Friday, November 30, 2012

An update and a reflection on NaNoWriMo

So...I've been kind of quiet this month. Yes. It's been a crazy month.

Publishing Update

Part 1 - So I received my copy edits...and turned them around in a week.  During that week, I did the copy edits four separate times.  Yes, four times.  Actually, I completed the copy edits four times in four days.  *bangs head on desk repeatedly*  I'm really more competent than this.

The first time, I didn't save the file properly and couldn't find it again.  (D'oh! I KNOW better than that! But I'm a starstruck newbie in awe that I'm doing copy edits!) 

The second time, I did the copy edits but screwed up something with Track Changes.  (Oops.)

The third time, I did the copy edits and screwed up a DIFFERENT Track Changes thing (Note: when responding to copy edits using Word, you probably DON'T want to use the Accept Changes or the Reject Changes buttons. Once a change has been accepted or rejected, the suggested change is deleted.  Those notations are needed later in the production process so you don't want them deleted!)

The fourth time, I finally got everything squared away.  All the changes the copyeditor and I both made were saved in the document.  All the copyeditors questions and suggestions--and my responses or adjustments, respectively--were saved in the document.  

And my agent was an absolute angel during this process. When I screwed up with the Accept/Reject Changes stuff, she was very patient AND even reassured me that another client had done something similar.

Part 2 - I got the actual publishing contract!!!!!  Every stage of this process makes it feel "real" in a way that I can't fully articulate.  Getting THE CALL from the publisher, getting THE CALL from the agent, getting the agency contract, getting the author questionnaire to complete...and now, even though we've already been moving forward as if the contract was already signed (as per the industry), getting the publisher's contract...IS...SURREAL.

Part 3 - Speaking of surreal, seeing the announcement of my deal on Publisher's Marketplace ranks pretty high on my surreality chart.  I'm fairly sure that, when my agent informed me the announcement was up and I got to see it, my reaction was an oh-so-articulate OMG OMG OMG OMG!

Stay tuned for more surreal and bumbling episodes as they unfold.

November Writing - I've never actually done NaNoWriMo. And I didn't do it this year either.  But, bolstered by other members at the Compuserve Books & Writers Forum, I made a valiant effort to complete a mini-NaNo.  I STILL didn't complete that...but I set a nano-NaNo goal for myself, which was 5,000 words.  And I reached that goal yesterday.  Look, from September to December, I generally have a constant stream of papers and portfolios to grade. And I tend to be rather intensive in my reading/responding.  So I really don't have the mental energy or the time to NaNo.  Honest.  I know other instructors, including English instructors, who can...I just can't.  But I wanted to make at least some progress on Book 2.  And now I have...5k worth.  Yay, me.

Congratulations to anyone and everyone who did some version of NaNoWriMo, big or small, whether you finished or not.  Good for you for trying.

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Confession

Okay, so in the grand scheme of things, this hardly counts as confession-worthy.  Yet in the world of the novelist, it can be a bit controversial...

Deep breath.  Amara whispers...in NEVER TOO LATE, I originally started with...

a prologue!

There.  I said it.  I feel so much better now.

Before I queried, the novel started with what I thought of as a Julia Quinn-esque prologue about the Hero of the story.  Regency romance powerhouse Julia Quinn has used such prologues multiple times to set up a specific element of backstory that shapes the Hero when we meet him in the story proper.  (See, for instance, her Bridgerton series...including THE DUKE AND I  and THE VISCOUNT WHO LOVED ME.)  And there are lots and lots of historical romances, even new releases now, that employ prologues.

But...when I actually began querying agents and receiving partial/full requests, I made a swift and surgical decision not to include the prologue when sending out the requested manuscript. 

Several agents have blogged about why prologues are often not a good idea.
When I took a hard look at my prologue for NEVER TOO LATE, I realized that the story stood just fine without it. The key experience initially conveyed in the prologue was also explained by the Hero sometime in the first half of the book--and perhaps more effectively at that point because it was in his POV rather than in omniscient third POV. So I decided I really didn't need it.  Was it a painful decision?  Well, yes.  I don't think it's a bad prologue.  I'm actually quite fond of it.  Still, objectively, I felt it wasn't absolutely necessary.

Do I think prologues can be legitimately necessary in a novel?  Absolutely.  But that's a judgment each writer has to make for him/herself...with a clear sense of how and why the prologue works as part of the novel.

When the release date for NEVER TOO LATE rolls around in 2013, perhaps I'll consider posting that now-abandoned "Island of Misfit Toys" prologue here as an extra.   Perhaps.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Another quick post...post-Frankenstorm

Well, we are fortunate here that power has been restored much sooner than previously estimated! I'm not good at "roughing it" so, for me, I'm not sure which was worst: no shower, no Internet, no heat, too many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. (Oh, and one of my family's favorite New Jersey beach towns was devastated.)  These are first-world problems, I know, and I'm quite thankful to have my daily luxuries restored.  I hope the rest of the East Coast is back on its feet soon. 

I got the thumbs up from my editor to write Book 2 so off I go! I'm doing a mini-version of NaNoWriMo over at the Compuserve Books & Writers Forum in an effort to get a solid chunk of the manuscript drafted.

Eventually, I will get to the blog post I'm planning on the love story of the Brownings (Elizabeth and Robert).  I'm reading volume one of their letters now, and it's so very sweet to see their cordial and professional beginning.  More on that eventually...

NECRWA 2017 Follow-up!

*ahem* *looks around* *sweeps away the dust bunnies and cobwebs* So...hi! It's apparently been quite a while since I last sa...