Cleared But Re-Writing Anyway (and Too Much Stuff)

Well, it’s been a while, so let me catch you up. Since some of the early scenes of my novel, The Special Project, are set at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the Air Force has to approve the novel’s release. As many of you may know, the Government has two speeds, slow and slower. By the time the Air Force finally approved my manuscript, I’d spent time away from it and had been working on my next novel. During that time, though there were no glaring faults in the story or writing of it, a little voice, the same voice that told me to write in the first place, kept whispering to me that I could do better. No, it’s good, it’s finally finished, it’s about to be cleared, I’d think and squash that little voice. But, when The Special Project finally did get cleared for public release, I couldn’t move forward. Why? Because I knew that little voice was right. The story is good, but good isn’t good enough. I want great! And, for the first time in a while, I’ve finally been able to carve out a writing day. My house needs cleaned, but that’s okay (I keep telling myself). So here I sit in Kroger’s snack area just finishing up my vegetable soup and about to get a Starbuck’s and dig into revisions. Before I start though, I’m compelled to share some thoughts…

While sitting here chillaxing over a bowl of hot soup on this cold afternoon, free for the day from my usual rip and run pace, I took the time to absorb the world around me. I observed people running (literally, in some cases) around like ants at a picnic, all going places that must be pretty important to be in such a hurry about it. At one point a mother came out of the restroom with her daughter who was trying to tell her something. The mother, apparently not even listening to what the girl was saying, just told her to hurry, they were already behind schedule. I’m wondering how much of this hustle bustle is self-imposed. What was more important than dialog with her young child? I wanted to ask, but didn’t. They were already behind schedule, after all. But still, I wonder, what was more important? A sick relative who needed help? Okay, I’d be alright with that one. Or was it a soccer game, or errands that needed to be run to keep up with a life too full of non-value-added activities and stuff? On that note, every few minutes someone would announce that free things would be given away in 90 seconds. People would come running. No time to listen to their kids, but by golly, they needed that free thing. They didn’t even know what it was, but it was free stuff and everybody needs more stuff, right? More stuff to keep track of, to clean, to store in closets already overflowing. I’m pot by the way, talking about all these kettles. Nobody likes free stuff more than I do, but I’m slowly starting to realize stuff is not what’s important in life. Maybe we should stop collecting stuff we don’t need and buying houses we can barely afford, and cars that cost too damn much, and boats, and toys, but instead listen to the people around us. Really listen, not text on your cell phone or check your Facebook, but hang out, actually in the same room, or better yet, somewhere out in nature, with your loved ones, and look into their eyes when they speak to you. That can tell you a whole lot more than words on a screen.

Okay, random thoughts in check now, unless they’re for my story.

Happy Writing,

Traci, a.k.a. Pot (but working to get better)

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No Café, But Lots of Happy.

Hi All,

You may have noticed the big gap in my postings over the winter months, not that I was stellar at it in the first place. My completed novel (not published yet), The Special Project, had a few queries out. My novel-in-progress, Our Egypt (working title), was starting off strong, thanks to our government shutdown. Ahhh, for a short time I was living my dream – writing as my full-time day job. Except for the fact that writing wasn’t my full-time day job, I was happy.

Then my daughter, Destany, calls me up and says, “You know that writing café you want to open someday? Why wait?”

My answer – “I can’t afford to quit my paying job.”
Her response – “I’ll move home and run it. So, why wait?”
My response – “Yeah! Why wait!”
 
And with that, we were off. For the next few months there were business plans, site searches, small business meetings, food safety classes, researching suppliers for local, animal and environmentally friendly products, furniture bargaining and begging, you name it…everything but writing.  🙁  And I was becoming grumpy, because that’s what writers do when they can’t write, right? So my daughter and her grumpy non-writing mother finally found a site. After hours of reviewing and negotiating, a contract was signed. And we were happy dancing! We’d finally get this rolling to the next phase and I’d be one step closer to getting back on the writing track. Not so much. Then came commercial loan applications (cha-ching), architect and contractor meetings (cha-ching), meetings with the city, planning for code upgrades (cha-ching), appraisals (cha-ching), inspections (cha-ching)–then EEERRRRRRRRRTTTTT (that was the screeching sound of breaks).  The termite inspector looked me square in the eyes and said that word, that word you bring him out and pay him good money (cha-ching) to tell you doesn’t exist. The “T” word. Termites. Or at the very least, “evidence” of  termite damage–mud tunnels and floor joist that had been eaten into the walls. And, because of the positioning of the building against the next, there was no good way to treat. Ugh. I could see the straw floating, floating, down from the sky and landing gingerly on the camel’s back, then I watched his knees buckle. Our budget could take no more cha-ching, so we cut our losses.

More site searches led to nothing suitable, so the Dayton Writers’ Café is on hold and Mom is writing again, which makes her very happy. Destany has connected with other like-minded people and is becoming more involved with animal rights issues, which makes her very happy, too. So maybe, just maybe, things are exactly the way they’re supposed to be. For now, anyway.

If interested, please check out Destany’s new blog at destanysveganlife.blogspot.com.

HAPPY WRITING!
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Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop

Hi All!

I just got home from the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop. Wow, what a first-class program!  Well planned, well run, and the people–from speakers to presenters to attendees–were all amazing!  I’ve never been in the presence of so many accomplished people at one time.  It made me feel very small in comparison.

