A Quick Game Of Catch Up

by aenoblin

Gosh, it’s been a while.

I really thought this blog was dead. I mean, I haven’t updated in forever. But over the last few weeks I’ve been getting notifications that people are reading my posts and commenting on them. I figured that maybe I ought to come back.

I think the last time I posted I’d just signed a contract for two years with my literary agent. I signed in June, and my last post was around July. So…what’s happened since then?

Well, I immediately started outlining my next novel, which really didn’t amount to much. I scrapped it at a few thousand words. It just wasn’t working. I also got a much needed break from Stay. I needed some distance more than I needed just about anything.

In September my agent called. She’d submitted Stay to a few publishers (about four). All had rejected it. However, all but one were willing to read a rewrite. My agent and I talked at length about the possibilities a good rewrite could hold. I read some of the responses from the editors. And I began to formulate a plan for a rewrite. I guess I could have been upset about the rejections. But really, all I felt was excitement. I’d been given a shot to make my book better, and I’d been given suggestions from editors in publishing houses. What was there to be sad about?

I worked on the rewrite from mid September through the end of November. Then I did some cleaning up with the help of my agent. I think I sent the final version to her about the fifteenth of December. Just in time to be sent out to publishers in the new year! I had such a good time with the rewrite. I’d had enough time away to love my book again, and it was thrilling to have a new direction–a fresh outlook. I hadn’t anticipated the rewrite taking so long, though. I thought (stupidly) that I’d be done by October. But I also work full-time and have a toddler. Everything takes a bit longer with a toddler!

I’m now about 2,000 words into Just Fine With Caroline, and I’m loving what I’ve got so far. I made a rookie mistake during the first draft. I hadn’t taken enough time to outline. To research. To character sketch. I got excited and jumped right in because that’s how I wrote the first book. The difference is that I’d been honing the concept for the first book since 2008. That’s a lot of time to think. And even then I still did several rewrites.

I’m what some people in the industry call a “panster,” which is just another way of saying that when I write I tend to fly by the seat of my pants. I’m terrible at outlining. I’d much rather write and see where my characters take me. But just because I’m not very good at outlining doesn’t mean that I don’t plan. I make notes. And lists. I DO make character sketches. I know the beginning, middle, and end. I don’t always know all the intimate details, but who does???

Still…I’m a total panster.

I’ve recently read a couple of books by Cathy Yardley that have helped me quite a bit. She’s a novelist by trade (chick lit, mostly), but has written a couple of books about writing that I think are great. One of them is genre specific and it’s called, Will Write For Shoes: How To Write a Chick Lit Novel. The other one is called, Rock Your Plot: A Simple System For Plotting Your Novel. Obviously the first one won’t help you unless you’re wanting to write chick lit or a genre similar. However, the other book is a great read for anyone writing any type of novel. Both books are fairly cheap, especially if you have a Kindle or the Kindle app. She writes extensively in both about her (what she deems psychotic) method of outlining. While I have no intention of being as extreme…ever…she’s really helped me get on the right track. She’s given me the blueprint I needed. I’ve read dozens of plot and outlining books, but hers is one of the best. She gives it to ya straight. No chaser.

So anyway, that’s where I am now. I have a problem keeping up with a blog when I’m writing, but I’m going to try. Eventually, I hope to move all of this over to aenoblin.com. I bought the domain and hosting last month…but I’ve yet to do anything with it.

Maybe you all can help keep me accountable. 😉