50 Ways to Edit Your WIP

When I signed my first contract and agreed to chop 30,000 plus words off my 55,000 word WIP, I knew what I was getting into.

Well, sort of.

I knew it would be painful to cut that many words. I knew scenes I loved would have to go and be condensed. I knew it would be hard. What I didn’t know is how many unnecessary words I used. How many times in a row I said the same thing. And how much internal dialogue could be cut.

As I try and cut the last 10,000 words, I’m also learning that cutting means changing the voice of my characters a little. I try and keep their voice strong in places that count, but in order to cut excess words without cutting out many more scenes, I have to trim their voices. Yes, it is painful. In fact, if you’ve been following my twitter feed, you know. But this is the price of publication. It’s a step in the path I want to go. Not the final destination, but part of the journey.

And to make it a little more bareable for me and you, and hopefully bring a smile to your face, please indulge me in an edit over load break…

Remember that old song “5o ways to Leave your Lover?”  Go ahead! Sing with me. You know you want to!

There’s gotta be 50 ways to edit your WIP

“The problem is all inside your WIP”, my editor told me
“The answer is easy if you want to write for me
I’d like to help you in your struggle to be free
There must be fifty ways to edit your WIP.”

See, it’s really my editor’s habit to intrude
Furthermore, with dozens of pages of edits his meaning can’t be misconstrued
So I’ll repeat his words at the risk of being rude
“There must be fifty ways to edit your WIP
Fifty ways to edit your WIP.”

“Just hit the delete, Pete
Get a new plot, Scott
You don’t need the backstory
Just get your WIP free

“Shore up the mid, Sid
Clean up the end, Ken
You don’t need to rewrite much
Just kill off the man, Stan
And set your WIP free

“Ooo hit the delete, Pete
Get a new plot, Scott
You don’t need the backstory
Just listen to me

“Shore up the mid, Sid
Clean up the end, Ken
You don’t need to rewrite much
Just kill off the man, Stan
And set your WIP free”

He said, “it grieves me so to see you in such pain
I wish there was something I could do, but your WIP is just lame.”
I said, “I appreciate that, but would you please explain
About the fifty ways to edit my WIP.”

He said, “why don’t we both just go our own way
I’ll just rip up your contract, and I won’t have to pay
And then he sent me to spam, and I cried all through the night
Remembering… fifty ways to edit my WIP
Fifty ways to edit my WIP

So I’ll hit the delete, Pete
Get a new plot, Scott
I’ll cut out the backstory
and set my WIP free…

Okay, I’m done! Back to editing!

Latest News on My Book Contract

If you want the latest news on my book contract and are on facebook LIKE my page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Gina-Conroy/198614450154235

I’ll eventually get around to posting information here on this blog, but sometimes it’s quicker to get the message out there on facebook!!

I Can't Believe I Didn't Blog about My BIG NEWS!

I think facebook and twitter has ruined my blogging! 140 characters, give or take, and I’m done. If you follow me on twitter and facebook, then you already know! I signed my first fiction contract in January for a novella with Barbour. Yeah, HUGE NEWS and I didn’t blog about it.

But I want to honor my first sale right with a more thoughtful post…later!

Other BIG NEWS…I’ll be relaunching Writer…Interrupted soon and could use your help to spread the word!!

And Action…Act II

I finally passed the 14,000 word mark and I’m on to Act I in my current WIP which would have been at 64,000 words if I didn’t scrap it and turn my Historical romance into Women’s fiction. Thanks, Susie!

At first I was literally paralyzed to write when my romance wasn’t working. I had HALF a book on paper and to consider pressing delete and starting over, for someone like me, a slow writer who has to scrounge time (and resist social networking) to get any writing done, was, well, paralyzing. BUT deep inside I knew women’s fiction was the way the story needed to be told.

I just was afraid to try.

Now 14,516 words into it, I’ve passed Act I where I tend to be compulsive about characters and motivation and I’m moving on, giving myself permission to write a lot of crappy dialogue with little action and setting, just to get the momentum flowing again and while I’m rambling on here, I SHOULD be writing. So I bid you farewell, and I’ll see if I can’t crank out another 500 words before my daughter wakes up and I switch gears to mom and homeschooler…er and maid. This house needs some compulsive cleaning!

