Surprise surprise - the first point Lucy Gilmour made about why they rejected The Who's Who of Matt McKinnell was EMOTIONAL CONFLICT, particularly the actions and motivations of Libby, my heroine.
Lucy pointed out that a strong emotional conflict needs developed, investigated and worked through for hero and heroine to finally be together happily ever after. In my story, the conflict was more external than emotional. Her career ambition and drive to write a story about him and he's resolve to not let anyone write anything deep about him, was what was providing the conflict. This wasn't personal enough!
I did actually give these two lovely people personal hassles - Libby has self-esteem issues and thought she couldn't have children and Matt has just found out he is not his father's child, but neither of these issues were developed enough to keep the hero and heroine from a) getting it on and b) staying together.
Apparently Libby's infertility issue is a FABULOUS conflict but I didn't use it to great effect. In the story she became pregnant really easily which kinda lessened the effect. It would have been a lot better also if I'd had her deal with this issue earlier on.
I had three majorly strong potential conflicts - adoption, illegitimacy and infertility but didn't use any of them with any real effect because I didn't link them enough to the developing romance.
Conflict was the major reason for this rejection and it seems to be a frequent reason for rejection. What I've learnt and will hopefully be able to implement in future mss is to DIG DEEP!!! Ask why questions until you're driving yourself insane! Be a three year old - WHY? WHY? BUT WHY? And make sure the conflicts really cause problems for the relationship!
Come back tomorrow (or the next day, depends what kind of kid-day tomorrow turns out to be) and I'll tell you the other reason why they rejected my mss!!
Monday, March 30, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Well... apparently it's what you've all been waiting for :)
Sometime today (probably while I sleep due to international time diffs) my chap is going up on iheartpresents!
As I found Jackie's comments following her chapter going up really useful, I've decided to share a bit more about why this story was rejected as well. So... in a few days, once the chapter, synopsis and editorial comments have been posted at iheart, I'll post a little more here about why this story didn't make the cut this time round!!
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
As mentioned in my last post, I've been doing RWA Bootcamp 209 - it runs for two Saturdays in a row and unfortunately we're already half way through. Last Saturday was full on but oh so helpful. First up we did Character Arcs with Diane Gaston (tbc this week), then there was OH&S for writers with Dana Scully (her stretches worked miracles on my tired shoulders), next up Sexual Tension with Carol Marinelli (that woman is an angel and oh so clever) and the final tute was Dialogue with Robyn Grady (lots of good points, which reminds me I must do that homework). We also have a question and answers session with Anna Campbell, which was really inspiring and interesting.
Although I loved all the workshops, Carol's tute really spoke to me. I think (especially in Modern Heat) it can sometimes be hard to be sexy early on in the novel without becoming sleazy. Know what I mean? She gave us some great tips (but better not give them away as they are hers to teach) about how to add personal depth to the sex scenes. One point which she made (and I'm sure will not mind me
sharing) is that we need to look upon sex scenes as sex of our characters and get rid of the feeling that people will think 'they' are really 'us.' Once we know our characters deeply... their sex lives will take on personality too! Anyway am rambling since I'm tired, so moving right along...
I've also been reading
'Becoming a Writer' by Dorothea Brande. So many people have recommended this book, so I finally decided to open it! One thing which has stood out to me so far is that if we want
to succeed as writers, we need to take our writing seriously. She goes so far as to recommend each writer gets up earlier than everyone in their house and starts writing before they do ANYT
HING ELSE! In my house this would mean getting up at about 4am - but perh
aps if the baby starts sleeping longer periods, I can give it a try. I know... excuses, excuses. She actually says that if you're not prepared to do this, you may as well give up, cos you're not dedicated enough and don't want enough! Hey Dorothea...I WANT!!!
Still... she makes a good point, so I'll work towards it. In the meantime have decided that I'm gonna write fromm 8pm to 8.30pm EVERY NIGHT, WITHOUT FAIL, no matter what else is happening in my world. The aim? To get into a good routine - another of Dorothea's tips! I'll keep you updated!
