for those of us yet to be published. Gives me a bit of hope that maybe someday someone will want to read Caldera even though Myke's been called unsympathetic. (Which I totally don't see. I love her personality. Not that she's an addict or anything like that. She's just focused, and driven, and she doesn't suffer incompetence lightly - which can come off as bitchy sometimes.)

Another happy note: I got the last edit notes from my beta reader this morning! Yay. Her comments really made my morning. Nothing like hearing she had a tough time reading for edits when the story kept sucking her in and making her forget she was supposed to be beta reading. I'll be working on her suggestions this weekend, in addition to trying to get the synopsis written. With any luck, I'll be ready to start submitting soon. And this time maybe getting an agent.

Wouldn't that be loverly?

What are your thoughts on this fine pre-Spring day? Ever written or read a supposedly unsympathetic character that you just connected with? Any positive news to share?

*Yes, I can buy books online. I just love the bookstore experience too much.

Page by Page


You may have noticed I changed my word meter to reflect pages edited rather than chapters. The reason for this change is simple.

Nano is giving me fits.

Usually when I sit down to edit, I do it chapter by chapter. Sometimes I get more than one chapter edited in a night, but when the editing is slow, I just get one finished. With Nano, I'm lucky if I get a partial chapter done in an editing session.

Take last night for instance. I got eight pages done, and even those I'm not completely happy with. Chapter Four is the chapter where I really introduce the hero. (He's mentioned in a couple other chapters, but he doesn't make his POV debut until #4.) And I don't think I really have him down yet. I'm getting there. He's becoming a real person in my head. But I'm not there yet.

So anyway, I'm having to rewrite whole paragraphs and scenes to make Jack more alive on paper. Which is slowing me down to page by page editing. Maybe on the next round of edits, it'll all be easier again. (God, I hope so.)

How are things going in your work?



I didn't get anything done last night. Nada. Bubkis. I wish I could blame it on the dirty trick Biggest Loser played last night at the weigh-in, but that would be lame. Not that I wasn't irritated, but it wasn't to the point where I couldn't work. (I like Biggest Loser, but I'm not that addicted.)

After the show was over, I did sit down to work on editing Nano. I made it through approximately three paragraphs before I admitted to myself that I was just phoning it in.

Could be that I took an Aleve earlier in the evening, and those things make me all loopy. Could be that I twisted my knee falling off a step yesterday afternoon (only hurts when I use that tendon to stand up and sit down, though). Could be that I just wasn't in that place I need to be in to accomplish worthwhile work. Hell, it could even be hormonal. (Look out! She's gonna blow!)

In the end, I closed the file and went to bed.

I guess sometimes that's okay, but I still feel guilty about it.

Connecting with Other Writers


This morning Alison Kent has a wonderful post over at GenReality about critique groups and crit partners and such. It really got me thinking about this lonely business of writing, and whether I'm doing enough to connect with other writers. I mean I don't belong to any writing organizations, I don't network on writing forums or other such sites, and I don't go out into the world to visit trade shows or writers' groups or conferences.

In some circles, this inactivity would be the kiss of death for a writing career.

Sometimes I consider doing some of these things. I've even joined a couple online writing things. I was very active in two of these, and if you've been around this blog long enough you know how those turned out (which is to say, not well). I still belong to a couple that I haven't really been active with, but probably should (if I can even remember my passwords after all this time). I've thought about joining RWA or ITW or something like that, but I just can't seem to muster the interest necessary to fork over all that money.

Instead I blog. I visit dozens of writerly blogs every day. I communicate via comments, and on occasion email, with other people in the profession. But is that enough?

You know every time I think this through, I ask myself that question. Sure, I have a couple of awesome beta readers (Hi guys!), but that's as far as that goes. I had a crit parter I met at one of the writing communities, but she disappeared last year. (Literally. One day she just stopped replying to my emails. No reason why. No 'it's been fun, but it's over' note. Just silence.) My BRs are doing an awesome job, but listening to everything around the net, it just seems like I should be doing more.

And then I look at Lynn Viehl. I don't know how many books she's published now (seems like it was around 35 the last time I looked), but she seems to do very well sans the whole 'getting involved' portion of the biz. She doesn't attend conferences, or trade shows, or participate in writing groups. She just writes - and very well I might add.

