Aug
2010

After the Pitches: Day Nine

Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Well, I watched a bit more Supernatural (it’s research for the books – honest) – and knew that I didn’t get the job. Training starts Wednesday and I hadn’t heard anything, so the writing was on the wall.
And – yup – got the call around 1:30. The HR Director called – and I didn’t get one word in. She sped through the “apology” and told me “thank you for applying to work with [our organization]” – I ALL READY WORK FOR YOU!!!
That said it all to me about the organization.
I am mad. Upset. Shocked. Frustrated. And disappointed. And I’m off to get a beer.
Chalk up another one to “life” stealing away my writing time.
14 days to deadline. Two weeks!
Procrastination = 4
Grossed-out Factor = 1
Life = 4
Manuscript = 0
Aug
2010

After the Pitches: Day Eight

Monday, August 16, 2010
Distracted.
Waiting for a phone call regarding the status of my job interview. Really distracted.
So, I watched a few hours of last season’s Supernatural and laughed my butt off (Changing Channels just about killed me).
15 days to deadline. Oh crap. 15 days to deadline. Help me….
Procrastination = 4
Grossed-out Factor = 1
Life = 3
Manuscript = 0
Aug
2010

After the Pitches: Day Four

Thursday, August 12, 2010
Distracted today by something totally different and mind-numbing: attack of the bugs! The spousal unit and I have been seeing little brown bugs around the house. A few here, a few there. Not in mass numbers. But I found 5 in the bathroom last night and decided to haul out the vacuum today.
Big mistake.
These buggers cling to walls, popcorn ceilings, and little crevices in EVERYTHING. So, I started vacuuming bugs in the bathroom, then the kitchen, then the floor, then the hallway…. I found their entry way (I think). In our hall, we have a closet. The bottom pulls up so that we can have access to the underbelly of the house. We keep our coats in there, our first aid materials, soap, shampoo, etc. And the dog’s treats. Not any more! I found a bag with literally THOUSANDS of these bugs in it.
And I’m a little grossed out. Okay, a lot grossed out. And I can’t contain myself. I have suck up every single one of these monsters! Every. Single. One.
19 days to deadline
Procrastination = 3; Grossed-out Factor = 1; Manuscript = 0
Aug
2010

After the Pitches: Day Three

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Procrastination is the big winner so far regarding the use of my time. So, I decided today that I would track my time and see what I actually do all day.

Got up early again! 5:00 AM seems to be SLEEPING IN for me lately. Sheesh. However, that doesn’t stop me from taking a nap about ½ hour later.

Woke up again at 7:00. Finished Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw and then I finished Diary of a Wimpy Kid Dog Days. I laughed less during these books and I liked them less (they both felt more like a series of one-liners than a story).

7:00 – 9:00. Surfed the web; wrote on Facebook; watched two episodes of Haven on the DVR.

9:00. Watched an episode of First 48 that I have seen a million times. And started this blog.

9:30 – 10:30. Talked with my mother on the phone.

10:30 – 11:30. Supernatural mini-marathon

11:30 – 3:30. Lunch with colleague; went to bead store to make earrings

3:30 – 6:00. Dinner and chatting with husband.

I can’t say that I’m not busy. Just not overly productive.

20 days to deadline

Procrastination = 3; Manuscript = 0

Aug
2010

After the Pitches: Day Two

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The day started off well. I went to my local Starbucks to work on my manuscript. I brought Diary of a Wimpy Kid 3, Nathan Abercrombie Accidental Zombie 2, Elizabeth Lyon’s Manuscript Makeover – and my laptop.

My 2 favorite tables were occupied – by a businessman yelling on his phone and a homeless man sleeping over his cup of coffee. So, I ended up at a long table near the area where people pick up their drinks. But at least I could plug in my laptop.

I plugged in my ear buds and cranked Depeche Mode’s extended mixes. I settled in – although it was a little chilly (why do they crank the AC when it’s 65 degrees OUTSIDE) – and opened up my laptop to start working.

First, I pulled my manuscript out of Scrivener and pasted it into Word.

Second, I named the chapters for easier reference: Chapter One, Chapter Two…

Third, I copied my previously-concocted detailed outline into the document.

Then, I picked up Diary of a Wimpy Kid 3 to research effective first-person writing geared toward middle grade readers.

HUGE MISTAKE!

This lead to a trip to Kohl’s, a transfer into my pajamas, and a strong desire to clean everything within 100 square miles of my home.

And now? A repeat performance of Wall-E!

21 days to deadline

Procrastination = 2; Manuscript = 0

Aug
2010

After the Pitches: Day One

Monday, August 9, 2010

So, I went through my manuscript again to fiddle and fart with it. And as I was reading it, I decided that I have to rewrite it. Currently, it’s in third person. And I know it will be more successful in first person.

Shoot.

So, I made a plan to rewrite the manuscript in first person by the end of August. That gives me 22 days.

I picked up all of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books on Sunday, so I picked up the first one to check it out. And I laughed my butt off.

Then, I started the second book.

I never got back to the manuscript.

Procrastination = 1; Manuscript = 0

Aug
2010

Getting published: and the journey continues…

Willamette Writers Conference 2010

I was going to call this entry “and the journey begins” but that is completely not the truth. This journey started – in it’s serious form – three years ago. I pitched my idea to an agent in 2007 who said “yes, please, send it in.” And I didn’t. For a variety of reasons, which really don’t matter in the world of publishing. Suffice it to say, I dropped the ball.

