Sorting the Weeds and the Flowers

Following two hours of sorting through my Writing folder, I think I’m close to knowing which of my stories can can be called “weeds” and which are beautiful “flowers”. Unfortunately, the number of flowers in my vase are few. 😀

At the moment, I’m taking a short break, sipping a cup of tea and … writing this post! I will return to my sorting in a few minutes, at which time I will go into phase two of my plan – reading the flowers one more time and making minute changes if necessary. When I am satisfied that these flowers are perfect, I will turn my mind to publishers. No less than five markets will be listed for each flower, and this will be added to regularly.

Next week, I intend to parcel each flower carefully and send it off to the first publisher on its list. How could a publisher turn away a beautiful flower? I wonder if I can make those flowers blossom? Maybe it would be a good idea to visit an old haunt called Critique Circle and see what can be done in that department.

2007 will be the Year of Submissions for this writer. It’s time to step up to the mark and get my work out there.

Cat’s Eyes: Rejected!

I forgot to mention that I received an early Christmas present. It arrived in the last post before Christmas (being Friday 22 December). It was a “form” rejection letter from Koala Books. Perfect timing, one might say.

Yes, I was disappointed, but rejections are part of the journey. When the manuscript is sold I need to have a great rejection story connected with it, don’t I? 😉

Anyway, it has been suggested that I do something creative with the rejection letter, which, I might add at this time, isn’t the first I’ve received, but it is the first for Cat’s Eyes. One suggestion was to make a Cat Origami with it. Now that’s an interesting thought.

However, being an old stick in the mud, I’ll do the “secretary” thing and just file it with the others. I know that’s quite boring, but…that’s me all over. 😀

I’ve been working on a database, getting a list of manuscripts together. It’s amazing how time flies, because most of my early manuscripts were written much earlier than I thought they were. That was a surprise to me, but it was also a let down, because it shows how much time I’ve been procrastinating, how much time I’ve wasted and how many projects remain unfinished. I will do something about that in 2007.

My next step is to start entering the data for Markets. I’ll start by going through my copy of The Australian Writer’s Marketplace. I may as well submit to Australian markets first and then branch out overseas.

Also, Helen Parocha, winner of the 2006 Frustrated Writers’ Mentoring Program competition, suggested I enter Cat’s Eyes into the 2007 competition, which I am seriously thinking about.

Even though I received a rejection, I still feel positive. As I said to a friend on the phone, “If a writer can’t take rejection, then they shouldn’t be writing.”

Review: The Secret

thesecretAfter a mammoth adult book, I quickly turned back to the smaller, easier to read children and young adult books I have lined up in my bookshelf waiting to be read.

The first one was The Secret by Sophie Masson. First published in 1996, it felt a little aged with the main character being named Florence, but other than that I had no complaints.

The story is about acceptance and new beginnings. This was shown in a number of ways and, I felt, the topic was handled nicely in each thread. I didn’t have a sense of where the story was “acted out”, but that didn’t bother me either. My imagination was happy to fill in the gaps.

It took me two hours to read, so it will take most people less than that. Young readers will enjoy this story, as will some adults. I enjoyed learning about Polichinelle – the original puppet that is well known as Punch in the Punch and Judy act.

Recommendation: It’s a bit outdated, but still worthy of a read.

Review: False Impression

falseimpressionFalse Impression is written by Jeffrey Archer. It uses the 9/11 tragedy to capture the reader’s interest, but it is mainly about conspiracies in the art world – or, if you want it in simpler terms, it’s a murder mystery.

This book didn’t compare to the other book I’ve read by the same author – As The Crow Flies – but it is still a good story, set in the real world, with believable characters. At first, I felt a bit confused with all the characters (not to mention the head hopping), but the confusion settled after about six chapters. Luckily, the chapters in this book are quite short, so it isn’t as bad as it sounds.

The fact that I read the first six chapters and then put the book aside for two months didn’t help either. However, chapter seven saw the action really begin so I was drawn back into the story quickly once I started reading again.

Although I don’t know for sure if the facts stated in the book about the art world are true or not, it sounded true to me. As a reader, that’s important. However, I suspect that the author did do the necessary research and if I were to check up on any of the facts I think I’ll discover that they are correct. Unfortunately, I didn’t learn anything from these facts except Van Gogh painted a self portrait with a bandaged ear; however, it was actually the left ear which was really bandaged, not the right ear as shown in the portrait. Van Gogh used a mirror when doing the painting. I also learned that Van Gogh died by suicide.

Recommendation: If you have an opportunity to read the book, do it. I don’t think you’ll be sorry.

Merry Christmas!

The approach of Christmas has pulled me away from the computer. I’m finding that I don’t have time to visit my own haunts, let alone anyone else’s. The next week will grow increasingly busier with the winding down of work before the holidays (two whole weeks – yay!), and Christmas starting for my family on Saturday (when the first round of presents will be handed out and received). Next Wednesday, 27 December, will be the first day I have free and, believe me, I’m looking forward to that day. I need a rest.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my regulars for supporting me and my endeavours during the year. Your friendship is wonderful and means a lot to me. I would also like to thank all the guests that come here. All of you help make maintaining this website worthwhile.

