Six Fact Sunday- Ghost Town Writer’s Retreat

If you follow me anywhere like Twitter (HERE) FaceBook (HERE) or Instagram (HERE), you know that I have spent the weekend at my very first Writer’s Retreat. I met the most amazing group of like minded amateurs, professionals, and experts. Even though it was a horror writer’s deal, writers from across all genres were represented. Lucky for me, most of them are local to Denver and mix in circles that I have recently joined.

Anyway, it’s been awhile since I did a Sunday post, but being new to the world of writing and publishing, I have learned soooo much! And here it is:

  1.  EVERY WRITER NEEDS TO GO TO A CONFERENCE!!! You will find your tribe. If it’s 2 or 200 people, you will find SOMEONE if not most people believe in you and your work because they know what it takes to get there. They know the hours you have put into pouring over you manuscript until you could quote it in your sleep. They know the struggles of networking, pitching, querying. Whatever stage you are in, a lot of them have been there and will cheer you on.

Theses people are so amazing. Writing a book is hard, and getting your book out there is even more difficult. The writing community is one of solidarity. Others recognize that you put in the hard work and wrote to tell the tale. Beautiful hearts, theses folks.

2.   I learned how to scare people with written words. This I am super excited about. I received tips from horror writing superstars, on how to make grown people pee their pants . I also learned that true crime is glamorized in fiction. Most of the books or TV shows you watch that are “based on a true story” are 75% bullshat.

3. I learned how to talk about my book in a way that makes others excited. The biggest compliment I have received all weekend is that they loooove the premise of my story and cannot wait to read it. COMPLETE STRANGERS want to read my story. (I am floored).

4. (On the note of number 3) I learned how to query and how to pitch my book to an agent in person. I also learned how NOT to by one ridiculously famous editor. He, despite correcting my in person pitch, asked me for my manuscript. I almost cried.

5. After MANY changes, I finally hammered down the true genre of my book. It is Speculative/ Crisis Thriller. This is the first time I have felt it’s been properly labeled.

6. I Have A LOT of work to do. To include a mad amount of writing… Like 8-13k more words to actually qualify to be the genre I intend. I am humble enough to accept that my novel needs work. I did not expect to just do one round of edits and be done. I’ve put hard work into it, I won’t give up until it’s finished.

 

Of course, I have learned and experienced much more than those 6 things, but I am mentally exhausted and ready to get back to my kiddos and the mister. I miss them like crazy. So, hopefully I will have a good short and scary for you later this week. But until then…

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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?

The End!!!

I wrote it! The outcome is set (well as set as a first draft can be). And I will not give it away! I am still waiting to hear what my beta readers have to say. But I am pretty darn proud of myself considering I had no idea what it would even look like until last week.

I have, for the first time in my writing career, penned the words “THE END”! How did this even come to be? I plan on taking a much needed break from the book, as many professionals suggest. My original timeline was to begin editing in July.

So, hurray for huge victories. Thank you for everyone that has took time to listen to me about “my book” and even asking what it’s about so I can practice my elevator speech. There is still a long road ahead to publishing. My crap writing needs some tweaking and then I have to look for an agent. (I have an agency in mind and a particular agent, but of course I know as a writer the odds of getting traditionally published are close to 1%).

That will not discourage me from trying. December 6th (my birthday) is my goal for publishing. *Deep Breath* I can do this!!!

I am announcing that now that I am down to working the final product, I am removing my work from Chapter Buzz on July 1st. Thank you to everyone that supported my journey and offered feedback on my very very rough first draft. We started from the bottom, now we a little above the bottom. 😉 CHEERS!