Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I guess going with the flow means not being in control. For me, part of what that means is trying to say yes more often than no. So I said yes to attending two conferences last week, first in Seattle then on the other side of the Cascade Mountains. A part of me was frustrated that I wouldn't be writing (or blogging or doing the crit I was/am excited about), but a better part of me thought I'd just let the week happen. Maybe I'd see something beautiful and bliss out and this week's writing would be more grounded.

Maybe... but the flow is leading me somewhere new. My first priority is the same - getting Romeo, Romeo, ready for the agent quest. But the next book? I've temporarily shelved it even though I had been enjoying the character sketches and had a killer first paragraph (and an okay few pages). For some reason I decided to reread a 10-page novel prospectus I'd written two years ago. And then I started writing that novel during spare moments at the conferences. And soon there was an entire chapter one, part of chapter two, a chapter-by-chapter outline and a narrator with an unexpected and compelling voice. Coming home, I boxed what I'd thought would be my next project in order to make room for this novel. Huh? I thought I had a plan.

I am choosing to think this is going with the flow and is the right thing to do. But how do we know? How do we know when it's right to shift from perseverance to something new?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Is It Time?

Thank you to my fantastic crit partner who today blogged about our working together. Heather is amazing and keeps me focused on what's important and our weekly Skype meeting brings the right sort of rhythm to this writer's life. And thank you for waking me from my cocoon.

So... I've been enjoying the safety of just editing. Just the pages and feedback from readers and tweaking and rewriting and adding and deleting. Just working on that one task of making the novel as good as it can be. For me, it's easier to keep my head down and surround myself with words rather than look up into the blogosphere and research agents and do all the things that bring the writing career to the next level.

I love editing, but when to stop?

Last week we went to the tulip fields of Washington state's Skagit Valley. At first I thought the fields and fields of tulips were for the tourists. Very cool, but what an extravagance. Uh, no. All those fields were working farms and this east coaster learned how tulips are harvested. First the bulbs must bloom, then the flowers are cut, but the leaves and stalks and all the green remains so the nutrients can travel back down into the bulbs. A few months later the bulbs are then dug up and shipped across the world. We saw some of the cutting. It's done by hand and not all blooms are ready at the same time; there will be another pass through.

Which made me think of editing. Helping our words bloom, knowing when to cut them and how long to leave them alone. When go to go back with fresh eyes and, yes, when to ship them out.

I think I'm getting ready to ship out Romeo, Romeo, my YA novel of three high school guys. It began as a screenplay several years ago and morphed into a novel. I've been editing a complete first draft for a year and a half. Not that the time itself matters, but now it feels right.

How do we know when we're ready for the next step?