Friday, May 10, 2013

Do You Have a Writing Plan?

I'm so behind in blogging that I should really do my own A to Z just to keep myself on track. Here's what I've been doing:

Reading the galleys to The Last Daughter. I think if I have to read this story one more time, I'll tear my hair out. I love my characters and the story, but I'm ready to move on. I can't read through a manuscript (even a published book) without wanting to make changes! I believe I still have one more read-through after these galleys. Arghh!

Revising the first fifty pages for my Killer Nashville contest entry. Deadline is June 1st. I may not make it! If you'd like to enter the Claymore contest (you do NOT have to attend the conference to enter) check it out.

Every Thursday I have a Beth Moore Bible study on Daniel. If you're familiar with Beth Moore, you know there's daily homework. This is my second time to take the Daniel course. It's fabulous. Of course, all her studies are.

Now, for my big news: some of you know I pitched to a Harlequin editor on Wednesday. This was the Happily Ever After pitch in a chat room, much like speed dating. We read the bios of three editors and had to choose the one we thought would be interested in our story. That alone was tricky! Then, we perfected a pitch in 100 words or less. There was no chit chat or questions asked in the chat room. Response from the editor would be one of the following:

Check one: __I’ll cry if you don’t send me your manuscript (requested full)
__I’d like to get to know your manuscript better (requested proposal)
__I’m not sure if there’s a spark between your manuscript and me, but I’m willing to give it a chance to convince me (requested synopsis)
__There’s just no connection between your manuscript and me (no request, but isn’t it great to know the idea won’t work before you spend time writing it?)

The editor I chose responded to my pitch with "I'll cry if you don't send me your manuscript." She requested the FULL and said the story sounded unique.

When we signed up for this event, we had to specify how much of our novel was finished.  I said I had a 36,000 word very rough draft completed. Okay, so now that I've lived with this rough draft for awhile, and worked on a synopsis, I better know the direction I want to go with the book. Thankfully, I tailored the pitch in the right direction and pinpointed the conflict but I feel panicked about revising it FAST.

Common sense tells me to get the manuscript finished and to the editor as soon as possible. I have 36,000 words. I need 55,000 words at the minimum. Each chapter (with the exception of the first two) has to be rewritten--revised, fleshed out, some chapters even have to be completely changed. Here's a picture of my rough draft with Love Inspired guidelines visible so I can refer to them often. 

I need some direction: Suggest a workable writing plan and/or some tips that will help me finish this book. My weaknesses are: setting, description, deep editing so any help you can give me in these three areas will be appreciated. If I use any of your suggestions, I'll dedicate the book to you--if it sells.

I'm sloshing through but I'm working at the pace of a sick snail so if you want to share a writing plan, feel free! And give me a deadline too. I love deadlines!


Charles Gramlich said...

Congrats on making that pitch work. Luck with the outcome. I don't really have a writing plan in most cases but in this one I'd probably just plan to hit it hard, hit it often.

Yolanda Renee said...

Gosh what a great experience. I wish I could help but I'm in the middle of two edits for books recently placed. Good luck!

I have worked with Barbara Sachs Sloan, an editor, (Google her online) if you think that's a route you want to go. She's fabulous and reasonable, and gave me excellent direction.

Jan Newman said...

This is so exciting, girl! I'm with Charles. No helpful plan to share except gluing the seat of your pants to the seat of your chair. Write, write, write. Go back and read, read, read to see where the holes are -- feel for them. And good luck. You can DO this.

Angie Kay Dilmore said...

All awesome news, Jess! I love Beth Moore studies, too. Did you go to the OWFI conference? I did not, but I won 1st place in the Picture Book category. (I had to say that, just because you say I don't toot my own horn. :) Sorry Jess, I have no writing plan ideas. But good luck!! I'm sure it will be fantastic.

Stan said...

You have been my inspiration. Keep up the good work.