Cookies, Candy Canes, & Characters

Okay, the holidays are upon us and I'm scrambling to find time to write. While driving through Michigan, Canada, and Western New York, I typed away on my husband's laptop while trying to make sure the kids didn't kill each other in the back seat and spill those damn juice boxes all over the upholstery. Who invented those things anyways? And what child doesn't instantly squeeze the juice box and spill juice all down the front of them? Excuse me, but I've digressed. While balancing the laptop on my lap and typing over pot holes and quick stops, I found I was able to really crank out a good chunk of my story.

I'm working on something new. Something I'm not certain I will ever publish, but something that has me interested in what I'm writing and looking forward to adding to daily. It's fresh and a bit naughty, but does not violate my blush radar. And I really like the main character-strong, independent, with a bit of baggage, sort of a historical Murphy Brown. Okay, so I've just dated myself. But Murphy Brown was one hell of a character.

So as I've added to this story and found surprise elements popping out and adding more layers and interest, I smile and think--wow, I'm writing.

Of the hundreds of books I've read and the numerous writers I've met, and the workshops I've presented, I sometimes question my ability to actually write a coherent sentence. And sometimes I surprise myself.

Okay, I've digressed once again. Wasn't this suppose to be about the holidays and writing? And how I took a U turn and made it into something else isn't surprising considering we have to multi task during our lives and even more so during the holidays.

I've made a goal, write every day. No matter how much. No matter how good. And no matter how late at night I'm adding to new and old stories. I'm writing every day.

So those of you out there, take a pledge with me--write every day. Get those words down, flesh out those characters, twist those plots.

That's it according to Maddy~


Contest - To Enter or Not To Enter - That is the questions

I'm sure the word dredges up memories and some of them not very pleasant. As a frequent contest entrant and a frequent contest judge and contest coordinator, I find that the experience is often wrought with problems and broken dreams.

As an entrant I have won, placed, and lost contest. Of course this breaks my heart, I question my ability as a writer, I curse the judge for her lack of insight, and I dwell on the comments way too much. Is this abnormal? Of course not. Is this productive? Of course not.

I took a break from entering contests. I found that it helped tremendously with my confidence. Also, I found that I was able to focus on an entire manuscript instead of perfecting the first three chapters of a manuscript. And, I found that by submitting to contests as a way to stalk(yes,I mean that type of stalking) a particular editor or agent, it took longer to hear back from them. In fact, sending query and receiving a request cut the response time considerably.

Not that contest are bad, mind you. Many cater to specific genres and topics. This can be a godsend to those writers who target this type of market. And many people enjoy entering contests and do very well. They receive a check or other type of reward and their name is printed in the RWR, which is a great marketing tool.

I guess for me, that I will hold back and try to critique with my trusted critique partners and send queries and manuscripts to those who ask. In fact, after a few years of entering contests, I am now frequently sending my manuscript to editors at their request. So, I did learn from contests, I did grow as a writer, and the comments (both negative and postitiv) have added to my toolbox.

That's it according to Maddy ~

Tootles for now,