Today, my writing session at Starbucks allowed me to reach another milestone: Cassie & Dustin’s story is now the correct length for Harlequin American Romance.
They want 55,000 to 60,000. Cassie & Dustin now come in at 55,686.
That makes another completed first draft. I had to add about 10,000 words to beef it up to the meet the word requirement. (I’ll have to do the same thing to Bree & Mike’s story, too. Guess that’s next on my list.)
Also on my list? Printing this puppy out for editing purposes, but that will have to wait until I get my computer back. This one isn’t equipped to print with my printer.
Crap. It just hit me: Now I have to write a synopsis and query letter, too. Ugh. Can’t I just hire someone else to do that for me?
I recently discovered the blog of Nathan Bransford — Literary Agent. He’s both witty and wise … and rumor has it that he responds almost immediately to queries, whether he wants to see more or not. I’ve yet to test that myself because I haven’t quite perfected my query for “Blind Date Bride” and he doesn’t do category romance.
Anyway, after reading his latest entry, “The Greatest Strength of a Writer: Willpower,” I was inspired.
The last line, in particular, spoke to me:
If writing is always fun, you may be doing it wrong.
So simple, yet so true. For years, I’ve been one of those “I write when the muse inspires me” people. As a result, I haven’t gotten much done. Several partial MSs lurk in my computer files — all about half finished.
Now that I’ve committed to writing more regularly, first preparing my Golden Heart entry, then in the NaNoWrimo and now through our NARWA Word Count Club, I’m accomplishing a lot more.
- I entered a revised version of my very first MS (Operation Snag Mike Brad” in the Golden Heart, didn’t final and just found out my scores were solidly mediocre.
- I wrote about 25K of the 40K I wanted to get done during the NaNo, finishing the complete MS in early December. I’ve done some revisions and just shipped off the first 55 pages to the Orange Rose contest. (Blind Date Bride)
- I finished the first draft of another category-length MS. (Beauty and the Ballplayer)
- I’m almost done revising and expanding the second story in my “Women of Willow’s Grove” series. It was about 10K too short for category romance … now it’s just about right. (It’s tentatively titled “Daring to Love,” but I’m thinking it needs a new title.) Next up: fixing all the head-hopping in the third book in the series, “To Catch a Wife,” and expanding it. (It’s also about 10K too short for category.)
- I’ve started querying on my GH entry (receiving about 5 e-rejections in response to my e-queries). I also just finished a query and synopsis for “Blind Date Bride,” but haven’t started querying yet because I’m not sure it’s ready.
Whew! That’s a lot of work in the last seven or so months. And I owe it all to commitment. Sometimes I even sit down to write when I’d rather be doing something else.
OK, that’s rare. These days, I don’t want to do anything else. Our NARWA guest speaker back in January, Jennifer Ashley, lit a motivational fire under my behind when she said, “Treat writing like your day job and it will become your day job.” (You can read my post-meeting blog post here.)
Tomorrow is a day off from work. I’m planning to get in some more quality writing time … after I sneak in a workout. I’ve been neglecting my health/fitness goals lately and need to get back on track.
That whole “butt in chair” thing works in a healthy lifestyle, too — except it might better be phrased as “feet on pavement” or “butt in gym.” The point is, you have to do it regularly to get good results.
It appears that “Operation Snag Mike Brad” was solidly in the middle of the pack. All but one of my scores was in the 6 range. The last one was a 5.7.
I’m happy with that. At least no one hated it. I was half afraid that I’d get a 2 or 3.
According to the letter that included my scores, I scored an overall 30.5. Anything below 33 was in the bottom half.
I don’t pretend to understand standard deviation (whatever that is!). But I’d rather look at it like this: If a 9 is the top score, and my scores were 6s, I’m not doing all that badly.
So I didn’t final. There’s always next year. With the judge’s comments I’ll be getting back from the Orange Rose contest, I should be able to improve “Blind Date Bride” before the GH judges see it.
I’ll probably revisit this topic again, once I’ve had time to process what happened. Right now, I’m tired. Think I’ll head to bed.
I didn’t head to bed. Instead I went home and typed up today’s handwritten pages, then played online. I found this very helpful article on another blog.
It’s always something, isn’t it? First, I didn’t get as much done as I’d hoped over my week of vacation. Now, my computer is on the fritz.
That’s right, my beloved iBook G4 laptop is dying. When I went to plug it in after work last night, the power cord wouldn’t go into the computer. Turns out, the little prong in the center of the cord broke off in my computer.
Paranoid about not draining the battery when I had no way to charge it back up, I turned on the computer for a few minutes to make a panicked tweet and Facebook posting. Then I shut it down and tried to do some longhand writing.
I managed a few pages by hand, but couldn’t get into the groove. I ended up going to bed early and got up this morning with one thought: How can I fix my computer? (I guess it’s a good thing to be obsessed with writing. After so many lazy years, I can stand to put in a little overtime.)
I tucked my laptop into my giant purse and headed to Best Buy. The guy at the Geek Squad counter confirmed that the center prong was, indeed, the problem. He also said it could cost up to $400 to repair.
Spending that much to repair an 8-year-old computer (or older) doesn’t seem smart — not when I can save up a few hundred more and get myself a brand new one.
I spent some time at Best Buy, playing with the MacBook on display there. I also checked out the iPad. There’s a voice-recognition software app that tempted me to get one … I could dictate my novel while on the road. (I get a lot of great ideas during the 45-minute drive to the Boyfriend’s house.)
Again, I figured if I’m going to spend $600 on a mid-memory-level iPad (and end up buying a keyboard/dock for it), I might as well spend a little more and get a real laptop.
I thought I’d averted disaster when my roommate’s husband managed to get the broken piece out of my computer. I thought, “All I need now is a new power cord!” Unfortunately, I tried that. It still wouldn’t charge with a not-broken power cord.
So it looks like I’ll be starting a new computer fund. A writer friend who got a new MacBook a few months ago is loaning me her G4 for a while, and I’m looking into buying a spare battery and wall battery charger so I can continue to use mine while I save up for a shiny, new MacBook.
After all, my laptop is still perfectly good. At least it would be if I could charge it.