Saturday, December 31, 2011

Tying Up a Bad Year, New Beginnings, & the Shatter Me Winner

The Shatter Me winner will be announced at the end of this post. It's just more dramatic that way.

It's the last day of 2011 with mere hours left until this year is over, and I can't say I'm sad to see it go. I would say it was a rough year for me in a lot of ways, but I think it was down right bad.

I started my first blog and finished my first ms in 2010. I knew my first ms wasn't good, but I also knew I would write again and project 52 would help me do it, because all the reading was teaching me things. I wrote another manuscript which I still love, and I don't mean some mature kind of love where I can love in spite of its flaws. I love it with the burning passion of a first love and it is so perfect it can have no flaws. Anyone who thinks otherwise just has bad taste. So you can imagine my surprise when even after 180 pages of cuts and about a year of revisions/edits it earned me 105 rejections. I finished project 52 with six hours of 2010 left and high hopes for 2011. Because my phenomenal ms was complete and sure to get me an agent, and I was half way through a third manuscript which in all reality should be even better. I mean I improved like ten fold between my first and second ms, why would it be any different between the second and third? Except, my third ms was so bad I couldn't bare to read it and only sent it to my CP after some degree of coaxing.

Now, I'm hours from the end of 2011 and rather than being elated I finished my project and am off to start a new life within the month (last year my husband and I moved to WI in Jan--I was excited about this until I realized it was horribly cold, Milwaukee is no bigger than Austin, and I don't like the food) I'm lamenting a year of a lack of accomplishments and loss. My grandfather, who I called dad until I was ten years old, because my own dad didn't feel a need to speak to me until I was 24, died 12 days in to 2011. No way to start a year. I miss my central/south Texas town, 50 degree winters, and tacos. I haven't exactly done anything to be proud of this year, and when you're an over-achiever, that's hard. But it's time to put all this behind me and go into a new year. Even if it's really bad 2012 cannot be worse than 2011, and my daughter should be here in May, which means I'll feel way better than I have for the past 5 months and have a baby girl to love. It's time to move forward.

So I'm starting a new Project 52, and in some ways I'm going into 2012 the same way I went into 2010--aiming to complete a project that will have only intangible benefits but most of all knowing what I want to do and wondering if the world will ever let me be successful at it. In other ways, this new year and revamped old project are completely different. I've learned a lot the last two years. I'm going into this with specific goals. Most of my rejection was because I just didn't fit anywhere. No where. One person told me "I'm stuck in cross-genre hell." A well respected editor told me I just can't be part one thing and part another. So now I'm looking for something I can love like YA yet a box big enough to fit my writing.  I also know my grammar isn't up to par to be a writer, so as soon as I find one I'm taking a grammar class.  It's scary and a little depressing to think that since 2009 other than having a few completed projects, I'm more or less in the same place. But it's also promising. I went into 2010 like this and had a good year. Maybe, 2012 will be as well.

Goals for 2012
finish adult novel by Feb. 1 (yes, it has no title)
send adult novel to 2 CPs by March 1 (this will mean finding one more CP)
Query adult novel by June
Rewrite Phantom Fires
Complete P-52 and either know I have a genre or should self publish
Eat Healthier & work out more
be a good mom

I will quit complaining about 2011 and head off for greater frontier.

And the winner of Shatter Me is commutinggirl.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Be Right Back

I'll be back after the new year with a contest winner and other goodies.  See you soon and Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 19, 2011

How To Deal?

Not to long ago I was working on a YA manuscript with a lot of really good things about it. It must have had some bad things about it to, because some people liked this and hated that and other liked that but hated this. Slightly more than half felt one way about it, and slightly less than half felt the other way. It was frustrating and confusing, but I loved the manuscript and the slightly more than half felt the way I did about it so naturally I took the direction of the majority.

Now I'm working on an adult novel. I think this may be a one time thing for me, but either way I'm 14000 words into an adult manuscript. I thought the writing wasn't strong enough, so I sent it to my critique partner who's opinion I trust deeply. She wrote back that she didn't find the MC believable. (Her husband had an affair, and she's agreed to continue living with him so their daughter has both of her parents. They live in separate rooms but operate like a married couple other than that. Three years later her husband is trying to convince her to date him, but she turns him down). My CP thought that since she obviously still has feelings for him refusing to even date him after 3 years, but continuing to live with him, cook dinner, and pick up his dry cleaning was unbelievable. Her suggestion for making the MC believable would also make her someone I'm not willing to spend 300 pages with, and the kind of girl I'm not sure I want to write about. Even if I did want to write her like that I wouldn't know how, because it's not a perspective I can begin or even pretend to understand. And I think it changes the book significantly.

I sent the book to someone else with a worldview closer to my own. She found the premise completely believable but didn't think the MC was mad enough at her cheating husband. My CP says she's plenty mad. Maybe, too mad because it's three years later and she still won't even go out for coffee with her husband.

If they didn't like the same thing that would be easy. I would know either something needed to change, or I just shouldn't finish the book, because it's not a change I'm going to write. But since I'm getting conflicting advice I don't know what to do. It's frustrating. It makes me want to beat my head off a wall, and the same thing happened with the YA ms I last worked on. Since then, I wrote a book that I chose no to revise/query because it wasn't worth it. The feedback was stuff I already knew and it didn't matter, since I wasn't querying it. Then I got sixty something pages into another ms that I decided wasn't going in the right direction, so I threw in the towel. I'm fifty pages into this. I thought it was going in the right direction, and maybe with the clearest plot I'd ever worked out. (Characters and voice I'm good at, plot not so much). And the conflicting opinions are already rolling in. I don't know what to do. I really don't want to spend the time to finish another ms that's going to receive 105 rejections, and on the other hand I've already put a lot of work into this. I don't want to just leave it unfinished.

How do you deal with conflicting advice?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Special Thanks to The Book Stall & A Contest for You

A special thanks to The Book Stall, my favorite bookstore is in order. They just sent me a huge box of books, many ARCs several signed.

Look at this. It's like Christmas early.

"Wow! So many books! Thank you Book Stall!!!!

My personal favorite is Embrace coming out spring of 2012. The ARC has no back cover, but it did come with a letter from the MC's mom, which did way more to pull me in than any cover copy ever could.

I love this one too much to part with it. Today, I'm giving away an autographed copy of Shatter Me, not because I don't love it. But because they were nice enough to send one autographed ARC personalized to me, and one autographed ARC not personalized.

For this contest, you don't have to follow me to win, but if you want to follow me I would love it.  You will get one entry each time you blog/facebook/tweet my contest. You will get 3 entries for me in your side bar until the contest ends next Saturday and 3 entries for following liking The Book Stall's facebook page and leaving the comment "Thanks for Beth's contest."

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Insecure Writers Support Group

The only thing I'm feeling insecure about today is finishing my WIP. It's my first ever adult manuscript, which makes it hard because I'm not sure if the voice is right. But more than that with everything that's been going on, I can't write for a long at a time. I so wanted to finish this project by January, which is looking implausible if not impossible. I definitely don't want to be working on it past February. It seems like when you don't finish something rather quickly it tends to get stale--or at least to me it does.

Special thanks to Alex for organizing this.