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Today has been an utter crapshoot with writing, so I figured I would do something productive.  

A post about Random Thoughts (yay!)

I've been thinking about what my agent's going to say when she reads the final draft of this book.  Since it's new, and she's only seen a couple paragraph summary so far, I figure I've got a 50/50 shot.  Mostly because it's annoying me a little bit right now, and this is (kinda?) fun distraction.  

Of course, in that vein, I probably shouldn't talk so much about what I'm doing on Twitter, because I will inevitably say something like:

"I'm the Michael Bay of YA.  I swear when I get bored I have to have car accidents, crashes, or people thrown from cars."

Because then she will send me back something like:

Scott, I read your Twitter.  7 car related events?  The main character gets hit by a car while he's still recovering from being HIT BY A CAR.  Srsly.

And then I come up with thoughts like:

Wow, I wonder what would happen if I send my new book to Yon Agent....and she sends me this back:

Thank you for your query.  I'm afraid, however....etc etc etc

(And an interesting note.  You want to know what comes up when you do a google search for "Colleen Lindsay form rejection"?  Yeah, an interview with yourself.  Yeah, that's not a sign or something).  

So yeah.  That's been my day.  Living the dream.  :)

Dealing With Integrity

So I originally wanted to call this Dealing with Dummies.  Mostly in light of the #agentfail, #queryfail, #writerfail debacle.  And one specific post that, for some reason, really inspired a lot of irritation on my end.

Here's my feeling on the matter.  And feel free to take it or leave it as you like.  But if something like #queryfail offends you, and you don't take anything from the experience...you're probably not doing your job.  Same for #agentfail.  And same for even #writerfail (which hasn't taken off yet, but it will!)

No one's ever going to handle every situation perfectly.  And I think #queryfail was like that.  It came from a good place, it was made of good intentions, and some people might have taken it too far, but a lot more people took their indignation about it much farther.  These are the people who didnt' take anything away from queryfail.  They're a majority of the people that jumped on the #agentfail bandwagon.

The difference though, as someone else said, was simple.  Queryfail attacked words.  Agentfail attacked people.  Personally.  And I tried to stay out of the whole thing, for the most part, but what's it's really boiled down to is this.

Have integrity.  If writing is something you feel like you're compulsed to do, then do it to the best of your ability.  This is where I don't understand some of the comments people make.  My first book got one request.  Obviously, both my book and my query were lacking.  So I took that knowledge, wrote a better book, and spent months honing that query.  And you know what?

That first book, I probably sent about 40 queries that I got responses to. Probably another 20 I didn't hear anything from.  I got 1 full request.

The second book?  I sent about 35 queries, got 14 requests for more, and had only about 10 no-responses.  Because, in large part, I did my homework.  I wrote that query, posted it, and kept tightening and rewriting until it was perfect.  And I had a lot of friends who helped out on that front.  

That second book got me an agent, and at first I held off on working on something new.  I didn't want to start a new project and have to put it on hold in case I had edits to do or something.  But it's all too realistic that this book may not sell.  And once I started to accept that fact, I took what I've learned through the submissions process, talks with my agent, research on publishing, and just things I've learned from the books I've read, and started work on a new novel.  Because if that second book doesn't sell (and it still may, who knows), then I'm going to write something else that will. 

I could sit back and complain that my agent's not doing her job.  Or that the editors don't understand real talent.  Or complain that books that aren't as good as mine got published.  But I don't.  Like Leah said to me on Friday.  "It's like a challenge.  If this isn't good enough, then by god I'd better step up my game until I'm on that level."  (Or something to that effect).  

And that's what it really comes down to.  If writing is something you have to do, if you can't do anything else to be happy, then put your best foot forward.  And always remember to keep an eye on that road you're on.  Keep it in perspective. And don't forget that it's always a journey - we're never static.


Goals Updated

1) Lose another 15 pounds. I lost almost 30 last year, between June and October. So I surpassed my goal by 5 pounds. So my goal for this year is to clock out on New Year's Eve at a leaner 200 lbs.  Not so much.  At least not yet - I was making good progress there for a minute.  

2) Finish a solid first draft for Demon Eyes - book two of Braden's misadventures as the lost Charmed sister. ;)  I've got a chunk of the book written.  I'm letting it sit while I work on other things.  

3) Pick one of the six stand alone ideas and finish that book (probably in the second half of the year). I'll sit and stew on them while telling Braden's story to figure out which one I want to work on next. Just to have something to do. I was a huge slacker with writing this year, and I really need to gear up and get my butt in gear.  Currently working on this.  Been outlining the worldbuilding elements of this story, and getting all my ducks in a row.  

4) Finish getting myself out of debt. About halfway there, but still got a ways to go.

5) Get a new computer - one that's not going to start crapping out on me as soon as I get it.

6) Quit smoking.  Accomplished.

7) Keep making more of an effort to blog and keep in touch with other authors. That networking thing, baby.  Uhm, I Twitter?  I've been terrible about the blogging.  I try to only blog when I've got something going on, or something to say.  But I Twitter everything.  



Well, what else would you call it?

I've tried to stay out of the whole thing. I read the thread the other night, after a good 200 posts were already up. And wow. Whoever said the agents did it with more tact were totally right.

See, there's a difference between venting, and just spewing bile. And in a lot of cases, that line got crossed. I didn't even know what to say in regards to it, I was so uncomfortable. Still am. I don't care who you are, or what your experiences you've gone through. Bad behavior does not condone worse behavior. An agent not responding to your query is not an excuse for spreading spite across the Internet while hiding behind an anonymous tag. There were a number of people who managed to make their points without such hostility, and those were the only posts that were really interesting to read.

