The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Monday, December 10, 2018

Back on the Chain Gang

Well, yesterday afternoon I finished my manuscript. In the last two years it went from 25,000 words to almost 0 to 49,926 words.

Now I'm finished, right?


Now the real work begins.

I'm sending it off to an editor (Margo Dill) tomorrow. Then I have to wait while I bite my fingernails til they're bleeding patiently for her feedback.

Will she say it still sucks? Or will she say it's an improvement? I'm keeping my eyes and my toes crossed. (I can't cross my fingers because I'm too busy gnawing on my nails.)

Then, if she says it doesn't stink too badly, I can start re-examining the editors and publishers I listed as possibilities. And then submitting.


I'm back on the chain gang...

Monday, December 3, 2018

Dog Rescue Fundraising vs. Writing Work

This weekend was full of dog rescue fundraising work. Love a Golden had a booth at a craft fair on Saturday, and on Sunday we did Santa photos (with dogs and one really brave cat). Thinking back on the two days, I made some connections with the writing work I do. (Doesn't everything connect to writing?) Here they are:

  • At the craft fair we made our money a dollar at a time. Oh, we had baskets and dog blankets for sale, and we sold lots of them, but mostly we sold scoops of homemade dog biscuits for $1. Writing a short story or a novel is written one word at a time. When we were swamped with customers, it was hard to guess our progress. Had we made lots of money to put toward our vet bills, or had we made little headway? It's also sometimes difficult to determine how far we've progressed with our manuscript when we're in the middle of working on it. Don't lose your faith. Keep moving forward.
  •  Listening is key. I got the joy of listening to people's stories about their dogs. As a writer, we have to listen to our writer's intuition. What would be an authentic response for our character? What mementos would our character bring with them when they leave their home forever? Our writing ear will tell us if we're writing true or not.
  •  It's exhausting. Getting up early to set up a booth... spending all day on your feet as you wait on customers... socializing as you try to deftly prod them into spending money to help rescue more dogs--it's tiring. Writing is also exhausting. However, when a chapter is revised, when a manuscript's third draft is finally finished... Well, that's rewarding.

Here is Radar getting his picture taken with Santa. As usual,
his three-foot-long tongue is out and dribbling a river of slobber
onto the floor.

 How about you? What did you do over the weekend?

Saturday, November 24, 2018

I'm Baaack!

I'm a writer. It's been three months and one day since I last posted. What have I done in that three months?

  • I did the normal stuff. You know, I worked. It was an incredible beginning of a school year, and the unbelievable qualities continue. 
  • I went to an authors' event and got to chat with Pat Wahler about her compelling book I am Mrs. Jesse James. Reading how artfully she wrote about that era made me second-guess my own writing. After all, she sucked me in so thoroughly, I began to think of her book as nonfiction instead of historical fiction. The events all seemed true. The characters all seemed to have existed in that time period. Will readers think the same thing when they read my story? I certainly hope so...
  • I led and participated in a writing retreat in early November. Two days of BIC ensured that I was able to go through my entire manuscript and read it (quietly) to myself, painstakingly going over it word by word and line by line. (Below is one page of it. Some of the them had so many red marks and words scratched out and then changed, later, I could barely keep track of them.)
  • I've almost finished my manuscript. It's at 47,863 words. There's a couple of bits I want to insert--a thread here and there--but otherwise, it's done and I do mean done. It's been in the oven for two years and finally, I can hear the impending ding! indicating it's risen enough and is set in the middle and the top is no longer jiggly.
  • I've written several posts for The Muffin but my most recent one debuted today. If you'd like to see what I have to say about revising, check out my post.
  • I got the courage to ask Margo Dill to edit my manuscript. Again. My goal is to finish twerking tweaking it by the end of November and so that in December, I can deliver the fire starter manuscript to Margo.

I've read lots of posts, but I'm sure I've missed some newsworthy tidbits while I've been absent from the blogosphere so I'm wondering: What exciting or important things have happened to you in the last three months?

The inquiring mind of Sioux wants to know.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Pat Wahler's Journey... and a Giveaway

I'm still on a blog break (I'm at 29,000 words on my WIP) but I have a post on the Muffin today, and I'm offering a giveaway. I'd love if you checked it out.

Pat Wahler has a new novel coming out on August 28, and she was gracious enough to grant me an interview about her journey to publication.

You can read the interview here.

Friday, July 20, 2018

"Going Dark"... and Back-of-the-Book Blurb # 108

Well, I have less than a month before school starts. During that month, a lot is getting packed in: a trip to Tulsa (for research), a 3-day workshop (robotics--yikes!), and getting my classroom ready... along with the normal faculty meetings and student get-togethers.

Also, I have several books I want to read so I can change things up in my classroom. Can I skim or read fast enough to digest what I need? I'm not so sure.

My blogging has been sporadic at best. What was once two or three posts per week has dwindled to once a week--sometimes not even that.

