Archive for young adult novel

Wrong direction?

Posted in All posts, On writing with tags , , , , , on November 6, 2008 by Trina

Agent search update:
So far I’ve querried eight agents to represent my young adult novel and received four rejections. Four queries are still out. I’m finding this process very different from submitting stories to magazines for publication.

Many agencies state something like this on their Web site
“We will make every effort to respond to your e-query within 4-8 weeks. Occasionally, it may take longer. We respond as quickly as possible, but we receive a large volume of submissions. Due to this large volume, we are sometimes not able to respond to every query personally. Therefore, if you have not heard from the agent you queried within 8 weeks, please assume that we are not interested in your work. PLEASE, DO NOT CALL TO FOLLOW UP!”

I can no longer say, “No news is good news.” If I hadn’t gotten a rejection, I used to know my work was still under consideration. No so with agent queries. In addition to not responding, many agents won’t even tell me they have received my query. They don’t want me to contact them to find out. So I wait in limbo land hoping for a bite on my query.

Meanwhile, there is a hole in my publishing credits. I have several story publications, but none in the young adult genre of my novel. That’s something I need to change. I have submitting a couple of chapters of THE MAGIC QUILT to children’s magazines. I am also going to write a couple of stories for young adults and submit them for publication. I have hit a snag there. While I have read children’s and young adult novels extensively, I haven’t read many stories for children. As I begin the process of familiarizing myself with the story market for children, I’ve found that the stories I am reading are BORING and unrealistic! Many are rewritten folk/fairy tales or myths. All have a moral message. Even contemporary or historical stories tend toward peachiness. Yulk. I can’t imagine writing anything that uninteresting. I’m just beginning to sample the market, so I hope it gets better.

I am going to continue polishing my query and synopsis, and submit my young adult novel to agents, but I’m also starting my next novel. I’m not giving up on the first, but I’m going to move ahead.

Which brings me to my next dilemma and the topic of this post: what is my next novel? I have so many ideas for adult fiction. But … as I previously posted, I don’t enjoy writing for young people as much as I enjoy writing fiction for adults. I love reading psychological and medical thrillers for adults, which is what I want to write.

After reading two of my stories, one of the women in my writing critique group noticed that in both stories my writing was strongest in the scenes involving children. This gives me pause. Should my next novel be for young people? Writing for children requires a different mind set than writing for adults. In writing from the view point of a twelve year old, vocabulary, parents and the young psyche have to be considered.

My debut novel and the economy

Posted in All posts, On writing with tags , , , , , on October 20, 2008 by Trina

As the subprime mortgage crisis threatens the U.S. economy, I am shopping my first novel around to agents. This could possibly be the worst time to debut as a novelist.

Fewer books, bigger deals—No room for debuts? A frost is coming to publishing. This the shocking subtitle of Baby, It’s Going to Be Cold Outside in Book Publishing, a gloom and doom article brought to you by THE NEW YORK OBSERVER.

According to the article, only the most established agents will be able to convince publishers to take a chance on an unknown novelist like me. My query, synopsis, and of course my novel, had better be razor-sharp or I don’t stand a chance of convincing one of those established agents to take a chance on a newbie. Rather than backing down, I’m going to rise to the challenge. I know that some of the agencies I’m querying receive upwards of 200 queries per week.

Meanwhile, on BookEnds, Jessica Faust says:
While books are selling and BookEnds has in fact made a number of deals in the past few weeks, publishers are understandably going to start getting tougher and deals are getting smaller. Authors are going to start to seeing lower advance numbers and, yes, lower royalties. And everyone is going to take fewer risks. It was hard to sell a new unpublished, unproven author two months ago, imagine what it must be like now.

Tess Gerritsen says:
… as I travel from town to town, from bookstore to bookstore, one thing that’s struck me is how quiet all the stores are. In mall stores, in superstores, in major chains and small independents, customers seem to be missing. Many booksellers have told me that traffic has been way down these past few weeks, and they’re concerned. I know it’s of little comfort to booksellers, but nothing else seems to be selling either. Malls are deserted. Stores selling clothing and furniture and kitchenware are all silent. No one seems to be spending money.

