Sunday, May 29, 2011

You asked for it, you get it!

I'm entering a "first-250-words" contest run by Shelley Watters, so followers of my blog get to read part of my prologue.  Let me know what you think.  Just know, this is a thriller, so the scene gets rather graphic. This part isn't bad, but if you don't enjoy that sort of thing, I'd stop reading now.  Just FYI.  CODE is a 67,000 word medical thriller.

  The woman lay naked on the bench, arms tied out from her tiny body, making her look like she was being crucified horizontally.  Her long blonde hair coiled under her head, which was taped down to the rough, splintered boards beneath her.  A tube snaked into her lungs and fogged with each breath.  She struggled with the bonds tying her petite arms and legs to the boards they lay upon.
            Her scrubs were piled in the corner, white coat crumpled on top of the pile.  A young man bent over the coat and pulled off a pin.  The diamonds that created a shape of a bone sparkled in the bright light of the barn.  Spotlights had been hung in the corners, and their beams focused on the woman on the bench.
            He pocketed the pin and went over to a box in another corner of the structure.  He pulled out a brown bottle and a scalpel.  He placed a surgical mask over his mouth and nose prior to walking over to the woman.  The woman tried to scream against the tube in her throat.  No sound emerged.
            He stood to the left of his patient.  The woman squinted in the bright light shining down on her.  He opened up the brown bottle, and poured the liquid onto the woman’s left side.  The woman’s left breast and chest stained amber under the solution.  He reclosed the bottle and set it aside.  He hoisted the scalpel, checking the blade for any nicks.  It was perfect.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Take it up a notch

Got my first request for a full this week.  Yippee!  I was so excited I spilled my coffee, then called my hubby, then spilled some more coffee.  (Luckily, said spills were in no way near my computer.)  I was waiting on feedback on my first few chapters so I decided to wait until I got the feedback to send CODE to the agent.  I knew that wait would only be a day.

The feedback was positive-- looks like I've got a good grip on voice and POV, and all my reviewers loved my story.  I didn't have to change a thing!

Still, for completeness, I decided to read through the entire manuscript again.  I found a few things to change, but not much.  Good, right?

So why was I paralyzed when it came time to send my novel?  I was so excited that I literally could not push send.  I was so afraid that I was about to make a mistake.  Not with the agent-- don't get me wrong, I would be thrilled to be represented by him!  I was just afraid that my novel wasn't the best it could be.  I've worked so hard, so long on it.  I know I'll keep working on it until the day my agent and editor tell me to stop.  But I also know it's ready.  So why the fear?

I think it's just fear of the unknown.  This felt so real.  Someone, a complete stranger, wants to read something that I wrote.  He wants to see if it's something he wants to represent.  How awesome is that?

My hubby finally talked me into pushing "send."  I did it and felt instant relief.  Now all I have to do is wait for the agent to respond.  I'm getting pretty good at waiting.  In the meantime, I'm off to work on my next work-in-progress-- MERCY.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Query Practice

Yes, I know everyone says that the more you write, the better you get.  I thought I got it.  Then I discovered, today, that that goes for query writing, too.

I've been working on my query like crazy, and I couldn't figure out why no one was helping me.  I figured I should start helping others, too, instead of just posting comments, but I didn't think I was qualified to help.  Decided to jump in anyway, and low and behold, I find that the query-writing process is getting easier!  Who would've thunk it?  It's also fun to think about the books of other people.  I've been too wrapped in my own manuscript.  I need to start reading more, especially now that my class is winding down and I've finished reading "The Imperfectionists" for it.

So instead of stressing about my own query, I'm going to try to help others with theirs.   I'm going to read other people's books.  I'm going to let my query sit for a while, then come back to it later.   Then, I'll ask for query help again, and see what I get.  It's sure to be a smarter way to approach the process.  Not to mention more fun!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The dreaded "middle"

And no, I'm not talking about my muffin top.

As a writer, the hardest part isn't getting started.  I've got plenty of idea flying around in my brain, and getting a new manuscript going is as easy as jotting down some ideas in the middle of the night during a bathroom run.

