Monday, February 28, 2011

A little catch up...

Saturday, I visited with a dear friend, who had read The Project and made several very helpful suggestions. I came home and re-wrote.

On Sunday, I took a complete break. I didn't even open my document program.

Today, it was back to it. I worked on The Project some more, doing more re-writes and adding material for clarification. I'm also working on the WIP. I made a slight plot change that I think was necessary to work for the overall story. I'm feeling those little prickles of "what if it isn't any good?" "What if it doesn't work?" "What if it's horrible?" "What am I thinking?" "What if..." Okay, breathe. Time to dive back in. As long as I'm writing, I don't worry about the what if's, only the "What comes next?"

Friday, February 25, 2011

God is always right...

"God may not come when you call, but when He does come, He's never late."

When I decided to submit my novel to the Mentor Program I was nervous. I knew the Desert Rose meeting was the last Tuesday. I wanted to be ready. I was, pretty much. I talked to Laurie, who was very helpful. I decided I'd turn it in by Friday. Wednesday morning, I woke up with a bee in my bonnet, and simply had to turn it in that day. By Wednesday evening, it was done. On Thursday, it was discovered that somehow the attachments hadn't made it. So I sent them again. On Friday, Laurie kindly informed me that I'd gone overboard on the synopsis. Instead of a synopsis, I'd submitted a novella. I re-wrote, and re-submitted. Friday. And it's done, really done, exactly like that first impression. Had I waited until Friday, It would have been next week before it was all straightened out. Whoohoo!! I listened and obeyed. I'm feeling much calmer about it all. The fun part was rereading some of the story, and finding there are parts that made me laugh out loud. With that comes the little thought, "Did I really write that?" Yep. I did it. I'm a writer. I really am.

Oh! I also worked on the next book, tweaking the first two chapters, working on the third, and starting the synopsis. I'm actually finding the synopsis is very helpful, at least the novella ones are because they cut out the cute, fun, catch-your-attention stuff and focus on the plot.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ah, the way of technology...

The attachments didn't make it! So, I resent them, this evening. It wasn't nearly as nerve wracking. I did my PTBW, though it's not really paying the bills anymore, but something is always better than nothing. Then I started on the second book in the trilogy. I brainstormed with my dear friend on the plot because my original plan wasn't particularly solid. I'm a bit of a pantster (writing by the seat of my pants). I tend to go where the story takes me, which is fine if you have thousands of pages to meander wherever the story takes you. However, when there's a limit, you have to reach the point eventually, and preferable before the last page. Nothing worse than a book that leads you along only to do an information dump on the last page. In our discussion, I also came to realize that I tend to start a story, and then I need to write the end, so I know where I'm going. Interestingly enough, I also tend to write the story backwards from there. What led to that last scene? And what led to the second to last scene. The book finished yesterday ended up with chapters being cut and the last eight chapters being rearranged, except for the final one. I love the whole process.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

It's begun...

Today, I finished the re-write for my inspirational historical novel that I may be publishing under my real name. I'm still waffling about that. I'm allowed. I also finished the synopsis. I've never written one of those before, so I have no idea what I'm doing. Actually, I had to write a one-page synopsis for this very story when I submitted it to Harlequin. Now that I know more, I understand why it was rejected. This synopsis is a lot longer. I put the synopsis, the first three chapters, and my application all in the proper format (I hope) and emailed it all off to the Mentor Program offered by Desert Rose, my local chapter of Romance Writers of America. A published author will be matched with me, and give me a critique on the material. I expect a lot of red marks on the synopsis. I've talked about it with published authors, but I'm really completely clueless. I understand the overall idea, but putting it into practice is presently an exercise of shooting in the dark. I am very happy with my re-write. The books is so much better. And yes, I expect red marks on that, too, only hopefully not as many. Thank you to the judges in the Phoenix Rattler Contest, offered by the Christian Writers of the West chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers. Their suggestions were invaluable.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Back to writing...

I re-wrote a couple more chapters. I have so much to learn about telling a story. Only four chapters to go.

I'm going to try posting a TIP a day, something that has caught my attention or made an impact on my writing. Right now, TIP stands for Today's Insider Perspective.

