It’s a Good Day To Be A Writer

Today, my first son turns 23.  It’s also the day I chose to publish my first novel, Finding Sam on Amazon.

Now , while I just “published” an in-progress novel for NaNoWriMo a few days ago, there’s nothing like actually publishing a completed novel because I know it’s as “done” as it can be.  Even my husband told me a few weeks ago that if I kept worrying about perfection like I do over my work, nothing I write will ever see the light of day.

So last night, bleary-eyed and cross-eyed, I hit the button marked Publish and unleashed my dearest Sam into the world.  And while there may not be any balloons, cake and confetti to mark such a momentous occasion, I did receive my iPhone 6 Plus today and just activated it.

And I also heard from the Margaret Atwood people about the Wattpad contest I entered a month ago where I wrote a bit of fan fiction for her new novel, The Stone Mattress (and no, I didn’t win BUT I am getting a copy of her book as a runner-up!).  Still…

It’s a good day to be a writer.

– Reposted from Back_Space | by Liz.

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My NaNoWriMo Novel is Live! | Back_Space

So I’ve been quite busy with this NaNoWriMo thing of late, judging by my latest word counts, and since I already have it up on Wattpad, I decided to expand its reach a bit more.  I need all the encouragement I can get!

And  readers can even discuss the book – you know, point out typos and all that…

Tonight, I ambled over to my Leanpub account after ignoring it for a few months and finally got started editing my first novel in earnest.  While it needs another read-through (and maybe the traditional manuscript printing and wasting paper bit), I decided set it aside and upload the NaNoWriMo book I’m writing, Loving Ashe.

And what do you know?  It’s currently live!  I have it up on Wattpad, but I’ve decided to continue it on Leanpub, where readers have the option to not just read it for free (which is pretty good!) but actually purchase the book based on what they think it’s worth.  It’s a huge gamble, but I’d rather have that option for readers to buy the book if they like it, than none at all.  It’s also a great way for me to test Leanpub as an e-publisher and online shop.

Whether you decide to pay $1, or $4.99 or even more, it’s up to you.  Whenever I update the book, like when I add a new chapter – especially since the clock’s a-ticking with the NaNoWriMo write 50K words in 30 days deadline – you can opt to receive an email from me or not.  It’s all on the page. 

Loving Ashe page

So if you’d like to read something a bit light, a bit romantic, a bit sexy and sometimes even a bit funny, Loving Ashe could be just for you.  If anything, check out the new digs and tell me what you think.  

via My NaNoWriMo Novel is Live! | Back_Space.

Show and Tell – My First Professional Critique

There’s this false sense of security that lulls a would-be writer when she posts her work on a site like Wattpad and read all the praise pouring in.  One writer friend told me that it was “instant gratification” to read all those comments as soon as you click ‘Publish’ and that it was addicting. It makes you want to keep on writing not really for the sake of writing to perfect your craft, but to keep hearing that praise pouring in. 

Problem is – the praise isn’t from your peers, fellow writers or editors who know the essentials of a good story. 

And so after almost 4 months of writing and now currently rewriting my novel, I decided to send the first 2500 words to an editor and author – just me being the type of girl who ‘runs with scissors and never thinks before she says something.’  The woman’s well-respected in the business and people actually were proud to have “bricks flung” at them (in the form of critiques, of course) and admitted that while the critique was harsh and took months to receive, it was what their novels really needed.  No false sense of security there.

I didn’t know what to expect really.  What I did know, the moment I clicked Send, was that my first chapter was the weakest of all 46 chapters in the 140K word novel.  But maybe I needed the validation. Maybe I needed a brick or two flung at me after all the praise I’d been hearing from readers via comments and private messages.  Or maybe I just needed a professional editor to look at it and tell me it was crap so I’d know what to do to make it not so much like crap.

Three hours later, I got my reply.  As I read her email, she first told me that she wasn’t flinging bricks at me – yet.  She also told me what I already knew about that first chapter.

Unfortunately I had mis-identified the genre I was writing by putting down ROMANCE instead of WOMEN’S LIT.  So her critique had more to do with the romance genre, one of which included the advice to read a 100 books for every one book I wanted to write, or read a How To Write a Romance Novel type of book – that is, IF I was writing a romance.

“If this is “women’s fiction” rather than “romance” … then this is fine, but it’s still riddled with the telling, not showing problems.

“Decide if your book is a romance or women’s fiction, then start it at the latest point possible when something more interesting is going on for the [protagonist] than being in the throes of grief for her friend.  I question even using that as a plot device.”

This critique was definitely what I needed to know just how weak my first chapter was.  It also told me that I had a long way to go.  I have heard of people writing novels in 3 to 4 months, then have it published by the 5th month.  Is it polished?  I don’t know, though sometimes I buy then and wonder I wasted my money.  But I shouldn’t be worrying about those authors, that they’re published and I’m not.  I should worry about me, and the type of work I want to produce. 

I need to move that story forward, find my voice in women’s lit (the genre I prefer most to read) and keep on editing till I know that that first chapter is the best I can send out.  Then, and only then – after she asks me to send the full manuscript – do  I wait for the bricks to be flung my way…

Great Expectations

Tell us about one thing (or more) that you promised yourself you’d accomplish by the end of the year. How would you feel once you do? What if you don’t?

It’s always been there at the back of my mind, and even in the forefront of it, that I’d publish a book by the end of this year.  I write thousands of words year after year, and yet I haven’t published anything – and year after year, I tell myself that one day I will.

Considering that it’s gotten a whole lot easier to publish books these days, it’s a wonder that I haven’t gotten around to it.  It’s either never good enough to send out, or worse, the rewrite made me scrap the whole thing.

But this year, that’s my goal – to finish something and start sending it out – to see if others think it’s good enough.  I dread the rejection letters, but I have to get around to that eventually.  After all these years on this earth, I figure my skin is thick enough anyway (maybe).

In the meantime I keep writing.

Another thing that I promised myself this year was to get fit again.  I miss my bikini body – and I don’t care if I’m turning another year older in a few days, or I’m just vain – because I suspect that I am (on both counts).  I still miss wearing my bikini, and I want to get those tan lines again.  At the very least I’d be healthier and doing what I used to enjoy doing.  So in the meantime I’m running – it’s giving my left knee hell though (pes anserinus tendinitis – there you are!), the same knee that suffered the knee sprains whenever I skied and the twisted ankles whenever I roller bladed, but I’m working my way through it.

Three times a week, I get out there and run, sometimes pushing the jogging stroller with toddler and chihuahua in tow, hearing him say, “Faster, mama! Faster!”.  I do it because I had my toddler too late in life and I want to be around when he hits his teens and beyond.  I do it because I want that bikini body and those tan lines again…and I don’t care what people say.

At least I don’t hear myself wheezing like I used to when I started up again, and each day I run a bit longer and a bit farther than the session before, allergies be damned.  The girl at the running store told me that who knows, by the year’s end, I’d run a half-marathon.  Whoa, Nelly!  I wanted to tell her.  Not yet.  Though a 5K is more doable…

After all, I do have to write that book after all…

Daily Prompt