Sunday, December 31, 2006

Ring in 2007

What a weekend! I'm doing what I hate- working with numbers and am filling out my FAFSA that I'm filing at 1am. So, I'll be throwing confetti in the air and filling out government forms at the same time. Lovely! :)

I think I'm going to get another bachelor's degree before heading to grad school. USC is my dream grad school- I love their MPW program and want to strengthen my application as much as possible. So, I'm thinking of going to UCF and majoring in creative writing, minoring in technical writing and minoring in magazine writing. I'm majoring in literature for my first BA and I desperately wanted/needed more writing classes that weren't offered at my current school.

My writing services have really taken off this week. I've had several requests for help with queries, writing articles, etc. and am going to be working with many new people over the next few weeks.

On a personal note, I had the chance to exchange e-mails with fellow teen writer Dallas Woodburn and I highly recommend that you check out her site. I think 2007 is going to be a great year for young writers. Woo hoo! :)

Friday, December 29, 2006

Follow ups

In June, I submitted a quiz (on spec) to a great teen mag and have been patiently waiting for response. Finally, unable to stand it any longer, I sent a follow up today and promptly received a reply back that my quiz was supposed to be sent to the appropriate editor but that it may have been lost. I immediately resent it and am mad at myself because I should have sent a follow up earlier. My Power Tracker has been beeping at me for months that a "FOLLOW UP IS DUE" and I ignored it, thinking that the editor would surely get back to me soon. So, in short, I wasted 7 months of potential querying to a great magazine. Sigh. Yes, all follow ups that were due for other magazines were sent today.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

2 new queries

Today was quite productive. I managed to write 2 queries for 2 new magazines (I've never queried them previously, but they are well-established). One magazine only accepts queries from Jan-May so I'll be e-mailing that one soon. With each query I write, I think they get stronger. When I first started, I made SO many mistakes with queries that I cringe when I see them now. I have a thick file of rejection letters that I received when I first started freelancing at 15. Boy, the editors were nice and didn't slam me for writing an awful letter.

I'm looking forward to putting 2006 behind me and let's get on with 2007! :)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Romance Galleria by 3D Expo

Anyone else see the ad in a past issue of Romance Writers Report that points readers to the Romance Galleria download from 3D Expo? I downloaded it a few weeks ago and was incredibly impressed. Soon, the Galleria will host VIRTUAL romance writer's contests and pitch sessions. It resembles "The Sims" game and you move around a male or female character and visit different booths of the expo. I highly recommend that you check it out. I can't find the link for it at the moment, but if I do- I'll add it.

I finally finished proofing my manuscript and it now rests in a box to be mailed to NYC on 1/12. It's scary to put your manuscript in a box and hope that it reaches the right person. I have visions of the box tearing open and my pages scattering through a mail truck. Let's hope not!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Website update

I spent some time this evening (Christmas Eve, I know!) updating my Website and if anyone has feedback on how to improve it, please let me know. I consider it my trial Website until I purchase my own domain name. Hit me with your comments, suggestions and spots you find utterly pathetic. :)

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays to all! I can't believe it's December 24 already! I'm still eating Halloween candy. :) Florida is going to have a soggy Christmas with 1-2 inches of rain and temps in the low 70s. Not Christmas weather but I shouldn't complain after seeing the blizzard conditions in Denver.

I'll be spending today with my family. We're going to watch a few movies (The Da Vinci Code, Lassie, Miracle on 34th Street) and just relax.

My manuscript is actually looking good. I'm proud of how well it has shaped up. I finally got all of the pages set to the correct standards, finished the final proofreading and am now checking that the chapter numbers are in correct order. For some reason, half way through the book I skipped from chapter 17 to chapter 35. What's that about??

