Second to Last Day in November

Whaaaaat?

Thanksgiving has passed and oh my freaking goodness it was extraordinarily difficult to get out of bed today and actually go to work. And then do productive things at work and not just stare at my computer screen in some sort of food hangover. But do stuff I did. The usual filing and phone answering that fills up a receptionist’s day. But while earlier this week (and the two weeks before) my days have been packed with work stuff, today’s rather quiet. I don’t even have my usual editing since I’ve finished with my most recent client’s manuscript and AAHA hasn’t sent me anything.

The empty squares on my desk needed to be filled, so I decided to query some agents…

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It went something like this:

  • Re-research agent, agency, what they’re looking for (AgentQuery and Writer’s Digest Spotlight are both fabulous for this)
  • Polish, proof and personalize query
  • Slice first chapter of novel at a ‘good stopping point’ for the 5-10 page submission
  • Cut/Paste everything onto an email
  • Panic
  • Re-read everything
  • Panic some more – double/triple check names
  • Hit send
  • Worry I misspelled the agent’s name or my name or my novel’s name
  • Check sent email file – realize I didn’t misspell anything
  • Feel awesome
  • Do over again… six more times…

I did seven in all today and I think it’s pretty darn good for a Friday after Thanksgiving. Wish me luck!

I really want to start on my novella series, but I’m waiting on some comments for my 2012 NaNoNovel which I’d like to self-publish. I’d like to get that done first and am stuck in I-shouldn’t-work-on-anything-else-until-that-project-is-finished-so-what-the-hell-am-I-supposed-to-do-until-then mire.

It’s foggy in here. I don’t like it.

It’s also actually foggy outside – (-2 degree weather) – and I’m slightly paranoid about driving. But like my novel, I’ll travel slow, sure, and with high-beams on that can only see a few feet in front of me. I’ll get home (and published) someday.

Only one more full day in November 2013, enjoy it while you can!
Warmest regards on this chilly Friday,
Kellie

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How Much Is Too Much?

At a yesterday’s book club we discussed Grace Draven’s Master of Crows – a good read if you’re into romantic fantasy. The discussion meandered to this question: how much sex is too much?

It’s an interesting query.

In the book there are plenty of erotic scenes. They were well done, and I certainly didn’t mind reading them. But did they further the plot? To be fair, some of them did. But to be equally fair, some of them didn’t, too. It got to be a bit… much… after a while.

But how much is too much?

I say it depends on genre in which you’re writing in.

Erotica is supposed to be sexually charged, but Middle Grade isn’t. The genres are for two different readers and so are written in two vastly different ways.

But what about a book that’s Romance but not Erotica? Where does one halt the bodice-ripping? Is there even a line between the two anymore?

To answer one of the questions – yes there is a line. For example, you can’t have a YA Romance and have it written in the Erotic style, while some YA books do get pretty detailed, it’s certainly not as detailed as the Erotica section. For another example, Romance books generally have a plotline to follow and characters to define a bit more then the rough-n-tumble of an Erotic novel.

As for the others, personally, I think it depends on the story you’re writing and the characters themselves.

If the plotline calls for it and the characters arcs develops further whilst doing the deed, go ahead and put it in. It’s called Romance for a reason, you know, you do need a bit of steam. A sex scene can be a wonderful thing to call attention to a relationship, to solidify a deeper bond between two characters and yes, even draw more readers. (I’d caution you to only have one or two scenes depending on the story length though. More than that and it’s a bit overboard.)

Because really, in all honesty, sex does sell.

If, however, you’re putting the scene in but it doesn’t really further the characters or plotline you’re skewing it more towards the Erotic. To be fair, of course, I’m sure some Erotic books have decent plotlines and interesting characters, but they are mostly written to feed the human’s need for physical intimacy. if that’s what you’re going for, throw more than a few good scenes in there, with this genre the steamier, the better.

I’m more of a Romance girl myself. 

What do you think? Comments, questions and thoughts are always welcome!

Warm regards,
Kellie

Managing Time

Sorry I’ve been missing in action these past few weeks, I’ve been rather busy with work, school and volunteering (turns out having a full time job, a freelance editing business, interning at a magazine and taking a class all at the same time is quite a heavy load). Since my class ended two weeks ago – I’m an official The Keys to Effective Editing certificate holder, thank you very much! – and I’m just about done applying to graduate school – only one more to go! – I’ve been able to relax a bit. Although now that I’m house-sitting for my folks who are on vacation and work’s thrown a new twist into my routine, my ‘relaxation time’ may need to be rearranged just a bit.

As some of you may know, this month is National Novel Writing Month but unfortunately due to the crazy schedule I previously mentioned, I decided not to foray into that particular dark forest of frantic typing, plot holes and late nights. I just don’t have enough time to dedicate to that cause right now, not if I want to stay sane. I completed it last year – 50,000 words in one month – and had a blast doing it. Perhaps I can compete in the 2015 NaNoWriMo event.

It’s been a busy time of year and will only get busier as the holiday season draws closer. People I know often wonder how I have time to do everything and my answer’s always the same.

Time management.

I try to devote an hour for each project – except for my full-time job, which usually takes longer – and then move on to the next task. Doing so saves me from getting bored or frustrated with a certain project. Another quirk with me is I have to write everything down in order to get it done – my ToDo list is taped to my ever-present water bottle. The great thing with writing it down is I can cross stuff off. Finished editing a chapter in client’s work? Cross off. Vendor invoice filing? Cross off. Silly as it sounds, it makes me feel like actually got stuff done that day.

Now my way won’t work for everyone. Some people need to take longer to work on a specific project and that’s okay, as long as you take breaks from time to time – stretch, walk around for a little bit, look away from the computer screen – and schedule some down time for yourself as well. Down time is critical to staying sane. Whether it’s watching TV, playing video games, chatting with friends or drinking a cup of tea away from your usual desk, you need time for yourself.

I do all of the above to wind down. I exercise, too, go to the gym or do yoga at home. Even just a walk can energize and re-focus your mind.

What are some of your tricks to time management? What things do you do to re-focus your mind?

Speaking of which, it’s time for me to get off the computer and stretch for a bit.
Have a lovely weekend!
Warm regards, Kellie