Blue pencil and pitch

After breakfast and the keynote on Sunday morning, I had signed up for a blue pencil session with Jim C. Hines and a pitch session with Nephele Tempest, back to back. Needless to say, I was a bundle of nerves.

How the blue pencil went

After Jim’s wonderful keynote the evening before, I was a bit worried at the thought of sitting down with him. Not that I thought that he would tell me my writing sucked, but I worried he might be too gentle with me.

I needed help.

After the reception my first page received at SiWC idol, I really wanted to fix my opening.

So I explained my concerns and Jim got right to business. He had a few excellent suggestions, some of which I’d already suspected, and set me on the path of a few more effective ways to get my character across. He asked a few insightful questions, and over all I thought he did a lovely job.

Afterward, he asked me if he’d been of any help to me.

What a sweetie.

I was so pleased to have met him, even under such time constraints.

How the pitch went

I’d pitched Initiate of Stone last year at the Algonkian Conference I attended. Though I received the interest of an editor from Penguin, I had to delay submitting anything to him because I had some work to finish. Though he agreed that he’d rather see a novel made its best through editing and revision, I believe I took too long.

When I had signed up for Surrey, I was able to book one blue pencil and one pitch session.  The blue pencil was with Jim C. Hines. The pitch was with Kristin Nelson. If time allowed, I would be able to book additional appointments on site.

I had researched the agents in attendance and decided that I would make every attempt to see Nephele Tempest, Pam Hylckama Vlieg, and Rachel Coyne, if time allowed. They all handled fantasy, which is what I was there to give them.

As I mentioned in a past post, Kristin Nelson had to cancel when her flight from Colorado was cancelled due to weather. Pam Hylckama Vlieg was ill and unable to make it.

I was fortunate enough to meet Rachel Coyne on the first day. She was friendly and kind, and encouraged me to book an appointment. When it came time for me to do so, however, Rachel was booked solid and the only time I could book with Nephele Tempest was Sunday morning, back to back with my blue pencil session.

Since last year, I’d taken a course with Marcy Kennedy on loglines, taglines, and pitches. I’d also done some research on the internet and learned a few things from Adrienne Kerr’s query session.  My pitch was a work in progress, and though I’d brought my computer to work on it, I wasn’t able to print my documents. I wasn’t about to lug my lap top around so I could read from it, either.

Outside my room, I didn’t have consistent wi-fi, and so I couldn’t even copy the file into Dropbox and open it on my phone.

So I’d spent my breakfast recreating my pitch from memory.

Things went well, and Nephele asked to see my first three chapters.

They’re with her now. We’ll see how things go.

All I can say is eeeeeeeeeee!

More tomorrow, folks. Goodnight for now. The eighth Doctor calls 😉

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Sunday morning keynote: Jane Porter

NaNoWriMo progress

Sorry I haven’t been blogging as promised, but NaNoWriMo has taken over my life (!) In a totally good way though 😉

I’m happy to say that while I had an outline to follow, serendipity struck and in a departure from the plan, I’ve taken my YA fantasy up a notch into high concept territory.  It’s an epic win.

I knew that I’d be going away November 4-6, so I tried frontloading my first days to prepare. Here’s the word count so far:

  • November 1 – 2161 words
  • November 2 – 2284 words
  • November 3 – 2325 words
  • November 4 – 0 words
  • November 5 – 2122 words
  • November 6 – 0 words
  • November 7 – 1877 words
  • November 8 – 2168 words
  • November 9 – 2190 words

I’m just a titch ahead of the game at 15127 words.  I’m on chapter 6 of 14.  Working title: Figments.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming

October 27, 2013

Jane began her keynote with a humorous anecdote about dinner the previous evening where the topic of discussion at the table was the prevalence of dino-porn (if you don’t believe it, Google it—here’s a link to get you going, pun intended – http://www.cracked.com/quick-fixes/10-real-book-covers-from-dinosaur-on-human-sex-novels/ ).

Only at Surrey.

Jane took comfort in the thought. She could always reinvent herself if her career tanked.

Jane wrote her first story at the age of five, made her first story book in elementary school, wrote her first romance in high school, and received her first rejection in 1984.

Eventually, she got a non-form rejection letter including a long list of errors. Her response? I can fix all that!

Among her works in progress was a 900 k word medieval epic in which the heroine murdered her husband to be free.

In January 2000, fourteen rejections and fifteen years later, Jane sold her first book.

Since then, she’s published 44 novels and written 46.

She confessed to feeling like a fraud as part of the Bestseller Banter panel. She was afraid for years that her career would be taken away from her.

She found that real estate was a suitable metaphor for publishing. You work for years on your novel, your dream. It’s a part of your life, and someone comes along and puts a dollar value on it. Sometimes the assigned value doesn’t reflect the true worth of the work.

Jane Porter’s Five Keys to Survival as a Writer

  1. Craft. You’ve got to work out your creative muscles. It’s the best way to protect yourself. Be excellent.
  2. Get real. Check your attitude at the door. You can choose how to respond.
  3. Goal-setting. Look where you want to go. Ride the channels and use the energy of the currents.
  4. Perseverance. Face your fears.
  5. Don’t react. Don’t follow the trends. Categories are changing.