I discovered my passion for reading and writing late in life and am way behind everyone else in this world.  Frequently people speak of authors or books I’ve never read or sometimes never even heard of.  🙁  How can I catch up on a lifetime of passion I only discovered a couple years ago?  My only answer is to keep moving forward and never say I can’t do it.

Now, back to the conference.  I learned a lot over the past few days (besides the fact that I’m way behind the power curve), but one of the consistent messages was that writers HAVE to have a platform, whether we’re going the traditional publishing route and searching for an agent or planning to self publish.

How many writers out there hate the thought of platforming?  How about the mere word, platform?  Yeah, me too.  But, I have a renewed commitment to do better, starting right here. Blog, blog, blog.

HAPPY WRITING! (and HAPPY PLATFORMING!)

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Waiting Doesn’t Mean Stopping

Waiting to hear back from several query submissions and researching good fits for more. One rejection so far, but that’s okay. Not everybody is a match, nor is every book and agent. I will find my Mr. or Ms. Right Agent when the match is right.

Now, back to the title of this post. Though The Special Project is my first baby, it’s not going to be an only child. So, while I’m waiting on Mr. or Ms. Right Agent, I’m also moving on to my next book venture – not sci-fi this time, but another fiction novel. This one will be about a young woman in a not-so-great relationship, bogged down by a new, demanding career, who, after a medical crises, finds herself transformed into a dream state so real…

Sorry, don’t want to give too much away. It could all change at this point anyway. I’ll have to wait and see where the story takes me. 🙂

Happy Writing! Happy Reading! It’s Banned Book Week, pick up a banned book and enjoy!

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Let the Queries Begin!

I started sending queries over the weekend (September 7th, 2013, to be exact). There are so many talented agents out there. I can’t wait to find just the right partner with whom to learn and grow throughout what I know is going to be an incredible journey!  🙂

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Third Time’s The Charm?

Hi All,

I haven’t posted in a while, but I’ve been busy, busy, busy working on my manuscript. I spent the day at Barnes and Noble (my two furry girls make it tough to concentrate at home right now) tying up loose ends from my third round of reader comments. After I finished that, I started reading back through the manuscript and I think the third time’s the charm! It looks pretty good, so far. Woooohooooo!

I’ve also started working on a query letter. I’ll soon be sending that out to my reader friends for feedback, too, but I’ve made a strong start (if I do say so myself, lol). It won’t be long before I’m sending out queries! YAY! 🙂

What do I want for my birthday (in September)? An agent! What do I want for Christmas? A publisher!

Happy Writing!

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Status

Okay, so I still suck at this blogging thing. Every spare minute I have, I work on my novel, so the blog tends to fall through the cracks. I want to document this process though, so here’s where things stand:

After I finished my last round of revisions (based on my November 2012 feedback), I took a couple more months to read back through the manuscript, smoothing and polishing as I went. Then I handed it off again to my trusted readers, which this time included a very talented author. I absorbed every one of their verbal comments in a feedback session and now have all their markups spread out on my table ready to dig in. I can’t wait to incorporate their invaluable feedback into my next round of revisions. It’s getting closer! I just wish I had unlimited time to devote to revisions and everything else it takes to craft a well written story that any agent/publisher would be happy to represent. I’ve decided if that takes selling my house and cutting back on my brain-frying job then that’s what I’ll do. And after all that, if I die without reaching my goal of becoming a published author, at least I’ll leave this world with no regrets about whether I gave it all I had. And that’s okay too. 🙂

Now, back to my novel, coming soon to a bookstore near you. 😉

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Two Years – Five Drafts

Two years ago this month (January 10th to be exact), I started writing, and writing, and writing, and haven’t stopped. With no experience whatsoever, I finished a novel in 5 months. I didn’t know what else to do at that point but send it out. Yes, I was clueless. It stunk of course, but one agent was nice enough to include some direction in her rejection letter. I researched every piece of advice she’d given me then dug back in. This time I knew the task of writing a good novel was more than I could handle on my own. So, I signed up for a class through Word’s Worth Writing Center (www.wordsworthdayton.com). I highly recommend this place! The class was taught by uber talented author Katrina Kittle (www.katrinakittle.com). Draft #2 showed improvement over draft #1. Then more classes and workshops through Word’s Worth and Antioch Writer’s Workshop (www.antiochwritersworkshop.com) helped drafts #3 and #4 get better still.

A full manuscript read through from some awesome trusted writer friends in November has kept me pecking away at the keyboard for the last couple months working on the biggest revisions yet. Last night, one day ahead of my plan, I finished draft #5. WooHooo! It is still a draft that needs to be smoothed and polished, and it could have more revisions in its future, but I’m one step closer. Yay!

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Happy New Year!

I’m so excited to see how far I can take my manuscript in 2013! I received such useful feedback from my beta readers in November and have jumped back in revising, revising, revising. I’ve decided to go from one POV (Point of View) to at least three, bring in new scenes and include others that were just hinted at before, do some pace corrections and modify the overall tone of the main character. So far, I like it much better but have a lot of work left to do to complete these changes. Thanks Ruthann, Jen, Christina, Cindy, Al, Den and Destany for the wonderful feedback! You’ve put my story on a better path.

My goal for 2013: Finish all my revisions and polishing, run my manuscript through an editor, flood agents with good, solid query letters, get an agent, GET A BOOK DEAL and bring these characters to life for all to meet!

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Administrative

I’ve been told my blog is not allowing comments. Sorry about that. I’ve changed the settings so hopefully you can share your thoughts now.

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