And if you’re procrastinating your own writing, at least read something worthwhile like Compulsive Editing Disorder and let me know if you relate to any of this!

Opening Night and Playing Catch Up

For those still following and reading this blog, a BIG thank you to you! I know posts have been sparse lately, but it’s been a good break. A much needed hiatus in a sense to break the control the internet can sometimes have on us! But I feel like a change is coming and a redesign as well. FIRST, I need to get Writer…Interrupted up and running and then I can focus on this blog.
What’s been happening since my MidLife Road Trip?

Getting three kids ready for school and one for homeschool: CHECK

Attending a writing seminar with Lisa Samson and Susan Meissner and renewing my passion for my historical which is now a women’s fiction story: CHECK

Rehearsing for the Jungle Book in which I was recruited to play a part and TONIGHT is opening night! CHECKING

Working on my schedule so I can fit in more time to write: CHECK, though not always a success

Preparing for my Creative Writing class and grading papers: CHECK

Figuring out CRAZY school, play, sports, dance and you name it schedules for FOUR kids: CHECK

Losing another ten pounds and figuring out what I need to do to take this body of mine to the next level: CHECK!

Well, I guess that’s all for now. Say a little prayer for Opening Night and if you’re in the neighborhood make sure you buy a ticket!! Hopefully, pictures will follow one day!

Firsts: Mountains, Nature and Swing Dancing

Denver has given me a lot of firsts.

Driving into Denver was a lesson in self control and driving safety as I couldn’t help gaze upon the mountains in the distance while singing “America…” Thankfully Danica did the driving around town and I was able to soak in the wonder and beauty of the mountains. Seeing the foothills of the Rocky Mountains up close and then driving through them was an awesome sight.  I wish I could have spent more times outdoors at the foothills. Nature truly is God’s cathedral and I would have loved to soak in his presence. Maybe on another trip…

Another first came when Susan May Warren arrived and the girls went out swing dancing. It’s been one of my goals to learn to dance swing, ball room etc, and though I had no clue of the steps and was wearing the wrong shoes, I was nervous and eager to try. The coolest thing about the swing dance club, was that it wasn’t a “club” at all. No creepy guys (well, mostly) no tacky pick up lines, just people having fun dancing and listening to the music of the good old days. Since we were guyless, Happily-married-Susie (whose favorite dance partner, her husband, was at home,) gave us a few pointers in getting a guy to ask us for a dance.

“Look needy!” she said. And it worked for her. It also helped sitting closest to the dance floor. After Susie was whisked off a couple of times we dubbed it the “pick up chair” and we each took our turn and got our dances. A simple extended hand and a “would you like to dance?” was all it took to get us on the dance floor. Young, old, cute and creepy, no one was denied…well, I actually pushed a few guys toward my friends when I needed a break and knew they wanted to dance.

Keeping my shoes on was the hardest part of swing. Word of advice: Don’t wear sandals! I always started the dance with an “I’m new at this” or “I’m not very good” or “this is my first time swing dancing.” But that didn’t seem to deter them. The steps were basic, except when the guy decided to push me around…but don’t worry, that’s part of the fun though one time I got accused of being a modern girl for “leading,” but in my defense he was putting me in a spin and I had no clue which was to go!

Watching was even more fun than dancing. It’s one thing to know the steps and go through the motions, it’s another thing to add some flair and personality to your dance. It was awe inspiring to watch dance partners who obviously had danced together before. The way the girl was easily lead by her partner and knew just what to do with a simple tap of the shoulder or push into a spin. I know there’s an analogy for life and marriage in there, but I’ll save that for another time.

But the most impactful moment of the night was watching an “awkward” middle-aged man stand on the sidelines, watching and dancing, trying to simulate the steps. My heart went out to him. I don’t know why I’m a sucker for a lost and lonely soul, but that’s how he seemed to me.

Silently I prayed and hoped he would have the courage to ask someone to dance, yet the night went on and though he moved around the room no girl was on his arm.

I joked to Susie that she should ask him to dance, though my heart just wanted to see this man, who God loved and all his socially awkwardness, part of the dance community and not a wallflower. Well, my prayers were answered. He sauntered over with an extended hand, reached out to Susie in the pick up chair and got his dance. Then later, he extended a hand to me and eventually made his way around the table.

