233 Is A Lot

Someone asked me the other day why I’m back to working on a rewrite of my book. “I thought you said it was done. Why aren’t you published yet?”

It was and it wasn’t done, and traditional publishing takes time, commitment and a lot of work.

I’m not perfect and I’ll admit that openly. This whole journey has been a process of learning and discovery. A crazy wild ride of ups and downs and insanity in between. There have been times when I’m certain I’ve lost my marbles for doing this. Then I think, hey, marbles… how can I write them into my story.

I looked back at all my posts and I have at this point and there is 233 of them. 233 is a lot for someone that never thought she’d ever write a blog post. That means over 200 things I’ve learned, researched, discovered and reflected on. All about this journey to become published. That’s a lot.

My Posts From The Start   

When I started writing BiaAtlas I had no idea my life would take this path. I had no idea it would be a life-altering accomplishment. I had no idea it would spark a passion inside me to write and create stories that I never thought possible.

As far as publishing goes, I’m not there yet and I have a long way to go.  All I can do is keep moving forward and never stop trying.

Re-writing my book wasn’t an easy decision to make, but I realized it needed to be done. It was the first novel I wrote, it was bound to have problems and mistakes. After writing so many blogs and working on other exciting projects I was able to look at my first attempt and see what I could do to make it better.

I survived the onslaught of rejections and even the nay-sayers telling me to quit or if I’m rejected that much my work is crap. (Even if they’ve never read it they say it.) Why should I listen to that? The rejections were an indication something needed to be fixed. I’m betting on word count and the first three chapters. So that is what I fixed. Now I’m revising and finding a lot of slack that needs to be fixed.

I’m happy I’ve taken the time to write about my experiences and what I’ve learned. Partially for myself and for others that might be struggling with some of the same obstacles I myself faced and will face.

My advice about writing and creating.
There is more to it than just typing out words. And the more you put into it the more value it will have for yourself and for the world. Keep writing and creating and let no one bring you down.

-Sheryl

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved
Commit

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Bibbity Blogity Boo

There is magic in creation, a special feeling of euphoria that drives me to write. I love reading and the realization that I am creating something that will be read by others is empowering.

I started this blog to strengthen my writers platform, but it has given me so much more. New friends, a place to enjoy others’ writing and stories, feedback and encouragement and most of all learning. As I write my posts I research too. Sometimes when I research I’m inspired to write a post. Whichever it may be I’m learning as I go. My writing/editing/revising skills are improving and I find myself working harder. However it doesn’t feel like work.

It’s a non stop little cycle of learning as I blog and blogging as I learn. I stretch my writing legs and have tried new things. New perspectives, techniques and tricks. There is no magic wand to take my rough draft and poof it to perfection. I don’t have a literary fairy godmother and I don’t have a dashing prince to swoop in and slay the filter words and typos for me.

So instead of writing this:

They stopped kissing very suddenly and each backed up awkwardly and embarrassed. “We should talk about what just happened and what that could possibly mean.” Amber said feeling suddenly shy about kissing Dale so very passionately. She felt very attracted to him and after his very sweet romantic words. Like crazy, she wanted to desperately believe that he was telling the truth about being in love with her. 
“Yes Amber I absolutely agree completely to that, we do indeed need to discuss what transpired between the two of us just now. ” Dale said nodding his head very vigorously with agreement. “Do you to understand that I meant every single word that I said to you a moment before we kissed?”
Dale put his hand on her cheek. Amber closed her eyes for a moment and then opened them again. She looked into his eyes before she gave him a response.
“Dale I really do have feelings for you and I very much enjoyed kissing you. I would ask that you be understanding and very patient with me.”
“I can indeed be patient with you Amber.” He said with a delighted pleasant smile.
(272)

I now know about filter words, show vs. tell, interjections, emotion tags vs dialog tags vs action tags, ing-ing and the ly’s that stunt creativity. I now know about writing realism with words commonly used in real life. I know to ditch the tired pompous ones that only belong in period or historical books and the ones that are literally just filler. I also know to look for redundancies and my kryptonite words such as; really, that and very. Since during my first draft I spent a lot of time revising to reduce word count these skills proved invaluable.