So what's a girl to do?

I guess I just keep on keepin' on. I write, I edit, I learn from my mistakes. I read other people's blogs and learn from their mistakes. Sure I'd like to have a half dozen people I can trust to read and comment on my work - if only for the sake of validation. (And yes, even hermits like me could use a little validation once in a while.) I love to have an awesome crit partner like I used to have - someone to bounce ideas off of, and kvetch to, and sympathize with - but in the whole scheme of things, it's not necessary. Because in the end, the only person capable of writing my books is me. Connecting with other writers would be fun, but when the books ever get published, they're my responsibility.

Anyway, I still have the blogosphere and all the wonderful people I've met here. You're all helping me whether you know it or not, and I'd like to thank you all for that. Hopefully I'm helping in my own way, too.

What do you do to connect with other writers? Do you have live people you connect with, or is it all online?

Personality, or Lack Thereof


I don't know if you're familiar with the Myers-Briggs personality test, but it's an interesting way to get insight into who you are. Not that some quality introspection and a thorough knowledge of yourself can't give you that, but it's nice to have hard data - even if it only underscores what you already knew.

According to the above test - which I just took - I'm what they refer to as an ISTJ (heavy on the I and T). Which basically means I'm an introvert who relies on thinking rather than feeling. No big surprise there. Usually when I do this test, I end up as a INTJ, but these past few days I must be leaning more toward the S (Sensing) than the N (Intuitive).

A problem area with the ISTJ type is the tendency to downplay their own accomplishments for fear no one else will find them of value. This little do-ma-hicker jumped up and slapped me upside the head last night. (Don't ya hate when psychological baggage ambushes you like that?) Not a good trait to have when you're trying to get people to read your work, and even worse when you're trying to convince an agent to represent you.

Since I'm a firm believer that knowing what's wrong is half the battle, I should be back to semi-normal soon.

(And to that person who got that email last night, I'm not a complete freak - really I'm not. The ISTJ made me do it.)

Grunt Work


It's that time of year again. Tax time. Umm, yay?

Anyway, that's what I've been up to this weekend. Gotta love the fact that in order to use TurboTax this year, I had to download Firefox - because TT doesn't work with IE on this old an operating system. =op---

So now I have Firefox. Uhh... ok. I don't really care which browser I use. I don't need bells or whistles as long as it gets me where I need to go, when I need to go there. I'm still using IE for everything else (if it ain't broke, don't fix it).

As a related side rant, why the hell do people think they need to keep fixing things that aren't broken, and breaking things that work fine? That's messed up. Seriously.

Now I really have to get back to work, so maybe one of these days I can show income under Novelist. Ya know what I mean?

What To Read


Over at the Fictionistas today, they posted a list of books put out by the BBC. The BBC's guess is that most people won't have read more than six books out of the 100. My total was 24.

Now I already have a list of what I would consider books everyone should read at least once in their life. (And yes, there are a slew of those books I've never read myself. Just because I should doesn't mean I have.) Please note that I said 'should read' not 'must like' - because some of the books are on there for learning purposes, not enjoying purposes. There are a myriad of books I really don't like, but I read them anyway so I could learn from them - like The Good Earth, for instance, which has a crappy sense of life, but good writing. (The same can be said for Steinbeck, or Hemingway, or Irving.)

You may notice there are books I didn't put on my list that are on so many other lists of this type. Like, for instance, Catcher in the Rye (which is on the curriculum for most public high-school English students). I really don't see any purpose to suggesting anyone read that book. The only thing I got out of it was a feeling that life was hopeless. And is that really what we want any teenager to experience from reading. (Yes, I know. Teenagers already feel that way - so why compound the problem.) I'm sorry my teacher made me read it, and I wish I could scrub the memory out of my head. Same goes for Lord of the Flies.

You'll also notice that I have books on my list you won't see on some of the others. One glaring example is Ayn Rand. I have my own thoughts on why she's left off the lists of important books (even though Atlas Shrugged is second only to the Bible as 'most influential' to its readers), but I won't rant about them now. Love her work or hate it - your choice - but don't deny its place in literary history. (And if you can't fathom reading 1168 pages, read Anthem instead of Atlas Shrugged.)

