I’ve (again) been M.I.A. for the past few weeks. Can you believe I wrote an entire book this summer? I can’t. I still can’t. I am roughly 1 chapter away from saying…DONE. Let me be clear: It’s already written. That’s one more chapter to edit! Then it’s back to the query process. Which is fun in its own way, but also entirely stressful and exhausting. It’s perfect timing though. I’m going back to work next week AND I have another story which is just dying to be written. Sometimes, a scene comes so fully, that I can’t wait to thrust myself into that new world. Anyway, first things first.
Contests are a great way for me to get a feel for how my query is doing and also get my work out there in one fell swoop. One of the biggest contests of the year (in my opinion) comes from the blog MissSnarksFirstVictim.blogspot.com. It’s called the Baker’s Dozen and you can read more about it here. I didn’t participate directly last year, but I did have fun cheering from the sidelines. The writers involved are all incredibly talented and it is a great way to get some exposure (if you enter) and read some great entries. Trust me, the writing is excellent.
Hope to see you there.
Summer is just ticking along for us in the Becker household. We spend most days at the pool, where the kids are insanely occupied and want very little to do with me, while I plot away on a tiny notebook trying to work through my latest debacle.
Writing is going well. I’m about 54,000 words into a projected 70,000 word novel. I’ve started Beta-ing for someone and though it takes away from other things, it is well worth it. She’s taking a look at my earlier chapters as well, so that’s keeping my head where it needs to be.
There are contests in the works, namely PITCHMAS, which I had to watch from the sidelines this year. After a year of being invested in the contest scene, it is hard to not participate. The writing out there is amazing and I wish all of the writers luck.
Voice is one of those things that took me forever to understand. I would listen to other writers talk about it, agents insist upon it, and often deny because a lack of it. I’d look at my own writing, reading it aloud and trying to inflect my voice into the characters. I felt like my Voice was there. Yet, sometimes I would get crits on “losing my voice” in areas. I’d scratch my head and still have no clue as to what they were talking about. I’d read and read. Still nothing. Then…BAM! Finally, it became clear. There are books, several actually, but this one for me…
You don’t have to be a fan of the book to appreciate the quality of voice evident in the writing. I easily read 75-100 books a year and I couldn’t understand the concept until now. There are others, obviously. But, within the first paragraph I felt I had a solid sense of character. Believe me, that’s pretty tough to do.
I thought voice had something to do with prose. Personally I’m not a huge fan of “purple” prose, or super flowery writing. I like writing that is direct and to the point and lets me do some of the imagining.
Now, when I read I can sense the Voice so much clearer than I had before. I don’t necessarily need to like the Voice every time, but at least I can recognize it and I can appreciate my own Voice too.
The New Year always brings a fresh wave of resolutions and promises. It thought this year I would play upon something I already love to do and challenge myself to do even more. My first and most obvious challenge (as per the title of this thread) is to read 100 books throughout the course of the year. By the nature of my schedule most of this will probably be done during the summer months when I’m not working. I started and finished Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn already. I’ll get to that review next. My second resolution (of which I have a pretty good start) is to really fine tune my manuscript for submission. I tested the waters late last year and didn’t have too much success. It’s not surprising–not now anyway. My query was a mess, my first few pages still need polishing, and I’ve never had anyone really read it. Those are so huge issues. If any of you writers have never heard of Absolute Write, it is like a crash course in writing. There is an endless supply of information and support and criticism. I’ve posted, reposted, and reposted my query. I think it’s finally ready. <happy dance> Next, is my first ten pages. They need to shine like nothing else. That’s step two. Also, through perfecting my query, I found some glaring issues in my MS. It’s funny how you don’t see these things sometimes…