Monthly Archives: January 2010

St. Louis Area Writers’ Conference, April 2010

Just signed up for a writers’ conference which I am pumped about. And not least because I actually have a friend to go with me this time!

The Missouri Writer’s Guild conference will be held April 16-18 in Chesterfield, MO. So if you’re a writer in the St. Louis or southern Illinois area (or even if you’re not but just feel like making the drive), come join us.

Agents include Kristin Nelson of Nelson literary agency, Joanna Stampfel-Volpe of Nancy Coffey Literary and Media Representation, and Suzie Townsend of Peter Rubie Agency. And by the way, Ms. Townsend is currently building a list of clients! This is your chance to snag her before she gets swamped with work. Linda Houle, co-owner of small Texas publishing company L&L Dreamspell, will also be there. For more information on these agents and what they represent (it’s a wide list of genres), visit the web site.

Sign up now, as agent and editor appointments are on a first-come, first-served basis.

Oh, and for anyone who doesn’t know this bit of news already–one of the agents I queried requested to see the full manuscript of FLYNN. This is a very good sign, and I hope it means that an offer of representation could be in the making. We shall see.

RHDavis

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Ducks and Agents

What do stale bread, querying agents, the seven seas, and ducks have to do with each other? Visit SM Blooding and Crew to find out on my guest post tonight!

RHDavis

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A Busy Week

Pub Board discussions are going on this week at Written World Communications. It’s quite an exciting time as we look at a selection of submitted work and decide which items to pick for publication this year. We’re hoping to start the year off with a bang, and also to be diverse in the fiction we publish. We have discussed genres from romance to historical to paranormal thriller. Just have to wait and see how things shake out as far as what will be published, and when.

Aside from that, I have taken a delightful stroll with FLYNN through the first chapters of her adventures these last two days. I love the final stages of editing–when you don’t have to change much, but you get to focus on making the wording ever-more delicious and stare anxiously at your word count as you find unnecessary “that”s and “then”s and “had”s that really shouldn’t have been there anyway because, let’s face it, you cheated a little bit and used those words you weren’t supposed to use in your prose!

I’ve also been reminiscing about my time working at a small newspaper in northern Illinois. I loved all the strange quirkiness of being at a newspaper. The man we called “Captain Underpants” because he came into the office in boxers and a wife beater. The suspicious pile of dead hogs that my boss happened upon on a farm and tried to do an expos√© on. The automated phone message that would always call the office and begin “Hi. This is not a joke.” Ah, good times. I never thought I would miss anything about living up north, but Ogle County Newspapers is it.

Back to work for the day. I received a message from an agent, letting me know she’ll be looking over my query soon, so stay tuned for any news!

RHDavis

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New Round of Queries

My new posting schedule at SM Blooding and Crew has begun! Visit them to see this week’s post on how I go about finding the right agents to query for my work.

RHDavis

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Team Edward Team Jacob

So unless you live under a rock, you know the terms “Team Edward” and “Team Jacob.” They’re shorthand to differentiate between the two Twilight camps. Those in the “Team Edward” camp rooted for Bella and Edward. Those in “Team Jacob” decided that Bella’s breakup with Edward was actually a positive thing, as it brought her to Jacob.

Why am I, a non-Twilight fan, talking about this? It’s because the Team Edward, Team Jacob phenomenon doesn’t just apply to Twilight. Since the dawn of time, storytellers have tugged listener’s heartstrings between two potential love interests in romantic tales. Think of Luke, Leia and Han in “Star Wars,” or Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton fighting over Cate Blanchett in “Bandits.”

We almost always “take sides” in these stories, rooting for the hero (or heroine) who, in our opinion, deserves the protagonist more. Some of us remain staunchly loyal to the first love interest, experiencing vicarious jealousy when the second shows up. The less sentimental among us don’t play by such first come, first served rules, and we’re willing to accept whichever person seems more awesome.

I’m sentimental. Unless the story makes it clear from the outset that the first lover is a complete loser, I’m going to root for him to the bitter end. In other words, I am always a Team Edward.

Until now.

The magical web comic that changed my mind is Red String. *spoilers imminent* Red String, an online American manga at strawberrycomics.com, tells the story of Miharu, a tenth-grade Japanese girl who is unwillingly thrown into an arranged marriage. As luck (or fate?) would have it, she falls in love with her intended. But things get tricky when a second guy shows up, also claiming to be her arranged fiance. It turns out to be a misunderstanding, as he’s actually betrothed to her cousin–but unfortunately, he’s already fallen for Miharu!

