Just wanted to send warm holiday wishes your way. Hope you're all enjoying this festive time of year. I'm proud to say that I have been BUSY working on rewriting Beauty Secrets and it's so much better it's embarrassing really. I'm so proud of myself for finding time to get it done what with working full-time and a 9 (almost 10-month old) at home. It hasn't been easy, but if this is what I want to do, I have to find time to do it, right? So I'm going to get back to writing now, but I wanted to say Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and may all your writing dreams come true.
Just wondering how many social media sites you actively participate in. Besides blogging here, I'm also on Twitter (@stephdamore), LinkedIn (Stephanie (Taylor) Damore), Google+ (Stephanie Damore) and of course Facebook, but I use the last one for personal connections, not business. Do I have time to manage all these sites? No. Not if I want to be a productive employee and writer, but I try (although admittedly I let Google+ fall by the wayside).
Anywhooo, any of you have any social media management tips or tricks to share? I figure I better get a handle on this before I'm a uber-busy published writer :)
Oh, and feel free to share your handles in the comments, I'd love to add you to my network(s)!
But I wanted to blog anyway. I was just surfing my fellow writers' blogs and thought, gosh, I miss these guys. I *wish* I had time to spend reading all your fabulous blogs everyday, but sadly I don't (and seriously, who really does?). Lately whenever I get the urge to blog, I redirect that energy into my revision, which by the way I rewrote 3500 words yesterday! Feeling good. Anyway, while I might not be blogging regularly, I'm still here, still reading and of course, still writing.
Just wanted to say hi! I'm still working on this rewrite, which of course means I haven't had time to blog (because if I have time to blog, then I have time to write, right? Right.). I'm still shooting to finish the first draft (or would that be the 100th draft? Or can I start over at 1 because it's a rewrite?) by the end of September. Can I do it? Of course I can. Write Stephanie, write!
As part of my day job I get market reports that cover all aspects of publishing. One recent report was talking about the growth of digital vs. print books and how digital is expected to account for 16% of the market by 2013. While I find this interesting in terms of what it means to the publishing industry and how the face of the bookstore is changing, I'm left wondering how does this impact me as a writer, and does it really matter?
Now, I'm no mathematician or business analysis, but I have read articles about what this means for royalties and advances, how the writer seems to get shortchanged, but once again I ask you, does this really matter?
So this post doesn't become too philosophical, let me acknowledge that I want to make money and support writers' rights, and I don't think it's right that it seems like it's always the artists that gets screwed over.
But that's not my point.
What I'm getting at is that to me I don't care if my cozies are available in e-format or paperback; I just care that they're available. And I'm not thinking I'm going to make my livelihood being a writer, but maybe put some money aside for my daughter's college account, or take a nice vacation, buy a boat, something like that.
So I ask you, does the digital revolution really matter to you? If so, why or why not? And if you totally disagree with me, even better :)
There's something fundamentally cool about being a writer. The simple imaginary force required to craft a story is enough to say, "Hey look, aren't I brilliant? Check out what I've written. Love it. Share it."
Not to mention the culture of cool that is the writing community. Talk about support! If you ever doubt your talent, motivation, sanity, just jump on Twitter (no, not off a bridge) and you'll know within two seconds that you're not alone. The fact that writers embrace technology is the icing. Oh Blogger, Twitter, and now Google+, whatever shall I do without you? (Probably write more.)
I'm not sure what I love more about being a writer--the stories I create or the friends I make. What about you? Is it your love of cats that keeps you scribbling away? Or the coffee? What other cliches do us writers adhere to?
And speaking of cool, like the new blog design? It's a work in progress...
Just wanted to let you know that I'm still hard at work. The amount of time I've put into this rewrite is crazy. I love it. I've got most of my plot points rearranged. I think I've probably deleted 30k words or more. By the time I'm done 75% will probably be rewritten in one form or another. The only sticky point I have left to figure out, and it's a biggie, is how to reveal who the murderer is. I struggled with this the first few drafts and never came up with something that I liked. Well, I've figured the rest out, so this too will get sorted out.
Don't you ever feel totally blessed? Regardless of where you're at in your publishing pursuits and writing endeavors, life is good. While I do wish I had more hours in the day to write, read and just lounge about in the sun, I am immensely grateful for the time I do have. I really can't wait until this evening when I can steal an hour our two to finish outlining my rewrite. And then the real work begins...
I just wanted to share with you this new website from Google. It hasn't officially been released yet, but it's up and running and just waiting for you to play with it.
What's the site?
