I think I was a bit spoiled by my writing of the book Seer. The story wanted to be told and so, the words just flowed out of me with ease. I was averaging 2k-3k words per day and finished the book in the span of two months. Most books aren’t like that. Most books are surly teenagers in the morning who don’t want to get out of bed to go to school. You have to plead, cajole, and sometimes threaten to make any headway.
I have been holding myself to the standard of 1k words a day, but I’m thinking I might want to back that down to 500 words per day. I want what I write to be quality. If all I’m focused on is the quantity, the quality will likely zoom down the toilet. 500 words is still a decent pace, in my mind. At that pace I could write two books per year (counting on the fact that some days I will write more so I have time for the editing process).
One of the things I’ve always had a hard time with in my writing is the internal dialogue. Those moments where a character vaguely stares off into the in-between and thinks. One of the reasons I am fairly certain I could turn Seer into two books is because there isn’t a lot of introspection. It’s mostly action after action, with no time to reflect. Don’t get me wrong, I love me a fast paced book, but I think it’s important to see more than that in a novel. I’m reading as much as possible in the hopes that, through osmosis, I will learn how to be a better writer.
That’s how it works, right?
Bye for now!
Ever since I realized that my Criminal Justice degree was not going to take me anywhere I wanted to go, I’ve thought about what I would do if I could go back to school. For years, I had no idea. Writing is all I ever wanted to do and, due to an aforementioned aversion to homelessness, I never saw that as a full time career opportunity.
Now, for the first time since I graduated, I feel like I might actually be at a job where I can use my writing skills. Have you ever heard of the job title ‘Copywriter’? If you’re a writer looking for a change of pace, definitely do some research into the field. It turns out the job entails writing. Just writing. Content writing, marketing and promotion writing, technical writing and so on and so forth. If I could go back to the summer of 2009 and talk to my younger self I would say, “Major in English with minors in Marketing and Psychology.”
As it turns out, the place I’m working doesn’t even need that much. They have seen (through my blossoming career as a writer) that I have value in that department and have already provided me with my first assignment. I was originally given a week and a half but I completed it in one day. In other exciting news, I was told by my manager I can put ‘Copywriter’ on my resume!
Bye for now!
So sometimes, in fact, oftentimes, I need to take a break from a project. I actually took several years between the time I started Seer and the time I finished it. The words just wouldn’t come to me and, the more I tried to force it, the worse my writing (and frustration) became. That was the case with the Djinn book I was working on. At my current pace, it was going to end up as a novella rather than a full book and I didn’t want that for this story. I’m sure I can think of additional subplots, plot twists, and surprises but not now. I really like the work I’ve put into the existing characters and want to give them the benefit of my best possible writing.
That is why I have decided to, temporarily, put Djinn on the back burner and pursue a new project. This is the first book that, going in, I know will be a series. It is called Hindsight and is a modern tale about the Greek Fates. It has a bit of Dresden File flair thrown in for good measure as well.
In the past two days I have written a little over 4000 words and am happy to say I’ve got my writing groove back. This series is going to involve a lot of research to make it happen as there are many things I know nothing about that I will need to learn a lot about. If anyone knows of a good dive bar in the metro Detroit area comment on this post with the name and city. I need to do extensive research on the running and management of a bar. On the purely writing side of things, I’m happy with how I’m progressing. In the second chapter I’ve written my most violent scene to date, but that doesn’t mean all the excitement’s over. Far from it. This will be a contemporary fantasy thriller that dazzles and I can’t wait to find out what happens next.
Bye for now!
After my last post I continued working on my book proposal but I realized I never really explained what goes into one. So here it is, my recipe (as outlined by my literary agent) for a Book Proposal:
- Word count
- Tagline – A one sentence summary of your book
- Back Cover Blurb – Exactly what it sounds like
- Abbreviated Bio with author photo – Turns out I’m super boring because it was really hard to write that.
The above must fit on one page.
- 1-3 Page story synopsis – Harder than it sounds
- Competitive analysis – Had to go to the library for this one. I needed to compare my book to other books, explain why they’re similar/different/will attract the same reader. Thank god for the public library.
- Marketing Strategies – where I listed all my social media outlets and my follower count
- The first three chapters of my book
And that’s it. That’s what goes into a Book Proposal. It may look easy but it still took me several hours of writing and researching. (I love you Novi Public Library!!!)
