Wednesday, February 23, 2011

NEW SPARK PLUGS

Current Listen:  "For The First Time" courtesy of The Script

Just came back from a fantastic writer's conference:  LTUE at BYU University in Provo, Utah. Three days of intensive panels covering everything from SciFi Fantasy to Young Adult. James Dasher (The Maze Runner) was the guest of honor. He even treated us to a reading from the next book in the series, not yet released. If you're a fan, you're in for a treat. I've decided I'm going to read the series, hopefully being caught up by the time the final one is released.


Tucked most of the time on the back row so my whispered mutterings and my fist squeezing inside the bag of M&M's didn't disturb anyone, I scribbled notes personally pertaining to me - things I need to improve on either as a writer or in my stories. Instead of feeling overwhelmed and deflated by the information dump and wanting to trash my manuscripts, I came away from the conference feeling "recharged." I went in for a tune-up and came out with a new set of spark plugs. Also, my "writer's manual" now has an updated set of instructions. In addition to writing EVERY day (yes my "dearly departed" that means the Sabbath) and loosely committing to 30 minutes on the treadmill each day (funny how I can "take a day of rest" in this regard), I shall do the following:


1.  Send out 5 queries the first week of every month until I find the agent I want to forge a long term relationship with. I shall also send out an extra one for each rejection *squirm* I receive.
2I am done editing the first book of Designer Genes. It's wonderful the way it exists, and until someone waving money in front of my nose tells me otherwise, my "darling babies" will remain part of the story. I don't want to to edit the poor thing to death so it ends up going from cute and slightly curvy, to something resembling a bad plastic surgeon's practice dummy, so tight that all the personality (and my voice) are "suctioned out."
3.  The only voices allowed in my head are those of the characters who are dictating their story to me. All the guilty little moral voices and "tsk-tsk" tongue clicks of those in present tense and poltergeist form are being locked in a box and labeled "I don't give a fat rat's ass."

I am a diverse writer. I love reading stories from erotica to Bible scripture, and in all genres. I like dark young adult stories. They're edgy and true to life. Yes, some can be disturbing, but isn't real life full of uncomfortable moments? My favorite reads are always anything with a romantic flavoring, and if a dose of comedy is laced within, all the better.

My rant here is that I have a tendency to worry about offending people (I know that comes as a shock to some of you so I'll give you a minute here to process). LTUE Conference taught me that just because my characters may do things I may not morally agree with, if their story is good, I'm writing it. I will not please everyone. There will be those (Grandma has already flipped in her grave) who may judge me by my stories, but I believe there will be more who will love them. Even if someone disagrees with my story content, they can't challenge my talent. My writing will make them squirm from scene descriptions, hate the villainous character, desire my heroes, as well as love and empathize with my heroines. My characters will remain with my readers long after the story is finished.

"Riley's Pond" is my gritty, raw young adult novel I've been dragging my fingers in finishing because it's slightly sideways from what I've been "taught to believe." How's that for deep? But I will not lie. I loved writing it! Every "f-bomb," body part (named or touched), and seductive play my characters clamoured to tell me brought a laugh, a tear, and unbridled anticipation to find out the next chapter I was to write. As in all stories, the conflict builds to a "dark moment," which is truly an awful dark thing, but very real in our society. It was difficult for me to write, pulling out a variety of emotions within me, but I held tightly to my character's hand through the event, knowing hope was on the horizon. I am now writing the "hope," which ties everything together into a plausible, sweet end.

LTUE gave me another reality to ponder, one that pinches my heart a bit. "Designer Genes" may not be the book that debuts me as a published author. It may be "Riley's Pond," "The Soul Guardian," "Little White Lies" ..... or a story still waiting to be penned. Scatter the eggs into several baskets, not just one.

4.  Last, but not least, POSITIVE THINKING BRINGS POSITIVE RESULTS. Patience has NEVER been one of my virtues and why "Life" is constantly trying to teach it to me. I do believe, however, we create our own kismet. My life is half over, sad but true (unless my genetic makeup is linked to Noah). I don't have the luxury of allowing wasteful negative energy to linger. If I need a pity party, I have it, then open the door and kick all the self destructive "guests" out and move on.


I believe I will get published. I'm not being cocky or over-inflated. This is a personal confirmation within my heart. "Designer Genes" did not happen by accident, and whether it is my first or hundredth novel to publish, writing the story has been the most beautiful life altering gift I've ever received. It is the whispered breath of life my soul was asking for, and it is the "pay it forward" I am destined to give away. All I need is the next door to open, revealing the vessel to help me carry through.

