Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday Fricassee

Well, the Secret Agent contest is humming along and we're swimming in good news from our fellow writers. What a great week for the blog!

To add to the fun, here's the winner of the Write A Bio For Authoress contest:

H. L. Dyer!

(When you're on a roll, you're on a roll...)

So Heather, pop me an email to let me know where you'd like me to send your free copy of AGENT: DEMYSTIFIED. And a big HOORAY to our two other finalists, as well.

What? You haven't picked up your copy of AGENT: DEMYSTIFIED yet?


Here's what readers are saying:

  • After downloading your ebook, I have a new perspective on what an agent can and can't do, and I'll certainly be approaching one for help in moving my current 'beastie in progress' to the market.
  • If you guys haven't gotten your copy yet, what are you waiting for? Whether you are querying yet, or just starting your first novel, this is easy to understand, entertaining (as Authoress always is), and should clear up so many misconceptions about agents and the whole process.
  • Authoress has given you the tools, the lists (I so love lists), and the places to go so that you can too can find an agent, and then how to go about getting an agent that is right for you.
  • If you have written, are writing, or even thinking about writing something, this is a tool that you NEED.
  • Thanks for the awesome read. Hope it will help out in my search for an agent, heh.
  • I'm a fan of Authoress' Agent: Demystified. I bought it hot off the virtual press, and I've never regretted the purchase. It's chock-full of helpful tips, and it's blessed with her sense of humor.
Pick up your copy...or be really, really nice to Heather and maybe she'll send you hers (because I happen to know she already owns a copy...*wink*)

Finally, to drum up some more awesome discussion in our Friday Fricassee comment box: I've arrived! Well, not in the broadest sense. But I've learned, this week, how to sit down and write toward a goal until I've reached it. No waiting for the elusive muse, no wringing my hands at a blank monitor.

Just writing. Every day, until I've reached 1000 words.

For the last three days, I've done it. Whew! It's very hard for me to turn off my indomitable internal editor, but I've done it. And, ur, yesterday's session produced a lot


Well, maybe it's not that bad. But it does make me squirm a bit.

Still. My greatest joy is in the editing process, which is where the real magic happens. And, like a potter with an empty wheel, I need a lump of clay so I can get my hands messy. So I'm working on my lump of clay, in 1000 word increments.

At this rate, I'll complete an 80,000 word novel in 72 more days. Of course, that doesn't allow for weekends off. So let's say three months.

Think I can do it?

Think you can do it?

Talk to me! How do you write? What's your most productive approach? How hard is it for you to turn off your internal editor?

(I've been known to sit there in the middle of a first draft and click on Word's "synonym" option to find just the right word. Oh, yes.)

And...hold me accountable, will you? I'm writing to a self-imposed deadline for the first time, and I could use a little help.

Yes, it's the YA dystopian.

Share your thoughts, your goals, the methods to your collective madness! And I'll see you bright and early on Monday when our Secret Agent is unveiled.

(Afterthought: Blogger's spellchecker thinks "dystopian" should be "dustpan".)


  1. I had an idea for a novel and kept telling myself 'if I only had time.' Then realized that for my lunch break at work I was sitting in my car in the parking lot for 45 minutes every day after finishing my lunch with a good book and the A/C on.

    So, long story short, I brought my laptop in and wrote for 45 minutes a day, every day, with the A/C and my iPod on (MUST have music playing to write...). Took me about 7 weeks to finish the first draft. Then MONTHS to edit the thing (still in my car) to get it to where it is today where the great community of MSFV has been able to see the 250 words I've posted so far.
    Then, I edited some more with their input in mind.

    I'm a firm believer in 'just get something down on paper...even if you edit 100% of it, just write something."

  2. Wow, Peter. That is seriously impressive.

    I'm with you Authoress! I finally put a page limit on myself each day and if I don't finish when the kids are in school, I sit down after they're in bed. Because I write so darned slow I'm barely getting the two pages. But I'm getting them.

    It's helped me see that I can set a goal and reach it. I don't see myself doing this forever, it really is taking a toll on everyone. But for the next three months until the novel is finished and revised, I'm all over it. I can definitely do this once a year to push through the down draft.

    Thanks for posting! Now I know I'm not alone.

  3. Congratulations Authoress! When I'm writing I also set up daily word count goals - no excuses and no going back over it to edit. I'm goal oriented so I set up a daily writing journal to stay accountable and provide a chance to talk out loud to myself about the process (e.g., what was hard about that day, easy about that day, etc).

    What I've found challenging is the editing process. I'm still experimenting to find a process that is more efficient. I have learned some things I don't want to do with the next manuscript so I guess that's progress :)

    Have a great weekend.

