Tuesday, December 11, 2007

December Update - Writing Check In

Upcoming Events:

The book club blog on Patricia Wood's Lottery starts this Thursday, December 13th! Mark your calendars and I hope to see everyone there!

Technical Difficulties and other Forms of Cosmic Annoyance:

I seem to have some little gremlin wreaking havoc on my cyber progress... First, the linkage problem that was so clearly discussed in comments a month ago. I think I fixed that one, the lack of linkage in this post is due to the fact that I am typing this directly into the blogger field and I didn't write down all the pretty html addresses (I usually copy paste them into a blank word file before I start my posts).

Now there seems to be something wrong with my email address. It inadvertently fails to deliver miscellaneous email of its choice. People seem to be receiving my email okay, but on a number of occasions over the last few weeks, it's come to my attention that I haven't been receiving all of the email sent to me... Kind of a finger biting proposition, as I have some submissions out and my email address is on my contact info... likely the only response, too, as they were submissions made via email or online venues. The oldest in the batch has a ten week response time, which is up in the next week or so... urg... so I'll give that one til after New Year's and then become a pest :-)

Obviously I have to do something to correct that problem - I've been, ironically enough, in email correspondence with my carrier - I think that's the funniest thing ever; you fill out their form telling them you're having problems with your email address and they request said address to get back to you - love to know which problem solver thought of that one - likely one who enjoys long liquid lunches and trash can basketball from his cubicle. I'll be calling them via telephone sometime today or tomorrow - I'm trying to wait for a tad bit of calm before discussing it with some tech who really doesn't deserve my annoyance... besides, when you curse at them in a creative yet insulting fashion it doesn't tend to fix the problem.

The next step is setting up a new email address for submissions. I'm thinking either Yahoo or gmail, if anyone has a preference, let me know. That way, I won't spend weeks worrying about whether they responded and I never got it over the next batch of submissions.

Last, but not least, la, la, la... I opened up someone else's word file to do some beta reading for them and their settings were completely different than mine - which is fine, except whatever doohickey I hit while in their document saved their setting to my word program... meaning I have to go in and redo my settings because... WHINE... I don't like theirs... it's really a small thing, but I went to write a quick post and couldn't fix the document and just about snapped... mostly because I'm upset over the whole email thing... sniffle... okay, seriously, this one will probably take me twenty minutes to figure out and fix, I'm not that technologically daft it was just an added annoyance I didn't need today - so you all get to hear me vent... la, la, la, luck you!

On to my actual writing progress:

Those of you who follow these things will remember that in my November post I set a goal of four submissions. I failed utterly and miserably... I did I did... I would hang my head in shame, but it would just be four more submissions I'd be pulling hair out over, so, hey, you take the good with the bad... Actually, I did finish one short story that is ready for submission (I didn't send yet because I found out about the email thing... though, that's not an excuse really, as I just was ready to send this week and my month is up on the 15th)

I do have one essay that's half written.. it needs to be finished and the markets I've found so far want query with clips first... which I don't have, so either I keep looking for markets or hold off a while with this one.

Still, that's only one complete and one partially done, out of four slated submissions.... I officially suck. I'm not even giving you any excuses about Christmas coming or whatever other thing is going on, when I set a goal I have to meet it... I have to start looking at this like I did term papers; if you don't get it in on time you fail... then you wasted a hell of a lot of money to hang out with wanna be communists discussing the ramifications of cheese whiz and thinking you're so cool for checking out the gay bar... okay, not literally on all of that... though I'm really only lying about the cheese whiz.

The moment you've all been waiting for - WIP update

Okay, my goal was to completely finish the revisions on the first two chapters (the ones I was having such a hard time with) and to complete revisions on two further chapters... On this goal, I have actually surpassed my expectations. So much so that two weeks into my month's goals, I upped my revision final date to the end of January... The first two chapters are done. I like them - I think they're much better than they were and right this second they are the best I got - but I don't think that's a bad thing. I can't tell this close, but my feeling is that you can really feel the characters and that the action pulls you in... I'm not touching those chapters again, I'll wait until after my beta readers have read the full and I've taken some time away after revisions then I'll read the whole thing once more.

I also finished the final revisions (I say final, as if I won't tweak or completely change things if they don't read right after the whole process is done) anyway, I finished not two chapters, but five!!!! I can see the finish line and it has a big easy chair and a couple of foofy martini's...