Speaking of "paying it forward," I also discovered a couple of other author treasures tucked within the fold of my own local Utah RWA chapter, at LTUE Conference.

Lesli Muir Lytle did a reading from her young adult novel (she writes about Amish angels... check out writersblockbuster.blogspot.com).

Another fun author within Utah RWA, okay maybe even a little nutty, which is why I like her, being half-cracked myself, Lisa Deon, who has a short story eBook on Amazon titled "Splitting The Difference" a contemporary story with a romantic twist about carriage drivers. Lisa adds personal depth to the protagonist in that she's a carriage driver herself.  I invite you to check it out. Only $.99. If you buy and like, please leave a comment. Comments are invaluable to those eBook numbers.  Below is a picture of the cover, which she drew herself of her own horse. Not bad, eh? I should post my drawing of a horse, but even in stick-figure-form, it would be unrecognizable. Sticking to writing. I'll let my brothers do the drawing.

Splitting The Difference

Checkout my cyber friends webspaces listed to the left. Most have been published, in the throws of being published, and a couple like me, playing the "waiting game." L. Reveaux (Loretta Wheeler to us common folk) just released Siren's Call in a compilation of shorts with her other writing companions on eBook, titled "Erotic Dreamspell." (I may write young adult, but I read everything.

Product Details

Comments, hits, followers are what we need to continue weaving the thread through the tapestry of our writing world.

If you're new and stopped by, even if by accident, thank you for staying to read. If you can grab a tidbit from my ramblings to help you along the way, I've accomplished a good thing today.  Harley Brooks, hanging onto Joelene, possibly by using a noose around her neck.

Today's thought (if you can possibly believe there's more):  Never stop feeling, whether sad or happy. It's proof you're alive!

7 comments:

Calisa Lewis said...

Very profound weekend Joelene. I learned from this post some about myself. Thank you. I know you will debut very soon and you will find an agent who feels the same. One day you will blow the writing world away!

Christina Wolfer said...

Beautiful. Insightful. You are a fabulous writer and you will get published.

I have to paste a few of my favorite lines:
"I went in for a tune-up and came out with a new set of spark plugs."

All of # 2. "I am done editing the first book of Designer Genes." Sometimes trying to edit something to perfection is really a stall tactic so you have an excuse not to put it out there.

"Yes, some can be disturbing, but isn't real life full of uncomfortable moments?" I think I suffered from this, worrying about offending or writing outside of my comfort zone, and on some level it kept me from writing the best damn story I could write.

So glad the conference was such a benefit.

Clancy said...

Well said! It's great thing when we can particiapte in some event surrounded by other writers and walk away having learned something profound or been inspired to keep going on this journey that is not for the faint of heart.
It was good seeing you again at LTUE, too.
:)

Loretta said...

Skidding in through the door late gal, but I'm here, and VERY glad I came!:)
I liked every part of it. I guess the one I identified with the most (although they all rang bell's...could barely think for all the clanging going on in my head) is the part about your style of writing, and worry over using those "F" bombs!:) I took one out of "The Rising", simply because I thought I was probably pushing envelopes enough anyway... I should have phoned. I'm sure you would have given me a thumb's up and said "F'n" right! Use it!:)
Thank you so much for mentioning my shorts...not the one's I wear, those other "quick reads";) I've taken notes of the other writer gals mentioned on here, and will be downloading AND tagging away on the sites they're on.
As for you, my valued crit partner...Joelene, you're a powerful writer...it will happen, because like you, I believe it's "meant":)
My wish for you, is that you have it ALL. Whatever all is for you:) You deserve it:)
Hugs,
Lo (L Reveaux)

J. Coleman said...

I am lucky to have such great friends. Thanks for taking time to stop by and your encouraging words. (checks are in the mail....) Love ya :))

Jenn said...

Girlfriend, you are one powerful writer. You have a unique ability to keep your finger on the pulse of the youth today and bring your characters to life with a kick-ass-no-bars-hold.
Amid M&M's, laughter and insightful memorable moments last weekend @ LTUE, I just wanted to say thank you for helping me be a better writer and an even better person.
And yes,I think it's safe to say every writer's "Grammy" would roll over in their graves if they read half the stuff we wrote or intend to write.
Hang in there girl, one day you're gonna make it big!
Hugs and wishes,
Jenn

Sandy B said...

Great blog and great advice. I am going to try to follow all of it except the treadmill (smile).
Sandy B