The acronym stands for "What do you love" and basically the site is the ultimate mashup of Google's apps returning results within books, news, webtrends, images, maps, blogs, etc. You name it. My first search? Ice cream.
Anyway, I definitely see this as the future of publishing--for academic and technical publishers anyway (which is what my day job is). I just thought I'd share it with you. While the main part of me thinks this is super cool, I also think it's super scary the amount of content Google regulates... what do you think?
Tomorrow night we're packing up the car and heading back to Michigan for the holiday weekend. I can't wait to see my family and friends and hangout at the cabin! It's time for boat rides, fireworks, campfires and smores. Mmm, smores.
I know I won't have ANY time to write once we pull into the Mitten State, but the 6-hour car ride is all mine. I'm thinking baby girl can't cry the whole trip, right? (Please God say "right!") And Dominic prefers to ride in silence, so I'm golden. Luckily I now know where I want the next part of the story to go, and I'm hoping the rest will continue to flow. Mind you, I'm still working on reworking the plot. After I finish the logistics, it's time to actually write the reworkings.
Wonder how long that will take me?
Not that timing matters. As much as I want to hurry, hurry, hurry, I know I need to tap the breaks. I don't want to screw up again and send the story off before it's finished. I mean, I thought it was finished before, but now I can clearly see that it wasn't. Ah, thank you perspective.
Well, wish me luck. Now I just need to finish three baby quilts, pack for the trip, oh yeah, and get some work done for the day job, and then I'll be good to go. Have a great Fourth everyone!
I gave my revision a rest for the weekend and decided to focus my creative talents elsewhere--Quilting! I'll have to post some pics later, but anyway, I spent the weekend stitching up a baby quilt for one of my friends who's expecting soon. Actually, I have three friends that either just had a baby or will have one in the next month, so I've been in a sewing frenzy. We'll be heading back to Michigan for The 4th and I need to have them all done to take with us. Looks like I know what I'll be doing the next few nights.
The best part about all this sewing is that it's giving me time to think about my revision. I wasn't sure which direction I wanted to take the plot and now I know. Woo-hoo! I think it's best to step back and think before making a major plot change, don't you?
So, do you have any other creative hobbies you look to when you need a writing break? Songwriting? Painting? Pottery? Crocheting? (Another favorite of mine!) Do share.
I find myself asking this repeatedly throughout the day.
I also keep thinking about a square peg in a round hole, and wonder what notions I have to let go of to make everything fit.
Rewrites are not easy. Make that reworking subplots are not easy. The biggest pain is getting everything to play out in a natural manner and separating what I know from what my reader knows. I also find myself questioning if the changes are making the story better and if they're achieving the goals as I outlined in the previous post.
Well, it sure is a good thing that I like a challenge. Throw in balancing a laptop on my knees while nursing a baby and you get an idea of how difficult this rewrite is shaping up to be. BUT, I am determined (and stubborn), which are excellent characteristics in a writer.
Okay, step one was a success. I finished reading BS by Saturday afternoon and I can't tell you how good that felt. One, it was super cool reading my book on my Nook. It's probably the only way I'd actually read the entire MS without making an edit. Although, I did break down and crack open a notebook so I could copy down some ideas before I lost my thoughts completely.
Two, I learned a lot. Time adds a lot of perspective. It had been a year since I worked on BS and that time allowed me to read the story objectively. Here's what I can say about the story as is: the writing is good. I'm really proud of what I wrote and how it sounds. I spent 6 months off and on editing the piece and that shows.
What else? The story is complete in that there's no unanswered threads. Everything concludes with the last page in a neat little package, which to me is super important. I finished reading a novel last night where this wasn't the case and I was completely annoyed.
Unfortunately, good writing doesn't equal a good story. BS is close, but not quite right. I read on Nathan Bransford blog last week (How to Craft a Mystery in a Novel) that "A character's desire + Consequences/stakes + Obstacles + Delay = Mystery". This got me to thinking, is there enough at stake for my protagonist? No. I struggled with this throughout the first draft, and I thought I fixed it, but it's not good enough. So, this is one part I need to fix in my rewrite.
Upping the stake also ties heavily to a critique (read: three lines of opinion) I received from a super cool agent. This über agent said she "didn't understand at all what all the fuss about a missing husband was. It just didn’t seem big enough to write a novel around." Never mind the fact that the husband's actually dead, because you don't find that out until page 77, and by then I've already lost your attention. So, that's changed. Über agent also said that she "didn’t think it [the beauty aspect] was integrated enough into the story itself," so I'm upping the ante there, too.
