Special Tuesday Edition! Welcome back, Angi!

I’VE SOLD A BOOK, BUT CAN’T WRITE A SENTENCE




Hello SCWW ! Thanks for having me and letting me share what happens between the sale of my first book and it’s publication.


HILL COUNTRY HOLD UP status: nothing happened this month. It’s six months until my Harlequin Intrigue will be on store shelves in September. I’ve submitted the book and I’m waiting on copy edits from my editor.


Unfortunately, I’m still working on my second proposal. I’m on the last ten pages needed for the submission. While trying to decide on the topic for this week, I realized several things happened this month. Individually, they seemed insignificant. But when you’re analyzing why words aren’t hitting the page…everything’s significant.


I sold a book. First words from my published friends were “Congratulations, but…” Each reminded me to write. To get the second proposal ready as soon as possible. To submit my second book, I needed a synopsis and three chapters (or approximately fifty pages). This shouldn’t be hard. I thought I had a great first chapter. I had the workings of a synopsis. I kept writing. Then I developed the plot. Revised the synopsis. The story was stronger. I sent the first chapter to my agent. She loved it. I finished the synopsis. My agent had a few questions, I revised and it’s ready. I moved forward to chapter two. Wow, I’m writing. This is great. I can move to chapter three.


Screeeeeching halt. My critiques came back on chapter two. Along with the dreaded words halfway through my chapter–words I haven’t received since the critiques on my first work: “When can we talk?” OH NO! The chapter wasn’t brilliant? I took another look. Ugh. I’m not exaggerating when I confess that out of 25 lines, I had 24 “was ing” combinations. I met one of my critique partners for lunch. An hour and a half later, we had hopefully resolved the pacing problem. The passive writing was mine to fix with severe revising.


I read chapter two through different eyes. Writing is something I work at. I love getting the story on the page, but making it publishable is work (at least for me). The second version seemed to pass muster. Now I just need to get the last ten pages ONTO the page. That’s my goal this week.


ANALYSIS: Thank goodness for great, honest critique partners. One who says, “Angi, did you forget how to write?” And I actually think I did. I was too interested in hurrying through, getting the story on the page. My second chapter read more like a synopsis than my usual active voice. I analyzed the sentence structure and treated the writing as if it weren’t mine. As if it were a critique partners’ work. I went through the chapter asking myself questions, then revised again by answering those questions.


The real problem? Emotion. Most of my questions had to do with why. Why were the hero and heroine responding to the situation in the way they responded. I’m writing characters who are in a dangerous situation. Strangers, thrown together and forced to depend on each other. And the emotion just wasn’t transferring to the page. I couldn’t determine why. I’ve written for several years. What was different? And then I had a personal scare this week. My 11 ½ year old dog became ill and I thought we’d have to make a decision regarding his life.


Now you ask, what does that have to do with writing romance? After Logan (my 11 year old “puppy”) began to recover, I wanted to put all the emotion I experienced into my notes. I realized, that it was the same emotion my heroine will need at her black moment in the book (no, no, nothing to do with animals). And then it hit me. I have been happy since selling my book. Very happy. And the happy emotion was being transferred to the page. So yes, I sold a book. Yes, I can still write. Yes, it’s fun. And yes, I have to remember the basic things I’ve learned along the way to write another. Practice. Practice. Practice.


This week’s lesson learned: Dig deep, read your notes, set the mood, get back into a “scary” place, and bring the right emotions to your characters.


‘Til next time,


~~Angi


Some upcoming topics of discussion:
An On-Going Behind the Scene Look at Getting Ready for Publication
(revisions, promotion, copy-edits, AA’s, character sheets, log-lines, bios, etc.)
How I Chose My “Dream” Agent & Editor
My Hero Has Brown Hair?
Targeting Your Book & Choosing Your Market
Seeing Your Cover For The First Time


AngiMorgan.com

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38 Responses to Special Tuesday Edition! Welcome back, Angi!

