Dec 3, 2014

Breaking Twitter #PitMad

For those of you who are not aware, tomorrow (Dec 4) is the #PitMad (Pitch Madness) event on Twitter.  In short, it's why your Twitter will be acting a little funny tomorrow.

Why is everyone posting book synopses? 

I've only recently discovered this event.  You learn something new everyday in this business, I swear. 

So, how it works is: authors with polished manuscripts and shiny query letters pitch their project in 140 characters or less, in hopes that an agent or publisher will "Like" it.  And if they do, it's an invitation to submit a query and get that baby out of the slush. 

You can tweet your pitch twice an hour, and you can't tweet the same thing over and over or Twitter will think you're a internet-hacking robot and kick you out.

I like to think of it as an opportunity for an opportunity (for an opportunity, and so on).  Apparently, quite a few people have landed agents going this route.

I have my tweets planned, for the most part.  My query letter is practically sparkling.  The Manuscript is a veritable Beta Reader whore.  I'm ready for liking of my tweets.

(this blog post is going in a strange direction, let's get back on track.)

Anywho, if you are interested in participating in this event, assuming you are at this phase of your project, I've found a ton of helpful info here at Diana Urban's blog (one of the #PitMad hosts). 

I'm excited to do something other than send out query letters.  It can get stuffy here in this office sending out "please love me" letters all day.  I'm sure the agents and publishers feel the same way.

Let's party, Twitter.

Are you participating in #PitMad?  Have you had success with this before?  Do share.

Winning.

That's right.  I won NaNoWriMo, which basically means I churned out 50,000 words in 30 days or less.

If it sounds like I'm not excited about this, trust me, I am!  I just finished my second novel.  Is this real life?  It feels amazing, and I'm so obsessed with this whole project right now.

I just don't see this as "winning" really.  I see it more as reaching a goal-- a goal toward a career that I work very hard for.  Winning implies that this was a game to me.

The beauty of NaNoWriMo is that it gives folks who've always wanted to write a novel a deadline and time frame and reason to sit down and do it.  It's all about creating that daily writing habit. (i.e., myself one year ago)

This year, I already had that habit in place.  My feet were already wet and I knew my way around Scrivener.  So, when I hit that 50k goal in 30 days, it felt so damn good, but not like winning.

Here's where I am winning:  Last year, I found out that I was not the only writer in our little military community.  In fact, there are FOUR of us.  Once realizing this, I set up some meetings through the library, created a Facebook group and wrote up little writer's club meeting agendas.  Throughout the year, we've gotten to know each other, became friends, colleagues, supporters and fans.

So, truth be told, I didn't win NaNoWriMo, at least not on my own.  I had an arsenal of support that pushed me through.  When I wanted to stop, they pushed me.  When I got stuck, they lent an ear and an idea.  When I didn't want to write, they made me sprint it out.

It doesn't matter that not one of us writes in the same genre or who is published or trained or just having fun.  Writers were not meant to do this alone.

Stay tuned this week for a little post about my WIP.  I have to share something about it.  I'm that excited.


Oct 29, 2014

Cozy

So, I found this link up over at Chronicles of Chaos called Write or Die Wednesday geared for (you guessed it) writers with writing prompt and all.  Umm…okay I guess it sounds fine or whatever.

Write or Die Wednesdays


Yeah, I'm so in.

So, today's prompt is the word: Cozy.

This seems like the perfect time for me to share with you one of the very greatest things about living in Germany.


So, I'm not a zealous lover of winter.  The snow is lovely and sledding can be fun, but given the option, I'd probably pass on freezing temps, heavy boats and having to shovel anything off my driveway.
But there is one part of winter that I look forward to all year living here in Germany.

Christmas Markets

These country-wide, wildly popular events are magical in a way that I almost cannot describe.  It's the only time that I stop caring that I am freezing, bundled from head to toe in knitted yarn and wool everything.  Whether I'm there to shop for handmade ornaments, gifts for the kids or just to laugh with friends, there is no better place to capture that cozy Christmas feeling.
Every city celebrates, each tiny village and city square adorned with unique Christmas trees and decorations.  The local church coordinates music and performances, and for a moment we forget the work and stress of the holiday season to just cuddle up together in small spaces and get subtly drunk on warm wine and hot food with our neighbors.
No Weihnachtmarkt would be complete without the help of a piping hot mug of gl├╝hwein (mulled wine) held tight between my gloves, gently warming my fingers as I clutch it to my chest.  I slowly meander through crowded aisles and booths selling Christmas treasures and local crafts.  The aroma of roasting chestnuts and grilled brats fill the air.  And every time the cold seeps into my bones, I take a big hot sip from my mug and feel the cider warm me from the inside out.


