Monday, October 19, 2009

Writing Update

A few weeks ago, I asked all of you what you would like to see on this blog. Several requested an update on my writing endeavors.

Two devotionals are coming out over the next few months. The Winter issue (December 2009-February 2010) of A Secret Place contains one of my devotionals. The other will appear on U.S. Devotions (Eddie Long & Cindy Sproles) on a date yet to be announced in early 2010. For those of you who enjoy this type of writing, the response time for A Secret Place is approximately eight months.

After reading an article on The Seekers blog, I wrote an 800-word romance for Women's World. The Assistant Editor wrote back and gave detailed editorial feedback. She invited me to re-submit the story. Unfortunately, I got a rejection. I'll try again at some point.

I'm editing my book, Echoes of the Past, for the gazillionth time. It's taking so long because I cut my fiction teeth on this project. I'd go to a workshop, learn something, run home, and fix the manuscript. My first draft was completed in four months and totaled 55,000 words. When I brought it to a writers' conference, I was informed I needed between 80,000 and 100,000 words. This resulted in a major re-write.

Meanwhile, I've started book 2 of the three-book series. I thought the main characters from the first book would be the focus of this story. However, one of the other characters threw a temper tantrum and demanded top billing. So far, I've written a paltry 3,178 words. I tried the whole plotting thing, but can't wrap my mind around it. I know the beginning and the end. Now, I just need to fill in the middle. I work in true SOTP style. It makes for an interesting time at the computer.

Okay, guys, your turn. Do you have any questions for me? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

24 comments:

Denise Miller Holmes said...

Well now. Aren't you a busy bee? I admire your tenacity Ms. Susan J. Reinhardt. Keep it up!

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

You're a busy girl! How do you keep all the stories from bumping into each other while working on more than one at a time?

Looking forward to your book! Let us know when it's available.

Karen Lange said...

Susan,
Congrats on the devotional! And kudos for the progress on your books:)
Blessings,
Karen

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

I'm a mixture of both. It depends... and it's quite frustrating!

Congrats on your devotionals and your persistence in writing, particularly with your novels! They can sometimes become their own monsters, but it sounds like you're having fun! Have a great day!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Denise -

I actually wrote this post a few weeks ago. My word count on Book 2 is just shy of 25,000 words.

Writing all this down has opened my eyes a bit. I am making progress, even though I don't always FEEL like I'm making progress.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I enjoy your blog and Examiner articles. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Donna -

When I'm editing, I get absorbed in that story. For some reason, I'm able to block out everything else. The same goes for Book 2.

I'm not currently working on devotionals or short stories. I've decided to focus on the novels for now. Of course, if I need a break from the books, I'll write a devotional or two. :)

One of these days, I'll research some new markets for reprints. Some of my older devotionals and short articles might find a home.

Blessings,
Susan

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Karen -

Thanks! When a smaller project gets published, it gives me encouragement and confidence for the bigger ones.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Kristen -

Randy Ingermanson has the Snowflake Method. You might want to check it out. A lot of people do limited plotting.

I read about plotting, character development, and other aspects of writing. Whatever works for me great. The rest of it doesn't stick in my mind anyway.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Jessica said...

Pantser. Congrats on the devotionals and also on Woman's World!! I'm so impressed. You know why? LOL Because I subbed to them too and got a dear writer rejection. LOL So the fact that you got some editorial feedback is pretty awesome!

quietspirit said...

Susan:
I tried to plot and plan a Christian story recently,spent days on it.
My writing group though I intrduced too many characters in the first chapter. (Definite thumbs down.)
I altered my focus and on Oct 29th, I will present the first five pages for a critique.
I guess I am a SOTP writer.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jess -

I'm glad I'm not the only Pantser out there. Actually, I like to call myself a, "Prayantser." I pray, and God answers. Couldn't do this writing gig without Him. :)

Thanks for the encouragement about the Women's World story. Maybe I should try again.

Blessings,
Susan

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Quiet Spirit -

Yay! Another SOTP writer! Not that there's anything wrong with all the plotters out there. I'm just not one of them. LOL!

Let us know how your group likes the revised pages.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Terri Tiffany said...

I loved hearing about this. I always wonder where everyone is in their writing. yay on Womens World for at leasting getting that far!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Terri -

Yeah, I know I've been remiss in keeping everyone updated. Speaking of updates, 2,325 words today!

Blessings,
Susan :)

Heather Sunseri said...

Wow! You are busy!

I'm a little of both. I like to have a general plot, an outline, then I fly. I'm rewriting now. I think next time I plan to outline a little more thoroughly.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Heather -

I think a lot of people are probably a combination of pantser and plotter.

You'd probably benefit from reading the plotting/outlining books more than I do. I read them, but when I try to implement a lot of the techniques, my efforts fall flat.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Wow, you are really busy, Susan!

I'm a panster with head plotting mostly, though I'm trying to plot a little on paper too.

Jeanette Levellie said...

Susan:
Congratulations on all you've accomplished! I'm so proud of you, dear.

I am a panster, but mostly I eat gummy bears and sigh alot. Especially times like last night where my net total words was zero. I added to some chapters and took away from one, so the result was no word gain. But I think I tightened my writing, so that's positive.

I'm at 64% of my WIP. I never dreamed it would present such a challenge to share my Preacher's Wive's Secrets!

Love, Jen
Audience of ONE

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Eileen -

That's an interesting term: head plotter. I certainly think about my story, and even dream about it on occasion.

It's rare that I sit down at the computer and have no idea at all what I'm about to write. Usually, I'll be continuing an existing scene or know, which character will have center stage.

Some days it's easier than others. I'm pressing on to make writing an every day habit. As of today, I'm a few words shy of 30,000.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jen -

Gummy bears, huh? If I reach for anything, it's chocolate.

You're doing great! 65% done is a fabulous accomplishment. Hey, if you need to brainstorm, give me a shout. :)

I'm getting toward the middle of my story, which is always a challenge. I may need some ideas along the way.

Blessings,
Susan

Sharon Ball said...

Susan, I'm so glad you did this post and updated us on your writing. Congratulations on the devotionals! Woohoo!

Like you, I've moved on to working on my second novel. I've decided to use Angie Hunt's plot skeleton (the one she taught us in the Nangie class). And I'm also going to use an outline idea that I read in James Scott Bell's book Plot and Structure. We'll see how it goes...

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Sharon -

Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Congrats on starting your second book. I vaguely remember Angie's plot skeleton. I'm reading James Scott Bells' book, "Plot and Structure." I took his advice and now measure my progress by word count and not time in front of the computer.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Shmologna said...

I'm working on a book and I've made it to 52K. I was aiming for 85K or more but I'm afraid I won't have enough going power. My fear is that I will write a bunch of boring filler just to get enough words.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Shmologna -

Don't give up. My first manuscript was 55,000 words, but I needed 80-100,000 words. You can beef up your word count by adding subplots, elaborating on your setting, and creating interesting dialogue.

I suggest you pick up some good craft books by Donald Maas, James Scott Bell, and Sol Stein.

Blessings,
Susan :)