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The End

  • January 24, 2011

NO, not the end of this blog, although my infrequent posting may have indicated otherwise.

I typed THE END a few days ago when I finished my manuscript revisions. I fought the urge to change to a fancy font and use a different color, purple or green perhaps, and just typed it the regular way.

And wow, did it feel good.

I thought I’d post some stats for anyone who is interested in what the process of writing a novel was like for me.

Word count: 77,293.
Pages: 366
Number of months to write first and second drafts: approximately 7
Number of months to revise. approximately 4
Number of beta readers (so far): 2
Number of beta readers who are waiting to read the manuscript: approximately 7
Genre: commercial women’s fiction, written in an alternating first person dual narrative.

So, I’m done right? No. Now I start polishing. The author who has been beta reading and editing for me has provided a line by line critique (because she’s totally awesome) and every time she sends me a batch of pages, I print, 3-hole punch, and put them in a big binder. Her notes are hand-written in the margins. This is now my editing bible. I am going to sit down with that binder tomorrow and read the entire novel from start to finish, making my own notes in the margins. Then I’ll do the final editing. I’m not sure how long that will take, but I’m estimating about 5 weeks.

Also, I have lots of good news to share. First of all, it is very slow at work so I requested a change in my work schedule from full-time to part-time. I am a contract human resources recruiter at a large mortgage company and when those interest rates tick up, everything comes to a screeching halt. My boss is super cool and she said no problem so now I don’t work on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I just changed to the new schedule last week. I couldn’t be happier. Four months of getting up at 5:00 a.m. to write was starting to take its toll a little bit so I am very grateful that I have the flexibility to make these kinds of changes. Now I can put the offspring on the bus on Tuesdays and Thursdays and write until they come home at 4:00.

The other great things are writing related. I follow lots of agents and other writers on Twitter. If you’re writing a novel, Twitter is where you want to be because there are lots of great chats you can participate in. And unlike Facebook, you can follow just about anyone without them having to “accept” you first. I pick up a lot of great information on Twitter by following people in the writing community. One of the people I follow is agent Laura Bradford of the Laura Bradford Literary Agency. She held a drawing on New Year’s Eve and used a random number generator to pick 5 followers (she has 5,000) to win either books, or a critique of their first chapter.

Dudes, I totally won! How freaking awesome is that? Especially because I never win jack.

So anyway, we were supposed to e-mail her to let her know if we wanted the books or the critique. I chose the critique, of course, and told her I’d be sending it on or before the first of March. This is such a valuable prize for someone about to throw themselves into the querying process. Having an agent critique your first chapter, and point out what isn’t working or needs to be changed before you start sending the manuscript out can save you from some rejection heartache down the road. I’m super excited.

Another cool thing that happened is Sara Megibow, another awesome agent, hosted a “First Pages” Writer’s Digest Webinar last Thursday. It was a 90 minute class, broadcast over the Internet, and she talked about what NOT to do in the first pages of your novel. With this webinar, you also receive a critique from Sara of your first three pages. Squee! So, my pages will be sent this week (my beta is taking a look at the polished version and as soon as she turns them around, I’ll send them to Sara). So, having two agents look at your work before you start sending it out is, as I already mentioned, a really valuable thing.

So, that’s whats been going on. I still have some work to do but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s been a good ride so far, and I’ve experienced true joy while writing this manuscript. Writing makes me happy.

And I’m close to checking that item off my bucket list. The one about writing a full-length novel and querying every agent who reps my genre.

And that feels pretty damn good.

Have a great week, blogging friends!


P.S. Dear God, I also saw the Eagles in concert a couple months ago and that’s on my bucket list, too. I have lots more I haven’t checked off so don’t be gettin’ any ideas, K?

Re-post Wednesday

  • January 18, 2011

So my friend Tay and her friend Ney started a new blog called Oh So Cheesy. You can read it if you click here.

That’s right. A whole freaking blog dedicated to the yum that is cheesy pasta. Now that Tay and Ney have started their blog, I’ll have no shortage of macaroni and cheese recipes to choose from.

Taylor asked me if she could link to the post where I called Ina Garten the devil. At first I couldn’t find it and I was all wtf happened to my Ina post? Then I remembered it had some *cough*yeti*cough* info in it and it was part of the big Yeti purge.

So I found it, edited it, and voila!

Here you go Taylor!

P.S. Everybody make Mac ‘n Cheese for dinner, ‘K?

The other day, when the offspring and I were browsing the shelves at Barnes and Noble, I noticed a stack of Ina Garten cookbooks. I love Ina, and I love her show on the Food Network, The Barefoot Contessa. I decided to add two of her cookbooks to the already heavy pile of books in my arms because I’ve been looking for some new recipes.

I noticed when I was flipping through them that she had a recipe for Cosmopolitans. I liked the fact that her recipe was for a whole pitcher of cosmopolitans because I’m lazy and Ina’s method seemed preferable to having to mix drinks up one by one.

Anyway, we invited Trish over for dinner last night. We were making baby back ribs on the grill, roasted potatoes, and salad. “This would be a perfect time to try out Ina’s recipe,” I thought. The recipe makes six and Trish and I can each have three which is a perfectly respectable amount, right? (No, stupid). The ribs take quite a while so I thought Trish and I could sip one or two while we were waiting for dinner to be ready.

Anyway, back to the cosmopolitans and why I think Ina is a drunk.

Usually I just follow the recipe on the back of the bottle of Cointreau (just like Bethenny Frankel of The Real Housewives of New York except I’m not trying to pass them off as my own original drink. Maybe no one else has noticed your blatant rip-off, but I’m onto you Bethenny).

The recipe I follow is 1 part cointreau to 2 parts vodka, cranberry juice, and fresh lime juice. I usually use 1 shot of vodka and a 1/2 shot of cointreau, cranberry juice, and extra lime juice. These measurements keep me from getting totally spun out and doing something stupid. Usually. Most of the time.

Anyway, that’s not important. And even though Ina Garten is the devil I am going to admit that I was a complete fucktard for not using any common sense whatsoever. Because I was completely sober when I was mixing up the pitcher, it should have occurred to me that Ina really, really likes vodka. A lot.

Check out her recipe:

Do you notice anything? Like the fact that the recipe calls for two cups of vodka and one cup of cointreau? That’s a shitload of liquor, people (I realize this is not a very good scan and the words are kind of blurry but I’m not messing with the scanner anymore because my head still feels like there are little men in there pounding my brain with jackhammers).

Back to last night. I had only drank drunk consumed about half of my first drink when I started having to speak slowly and really concentrate on what was coming out of my mouth. That seemed odd to me. Also my lips felt tingly. Trish said, “Hey, these are pretty good!” I said, “I know!” We moved on to our second round. An hour or two later, after finishing our delicious rib dinner, Dave said “I think you should just have a beer next.” And I’m all “Why would I have a beer when I’ve got these martinis?” Duh.

Dave put me, and the offspring, to bed at 9:00 which is why I’ve come up with a few other names for Ina Garten’s cosmopolitans: Memory Erasers, Hospital Grade Anesthesia Cocktails, and Dude, I Can’t Remember My Middle Name.

Consider this blog post a cautionary tale. Others may have recently bought this cookbook and they might be thinking about making what Ina calls a cosmopolitan and what I call fucking rocket fuel. I’m just trying to help others learn from my mistake.

You’re welcome.

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