Tag Archives: Novel

The Original Beginning – How Things Change

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Since my completion of the synopsis, I have started back sending out queries on my finished novel The Oyster King.

Today, as I was perusing my files I came across this original start of my story. Nothing in the writing below survived the cut and editing process. However, what it did do was set the tone of my main character. Without writing these words below, I wouldn’t have begun to understand him as well as I did. Actually the words below were the spark for the entire story.

Much like in life, when writing fiction sometimes the road you think you are going to take is not the one you end up on. The finished product has some of these details woven into the backstory, but while it didn’t survive the cut, if it wouldn’t have been for these first few words. The story would never have existed in the first place.

The moral of my story is: Be willing to let your writing take you on a journey where it wants to go. And don’t be so caught up in where you think it should go. Allow it to live and breathe and have a life of its own. You will find oftentimes your original vision is not the final outcome.

So here was the spark that created the novel that is The Oyster King.

I was born blind and deaf to a mother who wasn’t ready to have children in the first place. Maybe that’s why after seeing me for only seconds, and never even touching me, she sent me away with orders to the nurse to never bring me back.

At just three months old I began to gain my hearing and eyesight. The doctors told my adoptive parents they suspected I had some kind of rare abnormality that caused my vision and hearing to come in late, after birth. They never could figure exactly what it was so they labeled it a “rare abnormality.” But the Abbots had always told me that God had given me the gift of hearing and vision a few months late, in order to test the strength of my birthmother and when she failed God had found a suitable family for me. For at just two weeks old, the Abbots had taken me home and named me Jayson because it meant healer and I had healed the pain they carried from not having children of their own.

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What’s Next?

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It has been a little over a week since I finished the revisions on my Novel THE OYSTER KING.

It is time for a new story to begin. But where? Don’t get me wrong I have a ton of ideas swirling around in my head, I just can’t figure out which ones are strong enough, deep enough, to become my next project.

How do you guys do it?

With this one, the inspiration just came. I got the guts of the story and then wrote an outline and fleshed it out.

I keep second guessing myself on this next one. I think the problem is I am thinking, “I have to write a novel,” instead of “I have to write”.

I have an idea for a sequel to the one I just finished and I have the 35K word partial story I wrote during NaNoWriMo last year. And while I do want to finish it, I have other ideas that are churning in my head and I feel like I need to get them out and explore them before I commit to something.

The problem is all the ideas, instead of getting me writing, are bogging down my brain and nothing is coming out.

I won’t use the term “writer’s block” because, frankly, I don’t believe in that term. We can always write something if we sit down and write. But I have not sat down to write… and that is the problem.

Part of me is thinking, hey it is a miracle you finished a book at all do you really think you could do it again.  Another part of me is thinking, the one you just wrote is a piece of crap, why do it again.

But the true writer in me knows I have NO CHOICE, I HAVE to write.

I just need to sit down at my computer and do just that!

I really would like to hear how you guys do it, though!

There are More Fish (AKA Agents) in the Sea

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Only a few days ago I finished my final draft of editing and began the daunting progress of reaching out and searching for an agent.

That is what we aspiring writers do.

We read.

We write.

We query.

And apparently, we get rejected.

I know, I know! I am not alone in this land of agent rejection. But it is hard not to take it personal, when you are putting your soul on the line and someone is telling you, you aren’t good enough.

Granted, I am an unpublished writer and I am aiming high right now and reaching for agents that I probably shouldn’t. But dream big, right!

The only downfall to that is the stabbing pain in the back and the sickness in the pit of your stomach when the big “No” comes in.

I have queried 3 agents in the past 3 days and received 2 rejections.

The first one went like this…

“Thanks for thinking of me, Shelly, but I didn’t connect with the characters the way I’d need to in order to consider representation and so, unfortunately, I’ve decided to pass.  I wish you the best of luck elsewhere.”

And the second one this…

“Thank you for considering ***  as a potential agency to represent your work. We have reviewed the material you sent and we regret that we will not be offering to review your work further at this time. Please know that we are very selective with the materials that we request. We encourage you to keep writing and we wish you every success. Please forgive this impersonal note. We receive a tremendous number of queries and are forced to focus our attention on a limited number of projects.”

