July 15, 2011

about, Musings

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The gals at the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood posted a form to look for a critique partner. When I tried to post my response in the comments, it didn’t show up. So here it is, in all its glory:

NAME: Arlene Hittle

Please E-MAIL me directly at [email protected]

I write: humorous contemporary series and single title

My favorite authors are Christina Dodd, Kristan Higgins, Cherry Adair, Susan Elizabeth Phillips

My work would be enjoyed by the audience of ??? (If I knew that, wouldn’t I already have sold?)

I prefer to give and receive critiques that include:

Story & characterization analysis only _N__ With occasional line-edits Y__ With in-depth line-edits _S____

I prefer a no-punches-pulled, straightforward critique focusing mostly on problems   _N_

To avoid feeling discouraged, I prefer frequent praise to surround negative comments __Y__

I’d like help brainstorming problems _Y_    I just need the problems pointed out _S__

I’m highly self-motivated__S__    I need someone to help me set goals (kick my butt) _S__

 

I have completed ___6___manuscripts

I usually write_______1,000 to 5,000 words a week.

I finish and polish a 90,000-word  book in _8__ months.

I have been seriously writing / pursuing publication for  ___2+___years.

My strengths are: dialogue

My weaknesses are: agents say they’re not in love with the characters

My writing credentials are: 2010 Beacon winner, 2011 GH finalist, BS in journalism. My nonGH-finalists have fallen into the bottom and half percentiles. Have a weight-loss blog and a writing blog.


 

July 11, 2011

Musings, Progress, quest

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Since RWA Nationals ended, much talk has been going on amongst my Starcatcher Sisters about fear … of submission,  rejection, inadequacy — you name it and we’ve probably felt it.

Aislinn, who recently sold not one but two books, wrote an excellent post on writers’ fears just the other day. Her conclusion?

I must sit down, and I must write. I must give myself permission to suck. Because I’ll suck even more if I let the fear stop me from writing this second book.

I am so there … well, on everything except writing my second book. I’m still trying to sell my first. 😉

However, I am of a similar mind: It’s time to move ahead.

Of course I’m still tweaking my GH finalist and sending it out on submission. But if I don’t do anything else — something new — I’m going to go stark-raving mad.

So while I continue to submit “Beauty and the Ballplayer,” I’m also going to start doing other things.

— I’m making some serious progress on the story related to it, Dave and Melinda’s tale.

— And I’m going to figure out which of my other, finished stories I want to enter in this year’s Golden Pen — even though that means tackling another dreaded synopsis. Yikes. (The early bird deadline is Friday.)

— I also have my NARWA meeting coming up this Saturday. We’re doing a “first three pages” workshop, where we read the first three pages of submitted WIPs aloud and give feedback. I need to decide which one of mine I want to have read.

I have to keep moving ahead. Each new manuscript is better than the last, because we’re continually learning and growing — or we should be. So I can’t just sit back and rest on  the laurels of being a Golden Heart finalist.

Who knows? My next submitted MS may well be the one that finally secures me the agent and publication contract I’ve been chasing.

July 3, 2011

Musings

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We’ve all heard someone say it, usually in connection with the Oscars … And if you’re like me, you probably snicker.

“It’s an honor just to be nominated?” Yeah. R-i-i-ght.

Well, I’m here to tell you, in the case of the RWA Golden Heart® award, it really is true.

I’m not just saying that because I didn’t come home with the little golden necklace around my neck. (I didn’t. The GH in my category, contemporary series, went to Jo Anne Banker. Click here for a full list of Golden Heart and Rita winners.)

But I started saying it long before the awards ceremony. It hit me while I sat at the Golden Network retreat on Tuesday. The conference hadn’t officially started yet, but as a GH finalist, I had the chance to attend a day of panel discussions with agents and editors — a chance offered only to current and former finalists.

Win or lose, we were part of an elite group. Not everyone gets to put the words Golden Heart Finalist beside the title of one of their works. Heck, very few do. And I’m one of them.

As my conference roommate, Karla Doyle, pointed out while I was lamenting the fact that I didn’t hand out all of my business cards with the “2011 GH finalist” notation on the back, I can still use them next year.

She’s right. Come what may, I’ll always be a 2011 Golden Heart finalist.

Doors are beginning to open, golden necklace or not. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

P.S. Look for updates on what I learned from the conference (including a few photos), in the next several days. I’m still catching up on sleep and trying to digest it all.

June 23, 2011

Musings

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In four days, I’ll be leaving for New York City.

Not only is this my first trip to NYC, it’ll be my first RWA National conference. Needless to say, I’m nervous — and seeing all the chatter online isn’t easing my jitters.

In an attempt to stay sane while I get ready to go, I’ve been spending too much time online, looking for hints and tricks on how to make the most of the conference experience.

Lucky for me, there’s plenty of advice out there to be had.

First off, packing — of which I’ve done none yet. (Procrastinating at its finest.) Yes, I’ve purchased my Golden Heart® awards ceremony dress, and clothes to wear during the conference. But the thought of packing it all in one suitcase — or worse, one small carry-on bag — terrifies me.

One of the Starcatchers (the name the 2011 Golden Heart class picked), Erin Kelly, shared these great packing tips. While I doubt I’ll be able to stuff a full-length, full-skirted gown into a carry-on with enough clothes, shoes and underwear for the rest of the week, I plan to use as many of her hints as I can.

When I get to NYC (hopefully with my luggage), what do I do? Who do I see? How can I survive pitching to an agent and editor? Bestselling author Elizabeth Boyle posted a collection of tried and true conference advice.

At Once Written, Twice Shy, another Starcatcher, Kimberly Kincaid, posted The Sassy Girl’s Guide to Success at RWA Nationals. Helpful even though I don’t consider myself shy. Quiet, yes (although my coworkers might disagree) … shy, no.

Of course, the Rubies have been posting helpful info, too. They’re always full of good advice. Check out Tamara Hogan’s Introverts Guide to RWA Nationals and the indispensable guide for those not lucky enough to be going to conference: My Ruby Sisters Went to New York and All I Got Was aT-Shirt.