Sometime in October, I started noticing the buzz building for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). People tweeted and blogged excitedly about their plans to write a 50,000 word novel in the span of 30 days.
Just the thought of trying to do that stresses me out...especially when I'm trying so hard to get the final edit done on my first novel so I can start sending queries! I spent 3 months conceiving my story and fleshing out my characters. Then I literally locked myself in a closet for months and wrote my first draft. OK, I didn't spend all day and night in the closet, and it was a big closet...like a little room. And it was the quietest place in the house where I was the least likely to be disturbed! ;o)

But seriously, how do people do this? And if I don't feel I can do it does that mean I'm not cut out to be a writer? I know of at least one other writer who's not participating, so I know I'm not completely alone....but we are 2 tiny islands in a sea of writers who are furiously tapping away at their keyboard while chugging various forms of caffeine and blogging or tweeting their word counts daily (or nightly) all through the month of November.

Maybe I lack self confidence...maybe I could do it if I tried. Actually, I think I could...just not right now. I am in awe of those who have the guts to just jump in and do it. Some of the ones I know are brand new writers like me...and I'm in double-rainbow awe of them! ;o)

I will continue to grow as a writer and one day it will be me with the caffeine high tapping furiously at my keyboard and posting my nightly word count here...until then, for those about to NaNoWriMo, I salute you! ;o)



OCED (obssessive-compulsive editing disorder)

This is something I can definitely relate to...especially now when I feel like I'm all over the place with my revisions...reviewing chapter 4 with my crit partner, revising chapter 23, adding scenes in chapter 18 and random other places throughout the book!

The only thing that keeps me going through the craziness and ever-increasing sleep deficeit is the fact that when everything is said and done, I'll have a book that I'm proud of...one I would want to read even if I hadn't written it...and a huge accomplishment made. =)



(insert title here)

I have a storyline.
I have 75,000 words.
I have plot lines for a second and third sequel.

What I don't have yet is a title.

I am frustrated. Even though I know my characters and their motivations, the voice, the underlying theme, and everything else I could possibly know about my book, I still haven't been struck with inspiration or an "Aha!" moment for my title.

That's not to say that I haven't come up with any. Jeff and I have come up with quite a few...it's just that they either don't fit or are uber cheesy. =P

Yes, I'm a very cheesy person IRL, but my books are a cheese-free zone...strictly vegan! ;o)

I wish there was some sort of title generator out there where you just feed in your manuscript and out pops a perfect title. Short of that little fantasy, guess I'll just have to wait until my brain thinks one up.



I Write Like...

So, according to this website, my writing (at least the first 20 chapters of my WIP) is a mixture of Kurt Vonnegut & William Shakespeare.

And my chapter 2 is reminiscent of Stephen King...my 3rd chapter of Dan Brown.

Why should I even bother sending out query letters?
I'll just send them my IWL widgets.
(see bottom right of this page)

Enough said.

I can practically smell the ink on the publishing deal.

...and hear the whispers of JK Rowling & Stephanie Meyer plotting my death. ;o)

Seriously, though, it's a fun site and a bit of a confidence booster---which is something I am needing more and more as I go through this editing process! =P

Have fun! =)




The List

Does anyone know what I'm talking about here?

walk (-ed, -ing)
look (-ed, -ing)
start (-ed, -ing)
feel, felt

paxamo ♥,


"How Not To Write A Novel"

I am in the midst of editing and so I thought I'd share my most useful resource---besides my iPod Touch with the Oxford American Writer's Thesaurus app. =)

How Not To Write A Novel is like having a professional read your work and tell you what you did wrong---but in a nice, casual way. ;o) It's written in sections with an example and advice for each point---you can read one or a few at a time and you don't have to read them in order (which is a big deal for me!). The authors also throw in a little humor along with their cut-to-the-chase advice.*

*a cliche I could have avoided if I'd paid attention to page 108 of the book! ;o)

The following is an interview with the authors from http://www.badidea.co.uk/2009/02/how-not-to-write-a-novel-interview-howard-mittlemark-sandra-newman/ :

How Not To Write A Novel by Howard Mittlemark, 51, and Sandra Newman, 43, is a set of guidelines on what to avoid to give yourself any hope of getting a work of fiction published. The book peaked at #15 in Amazon.co.uk sales rankings after its UK Penguin release at the end of January.

Each are published writers in their own right. Mittelmark has penned a thriller entitled Age Of Consent and undertaken another careers’ worth of ghost writing and book doctoring. Newman has published two works of fiction; her first, The Only Good Thing Anyone Has Ever Done, was nominated for the Guardian’s first book award on its release in 2002, and she has also taught writing at numerous American colleges.

The idea, they say, was an obvious one which they executed efficiently – it went from from the drawing board to the bookshelves in two years, with a little help from established contacts in the publishing industry. Bad Idea spoke to them about advice they’d give to those chasing a publishing deal and their experiences of the industry.