What does it mean for the book industry?

Books, unlike milk and bread, are discretionary purchases.

The bar just went up–I never learned the high jump, but I’m going to get a pole and start practicing.

Agent search

Posted in All posts, On writing with tags , , , , on October 8, 2008 by Trina

I have compiled a list of the top 20 agencies that I would like to represent me in finding a publisher for my young adult novel, THE MAGIC QUILT. Now that I’ve done my homework, I plan to contact my top five agents and then use any feedback I get from those submissions before contacting others. I’m hoping to get my first queries out this week. I want someone knowledgeable with the young adult market and historical fiction/fantasy. It is important to me to find the right match for my book, someone who will be passionate in marketing it. Because I also write adult fiction, I am hoping to find an agency that represents both young adult and adult fiction. I am a little scared to send out the first query because it is such a big step.

There are so many sources of information on agencies in books and on the Web, it was hard to know where to begin searching. I had a few recommendations from fellow writers, which I used to start my list. After floundering a bit in all the available resources, I decided to use CHILDREN’S WRITER’S & ILLUSTRATOR’S MARKET, but I found only a few agencies there. I moved on to Agent Query and used that site to grow my list. Now I have my top 20, but I’ve got to narrow the list even further to my top five.

So far I have:
• searched each agency’s web site carefully and read the agent’s blogs, if any.
• read each agent’s submission guidelines so I can send them what they want–a query, sample chapters, outline, synopsis–and how they want it–electronic or snail main
• looked up recent sales for the specific agent at the agency I want to represent me in PublishersMarketplace to be sure the agent is a good match for my book.
• checked in Predators and Editors to be sure there are no black marks against the agency
• Searched for each agent in Association of Authors Representatives (US) or the Association of Authors Agents (UK).

I am ready to begin contacting agents. Wish me luck in finding THE MAGIC QUILT a good home.

END

Posted in All posts, On writing with tags , , , on September 28, 2008 by Trina

Finally, I typed that one little word. Wow! It felt good. My first young adult novel, THE MAGIC QUILT, is finished–all 55,000 words. It has been a fifteen-year journey from the first draft to the finished novel. One that I am both happy and proud to have behind me. I made a lot of mistakes in writing this novel–see previous posts below, but I have also learned a lot about the craft of writing. I don’t think I’ll make the same mistakes again.

I’ve posted two excerpts on the new young adult page of my Web site.

I am prepared for the daunting task of researching agents to find a good match for THE MAGIC QUILT. I will look for agents that are knowledgeable about the young adult market, then spend the next several weeks writing a synopsis and a killer query letter and then submitting THE MAGIC QUILT to those agencies. Wish me luck.

I blogged that I would finish THE MAGIC QUILT by December 31st, 2007. I didn’t quite make it–it took me nine months longer than that. The day job and life intervened.

Below is part of the long history of writing THE MAGIC QUILT from excerpts of previous posts.


Decemer 22, 2006: Finding Time

I wrote a sketchy draft of THE MAGIC QUILT when I was in graduate school in 1993 and then didn’t look at it again during the years that I taught middle school. I never tried to write fiction when I was teaching. I wasn’t alone in that, Stephen King couldn’t write when he was teaching either. In his book ON WRITING, King said,

“…for the first time in my life, writing was hard. The problem was the teaching… by most Friday afternoons I felt as if I’d spent the week with jumper cables clamped to my brain.”

And so THE MAGIC QUILT waited. My mind was on lesson plans and whether I had all the materials that I would need for the next day’s lab activity. Then there were the calls to parents about students I was concerned about, and the calls to encourage those who were doing better. And that endless stack of papers to grade that took up all my free time in the evenings.