Following my usual pattern, I rooted for First Guy. He and Miharu fell in love in chapter one, after all, and Miharu believed it was fate. Second Guy was first presented as an antagonistic threat to true love.

So what on earth made me switch teams?

When First Guy’s parents change their minds about Miharu, they browbeat him to break it off with her. Feeling that the situation is beyond his control, he gives up. Miharu is crushed, and Second Guy is there to help her get through it. At first I thought this was just a red herring, the author instigating a love triangle even though she knows perfectly well that First Guy will be back. But as I read on, I noticed something interesting; Miharu and Second Guy have a happier, more “real” friendship than her relationship with First Guy.

Miharu and Second Guy go to the amusement park together. They do painting projects. They laugh and banter. I was really getting into the chemistry of this second couple. Mortified at myself, I went back and read the beginning chapters of Red String to re-immerse myself in the guy I was “really” rooting for. And I found that, in comparison, he was–emo. Sure, he liked Miharu, but that infatuation with her seemed to define their whole relationship, apart from having anything in common. He was moody, had emotional problems relating to his family, and they experienced drama together more often than they experienced a carefree relationship.¬† Against my will, I began to hope that Second Guy was here to stay.

What about you? In love triangles, do you typically root for the first lover, or the interloper? Or does it depend on the story? What would make you “switch teams” in a story?

I encourage all of you to stay tuned to Red String. Go back and read it from the beginning. Join “Team First Guy” or “Team Second Guy” and let the battle begin!

RHDavis

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Plugging Away at Edits

I never thought I would become one of those grouchy editors who breaks your heart by telling you to rearrange your story! Okay, so I’m never grouchy about telling people that, and I really hope I’m not breaking hearts. But being an assistant editor, I have already run across some stories that are solid gold–if only most of the plot were shuffled around. Sigh. It’s hard to give that kind of advice because, as a writer, I know what it feels like to hear it.

I’m reminded of Anne Lamott and her anecdote about writing ROSIE. It’s one of the most inspirational stories a writer can hear about the need to tear up your story and put it back together. For anyone interested, it can be found in her popular book BIRD BY BIRD, which is a book of advice on “writing and life.”

RHDavis

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New Year’s Start on Queries, Editing

The holidays are finally at an end! Between Thanksgiving, preparations for Christmas, Christmas itself, and New Year’s, I’ve been off my regular schedule (writing and otherwise) for about two months straight. But now I’m back! And instead of making New Year’s Resolutions to foster new and better habits, I’m focusing on the habits I need to get back into. Here’s my list of things to do.

I’ll be back and blogging at SM Blooding and Crew on the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month (that’s beginning this coming Tuesday, everyone).

I’ll send out more queries of FLYNN. The first round (of course) did not produce results. Honestly, I would’ve been surprised if it did. But armed with my subscription to Guide to Literary Agents,I ought to find someone who wants to see the full manuscript.

After NaNoWriMo this year, I have a good start on the rought draft for FLYNN II. It’s official title is under construction. I’ll be doing more work on that in the following months.

Now on to my new ventures.

I’m entering the first 500 words of FLYNN into a contest at Kidlit.com, a very helpful blog written by an associate agent at Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

My friend Kristine Pratt (who I met at a writer’s conference back in ’08) recently started up her own publishing company, Written World Communications. She asked me to be a (volunteer) assistant to one of her editors! It’s quite an exciting venture. I review proposals, manuscripts, and also short stories for the magazine. We just sent a round of submissions to Pub Board, so before too long, I’ll begin the editing process with the chosen candidates! Not to mention that I may get to help with layout of the magazine, a field which I feel I could easily excel at but have never had the opportunity to become familiar with.

Oh yes, and I may also be getting a part-time-job. As in, one that will give me a paycheck. FLYNN and my graphic novel are already full time jobs in and of themselves, but, well….they won’t pay for a second car, now will they?

Stay tuned to this blog throughout the coming year. I’m excited about the prospects of 2010, and I hope you are too.

RHDavis

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Filed under Contest, General Writing, Publishing, Querying/Submitting