Sunday, July 31, 2011

Agents and Blurbs

So, it's been a busy weekend for me. I spent most of Saturday reading bios for about 50 possible agents who represent YA writers. It was a completely overwhelming process because it just reminds me that so many people out there are trying to do what I'm doing. It's almost like going into a bookstore and seeing rows and rows and rows of paranormal/fantasy/supernatural YA. I wonder to myself "will I fit in here?" or "can I make the team?" or "will I be picked last (if at all)?" Plus, I have to look at agents who represent other things. I won't always write YA. My Es and Moo series isn't YA, so I need to make sure that any agent that I work with also represents adult fiction, chick lit, etc. This is all too overwhelming, which is why I'm taking this whole process one step at a time. I created my agent list yesterday now I'll let that simmer while I start on the fourth edit of "Surrender." This should be the final edit before I start sending letters out. Right now I'm trying to tighten up sentences and reduce the word count.

I also woke up with a possible "hook," which I scribbled down on the pad that I keep by my bed. I've never had much use for this pad, but I was glad to have it 'cause I'm not entirely sure what triggered this idea. I suppose in a way it's not really a hook (I think it's too long). It's probably better to call it a summary or a book jacket blurb (there's a technical name there that I can't remember). Anyway, here it is (with a little tweaking since my early-morning brain likes to think in incomplete sentence):


"Within a few months of returning to Falls, sixteen-year-old Evelyn Black is “awakened” to a supernatural world where those who know what she will become hold onto a mysterious, and irritating, silence. Left to discover the truth with time, Evelyn’s dysfunctional life tailspins into complete chaos. As her seventeenth birthday approaches, finding normalcy is impossible. Her body starts to change and her best friend’s mom tries to kill her. Evelyn has never felt more alone in her life, but she has friends from very high and dangerously low places. Friends who guide and protect her, ignoring the consequences of their actions, and remain at her side when she is reborn and tasked to be a guardian of the Fallen.

I think it could have strong potential, but like the agent thing I'm going to let it simmer. It's probably a bit stronger than what I've shared in the past (part of a query letter draft). As always, feel free to make suggestions or comments about the blurb/hook.

I'm also not entirely sure if the title still works with the changes that I've made in this last edit. Basically, I still have a lot to do before this thing is ready to be sent out, including making the first 10 pages shine, writing a synopsis (not even sure where to start there!), and finalizing the query letter. I'd love to have a letter out by September 1st, but we'll see. I don't want to rush any more than I already am. So this is where I am at the moment. I should be editing now, but I like to waste a good 45mins-1hour of time messing around on the internet. Procrastination is my friend.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Freakout Moment

A few nights ago, I started reading the third book to the "Fallen" series by Lauren Kate ("Passion") and I had to put it down after 10 pages. Not because it was bad (I like the series so far) but because I had a few "oh my god, this is like mine!" moments. Of course, "Passion" is nothing like the series I'm writing, but since they're both in the supernatural fallen angel/angel/demon realm, the undertones feel similar to me. And, to be really honest, if it was becoming more like my novel, I didn't want to find out. The last thing I want after the last nine months of hardcore editing is to learn that my story's "been done." Ugh... that would be devastating. It wouldn't be the end of the world, but I'd become less unique and maybe get a few "hey you copied this!" to which I would punch that person in the face because plagiarism is no joke and to be accused of it is like blasphemy for a writer (a REAL writer). So yeah, I won't be finishing Lauren Kate's series until I've got mine done. This has never happened to me before, and it makes me sad because I love a good paranormal/fantasy novel.

Luckily I've got some backup books to read. Right now I'm on "My Jane Austen Summer" by Cindy Jones. I love anything Jane Austen-y and I really would love to go to England and see the country manors and everything else a uber-Jane Austen fan would want to do. So, I'm charmed by stories with characters who go overseas for a summer and play dress up and fall in love, etc. This story follows "Mansfield Park," which is probably my second favorite Austen story. After that I'm going to start "Starcrossed" by Josephine Angelini (I got it Sammy!). I have one more library book waiting, which at the moment I can't remember the name of. Something about a girl who dies and starts going to dead school and thinks about killing her still-living boyfriend so he can join her. Eh. That one was a random library grab, so I may toss it out. I feel like I haven't been reading very much lately. Editing really is all consuming for me (luckily I only have about 50 pages left, plus another quick edit). In other reading news, I finished "Graveminder." I thought it was a good read (I wished there was a little less focus on her fear of commitment and more on the mystery of her future and of the dead). I'm curious about her "Wicked Lovely" series, but not enough to grab it now. I'll put it on my waiting list.