I've also placed some more commercial works on my list, because they are important, too. The Mummy, for instance, is a wonderful story - very well written with a positive sense of life. Or take Ken Follett - with his excellent writing and interesting storylines. Or Michael Crichton - who created techo-thrillers, and proved that science can be thrilling here on Earth.

I guess what I'm saying is: People find different things valuable in books. Books that I loathe and make me want to scrub my brain with steel wool, others may hold dear to their hearts. The important thing is that people read. Preferably something of value to them in some way. (And yes, even the trashiest of commercial novels can have value - hell, people find value in James Joyce, don't they? Personally I can find more value in a bodice-ripper than anything he wrote.)

So regardless of what I or anyone else tells you to read, just read something. And if you're short on time, read a kid's book.

Are you reading anything right now (I mean other than this blog, smart aleck)? What's on your nightstand, or what's next up for you? I'm between books right now, but I think I'm going to read some Roald Dahl next.

Axing Cliches


Yesterday, I was reading Janet Reid's Query Shark and in #100 she brought up a point I know I know, but forgot. Avoid cliches - especially in your query letters. And the instance she pointed to was exactly the one in my own letter. "Discovering the truth..." Ack.

So, that's been chopped. Along with several other unnecessary words and phrases. What I now have is a tighter, cleaner, and more hook-like paragraph (I hope).

In a world where the Union rules everything, Mary Jones was raised to believe she’s nothing. When an underground society known as The Order chooses her for a mission to escape the city, she’s suddenly more important than she’s ever been allowed to know. On the run from the Union Guard, it’s either chancy survival beyond the boundaries of home, or certain death within. Protected by a man she’s not even sure she can trust, she travels through land ravaged by a long-forgotten war, discovering a history the Union wants everyone to forget and an idea worth risking her life for. Mary never promised the Order she’d return, but she can’t be free while the others in her city remain trapped. She just never dreamed they wouldn’t want her help.

I implemented some of the suggestions given in previous comments, but in the end, I just couldn't make some of them work. (btw, I don't have your email addy, Kristen.) With the third limited POV and the voice, giving the hero his own paragraph seemed odd. Everything is from Mary's perspective, and he's more like a 'best supporting actor' than a star.

Anyway, my beta reader is working on Blink (Thank you!), so I won't be sending this out until that's finished. Which gives me time to let this simmer. Meanwhile, I did chop those chapters out of Nano last night, and this morning I resurrected my word meter. (I actually snipped more words, but then added some into the new Chapter One.)

Okay, off to start the day. Can't sit around forever in my jammies. (Well, I could but I won't.) Have a great one, everyone.


Missed Again


By now I'm betting you're wondering why I'm so stressed about this damn query copy thing. I mean, geez, that's all I've talked about lately. That's all I've been thinking about lately, too. When I wake up in the morning, I sit down and work on the damn thing.

Well, I was thinking about it yesterday. The reason I stress so much over the query letter copy is simple. I spent untold hours writing a book, and all that work either stands or falls based on one little letter. I know I've talked about this before, but it bears repeating. 94K words lives or dies based on whether 250 words can entice an agent enough to read more.

Pressure anyone?

So, I'm sorry if my posts have been a little irritating lately. I'm sure you're all sick of reading about it by now. I know I'm sick of thinking about it. In fact, I've been at this so diligently for so many days that now it seems like each subsequent draft blows chunks worse than the one before. But even the older drafts still aren't right. I thought I had it yesterday, but in retrospect, I missed again. :cue Phil Collins: Missed again, Ohh-oh-oh-oh. I think I missed again. oh-Oh-oh.

Anyway, whilst in the midst of this battle with submission materials, I am doing other things. I finally got around to working on the edits for Nano. The first bit - a sort-of prologue - still looks good, but I think the entire first chapter has to go. Snippity-snip. It's interesting and gives some important info, but it's not crucial and the info can be woven in later. Ba-bye words.

And as for C&D, I'll get back to Jordan later. Don't worry. The book is getting used to being put off, or at least it should be by now. Thank goodness it's not a time sensitive piece.

In other news, I got the first chapter of Blink back from a beta reader last night, and she likes it. Always a good thing.

