Friday, December 19, 2014

Friday Fricassee

So it's really and truly the last Friday before Christmas.  Despite the fact that I am an avowed summer person (as in, lead me to the beach and let me stay there), this is truly my favorite time of year.  Once the holidays are over, of course, I am absolutely done with winter.  This is unfortunate for winter, since it has WAY TOO MUCH TIME LEFT after the first of the year.

But why get ahead of myself?  I'm reveling in the season.

One thing that's been particularly difficult is drafting this dang novel.  It finally hit me the other day that the reason I'm struggling is because this isn't my normal drafting time (as if anything in a writer's life is "normal").  My usual habit is to draft from January through April, or February through May.  Getting it out of the way early in the year frees up the rest of the months for revisions and editing, which you all know are my preferred tasks.

This year, though, I had no story in me during that season.  Well, I did have the seed of a story--an unusual YA dystopian that began to slowly drag me into an odd world with lots of potential.  Of course, having a world without a plot is pretty frustrating after a while--not to mention that it would have been supremely stupid for me to put my time into yet another unsellable dystopian novel. So I set it aside in favor of rewriting an older manuscript that needed fresh love.  It was a good decision--the new version of the old story is WORLDS better (helped along by the sharp editorial eyes of Josh and Danielle).

The downside, of course, is now having to draft during the holidays.  The amount of energy it takes for me to create a story from scratch is more than I really want to give right now.  So much to do!  My parents are arriving on Monday (a special gift--they rarely come for Christmas!), and my sister and her family are arriving on Christmas Day (driving 7 1/2 hours to be here in time for dinner. WHO COULD ASK FOR A BETTER SISTER?).  So, yeah, I've had lots to do, and still have more to do.  And when it's time to sit down and write, I'm a little bit "UGH" right now.

That, and I'm pretty burned out with my Writing Journey in general.  Yanno?  Life outside the Industry sounds appealing to me.

Still, I've got 73,000 words under my belt, and I have every intention of finishing the draft.  It's killing me, knowing I won't finish on my self-proclaimed end date of January 1, only because my projected 80,000 words is not enough to complete the story.  I never miss my self-imposed deadlines.  Seriously never.  So, yeah, I'm a bit miffed at myself.  (A glass of Chardonnay and some freshly baked Christmas cookies will make it all better, though.)

So, where does this leave the blog?  I've got a HAPPY ANNOUNCEMENT on Monday (no, it's not about me), and then we're pretty much going dark for the holidays.  I'll pop in before New Year's Eve to recap the year or something schmoopy like that.  But mostly, it's time for jingles and mistletoe.

Oh, and for some reason, blog traffic was especially light on Wednesday when I posted my HOLIDAY GIFT FOR YOU.  If you missed it, please click over and enjoy!

Happy weekend, happy writing, happy holidays!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Holiday Gift #1 -- Christmas Lyrics and Recording For You

Of course I had to jump into the fun-with-lyrics, though I thought I'd wait until after the contest to post mine.  So here you go--my Christmas creation, for you, with love.

(And if you find yourself singing this in the shower, and especially during the month of November--well, my work here is done!)

NANO NANO NANO NANO, OH (Deck the Halls)

NANO NANO NANO NANO, OH (Deck the Halls)

by Authoress (c. Beat Your Own Drum, 2014.  All rights reserved.)

In December in the city, NaNo NaNo NaNo NaNo, Oh.
Agent slush piles don’t look pretty, NaNo NaNo NaNo NaNo, Oh.
30 frenzied days of writing, NaNo Na, NaNo Na, NaNo, Oh.
Lead to off’rings uninviting.  NaNo NaNo NaNo NaNo, Oh.

See the agents kneel before us, NaNo NaNo NaNo Nano, Oh.
As they sing in mournful chorus: NaNo NaNo NaNo Nano, Oh.
“Pardon us for patronizing, NaNo Na, NaNo Na, NaNo, Oh.
“But you all should be revising!” NaNo NaNo NaNo Nano, Oh.

