Thankful and Moving Onward

Thanksgiving Day is done and gone. Family and friends ate their fill, took whatever leftovers I could force upon them, and still managed to leave me with a refrigerator packed to the gillsLeftovers. And now, late at night while things are quiet, I find myself sitting here in a state of reflection.

Like many writers hoping to build a career around what they love, my life is divided between family, what folks refer to as a real job, and countless hours staring at a computer screen in a corner of my home. So every once in a while, I have to think about my choices.

Sure, if I weren’t writing, my house would be cleaner. Meals would be better planned, and the laundry would get done more often. I could spend more time hanging out with friends, and the checkbook might get balanced properly once in a while. And what about the other side of this? What about the personal ups and downs of writing?

Earlier this year I was offered the opportunity  to submit The Enduring to a publisher attending Dragon Con. Needless to say, this filled me with oodles of glee, and I jumped into revisions the moment I arrived home. In addition, I  re-wrote my synopsis to meet their requirements—a minimum of ten pages, and containing the complete emotional story arcs of every major character. Then off, via email, it went.

I wish I could say this story had a dramatic ending with someone offering me loads of money for a multi-book series, but alas, things didn’t work out that way. I did get a helpful, and very complimentary reply, and an offer to submit future works. And so it goes—a dose of excitement, one more disappointment, then a big twist of hope tacked on the end. Yet I wouldn’t have it any other way….

I guess that means the laundry and the dusting will wait.

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving. Keep writing!

Laura

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Fun @ Dragon Con

Approaching dawn from my hotel window

My first Dragon Con has been great! We arrived in Atlanta on Wednesday, August 31,  and our room at the Westin Peachtree Plaza was gorgeous. Almost made it worth the $200 a night price tag….

I attended a two day writer’s workshop with Jody Lynn Nye, and it was a wonderful experience. I learned so much. Each participant sent sample pages in advance for her to critique. I was kind-of excited about getting her input on The Enduring. Jody also selected a few works to be critiqued by the entire group. Mine was among those chosen, so I came home with a huge stack of notes from everyone! Yay!

Oh, and did I mention all the panels? I wanted to spend all my time just running from one to the other. I really appreciated the opportunity to meet so many writers, as well as a agents, editors and publishers… but I had to occasionally remind myself this was supposed to be a family vacation.

Hey, Laura! Remember those other people staying in your room?

Hmmm… when I stop and think about it, they do look vaguely familiar.

Okay, so I took some time  for other stuff as well. I didn’t make it to either Buffy panel (bummer), but my family did get to do some fun things together. And we spent hours in the Exhibitor’s Rooms, the Dealer’s Room, Artist Alley, and we visited the Walk-of-Fame areas more than once.

Now I’m headed home. It’s back to work tomorrow—a terrifying thought, since I know all will be in total chaos. But once things settle down a bit, I will turn my focus to putting what I’ve learned to use. And then? Edit. Edit. Edit.

Keep writing!

Laura

Memory Lane

While travelling on vacation, we have no internet, so I’ll write up my blogs as I go, them post them after I return home. Here’s one from 8/30/11:

Taking a roundabout route to DragonCon, my family and I had the opportunity to spend a few days in North Carolina. We once  lived in the area, but that was several years ago. This week we are back to visit some of the old haunts—most especially the rustic campground we called home.

Things sure have changed. First of all, it isn’t even a campground anymore. It sold  several years ago to a private owner. The rental cabins are gone. The 50’x90’ swimming pool is  completely filled in. The whole place is badly overgrown, except for the guest cottage, which the owners must use as a weekend place.

Very, very different… and yet it still had the same beautiful feel about it. I could have hung out all day, exploring every nook and cranny of the place. Of course, I was technically trespassing—okay, not just technically. I was trespassing. So I only took time for a quick look around, then moved on. In the end I was glad for the chance to see our old place again. Maybe I’ll sneak back to check on it in another decade or so!

Well, tomorrow we move on to Atlanta. Lots more fun ahead!

Keep writing.

Laura

Don’t Ever Stop Learning

I’m very excited! In the near future I’ll be packing up my latest manuscript, my shiny new computer, and my even shinier dreams, then I’m travelling out of state to attend my first writer’s workshop.

But a few days ago, all participants received homework to complete beforehand. We must read the sample works of others, and write critiques for each. Simple, huh?

Not really.

It took me hours to get through the first one—not because the story was horrible or anything. I just realized this is an area where I need a lot of improvement.

I can read a story and see that something is wrong. However, putting that problem into clear and concise words is more of a challenge than I expected. Also, there were a whole lot of little things.  See… if it were me, I’d want to know about every single one of them. I’d want to be told, then decide whether to change them or not. But everyone isn’t like me. I realize that some folks only want to hear what they did right.

I had this nearly overwhelming urge to fix the whole thing myself. Just to prove to myself that it could be fixed. Knowing that plan was, well, completely ridiculous, I listed some of the main issues. Then I spent  time listing the things I liked.

It didn’t look too bad when I was done. Not heartless nit-picking, but suggestions, along with some compliments. I think it will suffice.

Now… that’s one down. No more blogging until I finish all the rest!

Keep Writing!

Laura

Where I Am Now

As Dory says, "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming..."

Thinking about what I want to accomplish with this blog, I guess the first thing is to talk about is where I am.

I have completed two novels. The Enduring is an 80,000 word, young adult contemporary fantasy. Heart of the Jagdiip is a 96,000 word, young adult high fantasy that reaches into the contemporary world.

I sent out several queries for Heart late in 2010, but stopped over the holiday season. By the time I could begin again, I was busy writing The Enduring, pushing everything else aside until I finished it this summer.

Currently, I am querying agents with The Enduring. While waiting for replies, I continue to polish that work, and also made the decision to do a major edit on Heart as well, shifting POV (point of view) around a bit. My side project is to outline the ideas I have for sequels of both novels… just in case. Heart has the potential for four sequels. The Enduring can be expanded to a trilogy. I would love to finish both of these series, but will probably choose something new to write next. There is little pointing in devoting months of my time to a sequel until there is interest in the first.

So, that’s what I’m up to. I have some other plans coming up, but I’ll save that info for my next post.

Keep Writing!

Laura

Where to Begin?

Once upon a time...

The idea of starting a blog has been in the back of my mind for some time now. I put if off, thinking there would not be time in my already full schedule. When I get home from work I like to grab a quick bite to eat, then spend a few hours writing or editing or sending out queries. That time already goes too fast, and I was afraid that blogging could become a distraction, slowing me down.

The truth is, this will probably be good for me… even if no one else ever reads it.

My blog will, for the most part, talk about writing, and my efforts toward reaching my goal of becoming a published author. Anyone interested in the steps I take through this process is welcome to come along for the ride.

So, here we go!

Laura

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