It is now 2010 and I’m not completely done with the piece but I decided to go “balls to the wall” and just pitch it! And have fun doing it. So, here’s my 3-day journey:

Thursday, August 5

Mandatory volunteer training for the conference. I am volunteering two of the days for 4 hours each shift. I have Sunday off to frolic and go to workshops. Mostly the same information as last year, but it’s great to see familiar faces and reconnect for the conference.

Attended Pitch with the Pros. If you ever attend a conference and are pitching your work, and if they have an opportunity to practice your pitch, I HIGHLY recommend it. There were a few rooms open to pitches and it was invaluable. The first woman who pitched her book was SPOT ON! From then on, many people rambled on about their plot. NOTE TO SELF: find a one-line hook to grab the attention of the agent or editor.

Friday, August 6

Up bright and early. Need to leave by 6:30 to beat the traffic. Got to the conference at 7:20. Breakfast (as always) is fabulous. Met new people. Hung out with writing friends. Put up a flyer to solicit serious people to create a writing critique group with me.

First pitch is to an agent who is creating a middle grade line at her company. It’s a fairly young line at her company. She was in the panel earlier in the day – and I found that I really liked her. When I pitched, we connected. She asked, “so what is your hook?” I rambled a little bit and said “X-files monster-of-the-week premise meets Goosebumps.” After a few mini-brainstorms, she came up with “X-files monster-of-the-week meets Diary of a Wimpy Kid” – YEEEEESSSSSSS!!!!! Later, she saw me volunteering in the room and said “I was thinking about this and I think you should simplify it to ‘X-files meets Diary of a Wimpy Kid.’” This became my MANTRA all conference.

Additionally, she asked if I was pitching to any agents at the conference. I named a few. She said “tell them I like it.” (There was much celebrating at my table at lunch.)

Worked the consultation area that afternoon. Wore my new Avia-brand “Shape Up” type of shoes and had ZERO back pain!

Became known as “the beach bag woman” by people at the conference. (I dunno.)

Saturday, August 7

 

Carpooled with a friend to the conference. Got there for breakfast. Chatted.

Pitched to the first agent at 9:00. I had fun with it and said “the editor over there likes it.” Before I got out two sentences, she was hauling out her business card and writing her query requirements on it. She said, “I’m not taking many solicitations for new clients, but I love it! Send me the whole thing!”

Throughout the rest of the day, we would catch each others’ eyes and grin at each other. Later that day, a friend of mine pitched to her and came back to report that editors and agents were talking about my pitch. HOLY SHIT!

Volunteered that afternoon. Celebrated with friends about their pitches. Kathy was asked for her entire first manuscript and synopses of her next two. Blythe received 4 out of 4 “please send me your manuscript” requests!

Met a strange man who wanted to pitch his entire manuscript to me – which was based on the opera “Carmen.” I asked him what his short pitch was – and he said, “I can’t pitch this in a smaller scale. It’s just not possible.” To which I said, “good luck to you, sir.”

Went home with a BEAST of a migraine. Slept most of the night.

Sunday, August 8

Last day. No volunteering for me this day. I went to a few workshops and pitched to a few people.

My first pitch was with one of the leading agencies in the world for children’s literature. And she is the president. Scared? Nah. “Balls to the wall” right?

I did my quick pitch and told her that I pitched it to one of her agents a few years ago (remember the one that I didn’t send in 2007?). She said, “polish it, make it beautiful, and send it to her.”

3 out of 3.

That afternoon, I was exhausted. Emotionally. Physically. Spiritually. Done. One more pitch.

It was a group pitch. One agent and five authors. Doesn’t leave much time. But I liked how she coordinated it. Each of us had one minute to pitch. Then she would offer advice, etc.

We all pitched. I did my spiel (which morphed all weekend). Then she says (I was the fourth of five authors):

to the first author: “No show stoppers here. Make sure you call it eco-terror”

to the second author: “again, no show stoppers. Refine your pitch. And call it a thriller. The title is a little dry.”

to the third author: “funny. you are hilarious. your book will be hilarious. cut your POV to 3 or fewer characters. you’ve got something here. But change the title.” (she writes like Christopher Moore, if you’re familiar with his work.)

to me: “I LOVE IT! The title is awesome. The characters are appealing. I can sell it RIGHT NOW based on your hook! But, you should add more words. Make it closer to 40,000. Then, send me the whole thing!”

to the fifth author: “I have NO IDEA what your book is about. I can’t offer an opinion. Make it less confusing. Define the characters. And let me know when you’re done with it.”

Aftermath

I thought I was exhausted before – now I need to write more. And (I decided this last night), I need to change it from 3-person to 1-person! It’s gotta be done. Painful process, but it’ll make it a better book (no one suggested it – but I KNOW it will be better.)

I bought the 4 Diary of a Wimpy Kid books so that I can really refine my writing style. I am peeing myself laughing at the antics. And now I understand the reference the kiddos had this summer to the “cheese touch.” I never understood why I was crossing my fingers, but I did it anyway. These books are the reason I KNOW I need to change my POV to first person. Damn Jeff Kinney! Damn him!

Well, off to fortify my body. Then, my mind. Then, the keyboard. Busy week ahead! Busy busy busy week!