Thursday, July 26, 2012

Weds Check-in . . .July 26th

Not sure I'm quite understanding this ROW80, but here's the place to check in and see if I'm keeping up with this week's goals.

This week on the Internet Writing Workshop's NOVELS LIST, there's been much discussion about whether folks should submit work for critiques from stories that are "in progress" or "finished." Makes me want to jump in with an opinion, because the comments have raged against both types of writers, and some suggest there's only one way to participate in this IWW list.

What I've learned since last summer is that feedback from other writers has helped me focus my writing in unexpected ways.

When I was truly stuck, trying to decide which story to write, participating in the FLASH fiction group prompted me to explore ideas and pursue the threads of two possible novels. Over time, one story came to dominate my thinking. Could I have done this without the group? Perhaps.

I then rejoined NOVELS-L and dove into Years of Stone wholeheartedly, built my plot scene by scene on a cork board, spotted plot holes, and continued to write. Then occasionally, yes, work-in-progress, I subbed chapters from the story that was unfolding when I felt I wanted feedback on the energy of the writing overall. At this stage, I got enough feedback to feel I was truly on the right track. No one said, "Stop writing this crap!" though a few complained that I wasn't subbing chapters in sequence. Well, I wasn't writing in sequence so . . .

It's now a year later. The first draft is truly done. Every single chapter sings as best as I can make it. I'm subbing the final section 3 (yes to NOVELS-L) for review and have the entire first draft out to two 'first readers' I trust, and then . . . I'm not sure. Still waffling but leaning ever close to Amazon.

But my point is what worked for me may not work for anyone else. So, whether we submit finished, or work-in-progress excerpts for critique, this writing is a very unique journey, one filled with doubts and joys. Every comment I've received from critters on NOVELS-L (and FLASH) has helped me on my writing journey. I've struggled, learned, revised, edited, sweated, cussed a few times, retyped (oops, re-word-processed), and will persevere.

Thank you all.

Now to ROW80.
1. About 60% through edits on Section 1, Years of Stone. Got comments already on Section 2.
2. Edited one story for The Mermaid Quilt: A Collection of Tales.
3. Drew one picture for same.
4. Found two potential agents I like  for Years of Stone, but still waffling there.

May your week go well!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

In the thick of revising . . .

Wonderful comments are starting to come in from first readers of Years of Stone. I begin most mornings with edits, rereads, and revision. I've also started working that list of potential agents. I'm reading more online, various blogs, and dipping into snarky agent query tips. Most mornings I feel good about my progress, though I did blow 3 hours on researching potential Australian agents before deciding that's not the right market. It's not like I can just pop over to Hobart or Brisbane.

So many of the articles I've read recently point to a basic shift in publishing -- the traditional route or e-publishing. There's something to be said for traditional publishing, but do I aspire to literary recognition? A terribly long writing career? A place on any best seller list? No!

What I really would like is to have some readers like my stories, maybe a few more readers than that so-close-to-vanity-press label 'family and friends.' Though family and friends would be good. Dear husband Allen is a purist. He wants my writing to be recognized professionally. With an agent. And a publisher. Since I've begun seriously writing on retiring from a teaching career, I don't have decades ahead. So, perhaps like other otaws (older than average writers), I vascillate ever closer to e-pubbing.

To keep me from jumping too quickly into researching the next novel, Rivers of Stone, the third in the MacDonnell saga, I've decided to experiment with an e-pub collection of short stories and join
ROW80, a lovely writing challenge called A Round of Words in 80 Days, that requires measurable goals and accountability -- and blogger posts on Weds and Sundays.

ROW80 Goals for the week to complete by Sunday, July 28. 
1. Complete edits for Section 1 Years of Stone.
2. Revise two stories for The Mermaid Quilt and Other Tales.
3. Decide whether Amazon or Smashwords works best for me.
4. Identify five potential agents for Years of Stone.
5. Draw two pictures for The Mermaid Quilt and Other Tales.

Dream on. May your own projects for the coming week go well!