Saturday, April 26, 2008

CHALLENGE CHECK-IN

I believe Paty is driving over the hill today to the Reader's Luncheon in Portland so I'm going to risk stepping on toes and go ahead and post a challenge check-in. The fact is a lot of us rely on having a place to state our progress, a place to feel accountable where our audience is both knowledgeable and sympathetic.

I'll start with me. Monday I called my editor and told her I couldn't make this a three book series. There were many reasons I did this, the most important one being I could not find a connecting thread nor plot the second and last book. My editor was very supportive and kind -- I had no idea how terrible it would feel to admit defeat. Apparently, that angst acted like a wake up call to the lazy, no account brain cells loitering in my head, and they started scurrying around like ants on a drop of honey. The result is a shift of backstory and a glimmer of light. Hopefully, this will lead somewhere and I can call my editor back and tell her all is not lost and she can put a big red mark on my file (I picture red marks on all the crazy writer files. My dog once had a red mark on his file because he bit the vet... about the same thing, right? I digress....)

A writer friend of mine said, "Don't worry too much about it. I think editors expect us to be a little nuts." I aim to please.

So, how did your week go?

15 comments:

Alice Sharpe said...

I am picturing you all outside, enjoying the sunshine. Let's see, Chris and Genene are in Portland as is Paty. Eli is no doubt watching a gremlin play baseball or basketball or volleyball or swimming. Karen, she's harder. Okay, I'm putting her in a pair of shorts holding a glass of ice tea, sitting on her front deck reading a book and plotting which agent to choose when they all want her book. Kendra is in Hawaii so we all know what she's doing, the louse, and Lori -- I think there's something going on at her house concerning a floor. Piper is probably planting some veggies, Flo -- well, Flo, I don't know what you're up to, I'm not even sure where you live! Danita is being Mommy, so is Wavy, probably toting little ones outside for some Vitamin D and digging in the dirt. Have I forgotten any regular contributors to our check-in? Sometimes Chris York stops by for a chat -- today I'm placing her on the beach, maybe at a weenie roast or a kite flying contest or maybe just sitting on a log with a good book.

So, no wonder no one is keeping me company! If I forgot someone, oops.

Alice Sharpe said...

I knew I forgot someone!!! How could I??? Lisa.
Lisa is .. let's see ... oh, I know, Lisa is sitting outside with a diet coke in one hand and an anthropology book in the other. She's just come from her volunteer job at the museum, and later she's going to go put an ice cube on the tattoo on her wrist, but for now she's chillin'.

Karen Duvall said...

Wow, Alice, you're sharp! Haha. Sharp, get it? I kill me. But you're pretty much right on the money. Except I haven't gone outside today. I try to stay out of the sun as much as possible. I used to be a major sun worshipper, but out of respect for my skin, I've become a sun shunner. I'm drinking water instead of iced tea (my doctor just told me I need to drink more water) and I'm reading a fantastic book only an urban fantasy lover could love called THE DEVIL INSIDE by Jenna Black. And I am thinking about the agents I've submitted to and wondering which one will reject me first. I can't help it! I know I should think positive, but I'm actually feeling insecure. Sigh.

So what are YOU doing right now, Alice? Besides blogging, I mean.

Kendra said...

I'm a louse? I'm so hurt. :( All the rest and relaxation end tomorrow when the kiddos get here. My mother insisted they stay in her room so at least I'll have some peace. Although I think my dad might move in with us.

I just finished Karen Rose's NOTHING TO FEAR. (at the pool today) Now I'm motivated to edit. She puts her H/H through a tough time and creates incredible tension and passion. And does it in four days! I've been taking notes because my H/H face a situation where it's nearly impossible to create romance. But now I think I can fix that.

Karen--isn't the waiting killing you? I've got my fingers crossed!

Alice Sharpe said...

Kendra, sorry for calling you a louse. It's just jealousy talking. Real jealousy. White hot jealousy. Have a Mai Tai for me.

Isn't it great when you see a way to fix something? That's wonderful, congratulations. Is this the book you won third place (please forgive me if I'm wrong about the placement) in the contest recently?

I spent this afternoon chained to the desk but it was worth it! Book two and book three suddenly sprang to life. I'd almost forgotten how that feels (short memory span). Is there anything better? I mean besides that?

Thanks, Kendra, for chiming in. Say hi to the ocean for me. If you get a chance to take the boat to Molokai, it's a lot of fun (I'm a sucker for a boat ride...). I bet you can't wait to see your kids. Dad rooming with you? Nice.

Alice Sharpe said...

Karen, I didn't see your comment on there until now!

I like ice water, too. I spent today writing backstory and outlining two books (very sketchy) and the darn things finally came together!!! I think. Sssh, I don't want to tempt fate.

Btw, I am so very glad your doctor situation turned out good this week. I know what it's like to be on the receiving end of the procedures and also the waiting which is twice as hard. Big whoopee, sighs of relief, happy dance...

I hope the agents answer quickly!!!! I hope they all want it!!!! I hope your next biggest problem is figuring out which one!!!! OMG and then the bidding wars!!!! I try to stay calm when these things are happening, I try to not think about it and not expect too much, but it's just about impossible, isn't it?

Paty Jager said...

Hey Alice!! Thanks for doing the check in.

I was in Portland for the Reader's Luncheon. Had a fun time. Reconnected with a friend from the Cour'dlene(sp) chapter in ID and she gave me the e-mail of a Borders store there that loves to have authors come to the readers group they have. I also met some new people and Donna Z. sat at my table. She said she's tried several times to head out the door to meetings and something comes up, but she is trying to get to them.