Another aside... I WON Lynn Raye Harris' debut book through her blog (won't get it till July, but I can be patient). Am so excited about this because she was the winner for the Instant Seduction contest and it's been wonderful to follow her progress from win to call and soon to publication!! Go Lynn!!
Right... so that's about me for now. Have been contemplating writing but not actually doing much lately... so with the help of Dorothea... I'm pumped to get back into it!
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
My laptop has DIED!!! Finally... kaput. Hopefully the lovely computer man can get off my stuff before he tries to fix but I'm buying another anyway. I have my sights set on a nice hot pink one :) and it'll hopefully arrive within 10 working days. Until then... I'll be borrowing hubby's and my mum's if I sneak off to her place, so I may post less frequently and not visit other blogs as much - just so ya know!!! Will be back ASAP.
Also the next two Saturdays I'm doing the Romance Writer's of Australias Bootcamp 209 and will be busy, busy, busy with that for a few weeks. There's a great line-up of speakers including Diane Gaston, Carol Marinelli and MH's Robyn Grady! I can't wait.
Will hopefully be able to update you soon with how it's all going!!
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
I promised a post free of whinging and one that was more interesting than the last... well, think I can come good on the whinging, but don't know if this is actually THAT interesting.
Thought I'd share with you the books in my reading pile at the moment:
*Ghost Hunting with Derek Acorah
*The Mammoth Book of True Hauntings
*Ghosts: The Ultimate Guide for Ghost Hunters
*21st Century Ghosts
And I'm not writing a paranormal... at least I don't think I am. One of the proposals I sent to M&B featured a celebrity ghost hunter as a hero (am fairly certain, now I think about it that MH won't go for this but I still wanna write this story one day). Obviously ghost hunting won't be a HUGE part of the story but I want to sound legit, so I'm reading up on the occupation and trying not to scare myself witless in the process!!
What is the most interesting thing you've ever had to research???
Monday, March 16, 2009
ARGH!! That's me screaming... so as you can probably guess, I haven't literally lost my voice. I can still scream at my kids (phew), sing in the shower and in the car and in the kitchen and anywhere else I feel the need and I can still nag my hubby, but I seem to have lost my writing voice.
All my rejections thus far (yep, I'm collecting them up) have mentioned that the editor reading LOVED MY VOICE. All the contests I've entered, whether up there or WAY down there, the judges have said they LOVED MY VOICE. So, you can imagine my dispair when I've started two different mss in the last few weeks and neither have that VOICE I'm getting lovely comments about.
I don't know if the loss of sass in my mss has to do with the fact that I'm waiting to hear from an editor about whether or not she likes my proposals and which one she thinks (if any) is worthy of writing. Or perhaps it's because I've actually got permission to send my next mss straight to her desk and thus highjump the slush pile and this is putting pressure on that I've never had before. What if I botch this chance? Then I'm right back there in the slush pile.
I've heard of people losing their 'muse' before, but that's not my issue. I've got ideas... but when I go to transfer them to paper (or more literally the screen), they shrivel up into nothing!!
Anyone else ever had this problem? How did you get back your voice? Drugs? Psychotherapy? I'm all ears....
Thursday, March 12, 2009
NOT YET!! Don't get too excited folks. But as you've all shown enthusiasm about reading my runner-upping in the Feel The Heat contest chapter and waited so patiently, thought I'd let you know that I've heard it'll be up before the end of the month!!
What if you all hate it?
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Somehow a near disaster occurred and I DIDN'T buy Ally Blake's The Magnate's Indecent Proposal when it came out as a Sexy Sensation. I'm still not sure how this happened as I read all the Sexy Sensations/Mod Heats as it's the line I'm mostly aiming towards. Anyway when I read on Ally's blog that she recently won an award for the book, I surfed straight over to eharlequin and downloaded it.
