Tuesday, February 3, 2009

So how am I handling the partial request wait?

I am doing so well that I drew a picture of how I felt. Then I set the picture on fire, ate the flaming ball, and went, “OOLALALALALALALALA,” while lathering lo-fat yogurt all over my naked body and running around my bedroom.

Yeah, I am doing sorta okay. I drew a new picture that completely captures how I feel.

I think this one is better.

Anyway, I have writing questions for you today. I want to know how you write.

Are you the type of person who does it by the seat of their pants (me), or do you outline your story?

Do you write the story straight through and edit afterward, or do you go chapter by chapter (me) and edit bit by bit?

Do you write fast (me-1200 words in one hour on Saturday, which is a new record), or take it slow and easy?

My last question - when an interesting idea pops into your head during breakfast, do you hurry to jot it down or do you shake your head and comment, “Oh, George, why did you have to punch out the valet like that? Next time, wait until after I eat my breakfast.” Then you go about the rest of your day shaking your head at the crazy things your characters will sometimes do?

I think you know which answer I have for the last question.


  1. Yay for the partial! Always a good day when that happens:)

    I'm a pretty organic writer. Plotting sucks the life out of my books, personally. I lose interest when I know what's going to happen.

    I kinda of just let it come however it wants.

  2. LAUGHING at the nekked yogurt thing *haw!*

    I NEVER do outlines...just write and whatever shows up shows up....

    I never jot things down, and I should sometimes, but when I try to do that, the jottings are lost or indicipherable (did I just spell that correctly!? some editor I am)...

    I usually have an image - a character that says something or has some tic or something strange about them or something something about them and I start with a line, like "Beth couldn't stand tomatoes. If she ate one more tomato she'd throw herself in front of a train...
    then my brain would go - why does Beth hate tomatoes? what's going on here? and I'd have to keep writing to find out!

  3. I'm not a writer but what am I is excited for you!
    How long is this wait usually?
    I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

  4. "...lathering lo-fat yogurt all over my naked body ..."

    Well that was enough to make MY visit here today worthwhile. Thanks!

  5. Luckily with my verbal diarrhoea I don't have choice how I write - I just do it!

  6. Great questions Michelle.;)
    I am a spontaneous, amateur writer. I usually write down the whole story as it comes to me, no outlines. Although at times I do outline it in my head beforehand.;)
    Once I write, I write the whole piece and edit afterwards.
    My speed is mixed, sometimes fast, sometimes slow.
    I do not write any ideas down, I try to remember them in my head.

    Cool picture of you, by the way.;))

  7. Natalie: Thanks! I can tell you are organic from how much you write. I definitely think you are a cyborg.

    Kathryn: That is how I start, with an image. I really don't ask the character any questions unless it is about their past life. Otherwise, I just tell them to make me laugh or terrify me. They are pretty willing to do it.

    Bella: The wait depends on the agent. For this one, I gave two weeks but it is possible that they got backed up with reading partials and manuscripts. So they could be running behind schedule.

    Suldog: Glad I could satisfy your dietary needs! ;-)

    Jinksy: Sometimes just "doing it" can lead to the best of writing.

    Protege: I tried to get the hair just right in the picture, messed-up and looking like it is on fire. :)

  8. great drawing! and good luck on the partial request wait. (whatever it is!)

    as far as making stuff (i have no real writing techniques!), i dunno. it varies. it always helps if i sketch, and sketch well. but that's once i have an idea i want to follow up on. sometimes i just play with materials... but less so now. am too distracted looking for work!

  9. Chris: A partial request is when someone in the publishing industry(agents - editors) request the first few chapters of the manuscript in my hopes to get published. Thanks for the well wishes!

  10. Glad to see you're holding up okay (or as well as can be expected!). They say the waiting is the hardest part, so hang in there. Are you still querying other agents or did you grant an exclusive?

    When it comes to writing, I create a very general outline for the first few chapters so I have an idea how I want the story to go. I only refer to it if I get stuck, otherwise I just write what comes to me.

    I never start writing right after I get an idea. I like to play around with it in my mind first, playing out the story as if it's a movie. I prefer to write straight through and edit after the first draft is done, although I often skip scenes that aren't working and go back to fill them in later.

