Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My, How Time Flies

Is it just me, or does time just move faster and faster as life goes on? I am working feverishly on a project I had previously back-burnered, and set aside the most current project in my Gifted series to work on it. Meanwhile, my agent is reviewing the latest draft of GEMINI to see if it is up to snuff. Cross your fingers!

On top of that, I have my editing responsibilities for The Wild Rose Press, which I love. Helping other writers improve their craft and work toward publication has been extremely rewarding. The great thing about TWRP is that they don't just say "no thank you" when a story is rejected. They give you a several-page letter on the whys and wherefores, in addition to a five-page critique and edit of your manuscript! No publishing company does that these days. Nobody. How cool is that?

Somewhere in there, I've got to make time for the family. The little peanut is getting bigger and bigger, and boy, does he talk! He'll be two in December, and I can't wait to take him apple picking this fall. I'm really looking forward to the holidays, because he'll be much more aware of them than he was last year. He, Hubby, and I will get to see more of each other now (I hope) since my hours at my day job have changed and I can get home early enough for dinner with them.

And lastly, Central New York Romance Writers turns 20 next month, so we're having a big bash to celebrate that! If you live in the CNY area, and you've been thinking of joining the group, now is the time!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Chug, Chug, Chug

Sometimes it's not the quantity that you write in a day - it's that you're writing. But even when you're not writing, you're writing - just in case you wondered.

Yesterday I forgot my Dana while I was at my day job, so I couldn't do any work on my current books. However, I did a lot of thinking about my characters and my career, and things I'd like to see myself accomplish. While I haven't done as much this year as I'd like, I am pretty comfortable with where I am at for the moment. (Talk to me my December, and I might be mad I didn't get further this year!)

Just remember to get yourself in front of that keyboard daily if you can, and as frequently as you can if not daily. Writing gets rusty when not used regularly, like any other talent. But realize that as a writer, your downtime away from the keyboard is often spent subconsciously working out details, dialogue, scenes, and conflicts in your book. Then, even if it's ten minutes, get back to the keyboard and write out what you worked on in your head. As I said, you need to do the physical writing regularly to keep your skills honed.

Keep chugging!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Quit Writing!

Yep, you read that right. Writers are solitary creatures by definition. However, don't forget that as a human being, you need a social life too. Your friends and family are (I hope) your biggest cheerleaders, and they want you to succeed at your craft. However, they would like to see you emerge from your keyboard once in a while and enjoy life outside the writer's imagination.

Don't forget to get out now and then. Have dinner with friends. See a movie. Take a walk. Walk Fido (he misses you too). It helps you recharge your batteries, and sometimes even gives you time away from your manuscript to solve a problem in it. I once worked out an internal conflict by vacuuming the house. No, really! If that doesn't get your house squeaky clean, I don't know what will.

Unless you can get your loved ones to vacuum for you when you return to writing.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I'm Not A Spellchecker (Even Though I Could Be)!

Today I'd like to talk about proofreading your work. It's very, very important that you do this thoroughly before you get it into the hands of an editor. An instance here and there of a misspelled word might be excusable. Repeated instances of misspellings, sentence fragments, and punctuation errors are frowned upon. They might convey to the editor that you haven't completely proofread your work before handing it in, and (worst case scenario) that you expect him (or her) to pick up the proofreading slack. This could result in a manuscript rejection, which none of us wants. It's frustrating for all parties involved.

While editors back in the heyday may have been able to give much more personalized attention in line edits and basic structure, remember that these days it is your job to catch all these minor errors before it even gets into the hands of a professional. You'll get much more out of your editor when she's able to focus on content, rather than structure. She can help you develop and deepen your characters and conflicts--but only if she can see past the structure of your writing itself. So remember to run a spellcheck, and do a thorough read with an eye to sentence structure, punctuation, and grammar use. Your editor will thank you, and when you're that much closer to publication, you can give yourself a big ol' pat on the back.