Monday, April 28, 2008

I'm officially a Grad Student

I started my 1st class today and it's all about critical writing, reasoning, and thinking. I didn't really think getting an MBA was going to help me with writing, but I was wrong. I will be reviewing grammar and sentence structure along with conveying thoughts effectively. I need the grammar review because I still struggle with commas.

I attended the Columbus State Writers Conference this past week-end. I learned alot, mainly from literary agent, Jennifer DeChiara. I didn't realize I was making some rookie query mistakes, but now I know better. It was also a blast to attend the event with my YA critique group gals. In addition to our next chapters, we're going to look at each other's existing query letters and incorporate the information we learned.

I still owe everyone a post about the autopsy class that I went to last Tuesday at COSI. I got some ideas about where to take my story and how to layer some of the storyline. The weird thing this is that the audience was made up of women with the exception of one guy. Hmmm.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Send No Manuscript before its time

Okay, I was the queen of sending out a manuscript before I had let it breathe for a few days. I was so anxious to get it out into the world, that I wasn't being fair to myself, the story, or the reader. Patience has always been hard for me but as the rejections letters started coming in, I realized that there is a process that needs to be followed.

Here's the process I follow now and it has worked well for my 2 latest picture books. I'm very proud of those 2 manuscripts and it feels good to say that.

1)Once I get an idea for a story, I think about it for as long as it needs to brew. I jot down some ideas and research anything that I need to.
2) I write my story just to get it down. I don't worry about word count, picking the correct verb, or details
3) I don't look at it for at least 24 hours
4) I pick it back up and start sculpting the detail. I equate picture books to sculpting. You have a block of marble and you initially chisel away the raw form, then really hone in on the details
5) Once I get it to where I want it, I send it to one of my best friends that is also a fellow writer. I make more revisions.
6) I try to get a critique from a parent, teacher, etc. Make more revisions.
7) If available, I get a critique from my local SCBWI group. Make more revisions
8) I put it away again for at least 24 hours and then read the final version
9) Work on my query letter and send it out into the literary universe.

Now, I'm just waiting for the mailman to hopefully deliver some good news.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Autopsy class

I signed up for my autopsy class today. For those of you that don't know, my YA novel has a crime in it and I'm going to this class for reseach and to hopefully learn the proper terminology and procedures.

I don't know what to expect, but I'm curious to learn why the other attendees chose this class. It's going to be 90 minutes long and I plan to take notes, so I can use them when I need them.

I didn't hear anything on any queries this week and that includes my e-queries. It's so hard waiting.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

I Bought a Mini-Van

My old car was starting to give me issues and the adage of "I don't have a car payment" wasn't exactly true when you count up the dollars I was spending on repairs. I had this gut feeling that I was getting close to having to do some major repairs, so I traded it in for a Toyota Sienna.

I did alot of research on Consumer Reports regarding safety and reliability and the Sienna kept rising to the top. I bought a slighly used one so I wouldn't have to pay the new minivan price.

I'll have to tighten my budget so I just listed a bunch of stuff on EBay and Amazon. There are 2 events I want to go to and I'm going to have to raise the money if I want to attend. I have so much stuff that I've been meaning to sell, so I'm getting off the pot and getting them listed.

Sell, Sell, Sell!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

I'm taking an autopsy class

I was thrilled when I saw that this class was offered. I was skimming through the UA Lifelong catalog looking for a local writing class and found this little gem, "In Depth: An Autopsy". It's hosted at COSI, one of my favorite local attractions. A forensic pathologist will be on hand to answer all my storyline questions.

Since my YA novel is a crime story, this is also a great opportunity for researching. I'll have to take time off work and have been trying to figure out what to tell my boss. I can't wait to see what kind of other folks show up.

The class is April 22nd in the afternoon (who was the genius that scheduled this after lunch?). I'll report back