Work in Progress: Update

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Well, it’s not Wednesday, but I figured I’d give a much needed Work in Progress update.

The book is done.

D-O-N-E. Done!

In the last few weeks, I’ve finished my novel, done a rewrite, and given it to beta readers for feedback. I’m now taking that feedback and doing my final touch up before Thrillerfest, which starts on July 11th. It’s fourteen days away, counting today.

I kind of can’t believe that it’s here. I’ve been working towards Pitchfest for the last several months. I pitched in OKC and now I’m going to pitch in NYC. I’m optimistic but realistic. I’m going to get to as many of the 50-60 agents that I can during the allotted 3.5 hours. It’s going to be, in a word, exhausting.

My plan for that evening is grand.

I’m going to get a massage, order room service, and watch the mid-season premiere of Impractical Jokers.

I’m especially excited about Tuesday. I’ll be working with nine other writers alongside Andrew Gross for some one-on-one feedback about our novels. I just got the e-mail with some other people’s work in it. Exciting stuff!

With two weeks until I plant my butt in that classroom, I’ve got a lot to do. Not just on the book but in my every day life. I’ll get it all done, though. I always do.

 

OWFI Conference Preview

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Eeeee!

Get excited! This weekend I’m going to my first ever writing conference and you get to go with me!

That’s right. A writing conference. With agents and editors and Kelly Armstrong.

I kind of can’t believe it’s taken me this long to do this, but a friend of mine inspired me to just jump in with both feet, brave the deeps, and pitch this book I’m working on.

Yeah, that’s right. I’m pitching my book.

I’ve never done that before so I have just as much of a clue as to how to do that as you do, dear reader. I’ll be doing my research this week and trying to brush up on my interviewing skills as well as polishing the first twenty pages or so and getting some business cards. Whew. All that along with taking care of mom and making sure she’s getting all of her physical therapy in. Yeah, I’m already exhausted, too.

I’m nervous about pitching my book. Duh, right? Wouldn’t anyone be nervous doing this their first time? Or their fifteenth? Or their forty-forth? It really hit me the other night when I was lying in bed trying to go to sleep. In a few days, I’m going to be sitting across from a Tor/Forge editor who is looking for women’s fiction and currently building her client list. That’s huge. It dawned on me how real all of this is. For so long I’ve just hid in my little cavern in there in my study and hammered away at my writing. I haven’t queried, I haven’t pitched, I haven’t done much of anything besides write. I’ve been terrified, quite honestly.

Terrified of what, though?

Rejection?

Humiliation?

Haven’t I been dealt worse blows? I would say so. I’ve survived some things that would have broken others. Natural disaster, rape, death, the list goes on.

When I look at it that way, there’s really nothing to fear. So what if the answer is no? It most likely will be! But that doesn’t mean I can’t be positive about it and look at it as a stepping stone! Every pitch and every query is just going to get me closer to my destination.

I’m pretty sure the time I contacted my junior high crush on Facebook years later and he blocked me was a lot more embarrassing and excruciating than getting a simple no from an editor/agent on a query or a pitch. Maybe not, but there’s really only one way to find out.

The advice I was given was to jump in with both feet and that’s what I’m doing.

Time to hold my nose, plunge in feet first, and swim for the surface.

Twitter: @mnvinge

Facebook: @marnievingebooks

Work in Progress Wednesday! Belated Week 17

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“Yeah,” I said.

What a boring quote for this Wednesday! I promise what was going on before that was exciting… Well, maybe.

After a font change, I’m sitting at 127 pages and 40,397 words! The 120 page curse is broken! On to bigger and better things!

That’s been the struggle the last two weeks, other than just squeezing in time to write. I’ve been beating myself up thinking that I’m not living up to my potential when it comes to writing but a friend gave me some great advice.

I did a writing exercise that was about 1,000 words long and I was super happy with it! The words flowed, the sentences were spellbinding, and the tension mounted throughout! It had all the qualities that I want this novel to have…that it doesn’t have right now. My friend told me not to stress. She said the small piece was a sprint and the novel is a marathon. Of course in a sprint I would perform better. Things would be quick, tight, and solid. The marathon will be messier, but the good news is that it’s not the final product.

