Terrified of telling

I love the internet. It’s the best thing for showing that pretty much no matter what is going on in your (writing) life, there’s someone out there who has been through it too.

I was lying awake for a few hours this morning trying to go back to sleep (like that was going to happen) and in the end I figured, bugger trying to write my thoughts in my head, I’d just get up and do it. Go Nike.

I’m a bit of a ‘list’ person, hubby always laughs at the bullet point notes of ‘things to do’ on the various notebooks I leave lying about, so in no general order:

• This jury duty is on my mind. I have to go down to the court today. I’ve been three times so far without being called for a trial. It’s like a mini-ballot every time you go down there.

• The first scene of His Brand Of Beautiful is on my mind heaps. With the jury duty, I haven’t looked at it for a while but I did again last night for a few reasons: (queue subsequent bullet list)

a) I had a two-line letter back from the agent I queried (I thought these things were supposed to take weeks!) which said: Thank you for contacting our agency. Unfortunately we are not looking at manuscripts such as the one you describe. A list of literary agents can be found at http://austlitagentsassoc.com.au/index.html Best of luck with your writing.

Which doesn’t give a girl much to go on, but I think if you’ve sent a query letter with a pitch for what you’re doing and they say ‘send it’ and then “not looking at manuscripts such as the one you describe’… well I think that means they took a quick look and didn’t like it. (And fair enough). So I was a bit flat last night but I’m okay about it this morning.

b) Last night we watched The Descendants. It’s the George Clooney movie where his wife has a jet-ski/boating accident and is in a coma for most of the movie and they have to turn off her life support. Man what a tear-jerker. I kept running to the kitchen for tissues and in the end I had to bring in the whole damn box. Clooney of course is Clooney, but the Director, Alexander Payne? He wrote the script and there was an interview with the author in the extras on the DVD and she’s amazing too. I think when you see really brilliant & talented people doing spectacular things it shows you just how far you have to go 😉

Traffic on my blog has been fairly high (for me) over the weekend, most people looking at the opening scene of His Brand Of Beautiful I posted a fortnight ago. It hasn’t had any comments, which is fine, people are busy (or maybe too kind!) But the rejection letter from the agency made me take another quick look at the scene. I think I’m making some classic mistakes: introducing too many characters, not giving enough context. I know that my early (very terrible) drafts were full of ‘telling’ not showing and I think it’s made me terrified of giving any exposition at all. I will have to weigh those thoughts up.

Maybe I can take the laptop down to the courtroom instead of the book I’m reading (currently One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest – which is also adding to my feelings of writing inadequacies… my god that book is brilliant.) There’s a whole heap of waiting that goes on down there. Waiting for the sheriff’s officers, waiting for lawyers and judges, waiting for a courtroom, waiting to see if you are needed. Maybe I can find a little quiet corner and tap, tap away!

I need to retain the faith that the story for His Brand Of Beautiful is “there” and that I know how to tell (oops – show) it. The next deadline for me is the RWA STALI. I think that opens in a few days and closes about 5 October. So that’s something to work to, and the good thing about competitions is, it will help me with feedback.

Cheers, Lily.

You know you’ve been on holiday when…

… You can’t remember the password to log into your blog. I’m taking it as a good sign!

I’ve come to a few decisions in the last week. First, I am going to enter the Choc-Lit Search For An Australian star competition. http://www.choc-lit.co.uk/html/search_for_an_australian_star.html

I’ve been dithering on this because when I read the entry, I thought a condition of entry was that you couldn’t have your work out with any other agent or publisher. But I’ve had a few further communications with them in the interim and they’ve been very helpful about pointing out that you can put your book out to others, you just have to tell them if it gets accepted anywhere. (Note to self, read conditions more thoroughly!) The competition closes at the end of August and I should make it after this last re-read. I figure I have absolutely nothing to lose in entering.

Second, I’m going to enter RWA’s STALI later this year.

And third, I’m going to declare His Brand Of Beautiful finished (or at least finished for now), when I hit send on the email to Choc-Lit. I’ll be out of action for September as I have been seconded into doing Jury Duty… which feels like such a novel excuse for not writing much, pardon the pun, but it will give me a good block of head-space and something else to think about for a month.

I could muck about with HBOB forever at this point but I don’t think I’m achieving much. It’s time to grit my teeth, brush up on that thick skin and look for some feedback. I have read, read and re-read it so much I need to wave it goodbye. Or I need a critique partner perhaps, but I keep dithering on that too.

I have another project ready to go. The first book I wrote was called Fringe Benefits. I queried this way back in early 2011 to Harlequin Desire directly (before it crossed my mind to think about agents). They asked to see 3 chapters off the query before ultimately rejecting it (with a very nice letter that said “they found parts of it compelling” but I had too much focus on point of view of secondary characters that detracted from the main characters, and they also highlighted pacing as something I had to work on.) All of which led me to a heap of articles on line about POV, pacing and flashbacks, ie. Don’t Do Them!

Given what I’ve seen of rejection letters (mine and the others online), as far as that one went I came out of it feeling positive. Kudos to Harlequin for that.

Lately it’s Fringe Benefits that has been on my mind more and more and with what I feel I’ve learned as far as craft, especially in the last year, I’m excited about re-writes on this and where it might end up. It’s another contemporary romance loosely based in the Australian wine industry; this one a reunion romance with a broke and stubborn viticulturist heroine; a tycoon winery-owner with a meddling mother, and a jealous love interest trying to ruin our heroine’s career. I remember it as being good fun when I started it. I know without looking that it needs a heap of work.