The weather was awesome. The friend who went with me and I stayed at a motel by the convention center because we went to a softball game in Woodland WA yesterday. My friend's daughter was the coach. Anyway I had my second time of ever riding the trimet and I loved it!

As for check in- more research this week. Brainstroming with my friend on the way to and from Portland the book and series is taking shape. I did manage to write 200o words on it this week.

Alice you did a great job of predicting what everyone was doing. Though I would have said Karen was careening around Bend on her unicycle. :) And because of your great predictions- you should go on Oprah or Leno or some talk show.

wavybrains said...

Yes, we were outside-ish. Tavy helped me pick out glasses this a.m. Very excited to finally have glasses again after months and months without (they broke in the final weeks of pregnancy or thereabouts). She went to Saturday market with DH while I got the exam. Then we drove to IKEA and did our part to stimulate the economy. It was a gorgeous day.

Um. Wait. You wanted to hear about the writing. I didn't make my page goal, but that's okay. I'm snowed under with grading right now, and WE HAVE CRAWLING!!! Not just practice. And oh, my good lord, my house is so not ready. But, I'm thinking about writing all the time. This is a huge breakthrough for me, because in the past I just shut down during the semester. But, now, scenes form. Conflicts suss themselves out. Ideas for revisions creep in. It would be nice if I made it to the keyboard, but I'm really happy right now with just thinking like a writer.

Alice Sharpe said...

Wavy said:
"It would be nice if I made it to the keyboard, but I'm really happy right now with just thinking like a writer."

Wavy, as well you should be. Half of writing takes place in the brain anyway. Half? That's way too low. The fingers are important, but that brain....

CRAWLING! No one and nothing is safe! Ack! (But is there anything in the world cuter than a crawling baby, esp. from behind when they're wearing a big old cloth diaper?

Alice Sharpe said...

Paty-- Glad you enjoyed the readers luncheon. Sounds as though you and your friend had a good time. Nice that the weather was so pleasant for a drive and a baseball game. I can hear the birds twittering outside -- hard to believe I woke up to find it snowing just one week ago. Crazy.

Oprah's people called my people, but you know, it's jut not me.

That's great news about the series taking shape in your head. The 2000 words were on the Pinkerton lady?

Kendra said...

Ohhh. Crawling! It's a life change! Suddenly the kid is mobile and can get into EVERYTHING. I remember urging the first kid to crawl but sure didn't with the next two. I remember installing cabinet locks and gates, and constantly scanning the floor to make sure there was absolutely nothing that could fit in a baby's mouth. No pennies, beads or even newspaper.

But it was wonderful. I think. It's all a blur. Three kids in four years will do that to your brain.

Paty, how was the reader's luncheon? I don't know how they get that thing organized every year. There's always a flurry of panic the week before it goes on.

Genene Valleau said...

Alice, I just now read your original post on the blog. Cyber hugs to you and kudos for taking the huge step of calling your editor. I don't consider that "failure" but an incredible act of courage and self-confidence. Yes, self-confidence!

You reached the wall, admitted this just is not working, and said as much to those who needed to know. Releasing that "angst" freed your creativity and the energy of the universe lined up to do your bidding! Girl, I am going to have to send you some of the articles I've been reading!

My week didn't make much movement in writing stories. I had a couple more thoughts I jotted down for my nine-book series. (I'd better double-check! I think I jotted them down...) Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed the Readers' Luncheon in Portland yesterday--yes, you were right on target where I was, Alice. It was great to visit with Chris on the ride to Portland and back, as well as to see Paty there, and I got to see a lot of the Portland chapter members I don't see very often--that was nice. The promotion side of my writing made progress at this event (my first as a published author) and I learned a few more things that will be helpful in the future.

Other areas of my life this week have seen miracles and "failure" that jolted my learning curve -- kicking and screaming -- into high gear. All in all, a banner week.

Sending positive thoughts to your agent search, Karen.

Kendra, so nice to hear you check in from your vacation!

Wavy, glad your brain can still function with a crawling kiddo. :)

Flo Moyer said...

Alice, I'm so hoping you are able to solidify the connecting stories. That's really good that it might be coming together.

I've had a cold all week, which has slowed me down. I was hoping to be actually working on a new proposal by now, but I have been reading what I have, and three other possible stories all set up, and I'm trying to decide which I want to do. I thought a Christmas backed story, since I haven't written one in the last three books, and I love doing them. But something else has been edging at me, so I'm not sure. I've also been researching aspects of two different plot possibilities. So I've done a lot, but not made any concrete decisions on which new story I'm going to go for. And I hate being indecisive.

I hope everyone has a great, productive week!
Flo

Piper Lee said...

LOL-- Oh Alice, I wish I would have been able to get out into the yard and pull out those noxious weeds and plant something yummy, but alas, I was stuck in the house most of the day.

I had to prepare a lesson to teach at church today, so I was busy writing frantically for that instead of working on the WIP.

I'll get to the WIP on Tuesday when I'm back at the church building waiting for my 8-yr-old to attend Cub Scouts. :) I love this writing time!!! So quiet.

Sounds like everyone had a great weekend and I hope you get well Flo!

Thanks for the entertaining blog and comments Alice! :)

Paty Jager said...

Alice, you asked if the 2000 words was the pinkerton book. Yes, it was.

Kendra, the Reader's Luncheon was actually less chaotic than last year, but they need to do the book signing first thing in the morning. Everyone darts out the door as soon as the lunch and raffle is over.

Wavy, congrats on the crawler! Well, congrats on the growth of Tavy, maybe congratulating you on her mobility at a time when you'd rather keep her corraled isn't a good idea! LOL