Sunday, September 23, 2007

Working it out
I'm feeling distracted. My current WIP is a mystery and instead of sitting down and hammering it out, I'm wanting to write something else. This isn't actually unusual for me. It happens when I hit a part that's hard. A part that require me to think about what I'm writing. I actually wrote the first half of this book a while back, then life and other books got in the way, so I'm just now getting back to it. I've rewritten the first three chapters and I'm right at the point where I remembered that I don't have the entire plot worked out. I know basically what happens but there are details I haven't settled on.
And I'm feeling pressure. I'm spending the month of October in Tucson with my family so my writing time will be limited. I'd wanted to get the first draft done by now, but there was the wedding and some other stuff that had to be attended to. Although if I'd had that burning desire to write, none of that would have slowed me down. I would have sacrificed sleep or housecleaning in order to write.
Writing isn't a 9-5 job. There are times when I literally don't do anything else but write. The story pours out of me so fast that I can hardly catch my breath. Then there are days when squeaking out a page or two seems monumental.
At least I wrote in the blog today.

Friday, September 21, 2007

A rose by any other name would still have thorns

Today, I was reading some blogs and Tess Gerritsen posted about blurbs. I know I should be getting blurbs for the book that's releasing next August. But I hate to ask. I feel like it's imposing on the author(s) that I'd ask. Besides, the cover is already done (top right). I love the cover and there's no room for a blurb. And it's probably too late, right?
Anyway, thinking about asking for a blurb made me think about the book. I realized I've been calling it a cozy mystery but it really isn't. Sure, it has an amateur sleuth and there's no blood and gore. But it has elements that are most definitely NOT cozy. Gay husband, cross-dressing, divorce, unplanned pregnancy. The protagonist, Skye, even has sex with two different men. The sex is off-screen and it's not like she's doing both of them at the same time. Still, it doesn't seem like a cozy.
I don't think it qualifies as a chick-lit mystery either. Skye is in her 40's and that seems too old for chick-lit. I don't even know if hen-lit is a viable sub-genre anymore. Skye has a hobby that is important in the mystery, but aren't hobby oriented mysteries still cozies?
Then there's the WIP. It's a mystery, too, and I've been calling it a cozy, but really it doesn't qualify either. The main character, Frankie, is a little too snarky, and her family a little too crazy, to be in a cozy. Plus the murders are already adding up. I think maybe too many people die for it to be a cozy.
Bottom line, I guess I don't write cozy mysteries.
And don't get me started on the differences between Suspense and Thriller.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Back to the drawing board. Or keyboard.

I sent out a few queries on Friday, which is always a little nerve wracking. To my incredible delight one of my top picks for an agent emailed back asking for a few pages. Yippee! I sent the pages. Very soon, I received another email from her saying that she liked the pages and could I send her about 50 pages. I sent them.
Saturday morning I received another email from the agent pointing out some problems with the three chapters I sent. Then she wrote the magic sentence: Let me know.
Let me tell you. It doesn't get any better than this. Seriously. Of course, I mean other than the agent dropping everything to call and beg you to become her client.
I've been querying for a long time. I've queried several thrillers and one mystery. And I've received everything from the form rejection letter to handwritten notes telling me they really, really liked it but it wasn't right for them or they just didn't love it enough. Or vague comments that were hard to interpret like: "You have a great character, but you need to raise her game". Once an agent took the time to write me a 2 page letter of comments plus notes on the manuscript and sent the manuscript back at her own expense so I'd have the notes she'd made. Believe me I thanked her profusely. And it was probably an opening to a dialog, but I didn't take it. Because from the comments the agent made I knew that we would probably never see eye to eye about a manuscript. She just wasn't the right agent for me.
So, why was this one different?
Because her comments made sense to me. One thing she pointed out I'd thought of several times but had convinced myself was ok. It wasn't.
I wrote her back asking if she'd like to see a revision. I asked because it seemed the polite thing to do. I know this agent has to be busy because she's got a lot of really good writers in her stable. I'd like to become one of them.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Jessica Faust had an interesting post about writers who have innate talent and writers who work harder to learn the craft and the writers who have finesse. She said that finesse goes beyond the writers who work to hone their craft and the innate talented writers to whom it comes so naturally. There's a lot of good and interesting comments about it.
I hope I have all three. I know I've worked hard to hone my craft. I try to believe that I have an innate talent. I'm afraid to even consider if I have finesse. But one thing I know I have is desire.
I'm not one of those writers who penned a story at the age of 3. I didn't tell stories as a young child. As far as I remember. I recall writing in Junior High School. I don't remember why or what the appeal was at the time, but it never went away. I had teachers who recognized it in high school. I did a little writing in my 20's and by the time I was 30, I was a copywriter. I continued to do that for another 10 years. Then I became a technical writer, and did that for another 10 years. And I made a few attempts at writing a novel. But even when I wasn't writing for a living or working on a novel, I wrote in my journal every day. He looked at me in surprise and said "Oh, you're a writer."
I think what he recognized in me was the desire to write. The inability to NOT write for any length of time. I don't know where that fits in with talent and craft and finesse, but it's there. It's a part of me.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Life is back to normal
Probably for only a few weeks, but I'll take it. The past few weeks have been eaten up by sewing some medieval/LOTR wedding garb, making a wedding cake, and working on some non-writing projects that suddenly became urgent.
But now, it's back to the usual routine, which I love. I finally finished the proposal for the fourth book in the Parker series. I'll finish polishing it today and hopefully get it off to my editor tomorrow. After that I'll get back to the cozy mystery. I'd wanted to get the first draft done before October, but I don't think that's going to happen. I still have about 150 pages to write and that means 10 pages a day every day and surely something will interfere with that.
That might actually be a good thing. The book is set in Tucson which is where I'll be in October, so maybe that will be good for some local color.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Has it really been that long?
Good grief, Charley Brown! I can't believe I haven't blogged for 6 days! Well, yeah,I can. But I was busy....REALLY.
First there was the wedding with all the sewing and the cake! The FREAKING cake! It came out great. Looked a great deal like the photo I was to copy and the bride and groom were thrilled so I'm off the hook.
Then, I'm thinking, good, the wedding's done, I can write. But NO.
There was other non-fiction writing to be done.
But tomorrow, I'm gonna write. Okay, first I'm going to see the massage therapist (does she have her work cut out for her!). Then, I'm going to come home and turn everything off and write.
If I can just remember where I was with the writing.