Writing Contests? With This Family?

Between being sick (chronic is wonderful), Cheekies and Champ I haven’t had a lot of time to write this month.  The days I feel like I can write have usually been spent chasing a baby or playing fetch with a pup.  Add Lumpy’s promotion ceremony into the mix, and I have no free time.

My plans for writing have gone astray.  Even the software on my phone hasn’t helped.  The idea of writing two short stories this month?  I was suffering from sleep deprivation when I thought of that.

One story.  I’ll be lucky to finish the one story that is close to finished.  The question has become “Do I enter Glimmer Train Press or Writer’s Digest?  If I get the one story edited, of course.

Luckily, I have about ten days to finish the story and decide.  Do you have any suggestions, Dear Readers?

NaNoWriMo: Day Three

My leading lady now has a name; Leda.  It’s an Antiquities Greek name.  You might have heard of Leda and the Swan.  Leda was a beautiful maiden who Zeus thought would make a great mistress.  (Really, was there a woman Zeus didn’t fall for in the myths?)  Anywho, Zeus never seemed willing to show himself to the women he seduced, and Leda was no different.  Zeus shows up in the form of a swan.  Leda has relations with both Zeus and her husband on the same night, giving birth to four children.  Two were mortal.  Two were not.  Leda’s daughter is probably who you know better; Helen of Troy.  Yep, that’s her girl.  In Roman translations of the myths and the Iliad Leda becomes Lelita.  That quickly became Leta, a common name for girls in Antiquities Rome.

History of the name aside, I just felt that Leda was the perfect name for my latest leading lady.  It’s unique and mysterious.  You don’t go “I know exactly what a Leda should be like” when you hear the name.  It allows me a blank slate for her personality.  Perfect for a wannabe writer.

The storyline has somehow come together.  I know what Leda is gonna do in this novel.  It’s a bit of intrigue, mixed with learning that she really needs her family and loves her home.  So far I have 2,500 words written.  Let’s see how many more I can get before the end of the week.

NaNoWriMo Begins!

In one of those stupid moments, I decided I should participate in NaNoWriMo.  (That’s National Novel Writing Month.)  For those of you who have forgotten I have had an action packed year.  In January I found out I was pregnant.  The doctors immediately put me on bed rest.  The original due date was mid-September.  That was moved up to a planned “inducing” on 27 August.  By the end of June the doctors changed that date to early August.  On 8 August I had the baby.  The baby didn’t cry when she was born because she wasn’t breathing and didn’t have a heartbeat.  A few minutes later and baby and I were both on oxygen with a bunch of other machines hooked up to me.  Luckily, those machines were gone within hours.  Unfortunately, we both had some long lasting medical issues that we’re dealing with.

All of this happened while I tried shopping two separate novels to agents.  (Both novels were queried at different times throughout the year.)  I keep getting rejection letters/emails from my queries.  Let’s just say it’s time for a new novel and a new query letter.  I started two new novels in July, and I’m editing both of those while writing a third.  Yep, I write too much, even with a baby.

Anywho, sometime during the pregnancy I thought it would be fun to participate in NaNoWriMo.  I signed up in June.  (Can we blame hormones?)  NaNoWriMo starts today.  The idea is to write a 50,000 word novel in one month.  It’s just a rough draft, which makes this doable.

The problem?  NaNoWriMo requires the novel to be a completely from scratch novel.  No writing about anything you’ve already jotted down on paper.  No using characters you have already created.  No reusing scenes from a novel you’ve decided will never see the light of day.  These 50,000 words must be brand new.  Needless to say, the last weekend has been spent thinking of a brand new novel with brand new characters.

Let’s see if I can win NaNoWriMo.  What does it take to win?  Simply write that 50,000 word novel.  Anyone who writes a novel in a month is a winner.  Let me know if you are participating this year.  We can all support each other.  And if you aren’t participating you can be our cheerleading section.  I know I can do this, and so can everyone who is writing a novel for NaNoWriMo!

I’ve Got Writer’s Block And I’m Blaming the Baby

It happened last week.  I had writer’s block.  The worst writer’s block I’ve ever had in my life.  There are those who claim you can’t have writer’s block.  Yeah, I couldn’t even write emails, let alone work on manuscripts.  Seriously, I couldn’t put together enough words for a sentence.  People were lucky if my emails looked like text messages.

Writing a blog post?  That wasn’t happening.  Working on my query letter?  Every agent who got that letter would have placed it in the slush pile immediately.  The only words I thought went together were “Amanda Nicole Trisdale,” and I wasn’t sure that was right.