And OMG WOW!! That Ally Blake is one amazing writer. I've just finished her Magnate and I think it's my new favourite category romance. I read across the lines and although I'm writing sexy, my favourite up to now was Liz Fielding's The Secret Life of Lady Gabriella. That's definitely a keeper. Anyway Ally's book I loved soooooooooo much that I went to the Book Depository and ordered an actual hard copy as well.
This book did it for me on so many levels. As I read, I read it as a reader and a writer and tried to work out why it worked so well.
*The initial meeting between the hero and heroine is magic - love the uniqueness of the whole mobile phone mix-up.
*The emotional conflicts of the characters seemed real but they weren't angsty or too deep.
*The chemistry was magic and although there were some fairly risque scenes (ah hem... under the table in the restaurant!!!) it didn't seem sordid or cheap.
*The secondary characters were vivid and fun - can't wait to read Caleb's story, which is still sitting on my TBR pile.
*Although the hero and heroine weren't actually on the page together for much of the book, they were often on the phone. This was really unique and different from other books.
*It didn't end in a marriage proposal yet I still got the warm, fuzzy feeling that these two would be together forever!!
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh... thanks Ally for such a fabulous read! Can't wait to read the rest of your releases this year and the year after that, etc, etc, etc!
Friday, March 6, 2009
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
My heroine has a LIFE TO DO LIST!
In no particular order:
*Learn to play a musical instrument
*Learn to surf
*Be an extra in a movie
*Show her art (marionette puppets) in a gallery
*Go on a spontaneous road trip
*Have a romantic dinner in Paris
*Learn to ride a motorbike
*Go to the theatre on my own.
*Swim with sharks
*Learn to cook real curry
*Go to Antarctica
*Gamble in Vegas
*Learn to speak Spanish
*Get a degree
*Scuba Dive The Great Barrier Reef
*Attend the Olympics
*Go to Octoberfest
I need more - any ideas? Please tell me what things you'd like to do before you die (which hopefully won't be for a VERY long time). I want radical things and some really mundane things too.
Monday, March 2, 2009
I've been to visit the mother-in-law six hours away for the long weekend and didn't have much chance to work on my proposals, but (as you writers will understand) the story was always stewing.
I've finished one of the proposals I plan to send to Lucy and I'm working on the second. I'm fairly happy with Martha, my party-girl heroine who's had to curb her wild ways because she's now guardian of her teenage sister, but her hero is causing me to tear out my hair!!!
As I've come to do for the last few books... I gleaned a general idea of his character (from who knows where) and then grabbed my old faithful archtype book. Anyone else use ''The Complete Writer's Guide to Heroes and Heroines''? I find this book helps me solidify in my head who my character is and often gives me ideas about their personality or background I hadn't even thought of.
My heroine Martha is a ''Spunky Kid.'' In short, she's gutsy and true and loyal to the end. She has a fabulous sense of humour, can be slightly sarcastic and doesn't think the world owes her a living.
I've matched her with Sebastian, a ''Professor.'' He's not actually a professor - at this stage, he's a plastic surgeon (but I'm not sure this is MH enough) - but he has qualities of a ''Professor.'' This means he's cooly analytical. He's usually the smartest person in the room and the authority in his field (surely that's alpha), he's organised and a slave to logic. And... the big thing ''an allure of chaos can be strong for this man.'' I'm hoping Martha will bring lots of chaos into his life.
My problem is WHY?!!! WHY is Sebastian tied to his work, so much so that he doesn't allow himself a social life? And what does he want out of life? Initially I had both of them not in the market for marriage or even a serious relationship at the moment, but I'm not sure this works.
She wants to live life to the full and tick everything off her TO DO LIST before she settles down (cos she's had to be MS Responsibility for the last few years looking after her sister). I'm thinking perhaps it would then be better if he's actually quite keen on the idea of marriage from the beginning but is having problems finding Miss Right... But then that doesn't tie in with him not allowing himself a social life, which I DO need for the premise of the book to work!!
Oh hell...what do you wise ladies think?? I for one am tying myself in knots with all this planning!!