  1. NinaP says:

    Hey Angi! Great post. Thanks for the “first book sale” heads-up. When my time comes, I will try very hard not to let my brain get flooded with “happy,” lest I lose my edge. 🙂

    Nina, looking forward to HILL COUNTRY

  2. Angela says:

    Hi Nina! It really surprised me that I hadn't noticed how “happy” my characters were before. But after the day we had last week with our dog, it was very obvious. My hero is supposed to be a burned-out, disillusioned undercover agent. And he was laughing much too much. Totally confusing me and my critique partners.

    And for those of you who may be wondering about Logan… My dog has cancer, but doesn't seem to be in immediate danger. We're taking one day at a time. And today is a “happy” day.
    ~~Angi

  3. Great post, Angi.

    And sorry to hear about Logan.

  4. msullivan says:

    I enjoyed your post, Angi. Great idea to infuse the emotions from your real life onto your pages.

    I hope Logan stays healthy.

    Mary

  5. Anna Sugden says:

    Hey Angi – great post – and I've heard a number of people went through the same thing after they sold. Hopefully, I can find out some day soon *g* and learn from your experience.

    Hugs on Logan.

  6. Who are you, Hemingway? Must stay miserable to be a good writer. Just kidding. I really liked how you realized that we have to dig down deep to reconnect with those emotions that our characters feel. Fortunately we get to come back up.

  7. Cindy says:

    Hey, Angi! Very interesting post. I didn't realize it until just this moment, but I may have done the same thing. After I sold the first book of a trilogy, I quickly submitted the second. My editor loved the first one, so I thought I had clear sailing. Well, she didn't like the book. I suggested changes, revisions, etc., but she rejected all of them. She simply did not like the story. Though she explained it to me, I never really understood what she meant. I think I do now. After reading about your experience, I'm betting the ms is completely flat emotionally. I'm going to take another look at it. Thanks to your post today, I may be able to fix a book that I thought was “unfixable”.

    I'll keep my fingers crossed for Logan.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Great information, Angi, and so very true. It's so timely that I read this because I'm having the same problem. I'm in the final chapters of my ms, where there's lots of action and emotions are high, but I'm not quite hitting it. Now I know what to do! Thank you!!

    Tracy Ward

  9. linda says:

    While, I am still looking for the “happiness” to come with having my first sale, I appreciate the warning, and now know what potential problems to look for.

    Thanks!

    Linda Graves

  10. Nicole North says:

    Interesting post, Angi! I've never thought about this but I'm sure it's true. And I hope your doggie is doing well!

  11. Kim Quinton says:

    Great Post! Maybe the beginnings of a post first-sale 12 step program?? 🙂
    Give Logan a good hug for me. I hope your writing goes better this week!

  12. Stacey says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. Emotion. Wow! Yes, that's key. And it's interesting how you came about realizing it. It can be hard to show anger or pain when you're happy in real life — and certainly vice versa!

    Good luck with the next book and I'm happy the doggie pulled through!

  14. Stacey Kayne says:

    Great post, Angi! And super advice 🙂

  15. I think you're a great example of why writing out of order is a good thing. There is no doubt mood affects writing. I think that's why we develop all kinds of shortcuts to access those emotions: candles, lighting, scents, music.

    I'm so happy for you, Angi!! You'll skate through this #2 with flying colors 🙂

  16. Angela says:

    L.A., thanks for the confidence. Now I just have to apply what I learned, right? Still have 10 pages…

    ~~Angi

  17. Angela says:

    Stacey, Jen, & Sandy
    Thanks much. And Logan's having a great day today. Now to concentrate on those ten pages…

    ~~Angi

  18. Angela says:

    Mary, Linda, & Nicole
    Thanks for dropping by and I'm glad you received something out of the post today. Keep writing!

