Sunday, February 05, 2006

Breaking news...

um... we'll edit that post right out...

tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow

Okay, kids, I have another glass of wine and the weekend is almost over (dear readers will soon see that wine is a constant theme in this blog. I'm an attorney, it's practically required of me).

My goal for the weekend was originally to write 10k words. Then it changed to writing a total of 10k on the new project. Finally I decided that I was only going to reach a total of 7k and that's okay with me. I've written through what I had in my head so now I have another week to refuel and get ready for another weekend of writing. Perhaps I'll even be able to write a scene or two this week!

After some discussions with The Boy I've decided to spend some time tightening what I have for entrance into a few contests. I never entered either of my last two novels into a contest - which means that I've really never entered one. There's a part of me that questions contests... on the one hand I think they're a fantastic way to get some good criticism, to put your work out there, to maybe get in front of an editor or agent, and to get some good creds on your writing resume.

But I also find that some people are contest addicted. From my time on the boards long ago and now I see tag lines that list contest after contest after contest. At a certain point it seems time to move on with that WIP - take it off the circuit, give others a chance, and turn that puppy into an agent or editor. Then move on, pick up another project.

Anyways, Meet the Press is on as is the Super Bowl. The Boy has topped off my wine and it's time to enjoy the rest of the weekend.

(psst - it's a 4 day week for me! I'll splain more later...)

Saturday, February 04, 2006

so many books...

I can't remember if I've mentioned this already, but I try not to read too much while I'm in the middle of writing. I realized with my second novel that I tend to pick up part of the author's voice and incorporate it into my own writing. While this works great when there's a new Crusie, it doesn't work so well when I reading something outside of my genre or my tone.

It's been hard not reading, especially since I've seen so many great books recently. But I couldn't give up being surrounded by books so today (Sat) The Boy and I headed to our local independent bookstore (I still have a rather large gift-card to said store from said Boy leftover from Christmas).

I went straight back to the romance section (natch it's two large bookshelves right on the path to the bathroom so I have to constantly move out of the way of old men, screaming babies, and anyone else needing to powder their noses). Turns out they've rearranged since the last time I was there and I think I like it. Now, they have all the contemps in the same area, then all the historicals and paranormals. Really I think it's a good move. If you're in the mood for an historical, you only have to skim two bookshelves worth.

Still, I always find it interesting to see what they shelve in romance and what they shelve in general fiction. I tend to look for Red Dress Ink books, at the very least I'm interested to see what RDI's putting out these days. I found 4 in romance and probably 7 in general fiction. What's the difference? No idea. But I reiterate my theory that chick-lit is having a hard time in part because of this identity crisis.

If I walk into a bookstore looking for a chick-lit I have to skim all of romance and all of general fiction. It's time consuming and hard and I usually give up without finding what I'm looking for.

In other bookstore related news, I looked for the YA books of friends I've met on the boards. Couldn't find a one of them. At my bookstore the YA section is one long (and very very tall) bookshelf that's sectioned off into age groups which makes it difficult to follow if you don't know exactly where the book you're looking for is aimed.

So The Boy, who admits he isn't the voracious reader that I am, ended up with tons of books and I ended up with nothing.

Except for ugly dog. The Boy got it for me as a suprise, so the trip wasn't wasted after all.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

wines ahead

< picks up glass of wine >

How do you people do it? Work all day, come home, blog, write novels, not just fall onto the couch and stare at the ceiling wondering how many more days come until the weekend?

Clearly not by procrastinating. Odd how one can procrastinate doing what one normally does to procrastinate.

So I was going to write a pithy intro today - give y'all a little perspective on where I'm coming from. But you'll figure it out eventually. All you need to know is over there ------> in the sidebar.

Last Saturday my RWA national conference CDs came in the mail. Ecstatic I perused the list of sessions, highlighting those that seemed to be most apropos to what I'm currently working on. I choose the top ten and load them up on the iPod. Couldn't wait to start listening.

Buuuut, no listening on the weekend is my rule. See, it would be way to easy to spend all day Sat and Sun doing nothing but listening to conference sessions and not doing actual writing. Since my brain is generally fried during the week (too much mental energy into justifying my obscene rates to the clients I work for), I spend weeknights plotting, planning, dreaming.

The weekend is for writing!

Monday morning I strap on the iPod and become one of those commuters with the white earbuds. Unfortunately, my commute is around 5 minutes, so I really have to squeeze in listening time. This might explain why I don't have quite as much patience with the speakers as I would, say, if I were attending the conference live.

Sounds harsh - but you do the math: 149 sessions, 1 hour each, 20 minute max commute if I stretch it... I could be listening to these mp3s for the rest of my life!

Clearly this has led me to a lot of ranting (without naming names because I honestly cannot express how important I find the national conference to be and how much I have learned from these session and how glad I am that so many people put so much effort into helping us unpublished folk).

But I rant anyway because that is what I do. For example:

  1. Granted I'm new (ish - I was actually a member a long time ago) but it's Chick Lit. Or Mommy Lit. Or Hen Lit - or whatever you want to call it. But it isn't just Chick. Adding "Chick" to something doesn't make it Chick Litty. Generally I don't think of things as "chick mystery..." But I'm usually wrong on these things (it just sounded weird...)
  2. Why is it that presenters - who certainly understand how important it is to grab the reader and get to the point early in their books - can't seem to do so in a presentation? I love that they warm up the audience... but I'm already warm and almost to work - I want to hear what you have to say because I know it will be good!
  3. If you've never sold in the sub-genre you're talking about (despite your best efforts and your track record as a pubbed author) why are you giving the presentation? Granted, you could have done tons and tons of research. If that's the case - tell us your research and not just what you've done (especially if what you've done hasn't been working for you).
  4. Don't spend time reminding us to know our reader, proof-read, come up with good idea, write the best book we can, etc etc. I know we all need to start with the basics, but a quick handout on these at the beginning of the conference would save a lot of repetition...
  5. And for goodness sake people, as Diana Peterfreund points out, don't take up valuable Q&A time asking about (a) your particular plot and if it has a good hook and (b) what font is best (and I know I didn't take you to an exact post where she says such things but that was on purpose because you should read her whole blog - so full of great tips plus a fantastic story!)

My wineglass is empty. I guess I should go fill it up and take a deep breath.

< /rant >