Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday Recommendations - Conferences (Oh, and I'm Alive!)

This Monday I'm recommending writers' conferences.

First off, I want to apologize for my absence. I've been writing like a crazy woman! The past two months have been insane. I attended the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold Conference and the Rocky Mountain Chapter SCBWI conference (back-to-back weekends). Needless to say, I'm worn out, but it was worth every bit of exhaustion.

Both of the conferences were fantastic. I was immersed in the art of writing for a total of five days and each day filled me with motivation, encouragement, and inspiration. I came home and applied everything I learned to my manuscript (and I'm still applying, hence my absence). I received two requests for pages and after attending Sara Megibow's First 30 Pages workshop, I realized I needed to make my inciting incident stronger, and I'm rewriting the first sixty pages (give or take) based on her workshop before I submit. It's amazing how much stronger my story is now. Don't get me wrong, my novel had been rewritten, critiqued, workshopped, edited, etc., but after hearing Sara Megibow's talk, I knew it could be stronger, and it is.

Then I started thinking, "Does anyone ever think their novel is 'finished'?" Even if several close, trustworthy critique partners tell you, "It's good! Submit already!" You've studied the craft, taken classes, sought advice, etc. At what point do you take the plunge? I often find myself getting in my own way. What about you? How do you know when yours is ready?

Hope everyone is having a fabulous start to the week!


  1. Glad you're back! Congrats on the your requests! Awesome news. :)
    As for taking the plunge...this is such a hard question! My hubby keeps asking me why I'm re-writing Touched by Darkness AGAIN. Several years ago, I let my baby go, submitting to agents and editors. We're told when we start getting personal rejections and manuscript requests that we're close, that we should keep knocking on doors, don't change things, keep submitting...but after several personal rejections, and a devistating rejection from an editor who had gushed about the concept and partials, I tucked my tail between my legs and gave up on submitting Touched by Darnkess. Although I never got any specific feedback, I still felt the manuscript was flawed in some way, I wasn't sure how, I just felt It needed something. I tried working on other things, but Quinn and Aaron's story wouldn't let me go. I kept having ideas, seeing ways to improve the story I wanted to forget about. Finally I relented, dusted it off and started a MAJOR re-write. Was the book bad before? No. Would it had been published if I had kept knocking on doors? Maybe. But now, it's so much better. I have more experience in the craft and I'm able to see and fix the flaws better than I could six years ago. It will still have flaws. It might not even get published, but the time I've spent is not wasted. I've learn so much from doing it. Every rewrite, every edit makes me a better writer, and soon I'll have to let it go again. How will I know it's ready? Truth is, I don't think it will every be ready, but I'll have to let it go to see what happnes. I have to remind myself that if it's not this book, it will be the next one. It's all a learning experience and one day, soon, I hope, I'll be signing a contract... and so will you! Keep working, but don't get bogged down in another round of edits. You'll need to let your baby go to find out if it can walk on its own. :D
    *hugs and chocolate*

  2. Thank you, Heather! It's good to be back :)

    Isn't it amazing how a story gets inside your head and won't leave you alone? That's how you know you've *really* got something ;) I'm glad to hear you didn't give up on Touched by Darkness. I know Quinn and Aaron would continue to bug you until you told their story.

    I'm amazed to see how much my writing has improved from previous versions of my work. It's exciting to grow and learn; I'll never stop learning. :)

    I'm excited and nervous to send my baby out into the world, but like you, if this one doesn't get published, I'll continue writing until it happens!

    Hope you're having a fabulous day!
    *hugs and chocolate*

  3. Goodness, I am happy for you, Courtney. Sounds like you've been a busy, but the happy kind of busy. This is a wonderful post, and I am putting it in a file of its own. One day I will be your shoes(and Heather's)with the same questions about sending my baby out to the real world. I think you(and Heather)certainly have what it takes. I extend my services as a beta reader/critique partner to both of you. Bless you and....[Hugs and Chocolate]- Tonia

  4. Tonia, you're going to regret your offer of being my crit partner/beta reader ;-) I'm going to need some serious fresh eyes if I ever get through this re-write! You can count me in as beta/crit partner as well. I think you both are awesome and I've learned so much from you already. You'll be sending your babies out soon enough and I'll be there cheering you on. Go, girls!

  5. Thank you, Tonia! It's definitely a scary process, but I'm trying to sit back and enjoy the ride :)

    You are both truly fantastic and I'm so glad we've connected!! It's great to be in such wonderful company.

    I'll beta for you both! Just let me know when you're ready :)

  6. Good question. I've been wrong before. :) I think I'm getting much better at knowing, and now that my manuscripts go through my agent, I know they are ready to submit when she says so. That's helps!

    Good luck with your manuscript. I'm glad you learned so much at the conference and that your manuscript is benefiting from it.

    And it's nice to have you back.

  7. Welcome back. Hey, I could tweak my novels forever.

  8. Kelly, I'm sure having an agent definitely helps with that process, lol. It's tough sending your baby out into the world. Thanks for the luck! I'll need it :) It's great to be back. I feel disconnected from the world!

    Catherine, same here! No matter how many times I read it, I find something that can be better.