Tuesday, June 30, 2009

This is where it all started ...

Looking back on this time in my life, I have a feeling I will always say, 'This is where is all started...'

Let's catch you all up, shall I?

A few weeks ago, I walked into Barnes and Noble to get a computer programming book for my husband. I had a few minutes, so I browsed the shelves, wishing I would see my name mixed in among the multitude of authors. Then a flyer caught my eye: 'Deep Thoughts Writers Group -- first meeting this Wednesday night."

Well, I thought, here is my chance. As long as the people are nice and not judgemental, this might be an interesting thing to try.

Looking back, I should bite my metaphoric tongue -- it turns out, these people are incredible, and not just because they are good writers. But more on that later.

So, after changing around my child shift a little, I showed up in the cafe a few minutes early -- completely skeptical but willing to be open-minded.

I won't go into the minutiae of the meeting, but Greg and Brian were so sweet and genuine that I immediately accepted their invitation to join the full version of the same writers group in Milford (apparently, the BnN one was a satellite group). Plus, that same night, I overcame a small 2-week stint of writers' block by forging ahead in Chapter 12.

So, this past Friday, I packed up the shiny new laptop with its screen-saver bubbles and headed to the strip-mall bookstore in Milford.

And, there I met my friends.

I don't mean that in the sense I have no friends -- I mean it in the sense that writers need to be with other writers, and that there was an immediate kinship among the others at the meeting. Even in the world of editors, there is nothing quite like sitting down with real, talented (and real talented) fiction writers and discussing pop culture, debating the merits of one popular author over another, nit-picking sci-fi movies with fevered enthusiasm and sharing blueberry pie.

I mean, really ... how envious are you of this? I am green, and I was there!

Needless to say, this was intensely satisfying, not to mention that the writing that came out of it. The idea that you can relax your mind in a state of creative bliss while in the company of others on the same wavelength is incredible, let alone becoming the living embodiment of it. I *highly* recommend this ... but I can't guarantee your local writers group will be quite as awesome as mine. I'm really just that lucky.

On the actual writing front, there is not much to report. As I mentioned, I had a two-week block in my writing due mostly to the fact that no one was reading my chapters behind me. I love you all, but when there is no one to make happy with my writing but me, there really isn't an impetus to make the story go farther than my own head. I mean, I know how it ends and the twists and turns, but if no one else cares ...

But, thanks to Deep Thought (the group) and to a new resolve by my husband to read paper chapters (bound at work) in bed at night, I can feel the fire again under my bum.

And these will help keep me moving forward. Because, in every great career, there is a single point where everything has to start, where the ball towards fame starts rolling. And, for me, I think it's finally got a little push.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Fresh Perspective

Sometimes all you need is a compliment -- am I right?

A friend of mine came to visit over the weekend, and she brought with her something I'd forgot that I even gave away -- a complete, unedited version of my first novel, Manas.

The dog-eared pages and stains on the front page were good signs before she even formed the broad smile on her face.

She was bubbly, overjoyed and absolutely hooked on the story of my superspy Zellie and her leading man, Oliver. It was delightful when she even requested that I *sign* that unbound copy for her. Ten minutes later, she'd totally shook me down for every clue and even the name of the ultimate bad guy in the series. How can I possibly deny the request of my very first, not-married-to-me fan?

And this is a woman who *reads* -- the kind of woman a publisher only wishes were hooked on his new writer. Hint hint. She insisted that I take a week off work to start on the sequel to Manas, but I demurred with blushing thanks -- I have to finish what I'm working on now before focusing back on Zellie (even though she has a kick-ass story wriggling around in my head).

Well, talk about an addicting high. Having people fawn over me for my story is just something I don't think I'll ever get tired of -- but please go ahead and see if you can! :)

Alas, nothing more on it from an agent perspective, although it's been months since the last one turned me down sans explanation. Too bad -- Zellie will have her day in the sun soon, just perhaps not as a first publication.

Onto the project at hand: my sci-fi adventure Arcane.

A wise man that I do happen to be married to made a profound suggestion to me during a recent car ride: Could you tell this story another way?

Hm, I thought. Instead of pulling the reader firsthand through the experience, why not guide them using third-person?

After the shock of the idea's simple genius wore off on my husband, who glowed with pride, I sat down at my new laptop and got to work. Converting the 10 chapters I've already written gave me some much-needed separation form the writing -- enough to edit it with a fresh eye. Scenes I'd previously loved were sliced and diced; intentional love scenes were pushed farther back to highlight the adventure; and the new perspective gave way to a gush of new ideas spurred from the concept that the reader *didn't* have to hear everything going on in Drew's mind -- a peek really was more than enough.

Ah, at long last, some clarity. Now, I'll finish Chpt. 10 and move forward with confidence Arcane is now being told in the best perspective possible. Well, at least, the best that I've discovered so far.

Also, before I end this entry, I want to send out a big thanks to another friend (who, as always, shall remain nameless) who's been reading along with my chapters. You know who you are. Also, thanks for asking permission, dude. I'm glad you are enjoying it!