  4. Woot, woot, WOOT!

    Now I must decide who the lucky recipient should be... *strokes chin

    In other news, I really enjoyed this last SA round (even though I didn't enter). I love when the pool of entries is manageable enough for me to review all of them. ;)

  5. I was reading "The Twits" by Roald Dahl to my son and I noticed an interview section in the back. He was asked "how do you keep the momentum going when you write?" and he answered that Hemingway taught him a trick and that was "When you are going good, stop writing."

    That way, you are always anxious to get back to writing. If you stop when you are stuck, then you're in trouble.

    I thought that was interesting, but I don't know if I can do it. I think I'll try your way. I'm going to write 1000 words today. Do blog comments count toward that total?

  6. That sounds like a manageable goal. I know you can do it, Authoress. And hurry up, because I want to read the rest.

    Congrats to Heather!

  7. 50,000 Words - 1 Month! That's always my goal on the rough draft of any project. I learned by participating in NaNoWriMo one year that I was capable of pumping out 50,000 words in one month. Then, the editing begins and that can take a couple of years depending on what's going on in my life.

    I don't always write every day. I write when I write, and am content with the process.

    Sometimes, inspiration strikes. The curren project I am querying was one of those moments and I wrote 50,000 words in 2 weeks. Yes, 2 weeks. It was a very intense period of time. It was an obsessive period of time. I don't know how I survived!

    Again, that process taught me what I was capable of doing . . . in 2 weeks if really inspired. When I'm not inspired, it's normally the one month thingy for a rough draft.

    With all that said, the last rough draft I worked on I set no goals at all and still - amazingly - finished the project in almost a month. Go figure.

    Lastly, for those thinking that 50,000 isn't enough, the word count normally goes up in the editing process as I flesh out the characters more and add things here, there, and everywhere. I look at the writing process as the building of the human body: skeleton first (rough draft), blood vessles/nerve endings next (first draft), muscles next (second draft), and so on until I reach the full human body (final draft). Yeah, I know, an odd way to look at it, but the writing process is also a building process since - rarely, if at all - does a book enter the world in a perfect state. : )

    I also listen to music when I write, and often derive inspiration from the music - different music dependent on the scene I'm writing.


  8. I have a very busy like -- don't we all? -- and I used to whine that I just didn't have enough time and too many responsibilites to write a novel. But I recently sat down and did an hour by hour breakdown of my day. I realized I waste a lot of time doing nothing of value.

    So, I decided to write every day and like you, I do at least 1,000 words -- sometimes more. I have breaks and lunch hour and time when I would usually just veg in front of the TV. So I gave up almost all TV (except for 24 -- can't miss it!) and decided that I would rather look back and be able to say I wrote a novel in that time than that I sat on my tush and watched television.

    So now I write every day. I wrote a 110,000 word novel in four months. It was the fastest I've ever written a novel before. The other two took much longer. I just turned off the inner editor and wrote the dadblamed thing. Editing is going great. I love editing. I love to see how things change, and hopefully improve.

    I am so glad to have found this blog! I can't say it enough -- thanks Authoress!

  9. Congrats Heather. I have been just trying to get a goal of writing every day. If I can manage that much, then I'll start concentrating on how many words per day. I have to get out of the mindset of pages per day, since evidently all "real" writers talk about words per day. I don't know if I am ready to do 1000 words per day yet though. The thought of that amount is daunting, but who knows. I have managed to write every day for the last three, on just my book. Thats not counting the writing I am doing on my blog, so I'm feeling rather good about the whole deal.

  10. I've been doing a 30k in 30 (one) days challenge with some writing friends (we've been calling it MarPrilWrimo.) I added the extra challenge of writing 1k every day (rather than doing chunks of catch-up writing.) This is day 12 and I'm still going strong. My daily word count has actually crept up as I've gotten into the routine of writing daily. Yes, a lot of it is crap but crap can be edited. words that never make it onto the page can't.

    Perhaps you should pose a writing challenge on the blog and create a Facebook group like we have. It's been very motivational!

  11. I don't have a daily word count but I do have different categories of things I'll do that all move the book along.

    Write New/Rewrite/Edit/Manage/Think

    If I *write new* I'm on the computer typing away. If I rewrite, same thing. Editing can happen on the screen or on paper. Managing the manuscript means reading for content, moving paragraphs and chapters around, identifying and marking places with holes, jotting down ideas where they'll be written out one day. Thinking is just that...thinking. I contemplate the character's situation and what he or she may do or might not do, what locations look like. This is good for the car and the shower or when I'm trying to fall asleep.

    It all moves me forward and it's all part of the process for me.

  12. One thing I want to add is that I try to stop writing at a cliffhanger point or in the middle of a scene so that I feel like I MUST get back to it. That keeps me writing. :D

    Oh and I forgot to add Congrats to H L Dyer!

  13. Congrats Heather! And Authoress, you can totally do it. And YA dystopian? A girl after my own heart. ;)

  14. Congrats, Heather! :)

    I have the same 1000 word a day goal, six times a week. It's amazing how fast writer's block vanished after I made the commitment and meant it. There are still days when it takes longer to get the 1000 words than others, but I think it helps to have this goal especially on those hard writing days.