Now I would write it like this:

Amber broke the passionate kiss. “We should talk.” Her cheeks flushed and she looked down at her hands. 
“Yeah we should.” Dale nodded and put his hand on her cheek brushing his thumb across a dried tear streak. “I meant what I said you know.”
She closed her eyes a moment before looking into his. “I know, and I am trying, I…” She licked her lips. “I like you Dale. Can you be patient with me?”
His lips curled up slightly. “Yes Amber.” He kissed her forehead. “I can.”
(89)

Wow, I’ve come a long way from blabbity writing with tired, filter and redundant words. I’m still wordy when I write, but so much less so than I was when I started this blog. And now I know how to fix my wordiness. I’m no longer tempted to lazy writing and dig in to make my writing the best it can be. By following the rules I’ve learned and shared throughout my blog I was able to revise and rewrite properly. As if by ‘magic’ I removed a whopping 183 necessary words. I’ll say ‘wow’ again. Big improvement and I still have lot’s to learn and therefore lot’s to share.

My advice about being open to learning.
You will get nowhere fast with pride and ego as your best friends. Take a moment to learn from others, whether they are better or worse than you are or think you are. Nobody is perfect and there is always room for improvement.

-Sheryl

Other posts that are related

Read, revise and repeat. The shampoo process of editing.

Are you inging too?

I’m ‘that’ kind of writer

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

 Tempted

Time to take out the trash

Today I received an email asking for advice. I have been blogging and sharing my experiences and all that I’ve learned and am still learning about publishing my book. My posts have come about from; research, advice, instinct, common sense and a whole lot of hard work. Getting a book published traditionally is a daunting task and a lofty objective. It is however, the path that I know is the one for me. I have and will face many rejections from Literary Agents, I edited and revised my book to a point a professional said it was clean and well written. It may require some additional tweaking but I was told this could be done after a publisher takes me on that it is minor.

The temptation to get quick/instant results and venture into the world of self-publishing or vanity press is strong. However after a lot of research, and I mean a lot, I will take this route as my absolute last resort. Does that mean self or vanity press publishing is bad? No, but it is the last resort for me. Vanity press and self-publishing companies don’t actually call themselves that, but they do ask for money upfront for their “services”. Research the company and see what reviews they have before you decide anything.

Many great authors faced and still face rejection. One of my all-time favorites just recently had a book rejected and was devastated. She has had her books published since 1977. Thankfully, she is seeking alternate routes and publisher to get her book published. I can’t imagine how this felt for her to be so accomplished and then told “I don’t like it enough to publish.” Yiikes.

Scary? Sure. However, nothing in life comes easy; the best things are fought for. The harder I work the better I feel about my book. I have spent countless hours working on it and polishing it up. I can’t just give up on it and I won’t. I have my mind set on traditional publishing and my heart, instinct and common sense all agree.

Believe it or not, this is a level of tenacity your protagonist should have, even the antagonist. They should be driven and focused. If the protagonist ever gets to a point where they want to give up, give in, or even take the easy way out, have someone or something inspire them back into action and back on course.

It was near impossible to focus on work. It was true her designs have been edgier lately. Darker, mysterious and full of danger. The clients were eating it up. Sasha generally kept her office door open, and could hear the laughter of Amber and Scott. Her mind immediately jumped to the conclusion that they were laughing at her.
“Wow.” Sasha rubbed her temples. “I must really be letting them get to me to think that.” She stood and went to find Rachel to see if she was done proofing.
It meant passing the attention whore Amber who was milking a small head wound as if her head were severed and re attached.

