Thursday, January 23, 2003

I don't think it was the most relevant thing I could have been doing, but I spent the last couple of days doing line editing on my completed novel draft, and cleaning up some things in the manuscript. I'm going to try to print a complete copy today, so I'll have one with me at my retreat, just in case I want to show it to anyone. Not that it is really ready for anyone else's eyes! I'm trying to read a lot about revision and novel structure, and am ordering several books to read on those topics. I'm completely confused about the whole thing. I was hoping to enter the novel in SCBWI's work-in-progress grant competition next month, but I'd have to provide approximately the first 2,500 words of the manuscript, and they happen to be the ones I am least happy with! They do give a good sense of the narrator's voice, through which the whole novel is filtered, but the novel doesn't currently start with an actual scene, but more of an introductory monologue, and I'm not sure if that's okay. Most of the books say it's not, but YA is kind of a different breed. I don't just want to write a new opening quickly for the grant competition--I want to make sure I'm picking the right opening. But I'm not sure I'll be ready to do that even within a month! (Strange because the whole novel took less time to write than that.)

I also entered five manuscripts in ByLine's Children's Story or Picture Book Contest today. If I won third place, I'd only break even! But it's not about the money...I just want to see if my stuff is any good, and if so, which stuff is best. I entered 3 picture book manuscripts and 2 magazine stories. I may also enter a local (San Gabriel Writers' League) contest next week, but with $10 entry fees for each manuscript, I'm not sure what to enter, or even what genre to enter in (just children's, or children's and adults', or what). I wouldn't want to enter more than a couple of things, for that price.

I am so not ready for my writers' retreat tomorrow. Not packed, not sure what I'm taking, feeling under the weather at the moment (with 2 sick kids to take care of...), and needing to print out a bunch of my writing! With a printer that's often on the fritz. I'm not sure what to take, writing-wise, but there are supposed to be several critique circles & round table discussions. I was up until 3 am (!) this morning doing the line edit on my novel, and fear I'll be up until all hours tonight as well. I hope not. I'm trying to brace myself for the possibility that the editor critiquing my stuff will hate it, or at least be iffy about it. I'm getting way too optimistic, and want to squash that now before I get the rug pulled out from under me! I'd much rather find myself pleasantly surprised than deflated.

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