Saturday, May 28, 2011

Made of Awesome Contest (First Page Contest with Shelley Watters)

Prince of Wales Hotel in Waterton, AB (setting of Nepenthe)

Here's my first 250 words (263 to be exact, since we aren't supposed to end in the middle of a sentence.) Can't wait to peruse all your blogs and read your first pages as well. Good luck and thanks!
Title: Nepenthe
Genre: Paranormal Romance (Ghosts)
Word Count: 99,500

The first time I met Michael, I had no idea he was dead. I was locking up my cafe for the night, taking a deep breath of mountain air to wash the scents of cinnamon and dish soap from my nose. When I turned around, he was standing there, so close behind me that I almost ran into him.

My heart leapt into my throat. I could swear he hadn't been there a second before, but he reminded me of a stone carving that hadn't moved in ages. His eyes stood out in stark contrast to his jet black hair, with irises the colour of faded blue jeans that had been washed too many times. They were bright though. Almost gleaming.

"Good evenin', Miss." He couldn't be much older than me—maybe late twenties at the most, yet his formality and slight Southern drawl were right out of an old Western movie. He was dressed in very current looking dark jeans and a white shirt, though, so he didn't look at all out of place.

He reached out and gently took my hand to shake it. "I'm Michael." At his touch, a surge of butterflies invaded my chest.

Kicking myself for ogling, which I never did no matter how good looking the guy was, I forced myself to return the handsake. "Kate," I said, barely managing to get the word out.

Michael took a step back, giving me some space. "I have to confess, I've been trying to summon the courage to introduce myself for some time now," he said, looking anything but nervous.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday, May 6, 2011

Getting Edited

A year or so after I began writing, I started wondering if  I was any good. There was no way for me to objectively tell. I had to find someone that would be bluntly honest with me; if what I was doing was publish-worthy. Not that it would've stopped me from writing if I sucked, but at least I would know what I should do; start seeking publishing or keep working on the writing itself.

I found an editor by shopping the Internet, emailing potentials, and came upon a Canadian freelance editor, Alethea Spiridon, and gave her a call. You know how they say you get a gut feeling about some things? Yup, my gut was happy. I sent her the first book in my trilogy, the outlines of book 2 and 3 in that trilogy, and waited for the MS evaluation to come back.

The day I got the evaluation back was an emotional shock. My trilogy was, in fact, a much more solid single novel, according to the evaluation. But there was hope, and very specific advice on what worked (yeah!), and what didn't work (yeah, too, because that is what I needed to know.)

What did I do next? I took the weekend to cry. I mourned the loss of the 100,000 plus words that would be axed. I even considered if I should follow the advice at all. In the end, I realized I had only been in the writing scene for a few years, ultimately didn't know anything, and if I really wanted to get somewhere that I should give my type A personality a rain check on control.

Being edited was a great lesson in writing, because I learned that as personally attached as I am to what I write, feedback that something doesn't work or just plain sucks (my favorite comment in the MS eval was along the lines of "your character can't do this! Who does this?") IS NOT a personal attack. Writing is art, but it's a type of art with rules (even though they may be flexible) and boundaries on good taste. Most times it takes an outside look to tell you if you've coloured in the lines, or if your free-hand sketch is hideous or not.