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Fiction Friday Query Edition

  • April 1, 2011

Hey blog readers!

I know it’s been a while, but I’ve been spending what little free time I have on my manuscript, and I’m happy to report that it’s been edited, revised, polished, beta read, and polished some more. I’m finally D-O-N-E, done.

I realized over the last few days that I’m just tinkering with the manuscript. I’m moving commas only to move them back when I read the sentences again a few days later, and that means it’s time to send the manuscript out into the world.

Here are the final stats:

Word count: 81,000
Genre: Commercial/Contemporary women’s fiction written in an alternating dual narrative.
Months to write: 7
Months to revise/polish: 6

I want to send a giant shout-out and thank you to Meira, Trish, Tami, Stacy, Stefani, Penne, Elisa, Heather, Beth, and Taylor for not only agreeing to read the manuscript, but offering their support along the way. I really appreciate it girls!

Now it’s time to start sending query letters. I’m excited but also anxious. I remember last summer being envious of all the writers posting about querying their manuscripts on the various writing blogs and message boards I frequent, and now it’s my turn.

The query process is a long one, and I’ll be sending the letters out in batches of 5-10. Once I’ve received a certain number of rejections responses, I’ll send more. I expect to be querying through the summer, and I’ll keep you posted if I get any requests.

Maybe you can cross your fingers for me. Or send alcohol. Both would be greatly appreciated.

Happy Friday everyone,


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?

Fiction Thursday (or just insert whatever the hell day you want)

  • October 21, 2010

One of these days, it would be nice not to have to start my blog posts by apologizing.

But, sorry.

I know I’ve been really MIA lately, but after working forty hours a week, and making sure Dave and the offspring have food and clean underwear, I only have a little bit of time to write, and I’m concentrating on manuscript revisions. I am almost to the halfway point, and I am so ready to be done. It’s not that I don’t like revisions, because I love this part, but revising a novel is much harder than writing a first or second draft, and one of these days, I’d like to get the rest of my life back.

This is just my opinion, and I’m not sure if other writers feel this way, but revising means you have to fix everything that isn’t working. You can’t say to yourself, “I’m not thrilled with this section, but I’ll clean it up during revisions because, um, that would be now.

The wonderful thing, however, is that after the revision stage, you’re one step closer to final editing and polishing, and I’m really looking forward to that.

For those of you who will be beta reading for me, expect the manuscript sometime in February or March. I’d like to start querying in April, if possible. I started writing this book last April so if I meet all my deadlines, it will have taken about a year from start to finish. Not too bad considering I worked full time for much of it.

Also, I can’t say enough about my wonderful author-beta reader. I am absolutely indebted to her, with no idea how to repay. I am getting ready to send her my next batch of pages soon (on Halloween), and her feedback on the previous installments has been nothing short of spectacular. She is that good.

She paid me the highest compliment by writing this on the last page I sent her “Now I want the next 50 pages right away because I’m definitely hooked. Take your time, of course, but just a kudos, this is where you want the reader.”

Feedback like that is why I never hit snooze when the alarm goes off at 5:00 AM. I get out of bed, fire up the laptop, and get one page closer.

Thanks for still stopping by. I really appreciate it!


Welcome To The First Ever Fiction Friday

  • July 2, 2010

Hey, remember when I used to have Flashback Friday? But then I quit doing it because several of my girlfriends were all, “Oooooh, I’m gonna send you some pictures to use for Flashback Friday but then they didn’t *coughAmyandStacycough* and I kinda ran out of funny old pictures of me from the eighties so I just quit coming up with new posts?

Well welcome to Fiction Friday which is really nothing like Flashback Friday except that I’m going to try and put up new posts on Friday (sure, like I haven’t said that before).

I’ve been sitting on this post for a while because I wanted to get my blogging groove back a little before I mentioned the main reason I took the last four months off from posting. I’ve already said I was a little burned out and busy with the first full time job I’ve had after being home with the offspring for ten years, and that’s all true, but there’s another reason I didn’t post anything for a while. Remember when I said a few posts back that writing a novel and querying agents was on my bucket list? Well I decided I’d better get started because that book was not going to write itself.

I’ve been working hard on it and as of today, I’m approximately 40,000 words in which is roughly half of the 80,000 words I need.

What a process.

I am learning how to write a novel as I write a novel, if that makes any sense. I think taking writing classes is great and you can even get an MFA if that’s your thing, but nothing can teach you as much about writing as novel as sitting down and writing one.

I spend a lot of time over at and cannot say enough about the excellent feedback and assistance I get from the wonderful writers that hang out there. If I’m not writing, I’m over there learning something new.

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it, but the whole reason I started this blog was to have an outlet for my writing, to get it flowing again after years of putting it on the back burner because the offspring needed my attention more than my writing did. And the blog ended up being a blast and I met so, so many cool people who reached out to me and for that I am totally thankful and blessed.

But fiction was always the one thing I wanted to accomplish. And let’s face it, I’m not getting any younger. And I know some of you would like it if I wrote a book about the Yeti but that’s just a lawsuit waiting to happen (sorry Elisa and Jules!).

Right now, I am totally immersed in getting my first draft written. There are two types of fiction writers, outliners (people that have a pretty detailed outline and know their beginning, middle, and end) and pantsers (who have a general idea but just sit down in front of the computer and start writing, letting the characters tell them where the story is going – flying by the seat of their pants, if you will).

I’m an outliner and the challenge for me now is turning that outline (really just a 5K word summary) into an 80K word manuscript. Once that’s complete, I can turn around and rip it apart. Move scenes, improve the pacing and flow, and layer in description.

And edit. Oh my God, the editing. My first draft needs a lot of things to turn it into the second draft and I can tackle that head on as soon as I get the first draft done (self-imposed deadline: August 1st). Then it’s on to the second draft which is when it will get really hard but really fun. My motivation to power through the rest of the first draft is the excitement I feel when I think about being knee-deep in the second. About how the manuscript will change and grow and become that much closer to the final draft.

The art of writing is re-writing and there is a commonly held belief over at Absolute Write that you can’t revise a blank page so just get it down on paper and go from there. I totally agree.

Do I think it’s the next hot best-seller?

Oh hell no.

But what I do believe is that I can actually be one of those writers who finishes the novel they started.

So, that’s what I’ve been doing for the last four months. And I thought you might be interested in coming along for the ride. It’ll be super fun. Or filled with rejection.

One of those.

But even if every single agent I send my query letter to rejects me, I can still say I wrote a novel.

And that binder I told you about, that Lauren decorated with the kitty stickers?

It’s filling up. And that makes me super happy.

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