A Winning Month. (Big Dreams Blog Update #8)

Another month gone, another update day—Phew! Where does the time go?
At the end of every month a group of us over at the Big Dreams Blog Hop individually update our progress on our big dream of choice. Hosted by the amazingly talented duo Misha Gericke and Beth Fred who started by sharing their crazy dreams with us, and now there’s a total of 19 dreamers.
My goal is to inch closer to my million-word mark. I’m only counting completed works (and no, it doesn’t have to be published). These could be first drafts, shelf novels, etc., so as long as the story is complete its word count will be locked in my million word meter over on the right of the blog.
And if you have a crazy dream of your own, maybe a little too big to keep a secret, there’s always room to join! The more, the crazier—and the merrier, right? J
So May was a pretty eventful month for me. No, not call story, omg-I’m-getting-published eventful (not yet anyway!), but still busy in a great way.
Where do I start?
Well, I entered a contest.
It was one of my goals for 2014, although I don’t remember whether I stated this on the blog earlier this year. I might have kept it to myself, I’m not sure… But it was a goal!
Last year I chickened out of entering every RWA contest. I entered this year determined to combat my fear of showing my work—I mean my goal is to get published one day, so I figure chipping away at this fear now is probably a wise way to proceed.
So I entered a contest…and I didn’t win.
Well, I should say it wasn’t about the winning. In the end I did get a brief editorial email informing me on where I’d gone wrong, so that was a total win in and of itself!
But back to the contest: I was disqualified after the second round.
The Killer Voices contest is currently being hosted by Harlequin, and it’s related to the expansion of the big romance publisher’s inspirational romantic suspense line. They’re looking for new (agented or unagented) authors, so if you have a desire to write inspy romsuspense or already have an MS in the works, then you should consider Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense. (For any interested parties, here are the writing guidelines.)
To be honest it was a last minute—err, should I say last hour?—choice. I had been going back-and-forth on the decision and finally caved and entered my first page on the last day and the last hour of the first round. Surprise, surprise when two weeks later I found out—after a particularly bad day that morning—that I passed onto round 2, a.k.a. the Synopsis round.
I celebrated quietly after neurotically checking every other hour whether my name on the editor’s list was just my imagination. Of course once the editor congratulated us by name I knew I was one of the chosen synopsis participants. After I finished celebrating I realized that I had to write a 3-5pg. synopsis in a week and a half, and I’ve never written a synopsis longer than 500ish words.
But I belted out that synopsis and even crushed my fear long enough to play show-and-tell with my sisters and get their eyes on the good, bad and ugly of the synopsis before I hit send and waited for the Round 3 (or partial/3 chapter round) announcement at the end of April.
Between my hitting send and waiting for the announcement I had 3 weeks to prepare for the next stage and continue to write my MS. At the start of April (April 2nd to be exact) I only had that first page that got me through to round 2. It was untouched and needed a bit of work after some plot elements changed during my work with the synopsis.
I still remember that first day and get the chills. It was so hard to sit down and write my daily word count. So, so darn difficult! I cringe when I think about it now and shake my head in self-amazement. (“Who was that girl?”) Because I have to remember her whenever I think I CAN’T reach a goal.
At this time I also decided to jump into the April CampNaNo and for that first week my goal was to hit 30K on my Killer Voices* contest entry, Shotgun Dead. But after a slow and steady—as in writing daily—first week, I decided to re-evaluate my goal and reasonably made the choice to aim for 21K at the end of the month as opposed to 30K.
27 days came and went and it was the afternoon of the Round 3 announcement. I was seating at 19ishK and I had a little over 1500 words to hit my goal of 21K. I’m a morning writer (usually start at 6am, at least I was for this project) and I decided to set the goal to hit the 21K by the announcement time at noon. So I set to work. I learned over the course of those 3.5-4 weeks that I could set aside the need for perfectionism of my first draft and to dive into whatever scene I was writing. And usually that sort of determination got me to my daily WC goal of 1000-1500 in about 3 hours.
Suffice to say I hit my 21K and I treated myself to the announcement. I learned I wasn’t one of the chosen contestants for round 3 and I…sulked for days and since gave up writing forever. The End.
Haha. No, I’m kidding. ^_^
Actually it was, and I don’t mean this in any bad way, freeing. With the knowledge of the announcement and my not moving on to the next stage of the contest, I was relieved.
Why? I mean who in their right mind would be relieved by a rejection (although to be fair I don’t see it as a rejection)?
You see over the course of that month and a half journey (from March 14 to April 28) I learned I wasn’t cut out for the inspy world at all!
Now I still have my sights set on writing and publishing a romantic suspense one day, but despite loving to read Harlequin’s LIS line, I really didn’t connect writing-wise to this inspirational project. And the funny thing is that it came out in my writing. I found that the faith element was more a part of my characters rather than part of the narrative/plot as I’ve noticed published Love Inspired titles were.
After the announcement then I did the most sensible thing a new rejectee (that’s not a word, but wat-eva!) should do. I moved on.
My method was to scrap the project after I spent the majority of the rest of that day struggling to let go of Shotgun Dead, my KV entry. (May it rest in unfinished peace).
Now that I was projectless again I returned to my fanfiction novella (which now has a title, A Book Like Water). I had put it on hold in the middle of April because I found that juggling Shotgun Dead and ABLW for a couple of weeks was not ideal. I really don’t know how some writers do this. So I pulled ABLW out of its hiatus purgatory and worked away at it, aiming to be finished it by Mother’s Day.
12 days later…
Mother’s Day arrived and I started out the day by visiting a local author, Opal Carew. (Please check her out if you’re interest in erotic romances!) Got my books signed and although I forgot my camera Opal surprised me by asking to take a picture. I did look like crap, but who cares? Author photos FTW.
Oh, and by this point I was hours and words away from driving the “golden spike” in the story.
Later that day, 9:17 p.m.
I finish ABLW.
A little later after mellowing in quiet awe and locking the word count on my phone’s writing meter app, I went to sleep pondering what I’d start working on the next day.
It was a toss-up between another fanfic… OR a not-so new project, original piece what-have-you, that has been waiting its turn patiently for the last year and a bit. (Along with a bunch of other ideas… Lol.)
May 12:I’ve started my new project, and though I will remain tight-lipped at this point in time, I will state that it is a contemporary romance ala Harlequin’s shorter category lines.
Now that it’s Day 19 with “Currently Untitled WIP”, I’ve found a great balance with my schedule of other life commitments and my own insecurities (yes, I even let the Internal Editor stay and keep house). But I’ll still knock on wood as I type this and hopefully in another 3 weeks I’ll be this much closer to being complete.
In the meantime, and if you’re interested, keep an eye on the writing meters on the side. I update them every month, but sometimes mid-month whenever I’m posting a book review and I remember them.

