Wednesday, April 28, 2010

There I was, planning to write a blog post that didn't involve contests, but then fate stepped in and changed everything.

The results are in!

My novel, Megan Delaney: Mystic Misfit, took second place in the Connecticut RWA's The Write Stuff Contest! Whoo hoo! Many thanks to the judges and everyone involved in this contest. You da best!

And, just when I the chocolate fountain warmed up, I found out that...

My other novel, Camp Awakening, took FIRST PLACE in the Chicago-North RWA's Fire & Ice Contest! I truly wasn't expecting this. When I entered, my novel and I weren't getting along. In fact, my main character was convinced that I was ruining her life, having her appear in this book.

I'm happy to say that she's delightfully miserable at the moment. And promises to hang around until the bitter end. ;)

It's a terrific feeling when people think your "baby" is as cute as you do. Now I just have to make sure I don't drive people crazy with baby photos and tales of her adventures so far.

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posted by Bonnie Staring at 10:11 PM 5 comments

The inspiration continues

Sunday, April 25, 2010

It'll be a 6,000-word week, with the light at the end of the tunnel shining so brightly the kitten is having a nap in it. Le sigh.

There's been a lot of chatter about contest judging, that is writing contests and not the other ones where you fill out an online form and win free pizza for a year. It's been interesting to read what people have to say about contest judges and trying to understand the reasons why some score things low and others score things high.

I compare judge's responses to Amazon reviews, quite frankly. Because you never know how a reader will respond to your work.

And I think that's what some writers forget (including me on days that end with "y"): that everyone has an opinion, even if it sucks. Even if it means they think your protagonist is about as useful as a rungless ladder. Even if they'd rather get a full body wax than read past the first chapter.

Hey, I have opinions, too. And if I had my way, every TV show would have musical numbers. Even the CSI series ones.

Oh, could you imagine? DNA tests performed to the quick step? Processing a car done a la John Travolta's "Greased Lightning"? Or how about House and his team breaking into River Dance moves when they're analyzing a patient's symptoms? What channel can I get these on?

And speaking of creating the perfect story, here's a video I have to share on creating the perfect Academy Award-winning film. Enjoy.


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posted by Bonnie Staring at 7:08 PM 0 comments

Still inspired, now with squee action

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I squeezed out 9,000 words for the novel this week. It was like taking on the world's largest zit, only less messy.

Seriously. Normally a word count like this would take months, especially now that I'm in Draft 2 mode. You know, the version where I need to let readers know where my characters are and what they might be thinking instead of just saying:

"Too bad about that thing."
"It's all right. I can deal."
And then they all died.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. One previously blocked by my refusal to open a vein and hold it over the keyboard. By not going there, to that place where bad things happen to characters. And to writers.

My lovely novel, Camp Awakening, is a finalist in the Wisconsin RWA's Fabulous Five Contest! I totally didn't expect it (this is the second contest this novel has been a finalist for) and I'm verra, verra excited. Yes, I love contests, especially when it works in my favour. The feedback from the first-round judges was truly helpful (and I'm not just saying that, really).

The contest organizers even sent me this awesome button to put on my blog:

Isn't it purdy? Now I have to figure out how to get it in my sidebar somehow. Maybe my resident cabana boy can help me.

Have an awesome week!

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posted by Bonnie Staring at 10:28 PM 2 comments

Seriously inspired

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I know, I know. I keep on saying how everything from sonic toothbrushes to coupons for dish soap change my life, but this time I think it really happened.

On Saturday the Toronto Romance Writers hosted a workshop, "Writing the Breakout Novel," which was presented by uber-agent Donald Maass.

A lot of the members in our group were really excited when the workshop was first announced. And then they kept on counting down the days, marking calendars and checking the group loop for more details.

I wasn't sure what to expect, what with having had my life changed so many times before.

First of all, he's shorter than I expected.

Then he started speaking. And I found myself jotting down notes, having "aha" moments all over the place and realizing that, for the first time in ages, I "got it." This wasn't one of those workshops where you had to have an in-depth understanding of English literature or on every single genre of popular fiction; you just had to have the need to write a better novel.

You know -- a breakout novel. ;)

Now this workshop wasn't about writing novels about acne. This was about writing a novel that flies off the shelves, gets talked about and recommended, and maybe, just maybe hits the bestseller lists. What every writer dreams of having happen to his or her word-filled baby.

Donald asked a lot of questions and then, just when you thought you didn't have any more freaking answers, he'd ask some more. It was kind of annoying at first.

And that's when I realized something. He was doing exactly what my evil copywriting instructor from college would have us do: take our brainstorming to a whole new level by bringing in elements of our own experiences to make a stronger connection. One that would resonate with the targeted audience and create an inherent need for the product.

Whaddya know? The same tactics used to sell cough syrup can also apply to create books that fly off the shelves.

As if they sell themselves. Huh.

Okay, I must get back to the current work in progress. Time to dig deep and create something spectacular. Or at least a novel that'll get published, and maybe cause me to break out.

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posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:42 PM 3 comments

The muse is back in town

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Of course, now I have the strains of that Thin Lizzy song echoing in my head. I may have to listen to "Shake Your Groove Thing" a few times to shake it.

April has been a busy month already, with nearly 4,000 additional words on the WIP (my daily average hovers at around 500, so I'm verra, verra happy) and there is a wee light at the end of the tunnel.

It could also be that we're having some fantabulous weather, which means we can keep the windows open and the Kitten of Mass Destruction can enjoy fresh air with his sunbeams.

Now I know what you're thinking: waiting for the muse can be a dangerous thing. Even more dangerous than hang gliding over a volcano, or taking part in a yodel-till-the-death tournament. After all, once I land that forty-book contract (chuckles), I'll need to keep my nose to the grindstone and my butt in the chair, no matter what the muse says or doesn't say.

But spring is the time for renewal, for new beginnings, and, perhaps, finally getting those older projects finally freaking done. ;)

Now if I could keep up my current pace, this book might actually get done.

Cue the disbelieving kitten:

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posted by Bonnie Staring at 9:20 PM 2 comments