Pitch Wars Update- A Writing About Writing

“You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.” -Mary Tyler Moore

Earlier this month I submitted my very first novel to PitchWars (HERE) in hopes of snagging a mentor that will help me shape it into the master piece that I see in my mind. Well, I did not get in. Which is fine. I am actually in the majority and did not take it very hard.

The day after submitting my first ten pages for consideration, I attended a writing conference (which I wrote about HERE). I was able to tweak my in person pitch, tighten my query letter, and found some very GLARING problems within the first few pages of my work and even some throughout.

These are VICTORIES for me. They are not setbacks. I knew I had a lot of work to do, but I also know that it will be worth it to see Apparent Power within a cover and in my hands. My premise sparks interest with agents and now I have to wow them with my hardly more than mediocre writing.

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Though I am so excited about my new book, Apparent Power is my baby and I cannot wait for Valerie’s story to be available to the masses. You can preview it HERE.

So while I balance work, kids, and life, I guess it’s back to late nights in September editing and writing on my lunch break.

If you are a writer and have experienced rejection or are being hard on yourself (its a vicious cycle, we all do it) take a breath and say “I won’t learn if I don’t try. If I fail, I will know why and work to fix it.” You are in control of your emotions. You are in control of your actions. You can be defeated or you can have your beverage of choice, maybe cry a bit if that’s your thing, and then you suck it up and drive on. Your writing goal is not stupid or unrealistic. It takes a special person to keep going, and I think you’re pretty special. Good Luck!

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Community Helped Me Write Smut

pitchwarsIf you do not recall a couple of months ago, I was having quite the trouble writing a much need s-e-x scene into my novel, Apparent Power. All the tension was there, as was the opportunity, I was just soooo uncomfortable. You can read about it HERE.

I also posted about building my Author Platform, if you need a refresher on that one it can be found HERE. So I created a Twitter Account and started my search for like-minded folks to help me out on this. I accidently stumbled across #pitchwars just as I had finished my first draft of Apparent Power. I quickly found that I had exactly one month to get my ish together to submit my manuscript in hopes of being mentored by experienced authors and writers in my genre.

WHAT A MOTIVATOR!!!

Not only did it stick to my personal timelines of submitting to agents, but it kept me focused to do all the edits needed to make it awesome. I also found that where I was lacking in areas, others were master crafts(wo)men. Not only that but the entire PitchWars community is one of sharing and caring. (Thank you Brenda Drake for fostering an atmosphere of positive self-growth for so many).

I will try to remember EVERYONE that helped me along the way.

Jordyn Jacobs– Thank you for your help with my synopsis

Royce Sears– Fellow Veteran and writer. Cheers brother and good luck! I hope this book is your Merlin!

Rachel Dahl– It was nice to meet you neighbor!!! Thank you for your help, coffee is on me!

K J Harrowick– Thank you for showing a newbie the ropes of ASFF

S M O’Connell– early help with my query and just talking me down off the ledge of the trash can lol

all the mentors, more mentors, the FOUR mentors (you know which mentors you are now)

And lastly Willow!!! Willow talked me into writing the smut. She was so gentle and understanding of my first time. She eased me into it and I found it to not be as scary as I thought. I actually really liked it.. THE WRITING PEOPLE!!! Willow- thank you for sharing your talent with me and encouraging me to step out of my comfort zone to add a few hundred more words to my manuscript.

Run to Twitter #pitchwars to see all the excitement

All that said, I won’t know until the end of August if a mentor picks my story. The odds are against me, but there is still a chance. I am humble enough to know that this opportunity is invaluable. If you see me about on social media, wish me luck!!!

 

Blogger-versary!

Thanks to social media, I realized I began my blog, two years ago! My Very first blog post was about writing my book, which was super fun to revisit.

I wake up each morning and check my stats on my blog, book, Twitter and all my notifications on FaceBook. Understand that my mood for the day is not based on numbers, but I do use them to gauge my relevance in the literary world. Lately, I have been reaching more people and slowly adding to my following. And because I am a huge nerd, numbers really get me going. Seeing a measurable increase gets me motivated to do more. With my book steady at #1, and my blog views as high as they have ever been, I am feeling a little more accomplished as a writer.

SO…. In honor of my 2 year anniversary, I’d like to do a give away. This time there will be 5 winners! The winners will receive a personalized Christmas present from me. A FREE SIGNED COPY OF APPARENT POWER, the novel I’ve been working on for over 2 years!!!!

