The Next Big Thing

Can you imagine yourself as the Next Big Thing?

Miles run today: 11

Words written in my novel today: 0

Omelet with goat cheese eaten today: 1

I am a writer.

And as a writer, I have always lived at least partially in my own head… in a fantasy world of my own making.

When I was young enough to still be wearing orange polyester pants with little, yellow lions on them and a yellow turtleneck with one big orange lion on it, I told my parents that I was waiting for my real parents to come and get me.

My real parents, of course, were a benevolent king and queen who lived in a distant land full of dragons and beautiful, diaphanous dresses.

Luckily, my parents were the sort of parents who thought this was hilarious.

I never quite got over the fantasy world, and when people go on a bit with the boring details of how computers work inside or how to fix a toilet, I am usually hoping that Daniel Craig will show up and spirit me away to a spa somewhere.

My point being: visualization of big things has never been a problem for me.

There’s a fun exercise going around the blogging world, and awesome writer and photographer, Amy Makechnie over at Maisymak tagged me so I could tell all about my Work-In-Progress. She also sent me the novel, The History of Love, when I won it in a drawing on her blog. Yay! Thanks, Amy!

What is the working title of your book?
Reality Ever After

Where did the idea come from for the book?
I wondered what happened to adult children after they starred on reality TV shows, how it would be possible to lead a “normal” life.

What genre does your book fall under?
Commercial women’s fiction.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I think it’s very bad luck to speculate about a movie when the book is in the query process. (I am knocking on wood and crossing myself to ward off bad juju.)

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
When Clementine Monroe Hartley receives an invitation to the twentieth reunion of her family’s reality TV show, “Runs in the Family,” she wants nothing to do with it; she has spent her entire adult life trying to forget the scandal that rocked the end of the show and create a normal life for herself.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I will be querying agents after I finish the revision process.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? May we see an intro?
I started this novel in April, I believe. My goal was to finish by last weekend’s writing conference. I got close! Before I finish the last few chapters, I’m going to go through and make some suggested revisions. I think the result will be a stronger book.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I’m going to have to work on some good comps.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I wanted to know more about peoples’ lives after the cameras go away.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Romance, scandal, forgiveness, a funeral, music, running and family relationships.

I am tagging some of the next big things:
J.Bo.net

Ravena Guron

The Sense of a Journey

Dennis Langley

Khaula Mazhar

Rules of The Next Big Thing:

*Use this format for your post
*Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (work in progress)
*Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.

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Slash-and-Burn… The Art of Making Revisions

Times I have read the first chapter of my novel: 147

Times I have thought it was perfect: 0

Times I have known what to do to fix it: 4  18  0

Yesterday I went to writing group. While many people I meet seem to think being a writer is interesting and super-fun (though non-world-saving), they also don’t think there is much “work” involved. My BFF/running guru thought all that talk about going to writing group involved sitting around talking and drinking (which isn’t such a bad idea). What it really involves is homework and critique-making and critique-receiving and effort and perseverance to improve on both the front end and back end.

We meet about once every three to four weeks, and three of us submit roughly 20 pages each. I enjoy seeing each person’s (very different) novel developing and learning from some writing group friends who are amazing revision-makers. Fearlessly, they slash and burn huge chunks of their babies copy until they are left with the nugget of truth every agent will die to get his or her hands on someday. Me, not so much. Revision is a stumbling block for me, and something I am learning the hard way, over years, not days.

Now, I am going to tell you a secret. Don’t tell the agents out there about it yet:

The first chapter of my novel stinks.

That is the take-away from yesterday’s meeting. I have a very nice group of writer friends who have been helpful and supportive about the last three-quarters of the book. But they are so right about the opening of my novel. The unfortunate part of querying to find an agent is that you send out, in almost every case, the first chapter or so of your novel. When the first chapter is the “sick” part, you need to get back to work.

Like many writers, I am not an editor. Of course, it is easier to see what is wrong with other peoples’ work than it is to see the errors in your own writing. This is why writing critique groups are so important for the delicate job of making revisions.

A fantastic writer working alone may be able to see key issues and improve upon them. But for those of us mere mortals, writing groups full of fantastic minds and hawk-eyes can help tease out the reasons your manuscript isn’t gelling on some fundamental level.

One of the fears I have when I sense something isn’t right with my work is that in changing it from the ground up, I will only make it different, not necessarily better. Getting initial feedback and later, feedback on the revisions, has made me (I hope) a more thoughtful writer.

My goal for the week is to go in cold with a blank sheet of paper computer screen and start the novel from scratch. Something about this first novel has to get resolved before I can move on fully to the second one.

To all you Master Revisionists out there, send me good vibes and happy word choices!