Sunday, August 30, 2009

Jumping Back on the Saddle

When I get back into a project I jump into the water head first and fast. I write, write, and write until I am done. But this time things are different. I have an agent and well that means book number two will go through the trials of preparation for submission. I hope I can stay on my A game focus on the task at hand.

For me there is this hunger to make progress. To see myself at 25K words. Then a few days later I keep thinking, it sure would be nice to be at 35K. And on and on I drive myself until I usually hit a wall. That's when I use my trusty friend Write or Die. I write in sprints, but even I have my days where I cannot plow ahead with coherent words. Most of the time I do not want to wait for a good day to move on. Usually I force myself into Write or Die and I use the environment to get the words out. I know the plot of the story, I just need that Jimmy Neutron moment where a flash of light in the gray matter upstairs sends me into a writing frenzy. Write or Die does that. I've heard many friends say working under the gun doesn't work for them, but for me its the opposite. When I am stuck I love the virtual slap on the hands I get from Write or Die. Matter of fact a small percentage of Memoirs was written using Write or Die. Other portions somehow came out in the parking lot of the local grocery store... It's amazing how things work out when its time to start writing.

Well, time to finish my third book. The Mad Typist is back.

Friday, August 28, 2009

I have an agent!

After a safari through the jungles of queryland I have news:

Shawntelle Madison is represented by Jim McCarthy of the Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency.

I just realized I never posted this... Shows how busy I am working.

Monday, August 24, 2009

When the Muse Heads Elsewhere

Right now I am sort of in semi-down time. I finished my second book at the beginning of July and then I started a new one at the end of that month. But after forty or so pages I have slowed to a crawl. It's not as if I don't know what should happen in the story, I wrote a synopsis for the thing. The main issue is that the hunger is not there. My muse has run off with another writer and she hasn't been back for a while. But I am ok with that actually. This break is good and allows me to read books I enjoy and relax. When I am renewed, she'll be back. ;)

I have waited like this before between my first book and my second. The hunger to write will come again and the scenes will start running through my head waiting to be written. In essence, what I'm saying is that the rush to write everyday is not necessary for everyone. (Many authors swear by their 250 words a day.) Some folks like myself take mini-breaks, then we write, write, write until our house looks crazy and we start walking around stuttering, "Must write... Kids? Oh, they're somewhere in the house. They have food... I think."

Whatever type of writer you are, I hope that when the Muse does come back you have a computer setup and waiting.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Queritis - Signs and Symptoms

I have several friends right now in the trenches of sending out/receiving queries. They all have this rampant disorder called Queritis.

Queritis - An unfortunate disorder where the patient exhibits a strong need to click the refresh button to see if a query response/partial/full response has been received. Patient twitches once in awhile and continues to talk about how agent/editor is torturing them with the delay.

Recommendations for the cure:
  • Chocolate (in large quantities if necessary)
  • Start writing the next book while mumbling how much you hate to wait
  • Start a hobby like gardening
  • Spring cleaning... in the fall
  • Lament to others with the disorder (they'll pat you and say, "There, there." After they twitch a few times.
  • Take a walk outside to brainstorm or enjoy the weather
  • Cheesy movies where the hero/heroine wins out in the end (even better if the movie ends with the result of a positive email or phone call)

If you have this disorder (I bet you checked your email real quick after you read this...) welcome to the club. Come drink the koolaid with the rest of us. Personally, in the beginning I have a vast amount of patience, but once the partials and fulls go out all bets are off. I wonder, ummm, have they read it yet? Do they like it? I have work to do during the day, but the email is there and once an email hits my box I think is there a reply? Nope, very likely spam asking me if I want viagra or some other obscure pharmaceutical advertisement. Waiting is hard after all the writing and editing you have done. But all in all, if it took you months/years to write, a few more months won't kill you. It'll only make you more patient and happy when a positive turn does come around the corner. And that's what writing has taught me: patience. (And how to check my email in the most obscure places.)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Once Upon a Crime Blog - Celebrates One Year

A fellow Romance Diva, Jennifer Bianco, is celebrating the success of one year at her blog, Once Upon A Crime. Congrats to Jennifer Bianco, Jennifer McKenzie, Cynthia Justlin, and KH Singletary for their achievement. You go girls!

They are holding a contest:


To celebrate OUAC’s one-year anniversary, we are giving away some awesome prizes this month.

  • A first 3-chapter critique by moi (Jennifer Bianco) — any genre but historical please
  • A 3-chapter critique by GH finalist, Cynthia Justlin — any genre but erotica
  • A $15 B&N gift card donated by Lisa St. James
  • Mystery Romance Book Bundle:

Trouble in Mudbug by Jana DeLeon
I Shot You Babe by Leslie Langtry
Gotcha! by Christie Craig

  • Romantic Suspense Book Bundle:

Beneath Bone Lake by Colleen Thompson
Killer Charms by Marianne Stillings
Sudden Death by Allison Brennan

Pretty Awesome, right?!

So how do you win? It’s simple.

  1. Each prize will be up for grabs for a week.
  2. During that week, blog about our contest, our site or any of our posts on your blog with a link leading back to Once Upon A Crime (dot net, not dot com)
  3. Leave a comment on our blog (in our prize post) with the link to your blog post
  4. At the end of that week, we’ll pick a winner and post it on our blog. Easy peasy!

Let’s get this started. Whoo hoo!

The first prize up for grabs is a first 3-chapter crit by me. (That just means the first 3 chapters as opposed to 3 chapters in the middle of your ms.) While I prefer chick lit, women’s fiction, suspense, horror or mysteries, I’ll crit anything but historicals, please. :)

Now, just post about our contest, our site or anything about us that leads your readers back to our site and leave that link below in our comment section. I’ll pick a lucky winner next Monday, the 10th. I’ll consider any comments received by Monday morning or when I put up a new post.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Working with Multiple WIPs

My crit partner had an interesting post today: Sarah Bromley. Her blog question related to focus on projects. She discussed how she is a multitasker who goes with her gut. She enjoys working on a projects that draws her in and drives the writing process. If the project isn't moving forward she shifts to something else. (And I have actually witnessed this first hand.) =) But all in all it occurs for the better. I notice that when she hungry for a story she creates a work of art. As writers we move where the wind blows us.

I, on the other hand, tend to have multiple ideas, but I pick one and stick to it. I thirst for the finish line for that one project. If I get hung up, I take a brief break and wait for the Muse to stop riding around town with another author. (I think I'm the person she states that writes very fast. When the scenes come I let them go or I tend to forget them. Which drives me nuts... I want to be done. I need to be done. Because editing for me takes a little while.)

Either way, I think as a writer you need to find something that makes you want to write. That makes you want to finish a great story for others to read. (Or it could be a story for you as well.)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Still Alive - Research and Writing

OK, in the post RWA Nationals haze I've forgotten to post. Quite easy actually.

Last night I did some research with authors Cole Gibsen and Sarah Bromley. We shot some guns! Woo hoo! And anyway it was all ahem, research. Yes indeed it was. In my new WIP my character is traumatized by a gunshot wound. So she remembers the gun and thus I needed to fire shot guns, hand guns, etc. All in the name of research. Yeah, I think I didn't sound convincing either.

Right now I am working on my new work in progress. I'm calling it Inner Vision for now. I think it may evolve into Dark Visions. But well I'm horrible at titles so it may change...