So it was that after resigning my position as a science teacher, I reread my original draft of THE MAGIC QUILT, rewrote a couple of chapters and brought them to my fiction writing group. With their help, I decided the novel could be good and starting researching the American Revolution, the setting for the book. (Big mistake. BIG. Never start researching after writing the first draft. Do the research first).

May 25, 2007: History amended: Introducing Katharine Taylor
I’ve spent several months correcting the historical portions of the novel. But the trickledown of minor changes in the history affected the plot so that I had to go back and rewrite about half of the novel.

My writing critique group has just reviewed one of the central chapters to the book, “The Midnight Ride,” where Katharine accompanies Paul Revere on his famous midnight ride. As always happens with critique groups, you walk away with insights and more work. So, I’ve got some revising to do. My goal is to finish editing “The Midnight Ride” over the long weekend — I’ve taken Tuesday off work —and then write the ending of the book, which has been hanging over my head for months. I wrote an ending that I thought was pretty good, with flying dragons and a battle with the evil Dr. Ziegawart, but Katharine didn’t play a large enough role in resolving the conflict, so I’ve got to revisit it.

June 1, 2007: Creative License
I finished the first draft my historical fantasy novel for young adults two years ago (a rewrite of the version I wrote in 1993). This was the first novel that I’ve ever written; in retrospect, a historical novel was not the easiest genre for a first novel. The novel takes place in the present and in 1775. I made the mistake of writing the first draft without doing enough research into Colonial Boston, or into Paul Revere’s life, who is a central character.

Patrick Leehy of the Paul Revere house was kind enough to edit my text and, no surprise, he found some mistakes. For example Sara Revere, Paul’s first wife, was alive and well in my first draft. She was deceased in 1775 — oops. So I revised the entire novel, correcting such history mistakes.


June 9, 2007: Keeping Characters Fresh

My goal now is to finish rewriting the historical portions of the novel first, because they are the most difficult to get the emotional interplay right between and among the characters. I did finish a rough draft of a rewrite of the final chapter, and I’m going to start by finishing the ending. I have the history correct, but I don’t yet have Katharine’s voice consistent. Her character grows throughout the novel, so I want to make sure the chapters reflect that growth and match her voice. So I am making what I hope is the final rewrite of the novel for consistency, tightening, and pace of action. I also am cutting where necessary, which is hard for me because I’ve fallen in love with several scenes that do NOT move the story along; they have to go.

July 23, 2007: Writing fantasy: the truth inside the lie.

“Fiction is the truth inside the lie.”

Stephen King wrote those words. In writing fantasy, we can apply King’s words because we are creating a fantasy world and then making our readers believe that our lie is real. We couldn’t do that if there wasn’t some truth inside the lie. So in order to create a realistic fantasy world we must start with the truth and then build a lie around it.

Creating Katharine’s fantasy world means building a world based upon reality and making sure readers know the rules of that world. The characters must remain true to those rules throughout the novel.

And so, now that I’ve revised the historical parts for accuracy, I’m going back through THE MAGIC QUILT again, chapter by chapter, focusing on the magic world that is Katharine’s reality. Is the fantasy world that I’ve created in the young adult historical fantasy realistic, believable and most of all, exciting to young adult readers.

August 31, 2007: Building the lie
I had to create a fantasy world that would be logical and real to a twelve year old. Time travel, morphing into animals, appearing and disappearing and being invisible had to become routine parts of day-to-day life for Katharine.

Any child who has participated in the fantasy world of children’s books and films, where superheroes exist, a man in a red suit drives flying reindeer, noble lions rule, and kids go to wizard academies, believes the lie. But beyond that, in children’s private imaginary worlds, they can be princes and princesses, plastic figures can come to life and entire armies may do battle on their bedroom floors — all in their imaginations.

It follows then, that it should not be difficult to convince young adult readers that an evil shape shifter can spew deadly smoke from his eyes, or that Katharine can fly, or that the Great Shape Shifter, Askuwheteau’s eyes shine with blue light. He can pop in and out of time at will. But I have to explain where he gets this wonderful power.