But enough about me. What's new with you?

Hewp my bwain mewted


In a world where the Union rules everything, Mary Jones was raised to believe she’s nothing. When she stumbles across an underground society known as The Order, and they choose her for their mission to leave the city, she’s suddenly more important than she’s ever been allowed to know. On the run from the Union Guard, it’s either a chancy survival outside the city, or certain death within. With a man she’s not even sure she can trust as her protector, she travels through territory ravaged by a long-forgotten war, and discovers the truth about the Union. Returning could mean either her death or a chance at freedom for them all, but it’s worth the risk. She just never imagined she might have to force people to want to be free. And she never counted on losing her heart to someone who could betray her.

Needs work. I know. I've been at this off and on for days, though, so all I'm wondering is if I'm on the right track.

Uhh, yeah, I scrapped the other one. I know, I'm a freak. My bwain is dwaining froo my ears.

It's the writing... the writing, I say...

:trails off into maniacal laughter:

If anyone needs me, I'll be donning my 'I love me' jacket and drooling over there in the corner.

btw, if i get one more piece of spam telling me how much oprah loves acai berry, i'm going bat-shit friggin whacko

How Much Is Enough... or Too Much?


Writing a query letter is much like walking a tightrope. You have just so much space, and falling to either side of that space can be disastrous. (And part of the problem is you don't know you've fallen until after you're already smushed on the rejection concrete below.)

Yesterday Kristen asked if Blink has any romance, since I didn't hint at it in my last pass at the cover copy. It does. I mentioned it in one of my other drafts, but I eventually elected to delete that information. Why?

As I said above, there's only so much space. You have to make a decision on each story element as to whether it's crucial enough to stick into that space. In the case of the romance angle, I decided it wasn't germane to the crux of the story. It's like the suspense angle, or the betrayal angle, or the mystery. It's there, and it adds conflict for Mary, but the real story is her journey from crawling to fighting.

The urge is there to put in a snippet about the hero. I'd also like to mention the villain, but in the scheme of things, it's enough to use the Union and not mention the man who heads it. If I had the space, I'd talk about the grandfatherly Russell who introduces her to the Order.

I could delve into Mary's search for identity, because as a 'foundling' she doesn't really know her past or her family, and it's key to discovering who she really is as an individual.

See why writing a query blurb is so damn hard? It was actually harder for this book than any other so far. There's a lot woven into those 94K words.

Anyway, I think I hit the right balance. The book is broken into three parts, and each is represented in the three paragraphs - albeit not in any encompassing way. Time will tell if I got it right or it fell off the tightrope into the abyss. I just need to hook them, so they'll want to read more.

Now I have to write the synopsis (something I neglected to do last year for my aborted query pass). There's where I can let it all hang out - in five pages or less.

Heh. Is it any wonder I'm a wee bit loony?




And here we go again, with extra query verbiage added:

A foundling raised in a state home, Mary Jones should be a meek servant under the Union’s dictatorship. Instead, she has a tendency to wander where she shouldn’t be, and this time it’s straight into a forbidden store run by a member of a secret society—The Order and they need help. Before she can blink, they decide she’s perfect for a mission they’ve planned for decades. Now, she can either stay home where the Union Guard already has orders to kill her, or she can escape the city to search for traces of mankind outside.

If she survives long enough to return, that is.

Beyond the ravages of a long-forgotten war, she learns freeing her city means eradicating the Union—by herself, if necessary. The problem is: when she promised to free her people, she never dreamed they wouldn’t want her help.

Blink of an I is a 94,000 word speculative :or other pertinent genre: novel set in America’s distant future.

After reading :personalization:, :more personalization:. Almost four years ago, I quit the big city and my life in corporate America to write full-time in the relative solitude of tiny-town Colorado. Since then, I have five completed novels under my belt—Blink of an I being the most recent work.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

(BTW, I don't really space between paragraphs - that's a no-no - I just can't get the blog to indent text without becoming a huge pain in the hiney.)



New Take on an Old Try


This was originally called Blurb7 - out of like 15 - and was written before I rewrote the middle and revised the beginning. I revised this to meet the changes I'd made to the book, so I can maybe hit the mark a little closer.

Let's see if this is an improvement.

