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Fiction Friday

  • September 17, 2010

Good Morning and happy Friday everyone!

Once again, I apologize for blowing off this blog but I have a good excuse.

I got a new job and I started last week.

As some of you already know, I went back to work last year at the offspring’s school. I have a degree in business, not education, but there wasn’t anything available in my field of HR recruiting (which is what I used to do before having kids). I worked as a teacher’s associate in the 8th and 9th grade building and met a lot of nice people and got really attached to the students (and I just went out to dinner with some of my fellow teacher co-workers Tuesday night – we had a great time – I miss them).

Anyway, I decided not to return to the school because I wanted to see if there might be something that, you know, utilized my prior experience, and I was extremely fortunate to find a contract recruiting position at a local West Des Moines company. It happened a little faster than I had anticipated (I’m certainly not going to complain about that), but I still had a relaxing two weeks after the offspring started school to sit down and write (which is how I was able to finish the second draft of my book).

The contract is expected to last anywhere from 6-18 months and that’s perfect for me. I am really liking it so far and I can’t believe I’m saying this but it’s been nice to return to corporate America (but maybe that’s because I’m just, shhh, visiting.)

The only drawback to this whole OMG-I-got-a-job-thing, is that it cuts into my writing. I’m getting up around 5:00 and as soon as I’m out of the shower I power up the laptop and try to write for an hour-and-a-half or so. I also print pages and make some edits on my lunch hour.

As I’ve already mentioned, I finished the second draft and I’m now working on revisions. I also decided to work on my query letter (I’ve blogged about it before, I think) which is a business letter you send out to agents hoping to entice them into requesting a partial (usually the first fifty pages) or a full (the whole manuscript). If the agent likes it (and, almost as important, thinks they can sell it), they will offer representation and you are one step closer to seeing your book on the shelf at Barnes and Noble. They still have to sell it to the publisher, but once they do, it’s time to pop open the champagne.

I posted my query letter in Absolute Write’s Query Letter Hell section. In a query, you have to boil down your whole 350 page book into 250-300 words. Think of a query as a pitch, almost like the back jacket copy of a book. It tells the reader (and in this case, agent) what it’s about but also makes them want to read the book.

I do not ♥ query letters. I would rather write another damn book then finish this query letter.

The problem I encountered in QLH, is that everyone has a different opinion: Some love the title, some didn’t. Some think the second paragraph should have more detail, some didn’t. Some thought the query should focus more on the characters, and their motivation, and some thought it should focus on plot.

Seriously, fifty responses later my eyes were bleeding and my brain hurt trying to absorb it all. I decided to pull back, work on revising the book, and return to the query when it’s closer to the time I’ll need it. But it’s really important and it has to be good.

Now, the really cool thing that happened in QLH, was that I got an offer of a beta read from a published author. She provided great feedback on the query and then shot me a private message saying she liked my premise and would I be interested in letting her read it.

Uh, that’d be yes.

And here’s the thing about Absolute Write. Published writers, some of them NYT bestselling authors, hang out there. Some of them are anonymous and some aren’t. For a huge fangirl like me, this is like the coolest thing ever. . Agents hang out there too but I haven’t posted any of my current book online for a number of reasons, namely that after QLH, I know I would receive feedback that may conflict and do nothing more than confuse me. It’s a great resource, and I have posted in the share your work forum, but not for this book.

Anyway, I am in the process of revising the book and I am breaking it down into fifty page increments. I just sent her the first fifty pages and she sent me a very nice message this morning that did not say:

OMG, I am putting this in my shredder because you suck!

She liked the dual narrative and thought that the first person POV worked perfectly for two characters. She also said the main characters were likeable which is very important and something I tried hard to achieve. I want everyone to really, really, like these two because I want you to root for them later on and you can’t do that if one of them is a total putz.

Anyway, she just started reading and she will be sending the pages back with her feedback and notes. I am still blown away that she would be willing to do this for me and I have no idea how to thank her. I did ask if there might be something of hers she would like me to read (which is kind of like asking a pro basketball player if they want your advice on how to shoot free throws) but she said okay and shot me her latest manuscript.

Hers WILL be on the shelf at Barnes and Noble and when I walk by I’ll be all, “Yeah, I totally already read that – it’s awesome). Her writing is so, so, good so I know I’m in really good hands.

Wow, this post is getting really long: does anyone want to take a break to pee or get something to drink? Sorry…..

Once revisions are complete, I will be sending the MS to my readers: Taylor, Penne, Gillian, Beth, Amy, and my hairdresser’s sister. Oh, and Trish (because she’ll be brutally honest).

I know that this blog isn’t very funny right now, and that a lot of you have read it because it gave you a chuckle or two, but stick with me. I’m getting closer every day to this whole I-want-to-write-and-query-a-book goal. I’ve been working toward it for almost six months and realistically, probably have 3-4 more to go but eventually I will return to blogging about my neighbors and my ‘hood and all the other things I used to blog about.

And I want everyone to know that I appreciate it when you ask me why the hell I haven’t posted because I know that just means you’d like to read something I’ve written and that’s all a writer (published or otherwise) can hope for.

So thanks, and happy Friday dudes!

Peace out,


Fiction Friday

  • September 3, 2010

I’m sorry I haven’t been doing a better job of blogging. I really meant to but the house has been so nice and quiet with the offspring in school and I’ve been trying hard to finish the second draft of my novel.

I finished about an hour ago.

I also wrote the epilogue, which I hadn’t yet, not even in rough draft form and it made me cry so I hope that’s a good thing. Actually I’ve cried several times when writing this book and I have no idea if that’s normal or not.

I hope it is.

I am feeling pretty good today, now that I’ve reached this point. The book is not done, it still has to be revised and edited and polished and read by those who have graciously offered to give me feedback, but I am really happy to have made it this far.

I printed it out, all 356 pages. They won’t fit in the binder Lauren decorated for me but that’s okay.

I’m just glad I have them.

Have a great holiday weekend everyone!


Sisters are doing it for themselves

  • September 2, 2010

Trish and I went out last night and for those of you who might not know, she’s my twin sister but we look nothing alike so no one ever believes us.

See? I told you.

Anyway, when we go out together we know we’re going to have a good time because we like our cocktails and neither of us has any kind of filter. We’re probably also going to get in some kind of fight too because we both act like we’re eleven sometimes.

Trish has been asking me all summer to drive to her ‘hood (it’s about a half hour away from mine) and have sushi at this place down the street from her townhouse.

“Oh Tracey, when I left the shop the other day (the shop is my dad’s Honda motorcycle dealership. We’ve called it “the shop” for as long as I can remember), dad said, “TTYL.”

“Oh my God, when I talked to him on the phone he said it before we hung up!” Now for some reason this is cracking me and Trish up. I told her I was going to teach dad some other acronoyms, starting with WTF and she bet me $20 I wouldn’t do it because dad isn’t the type to say bad words (unlike his daughters).

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