October 29, 2007: Taking up the gauntlet
My young adult work in progress will be finished by December 31, 2007. Period. (Ah, wrong).

November 27, 2007: Shape shifting: point of view problem
I am fixing the POV problems I had with Katharine and her fellow wizards shape shifting into animals. I’m editing two chapters from the middle of THE MAGIC QUILT, where Katharine, her grandmother and Sara Revere have transmutated into animals. I have been struggling with the narrator’s POV. Should I call Katharine “the cat” or “Katharine.” Likewise, should I use “the red bird” or “Grandma.” And should the narrator refer the animals as it or she?

December 1, 2007: Perfecting the perfect pitch
(When I wrote this, I actually thought I was going to finish the novel by 2008).
It may not be perfect, but I think this pitch will hook a sixth grader:

Standing on the Lexington Green in the midst of the battle, twelve-year-old Katharine is oblivious to her own danger of being run through by a bayonet. The metallic smell of blood and gunpowder is heavy in the air. Katharine is a shape shifter who has traveled back in time, to a world where electricity, cell phones and bottled water have yet to be imagined; her new friends are dead or in peril. She must make a choice: She can save her friends and turn the battle toward freedom or destroy the evil shifter, Dr. Ziegawart, in whatever form he might choose— an alligator, a dragon, or a tiny cockroach. As a musket ball whizzes by her head, she decides.

January 1, 2008: Write. Edit. Polish—Submit.
I polished my way through chapter 13, of the 24 chapters in THE MAGIC QUILT. Because of the trickle down effect from the later chapters, the first half of the book needed a lot of rewriting. Fixing minor plot flaws, correcting some point of view issues and deciding which minor characters need bigger and smaller roles took up most of my editing time.

Looking back over my older writing, I discovered something else. I have really grown as a writer. I recognize some novice mistakes in my older work, like POV issues–I couldn’t seem to find the MC’s voice, plot holes and leaps, telling instead of showing, needless description, repetition, dialogue tag problems, and tense changes. In fact, some of my older stories are real stinkers. Back when I wrote them, thinking they were awesome works of art, I sent each to friends and family. I apologize for that—I should have sent a clothespin with each story. I even submitted some of these stinkers for publication.

March 28, 2008: The hardest part about writing a novel is in crossing the finish line.
Once the first draft is done, the finish line is in sight, but the final stretch is where the hardest work lies. I’ve lost count of the number of revisions I’ve made to the novel, but in reading through some of my older posts, I am reminded of the reasons for those revisions. In each pass through, I’ve improved specific things.

I had to create a fantasy world that would be logical and real to a twelve year old. This was probably the most difficult and time consuming and yet the most fun. Time travel, morphing into animals, appearing and disappearing and being invisible had to become routine parts of day-to-day life for Katharine.

Beyond the magical elements, the history also had to be accurate. Everything in the room I write in—the electric lights and the computer, the bottled water I drink, and the climate controlled air conditioning —was as imaginary in 1775, as fantastic, as Narnia or Hogwarts are today. So I had to revise with attention to detail that I hope will make Boston of 1775 real to young adults.

I’ve also fixed the POV problems I had with Katharine and her fellow shape shifters changing into animals.

In the first chapter where the evil wizard Dr. Ziegawart is introduced, my writing critique group found several areas that needed to be reworked for logic and consistency. I was tempted simply to hit the delete key because I didn’t want to put forth the effort and energy needed for the corrections. See Motivating the cognitive miser. But after some elbow grease, I think the chapter is now both stronger and more believable. I often find that the hardest scenes to write are usually the ones that I am most happy with.

