Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Stumbled upon this very funny take on the joys of querying. I'm not quite there yet but I have enough friends who are in the trenches to have laughed out loud when I read this.

Sung to the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Plan 'B'

By now you know that I did not get the OAC grant that I applied for this year. Disappointing--yes--but I'm a firm believer in fate. It wasn't meant to happen, therefore I must move on to Plan B.

I wasn't sure what Plan B was until a few weeks ago when I was surfing the web and found the name of an agent who likes ghost stories. You may recall that the novel before the one I'm currently writing was a supernatural novel in the style of Shirley Jackson. The agent said she likes to be 'spooked out'. With that in mind, I've added an element to the plot (devil worship) that was only hinted at and debunked at the end of the novel. The new element has brought a whole new dimension to the story.

So, here's a question I was wondering about while I was revising the manuscript: As wonderful as it is, would Shirley Jackson's novel, The Haunting, be snapped up by a publisher in today's market of Vampires and slasher novels?

Every time I read, The Haunting, I'm amazed at how Shirley Jackson was able to spook me out with very few details and no blood or gore, and I enjoyed writing my own supernatural novel. I did manage to get an agent to represent me, but she couldn't find a publisher for my manuscript. Unfortunately, she became ill and retired from the business and I've been unable to catch the interest of another agent.

This month I'll be busy revising my supernatural manuscript in the computer and sometime in January I'll query the agent who likes to be 'spooked out'.

Wish me luck,


Tuesday, November 24, 2009


To follow up on Cynthia's post the other day, I've decided to experiment with setting a daily word count goal for myself in order to keep myself focused and moving ahead with my novel, despite all of the daily distractions in my life.

My first thought was to try for 1500 words a day, but after trying that on day one (yesterday) and only managing 861, I've decided that perhaps 1500 is too lofty a goal. So, my adapted plan is to get 800-1000 words down every day - weekends included. I'm going to try this for the next week and see how it works for me.

The words may be painful to read or they may flow beautifully but either way there will be at least 800 words there that weren't there yesterday.

Wish me luck!


Friday, November 20, 2009

All Good Intentions

After each DWO meeting I am pumped and eager to continue writing my novel, but ( I really hate the word 'but'!) my good intentions fall the wayside of other things. Work is a necessary evil and when I get home I must make meals and clean the house. After supper I catch up on emails and/or phone messages. Of course I can't miss my favourite TV shows and suddenly it's time for bed and another day without writing is behind me.

One of my female writer friends insists she doesn't clean the house while she writes her great Canadian novel. I don't know how she does it. There is no way (unless I borrowed a pair of blinkers from a horse) that I could write in a filthy house. Don't get me wrong, the house doesn't need to be spotless--just tidy and relatively clean. Then I can sit down and write.

Juggling chores and leaving enough time for writing is another issue. I usually tell myself that I'll get this and that done before sitting at my computer. Sometimes this and that take longer than I thought they would and the writing gets put aside for another day.

I intend to write today after I do some Christmas shopping, exchange a camisole at Reitman's and get my hair cut. How do I know I'll get to my writing today? I have a couple of little incentives planned. Sometime this afternoon I'll sit down at my computer to write the next chapter with a glass of wine and a piece of chocolate.

The scene is already playing through my mind and I'm looking forward to putting it down on paper, or should I say on the screen?

Do any of you have any proven techniques of accomplishing your writing goals? I'd love to hear about them.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Catch-Up Day


I'm calling this 'My Catch-up Day' and have a long list of things to do--some enjoyable, some not. Of course, this is one of the enjoyable tasks. Last Tuesday's meeting was great. Thanks to everyone for the critiques you gave me on Chapter 31 of my novel. I try not to stop writing to make revisions, but it's hard for me. Must be the editor side. The writer side tends to get pushed away too often, but when I do sit down to write and the words flow, (as Chapter 31 did) I love the process!

The other day, a friend(Fran)recommended a book entitled: The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma. She said it was better than The Secret, which we've both read several times. Couldn't find the recommended book at the library or at Chapters so I've ordered it from Amazon.ca. Has anyone read it?

I have great aspirations to finish my novel and find an agent. Of course, I must finish it first. I think it's more than a third written and I'm pleased with what I have. I wish I could just sit down and write a quick first draft, but I tend to keep going back to revise this and that. I should take Allan's advice and make notes on the page instead of actually revising, but a first draft manuscript is too rough to read to others, so I polish my work before DWO's meetings. Chapter 31 was a second draft and it was much better than the first draft. When I sat down to write chapter 31, I ended up jotting down the conversation between Gordon and Annie, and later went back to add setting and beats. I did it on the computer this time. Usually I write things longhand before trandsferring it to the computer. It saved a lot of time and wasn't too painfull. Time is something we must find to write. We all have busy lives, but writing is in our blood and we shall continue to write and share our work.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Welcome to the new Durham Write-On blog!

Here we will be posting minutes of our meetings, links to interesting articles and events that relate to the world of writing, editing, publishing and more.