Monthly Archives: May 2013

Revisions, Revisions, Revisions…..And Pitch…….

Standard

Believe it or not I really am enjoying the editing and revision part of this process.
Since this is the first book length story I have ever seen to completion it is a whole new play area for me.

I am finding that now that the story has an ending it is much easier to fill and tie ideas early on in the story that will help the ending feel much richer and stronger.

My biggest problem is still word count. I am only at about 48,000 words. But I am only ¼ of the way through my revision process and there are some areas that I know I have skimmed over in the story that I can really delve into and make them come to life.

Along with the process of editing and re-writing I am thinking about pitching the story.  I am still not sure where or who I am going to pitch it too….. Agent, Book Publishers, Small Press….. Not exactly sure the best route for me but I know that no matter whom or how I pitch it I will need something in my query that will make them want to read my book.
I have been working on the Query pitch as well as the elevator pitch (One sentence that describes the idea and essence of the story).  

The Elevator Pitch….. (One Sentence)

Jayson Abbott’s past and a rare disorder have forced him to lead the life of a self imposed loner, but when a new project pushes him out of his comfort zone he learns that letting people close is easier to do than he thought, but keeping them safe and alive may be the hardest job yet.

The 30 (to 45) Second Query – Dust Jacket Pitch…….

Jayson Abbott is a self imposed loner with a rare disorder who is a master at staying out of stressful situations. When a new project that could potentially bring a cure to Cancer falls in his lap he has no choice but to leave the stress free life he has created for himself and open himself up to the world again. Along the way he meets a boy Owen Spence who will change the way he feels about letting people close.  But keeping Owen safe and alive during the next few weeks may be the hardest job of all.

Owen Spence is a 12 year old boy who’s Cancer has just recently gone into remission. With his single mom working two jobs to keep a roof over their head and pay for his doctor’s bills Owen has a lot of free time. When he meets Jayson Abbott the two of them become friends and Owen is dying to help find a cure for Cancer. But keeping Jayson alive may be the hardest part of all.

I would love to hear your thoughts on my pitch.
Would it pique your interest?
If you read the dust jacket pitch would you want to buy the book?

Be honest. It is still a work in progress so any and all feedback is helpful.

The Writing Process: Part 2 – The Conclusion

Standard

Yesterday I gave you the back story and why after so many years of being dormant I decided it was time to write. The Writing Process: Part 1

Today I give you the process.

Honestly my brain, like most writers, is filled with hundreds of ideas all the time. More than half of them usually end up in the scrap yard but all of them have to get written down to get out. Otherwise they stay locked up inside my mind bouncing around like a pinball machine and not allowing me to focus on the writing at hand.

But during this process most of what was bouncing around in my head belonged to the story. It is strange; I wonder if I am alone in thinking that I don’t write the stories I am just a conduit for the information to flow forth onto the paper.

 In the past I have never been the kind of writer who does an outline. It may be wise to know that in the past I have never finished a story either. With this story I found that all these ideas were popping in my head but it wasn’t time for them yet. I didn’t want to lose them because they brought real value and plot building to the story but it wasn’t their time. So that is when I started the outline. When I realized that at the end of the book X was going to happen, I wrote it down. After that I was able to write to that transition, to make X happen I had to fill in the gaps. Without the outline I would have just wandered aimlessly through the story.

I will point out that my outline was not written in stone. Some things actually never made it in the story. Some things went in a different order than I had but knowing what I wanted to happen via the outline was I believe fundamental in the completion of my first ever novel.

By the middle of March (48 days into this book) I had written almost 35K words.  This is when a few things happened.

  1. I bought the PC Game SIM CITY.
  2. I got lazy
  3. I got concerned because I was heading down the final chapters in my book and I was nowhere near the word count I needed to qualify for a novel.

So what happened?

You guessed it…..I quit writing pretty much.

I wrote 2K words over the course of 57 days. That breaks down to 35 words a day. But the reality was that in those 57 days I only wrote for a total of 5 days. I was battling with the process. Thinking I could never get published, self doubt weighed me down. Why was I even bothering anyways?
And then I realized, I wasn’t really doing this to get published (although OF COURSE I want to get published) I was doing this for my mom. I was doing this because it was what I had always wanted to do. I was doing this because I believe somewhere deep down inside that it is my GOD GIVEN TALENT and I need to use it wisely.

