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Beep, beep. The sound of me blowing my own horn

NaNoWriMo_1After so much hard work and frustration, I’m finally beginning to see some forward momentum in this whole writing thing.

I have an agent, and I’m so excited to be partners with her. I am now represented by Cherry Weiner of the Cherry Weiner Literary Agency. I met her at the Writers for New Orleans conference. We hit it off, and when I and the opportunity to pitch to her, she requested my manuscript.

I sent it off to her with great trepidation and high hopes. She received it, but let me know that she was making her way through the stack of manuscripts and that it would take some time before she reached mine.

In the meantime, I received some wonderful news. I finaled in three contests: “Where the Magic Begins,” “Launching a Star,” and “Put Your Heart in a Book.” I actually entered one each month over the summer while I continued working on my manuscripts, but as it turned out, the finalists for all three contests were all announced around the same time.

At the end of October, I received an email from Cherry asking me to call her. My heart was pounding. Did it mean what I hoped it meant?

I contacted her, and she very quickly offered to represent me as my agent. I was absolutely thrilled. I’ve been floating a few feet off the earth ever since then. I was thinking that my family would need to tether me down, but then NaNoWriMo hit and it brought me rushing back to reality. For those of you who do not know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write 50,000 words in one month. It’s been a challenging goal to meet. I did well the first week, but life has been getting in the way lately and I’m not achieving my daily word count.

But I digress. On to my newest big news…

I received a really wonderful email this morning. My manuscript received first place in the “Where the Magic Begins” contest!

Yes, that squeal of delight you heard this morning at around 7:30 AM was me reading that I had won.

I know that I’ll be knocked on my big ole’ butt pretty soon when something really bad happens, but in the meantime, I’m enjoying these moments of success.

So, in the words of Jonathan Coulton, I feel fantastic !!!           Jonathan Coulton

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“Keep your head down and just WRITE”… or “How to empty your water pitcher”

Grapes through a water pitcher

Image by quinn.anya via Flickr

I’ve been following that first bit of advice for the past four weeks. It’s been working, up to a point, but I must admit that all work and no play makes Jane a dull… and resentful… girl. Sheridan’s not immune either. Hence, the second quote.

I recently pitched the first novel I had ever written. To my amazement, I not only had a request for 100 pages from an editor, but also a request for a full from an agent.

Sounds great, right? It IS great. No question there.

The problem is that, as I said, it’s the FIRST novel I ever wrote. It’s been sitting in my computer for well over a year, and during that time, I’ve been focusing on developing my craft. The craft of writing.

I’ve attended conferences, listened to lectures, and taken classes. I’ve studied deep point-of-viewcharacterization, the hero and heroine archetypes, creating hooks, writing strong opening chapters, the hero’s journey, and the use of dialogue tags. In doing all of this, I’ve developed confidence and my voice has become stronger. Going through this process has made my writing better than it was when I wrote my first full-length manuscript, and that’s the crux of my problem.

Now, as I review my work and prepare to send it in, I see many things I want to improve. There are parts of my manuscript I love, and parts that make me cringe… I mean, what was I thinking? I want to send in the BEST that I can currently produce, so it needs to be polished.

I’ve been editing furiously, and my critique partners, a beautiful, amazing, talented group of women, have been supporting me. But even with all of the support I’ve been getting, I was beginning to burn out. I kept pouring water out of my water pitcher of creativity and inspiration, but I wasn’t taking time to refill it.

Then came last night’s game of laser tag at Laser Storm. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but I finally did something to refill my pitcher. I could feel my creativity and energy flowing back into me.

After all, summer only comes once a year, and kids grow up fast, right? I can’t just sit and write. I also need to go EXPERIENCE some things.

Although it might take a me couple extra days to finish, at least my family and I will be sane at the end of my rewrite.

What’s in a blank space? Lots of trees

[Tree in a rural area] (LOC)

Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr

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