In my journey to becoming a published romance author I have joined several online groups as well as sent a membership form with a check for my dues to Romance Writers of America (RWA). One of the sites I’ve discovered is http://www.romancesdivas.com/. What a great bunch of people over there. They are friendly and extremely generous with their time and advice. I posted a couple questions and I have gotten some very nice and helpful answers. There’s no way I can know everything before I start submitting my stories to publishers, but by reading the forums and asking questions I can at least have some idea of what to do and expect.
So now I have a game plan of where I will submit. I had originally intended to submit to a writing contest held by an epublisher. But their heat content is hotter than what I write, and the word limit is 28,000, and even after I did my best to prune my story it is 38,000 words. So instead I will just submit it as a regular submission. Just waiting on the proof readers to get back to me with their suggestions and corrections. I’m getting really antsy! Meanwhile I’m working a little bit on the second book in the series. It is outlined, and major scenes have been drafted and partially written. I like this one a lot because the hero is extremely alpha, ridiculously jealous, but a bit naive in the bedroom, whereas the heroine is experienced and demanding in the bedroom but very laid back and willing to let others lead in other areas. She doesn’t mind him being over protective and she can handle his alpha tendencies, but is his jealousy a deal breaker for her?
I handed the copies of the story over to the proofers last Saturday. I sorta apologized as I did so and one of them looked me in the eye and asked, “Are you a writer?” I hemmed and hawed a bit, doing my usual down on myself routine of well-I’m-not-really-good-but-I-write-because-I-enjoy-it and she interupted me and said, “That’s not what I asked. Are you a writer?”
It was an epiphany for me. The real answer to that question is: Yes, I’m a writer. I don’t have anything published yet, (in fact, I haven’t even submitted anything yet) but I am a writer. I haven’t received anything back from my proofers yet, so last night I glanced over the story again. And I concluded that I am a writer, and a good one. I’m sure an editor could find a dozen things to improve the story. And that’s okay. In fact, if an editor rejects my submission but points out things that could be improved, that’s good. It gives me some direction to go. I think I might actually be looking forward to my first rejection. Then I will really feel like I’m a writer.
I spent Wednesday and Thursday reviewing what I had written, trying to catch errors and smoothing the rough edges. Today I printed off a couple copies of Sleeping With the Wolf to hand off to the proof readers at Crown. Even as I was making the copies I saw a few errors in spacing. Darn! Well, I’m not going to change anything now. I’ll let the proof readers get back to me with the errors they see. Tomorrow I’m off to the Northshield Crown Tourney. With the icy rain and snow (hello, spring in North Dakota!) I’m afraid the roads will be bad. A friend and I are leaving at 6:30am to hopefully be there by 10am for morning court.
What is a morning court and a Crown Tourney? I’m so glad you asked! I’m in a historical re-creation group called the SCA. The SCA is an international organization that studies and recreates the Middles Ages and Renaissance just for fun. There are members all over the USA and Canada, and Europe, Japan, even Israel. The SCA has divided up the areas where members live and play into Kingdoms. I am in the region called the Kingdom of Northshield. Twice a year an armored tournament is held to determine the next King and Queen. We call that the Crown Tourney. The fighters are paired up and the winner of each bout advances to the next level until only two fighters are left. The winner of the last fight is the Crown Prince or Princess. Yes, women can fight and enter the Tourney to win the Crown. Not everyone in the SCA is a fighter. I am not a fighter. Many people do other cool things like brewing mead, making armor, sewing historical clothing, embroidery, woodworking, singing, jewelry making, blacksmithing weaving, cooking, spinning, book binding and illuminating books by hand… Just about anything that was done in period is done by someone in the SCA now. I myself am involved in various fiber arts like knitting, spinning and embroidering. I also make my own costumes. If I write that a character is wearing a Viking Apron Dress or a 16th century Florentine gown, you can believe I have a pretty good idea what that is like, because I’ve researched it, sewn it and worn it. See? Here’s an example of each:
Last night around 11:30 I finished writing the last scene in Sleeping With the Wolf!!
I’m taking a couple days away from the book to clear my palate. Then on Tuesday night I have to go back and re-read the whole thing start to finish and make notes about what needs to go and what needs to be expanded. It is at approximately 33,000 words, and the contest limit is 28,000, so I’ll need to be ruthless. I want to get it cleaned up by next weekend, when I’m meeting with friends who have generously offered to do some proofreading and make basic editing suggestions. One is a high school english teacher who also proofs for a mystery author, and the others are avid readers. I think they will be kind but honest.
Now, off to spend the cool rainy Sunday afternoon knitting.