I extend warm wishes of the season to you and your family. My wish for you this coming year is health and happiness, and for anyone who writes…easy word flow, full plots, amazing characters and publication.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

My Submissions

I realised tonight that I don’t even have a “My Submissions” category. Personally, I think that’s a sign of how I haven’t been taking my writing seriously enough. That oversight has now been corrected. I’ve added the submission of Cat’s Eyes to the Sydney publisher, which was made in October 2006, but haven’t bothered with any of the older submissions. 2007 should see this category get “used and abused”.

You might notice that I’m working towards many submissions in the New Year. 😀

Writer’s Planner

I googled “submission planner” and came up with this website – Writer’s Planner. It’s a free online planner for writers (which is stating the obvious, I know) where you can track your queries and submissions.

I set up an account and entered Cat’s Eyes and three of my short stories to see how easy the site is to navigate. At first, I got mighty lost, but once I got used to where things are placed it’s not that difficult. Although the owner says you can track queries and submissions, there isn’t a way (that I could find) to distinguish between the two, which is a shame. Querying and submitting are quite different, in my opinion, and should be separate from each other. Also, I would have liked to see some additional options for completed manuscripts that might need editing or further rewrites, before they get to the query/submission stage. My manuscripts that fit into this category have not been added to the site, which means my list is not complete. What a shame.

I haven’t used the site long enough to really recommend it, but if you are looking for a service like this, it costs nothing to try.

Year of the Writer Comes to an End

At the end of last year, I said 2006 was going to be the Year of the Writer. Besides wanting to see publication for many of my internet writing friends, and for myself, I made a list of goals. I’ve just been reading the list and … I can’t believe it, even though I didn’t come close to the dates provided, I did complete everything on the list. I’m shocked! I thought I would have failed miserably. That has given me a little spurt of confidence. 😀

The Year of the Writer is coming to an end. I don’t think anyone I know actually got published in a big way, but I do know a few people who are within touching distance of this happening.

For me, 2006 was not what I wanted it to be and the year will be forever etched in my mind. The Year of the Writer ended in May when I lost my beloved son. I did, however, finish editing Book 1 in my children’s series and I wrote Book 2 of the series, so it wasn’t all bad.

I’ve been thinking about my options lately. And I’ve also been thinking about my lack of “movement”. Something has to change, and that something is me. I need a plan.

Firstly, however, I need to know what I have to plan with. What stories are finished and polished? Which of these are already “tied up”? Which are free to submit? What stories need more planning or editing? Which stories need to be rewritten from the beginning?

Here’s my current list of manuscripts, in their various stages of development:

Novels

Isle of Cotti (romance for adults) – (complete, 10 chapters rewritten in edit stage, second half needs replanning)

Kingdom of Marlinor Trilogy (fantasy for adults)
1. Whispering Caves (complete, but needs replanning and rewriting)
2. Windy Plains (in planning stages)
3. Butterweed Fever (in planning stages)

Westmore Castle (fantasy for adults) – (4 chapters written, needs proper planning)

Blood Red, White Fire (fantasy for young adults) – (22 chapters written of first draft)

The World of Jaishree (fantasy for young adults) – (written as a short story that should have been a novel, needs replanning and rewriting)

Sam & Arden (fantasy for young adults) – (4 chapters written, needs proper planning)

Mid Summer’s Day (science fiction for adults) – (fully planned, but not written)

The People of Miu Series (fantasy for children aged 8 to 12 years)
1. Cat’s Eyes (100% complete)
2. Cat’s Paw (complete in first draft)
3. Cat’s Whiskers (in planning stages)

Short Stories

Help Wanted! (general women’s fiction) – (complete)

Journey to Freedom (fantasy for adults) – (complete, but I’m still not happy with it, so it needs another edit)

Guards Mustering (fantasy for adults) – (complete)

Wynter Boundaries (fantasy for adults) – (complete)

Putting this list together has helped me in more ways than one. For starters it shows me that I have a lot of unfinished projects. I can safely say this is because in the early days of writing I didn’t plan, which meant I quickly ran out of steam, or cornered myself or just didn’t know where the story was heading and wrote in circles. And because these projects are from the “early” days, it also means that my writing skills were not the best. I’ve improved tenfold since then and all the stories need to be properly planned and rewritten from the beginning (even the finished projects).

The list also shows me that I’m unorganised because I don’t have many manuscripts polished and ready for submission. As a writer this is bad and I intend to change this.

For the moment, I only really have one novel manuscript which is 100% ready for submission and that is currently with a publisher in Sydney, so it’s not free for submission elsewhere.

I only have four short stories. I’ve never been keen on writing short stories. All my stories seem to turn into full length novels. Obviously, I can’t think small! Anyway, two of these are “tied up” with anthology projects and I must be patient with those, but I expect one of them to be released soon. The other two are free to submit now.

So what are my plans for 2007?

  • To edit Cat’s Paw and get it ready for submission.
  • To write and edit Cat’s Whiskers and get it ready for submission.
  • To finish Blood Red, White Fire. I only have approx. 4 chapters to go for heaven’s sake!
  • Plan all three books of The Kingdom of Marlinor trilogy.
  • Re-edit the story Journey to Freedom until I’m happy with it.
  • Query and submit all “free” short stories until they are accepted.
  • Write and edit two new short stories.
  • To read at least three writing “how to” books from cover to cover, which is something I’ve never done. At least one of these books must be on self-editing.

That sounds a lot, doesn’t it? But I’ve done my sums and I feel certain that this goal is not unachievable and it’s time I tried to stretch myself.

I challenge the readers of this blog to make their own list of manuscripts (for private use), but to make their 2007 writing goals public.