2011 Qtr 1 Recap

The first quarter of 2011 is done and in the books.  I gotta say, those 3 months passed in a blur.  Personal challenges not withstanding, my main focus Jan-Mar was completing my UF draft so I could submit it to my mentor for feedback, thus getting the ball rolling on the revisions.  And as you can see from the status bar over there on the right –>, I am DONE with the UF draft!! 

 Oh, it’s in serious need of repair, but I got a fully flushed out draft to work with now. 🙂  At this point, I’m in unchartered territory.  I’ve never had a completed, full length rough draft before.  And now I’m about to enter into my first set of revisions on said draft.  I can now check off 2 more milestones on this journey of mine.  🙂

This year for my Qtr recaps, I’ve decided that instead of just talking about what I’ve done the last 3 months, I would actually speak to my progress on the tangible goals I set for myself this year.  To recap, my 2011 writing goals are:

     #1. Complete polished draft of Edge of Desire (the UF) and begin submission process
     #2. Complete 1st draft of WFF and get the first 3 chapters polished (for submission & contests)
     #3. Outline 2 new projects
     #4. Apply for PRO status
     #5. Set up office

#1- I have a completed rough draft of the UF (coming in at roughly 80k+ words).  The draft has been submitted to Lori for feedback and direction (I received her feedback today actually–it was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be).  My goal is to have the revisions complete by the end of Qtr 2 and the possibly (possibly) pitch it when I go to NY in June.  So all in all, I am making good progress on this goal.

#2- I made no progress on this goal during Qtr 1. As I mentioned above, my focus was finishing up my UF draft.  But as I will say–as it is  technically Qtr 2  as I write this–I did plot out this story in it’s entirety over the weekend at my retreat with help from Karen Docter (more on that later).  So I am progressing along with this goal as well.  My target is to spend time during Qtr 2 working on my character profiles.

#3- No progress made on this goal yet.  Hopefully by the end of Qtr 2, I will have solid thoughts on where I want book 2 in both my UF series and my contemp romance series to go.  I’m shooting to start brainstorming these in early Qtr 3.

#4-  Making progress on this goal.  I have my UF draft done and I am set to work on the revisions.  I may be ready to pitch this story by the beginning on Qtr 3, the mid-end of Qtr 3 at the very latest. But I am positive that I will have by PRO status by the end of this year.

#5- I picked out my paint colors for the office. YAY!  Took me forever to do it, but I did it.  But that’s about all I’ve done on this goal.  I plan to have the office painted by the end of Qtr 2.  I also hope to have some decorating decisions cemented as well by then.  Another goal for Qtr 2 includes having my 2011 tax binder set up and IN USE.  It’s still pretty early in the year and I don’t have many receipts yet, but I need to get a move on with this.   Having just turned in my tax info for 2o1o, it would have been so much easier if I’d maintained my 2010 tax binder.  Instead, I was searching and combing through files, boxes, and all sorts of stuff looking for receipts.  Not again I tell ya, not again.

So all in all, I have a pretty good Qtr 1 in the bag and a busy Qtr 2 to look forward to.

~Someday I’ll fly, someday I’ll soar

Low Country Retreat Recap

I’m fresh back from my trip to Charleston, SC. 2 of my crit partners, along with another member of RCRW, drove down to attend the Low Country Writers beach retreat.  It was a small, weekend retreat that was quite productive for me.  I took advantage of the scenery and the quiet time to get some writing done.  I am proud to say that I knocked back a total of 4,337 words while I was there.

That’s quite the accomplishment considering all the distractions I encountered  (like the beach, sightseeing, the beach, the excellent food, the beach, the wine, and let’s not forget the beach….). 🙂

All in all, a great trip for me.  Being away from everything allowed me the opportunity to really focus on my wip.  Here’s my writing desk I set up during the retreat portion of the trip:

The Beach Bound Retreat itself was a small, cozy affair.  There were workshops going on, but if you wanted to just go sit and write you could.  And I did, as evidenced by the pic of my writing desk-lol).  I found the tranquility and white noise sitting on the back deck listening to the ocean + the tunes from my Pandora station to be the balm to my writer’s soul (ok, that was cheesy, but you get the point) and I couldn’t resist it.

However, I did attend a couple workshops and my favorite 2, by far, were “Welcome to the World, Baby Book”  led by debut authorKieran Kramer and “20 Ways to Kill a Novel”, led by Joanna Wayne.

Kieran’s workshop was a fun, upbeat look at the journey of an author.  She shared several motivational points and overall advice on how to keep your wits about you as you write, polish, and sell your novel.  She shared her 9-1-1 rule (which is all about staying focused and pushing through the hump to complete a draft) and she gave us all a prescription to take ADVIL whenever we need it: Attitude, Depth, Validation, Involvement, Laugher.

Joanna couldn’t whittle her list down to 20 items, so she actually shared with us 25 ways that we would kill our books.  The list is mostly of stuff I’d heard at some point in time before, but I really enjoyed her chat, along with the personal recounts she peppered throughout it.   The list contains such standards as lack of motivation, too much back story, too much telling, not enough showing, etc.  But one thing I’d never thought about was the fact that you may have your book set in the wrong  location or time.  Setting never consciously occurred to me as being an area that could kill a story.  But when you think about it, it’s obvious.  The group spent a bit of time talking about this as we came up with examples of how certain books would not work if you change the environment in which they are set.  Joanna also recounted how she once used her story idea , along with the plot twists and her characters’ GMC to back her way into the setting for the story.  This chat really made me look at setting in a different way.  I really get the adage of using “setting as a character” now.