TIP: I read a tip on POV, from one of my judges, that the scene should be told from the character that has the most to lose. I find that helpful, though if I'm not sure there's actually anything to "lose," then I choose the character that is better suited for revealing the information. Sometimes it's the character revealing, and sometimes it's the character seeking the reveal.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Faced the fear...

...the fear of not being able to work on either The Project or Haven. I tackled Haven first and realized that though the last several chapters went quickly, I was stuck on the next chapter. It's... wrong. It's going to have to be completely re-written. I've already cut a few paragraphs that simply cannot be used because of the POV.

I also opened The Project and saw immediately where more needed to added. I added a little. I'll work on it more, tomorrow. It's started again.

Again, I wonder what in the world I'm thinking. I'm barely working. My skills are geared towards that of office help, a job that is swiftly disappearing as budgets tighten. All is in God's hands, regardless.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Another short vacation...

I've been doing some reading for a contest, and labeling it homework. It is. Really. I've learned a lot. There are some things I've been thinking about that I'm endeavoring to work through. The day is growing closer that I will seek the help of a mentor for my inspirational historical romance. It terrifies me, and yet I'm excited, too.

This blog has been kept as a safe place, a place where I share the more positive aspects of my process. Life is changing. It isn't all sweetness and light. I think I am growing strong enough to share the light and the darkness, eventually. :-)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Took a break, today...

If you want a good way to critique your own writing, become a judge in a contest. This advice was given to me a couple of years ago, and I'm finding it still holds true.

I'm waffling about how much detail I want to put into The Project. My BFF editor knows a lot of the stories and told me, today, that she wishes I'd included more. That being said, it's scary deciding to no longer be a secret keeper. That is how abusers maintain their power: If you tell, you'll be in trouble or others will not believe you or you will cause others pain. The lesson is learned to a punishing degree. Change is not easy. I don't have to decide, today, and I can change my mind, tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Editing faster...

Today, I was able to complete the editing for four chapters. It seems the last third of the book was written far better than the first two thirds, but then by the last third, I was far more comfortable with my characters. Now, the whole book is much better.

I'm thinking about including some of the posts from my other blog, here, since my journey in writing is intimately intertwined with my internal journey. I also like to think for a while before making a decision. Nope, I'm not very good at being spontaneous. A bit of a conundrum considering how much God expects me to trust Him.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Some editing done, and some all done...

THE PROJECT's first round of heavy editing is done. I'll work on it on Wednesday, give it a day to sit. Giving the first chapter to another friend to edit. The Haven manuscript had to have that last chapter re-edited, then completed the next chapter. Doing all right on my schedule.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Three chapters done...

It seems that I did much better with the last half of the book than I did with the first half. I did some re-writing, but the current chapter I'm working on required very little. I'm now more than half way through the re-write.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Two more chapters...

...divided from one and written. I'm working on one more, as this one puts me at the half way point, about... sort of... then again, I think I have a few more chapters that will have to be divided. The current one doesn't look like it needs much work but for that POV problem. Grrrr... I see it more now than ever before in my life. I'm also learning how to re-work it so the material isn't completely lost, though I'm also discovering that I wrote in a lot of back story that didn't need to be there. It was helpful for me to know, to better round out my understanding of the characters, but it doesn't move the story along in any way. What a fascinating journey.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

One chapter into three...

But all three chapters are done, with a synopsis for each. I love this story, and I love it even more now. It's so much better. I wish I didn't have to sleep so I could keep working. It's been a long time since I've felt this way about anything. It feels good. It makes me smile, from the inside out.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Another chapter divided...

...and both rewritten. Much of the work is in having to maintain POV. I used POV from several different characters in the first writing. Now, each section has only one. I'm endeavoring to be flexible with it, but it means cutting a lot of material because it simply doesn't work in another POV. I do like it better now. And I've had ideas bubbling for the two books following. I think I've mentioned that previously.

The days are such a startling contrast. I worry and fret, until I start to write.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Slightly off schedule...

...but I think it's all right. On Sunday, BFF did some fantastic editing for THE PROJECT. I'm putting it aside, for a few days. Then I'll do a complete re-read. I noticed places I'd like to add more, which is good.

Today, I divided chapter five in two, and did the editing and synopsis for both. I'm much happier with how the story is coming along. I cut several pages of material. It's being moved to the third book in the trilogy. I also made some notes for the third book.

God works in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform.