What does that mean for my revision? Well here's the plan: there's gonna be more at stake, more beauty business, more lies and more personality in my protagonist. I've already been hard at working outlining the changes and I can't wait to implement them. Off to work I go!
Right now I'm downloading the software Calibre so I can transfer my MS over to my Nook. After that it's time to read. The mighty red pen and equally eager backspace button don't have a say until I get at least one read through. After that, we'll see.
Just wanted to give a shout out to my BFF and fellow writer, Sheri, and her awesome new blog, Food as Frenemy.
Here's her bio: I’ve been anorexic, obese, and everything in between. I’ve counted calories, fat grams, carbs – and how many (insert sweet food here) I’d eaten in one sitting. I’ve eated out of boredom, stress, sadness, because it looked good, because it tasted good, and (gasp!) because I was hungry. My relationship with food has been an ongoing struggle in my life; now in my 40s, I’d like to stop wrestling with it and simply live alongside it in harmony.
Even if you and food get along like peas and carrots, you'll love reading Sheri's open and honest writing. In addition to her blog, she's a brilliant writer who's editing her first MS, which BTW will be published because it's that good (I've read parts of it). And unlike me, who spends too much time online, Sheri actually spends her evenings writing and editing. Such a good role model.
I put the lyrics below. It's a really beautiful song, and for whatever reason, I've been singing it in my head today and thinking about Beauty Secrets. Is it worth the revision? Should I scrap it and start over? Should I let the story fly away?
No. Well, I don't think so. Starting over with a new idea would be easier then putting more of myself into a novel only to have it not published. But then again, is that my only goal?
Gesh. You know, I think I need to stop being so philosophical and just start writing. Enough said.
Here's the lyrics: It makes sense that it should happen this way That the sky should break, and the earth should shake As if to say: Sure it all matters but in such an unimportant way As if to say:
Fly away, sweet bird of prey Fly fly away Nothing can stand in your way Sweet bird, if you knew the words I know you'd say: fly, fly away
It makes sense that it should hurt in this way That my heart should break, and my hands should shake As if to say: Sure it don't matter except in the most important way As if to say:
Fly away, sweet bird of prey Fly fly away I won't stand in your way Sweet bird, if you knew the words I know that you'd say: fly, fly away
It makes sense that it should feel just this way That you slowly fade and yet still remain As if to say: Everything matter in such an invisible way As if to say: It's O.K. Fly...away
It happens to the best of us, doesn't it? I was totally going to write this past week, but then Amazon just had to recommend a book to me that I just had to buy, and there you go.
What's the book you ask? It's called A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. It's not so much that the title is anything great, or the initial jacket flap wooed me (witch who doesn't do magic anymore, parents dead, hooks up with a vamp, etc. etc.), but it's the quality of her writing that did me in, well, that and the academic setting (remember, I'm an academic girl, too).
This of course got me thinking. The fact that "it's all been done before" is irrelevant if you can do it better, or different. Sometimes I worry that my characters or setting are too clichéd. While that may be true, and part of the reason for my major revision, I don't think it's a story killer. Do you? Surely there are more examples out there. Do share...
So, if you were tackling a major revisions, where would you begin? I'm thinking the first step is to read through my entire MS to get reacquainted with my characters and the story, but after that, I'm not sure what to do. I have to say that the thought of reading my MS without editing as I go is almost impossible, but I'm going to give it a try. It'd be awesome if I could somehow read it on my nook, so that way I couldn't edit it. Hmmmm....
Anyway, what would you do, or what have you done in the past? I'd love to hear your advice and experiences!
If been thinking lately about the amount of work Beauty Secrets needs and I find myself wondering if it's worth it. What are my goals? As a new mommy, my time is already zilch, so if I want to write, it would really mean sacrificing the 30 minutes of personal time I have a day, or giving up even more sleep (and I'm seriously not sure that's an option). Now granted, I realize this is what separates the dreamers from the doers. This is the part where the rubber meets the road and whatever other clichés you can come up with. I know I'm a writer at heart. It's what makes me happy. I can obsess over a plot for days until I figure every detail out, and I love reading my own writing (at least I'm entertained) and feeling so damn proud completing a MS.
Anyway, if I'm writing for myself, then why go through the pain of revision and the emotional querying/publishing process when so much of it is out of my control? Tell me? Why do you do it?!?
I guess I know the answer.
Because the possibility of seeing my work in print is just too cool of an idea to give up. And if there's a way to combine self-fulfillment with publishing success, my Ying and Yang will be balanced.
Who needs a therapist when you have a blog? Am I right? What are your thoughts?