Thursday, June 30, 2011

Happy Canada Day (Yes, I know it's tomorrow!)

Since I've got a busy weekend of family fun I decided to post the winner of June's e-copy of Ghost Bride - The winner is... Anne Michaud! Congratulations Anne! Please send me a quick email ( and let me know what format you'd like Ghost Bride in (PDF, HTML, MobiPocket or LIT)

This is going to be brief because, like I said, I've got a jam-packed weekend ahead of me but I've just gotten word that my beta is only ten pages away from being done my ms!!! Yippy! That means that I can finish editing, do one more (maybe two) editing sweeps to clean up the last little uh-ohs and then I'm done!!!!! My plan is to send of the final version to my agent by the second week of July!

The feedback I've gotten so far (from betas) has been very positive and very helpful so I'm pretty exicted to get the ms into my agent's inbox. This version is a winner folks, I can feel it!

Anyway, Happy Canada Day to all - enjoy yourselves this weekend!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Writer Intuition vs. Self Doubt

Having been working on my rewrite for some time, I've become very familiar with the evil voice of self-doubt. It's that nagging little annoyance, barely above a whisper (most times) that tries to convince you that you SUCK as a writer. No matter how many times I speak to successful authors and hear them say, "Oh yeah, that voice...yep, it never goes away," it still manages to kick me in the gut and make me feel bad. But what I wanted to talk about this week was the difference between knowing something is bad because your writerly intuition is telling you it is vs. thinking something is bad because that nasty little voice of self-doubt is convincing you it is.

And trust me...there is a difference.

I don't know where writerly intuition comes from: if it's learned and developed or if we're born with it, but like other forms of intuition, it's easy to ignore. What I've learned over the past little while is that ignoring it can be just as disastrous for your ms as it can be for other areas of your life.

What I know for certain is that I need to trust my gut a little more than I have been. Almost from the beginning I've had troubles rewriting the opening of my ms. Actually, that's not true, the opening was great (for a while) it was the chapter two/three slump that was dragging me down. I knew it was too much info dumping - I knew it dragged horribly and that it was really quite bad. I knew in my gut that it would have to go, I just avoided doing it for several versions of this ms. My reasons ranged from trying to please other people, to being too lazy (that's a tough one to admit), to just not knowing how to fix the problem.

Part of this writing journey I'm on is learning to do some hard things to my ms and after working on this rewrite - creating version after version, I've finally figured out not only how to fix the problem but how to do it in a way that strengthens my ms. So, I finally did it. I got rid of the troublesome two chapters - cut them right out like a moldy chunk on a piece of cheese. I must say - although it stung at first, it really was quite liberating.

Now when I read the newest version I'm not getting that pause/sinking feeling of writerly intuition saying "this is bad, this is bad". Instead I'm flowing through, without any snags, and it feels great! And that's how I know for certain that what I was hearing was not self-doubt blasting away my confidence but actually my instincts warning me that what I was doing was not working and needed fixing.

What about you all? Do you listen to your intuition? Have you had to make some hard cuts/decisions about your work?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Born to Be

I was over at my parent's place this week (getting a much needed break in the babysitting department) and discovered that my mom had several large envelopes filled with my old school stuff. Not only were there many examples of my non-artistic abilities and horrid class pictures but there were also report cards spanning my entire educational experience. What I found really interesting were the comments on the report cards detailing my ability to write creatively.

Now, I've always known that my need to write started quite young but to actually see it documented by my teachers was amazing. Starting from the time that I began stringing together sentences (about Grade 2/3) my teachers always made mention of my enjoyment where creative writing was concerned. It was really amazing to see - a documented map of my journey as a writer. I have some of my earliest pieces tucked away in a portfolio but I didn't realize that my desire to write was witnessed by so many people - I thought I was just a solitary thing.

The funny thing is, I don't really remember ever talking about it with my teachers until high school. Sure, I attended writing workshops in elementary school and even won some awards because of my writing but the only memory I have of these events is in the bits and pieces my mom hid away for me.

It got me thinking - where did this creativity come from? Was I born with the need/ability to write fiction? Does it strike everyone and only some of us pursue it?

It was a lovely boost to my confidence and being somewhat superstitious, I'll take it as a portent of sorts - perhaps it really is my destiny to succeed in this crazy publishing world.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Patience is a Virtue?

I've heard that saying a million times but never really had to wait and be patient as much as I have now that I'm a part of this crazy publishing world.

I'm the type of person who likes to go, go, go - you give me a job or make a request, I do it right away -usually this works well for me but when it comes to writing, not so much. This is especially true with editing and revisions - taking your time is definitely necessary and yet I am constantly feeling this crazy urge to push through and get it done.

For example, right now I have my newly revised ms out with two different betas and I've managed to bully one of them into sending me the chapters as she gets them done. I know this might be a supremely stupid thing to do because it seems like it would make more sense to wait and see what problems my betas flag in the ms as a whole. And yet, here I am, editing away before she's even done reading the whole thing.

I've tried to occupy my time with other things I enjoy - spending time with my family, reading, exploring some other writing ideas but I'd say at least fifty times a day I'm thinking about the rewrite and wondering when I'll get a free chunk of time to work on it.

Once again, I found some great advice on literary agent Rachelle Gardner's blog(she seems to be totally in sync with my crisis modes) It's so true that this writing journey I'm on is filled with many, many examples of what Rachelle points out - waiting, more waiting and even more waiting, stress, more stress, tons-o-stress. It's a challenging industry, but no one said it was going to be easy.

After reading her post I remembered that I went into this knowing it would get tough at times, knowing that things would be out of my control, knowing that I really need to chill out and relax - give my betas and myself time. This dream means too much to me for silly mistakes - mistakes I will make if I rush my work.

Am I going to stop this round of edits? No, but I will give my beta the time she needs to get the rest of my ms done -I will retract my demand for chapter by chapter emails. Besides, she's given me enough to work with in what she's sent me so far.

What about all of you? Are you able to wait patiently or do you go crazy when things don't happen quickly? What mistakes have you made by rushing into things?

And finally - I've drawn a winner for the month of May - thank you to everyone who commented this month. The winner of an e-copy of Ghost Bride is: Danielle La Paglia! Congratulations! Please email me at so I can get some info from you.

For the rest of you - I'm starting another contest for June - same rules as before -comment and be entered to win an e-copy of Ghost Bride!