Purple prose and plot holes yawning, NaNo NaNo NaNo Nano, Oh.
Come the authors, blithe and fawning, NaNo NaNo NaNo Nano, Oh.
“Dearest Agent, here’s my query,” NaNo Na, NaNo Na, NaNo, Oh.
Sent with eyes all red and bleary.  NaNo NaNo NaNo Nano, Oh.

Fast away the old year passes, NaNo NaNo NaNo Nano, Oh.
Listen well, you lads and lasses, NaNo NaNo NaNo Nano, Oh.
If you want to land an agent, NaNo Na, NaNo Na, NaNo, Oh.
Toss your NaNo to the pavement! NaNo NaNo NaNo Nano, Oh.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Winners: Holiday Song Lyric Contest

Alison Weiss apparently spent a good chunk of her weekend singing her way through the entries on the blog.  (Because, after all, how can you tell if it's good unless you sing it--right?)  When it came down to it, she couldn't decide between her two favorites--so she's decided to give out TWO PRIZES!

Here are her winners:

1. (I’m Gonna Stick My) Head into the Sand (Winter Wonderland)by SUE FLIESS

My hands wring, at revision.
I don’t see my editor’s vision.
My story is slight,
A total rewrite.
I’m gonna stick my head into the sand.

Deadlines loom, I am sweating.
All my skills, I’m forgetting.
My ending is weak,
My characters, bleak.
Nothing’s turning out as I had planned.

In the margins I can see her edits.
Things like “Done before” and “Too cliché.”
She says “Can you fix this?”
I say, “All right.”
And then I cry into my Cabernet.

Gone away is my sanity.
Every thought is profanity.
My cheeks are all flushed.
My ego is crushed.
I’m gonna stick my head into the sand.

In the margins I can see her edits.
Things like “Done before” and “Too cliché.”
She says “Can you fix this?”
I say, “All right.”
And then I polish off the Cabernet.

I request an extension
So I can give the story tension
But panic sets in
My plot is too thin
I’m gonna stick my head into the sand.

2. “Maybe It’s Gold Inside” (based on “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”) by J WALT SCOTT

I really can’t pay.
(But maybe it’s gold inside.)
Oh I gotta say nay.
(My book’s gold inside.)
This submission has been
(Been hoping that you’d buy in.)
So very strange.
(I’ll fix what you say I should change.)
Our accountants would start to worry.
(Hey editor, you’d better hurry.)
The sales team would be pacing the floor.
(Can’t you hear those critics roar?)
So really would it fit my list?
(Don’t let this unique chance be missed.)
Or maybe I should read a bit more.
(Oh put your hands on chapter four.)
The readers might think . . .
(Yeah, but it’s explained in there.)
Hey, I don’t get this link.
(It all makes sense in there.)
I wish I knew how
(Your eyes see awards coming now.)
To break this spell.
(I’ll work like nuts so it will sell.)
I want to say no, no, no, sir.
(You want to read a little bit closer.)
At least I’m going to say that I tried.
(I long ago lost all of my pride.)
I really can’t pay,
(Don’t hold out.)
But maybe it’s gold inside.

I’m liking the flow.
(Maybe it’s gold inside.)
The answer was no.
(But maybe it’s gold inside.)
The writing has been
(Please love the tale I spin.)
Far past the norm.
(Just look at the climax, a genius brainstorm.)
My boss will be suspicious.
(Gosh, you can grant my wishes.)
My intern will think it’s a score.
(Like classic bestsellers of yore.)
Acquisitions meetings are vicious.
(Please fulfill all my wishes.)
Maybe just a few chapters more.
(You know this is a book you adore.)
Oh I’ve got to stop here.
(But then you’ll regret it out there.)
Here’s what I fear:
(My book will do great out there.)
Will it go as planned?
(There will be Rowling-like demand.)
But don’t you see
(How can you say no way to me?)
They’ll ask about sequels tomorrow?
(Well, there are lots of ideas to borrow)
At least they’ll be a series implied.
(From books whose authors have died.)
I really can’t pay.
(Get over that doubt.)
Maybe it’s gold inside.

CONGRATULATIONS, you two!  Please email me at facelesswords(at) for instructions on receiving your prize from Alison.

