Frighteningly Real

Since it’s almost Halloween, John suggested I come up with a themed post. In that vein… 🙂

You may remember, I’ve been writing like mad to make two deadlines this month. I sent in the polished superhero romantic comedy, UNEXPECTED HERO, on October 14 to Harper Voyager. And last Thursday, I sent in the first chapter and synopsis of BELLA AND THE BOUNTY HUNTER to Love Inspired Suspense.

Talk about scary.

Who knew coming up with a romantic suspense would be so difficult?! Not me, obviously. It was easy to see the victim and what happened to her, and I had a fair idea of the ending. For those reasons, I gave it a shot. But figuring out the 200 pages in the middle…Sheesh.

A couple times, I nearly threw in the towel, but then friends would rally and encourage me to at least give it a try. After all, the worst thing that can happen is I’ll get rejected. Well, the worst thing would be to spend weeks and months on it and discover I stink at suspense and I wasted all that time. Actually, the worst thing would be for Love Inspired Suspense to give me a shot and then I find I am incapable of ever writing another suspense novel, and they kick me to the curb.

See? This is the frightening real life pre-Halloween I’ve been living!

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Luckily, two great friends helped me with several plot details. My friend Dave is a deputy sheriff and he let me ask him a thousand questions over lunch. Then I called my friend Janice Cantore, novelist and retired police officer, and she took my stretched out, lumpy balloon knot and created a balloon man walking a balloon dog in a couple of deft twists. Wow. Impressive.

So now I have a month or two (I’ll write the first draft during NaNoWriMo) to see if I can write a story that feels both frighteningly real and believably romantic.

Then I’ll have to decide if I enjoyed it.

It is soooo much easier to write about superheroes! LOL!

Have you written any suspense? How’d it go for you? (If you’re good at it, give a girl some tips!) Or have you written something else that scared the crud out of you?

If you’re participating in NaNo, see you there! (I’m “Kitty Bucholtz”‘ if you want to be friends.) If not, keep writing!

And remember, I’ll be teaching my online class again on goal setting and time management for writers in January. Hope to see you there!

Submission Heaven

I just spent the last two weeks working 5-16 hours a day (yes, Saturday, I wrote for 16 hours not including food breaks!) to get my superhero book UNEXPECTED HERO polished and sent off to Harper Voyager. It’s done! Sent! YAY!!

I told you about this open submission window a couple times. Did any of you submit? Let me know so I can cheer for you!

Now I have to finish the polishing of a short story coming out in an anthology this year, then begin my submission to the Fast Track Event for Love Inspired Suspense. Then I’ll finally get back to my regularly scheduled writing and finish up LOVE AT THE FLUFF AND FOLD for you. Whew! What a month!

But if you’ll excuse me please, I have to go to bed! (I’m writing you at 10:30pm Sunday, having just sent off my submission a few minutes ago.) Monday I am only doing two things – making a desperately needed grocery run, and watching all the chick flicks I can in my queue on Netflix. Happy Sigh. And did I mention sleeping? Ahhh.

THANK YOU, GOD!! And thank you to all of you for being such great encouragers! Love and hugs to you all!

And happy writing! 🙂

Anatomy of a Deadline

This year, my blog here is going to be all about self-publishing but in the context of being a writer first. As a writer, I’m interested in any opportunity where I get to write stories that make me happy and where readers are going to find and enjoy them. With that in mind, I’ve just submitted a short story to an anthology. Yay!

The good news is that I made the deadline with a half hour to go. LOL!

The rough part was the 48 hours before that deadline.

Oh. My. Gosh. What was I thinking? I quickly got to that point where I was sure I not only sucked as a writer, but was completely delusional as a human being. Why, oh why, had I ever quit accounting?

I’d had the idea to take the discarded beginning of my superhero novel and create a short story about how the couple met. I thought it would be fun and I could put it on my web site for free to introduce readers to the characters. That way, when the novel came out, there would already be readers waiting.

But it had been longer than I thought since I last looked at that beginning. When I was ready to start working on it, in fact, I found two totally different beginnings. Hmm, right. I remember now. Some books have a dozen beginnings before you figure out what the heck you’re trying to do.

No worries. I’ll take the best sections from these two and craft a short story out of them.

Um…except I’ve never really written a short story. I’m a novel girl.

Yeah, I started this whole thing grass-backwards.

So. It’s 48 hours before the deadline. I think I’ve got a pretty good version ready to polish. I sit my butt in the chair at the beginning of the day and find an email from a writer friend with an awesome checklist for polishing. I write her back and tell her I love her. I open my file and start working.

I see something that doesn’t work. It needs to be changed and I have an idea on how to improve it. Ooo, I like it. But I have to go change this other thing to work with the improvement. Hmm, which means this other thing doesn’t work.

I knock my head against the wall and my husband tells me he believes in me. I try again. This sucks. It still doesn’t work. This really sucks. Maybe I should just let this deadline pass me by. The anthology is a fundraiser for my chapter so I won’t make any money (which means I’m not losing any by backing out), and no one is counting on my name to sell books so it won’t hurt the chapter if I’m not there.

I open my email again (because that’s what you do when your writing freaks you out) and find a couple emails from other chapter mates who are also racing toward the deadline. I decide not to give up yet.

I make some other changes. There are still problems. I wander out to the kitchen to find something healthy to snack on. I eat almonds instead of chocolate. John tells me again that I rock and I can do it. I promise him gratitude sex when this is all over. He tells me I really rock.

I keep trying. The next day I find several things that really have to be done before I start writing again. Really. Very important. Trust me.

After a few hours, I ask John if we can switch computers so I can change positions. My butt hurts. I take the laptop to the couch near the fireplace. Apparently the change has shaken something free in my brain. I realize the broken sections need to be deleted not fixed.

A few years ago I found a way to delete stuff that didn’t cause me heart palpitations – a new document called “Deleted Stuff.” Yeah, baby. Over the next few hours I deleted one third of the story. Wow. Then I read it again. I’m a genius.

It’s 8pm and the deadline is at midnight. I’m freakin’ exhausted. But it’s not done, and now I’m committed.

It’s 10:30pm and I’m no longer terrified of what my friends will think when they read this. But it’s not perfect. Keep working.

It’s 11:15pm and John asks me if I’m awake. My eyes are open, but he thinks I’ve learned a new skill. I finish the final read without moving anything but my mouse finger and my eyelids. I move to the other computer and re-read the submission guidelines and attach the document to the email.

I hit Send.

And I tell myself that when I get some sleep, I’m going to feel pretty darn good about myself.