It was very pleasant the entire weekend and I got lot accomplished, not only with writing, but I was able to de-stress and unplug a little.  And with the beautiful views  how could I not. 🙂 Also, I got to meet some new authoring comrades & I even won a prize, Kieran Kramer’s debut novel “When Harry Met Molly”.

I had a  great time down in Charleston and will be blogging over at  A Bit of Clarity about some of my non-writing adventures in the Low Country in the upcoming weeks.

Savvy Boot Camp Wrap Up

WritingIt’s now July, which means my month of boot camping it with Savvy Authors is over.  I am pleased to announce that I ended up with a total of 33,504 new words on my yet untitled Urban Fantasy.

WOOHOO!!!

Ok, now for the things I didn’t do:

1) I did not finish my manuscript- I originally set  to complete a 90,000 word UF story.  Ummm, I failed to meet that goal.

Now, for the things I did right 🙂
(and yes, I only did 1 thing wrong-lol)

1) I developed a daily writing habit
2) I learned when my golden times are and how to properly take advantage of all of my writing opportunities, both the peak and off-peak times

—and drum roll please—

The most important thing I discovered during June is:

3) I had a real break through on my story. When I first started this progress, I’d given up on doing a 3 book UF series.  Why?  Because I found the prospect of creating 3 stories right now very daunting.  So I chucked the idea and set about the task of outlining all my ideas into a traditional 3 Act format.  Then, I just wrote, and wrote, and wrote.  And over 30k words later, I was still working on Act 1, and had several ideas coming to me that I wanted to include before the first major turning point. 

Then it dawned on me, I have my 3 books outlined now– each Act is a loose outline for a book.  So now I have modified my plans for my 3 book UF series, my first task is to draft  3- 60k word drafts.  This way, I’m allowed the freedom to just get the main ideas of my story out, and uncover plot threads I didn’t know were hiding away in the inner most caves of my creativity. 🙂

And I get the freedom (yes, as anal as I am, I do have a fair amount of panster in me apparently-lol) to have a fair amount of room–to the tune of 30k words per book– to smooth the story out, drop in subplots, and weave the stories together.

So, my verdict for Savvy Authors June Bootcamp– PASS with a B+


2009 in Review: Qtr 4 Recap

Ok, it’s the last day of the year. My first year of actively writing and working on my novel. I set some goals Jan 1 of this year, and I’ve been updating my progress throughout the year, but it’s time to do one final recap on the year:

Goal 1: Write for one hour a day, minimum
Ahhh…yeah,  I soo sucked at this goal. I had my moments and long stretches of time where I did this, but not consistently enough for me to say I accomplished this goal with any amount of honesty at all.

Goal 2: Have at least 2 completed manuscripts by Dec 31, 2009
I gotta say no to this one as well.  At one point in time, somewhere around Qtr 2, I just knew I would accomplish this task. But alas, I fell short.  As of right now, today, I am currently reworking a plot point to my current wip, which means I have to redo and tweak all of what I currently have.  Since this change makes the story much better for me, I am very excited about this understanding and know I will be able to wrap up my contemporary romance very soon (you have to come back for my 2010 Writing Goals to see when though.)

Goal 3: Query/Submit at least one manuscript this year
Yes, I successfully completed this goal!  I had the opportunity to pitch my book several times this year and received four requests!  I’m still waiting for the results, but in the meantime, I am plugging along. 

Goal 4: Enter at least one contest
I knocked this goal out of the part by entering not one, but four contests.  I didn’t do so well on the first three, but I received some great feedback.  I make some adjustments, and more importantly decided to trust my gut.  It all worked out because I ended up placing in the fourth contest.  Woohoo!

Goal 5: Cycle through my craft books
Hmm, this one is tough to yay or nay.  The purpose of this goal was for me to continue to improve my knowledge and application of the craft of writing.   I got through one craft book, and about one forth through another.   However, I did improve my craft knowledge by attending two great conferences this year (RWA Nationals in DC and Moonlight & Magnolias in Atlanta), attending some workshops, and participating in several author, agent, and publisher chats.  So, I didn’t get through the core craft books I wanted to read through, but I still learned a lot of new things over the year.

So this is my 2009 Writing Year in review, goal wise.  Definitely didn’t make two of my goals, definitely made one, and I’m about 50/50 on the last one. 🙂

Overall, I learned a lot about myself this year.  The most important thing being that I CANNOT write at home.  I believe it was Einstein that said “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  Well, just let me say I was more than a bit insane this year in thinking I could successfully ignore all the distractions that reside in my house (chores, the kids, the dog, the hubby, the internet-lol) and write at home.  🙂  But I can do some writing related things at home and be productive. 

Some other keys things I discovered this year is my writing “Golden Time”, a very good brainstorming kit, the fun part of writing, as well as the low part, and I’ve learned to have more trust in myself, my instincts, and my writing.  

So all in all, I had a good 2009 writing wise, I didn’t accomplish all I set out to, but I’ve come further in my journey than I was on Jan 1, 2009.