Tuesday, February 28, 2012

How I Spend My Time

When people hear that I've written a novel, a lot of time they ask about my writing routine, which is understandable because it takes a lot of discipline to write anything. When I was drafting I would write 8-14 hours a day, every single day.

Then I realized the whole second half of my book sucked, and I had to rewrite the whole thing. I spent a lot of time on the floor with long lines of taped together paper and post-it notes working on my plot lines and characters. It was a mess and I referred to it as my "Crazy". It pretty much looked like a serial killer or conspiracy theorist's board of tangled notes. Ry's got a picture of me in my pajamas with my Crazy all around me looking like a prime candidate for the loony bin.

Now I've put that draft in the metaphorical drawer while I wait on notes from my readers. I feel like I've edited it to death, but I know once I give it some time to breath I can come at it with a fresh mind. These days I spend my time either:

1. Working on my query letters. This is a different skill from writing novels, and one I'm still not very good at. Though better than some people. I found this site today which has a snarky agent sharing the most horrendous query fails I've ever seen. It may be brutal in the slushpile, but at least I'm not these guys.

2. Drafting the sequel to the book maybe no one wants. I'm discovering as I research the publishing world that there are a few things that agents are getting sick of. Vampires probably doesn't even need to be said, but also there's a rash of dystopian, and paranormal (werewolves, angels etc.) My book has angels and demons. It's hard to stand out in a pile of queries full of paranormal creatures.

3. Research/Plotting for my middle grade WIP. It's a revisionist history set in Napoleonic France and Italy. The research is going to be a beast. I'm actually going to have to go to a library. I've been sick since we got home from Cali, so I've just been watching documentaries on Napoleon.

4. Research/Plotting for my speculative fiction (YA) about what happens when the southwest runs out of water. It was originally going to be dystopian--and who knows it still might be, but this one's been stewing in my brain for months now. It had two main POV characters, and I just came up with a third today. I love multiple POV books, but I need to read some more to see what I like, which brings me to number five.

5. Reading. Call it market research. Call it studying craft. Call it whatever you want. A good write has to read. A lot. So I do. Hooray!


  1. In some ways your life doesn't seem to be much different than grad school. :)

    And for the record- I really want the sequel. It will make me do funny girly noises when I finally get to see it.

  2. You're right, Marsha. I think grad school really prepared me for the crazy routine.

    And I will get to the sequel. Just to hear your girly noises :)