The give away will go on for about 5 weeks, I’ll pick a winner every Friday until the end of July. Here is how to enter:

  1. Follow my blog!! by clicking +Follow at the bottom right of your screen.
    1. You can also follow my Author Page on FaceBook
    2. My Book Page on FaceBook
    3. Follow me on Twitter @daciaauthor
    4. And Follow me on Pinterest @britestfyrefly
    5. And for about 7 more days you can read a very rough draft of Apparent Power at ChapterBuzz

2. Share/ Reblog/ Retweet/ Pin your favorite Britestfyrefly blog post on your chosen social platform and tag me so I know you’ve entered the drawing.

You can enter every week as many times as you’d like, but you can only win once. Happy sharing!!!

 

What I Learned Writing My First Draft

I have spent 26 months, off and on, writing my novel. So many things happened in my life in those two years: a new baby, a ton of loss, a new job, a promotion, a couple personal crisis, a bout of postpartum depression, a year of college, and ultimately growth.

Though I really want to rest on my laurels, I know that it is not finished. I know that there is sooooo much editing to do and it is killing me to take a break from it. One piece of editing advice I received which was by far the most discouraging but made the most sense, was to rewrite the entire thing from scratch. To print out my existing content, finger paint all over the pages, and type it from there. Only then can I ensure that I did not lazily skip over details that need to be added (Writer friends: thoughts on this process. It makes me want to cry but I am also seeing where I need to do this).

So onto what I have learned:

  1. Keep writing when you are stuck. If it’s too hard, then you need to go back and change something to help you move the story along. I killed someone and was stuck writing for MONTHS! So I brought him back to life and that was that. It added a dynamic to the universe that I built and was helpful down the road.
  2. Have a writing routine. Whether you spend every Sunday morning writing, an hour a day, or a specific word count per day, week, etc, just have some sort of consistent and sustainable goal to write. Once you set these goals, make them a priority.
  3. Join a network of follow writers. I personally enjoy the fellowship and talents at ChapterBuzz . Run by a self-publishing coach, it gives you encouragement, monthly challenges to help you create writing routines (See #2) and also comes with a social network on FaceBook. You can also follow Tim Pike’s blog at What Inspires Your Writing.
  4. Do NOT edit. Lawd. Some days, in the very early stages when I was not feeling motivated or otherwise creative, I would go back and edit previous chapters. Now I can see that even then, and probably less now, I had no idea what I was doing. Before it fully developed into what it is now, my writing sucked. Just wait til it’s over to edit.
  5. You can have a working title, but chances are it wont stick. I created a word to describe a main puzzle piece in my book, but after much thought I knew that if I saw a book on the shelf with that title, I’d never pick it up. It was awkward, was made up, and no one could relate to it. So thank you, Google, for helping me brush up on electrical vocabulary. I stumbled on something ironic, easy to pronounce, and relevant to the story.
  6. There is absolutely NO reason to pursue representation from an agent before your word is D.U.N. DONE! Thinking about it is going to stress you out. Instead create a realistic timeline to completely complete your work. And then MAYBE you’d be brave enough to begin the query process. So if there is less than a week from the time you type THE END, until your dream agency hosts a Twitter Query Session, you should just patiently and painfully stick to your REASONABLE timeline. Do not try to edit your first 50 pages in a week. It’s unrealistic and will not be your best work. Then you run the risk of being rejected by your dream agency. No one wants that.
  7. TAKE A BREAK WHEN YOU ARE DONE!! I had planned to finish writing on June 30th then jump right into editing on July 1st. Little did I know, the book would be done two weeks early and 15,000 words short. But the story is written. I have given myself a month and a half to edit and bring up the word count. I need a break anyway to focus on things that have been neglected like my blog, and every other social media account I have as a writer.

 

So there you have it. Wednesday is that twitter pitch for my dream agency, in case you wondered. I’m chewing my nails wanting to try my queries, but I’m scared of what happens if they love it and want more. Should I ignore them and just rest assured that they would at least want to hear it at some point? Like August 15th when I had planned on being done? Or should I just watch and see what kind of pitches they picked to check out.  UGH!!!

Hope you enjoyed. Do you have any advice to add?

Not me. Not this time.

HappyBirthdayMy Love

I have never been the one to mess with. I have either always knew the rule or researched it enough to know whether my stance on the matter was right or wrong. Health/ dental insurance don’t mess with me.  I know my contract in and out. I know what I am “entitled to”.