The endless TBR pile.


Speaking of reviewing, I set a goal this month to hit the 50% mark of my 30 book reading + reviewing challenge for 2014. And I did it! 17 books read to be exact, and 15 of those 17 reads have reviews up and live on the blog, so scroll around and find them. And about that… I should probably compile the reviews in one, easy accessible manner. I’ll see to this soon!
I think I’ve covered the basis for May. I’m looking forward to June and another similarly delightful post with next month’s update day.
Keep dreaming and enjoy your Friday everybody!

*If you have the time, please wish 22 contestants moving onto the final round all the best! 

4 thoughts on “A Winning Month. (Big Dreams Blog Update #8)

  1. Wow girl, you have me breathless!

    I'm so proud of you! You learned what works for you, and you're being true to your writerly self. That's just amazing. Don't toss Shotgun Dead out completely, though. It might just start haunting you in another (more you-friendly) form. 🙂


  2. Entering the contest was brave and it drove your writing forward. You should be proud of what you achieved. I agree with Misha. Don't put Shotgun Dead in the trash, let it mellow for a bit. You never know, you might go back to it with renewed energy at some point.


  3. Congrats on your success and courage to enter the contest! Isn't it EXHAUSTING! Emotionally and physically? So worth it though. You never know where it will lead and EVERY bit of feedback helps to guide you to the correct path. Great job!


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