My purpose in life: To love God, and share that Love. I'm not very good at it, but I'm learning.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Another chapter...

...cut and rewritten. I'm not sure it will stay, even now. It might be better used in another context elsewhere, but I've changed so much already. There comes a point when I have to tell myself to STOP. It is much, much better than when I started the process, today. I had to completely cut quite a bit, information about secondary characters. There was that pesky problem with POV, again. I may post the part that was cut, as bonus material, once the book is published.

Synopsis for this chapter is also written. I'm a bit surprised that I'm actually finding the synopsis quite helpful. As I wrote it, I realized that I needed to do a little clarifying and fine tuning.

THE PROJECT is also going through it's first edit, from a dear friend, and it's been very helpful.

A productive day. I'm so grateful to God for the inspiration, and encouragement from dear friends through emails, my other blog, and a morning walk.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Chapter three... started but not finished. I wrote a completely new opening scene. It's going to change coming chapters as well, but it was necessary. It was taking much too long for the hero and heroine to meet. It's still probably longer than most would like, but it's much shorter than originally written. So chapter three is only half done. I'm not discouraged because I'm very pleased with the new material.

I struggle with my trust in God and His plan for me, but only when I'm not writing. Once I start writing, peace sweeps over me, and more and more often I find myself feeling joy. My prayer is that my love for God is evident in my writing, so that others feel that love as well. No matter how bad things are, God is there. We are not alone.

UPDATE: I couldn't resist. I've finished chapter three, along with the synopsis.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Well, that was a bit of a surprise...

I began working on chapter two, and found myself re-writing almost the entire chapter, and it is now divided into two chapters. I'm still worrying that the hero and heroine haven't actually met yet, though they will right off in the next chapter. We'll see how it goes. Maybe I'm over-thinking it... not that I'd ever do anything like that. LOL! It truly does help to have a sense of humor with this endeavor. I'm going to be doing a lot of cutting soon, material that I love but doesn't move the story along.

And learned another thing about my writing habits. I do better if I have music playing while I write. Right now, I'm listening to Josh Groban's Awake album, along with his Illuminations album, and Donny Osmond's This is the Moment album.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Decisions, decisions...

How to use my pen name. I love the name Laurel Hawkes. I love the persona I've created for Laural Hawkes. I've thought about legally changing my name to Laurel Hawkes, but there is that part of me that feels like I need to learn to love who I am, not just my Brand. There is my non-fiction and my fiction. Oddly enough, after a heart-to-heart with one of my best friends in the world, I'm thinking I'll publish the the non-fiction under Laurel Hawkes, and the fiction under my real name. I needed to face the fact that in this information age, it won't be long before anyone who wants to know will know the connection. I might as well own it.

Another realization, today. I love reading contemporary romance. I love dabbling in writing it, but I definitely can't carry off a serious undertaking, at least, not yet. I hope to reach the point where I'm able to express those stories in my head, maybe even later this year. But right now, I feel like there are some things I still need to learn. I also love reading historical romances, particularly Regency. I also really enjoy writing in that time period. I love the language and being on the cusp of change from the old world to the new. The world was starting to make some significant changes.

This month's plan is to overhaul my inspirational historical romance, one chapter a day, including the synopsis for that chapter.

Interestingly enough, I've come to the realization that mornings, for me, are great for the practical things, paying bills, catching up on emails, running errands, PTBW, etc. Around two or three o'clock in the afternoon, my creativity seems to kick in, and I am able to work on my writing for the next six to eight hours. Who knew? Oh, God knew, and has been waiting for me to figure it out. I'm so grateful God is patient.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

What's next?

I'm working on the edits for the manuscript I finished two years ago. It's an inspirational historical. It suffered the horrible rejection letter, which means I suffered with it. However, there was no one to blame but me. I wrote a horrible query letter. This time, I'm enlisting the service offered by Desert Rose, the local Romance Writers of America chapter. They offer a mentor program. I'm in a place of increased security within myself to accept help and guidance from another writer. I hope. LOL! I was thinking, today, that I now have two completed manuscripts and a half dozen in varying stages of completion. PTBW is up in the air, but rather than wallow in worries, I'm diving into my writing, heart and soul. When I ask God what comes next? My writing immediately springs to mind, so that's where I'm going, hoping that I'm following God's gentle guidance.