April Status Report: 2012 Goals

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I can’t believe its time again to reflect on my 2012 goals already!  April slipped by so fast, I’m surprised I got anything accomplished.  This month was full of revisions and editing, which is productive and worthwhile, but very quiet.

Sadly, I have to admit a failure, but I don’t see it as a bad thing.  An unexpected development has forced me to push back a deadline, but I believe it will be for the best in the long run.  Sometimes, it’s all about keeping my eye on the big picture.

1) Submit five pieces of writing to contests, journals, literary magazines, or the newspaper.

I just finished a short story for a small contest and I’m really happy with how it turned out.  I’m letting it sit for a little while before I go in and do some final revisions, but I’ll have it submitted before the deadline, (June 10th).  Yay!

2) Finish minor changes in my first novel.

April turned out to be great month for my first novel.  I was able to go in adjust dialogue in three sections, which will help alleviate a problem all four of my beta readers spotted.  In addition, I’m in the process of figuring out where to add a scene I took out during the last revision.  I’ve debated where it should go for a long time and I now have it narrowed down to two places.  I’m hoping to have some time today to make a final decision.

The first 30 pages of my manuscript have also been submitted for a full assessment thanks to the prize I won in the Fourth Writer’s Platform Building Campaign, (See Celebrating a Win).  I’m looking forward to some honest feedback that will help me make further improvements.

3) Work on my second novel.

I didn’t get to work on this project in the traditional sense, but I’ve done a lot of scribbling in my novel notebook. I got stuck trying to create a transition between two sections and I finally figured out what was missing thanks to some late night brainstorming.  However, I still managed to get a bit of a word count.

Starting word count: 50, 831
End word count: 51, 381
Total word count: 550

The story is always on my mind and in the last week, my characters have started to get chatty.  I’m getting snippets of conversations between them and I love what I’m hearing.

4) Send out five query letters and be ready with a synopsis.

This is going to sting a little to write.  In March, I set a deadline to have a query letter sent out by the end of April.  Unfortunately, some unforeseen circumstances have prevented that from happening. The critique I won in the Writer’s Platform Building Campaign allowed me to send my query for an assessment as well.  I haven’t received all the feedback yet, so I’m hesitant to do anything until I receive a full critique.  Based on what I’ve received so far, I believe it will be incredibly helpful and will give me a much stronger chance of landing an agent.

On the bright side, I have plenty of time to participate in Pitchapalooza via the World Literary Café.  The Book Doctors are accepting queries in a little contest all the way until May 15.  The winner’s query will be put in the hands of an agent.   Hence, my new deadline is May 15.  I won’t miss this one!

On the synopsis front, I sent it to a beta reader who gave me some great advice.  I’ve made a few changes and its already looking better!

5) Keep up with my blog.

Again, this hasn’t been a problem!  I’ve slowed down a bit this month in order to maintain my sanity and create more time for other projects, but ultimately, posts have been steady.  In April, I posted a total of 25 times and I appreciate everyone who stopped by to read and comment.  Thank you so much for continuing to follow my journey!

6) Network more with other writers.

April has been another great month in terms of networking.  The more I explore the World Literary Café, the more I love it.  They offer so much in terms of classes, forums, and links.  I’m still exploring and I’m sure I’ll find loads more!  Thanks to WLC, I’ve been able to boost my network considerably.

My Facebook Page has grown from 41 to 110 Likes

On Twitter, my followers have grown from 156 to 211.

Thank you so much to everyone who has clicked those “Like” and “Follow” buttons!  I appreciate all of you so much!

To follow me on either network, please visit my sidebar.

7) Inspire other writers to keep writing.

As always, I hope my presence is positive and inspiring.

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c.b. 2012

Celebrating A Win!

