Finding My Story a New Home: Part 2

Update:

I had to cut ~3200 words from a short story to meet the word count limits of the magazine where I’m submitting.  I don’t know if you’ve ever done this, but it ain’t fun.

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It wasn’t bad at first. It was actually pretty easy. There was some questionable content that had to go, so that was at least 1k. Easy.

Then I had to start cutting lines I really like. Really, really like. I had to keep telling myself, I still have the original story saved. It’s not like it’s gone forever. And this is necessary if I want the story to have a shot. It didn’t make it any easier, but it gave me a push at least.

The last 200 words or so… absolute hell.

But I did it. My grand total is now… 5938

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My Short Story is Officially Published!

And here’s how I feel about it:

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It’s not every day you see your name in a book, let alone alongside something you wrote! I’m pretty stoked about it.

Anyway… here she is:

And if you’d like your own copy–because yours truly is in it–here’s the link:

America’s Emerging Literary Fiction Writers

My story is called “Dad’s Room” and writing it was quite an experience. In the wake of writing a different short story (one that I’m hoping to see in print at some point), I thought I’d try another one. “Dad’s Room” was what I ended up with. I wrote the first draft-of-sorts in one day. The only reason I’m sharing this is because I’m a turtle writer. My novel took years before I could say it’s finished. Maybe it’s because I had a due date for this story, I don’t know. But I cranked it out.

I thought the first version was pretty good, but a few awesome folks at Scribophile showed me the error of my ways. 🙂 So the third version is what I submitted. It’s a different tone from my normal writing. Maybe. Most of the time, I think everything I write sounds the same. (My blog posts are like a Lily-Tyler combo. It’s weird.) It’s not as funny. I’ll put it that way.

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If you end up reading my story, I hope you enjoy it. It’s such an honor to have anything I’ve written chosen for publication. Thanks to Z Publishing for the opportunity, thanks to my writing buddies for helping me fix Dad, and thanks to the other writers featured in this anthology for deciding to submit your writing–without you, there wouldn’t be a book in the first place. Congrats to you as well! You’re published! 🙂

My previous Z Publishing reaction: I Have Writing News!


Thanks for spending some time here. Have a great week!

If An Agent Called Me, I Would Die

Happy Writing Wednesday! Here’s a glimpse into the insanity that is my writing life.

If you’ve spent some time here, you know I’m querying a novel. The process is so slow I’m not going to remember where I saved the document if an agent requests it. Know what I mean?

I get that agents are busy, but since I’ve been stalking querytracker.net like it’s my job, there’s one agent I submitted to with an average of 100 days to respond to a query. Um.

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I’ve been pretty lucky so far with my wait time. And although rejections sting, it’s nice to get it over with. For the sake of my pride, I’ve decided not to share my exact numbers with you, but when something worth sharing happens, I’ll be sure to post it. I will say, my first rejection this round hurt like hell, but they’ve gotten so much easier. #thebrightsideofrejection

I have a problem I’m trying to convince myself is not a problem. My book is too normal. When I started it, #ownvoices wasn’t a thing. At least it didn’t have hashtag. But now that’s all you see. My cast isn’t the most diverse–because the setting isn’t. It’s a small town, not NYC. And no one has any defining disability or anything. Had I known when I started writing this that I would try to get it published, I would’ve thrown something in there. But that’s the thing. I feel like so much media now is just checking off boxes. Like, let’s see, Asian? Check. Interracial couple? Check. Homosexual? Check. Anxiety disorder? Check. #forshame

The other problem I may have is the heat level. I mean, it’s probably PG-13 at the most. Sexy time scenes are not in my arsenal. I know there are agents out there who would like my book, but I don’t know where they are! I just wish I could send them a collection of Matt Bomer gifs, and say, “By the way, this is Mark Peterson.”

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Wait. What was I doing? I’ve been looking at gifs for the past 20 minutes. Continue reading

Writing a Story After a Long Break

2/25/19

I’m writing again! Woot!

And let me tell you, I forgot how hard it is to write a story. Wowzers. Yesterday, I had a brainstorm and came up with an idea. I had a beginning and an end. Everything in the middle was a giant, crushing question mark, but since I had my last sentence, I was committed.

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This is the first story I’ve ever written that I’ve known the ending ahead of time. And it’s so much easier that way. Man, I wish I would’ve known the ending of my novel when I started it. That would’ve saved me so much time and heartache. Continue reading

January 2019 Writing Update

I’m wondering if the way I feel about what I write is how parents feel for their children. You love them. But they also make you question your life choices.