The manuscripts stayed open on my laptop.  I couldn’t even read the words.  Seriously, the words didn’t really make sense.  It might have been my writing.  Then again, it seems that anything I read didn’t make sense.  Newspaper articles?  Not really sure what they said.  Books?  Even books I’ve downloaded off Audible were just mumble jumble.

In other news, my very sweet little baby has a tummy issue.  It’s either reflux or her stomach wasn’t properly installed.  The pediatrician is leaning towards the latter.  Because of the tummy issue feeding time is funky.  She takes two ounces of formula and then has a fifteen minute break before eating another two ounces.  After that, she has to be propped up for at least an hour.  She really should be propped from the time she finished until the time she starts again.  You can guess what this did to my sleeping pattern last week.  The pediatrician said I couldn’t sleep with the baby in the swing or while I held her.  Okay, when was I supposed to sleep?  I’ve decided that I can sorta sleep with the baby sleeping on me.  Amazingly, sleep (even a small amount) helps with writer’s block.

I’m just gonna go with a lack of sleep as my excuse.  Hopefully we’ve figured out how things work enough that I can deal with a baby and write at the same time.

September’s Plans

I figured I should let everyone know where I am with my agent search.  I have officially been rejected or closed out all outstanding queries.  That means between rejections and no responses my manuscript has been rejected twenty-eight times.  It’s not a lot, but as a few came in while I was at the hospital it felt like a lot.

Because I was so sick in July and August I didn’t send any queries out to agent.  While sick in July I came up with a new idea for a prequel.  In the hospital that prequel became two separate books; one from Alexandria’s point of view and one from Peter’s view.  Both books slightly changed some of the stuff in my manuscript I was shopping around.  (This is why I need an agent.  That way I’ll stop messing with manuscripts at some point.)

The changes make the book more believable.  But, I figured it’d be a great idea to finish Prequel A and Prequel B before I submit The Manuscript to another agent.  Okay, before I query again.  The changes also bring the bad guy of the series into The Manuscript a bit more.  If I can stay focused, the changes should be done within the month.  Fingers crossed.

So, that’s this month’s plan.  Finish the two prequels and revise the manuscript.

 

Entering Another Contest

Due to my extremely bad health at the end of July, I didn’t enter the July Glimmer Train Press contest.  All of that hard work crafting a story under 3,000 words was sort of wasted.  Okay, not wasted, but it felt like that at the beginning of August.  July and August are different competitions.

July is for very short stories.  The submission was limited to three thousand words.  I’m a bit wordy, so it was a challenge for me.  Three thousand words isn’t a lot when one needs to set the scene and drag the reader along for a story.  I finally decided I would do a one-scene story.  Luckily for me, the story was completed by mid-July.  (That’s when I got really sick.)  The story sat as it waited for its journey to the competition.  That was before I got really sick with the pregnancy.  I never sent the story in, and the next Glimmer Train Press Very Short Story Contest is in January.

For a bit I thought I’d have to wait until January.  August’s competition is New Authors.  The good news is it is limited to authors who have never been published.  The even better news is that is the only restriction for August.  It hit me on Monday that the story I worked on for July could be used in August.  Great!  Wonderful!

It felt great yesterday as I did some last minute revisions.  Just polishing.  Nothing big.  But there were a few times in July and the first week of August when I wasn’t sure I’d write again.  The simple act of revising something for a contest was actually kinda fun after all I’ve been through.

The piece is now on its way to Glimmer Train Press.  The contest ends today.  The results should be out October 30th.  Now time to write a submission for the September contest, which is for Open Fiction.  (I guess my story would work for next month, too.)  The rules for next month’s contest are just a short story between two thousand and twenty thousand words.  Hum?  I can be wordy.  Off to write while the baby sleeps on my chest.

Holiday Short Stories Are Coming. Is Yours Ready?

It’s getting closer to Amanda’s Blog’s Annual Holiday Short Story Bonanza!  You’re all excited!  Right?  Last year we had some great authors participate.  I hope to add more this year.  Submissions open on October 24th and close on November 20th.  The rules are pretty open.  You, the author, must hold the copyright for the short story.  I, the blog owner, do not get the copyright.  All I get is the right to run the story and have it in the blog’s archive.  Stories can be on any winter holiday, including made-up sci-fi holiday stories.  Any length between 500 words and 3,500 words is acceptable.  Excerpts from novels or longer stories are just fine.  You can even enter more than one story!

The rules can be found at http://amandanicoletrisdale.com/holidayshortstories.html.