Raised in the strangling embrace of the Union, Mary Jones was supposed to be exactly what they wanted her to be, to think what they wanted her to think, and to live how they wanted her to live. She failed. Fired from her job and denounced as incompetent, she wanders into a curious old store, and into the arms of a secret society known as the Order. Before she knows it, these strange people have chosen her for a mission no one else has survived. Unless Mary wants her life to remain the same, she must accept their plan to escape the city and discover whether other people still exist in the world—if only to prove life can go on without Union control. What she finds beyond the ravages of a long forgotten war will force her to accept the only way her city will be free is to eradicate the Union, even if she has to do it herself. But when she made the promise to free her people, she never dreamed they wouldn’t want her help.

Seems a little wordy to me, but it says what I need it to say. I think it addresses some of the concerns Kristen raised in her comments on the previous post. (Or maybe I'm just too close to see how I'm missing the mark.) Any help anyone can provide will be appreciated. In fact, if you leave a help-related comment about this blurby thing between today's posts and the time my poll closes, I'll enter you into a drawing for a prize - just as a thanks.

Maybe 2009 will be my year.

The Latest Incarnation


Well, after all the work I did yesterday, I scrapped everything this morning and went back to a draft I did several weeks ago. Not that what I wrote yesterday was crap. It was actually pretty good as cover copy goes. I was even prepared to go ahead with it, but when I looked at it this morning, I realized it didn't have the right tone. It wasn't in keeping with the voice of the novel.

So anyway, here's the latest incarnation. There's still something off about it, but I'm so brain-fried I can't figure out what. If any of you want to comment, feel free.

Raised as a foundling, Mary Jones was taught to believe she's nothing and no one. As castes go, she’s just one step above servants and slaves, and she’s lucky the Union allowed her that. But after she wanders across a secret group known as the Order, she discovers she’s more special than she’s been allowed to know. The Order sees something in Mary, a chance for success where so many others have failed. Mary’s only task is to escape the city and find others who may still be free beyond the wastelands, but after learning she’s always been a tool for the Union, she makes plans of her own. She’ll return to see her city free from the Union’s control, whether it wants to be free or not.

*shrug* It's close, but I don't want to touch it anymore for fear I'll screw it up. Like making spaghetti sauce - sometimes you know it's missing something, but you can't figure out what, and then the next thing you know you've added too much thyme and ruined the whole pot.

Hamster Wheel


Write, rewrite, edit... go back to previous draft... Edit, tweak, revise... Start over fresh... Revise, rewrite, edit, tweak...


Can you tell I'm trying to write the 'cover copy' portion of my new query for Blink? I feel like a friggin' hamster, running in his little wheel. Round and round. Never getting anywhere. I've been at it for two hours this morning already. Every time I think I've almost got the jist of it, I look at it and realize, something not right. It's driving me fruit-bat.

:sets hair on fire and runs down the street screaming:

Ok, not really. But that's what I feel like doing sometimes, ya know?

And it occurred to me this morning that I started this book over two years ago. For some reason I was sure I started this in '07, but no. First file date? August 2006. Yuck. I started it in August, finished the first draft in December, redrafted a couple times and then sat on it for a year. I re-redrafted it, and in January of '08 I sent out a couple queries. No nibbles. Then I got distracted again writing another book, and another book. Editing each of those, querying each of those... More Hamster Wheel activity... And finally, here I am with Blink re-written - yet again. And yet again, I'm rewriting the submission materials. First the query, then the synopsis.

Then submission.

Hamster Wheel. Run little furry guy, run.

Ever see a hamster get running so fast that when he falls, he just rides the wheel all the way around to the bottom again before either falling off or getting a fresh grip? Pretty funny stuff. Unless, of course, you're the hamster.

(Okay, so it's pretty funny even then.)

Of course, as frustrating and irritating as this writing business can sometimes be, I wouldn't trade it for any other job. And for all my occassional whining, I do love this endeavor. I just wish it was easier sometimes. Know what I mean?

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have miles to go on before I sleep (considering it's only quarter after nine and I'm only really running in circles). ;o)

When I get it to a version I don't hate, I'll post it for y'all. Then you can tell me if you think it sucks or not. Maybe I'll make it an anonymous poll. LOL