    ~~Angi

  19. Angela says:

    Anna!!
    You are so close my friend! And you won't go through those 2nd book blues since you have so many perfected. Keeping everything crossed for you.
    ~~Angi

  20. Angela says:

    Cindy & Tracy,
    I'm glad the post hit a cord and you can work through those difficult spots in your books now! Keep me posted.
    ~~Angi

  21. Angela says:

    Clover,
    As always, you are too funny? Me? Hemingway? LOL

    But I have to admit that my emotions tend to get in the way. Not only this “happy” phase, but when I'm worried…well, let's not go there. I'm planning on being more aware and anchoring more. Just like L.A. mentioned: candles, music, digging for my “scary” spot.

    Ten more pages…
    ~~Angi

  22. Angela says:

    Kimmie Q,
    Thanks for the idea about the 12 step program. I might just have to invest some down time into writing that article.

    ~~Angi

  23. Anonymous says:

    Dear Angi,
    Robin sent me here. I can so understand about the emotional part of writing, both what's on the page and in our lives. It sounds like you had a first draft for Chap 2. We always want to forget the revision part. 🙂

    Louise B

  24. You hit it right on, Angi. I have tried to put that emotion into my stories and when my characters stop talking to me, I know what the problem is – they are flat and out of sorts with me and their storyline. It's usually lack of emotion. Great post!

  25. Thank God for honest crit buddies. 🙂 Glad you were able to get back on track. Good luck with your ten pages.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Angi,
    I'm so glad you and your dog are both doing better. Aren't crit partners grand? We'd like to kill them sometimes (I'll restrain because one of mine is related to you!) and other times you just want to give them a big fat hug for being so honest. Keep up the good work. I'm anxious to see it in print.
    Tammy Baumann

  27. Angela says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  28. Angela says:

    Tammy and Roni,
    Yes Yes Yes thanks for my Crit Partners. I wouldn't still be writing without their help and honesty. (Well, perhaps my own stuborness had something to do with it–but they can take credit!)

    ~~Angi

  29. Angela says:

    Paisley and Louise,
    They don't call it REVISION HELL for fun. LOL

    Funny thing is that with my CPs, *I'm* usually the one calling for deeper emotion. “DIG DEEPER” “YOU CAN MAKE THEM FEEL MORE” “BUT WHAT ARE THEY EXPERIENCING?” Do any of those sound familiar?

    ~~Angi

  30. Sandy Blair says:

    Enjoyable post, Angi. And ((hugs)) to you and Logan.

  31. Mona Risk says:

    Hi Angi, thanks for sharing your problems. An editor told me once to write with passion, write what you like. Now I always imagine I am the heroine and the emotion flows.

  32. robinperini says:

    Hey Angi–

    What a great post. And it's a reminder that writing is work, huh? My critique group won't let me send anything through until I finish 3 chapters, because I'm constantly finding stuff out 2 chapters down the road. They go ttired of hearing…well I figured *** out and changed chapter 1. Those meanies ;-). Anyway, thanks for the inspiration and the reality check both!

    And I'm glad Logan's having a good day today. As always you're in my thoughts and prayers!

    Hugs,
    Robin

  33. Jerrie Alexander says:

    Great post Angie,
    You're a great example and role model! And right on target with your advice. Writing real emotion is something we have to constanly work on. I have no doubt you'll deliver!

    Jerrie

  34. misa ramirez says:

    Love this post, Angi. You are so on the money about pushing forward, and about the doubt and struggles that still exist–even after you sell! I think too many people think selling is the goal, then they're done. Not so ! It's true what they say… that's when the work really begins. And the work is on so many levels.

  35. I love that you're so honest about the process. Knowing that even those who are already published still have to work hard to make a story everything it should be is both comforting and inspiring for those os us still aspiring.

  36. Angela says:

    Jerrie, Robin, Misa, Regina, & Mona !!
    Thanks for the support.

    I have heard honest answers from my writing friends about the writing process since I chose this business. I don't think I could be anything else. It's a hard profession, but the friendship side of writing is so rewarding.

    ~~Angi

  37. Marsha R. West says:

    Loved the comments. Always gives us hope for getting published. Marsha

  38. Angela says:

    You will do it, Marsha! You have determination and are acquiring all this knowledge! I have confidence in you!

    ~~Angi

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