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When I joined Rachael Harrie’s Fourth Writers’ Platform-Building Campaign, my goal was to network with other writers and hopefully learn a few things about establishing an online platform for my pen name.  The whole experience turned out to be incredible from both business and creative standpoints.  I found myself in the mix of some pretty incredible writers, which makes my next bit of news all that more amazing.

I am beyond thrilled to report than my piece entitled Fatespeak won the Second Campaign Challenge!  This was a difficult challenge not only because of the prompts involved, but due to some tough competition put forth by so many talented and creative writers. In all honesty, I felt totally out of my league!  It’s an honor to be in the same company of writers I’ve come to admire so much.

To see my name at the top of the list is surreal at best.  This is the first competition I’ve ever won, which makes this a pretty exciting milestone!

Congratulations to all the winners!

The prizes are pretty exciting, too!  With my deadline of sending query letters out by the end of April, a critique of the first 30 pages of my manuscript is going to be very helpful.  I can’t wait to have a neutral third party dig in and help me find the weaknesses!  In addition to a critique, I also won:

This is like winning the lottery!

Thanks so much to Rachael Harrie for running the campaign and all the judges for all their time and effort.  The prompts were inspiring and the challenges irresistible!  I’m already looking forward to the next campaign.

To celebrate, I thought it would be fitting to re-post Fatespeak.  Enjoy the read!

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Fatespeak

Activity #1 – Pitch/Logline

The Fates meet their match in one small girl.

– – –

Activity #2 – 200 word flash fiction based on the prompts

Aria peered through the Oracle Eye and smiled at her victory.  Amanda and Ian were safe, hidden away from The Fates who had so cruelly decided they should die.   She was supposed to lead them to the moment of no return, but broke her oath instead.  Under Rosewood Bridge they would stay, until she found a way to spare their lives.

“You cannot save them.”

Aria jumped and spun towards the sound of her Elder’s voice. Mena’s deep violet eyes pooled with sympathy, but remained stern.

“Why not?” Aria asked, despite knowing the answer.

“Their fate has been written. Your interference has only delayed what will be.”

“It does not seem fair that beings with so much free will, should be so readily controlled.” Aria turned back to the Eye and watched Amanda bandage the gaping wound in Ian’s leg with what remained of his t-shirt.  “They have done nothing wrong and do not deserve this end. How can it be right?”

Mena gently squeezed Aria’s shoulders,  “She will drown and he must bleed,” the Elder replied. “Listen, my youngling.  As a Fatespeaker you must deliver what The Fates demand.”

“And if I refuse?”

“I cannot protect you.”

(199 words)

– – –

Activities #3 and 4 (Combined) – Poem with a twist/Five sentences using each of the prompts.

The Fates sing in unison . . .

Young love perishes too soon,
never to age, always joined

The orb shall fall as must innocence,
ignorance cannot reign

A delicate balance struggles to thrive
on the brink of collapse

The meek suffer with dirty hands,
to humble those who refuse to see

 Natural order binds our will;
a ribbon between us,
no one is truly free

– – –

Activity #5 – Flash Fiction about the water pear.

The Fates hovered in stasis overhead.  Hands joined, eyes closed, and oblivious to the small girl below.

Aria stood her ground with a wooden staff firmly in her hands.  One swing would destroy the only link between the human world and her own.  The Oracle Eye pulsed with warmth and light, just as it had for thousands of years.

“Show me Amanda and Ian” Aria whispered softly.

A dark-haired girl and a tall boy instantly materialized, both wounded and frightened.  In the back of a dark cave, they huddled together and shivered as their fire began to die. Once the link was broken, The Fates could no longer find them and they would be free.

She tightened her grip and arced the staff for a mighty swing . . .

“Stop!” Three voices cried.

“No!”

“You have no right to disrupt what has always been,” The Fates seethed with rage.

“You have no right to take what is not yours.”   Aria said and unleashed her will with all her strength.

One blow was all it took.  The glowing orb erupted into pulverized glints of light, all of which faded to nothing upon hitting the ground.

