Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Query Letter for review!

I am at my wits end with this very important pain in my behind and so I offer it up to you, dear reader. I don't think it's so bad that the Query Shark would be willing to take a bite out of it, but still, it's not quite right. Please review and comment your thoughts.

Dear Agent,

{Insert personal statement relating to specific agent.}

For 18 year old Hannah Slaughtery, science has always been the easiest way to understand the world; a place to be studied and analyzed. When an unexpected invitation to a leadership seminar sponsored by the Institute arrives, she accepts, unprepared for the mystical journey that awaits her.

The guise of the conference soon gives way to the real reason Hannah and the four other participants have been brought together. Born of mystical bloodlines, each individual must chose whether or not they will relinquish their mortal lives and transform into a band of supernatural warriors called the Partizans.

Once changed, they must stand against a ruthless and maniacal organization whose nefarious reach threatens to rid the world of humanity. Their mission, though difficult, is nothing compared to figuring out how to work together without killing each other first.

While intended to be the first in a YA series, The Partizans is complete and can stand alone at 77,000 words. Thanks you for your time and consideration.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Final revisions are done!

Okay, okay, yes, I admit it. The title of this post might be a little premature, but with the exception of typing in the edits and rewriting the last chapter... I am done. Yeah... it's a lot premature. But honestly, in comparison to what I have been doing for the last year, this is the end. (Hearing Jim Morrison in the background of my brain... wow... now I really want to listen to The Doors!)

I gave myself until November 1st  to finish the edits. Why that date? Well, because I have been editing for over a year. Not writing... editing. At some point, you have to say, enough is enough. This is as good as you can make it. And second, November is National Novel Writing Month and I have a new series that I am ready to spend a little time on. No worries... the Partizans have not been put aside... I just feel that this next book will be a good change of pace and challenge me as a writer. Finally, I would like to get my query process under way. (BTW, I should be posting my Q in the next day or so. Please give feedback and let me know what you think.)

So, what have I learned about writing a book in the last year and a half? #1. There really is no such thing as a completely perfect manuscript, even after nine edits. #2. Writers conferences are so worth it. #3. Everyone needs critique partners. #4. If I had to break it down, I would say talent is 30% of the book writing success equation, good crit partners are 10% and persistence makes up the remaining 60%. Add a love of editing and you have the remainder of 110%.

Why 110%? Because someone only giving 100% isn't fully committed. Seriously. I have been fortunate enough to be able to stay home and not have to work out of the house, but that doesn't mean I haven't had to give up things. What, you ask? Well, first there's sleep. Oh how I have given up sleep. Second, my house is not at all ready for company. OK, OK, it's never ready for company, but now I don't even try to hide it. Third, and this is the one that hurts, but I have given up time with my family. When Lou is home in the evening, most of the time I take off to work at a place where they don't call me mommy. And I come back well after the boys are in bed.

Was it worth it? You bet. Writing a first novel is tough. There is no one standing over you lightening the fire to get you to sit down and work. There is also no one there chanting your name at a movie premiere. But that's part of the process that makes it worth it. I did this. Yes, I had amazing help and support, but I am the one who put my butt in a chair and took all the words I've ever known and strung them together not to make sentences, but to tell a story. Even if this book never sees the inside of a publishing house, no one can take away the fact that I did it. I worked hard, and I can't think of a time when I didn't love what I did! So wish me luck and look for excerts in the months to come! And take some time to be bold!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A sad day in Greenfield

Today I am not blogging about writing… not exactly. This afternoon, my home town buried an officer killed in the line of duty. Now, I should mention, I live in a small town that’s about 15 minutes away from Indianapolis. We have our daily report of killings, murder, etc from the news, but this one is really hitting me hard. I didn’t know Officer Will Phillips. I know people who did, but I am not among the fortunate souls. I know he was a husband with two children close in age to mine. I know he was in the Marines. I know he helped out my friend when their vehicle was involved in a hit and run… how ironic that it was a hit and run accident that killed him. Anyways, it got me to thinking. Did Officer Phillips die doing what he loved?

One thing I have come to believe is that no matter how old you live to be, there is never enough time. Never enough time to tell the ones you love how much they matter to you. Never enough time to bask in the warmth of a bright fall afternoon. Never enough time to do the things you keep putting off until tomorrow. Why do we fill our time with things we don’t like? Why do we fill our heads with “I should” and “I would but” statements instead of “I can” and “I did”? Why do we push our children to fulfill our dreams instead of encouraging them to discover their own?

Yes, I know bills have to be paid. I’m not independently wealthy. But we live in a country where people acquire debt like it’s a status symbol. We have stuff filling our homes but we are empty in our hearts and our souls are choking on the chaos in our lives. We over schedule our children and our calendars yet have no time to sit together for dinner and talk about the happenings of our days.

So that brings me back to my question: Did Officer Phillips die doing what he loved? I will never know the answer. I hope he did. I hope everyone dies knowing that the life they lived was one that meant something to them.

Rest In Peace, William Phillips. May your death remind others that there is no time like today to do what sends your heart soaring. I know he has reminded me that moments can easily slip away from us. Be bold, my friends. Life a live worth remembering.