Saturday, March 1, 2014

WIPMarathon Report #1

Last report word count + chapter count/scene count: 80,283 - 24 chapters completed
Current report WC + CC/ SC: 83,448 - 25 chapters completed
WIP Issues This Month: I'm trying to tighten chapter one, and it's soooooo hard. The way it stands now, the story really doesn't start until page eight or so. Or maybe it's page 12. Either way, most agents only accept five pages with your query, and if they don't get a sense of voice/tone/direction within those first few pages, your MS is going to sit in slushpile purgatory for the rest of its existence (I was going to say "hell" but that seemed a little harsh for a poor unsuspecting manuscript). A part of me wonders if I need to rewrite the entire chapter from scratch. But scrapping my original seems so...painful.
Four things I learned this month in writing: *Cheats and pulls out notes from writer's conference* Let's see...
  1. If you have sent out 10-20 query letters and haven't heard back by two weeks, REDO your query. 
  2. Absolutewrite.com contains a "water cooler" section with discussions about all aspects of writing. Querytracker.com contains a list of all the agents and publishers currently doing business and, for a small fee, keeps an ongoing list of each writer's submission. 
  3. The first five pages of your manuscript is EVERYTHING. 
  4. You're not actively trying to get published unless you have at least 80 rejections. 
I might have made up that last item a tiny bit. It just seemed like every writer I talked to at the Southern California Writer's Conference had at least 80 rejections up to date. I mean, we're talking talented writers. It was shocking. I can definitely see why so many choose the self-publishing route. 
What distracted me this month while writing: The cartoon at the top says it all! Weekends are when I get most of my writing done, but lately they've been jam-packed. I had an animal rescue field-trip with my students three weekends ago, the SC Writer's Conference two weekends ago, Las Vegas last weekend, a pirate dinner show tonight (via Medieval Times) for my niece's and nephew's birthdays. Plus hubby and I have been working on this aquaponics-thing...I should probably skip being a part of that but it's PLANTS and FISH and it's just way too weird and fun. 
Goal for next month: Finish chapter 26 (I'm only a little over 500 words in).
Last 200 words:
    Unless a dome light could be considered a “weapon,” there was nothing.
Praying right now isn’t a bad idea. 
To my relief, he drew the gun back. But it was short-lived. The pistol whipped across my eyes a fraction of a second later, tearing across my cheek and splitting my skin. Burning ripped through my face, and the blood curdling yelp escaped my lips before I could stop it. My hands immediately shot up to my cheek, my fingers pressing into gooey warmth. Loose hair fell forward and stuck to my skin. 
“That’s for the bar stool.” His eyes flashed inside the white mask. “You try anything else, you’re dead. Understand?”
I jerked my head in a slight nod, fingers still pressed into my throbbing, bloody cheek, my chest full of ice. Cold relief washed over me that he wasn’t planning to execute me this very second.
The engine roared to life and he pulled the van out of park, his eyes darting back and forth between the road and me. The sirens grew louder, and I saw the blur of street lamps streak through the dark as he swung out of Mel’s and began speeding down the street. 

I swear my manuscript has lighthearted, silly stuff too...it just hard to tell with these excerpts.