His dancing was just as off beat as his soul probably was, and though I didn’t preach to him, I hope he felt the love of God in that one dance. Keeping in step with him was hard, but we had fun dancing and chatting about our own lack of rhythm. I don’t know what this man’s life circumstances were, but in that room it didn’t matter. On that dance floor he was accepted, though not as light on his feet like the other dancers on the floor, his soul was just as precious to God.

Maybe this man was part of my journey.

Maybe this trip isn’t just about me, but about opening my eyes and helping me focus beyond myself and my little life. Whatever the reason for my journey, I’m going to be looking for more people who might be waiting for someone to ask them to dance.

Hopefully, I’ll be bold enough to extend my hand.

Stuck

I wrote this a week ago thinking it wasn’t done yet. But then decided to post as is, with all it’s imperfections and heart. I’m still a bit stuck, but have landed on solid ground!

Why is it just when things start to move, when my life seems headed in the right direction, when I’m doing all things…okay, most things right, I get stuck?

After a month of not writing and feeling like I was wandering around LOST on the island of confusion (yeah, notice the clever imagery) I find a glimmer of hope. My witty, albeit, bad poem was recognized for the horrible genius it was. But the victory was short lived when I didn’t final in a major writing contest. A contest a published writing friend encouraged me to enter because my story was that good. Obviously, it wasn’t good enough, and while I’m not completely discouraged, I’ve had a minor set back. The raft I’d built and started to paddle out to sea had sprung a leak.

Still I was floating and moving forward off the dreaded island. I had other victories to hold tight too as the waves began crashing over the sides of the raft. I had lost a significant amount of weight, more than I’d lost in a long time. But suddenly, the scale stopped being kind, though I’ve been doing all the right things. And my raft began to break apart.

Why? I cried out to my creator.

Why does it have to be so hard? Is it too much to have a little victory in my life? But all I heard in return was the wind. The howling, obnoxious wind reminding me I was alone. Yet, I knew that was a lie as I held onto my raft, shivering in the downpour that just started.

Figures!

Alone and wet, I shivered, wondering, waiting, wailing. Then the rain stopped, and the sun came out. A rainbow appeared. Suddenly I noticed the warmth. Seeing there was nothing out to sea for miles, I began paddling back to shore with my bare hands.

Finally, not making headway, I lay down on the raft of my own making, exhausted, defeated, realizing I couldn’t go on without Him.

Him.

How long had it been since I spent time with Him. Since I called on Him for help?

Too long.

When had I closed myself off to Him? It didn’t happen overnight, but slowly by slowly, little by little, while I was getting busy, He was the one drifting further and further away.

But the island was in sight and without thinking I plunged into the sea and swam. My body was weary, my arms weak. I didn’t know if I’d make it. “Lord, help me. I need you. I can’t do it on my own any longer.”

Up out of the water rose a huge wave, not threatening, but comforting. As my body tumbled inside the wave two things became apparent. I would either die or make it to shore. But at least I wouldn’t be struggling or alone.

Where are you? Are you alone on an island or paddling out to see? Either way, call out to Him for you are not alone!

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me and I will answer him. I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.” Psalm 91:14-16

I Won! I Won! I Won!

On a whim.. and one late night avoiding writing, I wrote a BAD poem for Chip Macgregor’s Bad Poetry contest and I won…among others in uniquely bad catergories.

And the poem, I will probably not frame and hang on my wall, that won…

“But if you want strange visions, take a look at this year’s WORST PROZAC POEM, from Gina Conroy, who really needs to have the doctor up her meds:”

Secret Admirer

My love for you is full and overflowing
Like my bladder after I can no longer hold it
Like I want to hold you…But you are not here
And I don’t blame you, well, yes I do.
I blame you for everything.
My depression, the medications, my therapist’s bill.

My Prozatic double vision wouldn’t be so bad if I saw two of you.
And the nightmares from hell might be bearable
if I woke up next to you.
And the drool on my pillow, shouldn’t be there.
It should be you, on my pillow, but you’re not.
You’re safe in your warm bed, snuggled next to your…dog
who’s on your pillow…drooling.

