Sunday, September 5, 2010
That’s not exactly right.
It all started with Donald Maass. Washington DC. The Fire in Fiction.
Permission to get off the submit-submit-submit-keep-those-partials-rolling merry-go-round to stop, stare, play with my words again.
His advice, admonishment really, poked, prodded, needled through revisions, work on the next story, assorted conferences and writers’ meetings.
Then I decided to audition for the symphony.
I know. It was a crazy to compete with Conservatory-trained players from London, Paris, Iowa. But this wasn’t so much about competition as personal challenge. I practiced and practiced and practiced. Took private lessons. Examined every attack, every pitch, every release.
And I got better.
No, I didn’t win the audition, or even make it to the next round, but each time I pick up my horn I can tell. That intensive work, those hours in the little attic room, improved my ability, made the music better.
The tools to improve my writing weren’t nearly as obvious as playing scales and orchestral excerpts. Then Margie Lawson came to Portland to present her two day workshop. By the time that weekend was over, the reasons behind my rejections started emerging from the page like a ruddy sun ball through a coastal fog bank.
Ignoring the well-intentioned advice of some of my writer friends to return my story to the slush pile recycle bin, I made my way to the attic once more, this time armed with Margie’s lecture packets, a bag of highlighters, and coffee. A lot of coffee.
It wasn’t enough.
Don’t get me wrong. The coffee was great. It is Portland.
Margie’s lectures and exercises made me look at the page in an entirely different way. But I needed more. I needed to take the next step.
I needed to go to Colorado.
Immersion class was lecture packets on steroids. At 8888 feet.
I’m back in the attic now. Practicing scales and rhetorical devices and raising character stakes.
Margie Lawson armed me with a bucket full of new writing tools.
Donald Maass gave me permission to use them.
Thank you both!
Keep an eye out for this fresh voice in romance – I for one will be pre-ordering her book when it’s out!
Over to the next post and Betty Booher! Ta da.
Monday, August 30, 2010
So, I've picked myself back up, swiped off my dusty behind, and it's back to deep editing and re-writing sections of Druid.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Comment must be posted in response to any blog entry that has the title Featured Guest.
Contest duration: August 21, 2010 to September 17, 2010.
To be entered in the random drawing, your comment should be posted before 7 PM Pacific Daylight Time on Sep 17, 2010.
Please include your email in your post (so I can contact you if you're the winner).
If a name with no email address posted/linked is selected, the random pick will be made again (of the remaining entries), until a winner with a posted email address is selected.(Sorry folks, it's just too complicated to try and find you :o)
Please help me welcome Maggie. Tell her what you think of her post and be entered to win a Margie Lawson lecture packet. Contest details in separate post.
Welcome Maggie, fire away! (And I am so there for your launch party
Maggie, thank you so much for setting up this new blog for us. What a great place to hang out with fellow Immersion Class members.
So here's my tidbit for the day. I have been deep editing using Margie Lawson's techniques and realized, I really have to go back and create a scene by scene story board. I hear ya (I'm groaning right along with all you non-plotters) but this is not so much about plotting as it is about helping me re-arrange my chapters for the greatest effect. The book is pretty well done (375 degrees, bottom rack, loosely cover with foil..not saran wrap. Yes, in my early cooking days, I did that once). But I digress - this scene outline (which some of the Emergineers have already developed) is integral, I mean absolutely essential to my editing.
So, I am in my study, my version of cappuccino/latte by my side, kitchen timer (courtesy of Margie Lawson) at hand, and a table in WORD started that outlines all my scenes in detail - POV, setting, theme, etc etc. I'm calling it my story board - I'll let you know how it goes.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
Have you every read over your work and known you could better but you just weren't sure how to get there? The Immersion Master Class teaches you how! Margie not only gives you tools you can apply for the rest of your life, but she and her husband (and her neighbors) treat you like an honored guest. All in all, an amazing experience. Thank you Margie and fellow Immersioners.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
It definitely is for me! I have learned about giving my writing more emotional punch, racking up the tension, making every page score high on that "who cares" scale - and I thought I knew how to do this!!!. Will I write the absolute piece de resistance? I hope. Will The Druid Came Calling become bigger (in terms of big story), better (emotion, tension, page turner), and make you care? I really think so.
