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!

Long time no blog July 31, 2010

Filed under: What I'm reading,Writing and Life — Autumn Macarthur @ 10:41 pm
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It must be a month since I last did a blog post- not good!

I have plenty of excuses, a wedding away, planning the trip to Australia, work insanity, and a dead laptop.

Truth is, I got depressed at the big number birthday coming up soon and all I hadn’t done that was on my “Do before I’m 50 list.” I’m over that now and ready to make a new and exciting “Do before I’m 60” list, that I hope won’t be cause for depression in ten years time!

There has been movement, even if a snail would seem supersonic in comparision. The partial for Lock and Cady’s story is finally close to ready to send.

I need to get Lock and Cady out there so I can start a new Medical story I want to sub in August. I was so determined not to try a Medical, but there’s a medically themed story that’s been niggling at me for years. Every time the idea comes up again I add more to it, and it’s just about ready to write now! My concern was that it might not fit the line as my hero isn’t a doctor, so I was going to reduce the medical contect, play up the community aspect, and target it at Superromance instead. But the Medical editors are actively looking for new writers and are fast-tracking all submissions  made this month before August 24, anything from one chapter and a synopsis to a full. It’s worth a try, though I’m not sure even if I Medical-ise itas much as possible this story will fly as a Medical. Will have to see what the editors think! If I get moving, I cam do one chapter and a synopsis by August 24.

I’ve learned a lot about writing in the past couple of months that I hope I can put to good use in the rewrite and use in the final pass through my partial. I’ve been reading  “Manuscript Makeover: Revision Techniques No Fiction Writer Can Afford to Ignore a fab craft book  recommended by Michelle Styles. She is so right about it- possibly the best craft book I’ve read.

I treated myself to a read this week, which was an unexpected learning experience, too. Not something on my TBR list at all. I bought a dinky little mini-notebook to use when travelling instead of my PDA which was driving me mad with the tiny screen and keyboard. It’s perfect apart from one thing- it uses a weird Windows operating system that no ebook reader supports, not even Mobipocket which I used on the PDA. All I can read on it are ebooks in either pdf or html formats.

I did have some pdf ebooks, so I transferred them all over and opened one at random to see how it worked. Oh boy, I lucked out! The book was a Blaze, Leslie Kelly’s “Slow Hands”, one of the Harlequin free full-length romance downloads. I possibly wouldn’t have chosen to read the Blaze, though one of my crit group is writing one and hers is fabulously good. I can be just the teensiest bit of a prude, plus I started reading one years ago and the writing was so cringeworthy I didn’t get further than 3 pages. This was different.

Good writing that dragged me straight into the story. A lust-worthy and love-worthy hero. Hot hot sexxoring and plenty of it, but all safely vanilla, and so deeply anchored in emotion and real feeling. Beautiful handling of how the emotional attachment between hero and heroine grew, and the heroine’s emotional journey. A lesson in managing sub-plots so subtly the reader didn’t even realise they were sub-plots, they hooked into the main storyline so neatly. I was reading this book on two levels at once, devouring it like a reader, carried along by the story, but also looking at it as a workshop in how to write a darned good romance.

I strongly recommend this story, and as it’s free, how can you resist!


Long wait! July 11, 2010

Filed under: Writing and Life — Autumn Macarthur @ 10:21 pm
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I haven’t posted for a while, mainly because there hasn’t been much happening on the writing front. Lots of Day Job and Real Life getting in the way, sometimes in good ways like the wonderful weekend away in Devon dh and I had last week, but nowhere near  as much writing as I need.

I called the blog “Waiting for the Call”, well it’s going to be a flipping long wait the way I’m going!

I’m plugging on with the rewrite of Lock and Cady’s story, but still don’t have the partial together yet. Chapters One and Two came relatively easily, and I honestly think they are the best things I’ve ever written (that doesn’t mean I’m claiming they are good, but they most certainly are better than what I’ve done before). Chapter Three is like pulling teeth without anaesthetic- slow and painful. Plus it’s not even much good. It should be strong and powerful and emotional, instead it’s just- meh. Cliched body language, no real depth of feeling, it’s depressing me to the point of wanting to give up. I keep slogging on with it, but the slow rate is half the problem- at a couple of hundred words a day I’m not getting into the character enough to get the emotion that’s needed.

I’m setting up unrealistic expectations for what is really more first draft, of course, and that’s what’s wrecking my motivation to write. I need to give myself permission to write the dreckiest chapter ever,  as long as I get the story moving again. It can always be fixed.

Not that I’m completely unmotivated, but my motivation tends to be strongest when it’s hardest to write. Like one day last week coming home from work on the train. Yet again there were problems with the trains and as the earlier train was cancelled, my train had twice as many people on it was usual. Which meant standing up all the way, in my curved sole exercise shoes, trying to stay upright as the train swayed and I rocked crazily, unable to hold on because I was balancing my netbook in one hand while I typed with the other! Other days when I had a seat and could easily have typed, I read the paper instead.

Today, when I had time to write, I found other things far more urgent, like clearing out my wardrobe. No words written, though I do have some space in my wardrobe and a pile of clothes to sell on ebay. This was the toughest round of decluttering- the quality clothes or things I loved that just aren’t right for me any more. All the easy to let go of stuff went to the charity shop weeks ago. It’s good space clearing, but that’s not helping the story any.

Maybe the declutter will be good feng shui or something. Sure hope so. And I sure hope I don’t come up with more excuses and delaying tactics next day off work when I could write. The actual act of subbing is getting too close and too real and far too scary, so I’m procrastinating. Anything to avoid that long painful wait with the rejection at the end.

I think I named the blog well. I will always be waiting, until I find the guts to sub.