Now, I’ve made another change, also as a result of feedback from my writing group–whose input has been invaluable in making the novel better. I reorganized the order of the chapters in THE MAGIC QUILT so that Katharine travels back to the past sooner, which means I’ll have to write some transition scenes and delete others. I keep reconsidering the ordering. But I think the new order is important to remove any parallels with Harry Potter: Katharine is a shape shifter who is just learning to use her powers and there is an evil wizard trying to kill her. But that is where the similarity stops. I want to make it clear to readers that my novel is an historical fantasy, unlike J. K. Rowling’s novels. So, it is important to bring out the unique aspect of the book earlier, thus the trip to the past must happen sooner. I think it will be more interesting for young people this way and I am reminded that elbow grease usually leads to writing that makes me proud.

In writing from the point of view of a twelve year old, I can’t use the vocabulary I could for adults. The dialogue and plot are much simpler. In other words, it’s harder to write exciting stories for children. It is much more limiting.

September 28, 2008: This journey is over, but another is about to begin.

The life of a short story

Posted in All posts, On writing with tags , , on August 6, 2008 by Trina

Okay, I know I haven’t posted in awhile, but with good reason. Even with my busy work schedule this summer (summer is a busy season for educational test development), I’ve found time to work on and submit some short stories. As a result, “Remission” was accepted by WORD CATALYST for their September issue. But not before it was rejected by three other magazines and didn’t even place in the DORIS BETTS FICTION contest.

This weekend, I finished a story that I’d started over a year ago, after my mother-in-law’s death, about how the death of an elderly woman affected several people. I couldn’t bring myself to finish it until now. I also wrote a first draft of another story, which started me thinking about the life of a short story, from conception to publication: all of the steps to a published piece. Every writer has their own process, and what I do may be very different–and probably is–from the process other writers use to draft stories. Heck, I don’t even write the way I used to when I first started writing fiction. Through trial and error and rejection, here is how my writing process has developed.

As I previously posted seeing my first story, “To Live Again,” in print was a most exciting moment. Writing an average of three hours a day, it took me a week to write the first draft of that first story. Now, if I’m inspired, I can write a first draft in just a few hours. Although I was very proud of “To Live Again,” it was not very good and I made the rookie mistake of submitting it the wrong markets. So, it is not surprising that the story was rejected 25 times before it finally found its first home in FULLY BULLY magazine. I had actually submitted it to the ATLANTIC MONTHLY and HARPER magazine, both literary and prestigious. Neither would have accepted a ghost story, especially a badly written one. But I didn’t give up. I wrote and rewrote this story about a woman who learns to take charge of her life through the love of her dog. And I learned some things about writing short stories.

First, you can’t force a first draft. No matter how earnest the message I’m trying to convey, or how it pulls at my heart, I have to let the story sit before I know where it needs to go. First drafts come to me when I’m half asleep at night, in the shower, or driving home from work. An inkling of an idea forms and then when I can get to a computer I write it down. Sometimes a story is born, sometimes the blank monitor screen wants to stay blank. Or there’s nothing but a paragraph or two, not enough meat for a story. Then there are times the story flows. For example, I wrote the first draft of a story Sunday morning after I had a bad dream. I used my dream as the backdrop for a man whose dreams are real. But what I haven’t yet decided is whether he can dream reality into place or if he is only able to observe what is happening. I won’t know until the story percolates in my subconscious for awhile. I can’t force the story to come. Also, I’m not sure if he has a brain injury, seizure disorder or some other specialness that gives him this ability. I’m toying with the idea that he commits the crimes rather than dreaming them. So, when I’ve found the answers, I’ll write the final draft and polish it. Only then will I be ready to look for markets for the story, as yet untitled.

This is how “Remission,” which will be appearing in WORD CATALYST in September, came to life. I wrote the original draft in a frantic rush, three mornings before work. In the story, pediatric hematologist Dr. Angel Carter treats young patients with rare blood disorders while grieving for her own lost child and marriage. “Remission” grew from my own experiences with spherocytosis, a rare blood disease. So, one afternoon, I reworked the story again and e-mailed it to WORD CATALYST. Harry had paved the way by telling the editor about my work. (Harry will be writing a column for WORD CATALYST). Within hours, publisher accepted the piece.

