Monday, May 17, 2010

The conversion continues

A week and two days ago, on May 8 to cite the precise date, I came home from LA Banks' Fire Up Your Fiction workshop energized and convinced I could transform my paranormal suspense manuscript into a paranormal romance in about a week.

I have a tendency to make lofty goals.

The scary thing is: I usually achieve them. This time I did not, and the "failure" was intentional. I could very easily transform this manuscript if I lock myself in my office and write 24/7 until it's done. Author Molly Cochran might even encourage me and say that's a good thing, if it gets the job done and moves me further toward publication.

But selfishness is not a problem for me. In most areas of my life, I can be selfish. I also can be altruistic, but it's not natural for me. Blame it on my Taurean side.

I want to be a productive writer and a good mom. This is no different than dilemmas other people face. Some people balance a "real-world" career and writing. Some people balance jobs and hobbies. Some people struggle with the right blend of family vs. community/volunteer commitments. I think a politician faces this dualism daily. A politician (or a celebrity?) has a private and a public life.

So while I have undertaken this project because I think the market is right for it, I also need to NOT make myself crazy. If I strive to hit a self-imposed deadline and succeed, have I put forth my best effort? Will a week or a month make that much difference in the long run?

You could argue that markets change rapidly. Well, if that's the case maybe I've already missed the boat. Or maybe, if I get my manuscript mailed on Friday, it arrives in X place on the manuscript pile and gets on the desk of editorial assistant Ms. I-Hate-Werewolves, whereas maybe if I send it on Monday, it ends up in Y place, and Ms. I-Live-For-Shapeshifters reads it. You never know. Luck factors in greatly in this game.

I joined PLRW (the Pocono-Lehigh Romance Writers, our local chapter of Romance Writers of America) because my stories have always been relationship-driven and I know I can do this. I resisted because most of my stories have realistic (unhappy) endings. But if I can still tell the same story, make the main characters overcome with a happy ending AND sell it, who cares?

It's about hope. A good story gives up hope for humanity.

I had meant this entry to be an entry of what I've done on the manuscript lately. Yesterday I listened to some of the editor podcasts from Harlequin. I'm interested in their Silhouette Nocturne imprint. I'm having trouble with the synopsis. I can't decide how much detail to put in.

My friend Tiffani encourages me to write it as detailed as possible before I decide.

To that end, I'm revamping my manuscript outline to have a paragraph for each chapter. This is something way more organized than I usually do.

I also have concerns that my heroine doesn't have "good enough" supernatural powers. So I beefed them up, which in turn heated the conflict. Of course, I'm starting to worry I've tread into the area of major rewrite as opposed to edits, but comes with the territory I guess. Though I also must remember part of this exercise is to practice "production writing," the kind where I expend my energy selling the text and not tweaking every last word for literary perfection.

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