I sent it off to my agent and now all I can do is wait. Something I am truly awesome at. In the meantime I am going to continue working on my third book (working title is Djinni in a Bottle) and when I want to procrastinate I’ll do my polish draft on Seer. That means getting rid of some of the words I’ve overused (looked, shrugged, was, that, it, etc.)
Bye for now!
It has been 24 hours since I signed my contract with C.Y.L.E. Literary Agency and the shock is finally starting to wear off. I e-signed the documents yesterday morning, before work, and they signed them soon after. It is official. I am a contracted writer. Which sounds more like a disease than anything else. I have ‘contracted’ a serious case of Writing.
I love puns.
That doesn’t mean the work is over. Far from it, the work is just beginning. My agent is going to send me format instructions on the formal Book Proposal that gets sent to the Publishing companies and I will work on that today and over the weekend. Yesterday, in addition to notifying my agent that I signed the contract, per her request, I forwarded along the manuscript for Seer, the second book I wrote. I think it has the potential to be two books if I really work my butt off, otherwise it is a great single book in its own right. We’ll see.
I am impatiently waiting the arrival of September as many fun things are happening that month including, but not limited to, the Writers Digest IndieLab Conference in Cinncinati. I’m going with one of my biggest fans and supporters, fellow writer, friend, and step-mom; Annie.
That’s all I’ve got for today.
Bye for now!
UPDATE: Writing a Book Proposal is REALLY HARD!
Well it’s happened. It has finally happened. A literary agent wants to sign a contract with me!!! I know this is just the first of many many steps on the path to publishing but I’m still PUMPED! This also serves as firm validation that I’m not just a good writer, but that I’m a publish-worthy writer. An author in the making!
My writing life up to this point has been very sporadic. I started really putting pen to paper when I was 12. Sometimes I would write every single day, filling up notebook after notebook full of stories. Sometimes I would go for years at a time without writing much of anything at all. Later, when I looked back at my near indecipherable notebooks, I found them cringe worthy. But that’s the reality of writing. Much like anything, the more you do, the better you get. And my writing has certainly evolved over the years.
Some of those old stories may end up revived as new source material for another book, but most of them are going to stay in their notebooks as fond memories of a less self-critical time. I’m still encountering a bit of a writer’s slump, wading through the mud when, previously, I was zooming through page after page. I think every writer has their fair share of muddy days. If writing was easy, everyone would do it. For now I just have to hunker down and put pen to paper because the only thing worse than bad writing is no writing.
So here’s the deal. I’m having a bit of a traffic issue when it comes to my blog posts. Plenty of people are stopping by my Home Page, but not going any further. I want to improve the blurb that goes along with that Home Page in an effort to draw people in, but I’m drawing a blank. Do me a favor and read the blurb and let me know what you think. Thank you!
I already posted this request on Facebook and have had a couple of very helpful suggestions (thank you Rose and Liz). One of the suggestions that I acted on was to create a new page entitled ‘Book Excerpts, Snippets, and Inspirations’. I already posted most of the material now on the page to individual blog accounts, but Rose was right in saying it needed it’s own location for people to peruse. I look forward to hearing more suggestions to help me towards the betterment of my site!
I’m a little apprehensive right now because the literary agent (the one who got me started on this social media roller coaster) said she was going to start reading my manuscript yesterday. While physically I will be sitting at my desk, mentally I will be pacing back and forth in anticipation of her opinion towards my book.
As if that wasn’t enough, I heard from ANOTHER literary agent. She liked my Query Letter and asked for the first 50 pages of The Sword and Shield. Naturally, I sent it to her in .5 seconds and will be eagerly anticipating any follow up she may have for me.
That’s all for today, but see below for a line from the “hopefully soon to be published” copy of The Sword and Shield.
Bye for now!
It is 6:50 AM on Monday, August 6th, 2018. I have been up since 4:30AM. I have been at Panera writing since 5:30AM. Why, you ask, would I do something like this to myself? Why would I choose to wake before the sun even stirred from its resting place just below the horizon? Because I’m a writer and I suffer for my art (she said grumpily, downing her fourth cup of mt. dew/pepsi/dr.pepper).