I finally realized that I needed to just FINISH the story. Then I could go back and fix any problems during the editing process. When I finally gave myself permission to write without worrying about anything except just getting the story out that is when I finally got my flow back. I finished the last 9K words in 11 days.

Another thing that changed between the first 105 and the last 11 days was the time of day I was writing. I had been writing at night when my toddler was tucked away in bed, my husband was ready to begin shooting people on his PS3 game and the house was quiet. The only problem was…..I was tired. I fought getting my words out and often went to bed without being able to finish my thoughts because I was too tired to keep my eyes opened.

The last 11 days I tried a new approach. I began getting up an hour early. The house was still quiet. My toddler was still asleep and husband was snuggled up tight in bed too. It was just me and my cup of coffee.
I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of this before. My mind was so much clearer. I wasn’t fighting sleep. The only battle I had was not turning on Facebook before I did my writing. And I truly believe that the end of the book is better than the beginning because I gave it my first hours of the day instead of my last.

I am doing the revision process now. It may take as long to revise as it did to write but I am so enjoying this part of the process.

Why?
Because I have never had the chance to do it before!

The Writing Process: Part 1

Standard

I recently had a blogger ask me to write about my experience writing and how I felt during the writing process. I thought that sounded like a pretty good idea but first I think you need a little bit of back story so here goes.

I had put writing on the back burner in my life. When I was younger sure I could waste away hours writing and it was ok but as an adult it was hard to find those hours to waste away. There was so much to do. Go to work. Clean the house. Spend time with the husband. And the million other excuses I had to keep from making writing a priority.

Then in 2009 my dad got sick and he and my mom moved in to my living room permanently. Mom was diagnosed with Cancer and I got pregnant via In-Vitro. It was a busy year and writing never crossed my mind.  

Dad died in October of 2009. My baby girl was born in April 2010. Mom’s Cancer went into remission. 2010 and 2011 were good years. Mom’s Cancer was in remission. We were raising a tiny human being and writing never crossed my mind.

We began planning for a cruise in January of 2012 to take my mom. The day before we were going to drive down to get on the boat my mom fell and broke her hip. She would not be going on a cruise anytime soon.

While in the hospital on Therapy they found that her Cancer had come back. She had already had too much radiation and chemo so this time was it. They gave us 6 months. We got 7. Mom died in September of 2012.

2012 was a rough year and writing never crossed my mind.

In the early weeks of January of 2013 my preacher preached a sermon on our God given talents. He told us that God gave each everyone of us something that made us unique. A talent of our very own, I began to feel a tug and I thought about writing again for the first time in years. Part of me rejected the idea right then and there. See Mom had been one of my biggest supporters in writing and doing it after she passed just didn’t seem fair to her.

But I kept getting the pull and this title for a story that I had in my head for years began to resurface. I would be washing the dishes and pop the title would be there in my mind.

I didn’t know what the story was about. All I knew was the title. Mid January I decided I would try. To honor my mother and to use what I believe are my God given talents and write. So I sat down with a plan to write something every day.

What I had learned over the last 4 years is that life really is short. We are not guaranteed a time frame. Writing was not going to sit around for one day when I had the time. If I wanted to write I had to make the time. So I did.

That last week in January I pounded out 6,000 words to a story that previously I just had a title simmering around in my head. It was at that moment that I felt whole again. I knew I was doing what I was supposed to be doing by writing. Good, bad or ugly I was writing again.

To be continued……….

I Wrote A Book!

Standard

Random Stuff 006 books

I wrote a book.
I. WROTE. A. BOOK!

Ok well that is a bit of an exaggeration. What I actually did was finish the first draft of the novel I was writing. It is such a HUGE accomplishment for me. I can’t believe that I actually did it. In 116 days (less than 4 months) I wrote my first draft!

I have a long way to go; it is going to need a big 1st round edit/rewrite. What I found during this process is that my writing tends to be plot building. That is awesome you can’t have a good story without plot but where my problem is on first draft writing is details. I tend to get from point A to point B without ever stopping to smell the roses.

Too much description can be overwhelming but too little never lets your reader really feel like they are involved in the story. I don’t want people to just read my story. I want them to live my story. That is where my rewrite is going to come in.

Plus, I only have a little over 45K words and to be considered by the mainstream publishing community it is going to need to be 60K to 80K words. There is so much room for this to happen. I am looking forward to the next few weeks and getting this rewritten.