“Good Game” is the story that I’m most proud of. It is about a chess player who is paralyzed and sinking into depression, who is visited by his dead father. Again, I wrote the first draft in my spare time before and after work, and on the weekend. Originally, it was to be a piece about a woman with a personality disorder who suffered from drug dependence. I wanted to trace her parents and grandparent’s contribution to her condition. It was to be titled, “Into the Third and Fourth Generations.” This is completely different from the end result. One afternoon while doing chores around the house, I decided she should be paralyzed. And then I added the chess competitions and finally the story shaped up into a good piece, I think. I decided to change the gender of the main character to a man to reach the readers who play chess, predominately men, as previously posted. So far, the story has been rejected by one magazine, didn’t place in one short story contest, and is now being considered in two other fiction contests. I’m confident it will eventually find a good home.

Now, I’ve given myself the task of submitting my finished stories and getting back to the final edits of my young adult novel and world of espionage that led up to the American Revolution. I’m still struggling with the novel’s title, KATHARINE TAYLOR AND THE MAGIC QUILT.

Write. Edit. Polish—Submit

Posted in All posts, On writing with tags , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2008 by Trina

My young adult novel, THE MAGIC QUILT, is still in progress. The end. I have not yet written those two little words that would see her finished. Regardless, I am happy with my recent writing progress. Except for Christmas and New Year’s Day, I wrote for several hours on each of the twelve days that I was off from my day job (December 21 – January 2). I polished my way through chapter 13, of the 24 chapters in THE MAGIC QUILT. Because of the trickle down effect from the later chapters, the first half of the book needed a lot of rewriting. Fixing minor plot flaws, correcting some point of view issues and deciding which minor characters need bigger and smaller roles took up most of my editing time. The ending chapters will not need as much work.

In the original version of THE MAGIC QUILT, Katharine traveled to several places and time periods, both in the past and future. Minor characters from those places, including Jamestown, Virginia, visited Katharine in the present. As a result, Pocahontas was in several scenes. I had decided to remove her character from the novel, including a middle chapter where she had a central role. I thought the chapter slowed down the plot and didn’t add anything. The women in my writing critique group felt differently, that the chapter is needed to both lighten the novel and show another side of Katharine’s character.

So, I decided to let my thoughts on the novel percolate in the background for awhile, and I did some organizing. Looking though my computer files, I was shocked to discover that I have written 19 stories, of which only 3 are published! Yikes. I had neglected these stories, some for several years. Why? Short attention span. I hate editing, polishing and submitting. I love the thrill of first draft writing: getting to know the characters, discovering where the story goes. After that the story and the characters get cold to me. This is why my YA novel is not finished.

Looking back over my older writing, I discovered something else. I have really grown as a writer. I recognize some novice mistakes in my older work, like POV issues–I couldn’t seem to find the MC’s voice, plot holes and leaps, telling instead of showing, needless description, repetition, dialogue tag problems, and tense changes. In fact, some of my older stories are real stinkers. Back when I wrote them, thinking they were awesome works of art, I sent each to friends and family. I apologize for that—I should have sent a clothespin with each story. I even submitted some of these stinkers for publication. Many stunk as much as the bad story JA Konrath wrote to illustrate newbie mistakes. Not surprisingly, I accumulated many rejections

So, over my 12 days of Christmas, I polished three stories, submitted two to a contest and one to a periodical. In so doing, I cut 1,450 unnecessary words from Stand-in Santa, a whopping 40% reduction in the story. Eh gads. Similarly, I cut almost 400 words from Project Golem, a futuristic story about WWIV. I apologize to anyone who read the earlier versions of these stories.

I’ve got a lot more work to do. My new edict for 2008 is: Write. Edit. Polish—Submit. With this in mind, here are my New Year’s Resolutions.