    My internal editor is sitting in a closet, tied to a chair, and gagged. ;)

    *mind boggles at people that enjoy editing*

  15. Authoress, NaNo was the best thing I ever did because it taught me how to just write and turn off that editor so I could reach my goal. My goal for that November was to reach 1700 words a day, and I did it somehow. I can't keep up that pace for too long, not with a toddler running around.

    Thanks for a great contest! The secret agent has some fantastic stuff to choose from!

  16. I have been writing my humorous memoir for about nine months. I have been writing in fits and starts as time allows. I have, however, been making the time these past two months and it it is going faster. My goal is to finish this book by the end of summer. Even though I may not be writing, if a thought or phrase pops into my head, I immediately write it down. This helps for reference purposes later on. Of course, sometimes I look at what I wrote and think "Huh?"

  17. Y'all are impressively productive. I love the energy this blog blows off the screen--thanks so much, Authoress for all your efforts here. And good luck on your efforts in dystopia ;)

    I've tried every method known to man, I think, of getting the words down. What's working for me right now is writing at least a scene a day. If it's going good and I'm still alert, I'll write more, but for me, a scene is at least 4 pages (1K wds), so I'm getting it done in comprehensible blocks. As others have mentioned, I like to stop for the day with a hook dangling for the next scene. (I just hate to sit staring at the blank screen with equally blank mind.) It makes starting again tomorrow much easier.

    Oh! Heather--congrats on your winning bio. And, ahem, I'd love to be your BFF (book forwarding friend) :-)

  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. I don't have a word count or even a page count. But I already have one book in the querying stage, and I'm writing to keep busy while my partial is out.

    I have three young children (one isn't in school yet), so I get up at 5 am to write what I can, and then write some more in the evening. That is, when I'm not reading this blog and the Query Tracker blog. Both very additive *wink*.

    Unfortunately I get easily distracted during the first draft so I can range from 100 to 1000 words a day. I know, not great. But I write everyday, including the weekends and Christmas. I'd go nuts if I didn't.

  20. You can never have too many BFF's, Texcat! =)

  21. I definitely think you can do it, Authoress. ;) &waves flaming pompoms*

    How do you write? What's your most productive approach? How hard is it for you to turn off your internal editor?
    Typing on the keyboard. :P Okay, well, aside from that I find it best if I just start and see what happens. Or that can lead to me getting stuck a few paragraphs later. I like a little planning before I start; unless it's a short, when I see what happens.

    No, actually, I think I do tend to plan at least some things--either before hand or (most often) as I'm writing, I plan a little way ahead of where I am. Keeps me moving.

    Novels, I like a basic overall idea of what I'm doing, then I start and outline in detail a few chapters of where I'm at. It doesn't always work, but hey, I try. :P

    My most productive approach is usually racing with people or finding something to motivate me. Some days I just get into a story and write without stopping (like today--4.5k done in five hours). But I'm notoriously lazy and a procrastinator, so I really need poking, prodding, and some threats and cookies as bribes to keep me moving if I'm having a bad day. :P

    As for the inner editor... it depends on the story. Novels I've planned out extensively, or ones that are more high concept or "special" for me give the editor bonus modifiers I have to counter. I usually take a few tries to roll a higher attack and beat the IE over the head or flamethrow it into submission.

    And I'm sure that was the most uninteresting and bland and non-specific post ever :P but I already used up my brain power quota for the day playing with ghouls and pirates and stone elephants.



  22. Hi Everyone,
    Just discovered this site and spending all my time reading back -
    Actually was trying to find Miss Snark blog and still not sure if I got to the right place?
    Anyway just wanted to share that I write thru to the end with no prior planning/outline. I lack an internal editor (grin) Often I write a sentence to remind me I want a full scene here and rush foward to a scene that needs expression now. I work full-time have kids and a wheelchair-bound granny at home so life's busy, but I try and get dad to take the kids away for a bonding session so I get a whole free day to write. I make lots of notes throughout the day and often talk to myself as I play out dialogue (grin)
    Erratic habits compared to you guys.

  23. I personally think that the writing a certain amount every day works. Sure, it does have the potential to produce some boring writing or over-long writing or just plain bad writing, but it's writing. You can -- and will -- edit, because editing is unavoidable, but in this way, you'll at least have something to edit. Get your idea, grab it with both hands, and run with it -- at least a little bit every day.

  24. Unfortunately, school keeps me pretty busy, but I try to write when I can, which lately is never :(

    I always start with a detailed plan, and when I start a writing session, I check that plan to see what I'm aiming for. (Does that make sense???)

    My internal editor is pretty quiet, but I do search for synonyms for some basic words.

    I'm Hoping that my assignments are about to die down, then I'll be writing like crazy!

    Little Scribbler