If I’m able to pull that off in a sprint, I’ll be able to pull it off on the polished version of the marathon.

Hopefully that makes sense because it really made me feel better!

Anyway, I better get back to writing and making sure mom is on her CPM (Continuous Passive Motion machine). Time to get to work!

Update: Mom’s Surgery

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I meant to post for Motivation Monday and also make a new content post on Tuesday, but life’s been a little crazy! Mom had her total knee replacement surgery on Monday morning at about 7am. Things went great! The surgeon says that she looks like a million bucks and her therapist anticipates a great recovery; however, it has been a little hectic around here. Stick with me while I get back on track tomorrow with Work in Progress Wednesday! I’m making some headway!

In other news, we had some big breakthroughs with the dogs this week. Since mom is on a walker, we had to take down the baby gate that separated Maggie and Oskar. He had shown some aggression towards her and I thought it was best to keep them apart for awhile. This week, they’ve been together a lot and they’ve done really well! I totally attribute this to our work with Jaimee Flinchbaugh of Forever a Keeper dog training. Here’s a link to her Facebook page (she’s also a professional photographer — see attached picture of Maggie from when she graduated obedience school!)

Anyway, that’s all for now. Today looks like it’s going to be just as busy as the previous days but I’m so glad that everything is going well for mom. We have many adventures to have yet!

xoxo

Marniemaggie

Writing Through the Years and Through the Tears

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Writing has always been a huge part of who I am from the moment I picked up a pencil and penned (penciled?) that first story: It Came Floating Up. It was a chronicle of a mysterious Sargasso seaweed monster off the coast of Corpus Christi. This was as a seven-year-old, I think you should know. I was precocious.

From there, I went on to write about a vampire bat with a blood-sucking problem and later, as a teenager, I wrote about a character named Sabre Nero and her adventures with her pet squirrel. After that, I wrote some romances that I shared with my friends and it was in college that I found myself writing women’s fiction primarily.

I’ve loved to write since I was able to read. I’ve always loved the idea of telling my own stories the way that other authors have told theirs. There’s some sort of magic in picking up a book and reading a passage, feeling your own thoughts echoed back at you, written by a person that you’ve never even met. I’ve always wanted to provide that for another person the way that someone else provided it for me.

I spent college meandering between majors, straying from creative writing into funeral service and eventually coming back to my one true calling. I’m nine hours away from graduation, though I put it off like the plague. Something about that forty-five-minute drive and the anxiety of being at school again.

Writing has been how I coped with situations throughout my life and how I continue to cope today. One subject that is very dear to my heart is mental illness, particularly bipolar disorder and PTSD. I feel that they are both very often misunderstood and misrepresented in pop culture. It’s not uncommon for the scary bad guy on Criminal Minds to be “bipolar” and thus, a serial killer. The reality couldn’t be further from the truth. Most people with bipolar disorder are far more of a danger to themselves than anyone else.

Recently, I’ve been writing primarily about PTSD and the aftermath of rape. That’s a huge cornerstone in the foundation of the novel I’m currently working on: Stand Up Guy. The main character is raped by someone that she trusts and has to rewire her brain after suffering from PTSD for a very long time. Ultimately, who can be trusted? It seems that by letting anyone in, we are giving them the opportunity to destroy us. This is a quandary that she struggles with throughout the book.

My own journey with PTSD has been similar to hers. Though our stories are not identical, they share similarities. For nine years I kept secret the fact that I’d been raped. I had mentioned it in passing to people but never truly let myself feel the depth of the wound. Holding it inside for so long made me sick. So sick that I ended up in the hospital for six weeks. Fortunately, I’m better now and I plan on blogging about that journey in the future, but for this post, I just wanted to talk about what keeps me writing, and it is this: I must.

That sounds trite, but writing is the only release that I’ve found for the energy that builds up inside of me due to bipolar disorder and PTSD. Writing is a place that I can go where no one is judging me, at least not until I share that writing with the world. And even then, if it helps one person, it was worth it.

I hope that someday my story and the story of my heroine in Stand Up Guy can affect someone’s life the way that so many stories have affected my own.