Summer movies have been a little disappointing so far, with the exception of "Harry Potter." I saw "Captain America" and wasn't that blown away. I can't wait to see "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" (the previews look awesome), "The Help," and maybe "Friends with Benefits" and "Crazy Stupid Love." Honestly though, where are all the major action movies? Is December (Mission Impossible and Sherlock Holmes) becoming the new summer?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Editing Galore!

Yikes... it's been too long since my last post. And I was doing so good for a while there. I will blame it on my new job. I started on June 6th... it's a full time medical editing gig. Going well so far and will be even better when I'm not in training. Sometimes I'm very impatient when it comes to learning new things. I feel like I get a handle on tasks quickly and then grow bored when I do the same thing 20,000 times. Anyway, because of the job, it's been really difficult to find a writing/editing rhythm. I manage to hand-edit about 4 pages during my 30 minute lunch break and then I edit on my Nook in the evenings. So, I'm getting a lot of editing done, but very little is going into the computer which is the most important part. I've got about 100 pages to edit by hand and this is very exciting! I feel like I'm in the homestretch. The only scary thing is passing it on to another reader who might say "nope, not good yet" and then I might just die. I've never worked so hard on a novel before.

In the past, let's say with my Killing Memories series. I wrote the first draft quickly (in about three months) and then moved right on to the next story. Readers who followed me on FP when I was actively posting those novels know that the turn around was pretty fast, and would probably be surprised when I say that I really don't remember what happens in each story. I know the general idea, but I have no memories of all the little steps and scenes that I wrote. It's kinda sad. I can't believe I don't remember my own writing, but then I never gave those stories the attention that they really deserved. Another reason why I'm not re-posting them to FP. Yes, I've made the decision that Estela and Moo will not show their faces on that website again. I have bigger, better plans for them. I'm thinking self-publishing or cheap ebooks on Amazon. But before any of that can happen I have to get in there and make them REALLY good. The first novel needs the most work--the ones that came after that were better written (they too need work though).

So, I've got so much going on in my head right now regarding my writing career and life. I feel like "Surrender" [I've already re-edited these sample chapters, by the way, but you'll get the general idea of what the story is about] has a good chance. At least I hope it does. It's a massive project for me. I realized while editing this first one that I need to know where I wanted things to end by book 3; how the characters grow and change; and the biggest question: What the hell the whole story is about anyway!?!?!? Realizing that I had so many plot holes and unanswered questions was overwhelming and a bit disheartening. I just want to be done with this book so I can move on to the next one. Writing/editing is a never ending process it seems.

So, that's where I'm at in regard to my writing. In other news, I finished a book called "The Magnolia League" by Katie Crouch. It was a good read! Lately, I've been really into books that are set in the south (this one's Georgia), places like New Orleans, for example. There's something sticky about them... I can't explain it. I'm currently reading "The Graveminder" by Melissa Marr. I'm only on page 7 so I can't really comment too much, but the opening grabbed me. I'm excited about it at this point.

I also saw "Transformers: The Dark of the Moon" last weekend. I give it a B. I thought the story was interesting this time, but with these movies it really comes down to the action scenes and I thought they were pretty awesome. I did read that they're thinking about replacing Shia's character with the guy from "The Transporter." Don't get me wrong, that guy is hot, but Shia brings a quirky humor to the movie. I don't think I'd be down the the switch. I didn't really care that Megan Fox wasn't in the movie and didn't like the girl they replaced her with. I think the "hot girl" character is pointless. I mean honestly--yes she's beautiful and has a great body according to society's standards, but I really could care less about that. She added nothing to the movie (Megan Fox didn't add anything either) and I felt really irritated with every ass and boob shot in this movie. Come on Michael Bay... sex sells sometimes, but you've got amazing Transformers that blow shit up!! Let them sell the movie. Okay, rant over.