Waiting for "The Call"

“Honey, it’s always crap. Every book I write is crap. It’s my job to fix the crap afterwards,” according to Nora Roberts. Well, I've got it half right. Still working on the "fixing it" part. "Trust your characters to be complex enough and to have enough emotional baggage. Force them to make hard choices." Advice from Michelle Styles that might help!

It’s done! October 24, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Autumn Macarthur @ 1:55 pm
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Okay.

I did it.

One final run through, yet again tweaking the first chapter of The Playboy’s Princess Bride, taking out the second paragraph, changing some words here and there, checking the spelling for the fifteenth time. Bet anything some typos still snuck though.

Attached it and the blessed synopsis (which did finally become two double spaced pages) to an email with a covering letter.

Hit send.

I feel sick.

Did my cover letter sound sucky? Could I have made the chapter better? Is my whole premise stupid, my characters cardboard, and emotion non-existent? Is my synopsis total rubbish (and will I get dinged for fudging the margin widths)?

Arrgghhh!

Now I need to forget about the competition. Time to dive right into chapter two edits and keep on going. I would seriously hate to be lucky enough to get a full request and have to confess all I have is my rough as guts first draft. I haven’t even read it all the way through ‘cos I started cringing about chapter three.

Submission does mean surrending power to another. It’s up to the editors now. I think I’ve made my story as good as I can with the knowledge and skills I have right now. I hope they like it, but that’s outside my control. Now I have to get on with becoming the best writer I can be.

Good luck to everyone entering!

HPWritingCompetition2009

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15 Responses to “It’s done!”

  1. Steph Says:

    Sounds very exciting. Good luck with your entry! 🙂

  2. waitingforthecall Says:

    Hey Steph! Yes, it’s exciting, especially getting the acknowledgement email! So glad I didn’t wimp out this time. Now I need to try to not worry about it and just write again. Are you entering?

  3. Eileen Says:

    Good luck! You’re finished with the hardest part: the last few hours of tinkering before you send it off! I think I’ll spend my Saturday afternoon working on my entry. 🙂

  4. waitingforthecall Says:

    Still another week to go, so plenty of time for you yet. I just knew if I didn’t send mine off I’d get to the counter-productive point where I was taking out stuff I should be leaving in, and wanting to put back in the stuff that was taken out for good reason. Anyway, fingers crossed for a full request! Good luck with your entry- would love to read it.

  5. Maisey Says:

    Speaking as one of the privileged who has read your entry, it was wonderful!

    You’ll knock ’em dead!

    In a good way!

  6. Aideen Says:

    Hey Jane,

    Big congrats winging all the way from wet and
    dreary Ireland!!!! I’m thrilled to see that you’ve
    already gone and pressed send because yes, I do
    believe any extra time to think things through
    again might have resulted in not pressing the send
    button. And I’m with Maisey, (although I haven’t
    read the updated version yet) you will knock the
    socks off those ed’s. It is Luk and Emma right???

    It’s hard to believe the deadline is almost here,
    where have the last few months gone to at all?
    Hi to all the sisters for me and you might pass on
    a kiss or ten to Jilly, keep her sweet until I get back
    on track. It’s gone beyond crazy now that I still
    can’t log onto my account, who’d believe it???

    Off to put darling boys to bed (darling, ha!). I hope
    A has rewarded you for your bravery tody…..

    Aideen.

  7. Aideen Says:

    By the way, any idea why my posts appear to be
    from the most structurally challenged person on
    the net??????

  8. waitingforthecall Says:

    Aideen, your post looks slim and elegant, that’s what it is. Like you in skinny jeans and your favourite boots!

    Great to hear from you and believe me, you are being missed! I’ll cut and paste your post to the group so your darling Jilly will know you are thinking of her! Sooooo frustrating that your mail is still down.

    Hope that the boys are all staying well.

    Thanks to you and Maisey for your kind words. I’m hoping for a full request.

    BTW, how are Santa Jack’s baubles?

    Send him to Richmond- he’ll knock their little English socks off.

  9. Aideen Says:

    To be honest Jane,

    Jack’s baubles are wrecking my head. I keep polishing
    them but he keeps asking me to come back for more…
    What’s a girl to do????? No, seriously, what is a girl to do?

  10. waitingforthecall Says:

    Sounds like that bad boy Jack is enjoying the polishing a little too much!

    Maybe time for some discipline? Tell him no more polishing, he’s off to Richmond to wow the editors. (Maybe they’d like to help with the polishing… I hear nice English girls do love an Irish rogue)

  11. Jackie Says:

    Hey good luck, Jane! It’s hard to press that button but good on you for putting it out there.

  12. Eileen Says:

    so I just realized that in my first chapter (which is nearly written if not edited) the hero and the heroine don’t actually talk to each other except in memory. I have the heroine calling a solicitor/assistant of the hero’s (which makes sense if this was REALITY that this other guy would handle Mr. Tycoon’s affairs but — eep! — this isn’t reality, it’s a 50,000 word fantasy!).

    So is my ‘oh-crap!’ detector working? Should I cut out this extra character and just have her phone the hero directly instead of having the middleman? I’m early enough in the process that it shouldn’t be too hard to do.

  13. waitingforthecall Says:

    Eep! It’s one of the conventions of these stories that the hero and heroine get together on the page as early as possible. If there’s some way to make it plausible that she bypasses the staff and goes directly to the boss it will probably make it stronger. Especially if there’s some conflict and strong emotion around the issue. My story starts with the hero going to the heroine’s home. In real life, he’d have sent a staff member. I had him comment that the business was too important to trust to an employee, and luckily that ties in with his workaholic/ trust no-one personality anyway.

  14. Eileen Says:

    ooo nice way to work in the workaholic-paranoia 🙂

    This character is someone who is only in the first thirty pages and then falls away. He’s just there to facilitate the action/conversations and at one point he causes a little bit of conflict but really he’s just a prop and I need to get rid of him. Too bad, he was a nice guy. I already have my triangle (the hero, the heroine and the heroine’s dead step-father — and no, that’s not a “love” triangle [ew!!!] it’s more of a “conflict” triangle) I don’t need any other random dudes showing up and creating drama 🙂 Tight focus.

    This is funny b/c I keep telling my composition students they need tighter focuses for their essay topics and they never believe me (or maybe they just don’t know how to execute them). Now I need to listen to my own advice.

    I think I’ll take you up on your offer and email you a copy once it’s in a more coherent state … if I can find where I put your email address.

  15. waitingforthecall Says:

    Wow, sounds like a breakthrough! That tight focus is crucial, especially now the stories are shorter. My first chapter had another character in it in first draft. A fab feisty old lady, who I loved. But she didnt come back into the story, and I couldn’t figure out any role for her later that wasn’t going to be too much someone external producing fixes for the relationship problems, so she had to go. She’s still there in just one paragraph of the heroine thinking of her. I was following the Hero’s Journey to see how that worked, and the old woman was the helper character who helps the hero(ine) overcome her resistance to starting the journey out of her everyday world. Such a shame she couldn’t come back in later, but the other part of tight focus is keeping it all about the emotions. Its gotta be personal emotional stuff that gets in the way of the relationship, not circumstances or a villain, and personal working through the emotional blocks that allows them to come together at the end. Much harder work! I’d love to read your chapter & synopsis if you like. madaboutbooks8 at yahoo.co.uk


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