Friday, January 21, 2011

Year of Fun: January

Month One: Critique Partners

As I mentioned, my resolution for this year is to have fun as I evolve and grow as a writer. This comes about in many ways, but the main joy I have—other than writing a really tension filled scene or killing off one of my characters—is having others read my stories and reading fantastic stories in return.

Over the last year, I have been privileged enough to connect with some fantastic critique partners (a shout out to: Kate, Deb, Diana, Don, Sarah, Carla, Clipper, Margaret, Bessie, Jonathan, Dad, and Kiwi—yes, my little angel nitpicks my stories and for an eleven-year-old, she’s tough). I found my critique partners on They live all over the world, from the Philippines to Canada and the U.S. and I love them to pieces. Each of my partners brings their unique perspective to the creative process, and I learn so much from them. I hope the feeling is mutual.

So this post is dedicated to them. I love you guys. Here’s to an exciting year.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

HAPPY NEW YEAR- Also dubbed, 2011, the Year of Fun!!

2010, the year I turned 38. I looked back on the last decade and wondered when the heck did I make the conscious choice to put aside my dream of becoming a published author. Then, I realized it hadn't been a conscious choice. I got married, started a family, and a full time job in a career I love. Writing took too much time. I forgot how much I love creating new worlds, characters that tend to take over and do their own things. I forgot how passionate--how obsessive writing makes me.

Yes, that's right, obsessive.

Pre-family (college) I'd spend ten to fourteen hours in front of the computer, lost in the lives of my creations. I didn't go anywhere. My friends, yes, I managed to keep some, had to drag me out of the house. The glazed look in my eyes as I sat in a corner at the club didn't come from partying too hard--nope, I was outlining my next chapter in my head. When lost to the creative muse, I was truly LOST. I'd forget to eat. Personal hygiene (what's a shower?). It's a miracle I managed to find a husband.

But, back then, writing made me deliriously happy.

Over the years, I tried to keep up with my writing. I have about six projects that I started when the kids were small, but never finishing them. One time-travel romance is 104,000 words. Whew, someday I'll go back and finish: cut the fat.

Then I turned 38, and had my 20 year high school reunion. Whoa, way to make a person take a good hard look at the direction their life had taken. I had everything I ever wanted-- so I couldn't complain too much or I'd look silly. But I still had my dream.

2010, the year I put myself on a deadline. Finish a book, find an agent, and get published before the big 40. Two years.

The biggest hurdle, finishing a book. Check. My husband suggested writing the ending first. Finally, I had a goal and didn't spin of on random tangents. I finished my first manuscript-a paranormal romance called DYING FOR A KISS. Started editing--kill me now! Who knew! Anyone who has ever edited their story knows what I'm talking about. Find good critique partners, buy a copy of Browne and King's "Self-Editing for Fiction Writers" and a book on punctuation (still, suck at this). And study, study study.

I joined a couple of fantastic online sites for writers and Learned how to write a query letter and the dreaded synopsis and started the long search for an agent. Meanwhile, I finished a second book, HOUND OF ANNWYN and started on a third, JUJU'S CHILD. I slowly came to realization, I'd become obsessive again. Whoops.

I'd gotten so wrapped up in finding an agent that I started getting stressed out. Writing became work, a chore that I had to complete.

So after a heart to heart talk with my fantastic critique partner, Kate Evangelista gave some sage advice and it led me to an epiphany--ha ha, Nip The Laughter.

2011 is the year when I write for fun. My resolution is to stop obsessing over finding an agent or getting published. If it comes, obviously I'll be happy. But I have great critique partners and friends and I'm doing what I love. Carpe Diem. I'm going to enjoy the art of creation while I have the chance and stop stressing over the future.

After all, I'm only 38, at least for seven more months.
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