Again, Happy Holidays and be safe!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

still proofing

I'm almost finished proof reading (for the tenth time!) my manuscript and hope to have it in the mail to NYC next week. Whew! That will be a relief to get that out. I sent a new magazine query yesterday and have been patiently (not!) waiting for a response from Guideposts Sweet 16. I revised my quiz, per their request, and hope it's a sale. I'm starting to think of New Year's resolutions and wondered if anyone else has defined goals for next year.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Prepping a submission package

I've been spending all of my time readying my requested submission package to an agent. So far, I have: the resume, coverletter, publishing credits and 3 writing samples. (Why request writing samples when you're getting my complete manuscript?? Interesting.) My manuscript is almost ready to go into the box. Talk about scary! One query I sent to an agent was rejected within a couple of hours and on the same day I had a request for a full. I've only queried 2 agents and I plan to submit this package exclusively to the agent who requested the full.

I'm trying to finish up the submission and get it in the mail so I can have a bit of a break before school starts again. I found a couple of new magazines I want to query and have been listening to way too much holiday music. I think I hear "Jingle Bells" in my sleep.

Happy Holidays to all!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Top 5 Holiday Movies

The Burkhart Family Christmas Tree! :)
I'm furiously proofing my M.S. and am baking holiday cookies. Taking a cue from Diana Peterfreund's blog, I'm going to use today's post to list my top 5 holiday movies.
5. The Santa Clause
4. Home Alone
3. Rudolph and Frosty the Snowman (tie for third)
2. A Charlie Brown Christmas
1. The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (animated)
So, yes, I'm a sucker for good animation or a silly holiday movie. Cookies are burning!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Good Things!

Yesterday was a great day to be a writer. First, I e-queried a N.Y.C. agent and she emailed me back and said she'd be "pleased" to read my entire manuscript after Jan. 15. Shock, surprise and excitement! Yes, I realize she'll most likely turn it down but to have her request a full M.S. seems like a good thing. At least I got past a query. So, I'm re-reading my M.S., touching up my resume and am preparing the package that she requested.

And then..

I got an email from Guideposts Sweet 16 and the editor asks me to revise 2 questions on the spec quiz I sent in Sept. It appears that they will probably publish it next year! Elation!

The blog may be neglected until Jan. since I must focus my attention on my M.S. and get that thing to New York. Cross your fingers!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Snow Envy

Yes, I have snow envy. The holiday season is in full swing and it's 76 degrees here today!! Not cool since I'm jogging around the neighborhood looking at lovely Christmas decorations as I pant from the heat.

Last night, I took a chance and posted my query letter to the Writer's Digest "query critique" forum. Within a few hours, I had two very helpful responses and I realized my query was all wrong. Format- great. Bio-great. Intro-you get the trend, great. But, the paragraph about the book morphed into an ugly 3-paragraph synopsis. Needless to say, I'll be revising that query this weekend.

I've been on break for only a couple of days and I'm ready to go back to school. Sad, I know. I'm already working on a paper and am buying the hundreds of dollars worth of textbooks that a I need. Luckily, most are paperbacks for my lit. classes and I'm happy to add those to my bookshelf.

TGIF! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Book Doctors: Yay or Nay?

(I'm blogging twice today since I'm taking tomorrow off!) :)

Ok, so I'm editing my W.I.P and trying to decide if a "book doctor" is necessary. Do I get a critique of my M.S. and/or line-editing? Is that really necessary before querying agents or can I just do the best I can and go with it? Has anyone used a book doctor or editing service before? If so, were you pleased with the results?

on break!

I'm officially on break! Not seeing another textbook until Jan. 9 sounds pretty amazing right now. Though, I always say I'll take a break over the actual holiday break but I end up reading texts for next semester and getting a head start on any major assignments. Yep, I like to be prepared.

I finally got back to my W.I.P. today. I'm hovering around page 36 and am making the sweep through only for grammar and punctuation. Next, I'll go through it again and check facts, style and content. Editing and re-drafting is not nearly as much fun as writing, that's for sure!

Lastly, this is the final week of Harper and I'll post the round six results later.

