Wednesday, February 4, 2015

ANOTHER LIFE ALTERING WRITING MOMENT COMING...

Hi, All,

I hope everyone is having a wonderful week so far. I know the Northeast and Midwest have been dumped upon by mounds of snow and the white stuff is still dropping. Let's send some positive vibes their way! Especially since this weekend is the SCBWI conference in NYC. I am flying to New York as you read this post. So please keep those prayers and positive wishes coming my way. I'd REALLY appreciate it!


Today is also the IWSG! Every first Wednesday of the month we spout off about our insecurities and give blog warmth, love, and advice to those who truly need it.

Today I am on edge because of the conference. On Friday I have a private group meeting with an agent and publisher... We have to read our first 500 words and give feedback. EEEK! I know that my MS is probably in the best shape it will ever be in before it moves on, but I still can't help feeling helpless and insecure. Who wouldn't?! Yes, I always strive for the positive as you well know, but this is different... or... is it? Okay, I am really trying to talk myself into it. It's no big deal...right?

OF COURSE IT IS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This could make or break my future novel. LOL. Sorry, just a minor freak out. You see I've worked on this particular novel for FOUR years. I know that sounds like so much for those who publish a new book once or twice a year. But, for me, I won't let go until it is published one way or another. Each time it goes under a critical eye, I rewrite it. I can see you all cringing right now. I know you've been there.

Here are my first 500.... Please let me know what you think...


Chapter One 

Aidan


Will this nightmare ever end? my shaking hand scribbles onto the last page of a journal. 
In a swift movement, I push it under the mattress and glance at the glaring red numbers on the digital clock. 
0300. In three short hours it begins again. I wonder what fresh hell he has in store for me today?
Snuffing out the light, I drift into a dreamless sleep, tossing and turning throughout the pre-dawn hours.
I wake with a start as my heart jumps from my chest. The second blow nearly sends the door off its hinges. 
“Get up! It’s 0500. If you’re not out of that bed and downstairs in five minutes, consider it your coffin. Don’t keep me waiting.”
For the past three years, since Mom died, this has been my wake up call.  
I kick off the sheet and my journal lands on the floor with a loud thud. A good thing Dad didn’t see it. He’d freak. Writing is not a career option according to him. It’s all about life in the Corps.
I pick up the journal and flip to the story I’ve been working on, skimming it to the end. 
Terryn opens the utensil drawer and lifts out a meat cleaver. She runs a delicate finger across the edge…
“There’s no use hiding,” she calls out as a fiendish grin trails to each corner of her mouth.
“It works.” I close the dog-eared cover, placing it back under the mattress, giving it a good shove this time. I grab my cell to look at the time. Two minutes just passed.
Shit. Dad’s waiting. 
I reach for my crumpled t-shirt and jeans hanging off the edge of the chair. One minute and forty-five seconds later, I jump and land at the base of the stairs. My best time yet. 
For a split second I pause and consider going straight to school, hoping to avoid another physical encounter.
“Aidan! Stop slacking off and get in here.”
Too late. 
I head into the kitchen.
Dad raises his coal-like eyes from the newspaper and nails me in place with his stare.
“Sit and eat.” His breathing puffs like an oncoming steam engine.
“Yes, Sir.”  
I take the seat across from him and crunch on the usual burnt toast while waiting for the list of orders.
“You will be polite to the teachers. You will pay attention.” He pauses and holds my gaze. “You will be home at 1500 sharp. No excuses. Is that clear?”
I gulp hard and swallow as the piece of toast scratches the inside of my throat.
He pounds the table. “Is that clear?”
“Yes, Sir. 1500 sharp.”
My fingers tense, itching to strangle anything. To strangle him. But instead, I reach down deep inside, not wanting the devil to know my thoughts.
It sucks having to live by his starched and mind-numbing military code 24/7, and I wonder, for the millionth time, how much more can I take?  

So, today, I hope to take my own advice and keep positive, focused, and enjoy the experience and that is what I INTEND to do! 