For those of you who haven’t finished your first draft and wonder what that feels like. I have an adrenaline rush that is like I just got off a rollercoaster ride! I am excited about the next few weeks of rewrite and scared that it means soon I am going to have to send it off for someone to read and judge.

Putting my heart and blood sweat and tears on the chopping block of agents and editors!

Happy Sunday everyone and I WROTE A BOOK!!!!

Powerball Drawing at $600 Million Dollars – What would you buy?

Standard
I bought my tickets... Do you have yours?

I bought my tickets… Do you have yours?

If you have even glanced by the news today you are aware that Tonight’s Powerball drawing is up to a monstrous record high of $600 Million Dollars.

The cash option amount would be almost $377 Million dollars.

After taxes of about 45% total winnings would be around $208 Million dollars give or take a few million.

It is kind of sad to think that the $600 million dollar jackpot only turns into $208 million – but honestly that is at least 10x’s enough money to live comfortably on for the rest of your life!

I don’t play the lottery often but when the numbers get this high I absolutely have to throw my hat into the ring. I mean I watch “The Lottery Changed My Life” I know that every day people win this thing.

So if I won tonight what would I do with the money?

  •  I would give my church $2 Million dollars. I would so love to be able to write that check. Imagine the amount of people they could help.
  • Quit my day job and write full time.
  •  Buy some land and build our ultimate dream home.
  •  Adopt a baby. I always wanted a large family and for Baby girl to have a brother or sister but financially it is not something we can afford at this time, but if we won the lottery we could make that happen!
  • Buy new cars – Probably 3 – DH and I are still trying to decide on what kind we would buy it is actually a pretty hard choice when you consider money is no object and you can have whatever you want.
  • College fund for Baby Girl and any siblings we could adopt.
  • Travel the world

And now I still have $204 million dollars to figure out how to spend.

Good luck everyone and it is ok to dream big every now and again.

Bumblebee Battles

Standard
The picture of Cynthia I managed to get!

The picture of Cynthia I managed to get!

Outside near my baby birds that are growing in my old grill (See these posts Saving my baby Bluebirds & My baby bluebirds have hatched) I also have some herbs and vegetables and a large Rose plant named Cynthia growing in container gardens.

Cynthia the Rose apparently has a guest this season………………. a bullying bumblebee who doesn’t like me to get close to him or the Rose.

I seriously can stand a few feet away from the plant and the bumblebee will hover right at my head and I swear it is looking in my eyes and saying, “go ahead, try me!”

Now I don’t believe that a bumblebee can sting me but I don’t know for sure and the bee well he believes he can hurt me. I can see it in his swagger as he battles me and ducks and dodges and goes in for the buzz kill.

Since I know that Cynthia needs the pollination from the battling bee I let him be. (Oh that sounded corny!)

But the problem I have with leaving him alone is that he thinks he has won. He thinks his buzzing, battling, dodging little self has truly scared a big giant person away.

Little does he know a fly swatter or a can of spray and he would be caput in a matter of seconds.

For now I guess I will let him think he has won the round. But I know the truth! No really, I do!

My baby Bluebirds have hatched

Standard
Baby Bluebirds!

Baby Bluebirds!

A few weeks ago I wrote about our Blue Birds who were born in our old grill in  Saving my Baby Bluebirds – Well they have finally all hatched. There ended up being 5 eggs and as of now we have 5 baby birds that seem to be doing well.

We moved the grill around the corner of the house so that the direct sun it gets is the morning sun which is not very hot. By around noon the sun is no longer on the grill so it should not get as hot as it got on it last year.

I am enjoying watching my little birds and momma bird doesn’t seem to mind that I come and check on them.

Enjoy the day everyone and the new life of springtime!

The First One Without Her

Standard
Me and mom

Me and mom

106_0699

It will be the first Mother’s Day without my mom. She died last September 9th, the day after what would have been her and my father’s 45th wedding anniversary if he hadn’t passed in 2009.

On one hand it seems like she has only been gone a moment and on another it feels like she has been gone forever. I don’t think my 3 year old daughter remembers her that much anymore. It makes me sad to think that she won’t remember the endless amount of love that my mother had for her. I try to talk about her when I can but that is hard. Talking about her reminds me that I will never be able to put my arms around her and hold her close again. My heart breaks.

My mother was my very best friend. She was smart and funny and strong oh my was my mother strong, both physically and emotionally.

