Thursday, December 21, 2006

My Top 10 Writing Experiences in 2006

This is in random order as I thought of them. I probably have more than 10, but I'll be good. :)

10. Finishing Brianna's Navy SEAL.
I wrote the first two books several years ago, and after that shifted to writing a very different kind of book. Going back was extremely difficult, and the story gave me fits. It's a transitional story, starting out in the same "world" as the first two in the trilogy, but shifting to different kinds of conflicts and adventures. Good news--Darcy's back, being as uber-bitchy as she was in Kira's Best Friend.

9. CPRW's Third Annual All About Me Writing Retreat
There is very little in my writing life more pleasing to me than this retreat. Starting early on Friday and running through lunchtime on Sunday, I am focused 100% on my writing. I'm secluded from distractions and obligations and can write guilt-free. I can ignore my fellow retreaters if I want to, and stay in my room 'round the clock. I never want to, though. We retreat at a facility that has beautiful grounds, and with people I adore. We have huge fun playing games on Saturday night, with laughter so loud we disturb anyone else who's there (last year that was no one, luckily). And how many places does one get to make friends and then be snubbed by a mean old rooster? In 2007 we're extending the retreat by a day, which will make it perfect.

8. Agent interest
On my birthday last year, I received a revision letter from the agent I would really like to represent me. I revised the book, had a great meeting with her in Atlanta in July, and got another revision letter in November. I've sent her something new and she has the full manuscript now. The manuscript that gave me:

7. My critique partners cried
Two of them did, maybe three. One of them called to yell at me for making her cry. In fact, the emotion in the final chapters was strong enough that almost all of them overlooked my two-dimensional, motivationless villain. I fixed that in revisions. I hope.

6. Stretching myself
I figure anything you do differently is stretching yourself, right? So for a while I was concentrating on Bombshell, which meant a focus on the heroine's point of view. I wrote a book that had only her POV, then revised it to single title to add the hero's. Then I wrote another book that was only the heroine's POV, then the partial of one that had both, and in between I wrote a few short stories that had both. But for The Color of Courage, the one that induced crying, I wrote in first person. That was TOTALLY new for me. Those who read my blog regularly know I don't care to read a lot of first person, never mind write it, but it felt right for that book.

In my last two books, I have multiple potential heroes. In The Color of Courage I didn't know, right up to the end, who she'd wind up with. In Under the Moon, I knew, but it broke my heart. I have a threesome in that book, and it was sooooo satisfying to write, as a transition from her old life to her new one.

5. RWA National
What a fabulous event this year. I mean, it always is (I went in 2000, 2003, and 2004, as well). It's great to see all the people I know online and met at past events, and to meet new ones. The workshops are always educational and I always manage to make or enhance at least one professional contact, but the conversations are the best part, whether it's at a party, at a bar or restaurant, or in the lobby.

4. Critiquing
I hadn't been doing much of that in the past couple of years, but I started a goals group that morphed into a full-support group and a critique group. We're all very different writers, but all skilled enough to benefit each other. The best part has been reading material that's very good, very unique, and not available for anyone else! Bwahahahahaha.

3. Blue Silver
In a collaboration with Ellie Marvel, Megan Hart, Jacki King, and Penny Dawn, I wrote one of five intertwined stories that were unique as a collection AND as individual stories. I never saw five personalities and writing styles complement each other so well, while creating works that dealt with the same central event, writing several same scenes from different points of view, yet ending with such different stories. This will remain on my top ten for life.

2. NaNoWriMo
I never got to do National Novel Writing Month before. Timing was never right to begin a new book on November 1 and write that much, that fast. Since I'm writing full time, I set my goals higher than the 50K of the program. I reached 50K words on November 19 and finished the book (397 pages/85,658 words) on November 29. I'd never written a book that long, that quickly before. My page count per day ranged from 1 page to 33 pages and hit just about every number in between. The book needs a lot of revision, too, but I have that winner's certificate on the wall--a goal achieved, a milestone reached.

1. Under the Moon
This is my NaNo book. I took an idea I had before (goddess) and an inspiration hammering me the week before it started (the brothers from Supernatural) and just wrote. It's an action-adventure like my other books. A paranormal like half of them. A "surprise" romance in that the hero is not obvious and the story doesn't follow traditional romance conventions. It has a strong heroine who is not prickly and unable to rely (heavily at times) on those she cares about to help her. It also has two delicious men (not brothers, not demon-hunters, and not angsty and conflicted but named Dean and Sam nonetheless *g*) and a world I was excited to revisit every time I turned on my computer. I don't expect to have this experience ever again, but I'm going to savor it forever.


MJFredrick said...

What a fun list! I don't have 10 writer things this year, though, since most of my year was REVISING! But Nano was definitely one of my top ten events of the year.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Ugh! Revising over the long haul can be very draining. No wonder Nano was so good for you!