Saturday, August 31, 2013

I Must Write

Well, Mrs. "I Can't Write Anymore" is off on another vacation to Canada ... to write.  My husband and I leave tomorrow at the crack of dawn in order to get off I-95 seven hours up the road at Bangor in time for huge lobster rolls held together with warm butter rather than mayonnaise. If anyone enters the municipality of Brewer, ME on Route 9, you are just a dang fool if you don't stop at the Eagle's Nest.

So, I'm done whining, carping and avoiding work.  Husband will be hitting the links and I will be by myself at the cottage.  I won't have internet, either. I have my own computer (no WIP on a stick this time) with all the research and character development I've done over the last four years (read: discarded prologues, annoying [for the reader] forays into world building, and info dumping on a grand scale—all this stuff is now called research and character development.)

The reality is this: I am delighted to be going on a trip with my husband of 31 years.  The last time we went away by ourselves for an actual vacation was July of 1981. We are leaving behind grown-ups and a bevy of terrific friends and neighbors who will keep an eye peeled on the homestead.

And even though I gave this post a melodramatic title, I really want to write and the stars are lining up for me to do just that.

It's just grand.
Lunch for September 1, only we will have drawn butter instead of mayo.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I Can't Write Anymore

I wrote my first query letter today for the WriteOnCon online writer's convention. It was a horrible experience and I never want to write another word again.

It wasn't the critique suggestions, they were terrific.  It was my own experience of writing.

I cannot be succinct.  I just can't.

Okay, that last paragraph was pretty succinct.  So I can do it if I really need to.

So, here's the query letter with the first edits suggested by one of the incredibly generous participants of WriteOnCon (and FYI .. in real life one should never query a WIP, but they let you do it on WriteOnCon as long as you put WIP or Work In Progress in the subject line of your thread):

Dear Ninja Agent,

When an international cyber-attack disrupts power and communication, bookish 13-year-old Lena Ladimer decides to chronicle the events in her own small rural neighborhood in Gibeon, Connecticut.  Armed with her great-grandfather’s 1947 Thin Paper Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, paper and pencils, she tries to distance herself from events by writing about them.  She begins to be drawn into the community as they work together to cope with the outages, but everything changes when her father is killed.

Lena decides to set off to New Reading to exact revenge on her dad’s killer.  She enlists the help of her best friend, neighbor Gus Lennon and two others, but does not reveal the real reason for the twenty-mile journey.  Instead, she tells them she wants to make sure her father has been properly buried. They all have their own reasons for wanting to go, and when the others finally find out Lena’s intentions, a startling connection to her father’s killer is revealed.

The real trouble, though, is brewing back in Gibeon as the unsuspecting neighbors welcome a stranger who seems willing and able to help them. Lena and Gus realize that help is the last thing on her mind when they discover that she has instructions to do whatever it takes to destroy their community—and they will do whatever it takes to save it

Lena Ladimer Chronicles: Bury the Dead is a 15,000/50,000 word work in progress.

Thank you, Ninja Agent, for taking the time to read my query and for your involvement in  Attention from an industry professional is thrilling and appreciated!

Best Regards,

I choose not to put the original on this post.  It's on the YA thread over on WriteOnCom.

Too bad they don't have a genre called "Pseudo Literary Blather."  The Ninja Agents would be all over me like a cheap suit.
Who ever knew you could floss with a laptop?


Monday, August 5, 2013

WIP On a Stick

I wrote on vacation.

My goal was to write 10,000 words, but then beautiful weather happened.  And a boat (with a tube to be dragged in!)  Amazing beach conditions (read: no jellyfish!) And lots of people I haven't seen in years.  And the ever-hopeful (but false) notion that I can beat my sister in a Quiddler tournament.  And a hilarious game called Hedbandz.  Reading had to be done: Moon Over Manifest and half of Bring Up the Bodies. Oh, and my sister's dog needed to be walked on the beach while she did most of the cooking.  All that hake and all those mussels, steamers, oysters and scallops needed to be eaten.  Downton Abbey, Season Three needed to be watched (hated the ending and I don't care if it's a spoiler alert for the four people on the planet who haven't seen it yet) and lots of sleeping and napping had to be attended to.

So you see, I was busy.

But I was also profoundly glad my sister brought her laptop and I brought my WIP on a stick. I did manage 3,000 words, and the story is falling into place in a way I would not have imagined.  All the dead ends, discarded prologues and stripped out exposition have only served to enrich the world I'm building in my own mind.  None of the writing I've done over the last four years has gone to waste— just as in life, no experience goes to waste. I've lived with this story for so long now that I feel like I'm writing from my own experiences within the story. I don't know if I can explain it any better than that. It's probably what most writers can attest to ... it just took me a long while to get there.

Also, my sister turned out to be a wonderful critiquer. "Rosemary, you can read what you have to me ONCE.  I'll tell you what I think."  And she did.  She's an avid reader and everything she had to say was right on.

Today is a glorious day in New England.  Intensely blue sky, comfortable temperature and breezes ... much more like a summer day on Prince Edward Island than a summer day here in the Connecticut river valley. Early August is often brutal with lots of humidity and heat. Sometimes even the violent late-afternoon thunderstorms can do little to mitigate the misery.  But not today. It is truly lovely. I am headed over to the Ethel Walker School in Simsbury to see Marcie ride her sister Annie's horse in a Daniel Stewart riding clinic.  I can't imagine a nicer way to spend an afternoon.

Except for maybe whipping out my WIP on a stick, firing up the laptop and writing out on the porch.
What makes a Boston Whaler even more awesome? A tube and tow rope!

Writer's retreat as seen from the boat. Also the home of the North Shore Quiddler Tournament.

Crowded beach day.  There are approximately 10 or 11 people wandering around.

My front yard. Sunsets are time consuming, as well.