Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Freelance Fiction Writing

I've become friendly with a tiny handful of authors since starting Fantasy Debut. One is Janet Lorimer, writer of children's novels and more recently, the adult fairy tale Master of Shadows. Here are my reviews. It's still in print, so if it sounds good to you, go buy it!

Anyway, Janet and I have stayed in touch ever since. She read a few short stories of mine, and I gave her my opinion on the opening of one of her novels and several synopses. She also went into detail about her freelance career, where she write a great deal of educational fiction and nonfiction.

I've done some freelance writing in the past ten years, mostly for the Uncle John's Bathroom Reader humor book series. I wrote one history article for them ("Port-a-Fortress") and twelve science articles.

Now thanks to a referral to from her, I have the opportunity to pitch a short YA novel to the educational publisher. It's a specific type of writing called high interest/low reading level, aimed toward "struggling readers". When Janet described it to me, it sounded a lot like what I did for the Bathroom Reader. I sent her contact at the publisher an email introducing myself, and she sent back an overview of the types of novels they're looking for. I already have an outline, which I thought of on the way home.

It will be work-for-hire, but I'll get a byline. It's for trade paperback style books. And if the editor likes my idea, I'll get a contract to actually write it. Therefore, I'll potentially be selling the novel on proposal.

I did an interview with Janet where she discusses this type of writing in detail.

Wish me luck! This will be great for my bio. And my pocketbook!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Writing Mainstream Fiction

I've been doing all the "time to get serious" stuff that I always do for a book once I realize that it's a "go." I've created my storybuilding wiki (which I use TiddlyWiki for). I've given all my characters first and last names. I've numbered my chapters and named my scene breaks. I've come up with a six-sentence outline of the entire plot.

The genre is Contemporary Romance. It's not a genre I read much of, but it is a genre that I've read a great deal of, in years past. Like most romances, it's a standalone novel. This will be the first standalone novel I've contemplated. Even with my Christian novel, I envision a five-book series. I seem to think in series. Not this time. This means everything will have to resolve. No dangling plot threads. And such genres usually have an 80,000 word limit. It will be my shortest book yet.

My approach is quite different. With Starcaster, I held on tight and let the plot take me for a ride. Here, I'm being a lot more deliberate. When I came up with all my characters in my wiki, I tagged a bunch of them if they could be classified as protagonist or antagonist. While doing this, I came up with another antagonist, because I needed someone to betray my heroine. I also realized that a good supporting character was, in fact, an antagonist. He's a good antagonist, but since he's working against my character, that makes him an antagonist in my novel. Another neutral character turned out to be an antagonist, and a while back, I realized that another antagonist will turn into a protagonist over the course of the story.

And I'm giving myself a deadline. I have to be able to enter it into the Golden Hearts contest by December. Sometime over the summer, I'm going to join RWA. That way, I won't have to pay both rather expensive fees at once.

And no, I still haven't finished the Christian novel. I figure I can work on them both. When the muse goes silent for one, he just might speak for the other.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

I Love Your Blog

Lisa of Life's Goulash has nominated this blog for an I Love Your Blog award!

She posted this an embarrassingly long time ago, and I'm so sorry that I didn't post about it sooner.

Thank you for the award, Lisa!

1) Add the logo of the award to your blog
2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you
3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs
4) Add links to those blogs on your blog
5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs!

 Here are my nominations:

Kristophrenia - my critique partner, whose been on my blogroll since, like forever
Katie Lovett - a beta reader who I met through one of Rachel Vater's query critiques.
Star Captain's Daughter - intrepid Alaskan, fellow reviewer and fellow aspiring author
Initial Draft - who recently self-published his novel, The Ninth Avatar
Jen Haley - recently agented, pre-published, with fascinating insights on the newly agented.
Robin's Mystery Blog - writer of my other favorite genre, mother of great-sounding kids.
Kelly Gay - recently contracted but still pre-published author who occasionally guests at Fantasy Debut.
West of Mars - another longtime member of my blogroll, who has amassed a legion of fans around her unpublished novel.

And, of course Lisa, who gave me this award and who blogs on fun stuff, beta reading, cats, and occasionally, writing.

Thanks again, Lisa!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Snippet Tuesday

Here's a snippet from one of my works in progress. John is a big-time movie star, and Max works for him. Both of my WIPs are about Hollywood. It's getting hard to keep them straight.

In the nightclub, Max spotted Karen near the entrance, looking out-of-place. She wore a knee-length black dress with a high neck, which he suspected was risqué for her. Here, it was impossibly modest. And impossibly lovely. He went over to her and found himself hugging her before he even said a word.

"Rough week?" she asked. He thought he could hear a smile in her voice.

"Yes. I'm sorry." He released her.

"It's okay," Karen said.

"You're sure?" He wanted to hug her again.

"Sure. Did you know this place has a twenty dollar cover charge?"

"I'm sorry--let me pay you back."

"It's okay, really. The only reason they let me in is I claimed to be meeting John Raven. See that big dude over there?" She nodded toward a large bouncer-type. "He's given me five minutes to join John Raven's party or he's throwing me out."

"Well, let's go, then."

He drew Karen back to the group. They had settled at a set of tables in the corner, which had apparently been reserved for them.

"John? I'd like you to meet my friend, Karen Johansen."

John looked up at Karen. Then, a smile like Max had never seen before spread over John's face. He looked as if he illuminated from within. Max was taken aback. For the first time, he really saw what had made John Raven a star.

John stood up and came over to them. He held out his hand. "Any friend of Max's is a friend of mine," he said. Karen hesitantly took his hand, at which time John covered it with his other hand and then--Max couldn't believe it--lifted it to his lips. Karen's brows rose.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Getting Back in Gear

After weeks - no, let's be honest here, it's months - of writing laziness, I'm starting to think about getting back into gear.

I have a good excuse, not that I need one. I do most of my writing on the weekend, and this is the first free weekend I've had since February. It will be bliss. My daughter and I are going to rent movies and hang out. My husband too, but he doesn't like the kind of movies that my daughter and I like. Although he did think High School Musical was cute. That's my daughter's new fave. We're going to rent 2 and 3 this weekend. Vicky will think she's died and gone to heaven.

And while she watches her tween flicks, I'll be in the background with my Neo, reading old works-in-progress. I want to see if any of them re-ignites my imagination. I might work on my Christian novel, but I've gotten in a bit of a plot tangle, and my head is too muddled to work it out. I could polish up a short story I wrote recently. Or, I could work on my Hollywood romance.

I wrote to a long overdue zine editor two weeks ago, asking the status on a short story that was tentatively accepted. At this time, I'm going to have to conclude that the magazine is defunct. I find this annoying. If you're going to let your magazine fold, the least you can do is notify all the writers whose work you were sitting on. Especially the writers who you tentatively accepted.

So back to the drawing board with that one. I'm working on taking it from an R rating to a PG so I can submit it to more markets. I'm thinking of Fantasy Magazine next.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Teaser Tuesday - A Carriage Chase

This Teaser Tuesday has been taken down. I'm leaving the post up so Google will re-archive it over the original. If you are interested in future teasers, then tune in each Tuesday! I will only leave each teaser up for a week.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tuesday Teaser

This Teaser Tuesday has been taken down. I'm leaving the post up so Google will re-archive it over the original. If you are interested in future teasers, then tune in each Tuesday! I will only leave each teaser up for a week.