And you don’t care! You lie there like I don’t even exist.
Like I’m not knocking on the window of your heart.
I feel my soul emptying of life,
like my bladder right now on your lawn,
and that’s your fault too!

What do YOU think??? ;)

What Have I Been Up To?

So nice of you to ask…

A whole lot of nothing so it seems, but if I break it down, my schedule has been just as crazy as ever.

This has been the month of plays and recitals (well, April/May) with my son playing Gideon in his high school play the SAME weekend I scheduled the Susan May Warren conference. But good thing she loves high school musicals (though not as much as football, I’m sure) because she tagged a long with me and had a good old time. The next weekend I was in charge of concessions on one of the play nights. Lots of fun. Lots of work.

The Creative Writing classes I’m teaching have written a play and are putting it on.m MY brilliant idea was to ask the kids if they wanted to write a play, they said YES. Now we’re trying to pull it together for Friday! We could use all the prayer you can spare! Good thing this is the last week of school. Though homeschooling may continue through May and beyond!

Then my daughter had her dance recital last weekend and my son has cello this and cello that! He’s done with his normal lessons, but the extra concerts and auditions threw a curve into my schedule.

Writing? You want to know about my writing? Well, there’s nothing to tell. After the Susan May Warren conference I basically stalled big time, trying to figure out what I wanted to write. It seems I have a lot more to learn about writing a romance so, for a while I shelved my 50,000 word WIP. Go ahead and say it with me…YOUCH! But “the book of my heart” story wasn’t flowing so I decided to go back to the romance. I think with more study and a little (okay, maybe a lot) of help, I can make it work. My agent and Susie are behind me on this and say it’s a good story. I just need to figure out how I want to tell it!

And in my weightloss story…I’ve made a breakthrough. 7 lbs. and counting, but that’s another story for another day!

Why We Grow Weary in the Journey

I started on this writing journey enthusiastic, bright-eyed, and hopeful.

That was six years ago.

Now I’m weary, blurry-eyed, and discouraged.

Why?

What takes a determined person and zaps the life from her dreams?

Is it the struggles we face a long the way? The obstacles we must overcome?

Or is it the lack of results?

While I’ve had small successes in my writing career, I’m starting to wonder if it’s enough to sustain me. Yes, editors have been interested, even enthusiastic in my ideas over the last six years, but they’ve always ended in a rejection. Yes, I have an awesome, encouraging agent, but in the year and a half I’ve been with him he hasn’t sold my two manuscripts (by no fault of his own.) I’m slowing trudging through my current WIP in hopes it will be the one…

People tell me to be patient. I encourage others to be patient, but lately I’ve been wondering why we grow weary and why some people eventually quit.

I’m convinced it’s lack of results.

Apply it to any other area of life. Take my weightloss journey which I began anew this January. I did all the right things. Said my daily surrender statement, exercised daily, watched what I ate. But the scale didn’t cooperate. I calculated that if I did everything right I would lose 2 lbs. a week. By the end of the first month I lost 2 lbs. Not my original goal, but I persevered through the next month, slacking a little in my enthusiasm, still exercising though not as faithful in eating healthy on the weekends. Here it is the end of March and according to my original plan I should be 21lbs. lighter. Well, I’m not! Why? Because lack of results killed my enthusiasm, and it’s very discouraging to keep doing the hard things, the right things, to keep persevering without results.

Take a look in the Bible. Abraham was so discouraged when a son wasn’t born to Sarah that he took things into his own hands which ended in disaster. Though God was still faithful to his promise and turned it around, it was still less than what God had originally planned for Abraham. Same thing happened throughout Abraham’s family line. First the promise, then the wait, then the impatience and discouragement. Discouragement because of a lack of result which produced a lack of faith and the person taking things into his own hands.

It’s hard to persevere when our time table is light years ahead of God’s. When we think we know best and our timing is perfect. It’s hard to keep going without results. Big results! Little encouragements along the way like landing an agent or losing a few pounds help, but in the end what makes us stick it out? Results.

But when their are no results, all with have is faith. Faith. Is it enough to sustain? It is for me, for now. Though it’s not easy…

Is faith enough for you?

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

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