“Hey Rachel.”
The young woman looked up at Sasha, relief instant in her eyes. “Oh Sasha.” She smiled. “I’m glad it’s you. That last advert was perfect. I couldn’t find any errors or anything missing.”
“Thanks.” Sasha narrowed her eyes at Dale who was in earshot. He made a show to roll his eyes. Rachel glanced his way then back at Sasha, her tension back. Sasha leaned closer to Rachel.
“Why were you glad it was me?”
“Um.” Rachel’s eyes flicked to Dale again. “No reason. I just wanted… Um to tell you in person that I found no error in your design.”
Sasha stood straight. “Okay thanks Rachel, my office is always open.” She nodded and turned toward Amber who artfully touched her head to draw attention to her bandage. A snarl set on Amber’s lips.
“Nice try. FYI Karma is a bitter medicine.” Sasha smiled brightly and nodded as she passed the malevolent woman.
Sasha had changed all of her passwords and put a security program on her work computer to record any attempts to log in. Sasha needed a plan. It was time to take out the trash. She needed a way to rid the office of Amber and Dale. Scott could stay or go, without Amber and Dale’s influence she suspected Scott would settle down. His recent bout of crazy was completely out of character for him
.

While a small moment of renewed determination from seeing others affected by her workplace-adversaries and Sasha might just be starting out on the right path… Maybe.

My advice about determination.
Don’t let the easy path tempt you. Take the time to figure out which way is best for you as an author. Regarding your characters, give them the same obstacles you face in life with a little more drama and flair and let them flourish or fall.

-Sheryl

Related posts on the path to publishing.

The not-so-direct path to publishing.

The rejection letter

The blurry lines of opinion and advice

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

Lofty

Crazy things

Rejection part two.

Life and what seems like millions of crazy things have me a little hurried this week. I don’t want to give less than my best, so I’ll share the next part of Sasha’s bar encounter right after walking away from Cal. I like this story and the characters, they are not from BiaAtlas but from a side project inspired by my using them as examples in my blog posts.

