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!

 

More like a crawl than baby steps! June 14, 2010

Filed under: Writing and Life — Autumn Macarthur @ 9:28 pm
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The editing is progressing, but oh so slowly! Far more like a snail crawl than baby steps. Definitely not a baby crawl, kids scoot around on their hands and knees or bums much faster than I can keep up with.

Chapter two is finished, though no doubt will need some tweaking. I’ve already gone back and tweaked a few things since I posted a version on my crit group not that long ago for comment. The Sisters usually come back with some good suggestions, and as I do those I see other things that can be improved, and so it goes.

I do need to get moving though. I set myself a subbing date of June 20. Scarily, that’s less than a week away. So I need to write and polish chapter three, which like chapters one and two is all new, do a synopsis, write a cover letter, and get it in the post by next Monday. Easy peasy, right?

Not!

The cover letter should be okay, I know what I want to say and I already have a halfway decent pitch. Writing the chapter shouldn’t be too bad, it will just take time and focus, I know what needs to happen and where the characters need to be by the end of the chapter. The synopsis will be bloody awful, no doubt.

The first synopsis I did, for the Instant Seduction comp, dashed off in a couple of hours, came back with the comment “Good synopsis” written on it. I thought I’d done even better with my synopsis for last years Harlequin comp, I worked hard on it, was proud of it, but turned out it stank worse than a footballer’s kit bag after the big game.  So that might need special attention.

Gotta remember- focus on the emotional turning points, and not “what happens”! Also, play up the elements that make this story a fit for Superromance.

I can do it!