For the record, my agent's kinda awesome. Except scratch out that kinda. She could have stopped submitting my book when the first round all passed (which I've heard stories of other agents doing). But she hasn't. She's tireless. Plus, she never hesitates to make me laugh at least a dozen times when I talk to her on the phone. And I just know she'd be a great time to go drinking with. (Which I will do someday when she's made me insanely wealthy). ;)

And I think everyone's just jealous. Yeah, that's it.

Colleen ftw.


Sometimes Goodbye is a Second Chance

God likes to laugh at me.

I swear, somedays I feel like that. Leah and I have this theory: anytime something good happens to one of us, the scales balance themselves by something bad happening to the other. It's just worked out like that thus far.

So while Leah was signing with her amazing agent (congrats!), I was busy dealing with a visit from a Vice-President at work (always a big deal), and trying to figure out why my computer decided to bite the big one. Taking with it almost everything (except for a few paragraphs I'd saved on Google Chat) that I've written over the last two years.

Including my WIP.

So yeah, it was a rough one. Somehow, I'm not sure what I did exactly, I managed to SAVE all those files, and my work.

I was okay with losing the work, in the grand scheme of things, because at least I had a fully formed idea of where things were going. And how everything was fitting together. So while it would have sucked

Maybe All Will See

First off, my ex-roomie is made of awesomeness. Just putting that out there. Since people are already aware. She's had a pretty rough week, and I don't envy her. ;)

Work's been good. Busy, but good. This week coming up's going to be fun. Over the next nine days, I work three days, I'm off one day, work three days, off two days. Kindof awesome.

So I'm thinking a few more days, and this Part 1 nonsense will be behind me. Written, at least. Still needs quite a bit of editing to get all the pieces to work together. I've got all my relevant scenes written down on Post Its, hung up on the wall of my office, and I've been staring at them every so often.

Writing this book is very comforting, because I know all the characters already. But at the same time it's still surprising, because they're growing and changing. And you can see that. And I'm loving the developments that are coming from the Big Scene I've been bouncing around on.

See, I haven't actually written the scene in order. And I normally don't do that. I don't skip around. But specific encounters are coming up, and it's distracting me with new shinies. So I go where I need to go. And some of the stuff that's come up has made me giddy. It's kindof sad.

New Book Trailer

Dealing with...the first draft.

I'm allowed to suck.  It's okay.  It's natural. 

At least, that's what I tell myself when I start working on a new project.  My concern is more about getting all the pieces out there onto the board, and not worrying about the little details.  And this system might not work for everyone, but it's the way that I go about things.  So I figured I'd share in case it helps anyone else. :)

I think that's my biggest piece of advice if you're just starting out on a new project.  Be allowed to suck.  If you're spending more time worrying about whether or not your writing is good, or whether the adjective on page 37 is really appropriate, you're going to get bogged down with stress.  At least, I would.  And then I'd start revising like crazy.  So I try not to do that as much as possible.

With the new book, I already know in the first 30 pages that my pacing is all screwed up.  And I might go back and fix it before I finish the draft.  But for now?  I'm more concerned about getting through the rest of the scenes I already know.  Because I've got forward momentum, and if I stop to fix things that I already wrote, then I'd lose that momentum and might possibly get stuck again.  I'm one of those people that can and will get stuck quickly if I don't keep pushing myself forward.  Even if I take a few days off from writing, it's hard to get back into the zone.

So what I do is add a new file to my WIP folder.  It's a blank Word document, that I title 'TITLE revision notes'.  And as I go along, if I realize something I need to add to it, then I do so.  By the time I finished the first draft of Witch Eyes, I had somewhere between 40 and 50 notes.   A lot of them were small - double check the name of GIRL that's hanging out with Jade.  Or - go back and adjust the scene in Chapter 7 that ties into the ending.  Stuff like that.  And then I had the big ones.   Make sure Riley is consistent throughout the book.  Read through the magic sections, make sure those have the same kinds of descriptions in place.

This way, by the time I get to the first round of revisions, I've been keeping tabs all along on what I need to fix.  I don't have to start fresh and try to remember what it was about the beginning that was bothering me.  

So that's my advice.  Polishing up the book is what revisions are for.  Keep the forward momentum and get those words out.  And I think it's a lot easier to go back through and revise a book than it is to get the darn thing written in the first place. 


No Need For Words

Okay, so I just got done watching the inauguration address.  And I'm just so impressed.  Maybe it's because I've spent the last year every time I had to hear the President speak.  Plus, the speech was amazing.  Obama really can talk.  It's always fascinating to listen to him.

Work on the sequel continues.  I'm at a point where I need to go back, now that our little contest is over, and flesh out a couple scenes.  I've already got my major scenes blocked out and hung up on post-its on the wall for editing time.  I know the beginning's going to go through some serious overhaul.  All the pieces are there, they're just not in the correct order.

My personal goal for the weekend was 6,000 words.  And I actually hit 5700 amidst a pretty chaotic weekend.  Normally?  That's not a problem for me.  I used to average 3,000 word days easily when I was writing the first book.  But I let myself get out of practice.  So I'm just focusing on the words, and getting the scenes out there.  I figure I can go back and do a heavy revision the first time around and eliminate most of the suck.

Saturday was a bit of recovery, since I had a party to go to on Friday night.  And Sunday I had to go and watch the store for 3 hours, I took a 2 hour brain break to watch The Village (so underrated!) and I wound up sleeping in until almost 11.  We're talking about doing the word war again next week, but I really need to check my schedule and see if I'm really off the days I think I am.  I might have to pick up some shifts just for the money, so if I can do that earlier in the week that would be great.

And the return of the word counter!

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
17,751 / 90,000


witch eyes
Scott Tracey

Magic, Mean Girls, and Manipulation

A writer's blog about daily life, writing, editing, and the search for the illusive publication.