Monday, December 11, 2006

end of the year totals

I'm enjoying my time off before school starts again in January. Five classes always keep me busy and I'm glad for a break before that starts all over again. Soon, I'll be in the process of tallying up my earnings, query totals, publications in new magazines and rejections for 2006. I'm working on compiling a set of goals for 2007 and will post those shortly before the new year. Currently, I have 20 queries out circulating and that's my highest total for queries out at once.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Seventeen Mag

I was on Seventeen's Web site today and came across their annual fiction contest. I forgot all about it!! I'm tossing around ideas for a submission and will get that in the mail by the deadline of 12/31. I'm reading all of the past winners and runners up and I'll try to mirror their writing.

I also really want to query CosmoGIRL and can't find their guidelines. I think I'll send an email and ask for them.

I entered my final piece into Harper and we'll see what happens.

Friday, December 08, 2006

11th Place in Harper Round 5

(These are Hungarian ice sculptures, by the way! How amazing!)

Oooh, what a killer! One spot off the top ten! I tipped my chair when I saw that. Now, that's frustrating! Argh! But, there is ONE chance left to win so I'm going to write my butt off.

I've been sending e-queries out like a crazy person. I have 19 magazine queries currently circulating and I'm working on #20. I figured I should plant the query seeds so they can sit in an editor's inbox over the holiday and be ready for reading when the new year rolls around. I've queried about 5-6 new magazines so it will be interesting to see what responses I get.

Back to querying! Happy writing!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Online Writing Classes

I've been contemplating what to do in between the time I get into grad school and finish my B.A. at F.S.U.

I think a couple of online writing classes sound like a good idea. But, what school to pick? I pulled a list of reputable online writing schools from Writer's Digest and the list looks like this:

* UCLA Extension School (courses can sometimes be used for graduate credit)
* Gotham Writers' Workshop
* Writer's Online Workshops (presented by WD)
* Institute of Children's Literature (I took classes from them a few years ago)

Anyone taken a course from any of these schools? How about another writing school?

The classes are expensive and it's hard to know what the classes are truly like until it's too late and you're already enrolled. UCLA is holding a free cyber open house for their courses in March, so I'll definitely check into that.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Agents and Queries

My novel draft is really shaping up today! I've divided 45,000 words into 35 chapters. At first, I wasn't sure how to decide where to divide the chapters and I finally decided to separate wherever it felt natural.

I dove into my 100+ issues of The Writer and Writer's Digest and marked every article I found on writing YA fiction and writing letters to agents. I used and found a great listing of agents that represent YA fiction. I wanted to start selecting agents so when my final draft is complete, I'm ready to start emailing. I wrote the query I want to send to agents and I'll just personlize it before sending it. The query was difficult to write but with the help of magazines, books and Web sites, I think my query is strong.

On another note....Harper round 5 finalists are announced today! Best of luck to the nearly 400 entrants! :)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Justine Query early August I sent a resume, clip and query to an editor at Justine Magazine. I've waited patiently for a response and finally decided to send a follow up last night. I headed over to browse Justine's Web site and it appears that the editor I queried is no longer there. Months of waiting and I should have sent a follow up earlier!! Ack! So, I resubmitted my query and I *hope* I get a response now.

Justine's new issue did a great spread on 3 young writers including Dallas Nicole Woodburn, a 19 year old author. I read her article "Idol Advice" in a writing magazine (Writer's Digest or The Writer, I forget) and have checked to see what else she has done. It's always good to keep an eye on the competition! :) Nah, I'm even thinking about contacting her to see if I can query a few magazines regarding her profile.

Today I'll be submitting my 5th entry in the Harper contest. This is the latest I've ever submitted. Normally, I submit Friday night but last night on a whim I decided to go to the Winter Festival downtown. There was a great parade, tree lighting ceremony and all-around holiday spirit. My favorite news anchors walked right by me and I babbled about that for hours. Yes, I love my news!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

9th Place

Harper results are in...out of 480 submissions I placed 9th. Disappointing? Of course! Elated to be in the top 10? Oh, yes! There are still 2 more chances to try and win. A great entry won this week and the prompt will be fun to follow.

In other related news...I found a new teen magazine Six78th to query. It's for girls in grades 6-8 and hopefully they'll respond to my query.

One more week of school left and then it's writing time! I can't wait! Happy December, everyone!