Q4U: I Could Never Write Mystery

Saturday, August 29, 2009
For those of you mystery writers, kudos. In my WIP, I've included a 'who done it' element. Honestly, it's the hardest thing I've ever had to write. Trying to drop just enough hints without giving away the truth is so much more complicated than playing Clue. The timing, hints, delivery, and pacing all have to be perfect.

My brain just isn't wired that way. Part of my problem is because the situation is so complicated.

I've gained new respect for mystery writer's everywhere. And I humbly ask for your help. Do any of you have any hints for how you do what you do?

What to expect when you submit to your agent

Sunday, August 23, 2009
As in most relationships, trouble comes when expectations don't meet.

So it's a good idea to know what to expect after you submit another MS to your agent. First of all, unless you're making your agent a lot of money, don't expect them to drop everything. Agents have lists of things to accomplish. Don't expect to be pushed to the top.

Now, while you can expect your MS to go before any nonclients (which you will appreciate, after you've landed an agent), you will no doubt be behind clients whose MS arrived before yours. Your agent may take other things into consideration. If, for instance, you already have an unsold MS with him, s/he may be less likely to hurry up and read your newest masterpiece.

So, how long should you expect? Here's the key, ask when you turn the MS in. If you agent says a month, double that (this is true for all things publishing--unless of course, you need to meet a deadline).

So you see, all this sending off queries and waiting is just preparing you for life after you land an agent.

In the meantime, go have a popsicle and chill.


I'll Always be a Cowgirl

Tuesday, August 18, 2009
This past weekend, I went home for the county fair. Now, for those of you not familiar with small town life in the West, the county fair surpasses many an American holiday. I'd rather miss Thanksgiving than the fair.

With my all of my immediate family members, I moved toward the stands covered in peeling white paint--paint I had helped put there years ago. I smile as I remember my 4-H friends and I slapping each other with white, laughing when we realized the paint was oil based. The smell of gasoline as we worked it from our skin.

I sat down to more memories--memories as familiar to me as the smells of my children and as distant as my first romance. The smell of horse sweat. Dust in my mouth. The feeling of 1,000 pounds of muscle tensed and ready to run beneath me. The pride I have for my horse; a horse that I'd trained myself.

I remember the heartache of losses, the thrill of the win. Chasing cowboys wearing tight wranglers, callouses on their hands.

And now it's all gone for me. Sometimes, like when I go to the fair, I miss it so much my chest aches and tears sting my eyes. And I'm beginning to realize that I may never have it back. It may be gone forever. And I may miss it forever.

And I'm beginning to realize rodeo will not be the only passing passion I have in my life. I still love the textured feel of a basketball in my hand, the snap of the hoop when the ball fits perfectly. But my body will not always willingly run the court.

The feel of my baby daughter in my arms, so tiny that she seems made to fit in the contours of my body. Her breath against my neck as she sighs her sleeping baby sighs.

So now I'm determined to enjoy my stage of life now. The kids running around, begging me to play swords with them and read them a story. My husband, singing off key to Don't Worry, Be Happy as he cooks in the kitchen. My friends and I playing ball on Saturday mornings.

I will write. But I will not give up NOW. I will not miss these memories. Because I'm beginning to understand that I will never get them back.

In case you have any doubts, yes, that's me during my Junior year of high school. I was one of the top Cowgirls in my state. I have over 30 belt buckles to prove it.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009
I'm unstuck again. A good plot discussion with my husband did the trick. He doesn't say much, but talking with someone usually helps me zero in on the problem.

So what was the problem? Well, I have this particular one before. It was a combination of a fizzle in the tension and my characters balking at what I wanted to have happen.

Ilyenna, my MC, was refusing to move forward until I wrote it right.

Unfortunately, I was trying to avoid this particular plot twist because I feel like I use it too much. Do any of you ever have that problem? What do you do to fix it?

This is Hard. I'm Lazy. I Quit.

Monday, August 10, 2009
46,000 words. The dreaded two thirds point. I've set up my characters, established my plot, pushed through the turning point, but I'm not quite ready for the conclusion.

I hate this part.

It's a lot of hard work.

I was stuck for a month before I finally whipped out three chapters. Now I'm stuck again. And I hate it. I feel like I'm dragging the story out of me like a three year old dragging around a yowling cat instead of it flowing from my fingers.

Do you ever feel this way? What do you do to fix it?
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