May 31, 2011

Well, Hello There

It’s been a long and productive 5 months! Hello again. I’ve been in my novel writing cave, head down, ignoring the web almost completely. I think I could have tried to keep up on blogging, Facebook, Twitter, and everything, but then I wouldn’t have complete 162,000 words in 5 months! Two novels worth!

So here’s what I’ve been up to.

If you remember, my agent Stephanie was looking forward to a rewrite of the first novel manuscript I had first written a number of years ago, so that’s what I was working on. I kept the plot but changed the style and voice of it significantly ~ much more lush and ornate and interior and more true to the time (1885). Because it was so lush, the 100K turned into 162K, even though I cut out a significant subplot and condensed the time frame. I thought the pace was good, so we’re splitting it into two books. Can you imagine? I wrote two novels in five months! I can’t believe it myself. Now we’ll have to see if they’re any good. I’m almost completely done with both. The first is done done, and I just need to finish the final reading on the second and do the final edits.  Then we'll see what Stephanie thinks and on to the next step in the process.  Yay!

It’s such a different experience to read through a novel from writing it. There’s a lot of time and thinking that goes on between scenes when writing, but it goes so fast when reading it. Something that felt like there was a long time in between during the writing feels side by side in the reading. Also, there’s a magical third element in the reading. I don’t know how to explain it exactly. Certainly you have a third magical element that is the world of the book as you’re writing, but it’s all open and changing, while in reading it it’s fixed. By third magical element, I think that I mean it comes alive on the page and in your mind. Maybe a good way to explain it is, in the writing you’re inside this messy world that’s changing, with you kind of in control, kind of like life, while in the reading you’re outside it and you are not in control, the way is fixed. You suspend disbelief. You turn off the editor, if all goes well.

Another great thing: I’ve been accepted to the Bread Loaf Writers Conference! I have been trying to go for a couple of years, and I was finally accepted this year. A great honor. And I’m excited to join my great writing friend Nina McConigley.

So, you’ll be seeing more of me hanging out in the interwebs. I’ve missed you!  (And thanks, so much, Pembroke, for tending the flame!)

Question of the Day: Have you had a good writing year so far?

May 4, 2011


This is to let you know that I'm still making great progress on the novel rewrite ~ Yay! ~ but I'm not done yet.  I estimate another month.  So I plan to start blogging again about the first of June.  And thanks so much to all of you who sent such sweet messages saying you miss my posts!

Talk to you soon!

Algonkian Writer Conferences

Hey, just a note for all you writers who have written a novel and are just starting to send out queries. Or, if you're where I was at one point ~ you've sent out a whole bunch of queries and are getting almost no response.  If you have the resources, you could sign up for an Algonkian conference.  It's not about the writing so much as understanding the market.  Feel free to email me with specific questions.


I wanted to add that Algonkian is about the writing too.  For me, the most important thing I got from the conference was that invaluable insider information, but you spend a lot of time talking about craft as well and where your book fits in the market.  It saves lots of valuable time if you consider, even before you're writing, what shape your book should take.  If you are writing a thriller, it doesn't matter how much you want to include a meandering plot with lots of literary backstory ~ if you want to be traditionally published, you had better know and stick to the conventions of your genre. 

While there, you do writing exercises and talk about craft and Michael gives personal feedback on your work.  It's great!

This is not to discount if you are writing to follow your own whims.  A very valuable undertaking.  But if you wish to publish, it's a good idea to know where you fit.