Sunday, August 20, 2017

Making Headway

We authors know not every manuscript is created equal. Sometimes the big Aha moment hits you like a ton of bricks and your fingers itch for paper and pen before you forget your brilliance. Sometimes you create an outline and follow it in a linear fashion from start to finish, rarely getting sidetracked. And sometimes the great idea comes out all squishy.

The latter scenario is what happened to me with my most recent one. It took me five painful months to pound this squishy little idea into some kind of story line. I discussed the plot with friends and fellow authors, listened to their ideas for how to make it a better story, and pounded some more. I wrote 20,000 words before I realized it wouldn't work the way I had it laid out, so I ripped off the head and began a painful cut and paste. I revised, added, deleted, revised, added and revised some more. And what did I end up with?

I ended up with a logical story. I ended up with characters I could fall in love with and a plot full of surprises. My heroine is probably the strongest one I've ever written and my tortured hero has every right to turn his back on a relationship until he finds the one right woman for him.

So what came of the story? After torturing my every waking moment for the past five months, and taking the advice of my three loyal beta readers, I am pleased to say the manuscript was accepted for publication yesterday! It probably won't see daylight until early 2018, but that's okay. At least I know this one did its best to beat me down but I survived the mess and came out on the other end a better writer.

After being published for five years now, and having seventeen books to my credit, I still learn something new every single day about the craft of writing. To those who have been working on the same manuscript for years, trying for perfection, I can tell you it will never happen. The best thing to do is to send it out to agents and publishers to get their feedback, enter contest after contest and listen to the advice of the judges, continue to hone your craft, but let your work be seen. Every step is a milestone, every published book is a learning experience and every squishy little germ of an idea needs to be explored.

So what kind of headway will you make this week?

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Some Down Time

I'm well aware that on one hand, I have the most fortunate of circumstances for being an author. I don't have a partner who pops his head into my office just when the words start flowing really well. Nor do I have children to chauffeur around to various activities. And I don't need to get up each morning and head out to a job where I spend my time and most of my mental faculties for the day.





But on the other hand, there is a down side to having this wide expanse of writing time. I never run out of ideas for stories, and usually have three or four projects in various stages of development going at all times. I can stay in my office for six hours at a stretch before coming out of the cave and blinking at the sunlight. I forget there is a world outside of what's in my head. Sometimes (gasp!) I even forget to eat.


Last week, I spoke about the projects I had going on simultaneously. The editing got done first and sent back. The ghostwriting job got shipped off yesterday and now I must wait for payment before starting the next part. And the manuscript I've been working on is in the hands of my beta readers, so I want to wait for their input before I get back to it. So now what?

How about some down time?

There are movies to see, road trips to take, long walks with Mary, books to read. It seems I can't do just one thing at a time. So I'll check the movie times, check the weather and check on what nearby attractions I can get to, what book I want to delve into and decide what to do first, second, third and fourth.

Then, I'll get back to work. How about you? What do you do when you get some free time?

Sunday, August 6, 2017

What Comes First

I constantly marvel at how authors who have day jobs, or children, manage to get any writing done. I've retired from the 9 to 5 scene, and now that Sis has moved out, I only have my dog depending on me, so it should be a piece of cake for me to get my work done, right?

Wrong!

I'm currently juggling three jobs at the same time–my current WIP, edits for the contemporary, and my ghostwriting job. So which do I tackle first? The one that's bothering me most? The one that's the most pleasant? The one that will pay me? Work on all three simultaneously? 

My method used to be quite simple. When I lay in bed at night, which project is it that I think about? If the project is keeping me from getting to sleep, that's the one that needs taken care of first. But, of course, that's not the case with my current situation. I'm constantly thinking about each of the projects, but from different perspectives. So the best approach for me right now is to work on them all at the same time. Since they are totally different in terms of era, genre and tone, I won't be mixing story lines, so I should be okay there. But I won't get a good night's sleep until at least one of these is off my plate and onto someone else's. 


So tell me–what's your method of dealing with multiple projects?