And thanks to EVERYONE who took the time to write some crazy lyrics.  Your effort is noted and appreciated!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday Fricassee

Winding up for Christmas and winding down the year here on the blog--it's an odd juxtaposition.

Thanks to all of those who submitted lyrics in our Christmas/Chanukah Song Lyric contest.  I have some definite favorites!  Alison Weiss is going to be reading them over the weekend, and I will announce her winner on Monday.

Yes, I've written a couple, too.  I will post mine on Monday as well.  (I couldn't resist.)

I am still in the midst of sending out requests from agents for Baker's Dozen entries.  If you had an entry in the auction and you don't receive another request by the end of the weekend, then it is safe to assume that none are coming.  You will then be free to query anyone who bid on your item.

(Note:  It makes sense to wait, because that way you're getting an official request that gets to be marked, well, "requested".  And those always float to the top in an agent's inbox.  Bear this in mind.)

As for me?  I'm going to hit 70,000 words on my WIP today.  Sounds like an almost-finished book, right?  In fact, I've got my Scrivener project target set to 80,000 words, to be completed by January 1.  I will definitely hit that in the next ten to twelve days...but my story won't be finished.  Which is pretty frustrating, because I'm tired of this drafting thing.

I'm just letting it happen, though.  I figure I'm probably just fleshing things out that will eventually be removed from the page.  This isn't a bad thing!  In the end, I'd rather have to cut and trim than beef up.  So there's that.  It's just that I was really, really hoping to have a completed draft by New Year's Day.

C'est la vie!

And, really, I'm writing this story for me.  I've come to the place where, yes, I realize this is what has to happen, if I am to actually keep writing.  Not to sound fatalistic, but I've stopped believing that my Big Dreams are actually going to come true.  No, this isn't a feel-sorry-for-Authoress thing.  It's just reality.  I've had an agent for four years (as of next week), and if someone had told me that this much time would pass and I still wouldn't have a publishing contract, I probably would have jumped off the nearest overpass.

Well, not really.  But I definitely would have quit.

There's been so much good--really.  I wouldn't have written my currently-on-submission novel if it weren't for Josh.  "You should consider writing a straight-up YA sci-fi," he said.  So I did.  And I honestly believe it's the strongest thing I've ever written.  I completely believe in it.  I've gotten positive editor responses.  It's all good.

All good, but still unpublished.

And, yanno, there's only so much a gal can take.

So I'm channeling my inner writer--the one who writes simply to write.  Sometimes she fights me.  Sometimes her eyes tear up, and she fails to see the point of spending another hour and a half to two hours working on a story that will likely join all the other stories in the land of Stories No One Will Ever See.

But then, somehow, I always get myself together, and I write.  So, yeah.  This one's for me.  This one's to keep me writing, to keep me going.

We do whatever we can to keep our heads afloat, yes?

So, until life actually veers me in a different, undeniable direction, I will continue to write.  And I will continue to champion the rest of you who are on this journey with me.

Please don't give up.  If I can keep going, so can you.

Have a blessed weekend!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Christmas/Chanukah Song Lyric Contest -- Now Open!

And here we go!  You've got 24 hours to post your original holiday lyrics.

  • Enter your masterpiece IN THE COMMENT BOX BELOW.
  • Absolutely no emails, please. Comment box only.  (In other words, if you're subscribed to this blog via email, you MAY NOT hit reply and email your lyrics. Alison will not see them if you do that.)
  • Please do not enter more than TWO masterpieces.
  • Please use a screen name by which you will be EASILY IDENTIFIABLE. 
  • Lewd entries will be deleted. But you wouldn't do that, anyway.
  • Your masterpiece should be an ORIGINAL set of lyrics that go along with a CHRISTMAS CAROL OR SONG or a CHANUKAH SONG. Make sure your theme is writing- or publishing-related. Please include the TITLE of the holiday tune so that we can all sing along.
How do you know if song lyrics are good?  SING THEM!  If they fit naturally with the melody, with the correct syllables accented and decent rhymes, you've got a winner.  If you feel like you're stumbling through or have to force the words to fit the music, then not so much.  So pick your favorites, and see how they line up with Alison's.

Have fun!