Oh, Christmas markets.  Please catch on in the states.


This feeling.

As a writer (and this may apply to any creative career) they're come a series of moments, I've found.
The moment you decide to stop screwing around and just do it already.
The moment you realize it's harder than you thought it would be.
The moment you think you suck so bad at this and why (WHY) are you doing this?
The moment you think you are the single most talented creature who ever touched a keyboard in the world.
Then, the moment you complete your first manuscript.

I expect there are many greater moments to come, (getting published, per say) but I'm wholly convinced that nothing beats the feeling of accomplishing something only you could do.  Whether or not you get published or sign an agent or reach the NYT Bestseller status all depend on the actions of others in some way.  Finishing that first novel depends on you and you alone.

Yesterday, I walked on clouds for every blinking minute after 4:00pm because I had finally, for the first time in my life, declared my novel done and believed it.

So, after a full twenty-four hours of doing the "it's done" happy dance, as well as re-read (x10) some overwhelmingly wonderful reviews from beta readers, I'm ready to buckle down and pony up to the query letters.

Okay, maybe I'll soak in my euphoria for just one more minute.  I don't want to let this feeling go.


Oct 26, 2014

Gearing up for NaNoWriMo again.

It's that time of year again!  National Novel Writing Month.  I'm so excited this year and for good reason.

1. I have a stellar local writing group.  Last November, a local writer contacted me wanting to put together a group.  We are in a strange situation here because our "region" on the NaNoWriMo site is Germany.  All well and good except those meeting and forum threads are in, you guessed it, German.  I asked the NaNo admins to give us "Military Writers Abroad" our own region, but they declined.
So, in January, we created our own little writing group and there are four of us that meet once a month and talk about writing, publishing, editing, proofreading, blogging and much much more.  I've never known other writers or met with people to talk about writing at all.  In fact, before last year, I've never owned up to being a writer at all, so this is really so, so great to meet with writers and chat the way we do.  They are so good for my soul.  Words can't describe.  In fact, one of them is actually a published novelist, and ridiculously talented.  Check her out!


2. This will be my SECOND novel.  Yes, it's true, my first novel, Hereafter is complete.  Sort of.  It's complete, but as far as first novels go, I don't know if I'll ever feel it's really complete.  I'm 25% through my "final" round of revisions.  Know one really knows before writing that first novel how incredibly hard it is, or how complex it will be, or how frightening it is to let it go into the world.  My friend, the published one, has assured me that the first one takes the most time, years in her case.  And years in mine too really.  If you had told me in November of last year that I would still be revising Hereafter a year later, I would have frowned, aggressively.  I had dreams of having that thing revised and queried by April.  But writers learn the lessons the hard way.  I rushed it and was too excited.  Now, I'm taking my time.  I'm running it through revisions relentlessly before even sending it back out to Beta readers.  Patience, my friends.  When it does make it into your hands, I want it to be perfect.

3. I have a degree in this shiz.  I did it!  In April, I officially became a college graduate with a fancy diploma saying I have been trained in the ways of writing creatively.  In short, this doesn't mean much. Few other degrees mean less than a creative writing degree.  But I don't care.  I did it and I have the piece of paper to prove it.  I got a degree in the craft that means the very, very most to me.

So, that is why I'm excited about this November.  And I'm so ready.  More ready than I have ever been.   I have been Pinteresting, outlining, character sketching and getting so ready.

Now, the question you've all been waiting for.  What is the novel I'm going to write?

Well, there's a little Steampunk.  In a futuristic Prague.  With street performers.  Some magic, some love, some cute boys playing fiddles and hot ones doing magic.  Pretty girls dressed like angels and gypsies.  Creepy clock-makers and wicked, people-chasing gargoyles.

The working title is The Fiddler and the Angel, and it's the first book in the series: The Bohemia Chronicles.

I'm very excited about this project.  To read the official blurb, check out my NaNoWriMo profile here.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo?  Tell me about your project and your username so we can be writing buddies!