“But Dacia, you’re a millennial, you’re not entitled to anything!

I am a ten year Army veteran. I have earned my health and dental plans. (But really they are my husband’s work’s so shut up. Yes I have ‘earned’ them)

So let me tell you women something. You do not have to agree with what they tell you.

You don’t have to go along because you don’t know any better

You can learn negative and detrimental things of you own past that bring to light something you held at high regard.

You can learn that ‘”protection” might not have actually saved you from the danger of your own family.

You can learn that after 32 years of existence, what you thought you had built your own foundation  on was a lie or was kept a secret from you, in hopes that it would go away.

I feel ashamed and defensive. I feel like I am owed the truth on the matter before I go chiseling at the details.

I feel that being so comfortably removed from the situation has, yes, saved me from the physical hurt that others have experienced but also left the remaining victims silent in their recovery, personal remorse, and unable to anonymously share their side of the story.

Ladies- You are not alone. Many have felt this pain. It is not my story to tell, but if you can help others by stepping up, then maybe it’s worth it.

It is time that you have felt this validation. That YOU know that you are loved despite the things that happened to you.

I grew up so far removed. My memories are locked in the photos I own. I try to apply principles to my own little family that has very different dynamics.

If you can please help me to understand why women lay so vulnerable to men;   not allowing their own voices to be heard. Why do you place your husband above the love of your children? Then I may be able to sleep tonight.

The Prep

Last night I messaged my friend. All of my doubts about this book being “the next big thing”. I have the formula. I have the story. I have the target audience. I have suspense, and romance, and a lining of humor. But only 1% of books will get picked up by a publisher and go to print. I did not even graduate high school (I have an education, it just wasn’t “traditional”). I am terrified that the agent I want will look me over for a technicality. I want to call her and say “Girl, I’m writing YOUR book. I have what you’re buying.” Everything in me is screaming GET THIS AGENT! SHE WILL BELIEVE IN YOU!

But the truth is I am a 32 year old working mom of 2 kiddos. I work a 9 to 5 and make a good living punching the clock. I do not have a huge following. I don’t have a fan club. I have a handful of women that eat my book up faster than I can write it. They claim “you’re going to get published. no doubt.” but I do doubt. all the time.

I have gone to extremes of planning a book tour for a work that isn’t even done. I believe in it. I KNOW it’s good. It would be big without the traditional support of an agent, a publisher, and good marketing.

Last month I set a goal of writing 1,000 words a day everyday for the entire month. This would put my word count at 80,000 words: a solid word count for the genre of fiction I am writing. Yesterday I went to bed 250 words short. I felt defeated and clawing for ideas. I so desperately needed validation.

Today a few things happened. Someone walked into my office to tell me that they could not put my book down. They even had dreams about what THEY would do in the situation of the protagonist. She had hardly dipped her toe into the pool of the world I have created. I wanted to gush about how much would be revealed, but I maintained (If you’re reading this, I could really talk all day about it). I don’t normally do this, because after just a couple days at #1, I was put back in my place at #2 on the charts, I went and checked out the rankings and I WAS BACK TO #1!!!

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You can read a very rough draft of Apparent Power at ChapterBuzz

So over lunch I punched out 1500 words. I made up for my deficient yesterday and remain on target to finish June 30th. I just needed a little validation.  Happy reading!

“Platform”

This book thing is getting pretty serious. Thanks to another Challenge hosted by ChapterBuzz and Tim at What Inspires Your Writing, I am on target to finishing the first draft by the end of the month.

So far I have a blog, an author facebook page, a book facebook page, an author twitter account, the potential for a website, and a book that is currently #1 in it’s very VERY rough stages. Add it all up and MAYBE 1,000 people are aware I exist. In order to build on these platforms I need to post consistently on relevant subjects as well as mention I have a book coming out.

I also have a full time job, am writing 1,000 words a day to finish in time, and raising two kids while my husband is away for work.  How does someone get this done? How do I add hundreds of followers to my blog if I don’t even have time to post everyday? Getting 1000 words out consistently is a HUGE undertaking, so how can I keep up with these other social media outlets and grow them? (Yes I am soliciting YOUR advice).

Here is what I am currently planning to do. Buy a planner. Well, I bought one and am just waiting for it to come in. Plum Paper sucked me in with their blog planning section. I’ll post a good review in a couple of months if it actually works out well. Otherwise, I have no idea how I am going to keep my life straight over the next few months, much less build this gigantic following in order for an agent to even bat an eye at me.