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. contains a "water cooler" section with discussions about all aspects of writing. 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 just hard to tell with these excerpts.


  1. Your excerpt is so good--I didn't even feel like I was reading just a "draft"! And I love your comment at the end about the lack of lightheartedness in your excerpts. :-)
    Thanks for sharing those tips from the conference. And best of luck next month!
    P.S. I just saw you listed me under your links--I'm very flattered! (Especially since I'm a horrible blogger! heheh) Thank you!!! <3

    1. Thank you Amanda!

      Oh, and you're welcome on the link! I've had your website on my blogroll for a good month, I think. I was pretty much sold at "This is me. Reading on a sidewalk. Because it totally makes sense to do that." :-D

  2. I agree with Amanda! Know I've told you before but you pull off action scenes like a rockstar.

    And glad you won Vegas!!!

    I also re-did my first chapter and now you're talking about the first five pages, I'm wondering if mine is okay or not since the new chapter starts a bit earlier and the inciting incident has become the new chapter two.

    Goodluck next month and send me your chapters soon!

    1. Awww, thanks Ify!

      Agents don't expect to see the inciting incident in those first five pages (that would be TOUGH), but they do want to get a good sense of voice and want to feel themselves being lured in to read more. So just check for THAT. I'm sure you're fine!

      I'll send you some more soon...I hope...I'm just trying to make sure I'm not planning to make any drastic changes before I send it.

      Good luck to you this month too! At the rate you're going, you're going to finish your book before I do!

  3. That is a really intense excerpt! Wow. ^_^

    I have to agree about the 80 (and with everything else you said). I have close to 200. Anything under 25 is just a warm up. :)

    1. Krystal, I met a writer at that same conference who had around 130-some rejections to date, and I told her I was actually jealous of her. When she asked why, I told her each rejection was evidence that she was going for her dream. Meanwhile, I haven't even started "warming up." So yeah, be proud of those 200!

      Thanks for stopping by!


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