Finding One’s Way

Finding One’s WayI’ve written before about working on multiple projects.

This past  year I had a taste of what it was like to be locked into a large project with a deadline. One that involved co-writers (for the results of that project, see my post from December 16 Press Release: New Anthology).

I have to admit, while I liked working on the project itself – it was exciting! – I was anguished and frustrated over not being able to work on my other projects simultaneously. Next, of course, came the holidays, as well as some neck pain issues, which were directly related to time spent at the computer.

The holidays were finally over. People were headed home. But, unfortunately, my son-in-law, also a writer, and I had a little conversation.

You see, I had fired out a set of notes on a Hallmark-style movie idea I’d had centered on Christmas.  I figured that as I got caught up on my next two projects and got a little braver, I’d see how  you went about submitting  (and writing) a movie treatment or even a script. We all know how these big fantasies go, right? I mentioned this at the table one night when my son-in-law had his laptop up. He nodded his head and went on checking the Intenet.

“You know,” he said a few minutes later, “Hallmark is having open submissions next month for un-agented book manuscripts. I’ll send you the link.”

Ever pause to ponder how much trouble those five little words cause in this post-Internet life?

I was off. I found the link, followed it, read the blogpost it was associated with, followed the recommended Twitter account, and discovered I had basically one month to write a book in if I wanted to take advantage of this situation.  Now, I believe in myself, but I have no agent. Un-agented submission opportunities are rare, nearly nonexistent. This was not an opportunity to be squandered. But, it would mean diving into a concentrated time expense/effort that would isolate me once again from everyday life AND family AND from my other projects. I have 2 novels that have been patient with me for about as long as they can stand. I expect them to hold me hostage and demand I feed them words any day now.

BUT – the opportunity.

BUT – could I write roughly 75,000 words in 30–some days AND polish them into a state for submission? That pace is faster than NaNoWriMo, and more demanding because it has to be submission ready. The decision was not an easy one.

But I come to you now, frazzle-headed, weary, grateful for the P’T for my neck, and so distracted at my part-time job that they must think I’m a twit (a word that means ‘pregnant goldfish’, did you know that?). And I come to you roughly 18 days into this venture and slightly more than halfway done with a rough draft that I am revising on the run as my son and daughter (also writers) provide me feedback.

Those living at home gave me a thumbs up, and organized the rest of the family into my cheering section. I get to brag on my progress, and they get to applaud my efforts.

Is the manuscript  any good? Heck if I know. Right now it’s mostly draft 1.

Will I finish in time? Ditto.

Have I driven my family nuts yet? Well, so far as I can tell, not any more than usual.

What I have done, however, is lived up to the promise I made myself someplace along the way. I know I have a certain amount of talent. I know can persevere, if I only will. So the promise is this: I will try. I will always try, and try my best. I will complete this novel, and I will make it the very best I can. And, if the timing works, I will submit it.

And if the timing fails, I will submit it somewhere else, or at another time.

20171008_161016

 

Being a writer, finding your story – it’s like any endeavor in life. For any endeavor in life to succeed, you must live fully into it, give it all your effort, your best shot. That is all you can do, but it is what you must do to know you really tried.

 

Try your hardest. Find your story, find your way. And you find yourself.

 

Tip

3 Basic Rules for Starting New Paragraphs

Okay, so you want to write – a book, a story, an essay – whatever you want to write. But you have ZERO experience.  

You know pages have words on them, and they seem to be broken up into patterns called paragraphs, but how do you know when to do that? Here are the beginning rules. Use them to get started writing your work the way it should be written.

 

  1.  Begin a new paragraph whenever you change speaker.

This means, in dialogue, one person says something, then another one says something.

Each time this happens, each time the speaker changes, they get a new paragraph all to themselves, and their spoken words are contained in quote marks (BONUS tip there)

 

  1. Begin a new paragraph whenever you change topic.

You begin your essay by describing the outside of your house. Then you want to move on to describing the inside of it. Make a new paragraph for the inside description. When you want to describe what the back yard looks like, that is another new paragraph.

 

  1. Begin a new paragraph when it feels like one is needed.

This can be for a pause, a change of direction in the action, or just to change theme or thought, much like a change of topic.

You may have spent some time describing how you felt when the ambulance arrived. Then the EMT has you move into the ambulance, and you need to describe how you felt – maybe more physically than emotionally -, and what the inside of the ambulance looked like.

The arrival is one paragraph, the move into the ambulance is a second, and the description of the interior is a third.

 

Most of all, watch for these things in your reading. As you identify them in what you read, it will be easier for you to remember to use them in your writing.

Oops!

Oops. The first link to the Author Spotlight post  is no longer working. Here’s a revised one  (please try it):

Robin Minnack:The Mackinzie Wilder/Classic Boat Mysteries and more: author spotlight

Hey, lookie here!

Hi all,

I’ve had the honor of being interviewed by Marni Graff, author, editor, and blogger. She’s a writer whose style and skill I admire, so it means a lot to me that she wanted to ask about my books and my writing habits. You can find the interview (after midnight tonight, the 27th) and learn more for yourself at http://auntiemwrites.com/2018/07/27/robin-minnackthe…authorspotlight/

Tip

In ‘A Return to Show, Don’t Tell‘ I shared information about a useful tool called the Emotion Thesaurus.

There is a now a coterie of such thesauri, practically establishing its own genre. If writing is what you do, you might want to check these out.

 

The Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Psychological TraumaThe Positive Trait Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Attributes (Writers Helping Writers)

 

The Rural Setting Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Personal and Natural PlacesThe Negative Trait Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Flaws