I swear, depending on the day, I either think, you know, this is pretty good or why did I write this?

Yesterday, I was super pumped because while agent stalking, I found two agents that seem perfect. I was reading one #MSWL, and my story has all the things!

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Then today, I remembered I am one of a gazillion people with the same dream. *sigh* There’s such a fine line between being pessimistic and realistic. Know what I mean?

I’m about 95% finished with this current WIP dissection. By current, I mean, final. Because it has to be. However, I’ve already returned to chapter one because I’m obsessed and can’t leave it alone. My biggest obstacle I’m facing? My opening pages. I’ve managed to cut out some crap from earlier drafts, but I wish my chapter one was as good as say, chapter 12, for example? 😀 The beginning of my book has always been my least favorite part. If I could send an agent something from the middle, I’d feel so much more confident. Grrr. Continue reading

Don’t Like NaNoWriMo? Try LaNoRevMo!

November 6, 2018

Last year around this time, I posted about how I don’t understand NaNoWriMo or why anyone would put themselves through such a masochistic exercise. And while I still feel this way, I’ve decided to use the writing buzz in the online air to my advantage.

As you know, the writer in me has been in hiding, and it’s been difficult to coax her out. But lately, I’ve been feeling inspired, namely because of everyone talking about writing, and word counts, and outlining, and coffee shop sitting, etc. So, I made up my own little exercise for this month.

Presenting: LaNoRevMo

which obviously stands for Lauren’s November Revision Month.

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While everyone else is writing, I’ll be deleting, rearranging, and condensing. I’m giving my novel an overhaul, in a last ditch effort to make it into something worthy of an agent’s eyes. I’ve already started this process, and I’ve made some headway. Continue reading

Writing Wednesday: Let the Revisions Begin!

Hello! Happy Halloween!

Related imageI’m at the library! Woo! I had to get out of my house. I tend to be more productive here, so here I am! I finished listening to my novel yesterday. Maybe the day before, I’m not sure exactly. As I was listening, I wrote down things that needed to be changed: some major, some only taking a second or two. Needless to say, I did the easy stuff yesterday. I saved the major undertakings for today.

I’m talking changing where the novel actually starts, for one thing. I’m not looking forward to this at all. But I know it’s for the best and that’s honestly what keeps me going. Knowing all of the changing I’m going to make will help the overall story and help its chances of being a thing outside of my computer screen.

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Continue reading

Writing Wednesday: Yes, I Cut the Words!

It’s Writing Wednesday! On Thursday! It happens.

I was going to skip this week, but I wanted to share the amount of butt that was kicked by me. Worst. sentence. ever.

 

So here’s the deal. I’ve been on a quest to submit my short story to an online publication willing to accept something not only hella long, but also with a portion previously published. I’ve managed to find three. Yay! (Well…two were “yes” and one was more of a case-by-case basis kind of thing.)

About twenty days ago, I got the go-ahead from two of the three. (One of them said yes about a month ago.) So what have I been doing? I didn’t start the epic trim until about three days ago. And before that, I spent many hours trying to wake up my writer brain. First, I had to find it, then basically beat it into submission. I watched too many YouTube videos to count from different AuthorTube people I like. I needed inspiration. But the good news is, I’ve managed to cut a grand total of…2,101 words! That is major for me. My story is now sitting at 9k, which is still pretty long for a short story, and it may pretty much send me directly to the slush puppy pile. But that’s ok! I still consider this a victory. A) I actually did what I set out to do! and B) Cutting words is so hard for me! I hate it. I thought there was no way.

So, despite what happens with my story, I look at this as good practice for when I tackle my novel revision. That’s my next project. Oy vey.

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Side note: did you know you have to have a cover letter with a short story submission? Yeah, you probably did. I did not. So there was another hour of my life trying to figure out how to write one.

For most people, sharing how you cut 2k words is far from blog-worthy. For me, this represents the first step of my return to the writing world!

The real return this time. Not like last month. False start–something like that. I mean it this time. I’m ready! Finally.

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Also, sticking with what I said last week, I’m still going to avoid goals and stick with wishes. There are things I hope to accomplish. Hope to. We’ll see what the next few months bring.


Thanks for spending some time here. Happy writing!

 

Writing Wishes, Not Writing Goals

Hello, writers! A writing post? But it’s not Wednesday. Yes, I’m aware. I’m late, as usual.

I’m back with another unpopular opinion that I’m currently embracing. Much like the “don’t write when you don’t want to” mentality, this topic might be seen as horribly unproductive advice. But hear me out.