So, yay me, I can say I surpassed the goal on the WIP which is the most important goal I had writing wise, though it doesn't give me a pass on the submission failure.

For January's Check In

I'm sticking with four submission and I'm not counting the one I have ready to go...

My out date for the revisions is the very end of January... I'm setting January 29th - my dad's birthday... it's right there anyway and I can't think of a better way to celebrate that anniversary.

In Other News

Thanks to much help at the Goblin's Crucible, otherwise known as JJdebenedictis' blog, I did finish my pitch this month. So, my query letter is ready to go, other than the first paragraph which will depend on which agents I'm submitting to - still far less to worry about with that letter than I usually do.

Hunted up another page of perspective agents, again with stars next to their names for further research... A funny thing, one agent who looked really promising, represented middle grade, yada yada... I went and found an interview in which he was asked the question, 'What do you absolutely not want to see in a submission?' The first thing he said was 'Fairies'...

Immediately I thought, 'well, yeah, but mine are different... if he only read...' and then I stopped myself... Why do we do that? I know you other writers out there have done it, too? He's not on my list, though I'm sure he's a very good agent... but why try to convince someone they're wrong in their taste? That's just a stupid waste of time... and so I closed that interview page, telling myself, 'drop it, Merry, he's just not that into you...'

Okie-dokie artichokie's... I'm behind on my odes, but permitting I get the word stuff fixed with relative ease, I should get one posted tomorrow... otherwise you guys will have to wait until after the Lottery discussion...

And now that you've read such a long and winding rant couched as a monthly check in - what's annoying you today? Bad news? Good news? Please join me in a cyber grumble... or cheer me up with your budding good fortune.

6 comments:

WordVixen said...

I personally prefer gmail. My yahoo email is constantly over run with spam, but I rarely get any with gmail. I switched to them because my other email address was also dropping a lot of mail- mostly from my husband and best friend. I haven't had any problems with that with gmail yet. :)

Merry Jelinek said...

Good to know, wordvixen, thanks for the heads up. I actually do have a gmail account, I just don't normally use it... maybe I'll jump back in there and tool around and then send forwards to my address book to change them over... heh, provided they get the notices that is...

ORION said...

I'm ready! Remember I'm Hawaii time so give me a bit of leeway! LOL

Merry Jelinek said...

Aloha, Patricia!

I was going to drop you a reminder tomorrow. I'm going to post in the morning (I'm central time) but you can stop in anytime... being a blogging activity, people might stop within an hour or two days...

Should be lots of fun - everyone I've talked to has really enjoyed the book. Thanks again, for letting me use Lottery and for joining in!

Mary Witzl said...

I still haven't returned my blog favor -- that is one thing that is bothering me! Add to that:

1) The car isn't working (speedometer won't register, plus it's making a weird clunking sound and the engine light won't go off.

2) One computer has blown up -- luckily, not the one I'm using.

3) Our stove must now be lit manually and sometimes doesn't work at all.

4) I'm not receiving all MY e-mails either!

5) Both kids are home with bug, plus no one wants to publish my MG/YA novel...

6) I haven't done a lick of Christmas shopping.

Eek! How do I do really big shopping without a car? It's all a little too much for me right now...

Merry Jelinek said...

Hi Mary,

First, I'm so sorry... it seems bad luck runs rampant all at the same time.

Yesterday was terrible for me - it was one of those, if it can go wrong it will days... besides all the ranting I did here, I got a rejection on the short I sent glimmer train (not unexpected but still a bummer) and I found that someone cashed fake checks from my bank account - the bank is reimbursing me the money and it seems they had the account number rather than my personal info... but still, I had to freeze my account and will have it closed in the next few days.. ahhhh...

The problem is, I was behind on my cable bill and meant to pay it yesterday, but obviously can't until I straighten out the banking situation.. so now they shut off the cable and no tv for the kiddies... Normally I could care less, except I'll miss Greys anatomy tomorrow.

But, today is another day. Hopefully we'll get the financial stuff straightened out shortly so I can buy Christmas gifts (as I have barely started)... My husband's off work today and he let me sleep until noon (I never ever do that, I just didn't feel like getting out of bed today at all).

But I'll tell you what, Mary, we'll look at it as a string of bad luck that will pass because we can handle it...

I can't help you with representation for your mg novel, but I'd love to beta read for you, if you'd like. I'm writing mg, too, so I've become fairly familiar with it...

Oh, and how do you go shopping without a car? order your purchases or have them delivered... most stores will do that.