(195 words)

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To see the challenge prompts that inspired Fatespeak, go here.

– – –

c.b. 2012

Campaign Challenge #2: Fatespeak

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The second challenge in Rachael Harrie’s Fourth Writers’ Platform-Building Campaign proved to be tough, but very stimulating.  This time around, my muse was asked to play with five prompts in as many as five different ways.  In addition, there were several options available to increase difficulty.

The Challenge:

 

The prompts are pretty random, which made the challenge of linking them totally irresistible.  I did my best to find a way to make them all come together with a single theme/story line. And because I like to push myself, I decided to take on all the extra elements to increase difficulty.  The hardest one being to write outside of my usual genre.  I went the fantasy route, because its something I like to read and I’ve been experimenting with it on a few WIPs.

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Fatespeak

Activity #1 – Pitch/Logline

The Fates meet their match in one small girl.

– – –

Activity #2 – 200 word flash fiction based on the prompts

Aria peered through the Oracle Eye and smiled at her victory.  Amanda and Ian were safe, hidden away from The Fates who had so cruelly decided they should die.   She was supposed to lead them to the moment of no return, but broke her oath instead.  Under Rosewood Bridge they would stay, until she found a way to spare their lives.

“You cannot save them.”

Aria jumped and spun towards the sound of her Elder’s voice. Mena’s deep violet eyes pooled with sympathy, but remained stern.

“Why not?” Aria asked, despite knowing the answer.

“Their fate has been written. Your interference has only delayed what will be.”

“It does not seem fair that beings with so much free will, should be so readily controlled.” Aria turned back to the Eye and watched Amanda bandage the gaping wound in Ian’s leg with what remained of his t-shirt.  “They have done nothing wrong and do not deserve this end. How can it be right?”

Mena gently squeezed Aria’s shoulders,  “She will drown and he must bleed,” the Elder replied. “Listen, my youngling.  As a Fatespeaker you must deliver what The Fates demand.”

“And if I refuse?”

“I cannot protect you.”

(199 words)

– – –

Activities #3 and 4 (Combined) – Poem with a twist/Five sentences using each of the prompts.

The Fates sing in unison . . .

Young love perishes too soon,
never to age, always joined

The orb shall fall as must innocence,
ignorance cannot reign

A delicate balance struggles to thrive
on the brink of collapse

The meek suffer with dirty hands,
to humble those who refuse to see

 Natural order binds our will;
a ribbon between us,
no one is truly free

– – –

Activity #5 – Flash Fiction about the water pear.

The Fates hovered in stasis overhead.  Hands joined, eyes closed, and oblivious to the small girl below.

Aria stood her ground with a wooden staff firmly in her hands.  One swing would destroy the only link between the human world and her own.  The Oracle Eye pulsed with warmth and light, just as it had for thousands of years.

“Show me Amanda and Ian” Aria whispered softly.

A dark-haired girl and a tall boy instantly materialized, both wounded and frightened.  In the back of a dark cave, they huddled together and shivered as their fire began to die. Once the link was broken, The Fates could no longer find them and they would be free.

She tightened her grip and arced the staff for a mighty swing . . .

“Stop!” Three voices cried.

“No!”

“You have no right to disrupt what has always been,” The Fates seethed with rage.

“You have no right to take what is not yours.”   Aria said and unleashed her will with all her strength.

One blow was all it took.  The glowing orb erupted into pulverized glints of light, all of which faded to nothing upon hitting the ground.

(195 words)

– – –

If anyone is interested in offering a critique, I am very open to polite and constructive feedback.  I have pretty thick skin after spending last year on Critique Circle and I value honesty above all else. However, I will note this is my first foray into fantasy on a public level.  Any help is greatly appreciated and I’ll do my best to return the favor.

– – –

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out all the great entries to this challenge, here.  They are amazing!  If you liked my entry, please vote for me!  I am #90.

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c.b. 2012