Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Marlene Contest

I've realized that when it comes to my writing, I can be a coward. And by the way, that is so not like me in other aspects of my life. But when it comes to my manuscripts, it's true. I hesitate, over-think, pause, procrastinate, you name it, I do it. Not so much with the writing of the story (okay, maybe that, too), but when it comes to following up with editors and agents? I'm like a frozen lake of nerves. It's been six weeks since I sent the near-future story synopsis and the first 40 pages to the editor who requested it at RWA this past summer, and only a month since the agent checked in with me, saying she'd read it after the holidays (Labor Day). Neither one of them has written and said send me the rest of the manuscript, and happily (so far) no one has said, darling, please don't write us again. So I sit and I dream, and I wonder...

Okay, enough of that hooey - it just makes me nervous putting my thoughts about this aspect of the writing world to paper (or computer). To add to my insanity though, I've decided I will participate in the 2010 Marlene Awards. Deadline is December 15 (or submissions open that day and close January 15). I'm shooting for the 15th of December - because, it will be better if I don't give myself too much wiggle room. I don't want to mess around and submit too late to be considered. I'm a deadline fanatic, and might as well go with the first deadline to make sure, right?

For the Marlene Awards, I will be polishing up one of my other WIPs (not the near-future vampire story set in DC and Las Vegas I sent to the editor and agent. No, this one is an urban fantasy (okay, I've just got to have the urban fantasy thing going) set in Chicago during modern times. It's sexy (I think), it's dark, the main character is broken, but hopelessly brilliant and heroic. The heroine is stubborn, sexy, and has no clue about the world of magic, wizards, or demons. And it's set in the world of police work (actually, the FBI). There's a serial killer, portal jumper, witches, vampires, you name it, and it's all set in the snow-covered, frozen tundra of my x-hometown - Chicago!

Challenge though. I'm thinking I have to change the occupation of my heroine (it's already 40,000 words long, and should end up around 80,000). Her being a reporter is just striking me as trite. She could be a bartender - very easy for me to recall from my early days in Chicago. Or, she could be a restaurant owner. I like the idea of her being a business owner (like moi in my real life). I can bring in all of the joys and stresses of running a business, too busy to have a healthy relationship, stressed out over staff, customers, deadlines, taxes, etc.

But even more fun, it will be a single title and feature a twisted romance, sex, violence, (did I say that already?). Bottom line there will be nothing within the realm of routine. And why do I feel I can do this? Well, there are just so many damn books out there that do whatever they want. My latest find is Chelsea Cain:)...She's on my friend's list on Facebook - way too excited about that. You've just got to check out her books. I'm reading her first one in the 'beautiful killer' series now, Heart Sick. Visit her website, and buy. Her first book was a memoir written in 1994 or so. I'm so jealous. I wish I'd started getting serious about writing earlier in life, or at least when I started five years ago, I wish I'd learned enough to actually be more aggressive about getting published. That bug just hit me, and it's because of Rebecca Walker. She's my writing coach. I participated in her writing workshop in Maui this past June, and can I just say I fell in love with Maui, her wisdom (yes, I have a girl crush), and generally, the energy she shares so easily with others. Go to her website, and just hang out, and if you're in San Francisco in March 2010 (or  Maui in December 2009) - sign up for her workshop, okay? Just do it!

Alright, it's like 3 AM on the east coast, and I need to get some sleep. Big day tomorrow work-wise, and writing wise. I will finish polishing Chapter Six (can you believe it's taken me three weeks to write it?).  But it's okay. Not mad about it. The next  ten chapters are actually written, but need a decent amount of re-working. But I know what needs to happen, and the two new chapters I've been working on for the past several weeks will make those chapters so much easier to clean up.

I have my fingers crossed that I'll be able to finish those chapters in three weeks. I realize it might be dicey for me to finish polishing before November 1, but I've got to give it a real try. Who knows? The editor may email me tomorrow and ask for the entire manuscript, right? (hopeful is not always bad).

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