In February I joined a writing accountability group. That lead to some marvelous (and daunting) things, such as: 

  • I hired an editor (Margo Dill) who gave me spot-on advice and a couple of pages of suggestions. 
  • I began to completely revise my manuscript--a new beginning, lots of scenes put into a separate file (in case I need them later), a new ending, and lots of scenes in need of being written.
  • Every week I've set small goals (as a part of my accountability group) and most weeks, I've achieved my goal.
  • While doing my research, I've found a map of the area, along with a timeline of the event. This is helping me tell my story. (It's historical fiction.)
I like my new beginning better than the old one, and the new ending excites me. However, what began as a (finished, I thought) 30,000-word story is now at 18,000. To be completely accurate, some of my scenes in the old version are going to be able to be woven into the new draft, but a lot of new words need to be put down as well.

More than half the year--my "accountability" year, that is--is gone... which is why I've decided to take a break from blogging for a while. 

That doesn't mean I won't be dropping by and reading blogs... but I might not comment very often. If you (my 1.3 readers) are itchin' to read something from me on the blogosphere, I'll still be posting once or twice a month on The Muffin.

So here is the last book blurb for a while...

Hondo and Bambito

It was friendship at first sight. The moment Hondo saw Bambito skitter across his back yard, he knew the fawn was going to be a barrel of fun.

Bambito was petrified at first, and froze when the leggy hound dog came galloping up but it was soon clear--these two were destined to be best friends.

They romped across the grass. They leaped up in joy. They chased each other. They raced across the field. Hondo yipped and Bambito twitched her tail.

And even though the hound was twice as big as the tiny fawn, he was always careful to not play too roughly. After all, Bambito's legs were thin as pencils. She was just a baby.

But in a few months the tables would be turned. Hondo was not going to grow any more, but Bambito was soon going to be huge. Will they remain friends? (147 words)

Hey, who knows? Perhaps when I return to posting, perhaps my manuscript will be a finished 2nd draft...

Saturday, July 14, 2018

A Change of Scenery and Back-of-the-Book Blurb # 107

         I'm working on revising a novel-length manuscript. I wrote what I knew was the perfect story. It was ready for publication as soon as I typed the last word. I mean, I'd edited as I wrote, it was a compelling story (historical fiction--don't think I'm so full of myself that I think I can write an engaging novel that's purely made up--that ain't me)... what more did I need?

      Well, I needed the eye of a skilled editor. And I got it. For a very affordable price, Margo Dill gave me two pages of praise (specific praise) along with suggestions on how to improve the manuscript--and ways to implement those suggestions.

      I realized that my subject is compelling, I've done a fairly decent job of creating a narrator, but I need a plan. I need some planned tension or excitement (Is that really a necessary component? I'm just kidding.). I need to rewrite the manuscript and keep some of it, but scrap a lot of it.

      The last couple of weeks I've been a slacker. My summer job was keeping me busy, which I used as an excuse. I belong to a writing accountability group, and I wasn't always achieving my small, weekly goals. What was going to nudge me into getting back into a writing groove?

       A change of scenery did it. I had a couple of hours between the end of a workshop and the beginning of an evening writing critique group meeting. I went into a fast-food place, saw they had a counter with an electrical outlet (my laptop was in need of juice) and had a bite to eat... after which I wrote. I met my weekly goal while I was sitting at that high counter, and the change of scenery was responsible for the success, I think.

      Sometimes heading to a restaurant or coffee shop and sitting there for an entire morning or a whole afternoon is a good thing. For me, there is enough distraction, allowing me to occasionally take a momentary break from my writing, but not so much to prevent me from writing anything. I've done this at Starbucks, but I prefer the funky, neighborhood places.

     What unusual places do you like to use for your writing? And now onto book blurb stuff...
           Look at the photo below. That is the cover of your bookYou choose the genre. Is it a coffee table book on candid pool pics? Is it a photo collection of crazy kids doing crazy things? You decide.

        Write an enticing blurb--150 words or less. (The title doesn't count in the word count.) Blurbs are those enticing bits that prod you into buying the book. Sometimes they're on the back cover of the book. Sometimes they're on the inside front cover. What they always try to do is lure you into purchasing the book. 

          Lisa Ricard Claro was the original creator of this writing challenge. She moved to Florida, she's gone through three sixteen cabana boys (they don't have the energy to keep the pool clean enough, constantly falling behind and are always falling short when compared to Lisa's word count) and Lisa's too busy to host a weekly book blurb. Check out her blog, along with her books. She's a wonderful writer and a wonderful friend.
          Include your blurb in a blog post. Include a link to this post. Also, link your post to Mr. Linky. Mr. Linky is easy. If you've never done it, you'll be impressed with how simple he is. And then, check out the other blurb(s). It's interesting to see the different directions writers take, given the same photo.

           Here's the book cover, along with my blurb:

Not Very Good At Breaking Bad

Byron had seen every episode of Breaking Bad at least seven times. He loved the power that Walter White had amassed by the time the series was almost finished.

Byron started trying to live just like Walter White. He ordered a children's chemistry kit, and started dabbling in mixing things up. This Walter-wannabe had enough college classes under his belt, and got hired as a substitute teacher. Not quite ready for working with the high school kids, Byron filled in for the kindergarten and first grade teachers.

And when he was home, Byron paraded around in nothing but his tighty-whities.

But then things started spiraling out of control. Byron’s wife refused to dye her hair blonde, she refused to change her name to Skyler... and then she left him.

Can Byron win his wife back? Or will he have to shave his head and go 100% Walter White? (146 words)

And for anyone who'd like to play along, here is the picture for next week: