Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category
One of the goals I set out at our July NARWA meeting was to send at least two queries on “Beauty and the Ballplayer.”
Well, it’s still not done, even though the meeting is a week away. What’s stopping me?
It’s ridiculous, really. I keep telling myself (rather stupidly) that if I submit a query now, and they like it (really LIKE it), I won’t be eligible for the Golden Heart.
See? I told you it was ridiculous.
Really. What would be better in the long run? Becoming a published author or entering the Golden Heart again (and potentially not winning a darn thing)?
So first thing Monday morning, I’m sending out those two queries — one directly to Harlequin, since it’s a category novel, and one to an agent who represents such things. (I just need to check my list to see which ones do.)
You often hear writers say their story ideas come from the strangest places.
I’m not so sure that’s true. Ideas are all around us … all we have to do is open our eyes (and ears) to the possibilities.
The initial idea for “Blind Date Bride” came from a news story I heard on the radio back when I still lived in Logansport, Indiana. I first wrote its opening scene as a one-act play. I’m not sure if it ever got produced by the Logansport theater company, because I moved away before the one-act festival.
But once the idea lodged itself in my brain, the story was too good to ignore. I fleshed it out beyond the church basement, where the hero and heroine argue with their respective friends (who entered them in a wedding contest even though neither of them were in the market for a spouse ‚ even a temporary one). I put them (reluctantly) in the same apartment for 90 days, fully expecting some hairy situations to come up. I gave them pasts and a future (together).
My current WIP, “Trouble in Paradise?”, features the best friends from Kari & Damien’s story. They actually started dating at Kari & Damien’s fake wedding — and got more action on the wedding night than our hapless bride and groom. When one of the first people to read “Blind Date Bride” said, “Bethany and Cody should have their own story”, my imagination was off and running.
My first manuscript, “Operation Snag Mike Brad,” was inspired by my crush on a coworker (who became the basis for pseudo-playboy Mike James). Cassie & Dustin’s and Bree & Mike’s stories grew from that first MS, though they’ve both taken on lives of their own beyond the original story (at least I hope they have).
“Operation Snag Mike Brad” also inspired the story I plan to write for this year’s NaNoWriMo. It’s the story of Brad’s brother, Kenny, who turns up at Erin’s first Kingston family dinner with a fake fiancee in tow. (The fake-out’s his desperate attempt to get his matchmaking Ma off his back.)
I honestly can’t remember where the ideas for Meg & Matt’s or Drew & Lainy’s stories came from. (The character of Drew is loosely based on another guy I once worked with, so he probably gave me a germ of inspiration.) His story is set in a fictional high school on the other side of the (also fictional) major town in my first three manuscripts. Meg & Matt’s story is the only one set where I live now, Arizona.
On the drive through New Mexico while I was on my summer vacation I had an idea from a road sign, compounded by something I saw on the side of the road a few miles later. It’s still a nebulous, unformed idea, but I jotted it down. Maybe it’ll develop into something more … and maybe not. But at least it’s a possibility.
Heck, I even had an idea when I heard Gary Coleman had died. I haven’t done a lot of development on it, either … but it kind of fits with my other TV-related stories.
OK … that’s a little weird. Maybe story ideas DO come from the strangest places, after all.
Where’s the weirdest place you’ve gotten a story idea?
I wrote this post for the Editor’s Note in the Sept./Oct. issue of the NARWA newsletter, High Country Highlights. However, I liked it too much not to share it here on the blog, too.
Since I’m trying to get in edit-mode for the Golden Heart, the subject is dear to me right now. Here goes:
When it comes to progress on my writing, July and August have pretty much been a wash for me.
A vacation from the day job ended up being a break from writing, too. This happened despite the fact that I toted a big binder full of “Blind Date Bride” with me.
It never even left the (very heavy) suitcase. And the few times I found myself with computer time, I spent it catching up on my blog reading (and writing) … and, of course, Twitter.
How did the world ever get along without new tweets to read every few minutes?
At the risk of sounding like a fogey, I’ll say we were all probably a lot less distracted.
But change is good, so we all need to embrace the technology of the future. Right?
I’ve recently discovered that I don’t like change all that much. Oh, I suppose I should have realized this about myself years ago, when I balked every time the school cafeteria tried to serve me waffles and sausage for lunch … or when the thought of changing the way we do something at work makes me grumble both loudly and repeatedly.
Well, I finally got it: Given a choice, I prefer things to stay the way they are. Even when things aren’t quite perfect, I’d rather not alter them. Better the devil you know …
I suspect my aversion to change is also why I have trouble editing my writing.
Of course I know there’s room for improvement, because there’s always room for improvement.
But where I have no trouble thinking of ways to change someone else’s prose, I often come up empty when I try to improve my own. Sure, I might tweak a word here and there, but I rarely do a complete overhaul.
I like to think it’s because I spend enough time crafting sentences the first time that they already sing.
In reality, I’m probably just being a little lazy and a lot resistant to change.
I’ll say it again, mostly to convince myself: Change is good.
As I delve into preparing for the 2011 Golden Heart contest, I’m going to keep that in mind.
Do you have any fail-safe, foolproof editing tips to share?
Writers have to read, even if it means taking time away from writing to do it. I go through spurts of reading like a madwoman or writing like one. Rarely will I do both at once.
My book club just finished “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett.
Published in February 2009, it’s the story of three women — two black, one white — in 1960s Mississippi. They end up changing the world — or at least their small slice of it — with a book detailing the stories of the maids and families in their care.
It’s been getting a lot of good press, and I understand why. It’s one of those stories that’s going to stick with me for a very long time. Powerful. Riveting. Disturbing to think that was the way things were — and not all that long ago.
I finished it in just a few days, reading early into the morning because I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next.
It’s not a romance, but it has a few tender moments. Other moments will break your heart or make you laugh out loud.
“The Help” doesn’t need a recommendation from little ol’ me, but it’s getting one anyway. If you haven’t already, check this one out. It might just change the way you see the world.