As the title suggests, I’ve decided to have writing wishes this month. No goals for me. Nope. Maybe it’s self preservation. I’m not sure.

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The problem with goals is that they come with overwhelming feelings of failure when you don’t meet them. You start the month with these grandiose ideas of all the writing you’re going to do, knocking out the revisions you’ve been putting off, diving back into the Twitterness of it all. But the first week goes by. Then the second. And when you hit day 15 or thereabouts, you think, well, I can’t start now. I’ll try again next month. You failed. (This may have something to do with the lack of a panic monster in this situation. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Go here –>Procrastination Explained. But not (perfectly) solved.)

But imagine if you had made wishes instead. If you fail to make a wish come true, well, that’s to be expected, right? It’s not a failure at all, and you can approach the next month without feeling like you’re an unsuccessful, lazy wannabe. And just think. If you do happen to finish a writing wish, then you, my friend, are doing amazingly well this month. Wishes rarely come true, after all.

Not sure if I’ve lost you yet. It all makes sense to me.  Continue reading

Writing is Hard: A Random Writing Rant for Your Writing Wednesday

 

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Writing. Is. Hard. I don’t mean the actual writing. That’s hard too. But I mean everything that goes along with it.

There are two kinds of writers–and plenty of sub groups and variations, but we’ll stick with two. 1) The good ones. The ones who write lots of stuff. Whether successfully or unsuccessfully, they’re writing. All the time. Daily? Perhaps. They have a portfolio full of stories, poems, novels, scripts, all of the above. I don’t know. Some finished, some not. 2) The ones who were great that one time. These are the people who write very little, but what they write becomes super famous and sends them on this incredible journey–but without the talking animals.

And then there’s me. The ones who write one thing, obsess over it for a decade, and fail to move past it.

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Let me explain. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I have written one novel. One. I started it in 2007…08? Crap. A long time ago. I don’t have drawers full of other stories. Partial stories. I don’t even have a second idea for a novel, let alone something worth reading. I just don’t know ifI could write another novel. So instead, I obsess over what I do have. Granted, I haven’t looked at my novel in months. Many months. I need to query. But I’m starting to think I’m running out of agents. Can you run out of agents? Can enough time pass when it’s acceptable to re-query agents in the hope they have forgotten you? My goal was is to see what shape this novel is in, now that some time has passed, and attempt to make it so amazing, people will lose their freaking minds when they read it. Dream big.

So there’s that.

Plus. I have one short story to my name. One. (I have this other thing…but it’s depressing and so NOT ME, and I would not feel comfortable sending it anywhere. At least, not with my name on it.) So I’ve spent the better part of not one but two afternoons scouring the net for a place to submit this story.

Yes, my story was recently published. ( Available here. :D) However, I would be forever living in the clouds if I could get the entire story published somewhere. Ideally get paid for it. Ideally something in print. But I’ve come to find that’s hard to come by. I’ll take what I can get. I have two roadblocks here. 1–the word count is hella long. Though I am considering a sizable trim. Lord help me. 2–no one wants published work.

But I decided to just go for it and email several places to ask if they would consider a story that has an excerpt published. I’m pretty sure published is published whether it be a sentence or 500 pages, but it can’t hurt to check, right? In fact, a few months ago, I emailed three magazines, and one of them said to send it in. Even though their guidelines specifically say “no published work.” So there. I had to try. Next week, I’ll let you know how I faired.

ETA: One said no.

Not to mention there’s this whole other part of the equation. Actually being accepted. But one thing at a time.

Why not write something else? I’ve come to realize something. Similar to having one novel and one short story, I have one voice. I know what you’re thinking. Everyone does. But no. Although one narrator is a 26-year-old woman and the other is a 12-year-old-boy, they have the same voice. A sarcastic one. A bit of a naive one.

Pretty much my voice.

So if I were to write something else–anything else–that person would have the same voice.

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You know what I just remembered? Of course you don’t. I’ll tell you. I, in fact, did start writing another “thing” a few years back. And if there were ever a sarcastic character, it’d be Susan. See what I mean? It’s just hard not to write me. Or some version of me.

Enough rambling for one post. I’ll leave you with this. I have a super awesome day calendar that you may or may not have seen in one of my popular posts: Motivational Word Wall, Anyone? I’m not one for signs/things-happen-for-a-reason, but having this quote pop up yesterday was not lost on me.

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If you’re still reading, know this. I’ve always seen this writing life as having peaks and valleys. Right now, I’m in a valley. But considering just last week, I was at a hella high peak, I have hope I won’t be in this valley too long.


Thanks for spending some time here. Happy writing!