Success only flourishes in perseverance -- ceaseless, restless perseverance.
--Baron Manfred Von Richtofen

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What I've Been Up To

Now that you know what's in my bag, I'll tell you all about what's on my plate. I've written four chapters of The Ransomed Returning, the sequel to my first novel, Zion Rising. I've also typed up the first two chapters, and will work on typing the rest. I have four short stories out trying to find a home: Highway Songs, Sofie and the Night Eagle, Joy Ride, and Star Blessed. I entered two stories in the Irreantum fiction contest: The Wings of Morning and Sweet Singing in the Choir. I am ready to begin revising my novella, Consecrated and then I'll start finding a home for that one, too. I have novel queries out at a couple of publishers (keeping my fingers crossed on that), and my novella The Bearer's Oath should be out in print soon. I also wrote a script for my women's choir concert, though that wasn't so much writing as skillful arranging of scriptures. Turned out nice, I think.

I have a high-tech submission tracking system, which is a calendar hanging on the wall where I write down when I send something out and when I get a response. I am very pleased that every month so far this year I've had a full calendar, so to speak. Sure they were mostly rejections, but I am proud of myself for being so active. Past calendars haven't looked so busy. In fact, the majority of months had nothing written on them at all. So, in spite of feeling some discouragement, I am glad that writing has become a high priority for me. It's time to make those dreams come true!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Current Contents of the Writing Bag

Perhaps you are wondering what I carry around in my writing bag. Or maybe you aren't. You're about to find out anyway. In the bag right now I have:

*My "Always Remember To" notebook in which I am writing my novel

*Fighter Combat: Tactics and Maneuvering as a reference for the above novel

*My little pink-striped kitty notebook that I use to jot down story ideas, interesting dreams, market research, or whatever I want
*My Loafer Ladies notebook for taking notes at our meetings
*The "create" notebook, with brainstorming, outlines, and character sketches for the novel
*The "believe" notebook, which I haven't used yet, but surely will someday
(That's five notebooks. You can never have too many notebooks.)
*My Nesquik (aka. the Caleb) folder, which currently holds the first chapter of my novel, plus whatever other loose papers I feel like carrying around.

*A few random items, like some post-it notes that vaguely match the "create" and "believe" notebooks, four black pens (not counting the pen attached to the purple notebook), one red pen, a tube of carmex (can't live without), a package of kleenexes (never know when you might need those), and my ipod shuffle.

So there you have it. I cannot do my writing without all of those things, and I absolutely love my bag for carrying them around in.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Notes from the Editor's Chair

Okay, this is my writing blog, but it seems that my alter-ego (the editor) also wants her say. Does it seem ironic that I feel so depressed about getting rejections while at the same time doling out rejections every day? I also occasionally dole out an acceptance, and I like accepting a story almost as much as getting a story accepted. But that's not what I wanted to talk about today. Today, Angie-the-editor would like to say this:

I've been writing the same comment on a number of submissions lately, and it goes like this: "The long telling of back story did not make an engaging opening." Let me repeat it: The Long Telling of Back Story Did NOT Make an Engaging Opening. I can guarantee that if your story begins with a history lesson or your main character's life story it will be rejected no matter what follows. If you get a really patient editor who plows through the back story, you might get a revision request, but most editors aren't that patient, and a long "telly" opening does not portend well for the rest of the story. Here's my post about handling back story.

Okay, I've had my say. Really if you want to stand out of the slushpile, an engaging opening is a must.

Now, back to the writing chair...

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Here's my husband putting up garden supports in defiance of six inches of new snow in the garden. On April 4. Why is he so undaunted? Probably because he knows the snow won't last forever, the weather will warm up, and his garden will be just fabulous. (You can read about it at his gardening blog.)

When it comes to writing, I've been feeling daunted lately, along with other unpleasant "D" words like doubtful, despairing, and depressed. I've been getting rejection letters at an unprecedented rate. I think that's because I've been submitting at an unprecedented rate, but it's still got me down. If you remember my first post, last fall I was really on fire. I felt certain that writing was part of God's plan for me. But with all the setbacks lately, I'm starting to doubt if that is really the case. But then I remembered what a wise friend taught me. You can't judge whether you are doing the right thing by how easy it is or how well everything is going. I mean, did I really expect that there wouldn't be any more rejection? That I'd instantly become a best-selling author? Okay, whatever. Does Tracy think a little snow means he'll never grow a garden? I don't think so. I'm trying to remember that just because things aren't going as great as I'd like doesn't mean I should just give up. Right?

Well, I hope I'm right, because I really don't want to quit, and I do believe that the things I felt last fall are still true, and that God is with me, no matter what. Thanks for the little reminder, Tracy.