It is funny how much of a rookie I am at some things. I haven't ever taken a creative writing course so any assistance I find through the Internet to help me is like a piece of candy to a kid. I found this article on Women on Writings site that helps you diagnose strengths and weaknesses in your novel, http://wow-womenonwriting.com/31-FE3-NovelRevision.html. After spending several hours at this I have now eliminated my first and last chapters in my book and have definitely become more focused with my intentions for my protagonist. Tee hee, I'm using "big" words now, perhaps I'll become a good writer after all.
One of my critiques asked me directly, after reading the first five pages of "Emerald Cage," what is Kendall's goal in the book? What is her turning point? What the conflict in the book? What is the resolution? Pretty darn simple questions, that I hadn't ever really thought through. Of course, all of those questions have answers. But, I have a bit more direction in tightening the book.
I still can't summarize it in 25 words without it sounding a lot like Spiderman. I laugh at what I sent out to the four agents, that - of course - rejected me. I finished my novel and thought, "woo hoo! I just finished a novel! Everyone will want this one!" Duh, little did I know that I would have to rewrite it more than once. Yes, I did read that I would do that, but didn't really believe it. So, naive!
I read today that it is common for writers to have multiple projects going on at once. They bounce between them. So cool, I am doing that too! I tightened up, after about eight or nine drafts my "Where the Missing Socks Go," then felt confident enough with it that I sent it out to 9 publishers and 3 agents.
My next endangered species book is feeling great. I am going to send my draft to Windward and see if they are interested in it. I will be following the same illustration and poetry patterns as my first book.
Then there is my novel, "Emerald Cage." I would love to have it tight enough to send it out by the end of December.
There are also a few short stories swimming around in my head that I want to tell. I walk around and pay attention to potential ideas everywhere I go. I listen and take notes when my kids say something interesting, trying to see if it will inspire a book. Little things like: my daughter asking me what her shadow is made of; or my son saying that boy birds look pretty to trick the girl birds to follow them - thank goodness he doesn't think about what they might trick them into doing:)
The one thing I am having a hard time balancing is painting. I am so enthralled in my writing that I haven't painted for weeks. That is definitely a skill that needs to stay in shape. I might work on one this weekend. Once my text for the Desert book is tentatively approved by a publisher, then I'll start the illustrations for that. I want to make sure that my poetry is the inspiration for the paintings.
I am still dedicated to trying to make it as a writer and artist, but hope falters a bit as time goes on...