And finishing the story isn't that bad, either.  Usually, once I know how things are going to start, I'm pretty sure how they're going to end.  So once I write the beginning, I write the end.  Easy enough, right?

That's when the dreaded white space of death hits.  Now I have to make the beginning meet up with the end in a cohesive, entertaining way.  I have to create the subplots that will make the plot move forward.  And I have to move things around, changing the order to create a story that makes sense.  That's where I am with my WIP, and it kills me.  Every time.  So instead of working on my WIP, I'm polishing my already-polished manuscript, I'm querying like a madwoman, and I'm checking my writing email account every five minutes, just in case a rejection might have come in.

So here it is.  I do so solemnly swear that this afternoon, after lunch, I will work on my WIP.  I will come up with 1000 words.  And I won't complain about it.

Yeah, right.

Monday, May 9, 2011


The query process requires a lot of patience, which for some reason is really difficult for me.  After waiting years and years to be a doctor, I got there.  After waiting years to find the right person for me, I got there.  After years of trying to have children, I got there.  So why is the query process any different?

I think the main difference is that there's nothing I can do to speed it along.  With school, I got to study.  With my husband, I got to date.  With my children, I got to... well, you know.  But all I can do to speed along the query process is query some more.  Then, I've got to wait on responses to all of the new queries.  So in that case, lack of patience just makes things worse!

I know what I need to do.  I need to polish my manuscript so that it is perfect.  I need to work on my new manuscript.  And I need to stay away from my gmail account.  But none of those is going to keep me from tapping my toes and drumming my fingernails.  I guess I need to go where there is no internet available.  Too bad work has internet access, since that is where I am heading next.  I'll just have to keep myself busy doing other things, like my day job.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Did your mother let you out of the house wearing that???

I spent the better part of this afternoon at a dance competition.  My oldest was in one of the youngest groups, and they did a great job.  They danced to a classic song, wore classic costumes, and had a ball.  That's what it's all about right?

Not so fast.  There were a couple of teams wearing next to nothing.  Now, I wouldn't be quite as upset if these were older teams.  (Oh, who am I kidding?  I'd still be upset.)  But these were NINE and TEN year olds wearing burlesque costumes and simulating stripper moves.  I'm not kidding.  All they needed was a pole and they would have been set.

Why can't we let kids be kids?  Why are we forcing them to grow up so fast?  Luckily, my little ones go to a studio where they value dance as a fun way to socialize and not a means to an end.  My understanding is that the sexier outfits and dances get better scores, but our studio doesn't care.  No midriffs were shown by any of our teams.  That makes me proud.

Oh, and my kiddo?  Her team got first place in their division.  That makes me proud, too.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Constructive Criticism

I've had a couple of rejections come back with constructive criticism.  Now I've got to figure out what to do with them.  The two criticisms were different.  Do I take both and change my manuscript?  Do I just wait and see what other agents have to say and change then?  Or do I leave my manuscript as it is, and wait to get representation before making any changes?

I'm taking a class on the debut novel, and so far have gotten nothing but raves about my manuscript.  This makes me reluctant to change.  Well, I'm reluctant to change anyway, but that just reinforces my general predisposition.

What would you do?  Would you change or leave the same?  I'm interested to hear what others have done in this situation, so please leave comments.

For now, I think I'm going to wait to hear about my other submissions that are out there.  I like what I've written and want to leave it for now.  Is that so wrong?

Monday, May 2, 2011

He's gone

Everyone is saying that I'll remember where I was when I heard about Osama being killed.  I'm sorry, but I don't think so.  I'm not going to memorialize him that way.

What will I remember?  I'll remember 9/11.  I'll remember how I watched in horror as the towers came down.  I'll remember how I worried about my friends in NYC, and how I grieved for those who were lost. I'll remember the man who was brought into my emergency department with a gunshot wound to the abdomen, and I'll remember that I couldn't fly him to a trauma center because all flights were grounded.  The death toll may have been officially close to 3000, but I will always think of it as 3001.  I can't be sure my patient would have survived had he been able to fly to Indy, but I'll never know for sure.

That's what I will remember.  What will you?