Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Wrting Life

Continued from Monday June 4th, 2007 . . .

Bear in mind, at this point I was so green it's amazing no one dusted me for aphids and watered my roots.

I found the eharlequin website and read and read and read some more. There was. and still is lots of basic advice for aspiring romance writers. There is also a supportive community of other struggling authors, both published and not. Harlequin offers a professional critique for a dollar a page. I sent off my most recent effort and waited for confirmation that it was wonderful before submitting again. Considering the earlier rejections - this time I wanted insurance.In the back of my mind the notion there might be some minor mistake of formatting, or some such trivial error lurked.

In due course the anonymous editors wrote back. The missive ran several pages and included lots of basic advice including titles of craft books. To boil down the evaluation of the story to its basics -- my story contained every possible newbie flaw. After a period of discouragement, I tackled their suggested reading list and tried a few other avenues for improving my writing craft. Chanting and cleaning the desk drawers didn't work for me.

Then I entered a contest. Optimism bloomed again. After all I'd read the books, I'd learned tons about storytelling. Surely, this time my entry would be picked. Nope. I did however make some great friends on the message boards as we all collectively waited anxiously for results. One of those supportive women, who writes much better than I do reluctantly took on the job of critiquing my work.

My gifted critique partner, Sheila Delaney did what nobody else had managed, she kindly explained what was wrong with my stories. Patiently she spoon fed me advice in clear terms. A familiar pattern, Sheila mentioning something and me hitting my head on the desk saying she's right damn it, emerged.

There have been many kind women who gave me words of genuine wisdom, but Sheila hung in there repeating herself until I actually caught on - at least for the moment. There's frequent back sliding on my part. It isn't deliberate, my mind simply doesn't work the way hers does. Eventually I will become self-correcting.

More stories, more revision of the stories already written, more patient advice from lovely women who've donated their time, and more submissions. Last year I wrote two new stories, one I submitted, the other I did not.

The unsubmitted story is the sequel to Dangerous Surrender . Since the full manuscript was requested by the lovely editor at New Concepts I'm thinking about revising the sequel to match the same level of suspense and character development. A hundred ideas and only a few hours a day to write. Welcome to the world of the aspiring writer.


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