Put on some Holiday Music, grab a cup of hot chocolate, and whip up a short story for Amanda’s Blog’s Annual Holiday Short story.  You know you want to, even if you aren’t a writer, a writer wannabe, or an author!  And tell your friends about the upcoming Amanda’s Blog’s Holiday Short Story Bonanza!  The more the merrier.

I can’t wait to read everyone’s submissions starting October 24th.

July Short Story Update

Good news!  I think I can make this one-scene less than 3,000 words story work!  I’ve got the story plotted.  It could use a bit of fluffing, but at the moment it is 2,500 words!  One scene and 2,500 words.  The gasp of shock you hear is BR’s shock that I can write something that short.

I’m not sure I like how I opened the story.  I think it starts a little slow.  But, I’ve gotta set the scene.  The good thing is I have plenty of time to tweak the opening between now and July 31st.  Actually, I think I’ll spend today working on the first three paragraphs.  (Yes, it is three paragraphs that annoy me.)  The ending needs tidying up, too.  I think I like how I’ve ended the story.  I just need to make sure it works.

One of the interesting things about this story is that one of the pivotal characters doesn’t actually speak.  He does mouth words at one point, but we never really hear his voice.  It’s an intriguing idea that just sorta happened as I wrote the piece.

Do I think I’ll win this month?  Not a chance only because I’m that new to very short stories.  I do think this story has potential.  Hopefully, it will be good enough that it won’t crash and burn during the competition.

July Plans

My July plans look a lot like my June plans.  (Yes, I’m ignoring the fact I’m still sick.)  This month’s Glimmer Train Press’ competition is Very Short Story.  I hate writing very short stories.  This one must be under 3,000 words.  When I’m healthy I am very wordy.  Very, very, very wordy as y’all know.  And when I’m sick I can’t string two words together really, so I’ve got an issue.  But, when have I ever backed down from a challenge?

Just 3,000 words to form an entire story.  A mere eleven pages or so.  That’s not a lot of time for a story.  I can think of a thousand things that I could write about.  But in 3,000 words?  That’s like tossing a stone in the lake and expecting a huge splash.  Yep, not really that easy.

I do have an idea, though.  I think it just might work.  The question is if I can keep it to just 3,000 words.  A one-scene story might just work.  If I can tweak this idea just right as a one-scene story it should work.  The question is if a one-scene story can be a complete story.  Well, if I can get a one-scene story to work with my writing style.  Any way you look at it, this is a challenge.  A really short 3,000 word story written by wordy me, plus there is the whole writing a story.

July shall be interesting with the story.  My rough draft should be done by the end of the week.  Actually, I really should have it done by the end of tomorrow.  It’s just 3,000 words.  That’s a day of typing.  Then I can work on the first draft, polishing the theme.  If I’m gonna get the story done this month, I should be on Draft Four by Saturday.

The biggest stumbling block will be the word limit.  Let’s see how this goes.  Tomorrow I should have an update since it’s such a short story this month.

If you’re interested in this month’s competition, feel free to check out the full rules.  You can find them at http://www.glimmertrain.com/vershorficaw1.html, the official Glimmer Train Press website.

Oh, and update on the A/C issue.  (And me being sick due to heat!)  The A/C repair guy got our unit completely fixed yesterday.  He showed up late morning with the right motor.  (Because if anything goes out on an A/C unit you want the motor going out in the summer!)  Anywho, it is now cooler in my house than outside.  Yes!  Not only am I thrilled, but I’ve got two dogs who are excited.  I know this because my black, furry mutt has positioned herself right under one of the air ducts.  There’s a little curl to her lips.  The greyhound has commandeered the end of the sofa that happens to be under one of the living room air ducts.  We’ll enjoy the cool air for the rest of the summer.

My June Plans

Glimmer Train Press hosts a contest every single month.  This month’s contest is called Fiction Open.  The ground rules are pretty much just write a short story between 2,000-20,000 words.  All themes are welcomed, according to Glimmer Train Press’ website.  Submissions are being accepted between now and June 30th at midnight Pacific Time.

I’ve got a sketch of a story started for this month’s competition.  I’m hoping between now and Friday to stretch that sketch into a few thousand words.  That gives me a week to let the piece sit, a week for revisions, and hopefully I’ll have a polished piece by the end of the month.

So, who wants to join me?  I figure the more the merrier, right?  You can find all the rules at http://www.glimmertrain.com.

Meanwhile, I’ll be busy working on my short story and ignoring my health until further notice.