Am I reaching too high? Trying to land a big dog agent, when I am a little fish?

I can see I am going to have to toughen up my skin and keep on, keeping on.

Reminding myself, that there are plenty of other agents out there and one will,  I mean hopefully will sign me!

IWSG November NaNoWriMo Edition

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On the first Wednesday of each month, writer’s across the globe get a chance to reach out to our own little support group.InsecureWritersSupportGroup
The Insecure Writer’s Support Group was created by Alex Cavanaugh so that writers would have a place to express the problems they are facing with their writer, fears, concerns, you name it, without the fear of contempt.

For me the past few months this has been done on the first Thursday of the month. I am not sure if it because of lack of planning, busy Wednesday’s, or simply something deep inside that unwittingly is trying to buck the system. In any event the time has come for me to share:

For me the month of November I have decided to join the other thousands of writers who are taking a chance on NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writers Month) – Basically it is taking the month of November to write that novel. You know the one where you say “Someday, I am going to write a book.” Well the month of November is someday!

For me I wrote and finished my first ever book earlier this year and it has been long days and nights of editing ever since. I am still in the depths of editing that piece and personally needed a break.
I had actually forgotten all about NaNoWriMo, until I saw a Facebook post on November 1st.
I just went “click” what a perfect time to step away from the one I am editing and see, just see, if I can write another novel this year. And this one in 30 days no less.

That same day I saw a post one of my friends wrote about her old college buddies getting together to go back to a beach house they had visited one time. I had the spark and in a few hours I had laid out the thought behind “The House on Lake Marion.” – That is the novel I am writing this month.

So, you are probably all saying…”What is there to be afraid of? You finished a novel this year already and now you are shooting for #2.”

HOLY CRAP! I am shooting for #2 – Seriously, it is like going from 0-100 in a race car.

Plus, for this NaNoWriMo – I need to average 1,667 words a day to make the 50K word deadline by the end of November.

So far, that has been okay, by the end of day six (yesterday) I was at 10,699 words – the goal was 10K so I am ahead of schedule a bit.

Here is the problem. – A lot of that was introduction of my characters. There are 10 – again wow! I am fearful that I won’t be able to give them all the voice I want them to have, but they are each critical to the outcome of the story.

I have introduced them, and I know how this week at the lake house is going to end. But now, starting on word 10,700, I have to begin to get them to that ending. That part is freaking me out. I know the outcome but I am not sure how they arrive there.

When I don’t know what is going to happen or how a character is going to get from point A to point B, I write. Sometimes what I write is word vomit that needs tossed in the trash, but sometimes my subconscious has already decided what is going to happen and how my characters are going to arrive at the end point. I just have to stop “trying to figure it out.” And set down and write.

But the real struggle of trying to write a 50K word novel in a month is not just the sheer volume of words that need to be written each day. It is the “paying” job that still has to be done, the toddler who still has to have mommy time, the husband who still has to have wifey time, the house that needs cleaned, the laundry that needs washed.

I have survived and made it through the first 6 days – Only 24 more just like it to go!
Well – it is too bad I can’t count this blog post as part of my 1,667 words!

I am off to get some real work done!

See ya later Wordies!

NaNoWriMo Day 1

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NaNoWriMo has arrived…For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month.
It is a 30-day experience where you sit down and WRITE THAT NOVEL, with the goal of o having 50K words finished by the end of November.

I actually never thought I would participate, I mean I have finished my first novel, but I am still in the editing stages.
That has bogged down on me a bit and I really need a jump start to get the editing finished on that.
SO……I decided to take the month of November off of that one and see if I can do it again, or if I am a One-Hit-Wonder, so to speak.

So I will join the thousands of other writers out there who are hoping November helps bring them inspiration and writing success.

With that being said, I need to get off this blog and start writing, close to 2K words a day is going to be a big stretch!
Happy Writing, my friends!

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

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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.

I Wrote A Book!

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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!!!!