I had been to this conference a few years ago and had the time of my life and I hope this time, this year, it will CHANGE my life.

If any of you are attending PLEASE let me know! I'd love to see you there!

And, PLEASE, don't forget to visit the other IWSGers who may need your support... You can find all of us at Alex's blog...

54 comments:

  1. Hi Michael,

    A lot to be jittery about, I can see, but no worries! You're going to knock it out of the park if the rest of your writing is anything like the sample you've given us. What a strong voice you have! I'm very impressed and wish you the best of luck at the conference. You're going to be stellar :)

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    1. Thanks so much, Randi Lee! I appreciate your confidence in me.

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  2. Michael, I just read it, and it's as polished as it's going to get. Being nervous is natural, but go into the conference knowing you're going to give those people your very best.

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    1. Thanks, Alex,

      You are right. I can only give it my best....

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  3. You are a wonderful writer, Good luck.

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  4. This sounds great. Though I've heard it's not a great idea to start with a question. But who knows what's really right. That's awesome you're going to the conference. Hope it goes exactly how you envision it. I'll be sending you positive thoughts. And remember, one agent is just that--one agent with one personal opinion. Not the final word on your manuscript.

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    1. I heard the same thing Natalie, but it felt right to start it this way. The question isn't to the reader, it's the MC asking himself the question, so perhaps this will fly.

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  5. Good luck, Michael. You've given it your best shot, that's all any of us can do. Keeping fingers crossed for you.

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  6. It's wonderful, Michael. Of course it is - you wrote it! You will rock this conference, I know it. Have a great time and a safe trip - I hope the snow is done for now.

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    1. Thanks, Julie! I hope so. I am just going to have a great time. Not worried too much about it. Friday is the day where I'll be stressed because I will be "ON." But Saturday and Sunday I will enjoy the lectures and meeting everyone...

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  7. I hope you have a fabulous time and good luck!

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  8. Good luck Michael! And enjoy every minute of the conference. Let the insecurity bring out the best in you when you sit to read and you'll do great.

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  9. I Love It!!! I'd like to read more! I'd be freaking too if I had to read 500 words in front of agents at a conference!!! Take deep breaths, concentrate, don't look up. That's my silly advice. Good Luck and wishing you great success!! Of course, you'll let us know how it went?!

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    1. Great! Thanks Cathrina... I'll try your method....

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  10. Excellent! Relax... ;)

    IWSG #143 until Alex culls the list again.

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    1. Thanks Melissa.... I'm glad you liked it.

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  11. Do try to remember to have fun! Those first 500 are great, get lots of indication of father/son tension in the last few lines.

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    1. Thanks Bish... Glad it reads right. There IS LOTS of tension between Aidan and his dad.

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  12. Bish is right: do try and have fun with this. Yes, those people are important to you, but they are only human. Watch those around you. You will see people under extreme pressure. You can learn there what you can learn nowhere else.

    Alex is also right: your work is as polished as it is going to get. They will see that your work is quality. It just may not be what they need at the moment. You cannot control that. What you could control, you did by making your work stellar.

    A man of faith as you are is never alone: remember that. You are not going into this alone. I will be praying for you.

    And remember: have fun with this! What if an asteroid is only months from slamming into us? You will have worried for nothing. Make friends, view the sights, and enjoy the moment. :-)

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    1. Thank you, Roland....

      Believe me, I will have a great time. I am going HOME, I LOVE NYC. I love the people, the vibe, and the soaring sky scrapers. I met some amazing people the last time I went a few years ago, so I know I will totally enjoy myself.

      OF course, I didn't purchase the additional critique day back then. A good thing to, because I had changed this so much since then.

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  13. That chapter is brilliant. I agree with Alex that it's as polished as it's going to get. You're a great writer, Michael! I know it's tough to let our books go, but we must at some point. Enjoy this!

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    1. I agree, Chry. It is definitely time to let this one go. Four years is truly LONG ENOUGH. I will shop it around a bit more, and if I still don't get any interest, I will self publish it. I put too many hours, months, and years into this without getting this out to the public,

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  14. It's ready. And you're ready (even if you don't think so). Knock 'em dead.

