Saturday, January 03, 2009

What's next?

While I'm chatty, and since the monsters are dwelling on the Nick channel, I thought I'd put down my next plans.

Annabelle isn't gone. Last Feb I received more of the same rejections. Yup. Tale as old as time. Author just doesn't get what the betas are saying and all the agents keep rejecting.

So I took a year off from submitting. Willard introduced me to Michelle's critique group, then when the time didn't work out for me he helped me start my own. Chapter after chapter my new collection of betas ripped it to shreds while I followed along with a dust pan, cleaning, fixing and then strapping on skates and trying to fix my messes before they saw them. I learned a lot and when I look over old beta notes from Chris, Aprilynne, Night Author or others I slap my head and say "They knew, how come I didn't hear them". Still I was finally listening.

Is it perfect? Heck no. Some think I should go one way, others thing another. Maybe I'm still a fool for some of my decisions. No clue. But as for actual writing mistakes. Things like passive words, telling instead of showing, following up on clues I left, etc, etc, well I ironed all that out.

There are five chaps of hand written mark ups fro0m Christy that still need applying. There are still more passive words that need to be searched out and changed into more telling.

Then it'll be "finished". This means submitting and resubmitting can begin in February. I'll start making noise again and getting her out there.

Yes, I'm pessimistic or realistic. In a year I'll probably still be just a dreamer. But I cant sit in a turkey coup and be satisfied when I know this story is an eagle and deserves to fly. So it'll be time to attack.

Meanwhile, I'll rework book 2. Ouch it's ugly. Sure, it's done, but it's ugly. Not fit for human eyes. Only Chris has seen the entire thing. Only Steven has seen sample chaps. It's wrong and needs serous edits. But that's going to be so fun. The stand alone revised ending to book 1 has allowed for a much better chapter 1 of book two. Heck, Usha gets to cameo!

Usha, for those who don't know, is the opposite. See, the idea of Annabelle was that she is the opposite of Claudia from Interview With A Vampire. Well, Usha is the opposite of Annabelle. But she's not Claudia.

OK, sorry. Got carried away. Anyway, I'm going to edit book 2 while subbing book 1. I'm also going to go deeper into world building my other novel. Yes, there ARE other novels that don't involve vampires.

So I'm excited. I can finally move forward!

Somebody's watching me!

Yup, I'm quoting Rockwell from his old 80's song.

I accidentally sent an email to one of my past beta readers and she replied back, saying "Hi"! Turns out she's been lurking. That's great! I do worry that some of my more grouchy moments have come forth too, but it's still wonderful that there are people out there.

Meanwhile, the author of Fablehaven started following me on Twitter. Yes, I finally was able to sit down and read his second book. But that doesn't mean I contacted him currently. This was a complete coincidence. I contacted him back in 07, asking questions about writing and he replied back with some great advice, but that's the only contact we've had.

Heck, there have been plenty of times in the last two years that I've wanted to speak with both Brandon Mull (said author) and Stephenie Meyers. As a fellow Mormon writing fantasy (and in Stephenie's case, vampires) I would kill for the chance to pick their brains on a number of topics only they could answer.

But my point is, that's two people (a prior beta and an author) whom contacted or followed me. Me! Sheesh. Makes me want to clean up my digital house a bit more.

It also raises a question. Since '06, after I thought I was finished with book 1, I started making a lot of noise online. I posted all over the place, trying to get Annabelle out there. If two people I contacted back then are still watching, who else is?

It's exciting.

Friday, January 02, 2009

*Sniff* The group is done

I'm sure going to miss them. We've all got various things going on and mutually agreed it was time to quit. But while it was going I learned so much. In fact, before I started it with Willard, before Sherry, Christy, Antonio or even Clare joined, I learned at the other group with Michelle, Kim and Kirk. All of the members of both critique groups have helped me beyond words.

I've thought, since day 1, who I would thank on a dedication page. In fact the rough draft had such a page and I keep everything.

So it's time to update it. I may never get published and die an old drafter who couldn't quite touch the sky, but if by some miracle I do get Ann out there and she makes it, it's due to many shoulders. Here are all the ones I can think of at the moment...

There is a special virtue in taking a curse and making it a blessing.

For the knowledge and help;
Jeff, Steven, Willard, Chris, Ian, Jay, Adam, Mike, Daniel, Mr. Peterson, Mr. Warner, Claudia, Night Author, Aprilynne, Danielle, Jason, Jesse, Michelle, Kim, Kirk, Liz (RIP), M’liss, Claire, Anna, Sherry, Antonio, Christy and two of Mr. Russon’s 6th grade classes.

For the heart and soul;
Janeen, Laura, Katelyn, Sara and David


Yep, this year of edits is done. I've got a couple things left (5 more chaps of hard copy mark ups, possible last scene from Roland's pov) then it's resubmit time. But did I catch everything?

Does it still talk down? Does the show outweigh the tell? Is the history stuff accurate? Are the characters interesting enough? Strong enough? Does it resolve things enough to be considered stand alone? Is the action paced enough? Are the redundant and passive words replaced with active words? And is it still stiff?

Sigh. Will it ever be right? Am I over-editing?

"They" all say they get sucked in. Will "they" still get sucked in? I see so many errors in so many published works, yet those books are popular. Their characters and entertain and inspire. Can mine? Will mine?

I've traded very short, brief emails with Brandon Mull and Daran Shan, but I wish I could just sit and chat with a published author about my fears. Ask them if they went through it. How did they survive? Did they ever find out if their editing was "too much" or "not enough" or did it ultimately even matter?

A part of me feels close. A part of me feels very far away.