February 2016 Writing


Venus and Jack going for a walk.

This post is a little late, as I just spent a week in California. But since I am trying to post more, I’m not skipping it. Besides, February ended up being a big month for me.

My plan for February was to send off my first round of query letters by the middle of the month, then take off a bunch of days to celebrate my birthday. It didn’t quite happen that way, although I did take a birthday break (and allowed myself to indulge some shiny new ideas during those days). The query letter and synopsis took longer than expected to get to a point where I felt okay about them. Researching agents and compiling a spreadsheet took many, many hours. And then I still had to do a final pass over the manuscript.

On February 29th, Leap Day, I took the leap and sent the first round of query letters to 6 agents. This was a big moment for me. As many years as I’ve been writing, this was the first time I felt like a manuscript was polished enough to send. I suspect well-meaning friends and family have thought I’ve been stalling. But I always said, I would know when something I had written was ready to send to agents, and on February 29th, Venus was ready. (I’m pitching under a different title.)

A few days before, I entered #PitchMadness Mario Kart edition. I felt like I’d missed out on so many Twitter pitch contest opportunities, and it was cool to finally be able to participate. Twitter is a great way to connect with other writers and educate yourself on writing and publishing. I’ll be posting more about these contests later this week.

As for the shiny new ideas, I outlined a contemporary romance that has been nagging me for a few months—twice. The story/conflict still isn’t gelling, probably because I need to do some historical research and I don’t know how long I want it to be. I also brainstormed ideas for novellas. Venus was supposed to be a novella—I didn’t think I had enough story for a full novel. But now I can look at that outline and see how it became longer. I tend to write spare first drafts that get longer with each pass, and I like the challenge of outlining something short that still tells a satisfying story. I wrote 5k words one night toward one of those novella ideas, along with an outline and a spreadsheet for the others in that series.

The WIP list keeps getting longer, but that’s what drives me. I want to get these stories told, get them out into the world. After sending the queries, I went back to editing H&S. And then I went on vacation, which is probably the best thing I could have done. Nothing like Disneyland to take your mind off the waiting!

So that was February. It felt like I was moving in slow motion (and I was really pissed at myself for missing my self-imposed February 15th deadline), but now I can look back and see that I accomplished quite a bit.

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