Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Hey Heeyyy, It's Turkey Day! (my food will be annihilated)

Offspring song parodies aside, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year.  The food is sooo good, especially because everyone on my mom's side of the family is an awesome cook.  We all get together, sit around the table, and in the instant before the food comes have some nice conversation.  
Then the food is set down, and it's dead silent for at least 10-15 minutes while everyone scarfs down the deliciousness.  And finally, as full stomachs creep up on everyone, the conversation begins.  And gets louder.  And louder.  Pretty soon everyone's shouting trying to talk over the next person, and it's just great fun all around.  Then dessert comes and it quiets down a little more, but for a shorter period.  Then we watch football and nap.  Oh, what a day.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

And Now, The Waiting Game

Well, I made my first submission to an agent!  It's exciting and nerveracking at the same time.  After finishing the entire manuscript and combing over it tirelessly for stupid mistakes (I was up 'til 4 am Saturday double-checking that each period had two spaces after it instead of one), I finally decided it was finished and ready.  And I'm glad to say that I'm really proud of it.  Heck, I better be; it's been three years in the making, from concept to completion--pre-published completion, that is.

I became facebook friends with the agent last week (I met him at the conference) and he said to go ahead and email him directly with the first 30 pages, instead of going through their submission form, so I was really grateful for that.  Now let's just hope he likes my book!  

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A pretend agent query

So as I'm nearing the finish line of my novel, I'm starting to get antsy about submitting this thing, so with Suzanne's help, I drafted up a quick query letter. I thought I'd offer it up for criticism, so any feedback you can give would be greatly appreciated (and don't be afraid to be honest, I've got thick skin!).

Dear agent,

Rigg Daago is about to embark on a journey that will take him to the end of his world--and the beginning of ours.

Bolertia is the world before Earth, a world where magnificent creatures of ancient myth are living beings. Frost-giants, thunderbirds, and phoenixs all exist among Bolertia’s cloud-high mountains, thick jungles, rolling deserts and vast, tumultuous seas. But as the planet’s destiny unfolds, the fate of Bolertia falls to a single boy: Twelve-year-old Rigg Daago.

All Rigg wants is to race magic carpets, but when his sister is kidnapped he must leave behind everything he knows. With the help of some friends, including Echidna—his lifelong racing hero—Rigg braves the treacherous Drockton Darklands, finding a way through an unknown land to reach the frosty peak of Mt. Pelion. But as Rigg tries to save his sister, he discovers that someone he had trusted was behind the kidnapping all along.

Thus begins the story of how Bolertia came to an end, and Earth began.

The Quest to Solcrest is a 55,000-word novel that is set up as a proposed six part series. After meeting you at the SCBWI Conference in Los Angeles, and receiving Bruce Coville’s high recommendation of you, I feel you would be a great fit for my book. It has a thick plot and concludes with that “heart punch” I heard you love.

Thank you so much for your consideration. I hope to send you the manuscript and look forward to hearing back from you.


Tyler McBroom

I know you're typically not supposed to mention it as a series, but most of my big hook (i.e., that this is the story of Bolertia's end and Earth's beginning) doesn't even begin to get solved in the first book. So should I leave that part out altogether, or is the hook strong enough to show the need for a series? Any other suggestions? Help! and Thanks!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

One Big Reveal Down, One to Go

Since my post about my conclusion terror, I've disciplined myself into trying to write consistently, and learned that most of my fear was just a result of being out of practice. Once I started sitting down and writing everyday, it started to get easier and easier, and I've been pretty happy with what I've written so far in my final chapters. I don't know how many of you are registered with the NaNoWriMo website, but they send out these weekly pep talks to encourage people to stay on track with their novel for the month. This week, I received a nice little email from Philip Pullman (whoa!, I know), and I think some of his words apply to what I'm talking about here:

"The second thing you need to remember is that if you want to finish this journey you've begun, you have to keep going. One of the hardest things to do with a novel is to stop writing it for a while, do something else, fulfill this engagement or that commitment or whatever, and pick it up exactly where you left it and carry on as if nothing had happened. You will have changed; the story will have drifted off course, like a sh ip when the engines stop and there's no anchor to keep it in place; when you get back on board, you have to warm the engines up, start the great bulk of the ship moving through the water again, work out your position, check the compass bearing, steer carefully to bring it back on track ... all that energy wasted on doing something that wouldn't have been necessary at all if you'd just kept going!"

Great advice, I think. Keep writing; it's the number one thing you hear from people in the business, but probably the hardest thing to actually do.

I've got one of my major plot twists revealed (the smaller of the two) and have the climactic battle and the final reveal to go. I've been pretty motivated in these last few days, and now it's time to keep that ship on course and get it done! Now everyone get back to steering your own ship towards its destination!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Conclusion Terror, familiar to anyone?

My manuscript has been at a standstill lately. Part of it, I know, is because I've started to work full time and thus haven't been able to devote the physical or the mental energy towards my novel. The other thing that's delaying me, though--and I hate myself for it because I'm always shaming other writers when they use it as an excuse--is my fear of the ending. In the past few weeks I've been wrestling with exactly how to reveal my big plot twist and make it realistic, and have come up empty. Just the other night, however, I am thrilled to say that it came to me in those tween sleep an' awake minutes; I quickly jotted it down, and proceeded to sleep much better that night.

So in the couple days since then, I've been jotting down more notes, building a complete revelation scene, and am very happy with what I've come up with. My only problem? Actually writing it. I don't know if it's because I haven't actually sat down and written fiction for a few weeks now, so my fiction muscle is all mushy and out of shape, or if my novel's ending just isn't working right.

No. I refuse to let my brain tell itself that. I know I've got a stellar ending. I've just been far too lazy lately; sleeping in until there's just enough time to shower, eat and go to work, hanging out with friends after work, reading other books (although that has been my medicine for writer's block, so I'll excuse that). I've got just under a month until Big Sur, and I NEED to get this thing done. I'm really hoping that looming deadline will get me spurred, just like that original Nanowrimo deadine did for my first draft back in November '06. This blog stuff isn't exactly HELPING with its distraction, but it is a decent place to vent and get it out so that there's nothing left in me but to write my ending. Speaking of which, time for Rigg to get back up on that mountain and fight those frost giants!