I woke up from a dream this morning that I had to get down right away because, the longer I spent awake, the farther I could feel the ideas slipping away from me. The good news is, I got it down. The first page and the story outline. I even reached out to my artist friend, Marisa, to commission a sketch of the main character’s true (alien) form. Normally I’d just keep it in my mind, but this is weird enough that I want a visual to reference now and then.
All in all I have one book I’m currently working on and six stories waiting in the wings. Hopefully, by the time I’ve finished writing them, I will have thought of a new batch of ideas to keep me going for another decade or so. At least, that’s the plan. I’ve never felt closer to my goal of publishing a book than I do now. I think the literary agent who asked me to boost my numbers will be pleasantly surprised. In the beginning of July my platform was solely on Facebook with a rousing 41 followers (I’m not diminishing the wonder of my original followers, I love you all) but now – combining Facebook, Twitter, and my blog http://www.emmakhoury.com, I now have about 450 followers in total!!! Who knows where I will be by September when I submit those numbers!?!?
Anyways, I’ve been using this blog post as a way to procrastinate from the actual work I got up at ‘ass-crack-of-dawn’ to do. I should probably get back to that. I have a solid hour an a half of writing time before I have to leave for work.
Hope you all have a Magic Monday,
Bye for now!
So one of the books I read, Social Media for Writers, advised against doing two posts per week until you were able to build up enough reserve topics to be able to sustain such a schedule. However, I have a continuous trend of making stressful life choices and I don’t want to ruin my streak with something as reasonable as pacing myself. Two posts per week shall continue until I either run out of content or drop dead. Whichever happens first.
Today I will be covering some of the most frequent questions I get asked when I say I write.
1. Q: Isn’t writing hard?
A: Yes, yes it is. Sometimes the words just flow out of me like I’m an ink fountain and sometimes each word is ten feet away on a climbing wall without any hand holds.
2. Q: How often do you write?
A: Every day. Even it it’s just one sentence I write something every day and I will continue to do so or die trying. Over the past few months I’ve held myself to the unreasonable standard of 1000 per day that I have not been able to maintain recently.
3. Q: Where do you get your ideas?
A: Honestly I’m still not sure. In a previous blog post I talk about how I thought of the Sword and Shield because of a cat scratch. Some other ideas come from dreams and still others just randomly appear. A bit like magic, really.
4. Q: What is your writing process like?
A: Lots of hair pulling, crying, and cursing. Not necessarily in that order.
5. Q: How long have you been writing?
A: Since I was twelve. I recently looked back at some of my old writing. It was cringe-worthy to say the least.
If you have any questions to me I’d be happy to answer them!
That’s all for today,
Bye for now!
One of the ways I am attempting to gain credibility and get my name out there are through writing contests. I have submitted a flash fiction story I wrote entitled “One for Him, One for Me.” It’s definitely not a happy story, but I manage to paint a detailed picture using only 133 Words and I’m pretty proud of that. I have entered it into the Shady Grove Literary contest as well as the Rochester Writer’s Conference’s Flash Fiction Contest category. We’ll see if they like it. I think it’s pretty good, but I’m biased.
If anyone knows of any writing events in the area let me know! I want to network at those as well. I’m going to Writer’s Digest’s “Indie Lab” conference at the end of September with Annie and Rochester Writer’s Conference in October but I’m always on the hunt for additional events.
I’ve hit the 11k words mark on book number three and am thinking it might end up as a short story unless I can think of additional plot points to flesh it out. Then again, I thought that about my second book, which clocked in at 89k words. More of the custom bookmarks I ordered came in and I am distributing them, not just to local libraries, but also out of state ones. Thanks to my wonderful sister Molly I am able to spread my name out to the D.C. area! And, when Laura goes back to M-Tech, she will be taking bookmarks and stickers to distribute! I didn’t realize how large a number 1000 really was until 1000 bookmarks arrived at my door. It’s quite a few.
I’m going to look for a few more contests to enter and try to get my name out there as much as possible before submitting my Platform numbers to the literary agent for review in September.
Courtesy of my wonderful friends at work, bookmarks will also be available in the South Lyon, Livonia, Novi, Pickney, and Henry Ford Centennial Libraries!
Bye for now!