And here I'd been thinking this would be the week I could finally get to a couple of other authors' manuscripts I'd promised to comment on! The best laid plans...

I confess to opening the Word document with a little trepidation, as one never knows what sorts of things will come up in copyedits or how much work it's going to be. Plus I haven't looked at A Little Taste of Poison in a couple of months, and I've felt a bit shy of reading it again for fear I won't be able to see anything but its flaws -- a tendency that copyedits always tend to magnify, since the whole point is to point out errors that the author didn't catch.

However, not only are all the queries mercifully light, the CE closed with "Great ending! The whole book was charming and well-written -- a pleasure to work on." And that buoyed my spirits enormously, because I very rarely get those kinds of comments -- most of my CE's have been all business and if they liked the book there was no way to tell.

So I feel much encouraged now and able to go to work on the manuscript with a cheerful spirit.
I've mentioned this before -- over the past year or so I've really been struggling with my own writing process.

Once I realized that yes, I really might have a chance at becoming a professional author (and especially once I got an agent and a contract), I really began to question whether my writing method was solid enough to sustain a long-term career. Many of my writing habits seemed to run contrary to the advice I kept reading from more experienced authors online, and it made me doubt myself severely.

So I started trying on other writers' methods, to see if any of them might fit. First Draft in 30 Days. The Snowflake Method. Fast Draft. I was determined to give each of these my very best try, not to give up until I was certain they weren't for me. I took to heart Anne Lamott's famous dictum about embracing the crappy first draft, and forging onward until that draft was done before starting to revise. I made up outlines and spreadsheets to keep track of my plot, and filled out questionnaires and drew emotional maps to try and understand my characters. I committed myself to writing a certain number of words every day, and completing at least one chapter every week. And when I met those goals, I was relieved -- sometimes even proud.

But I wasn't happy.

And this is why )

So I've come up with a new motto for the next phase of my writing career:

Write something.

That's it. Every day, I will sit down and write something. Might be ten words, might be a thousand; might be editing or revising or totally new material, doesn't matter. I've turned off Word Count and I've stopped marking chapter goals on my calendar. And after just a week of writing without that pressure, I can't tell you how much better I feel... or how much happier I am with what I've written.

Don't get me wrong here... )

So that's where I'm at these days. It's been a rough haul, but I think I'm doing okay.

Now I'm going off to camp with the fam until next Friday, so if you post something earthshattering on your LJ and I don't comment, you'll know why. Have a good week, everybody!
I've just read today's FBOFW and it made me want to scream. How disgustingly obvious is it that Warren McPlotContrivancePants is going to fly Liz up to Mtigwaki in his helicopter a day early so that she can stumble upon Suds and Chipper in all their faithless glory, and flee tearfully back to southern Ontario to throw herself into Granthony's wimpy arms?

BARF BARF BARF

I hope I'm totally wrong about this, but I have very little hope. Curse you, Lynnions!

On a positive note, I have library books. Lois Lowry's Messenger, Wendy Mass's A Mango Shaped Space (thank you for the rec, [livejournal.com profile] variella) and Jeffrey Moore's The Memory Artists. The latter two books are about synaesthesia, so I can tear my hair out over things like Wendy's heroine being named Mia and mine being named Thea, and sink into bleak despair at the realization that everything I wanted to say in Touching Indigo has been said before and better by somebody else.

Kind of like I'm currently tearing my hair out over the fact that I cannot write a 250-word hook for Knife that doesn't confuse the heck out of people who haven't read it and give them a totally wrong impression about the story.

I can't not write, but sometimes I think I ought to take up an easier and more soothing occupation, like carving the 23rd Psalm in medieval script onto individual grains of rice.

Sigh.
...and I am SO DEAD. My hook is bland. The stakes aren't high enough. My sentences are all too long. There's no hint of an antagonist. Wah! *tears hair*

*takes deep breaths*

Of course, it would be sensible to ask why I am even bothering to do this, since I have two agents looking at the book already. But you see, I want to be prepared in case neither agent is interested in the project. If that should happen, I'll have exhausted all my personal contacts and referrals, and will have to start from scratch in the New Year, cold-querying agents who know nothing about me. And in that case I'll need to be ready with a well-written hook that can grab an agent's attention even before they've read a word of my actual prose.

After reading nearly 300 of the other Crapometer entries, I feel pretty certain that my hook for Knife needs work. I'm just not exactly sure where and how yet. But I guess I'm about to find out...

*meebles faintly*

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