“What happened?” Valery did a little excited dance as Sasha set the tequila shooters down. “Yum, thanks.”
“Not my type and you’re welcome.” Sasha salted her hand and downed a shot. She glanced at Cal talking with a friend and watching her with interest as she sucked on a lemon wedge.
“Bullshit. He was perfect.” Valery downed a shot after licking the salt from her hand and sucked a lemon wedge. “Mmmm and gorgeous. He could be a model or movie star. Too bad he won’t even look my way. I wouldn’t brush him off.”
Sasha rolled her eyes as Anne ran up.
“Yay.” Anne licked, salted her hand and proceeded to do both shots at once. “I’m thinking of going home with Neil, that’s his name.”
A commotion on the other side of the bar area blocked their view of Cal.
“Anne you shouldn’t, he could be dangerous.” Sasha furrowed at her drunk friend.
“Pfft. The über serious insurance accountant. He’s boring as hell, but he has huge hands and feet.” Anne giggled. “Valery knows him.”
Sasha glared at her friend as she finished her second shooter. “Do you?”
“Yeah he’s my tax guy. I thought you might like Neil, but he’s into Anne and you’re about as fun as sandpaper panties tonight.” Valery shrugged and eyed Cal who stood with clenched fists, scowling and watched his attractive friend storm off and out of the bar.
“You’re impossible Val. Why can’t you just leave me alone?”
“Because Sash, you need to get back in the game. It’s been two years.”
“No! Really? I hadn’t noticed.” Sasha rubbed her temples as another man looked their way.
Anne half hugged her friend with one arm.
“What-ev Sash don’t you miss sex, like real sex?” She slurred slightly.
“Neil is looking for you.” Sasha pointed toward the dance floor. Anne kissed her cheek and ran off to dance. Sasha downed her second shot, checked on Cal who was still looking her way as a wiry yet muscular dark blond man approached. Attractive, but not her taste.
“Heads up Val, a dull-blue eyed suitor approaches for you.”
“Finally.” Valery looked around and spotted the man approaching. “Damn, super cute. But he’s looking at you not me.” She giggled as the man closed the distance.
“Evening ladies.” He drawled and smiled broadly.
“Well, well aren’t you a lovely sight.” Valery licked her lips and sucked a lemon wedge provocatively in a way only she could. Sasha resisted the temptation to roll her eyes.
He smiled at Valery then looked at Sasha and back. “I’m Baylor.”
“Ooh that’s an unusual name, rolls right off the tongue.”
Sasha glanced hurriedly at the exit. Valery was drunk enough that she could ditch her on the dance floor. They didn’t agree to go home together and if she thought she snuck out with this guy or another she’d be happy.
“I’m Val, and this is my sex starved friend Sasha.” She put her arm around Sasha’s shoulders.
“What do you lovely ladies do?”
Sasha knit her brows. The second man get right to conversation skipping the pick-up lines.
“I’m manage a design team.” Val smiled and put her hand on Sasha’s chest. “She, she’s a graphic designer, the very tip toppy best of the bunch.”
“So you’re a graphic designer?” Baylor looked at Sasha then Val. “Not you?”
“No sir, I manage, Sash creates. I’m drunk and need to dance big man, wanna take me for a spin?”
He looked her over and smiled. “I’d like to talk to your friend Sasha if you don’t mind.”
“Ooh, handsome and polite.” Valery put her mouth to Sasha’s ear. “I’ll be clicking my heels on the dance floor, come find me if you don’t take him home, but take him home.”
Sasha got up to follow Valery to the dance floor.
“Can’t we talk a moment? She can wait.” Baylor’s charming smile made her uneasy.
“No we cant. I’m not interested, I’m going to dance with my friend. Go find some other mark… Ah Baylor was it?”
“Yes Baylor. So where do you work?” He stepped in her way.
She pursed her lips catching a severe frown from Cal.
“Just a little chat, it won’t kill you.” He brushed his hand down her bare arm and she stepped back. If she managed a conversation long enough, she could leave unnoticed, and text Valery that she left once she was safely in a cab.
“Fine I’ll talk for a bit. Clifton designs It’s an alright company.”
“Was that so hard beautiful?” Baylor leered at her cleavage.
She swallowed her bile. “What do you do?”
“I’m in acquisitions and re-facing.”
Sasha cocked her head to the side and crossed her arms. “What is re-facing?”
“I find specific beautiful things and give them a new look.”
“Why?” She had no idea what he was talking about. It sounded like a fake job.
“To make them better of course.” He shrugged. “I’ve yet to find the perfect one. I think my next job will be a new style to try.”
She looked over at Valery and Anne on the dance floor across the bar. They were being silly and slutty and she almost wanted to join them. She would have if it had been any other night.
“Let’s go dance.” He reached for her hand.
“No thank you.” She snatched it from him before he could kiss it.
“Come on, you look like you could be fun if you loosened up.”
“No.”
He reached for her again and she backed up. “Look Baylor, you seem like a… nice guy. I don’t date, I’m going home alone, and no I won’t give you my number nor will I take yours. It was interesting meeting you. Goodnight.” She turned to leave and he grabbed her arm.
“I’ll walk you out.”
She pulled her arm from his hand and saw her friends watching. Maybe they would back off if they thought she took him home. Why that was acceptable behavior to them, Sasha would never understand.
“Whatever.” She was overcome with the need to get away from the bar, the attractive man still watching her, this odd man grabbing at her and her pushy friends.
After giving her friends a double thumbs up, she walked out and Baylor followed. It didn’t matter, there were two bouncers and the street was well lit. Taxi’s were always waiting and she could scream if he tried anything. He was forward and too grabby.
She jumped in a taxi and looked to see Baylor standing on the sidewalk. He smiled and shrugged as she gave the driver directions and he pulled out from the curb. She didn’t see his face fall and eyes darken as he ground his teeth.

My advice today.
Sometimes life can get in the way of doing what you enjoy, don’t let it stop you. Sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s not. Do what is most important. If it’s not important and just a really big drat then side step it and get back on track.(I will)

-Sheryl

The first part of this bar encounter

Rejecting the rejected

Other fun posts.

Setting the mood

KISS your writing

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

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