1. I will finish THE MAGIC QUILT
2. I will choose my next book length project and begin working on it
3. I will research the market and agencies representing YA historical fiction/fantasy and search for an agent
4. I will always have at least three stories—YA or adult—(and one article idea) on submission, while working on a fourth
5. I will finish every story I start
6. I will submit every story I finish
7. I will subscribe to the magazines I submit to and read them
8. I will read the Newberry winners and finalists from the last two years to grow in my YA writing
9. I will continue to blog – the process improves my writing
10. I will update my website after reviewing other YA writer sites
11. I will attend at least one writer’s conference, and introduce myself to agents, editors, and other writers
12. I will refuse to get discouraged, even in the face of daunting odds. I love to write and my imagination contains stories that only I can tell. For now, that is my reward. I will not dwell on the fact that I have written drafts of three novels – not finished any, penned over 175,000 words. Although I have earned 135 rejections, I have sold only one story and one essay. I received nada in the way of monitary compensation for the rest of my publications.

I am a better writer than I was when I received all those rejections. To illustrate the point, here is the original opening from “Her Sister’s Ghost,” written in 2002:

Ashleigh Richards stepped into the rear of a small commuter plane and walked past an attractive man, with long, wavy, black hair and sunglasses, who was seated in the last row of the plane. She glanced at him as she passed him; an intense look indicating her attraction for him, which she noticed was reciprocated. She immediately cleared him from her thoughts as she walked toward the front of the plane. She was relieved that seat 4D was a window seat; she would be able to look out the window and think. She stowed her black cashmere coat and carry on bag in the overhead compartment. Ashleigh had her driver’s license and $200 cash in her jeans pocket. Her Gateway, Solo 1200 notebook Ashleigh kept with her. The laptop computer barely fit under the seat in front of her and Ashleigh didn’t have room for her feet with the computer there. One of the drawbacks of being tall is there is never enough legroom. Ashleigh knew that even a shorter person would have trouble compacting themselves into the small seating area of the Express Jet.

I am embarrassed to admit that I submitted this story for publication. The one long opening paragraph screams novice: telling instead of showing, needless description, repetition … Who would want to read more?

The new opening, while still not pefect, is much stronger:

The police would find him, dead in her house. It didn’t matter that he had deserved to die.

Ashleigh Adams shoved her crutches into the back seat of her Cavalier, wincing in pain as she lowered herself carefully into the driver’s seat. She accelerated down the long driveway, tires spitting gravel. As she entered the onramp to the highway, she was already traveling at over eighty miles per hour, speeding to get away from the fear that caused her hands to tremble on the steering wheel.

“Ashleigh, I had to kill him. He gave me no choice,” Erica said.

Sighing, Ashleigh turned toward her sister.

Erica was gone. The passenger seat empty. Ashleigh was left only with the image of Erica standing over her husband, holding the .45 with two steady hands. A bullet hole between his sightless eyes.

New Year’s Resolutions Part 3

Posted in All posts, Life, On writing with tags , , , , , , , on December 23, 2007 by Trina

I’d like to close 2007 with part of JA Konrath’s New Year’s Resolutions Part 3:

Newbie Writer Resolutions
I will start/finish the damn book

I will always have at least three stories on submission, while working on a fourth

I will attend at least one writer’s conference, and introduce myself to agents, editors, and other writers

I will subscribe to the magazines I submit to

I will join a critique group. If one doesn’t exist, I will start one at the local bookstore or library

I will finish every story I start

I will listen to criticism

I will create/update my website

I will master the query process and find an agent

I’ll quit procrastinating in the form of research, outlines, synopses, taking classes, reading how-to books, talking about writing, and actually write something

I will refuse to get discouraged, because I know JA Konrath wrote 9 novels, received almost 500 rejections, and penned over 1 million words before he sold a thing–and I’m a lot more talented than that guy … Read entire post.

I especially like the last. It gives me hope.

Have a wonderful holiday and I’ll be blogging again in the New Year.