    I write fairly fast when the ideas flow well (about 1000 words an hour). That's what makes it fun for me!

  11. ....and you illustrate your stories too :-O Great drawing!
    Hope you feel better soon, such a waste of low-fat yoghurt ;-)

  12. Michelle,
    I linked to this post on my blog today. Just wanted to make sure you knew. Take care!

  13. Michelle,

    Congratulations on the request!!! Yay, you!!!

    Let's see:

    Are you the type of person who does it by the seat of their pants (me), or do you outline your story?

    I'm a pantser. I tried doing it the 'organized way', first with the blurb then with the outline... funny thing is, I wound up bombarded by pitch ideas and couldn't for the life of me sort them... it seems I work in one mode at a time, pitch or writing. Maybe I just need practice. But I like the fact that I can find suprises in my own story... the characters don't always tell me their plans until I get there :-)

    Do you write the story straight through and edit afterward, or do you go chapter by chapter (me) and edit bit by bit?

    I write chapter by chapter, and I edit daily... though, until I finish the final chapter, it's all rough draft. Revisions come after the whole first draft is complete. There are many of them.

    Do you write fast (me-1200 words in one hour on Saturday, which is a new record), or take it slow and easy?

    Both. I can hit stretches where I'm flying through ten or twelve pages in a day or two. And then I hit days where it takes me three hours to get through what amounts to two paragraphs (after all the editing, anyway). Also, if I get one of those creative bursts where I'm writing for ten hours straight and can't stop, I will eventually crash and have to walk away and not write at all for a while - days or sometimes weeks, depending what's going on in my life at the time.

    when an interesting idea pops into your head during breakfast, do you hurry to jot it down or do you shake your head ... at the crazy things your characters will sometimes do?

    I almost always jot it down. I'm a pantser, but I keep a notebook (which turns in to several over the course of a novel) that contains all the pertinent details that I don't want to screw up. I did write out my rough drafts longhand in notebooks, because my kids were small and it was easier to drag that with my to their ballet classes and swim lessons and copy type later... now, though, the notebooks contain future scenes that jump up at me, sometimes full dialogue that's not ready to go in. There are pages for each character with everything I could possibley need to know... and it expands over the writing... so I don't accidentally give a birthday and then change it later or mess up their eye color or something... they help me to keep the little things straight as well as the big...

    Anyway, sometimes a random thought won't make it in, because by the time I pull out the notebook I think better of the thought.. often it'll make it in just so that I have the option later - it's amazing the number of ideas that you'll forget completely, no matter how taken you are with them in the moment.

  14. Michelle, This is my first visit to you via your link (and mine!) on LC's blog. I'm like you - purely organic. I have either a vague idea or no idea at all where my characters will take me. I think it's so much more fun that way!

  15. L.C. Gant: I granted an exclusive although I still have query letters stewing with other agents. Thanks for the second mention on my blog!

    Carolina: I had to choice between the yogurt and the triple chocolate bundt cake. I stand firm with my decision.

    Merry: The only time I every jot anything down is when I'm doing a time line, whether it deals with the hours everything occurs or people's ages when several characters are related. Can't have the sun out at 10pm. lol!

    Well, I guess I could if the story took place on an alien planet. Hmm...

    Debra: I agree completely. The seat of the pants is soo fun! Thanks for stopping by!

  16. WooHoo on the partial AND the "drawering," which I loved.

    I tried this ms with an outline, and it went pretty smoothly. Ad for writing speed, that's totally dependent on what all else is on my plate for the day. Most of the edits/revisions come after it's written.

  17. Angie: It always seems I am nonstop revising when I do chapter by chapter. I tried to hold myself off to do it all at the end. But my nerves just couldn't take it.

  18. By the way, MDGF, some answers to your questions about writing style and rituals will appear in my interview.

    "WHAT interview? Where is it?", she asked.

    "Come over to my place and find out," he snickered.

  19. how i write depends on my mood any particular time, i know it's best to rush it out, overshoot the word count, then go back and refine... which is not the way i do it... i think i'm anal at times the way i pick at it til it bleeds... whoa... til my fingers bleed :O lol


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