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Thursday, March 26, 2015

No More Time to Think or Work on my WIP

I'm writing this post for Thursday, which means I'll be back in the trenches with no more time to think. That may not be a bad thing after the last two Thursday posts. I had a wonderful and relaxing Spring Break, spending much of my time either at the dog park with my best friends or writing. 

Although I've written five novels, there is one that is dearest to my heart, and I keep coming back to her after seven years. That baby has seen more rejection than Rodney Dangerfield; she's been around the block more times that Miley Cyrus, and she's received the reception of a president during a depression.  However, I think I've finally tweaked her to a new level . . . or I'm setting myself up for a huge disappointment. 

Last fall, I attended the SCBWI conference in Nashville. At the conference, I met a book editor who had a way of ticking everyone off with her quick NOs to our first pages. By the end of the conference, I was so angry that I didn't even bother to write down her submission requirements. But now that I've had time to cool and think, I realize that she gave me some of the most valuable information I'd ever gotten. I'd like to thank her.

I attended her session on dialogue. I always felt like dialogue was my strength, and maybe it is, but perhaps I have looked at dialogue all wrong. This editor told us that dialogue should not be what's moving the story. In fact, one should be able to remove the dialogue completely and still have a solid plot in place that the reader can follow. So, dialogue's job is to enhance what is already on the page. With that in mind, I revisited my baby looking for ways to tell Ben's story without too much dialogue. What I've noticed is a much deeper voice with a true insight as to what's in his head.

I believe this has taken my book to a new level and has given me the confidence to fork
over $30 to the Claymore Award competition. As a rule, I typically only enter free contests, so that when I lose, I chip away at my pride and not my pocketbook. However, I've taken a leap of faith. What makes this contest so appealing is knowing that those reading my first fifty pages are junkies of my genre. Furthermore, one does not have to win to win with Claymore. Any manuscript deemed ready for publication, winner or not, will be suggested to an appropriate editor. So, I hope someone sees what I see in my work. 

Now that I've passed my manuscript on, I've gone back to revising book two. Yes, I have a completed sequel to my book that's never been published and half of a third book. I quit working on these after someone suggested that writers not work on sequels to unpublished books.

For those who are interested, here is my first paragraph to that book that will one day become a best seller and a major motion picture. Oh, how I wish.

            I tried to focus on Ms. Link’s history review, but it was pointless once I’d spotted the fat guy outside my classroom window. He had stood under a tree less than twenty feet away for the past half-hour with his bug eyes aimed straight at me. I rubbed my hand over my stiff neck and noticed that my shoulders had inched upwards. Knowing I had to stop this stare down, I got out of my chair and headed toward the window. Maybe if I closed the smudged thing, he wouldn’t be able to see inside.


mail4rosey said...

I can see everything happening in the story. That's a great thing. Wishing you luck. They do say persistence pays off for authors. :)

messymimi said...

Well, i already want to know how old the person in school is -- maybe college, in a big class, that a professor wouldn't notice a student getting up and going to the window? Or is that move going to lead to a fussing from a teacher?

And is the person outdoors looking at this student, or another student, or is it the teacher's ex, looking to cause trouble?

Good luck!

Cascia Talbert said...

Good luck with the contest and getting your book published.

XmasDolly said...

Girlfriend, I didn't know you wrote a book. Fabulous! I wish you all the luck and good fortune in the world. Please keep us posted too! Our theme for Monday is always in my sidebar... but so you know it's tunes when we were Sweet 16... oh those high school days! So whatever tunes you were listening too when you were 16.

Boopnut said...

I am not much of a writer, so I cannot judge. I only hope the best for you and that your book will be published!

Rhonda Albom said...

Good luck in the comp Joyce. Interesting information on dialogue. A few months ago my critique group did an exercise on "dialogue moving the plot forward" Now you are causing me to rethink.

Unknown said...

Looks like an interesting first paragraph. Good luck with the Claymore Award competition!

LA Botchar said...

you are brave and wishing you the best of luck!!
oh.. that's a suspenseful start!! what's bug eye man up to? why he stare? see... already hooked!

Binky said...

Good luck with the competition. It sounds better than most of them.