This is a must-do class if you've reached the point where you think you've written the best you can. It's amazing what Margie will pull out of you. Besides, the tools she gives you to edit your own work? Every one of them is coming along with me on the long journey.
Kudos, Margie and thank you.
Back to deep editing - I have one more day here, yeah!
PS: Did I mention the food? Oh my! can you say gourmet?
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Journal of Popular Romance Studies
Cheers! Here's to a new academic department and adding my novels to my academic CV.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
NPR ran a story about Gilded Romances Of Dashing Dandies, Brooding Beaus by Helen Simonson. Now anything that even remotely concerns Georgette Heyer arouses my intense curiosity and many times my ire. Read the rather lackluster report which persists in seeing Heyer as a romance author who, by the way – gasp! – also gave us some historical facts.And stand up for not calling reading a romance a damn guilty pleasure!
Heyer, even given her few historical inaccuracies around the Regency period (and who hasn't taken a few liberties in their writing?) and the fact they she wrote primarily romances, remains an incredibly gifted writer who can make me cry and laugh out loud on the same page - and this during the twentieth reading.
In my Publisher’s Lunch daily I see that Texas is one of the state making inquiries into e-book publishing prices. (....the Texas investigation we reported has been conducted in secret, and has involved extensive compliance efforts from multiple companies served with civil investigative demands: PL Aug 3, 2010). Now why does the news that the state of Texas is going anything in secret start to give me shivers, and make me want to hug my book rights to myself? Paranoid? Don’t think so…this is the state that is mandating which text books teachers can use, after all.
You can subscribe to and read more about this at Publishers Lunch
Thursday, July 29, 2010
• 75 million: The number of Americans who read at least one romance novel in 2008.
• 91: percentage of romance readers who are female.
• 31-49: Age range of the typical romance reader.
• 7: Number of days it typically takes a reader to begin and finish a romance novel.
And a few numbers from the USA TODAY Best-Selling Books list:
• 13: The percentage of total book sales that romance novels have accounted for in 2010, up from 10% in 2009.
• 25: The average number of romances that have appeared each week in the Top 150 in 2010, up from 19 a week in 2009 and 17 a week in 2008.
The article can be read here: Romance genre sweeps readers off their feet
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
It all began...it wasn't quite a dark and stormy night...in fact it was ultra-sunny (this is AZ, so what's new). I was looking for my car keys in my purse as I walked to the parking lot, stepped off the curb. Simple enough, you say? Yes I say, but note that when you usually step off the curb, your brain or your conscious is expecting said step. Mine was buried inside my LL Bean bag. Ergo, I tripped, ripped the top of the very nice new red sandals I had on, and landed on my rear end and my left hand. [Digression: isn't that a cool line, Margie Lawson's lessons, you know ;o)
Now, I am not sure how this all played out on camera or to any interested watchers, my entire focus being to soften the hit that my computer was going to take. That said, I have strained (my diagnosis and since I have not officially and legally practiced diagnosing any medical condition for 15 years - this could really be anything else) my left thumb. Which brings me back to how many things my left thumb is crucial for - it leaves the bloody scrape on my right knee quite in the dust!
Getting 30 pages ready to submit to the agent who requested it. I wonder if my body is subtly helping me procrastinate? Oh, there's another book idea - a world where the body is sentient separate from your mind. Sure no one's done that yet? It could be the next Twilight. Anyone listening?
Have a good Tuesday.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
At long last, I've settled in with one work in progress, tentatively titled A Druid Came Calling. What is this, you ask? An urban fantasy with strong romantic elements that has only been re-written about 17 times. Okay, if you know me, you know by now that's my exaggeration number! Still, its been rewritten a few times.
And I like it. It remains to be seen if the powers that be - agents and editors too.
I pitched Druid (as I fondly call it) at the Desert Dreams conference in April this year, and got 4 requests for a partial, and one for a full.
Sending those out, I thought - what the heck? (not always a good thought by the way) and also sent 11 more queries. Cold queries, slush pile queries. What was I thinking?
So anyway, here's the update:
15 queries sent
1 request for a partial (cold query response).
The nail biting continues.