Monday, October 27, 2008

Mentor Meeting

So, I got together with my author mentor this weekend. She was in town for a book signing, so it was the perfect opportunity to discuss the rejections I've been getting. She was full of suggestions, encouragement, and advice. Without her faith in my abilities, I might very well have myself a second "trunk novel" here, but she has convinced me not to give up on this manuscript. Of course, I got another partial request today. Now I really need to get on those chapter 1 changes. Luckily, my teaching load is fairly light for the next three days or so.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Book Review of the Day - Kat Richardson

Yep. Kat Richardson. Again. I'm caught up in her series. Just finished Poltergeist. Again, it starts strong and then we have vampires, but I'm getting used to that. Love the character development of Harper Blaine, the protagonist.

This author has done a lot of research. When I was younger (much younger) I had a healthy interest in parapsychology. I read every book I could get my hands on and even took a course in it in college. So I was very familiar with the case studies Ms. Richardson cites in her book. Makes me wonder if I could write something using all that currently wasted knowledge. Hmm. Anyway, the details add a lot to the story.

I've already begun her third book in the series.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Rejection Advice

So, I received a rather disheartening rejection today. Sigh. She wanted to see more of an emotional connection with the main character. As she only read the first three chapters, she didn't actually make it to that part. I like to write my main character as tough and fearless and let the emotional sensitivity show through later as the readers and other characters get to know her and see more deeply into her heart. Like, here's what she seems to be, and here's what she REALLY is. Or, here's the personality she shows on the outside and, if you earn her trust, you'll see more because the outside is one big hardened fake shell. But that's not working.

After consulting with my mentor, it looks like I'm going to have to rewrite the first chapter in order for my protagonist to "save the cat" earlier on. In other words, she needs to do something dangerous and heroic and emotionally heart string tugging right from the get-go in order to snag an agent's (and editor's) attention and establish that emotional connection. Because agents and editors rarely read past chapter 3.

Well, that's frustrating. I was very pleased with my first three chapters. I've received many compliments on them. They are solid, polished, and end with a lovely third chapter hook. I'm afraid of messing them up. But I don't have an agent and I'm not published. So, it looks like I'm back to the drawing board.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

On the Writing Front

So, I haven't spent much of this blog about writing actually talking about my own writing, which is what it was initially created for.

Hmm. I'm at the agent search stage. In other words, the novel is finished, revised, edited, polished, and now I'm trying to get an agent interested enough in it to offer me representation. That's not to say that I'm not still tweaking little things.

For example, my author mentor suggested that I needed more "deep point of view". I need to make the readers "feel what my characters are feeling" more. I already do this some, but some is not what is selling in New York these days. So, I'm adding more. I also feel that chapter 6 needs a major overhaul.

On the up side, my mentor says that I'm doing everything else right. And I just got a request for a partial from one of my top three agent picks. So, I don't have to be depressed today.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Book Review of the Day - Kat Richardson

Greywalker by Kat Richardson was recommended to me by her agent, Joshua Bilmes. And no, I'm not trying to impress him by reading all his clients' works. I was already a fan of Elizabeth Moon and Tanya Huff before I queried him about my current novel.

So, Richardson. I very much enjoyed the book, especially the first half. I enjoyed the eerie feeling I got while reading it, and the constant sense that what seemed to be living characters were actually dead ones and vice versa. I think I would have liked it more without the vampires, though. I'm just really tired of vampire stories. It's not that the vampires were bad, mind you. They made for interesting characters. I'm just ready for something new, and a full-blown ghost story was what I was really after. Since Richardson gave me that as well, I did go on and buy her second book in the series, Poltergeist, which I have only just started reading.

So, for vampire fans, this is a good choice. For ghost story fans, this is a good choice. For people who like strong female characters, this is a good choice.