Bad Idea: What are the key things an author needs to do to get published?

Sandra Newman: Two things, one thing is that aspiring writers just don’t send things out nearly enough. I see this over and over with my students. I once gave an entire class the address of my agent because they were such a good group, but not a single one of those people ever used that address.

People hear stories about how many times Harry Potter got turned down, but they use that story to cheer themselves up, rather than to remind themselves to send things out to 25, 30 agents, before concluding there’s something wrong.

The second thing is that when an editor or an agent tells you something is wrong with your manuscript, unless everyone is saying the same thing, then they may very well not be true, and your novel may still be published to great success. People have their idiosyncrasies, and they find something to criticise, so you have to keep going.

Howard Mittelmark: The temperament that makes a writer doesn’t always make a marketer, but you’re marketing your book, so look into who you should be sending it to, as not every agent is going to be suitable – don’t send your science fiction epic to an academic publisher!

BI: There’s a myth that great novelists are great novelists from the word go; that they sit down and write, rattling off brilliant novels on their first try…

SN: Some of those beautifully written first novels were actually written by an editor at the publishing house who received a manuscript that was unreadable, but was by somebody who had a story to tell and who was 21. I’m not going to name any names, but some surprising people have had their novels rewritten from beginning to end, either by someone in the publishing house or by an editor outside.

HM: You get this very disproportionate sense that successful writers publish their first novel in their twenties from the media; if it wasn’t an unusual thing it wouldn’t be a news story.

BI: What’s the best way to go about getting useful feedback on a manuscript?

SN: You can’t necessarily get it from an industry professional who’s considered it for publication or to take on as an agent. That’s not the place to look, its comparable to the fact that only your family will tell you if you’re ugly. It’s an emotional investment to give someone honest criticism; somebody who doesn’t know you and who isn’t getting anything out of it is very unlikely to realise that.

HM: As far as constructive criticism goes a writing group or a class is the place to look for criticism, unless you have trusted friends whose opinions you respect and who know what they’re talking about.

BI: Should you have a cut off point for how long you tout your novel before giving up?

HM: You don’t have to, because you should be working on your next book while you’re trying to sell that one.

SN: You can tell if any book that you’re writing isn’t good enough if nobody has a ‘fan’ response to it: have as many of your immediate friends read the book as you can stand, if you find those people are passing your manuscript onto each other, then you should never give up trying to get it published. But if people are obviously dragging though it out of politeness, you need to rethink.

BI: Do you think that if a book is good enough then it will eventually get published?

SN: There are always going to be some books that don’t get published that deserve to, but there aren’t that many. There is definitely a correspondence between how good a book is and how successful it is. It’s not a one to one correspondence but you can usually tell when you’ve got a book that’s going to sell, even if it’ isn’t beautifully written – there’s something you respond to.

BI: It seems you both have faith in the publishing industry to get good books published.

HM: Now that you put it so starkly I don’t know.

SN: I think basically we’re trying to encourage writers not to assume that the publishing industry is at fault, because there’s nothing you can do about it, whereas there is something you can do about your own writing, which is a healthier attitude to take.

HM: A lot of people like to think they’re not understood. And although that’s possible, the chances are you can do better.




I have a lot of dialogue in my story and I worry that some of it might be unnecessary. As I go through my revision, that is something I want to pay special attention to. I think I need more description and a bit less dialogue.
I found this helpful---it's from "Dialogue" by Gloria Kempton, part of the Write Great Fiction series:

"Set up your characters in an animated discussion scene that does any one of a number of things:

---provides new information to the characters about the conflict
---reveals new obstacles that the viewpoint character must overcome to achieve his goal
---creates the kind of dynamic between the scene characters that furthers the story's theme
---introduces a pivotal moment in the plot that transforms the character(s)
---sets up the discussion so the character (and reader) are reminded of his scene and story goals, and/or accelerates the emotion and story movement to increase the suspense and make the situation more urgent for the characters."

Off to revise! ;)

paxamo Y,


I'm a Writer?

I've been writing pretty much my whole life---poems about bugs at age 4, school newspaper articles in high school, and a nearly consistent journal throughout my adult years. When I was in my early twenties, I wrote and submitted three primary childrens' books: Bo-Bo Bunny's Busy Day, Sammy the Snake (not mafia-related!), and an alliterative ABC book.

I expected to get rejection letters and wasn't disappointed.

I eventually gave up on any dreams of getting published as I got busy with my life---a new marriage, a baby boy, and various health issues.

Now, as I'm nearing 40, I find that my passion for writing has returned stronger than ever.
I'm ready to venture into those waters once again...to finally make my distant dreams of getting published come true. =)

This blog will be my effort to chronicle the writing world as I see it, and share my journey as I take it.

No matter where it leads...