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  15. Best of luck, Michael. I won't tell you not to be nervous, because we both know that's not going to happen. You're putting your best work forward. Head up, stay confident, and show them what you've got. Your work shines. Still, never forget that one agent and one editor can't reflect all of publishing.

    Oh, and have fun!

    VR Barkowski

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    1. Thanks, Vi,

      I am confident. It's as good as it can be. I am just curious about their reaction. They do know the market.

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  16. Good luck and enter with a smile. Your words are good and give a clean read. Have fun with it and they will too. Enjoy the conference, learn and absorb. You already said 2015 is your year - this is just a start!

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    1. Thanks, Joanne.

      I intend to get as much out of it as I can....

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  17. Oh, the poor kid. My character in Book III of my series was in his position, only older. I think it's wonderful. Be proud of it, Michael.

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  18. You will rock it!
    That book is more than ready!

    Have a blast!

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  19. Yup, that would be nerve-wracking. I love your writing, you'll do awesome.

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  20. Safe flight! You have every right to be nervous, because, how else do I say it except: OMG!? lol This is exciting and important, but you got this! I'm very intrigued for the rest of the story. It's a good set up and I want more! (even though I'm intimidated by the father o_o)

    Best of luck! :)

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  21. I wish you all the luck you may need but I really believe you are a talented writer and you always strive to give your best. That's really all that you need, more than luck. All your efforts will pay off, be confident. :)

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  22. I will keep my fingers crossed for you Michael. That excerpt is well polished, and exciting. Nicely done.

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  23. Sounds very tense. Good luck. I'm really hoping for you and sending all the positive thoughts I can.

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  24. Michael, you'll do fine. Love the peek at your work...it definitely stirred me up (I'm worried for the character! That is always a good sign).

    Have a great trip, a great conference and show 'em what you're made of, young man.

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  25. Hi Michael, good luck at the conference. Your writing is always exciting and you've got the tension in that short extract just right between the young boy and his father with hints of why there is the antagonism between them.

    It might be me or perhaps a typo but at the beginning Aidan puts his journal down at 0300 and in three short hours it will all start again but then only two hours later at 0500 he is abruptly awakened.

    I like the theme of 'three' - 0300 hours, in three short hours and three years since his mum died, it gives a subliminal aspect to the story.

    I hope this helps. Sally.

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  26. You're going to be great!! Enjoy every moment of it all :)

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  27. I'm so excited for you and am sending encouraging thoughts your way. Good luck--you're so ready!

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  28. You'll be fantastic. Have fun and don't forget to breathe. Sending positive vibes and cyber hugs :)

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  29. you are going to blow them away!
    new york is a drwam for me. someday!
    good luck and fingers crossed!

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  30. I liked your 500! I hope the conference and meeting goes well for you today!

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  31. Michael, it reflects your hard work. All you can do is make it the best and rest will come. Talking with an agent at a conference is nerve wracking. Having to read your first 500 words and then get feedback from a variety of professionals is daunting. No way to get around it.

    I think your professional credits and auditions as model will help with the initial nerves--weren't you always nervous facing something new? But you had coping skills to get you beyond those initial nerves. I have faith in you.

    Sia McKye Over Coffee

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  32. I think its brilliant, some of your best work yet! I hope you're having a fabulous time at the conference!

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  33. It's a strong beginning. Take all they say into consideration, but you're the writer and use what is helpful while disregarding what isn't. That's the hard part of critiques. Break a leg!

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  34. Hi Michael - I hope the weekend, reading and discussions went well - the main thing is they will have heard your voice ... And it's you writing the story - good luck - cheers Hilary

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  35. How did the conference go? It can be nerve racking for sure, but I hope you had a wonderful experience.

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  36. Hope your conference went well and you are happy with the results! Sending happy energy, Michael!

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  37. I can't wait to hear how the conference went! I have never been to that one, but I would love to attend another year. I hope all went well.
    ~Jess

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