As I sit here I am trying to remember a “just” me and mom story and I am reminded of a time when I was just maybe 9 or 10 years old and mom had a gym membership.

Looking back can’t help but wonder why she even had the membership she was always so fit. I don’t remember her ever being overweight. But she had the membership and my dad used to drop us off at the gym and she and I would go in get changed and then go play racquetball.

We weren’t very good at it but we had fun playing, plus we got our exercise in.

Afterward we would go to this little bar inside the gym and get a fruity drink. It is pretty much what is called smoothies these days but back then in 80’s they were just icy fruit drinks.

When we were done daddy would be waiting for us outside in the station wagon. We always had a station wagon or a white van, lol!

I have no idea what those afternoon racquetball games were about. We didn’t go long. A few months was all maybe. But I loved that time with my mom. It was just us girls. And I had forgotten all about it until I sat here to write today.

Everyone says life is short but we never seem to realize it until we begin to lose the people closest to us.

Mommy in Heaven, I love you so much. I miss you every day. I dreamed about you a few days ago and in my dream I was hugging you. It felt so real that I didn’t want to wake up. Enjoy your Mother’s Day in Heaven and I will see you again one day!

I Wrote Again Today!

Standard

I am in the last few chapters of my first draft of my story.
I can see the end of the finish line.
But for whatever reason this has caused me to quit writing all together. It was not just that, a lot of things have happened over the last few weeks but really they could all be chalked up as just excuses to not find the time to sit down and write.

I found the time to Facebook. I found the time to organize my house some, but I was just not finding the time to write.

Yesterday I read a blog post from Terribleminds called “How to maximize your word count and write more everyday” I thought wow maximizing from 0 might be pretty easy lol!

Now don’t go clicking on those links for terribleminds if you have a problem with potty mouth because he has quite a bad one but the truth of his instruction pushes through all that bad language – again there is a whole lot, but the truth in writing is worth it if you are a writer and need a good kick in the butt every now and then as I apparently do.

The key thing I took from his article yesterday was to write early in the morning. Carve out extra time in the am to get your writing done. Now I do most of my writing in the afternoon hours when my 3 year old goes to bed. But much like the article states in the afternoon I am tired, drained and just biding my time until I can crawl up under the covers and go off to dreamland.

So this morning I carved out some time before my daughter woke up instead of after she went to sleep. I got up 30 minutes early, not much but a start right! So at 7am with a cup of coffee in hand I sat down at my computer, bypassed Facebook and went right to my story. In no time I had over 500 words pounded out. Heck it is only 8am now and I am writing this blog and have gotten my daughter up already so literally no time and 500 words are done!

Who is to say I can’t write some more this afternoon if I want to but I think getting up early and carving out that time dedicated to writing is just what the blogger ordered!

Have a great day everyone and write, write, write!

Hardcore Mommy Fail!!

Standard

So you may have read my post last week about doing the Hardcore Mommy thing (Check it out) because my 3 year old basically refuses to try anything new. I made a Cheeseburger Casserole and she refused to eat even one bite. So I followed the advice of some of my friends and went Hardcore Mommy! In the morning when she wanted breakfast I gave her the plate of food from the night before……

Before

Before

She just looked at it crying for 30 minutes refusing to even try a small bite of pasta. So she got down from the highchair and back into her room with only water for breakfast…….

After

After

At lunchtime back to the high chair and we had a repeat of breakfast. She just sat crying for 30 minutes and begging me for cheese toast. Ugggh, so down from lunch with only water again.

Have I mentioned up to this point that my daughter is just a tad bit stubborn…..

The way the 3 meal thing is supposed to work is dinner you now try a new meal. So being the strong person that I am (NOT) we all had Fish sticks and veggies for dinner. Because I knew she would eat them and I didn’t want her starve. Plus I knew Friday – Sunday would be really hard for me to stick with this new plan.

But I just can’t suffer through her not eating for 3 meals again. So instead of Hardcore Mommy I give you Easy Going Pushover Mommy.

What I have decided though is I am going to continue to try and get her to try new things. By making dinner with something I know she will eat and something new. This will give her the chance to try something new if she wants but have food on her plate that I know she likes and will eat.
Anyone else have ideas that don’t involve having to starve my child?

Oh, and I have 3 “Try something new” presents wrapped and sitting at the end of the table.
She can have one if she just try’s something new.
They have been there for some time now!