I force myself up out of this client’s really juicy manuscript. I’m deep into getting at the content problems and showing them clearly. That will provide the author with the ammunition to tackle her revisions and make this story sing the way it should – and I really want to hear it sing. Right now my head is in her world but yikes, I have a blog due in 24 hours and I’m lost in the fog. You know that fog; not quite writer’s block – I’m not paralyzed, I’m not frozen (been there, hated that). It’s writer’s block lite. I have a vague notion of what I want to convey but it’s all so foggy. I can’t see my way clear to set a single sensible word down.
I try my old standby – the ‘let ‘er rip’ technique. It’s always worked for me. Just open a document and go. It doesn’t matter what comes out: The sky is the most amazing chartreuse. It’s a great idea to re-roof the house with egg salad… You know, prime the pump. The brain starts to work after a while and the words start to flow and the ideas begin to coalesce. But this time my heart isn’t in it. After a sentence or two I’m back in the world of that manuscript and pondering the rose bush I really should trim. Let ‘er rip isn’t working. The clock is ticking. I’m starting to feel that rasty edge of panic. And then I find it! http://www.themostdangerouswritingapp.com/
“Don’t stop. If you stop typing for more than five seconds all progress will be lost.”
Those are the directions. I open it and there’s a pristine blank screen. Not only is the clock ticking, there’s a gun to my head. I’m typing like a crazed Barbara Cartland. Then my fingers freeze for 6 seconds. The screen fades to red. “You Failed” it tells me (well I had to see what happens). I go again and now my head is working and I know what I can share with you this month and I am so pleased that it is something of value. If that fog descends on you, if you find yourself scrambling before the keyboard, try The Most Dangerous Writing App. It will help you find your way out of the fog. Thank you Manuel Ebert for this sadistically beautiful free app.
With a BA in Anthropology and English I pursued a career in advertising and writing and segued into developmental editing. It was a great choice for me. I love the process of creating and am privileged to be part of that process for so many great voices — voices both seasoned and new.
I’ve worked on nearly 400 books over 20 years, books by noted authors published by New York houses including Penguin, Kensington, Pentacle and Zebra as well as with Indie bestsellers and Amazon dynamos. From Air Force manuals and marketing materials to memoirs, thrillers, sci fi and romance, my services range from copyediting to developmental coaching.
Having worked in advertising and marketing, I am always cognizant of the marketplace in which the author’s work will be seen. I coach for content and style with that knowledge in mind in order to maximize sales and/or educational potential. My objective is to help the author’s material stand out from an ever more crowded and competitive field.
It’s my first trip and I’m not liking it much. In fact, I’m going a little crazy.
I wish I could blog about something happy and carefree but I’m harried and nervous and can’t sleep, can’t think of anything but the book and how much more I need to write and how little time I have to do it. I’ve lost all peripheral vision. I can only focus on one little page, nothing else.
I’ve lost track of what’s happening on all my favorite TV shows.
I can’t read anything new. I’ve taken to re-reading old favorite books because I already know what happens and don’t have to focus too much on the story.
And I’m living on TV dinners. That can’t be healthy.
I spend most of my time in sweatpants, a big old work shirt and comfortable shoes. It’s not a good look for me.
So why am I always smiling? 🙂
Since this column was originally posted in February 2009, Kate as gone on to publish over 20 books. You can get a complete list of her novels at Kate Carlisle Bibliography. Four of her newest titles are available below.
Smokey Mountain Romance Writers
Deadline: February 1, 2012
First chapter not to exceed 25 pages.
The Sandy (EO)
Crested Butte Writers
Received by Midnight February 12, 2012
First 20 pages and up to a 2 page synopsis for a total page count of 22 pages.
Between the Sheets
Greater Detroit RWA
Deadline: February 14, 2012
Ten-page love scene (sweet to erotic) and a one-page unjudged set-up.
Cleveland Rocks Romance
Northeast Ohio RWA
Deadline to enter: February 14, 2012
First 7K words, one page synopsis optional.
San Antonio Romance Authors
Received by Midnight CST, February 14, 2012
First twenty-five pages plus synopsis, five page max.
Readers’ Crown for Published Authors
Submitted by February 14, 2012
Copyright date of 2011
PNWA Literary Contest
Deadline Febryary 17, 2012
Send one page synopsis + beginning with 28 page max.
Received by 11:59pm, March 1, 2012
First 2500 words.
Great Beginnings Contest
Utah Chapter RWA
Deadline: March 1, 2012
First five pages.
Inspirational Readers Choice Award (P)
Faith, Hope & Love RWA Chapter
Deadline: Midnight, March 1, 2012
Copyright of 2011
More Than Magic Contest
Entry Deadline March 2, 2012 – Book received by March 7th.
Copyright of 2011
Postmarked by March 15, 2011
Max length of 5k words.
Updated and all sites tested…Compiled by Donna Caubarreaux….May be forwarded with credits.
Valley of the Sun Romance Writers
Deadline: September 1, 2011
Enter: 3-5-page synopsis and up to 25 pages of story (30 pages max). Entry or synopsis may be shorter, but neither may be longer than specified.
Music City Romance Writers
Received by September 1, 2011
First twenty-five pages.
Maryland Romance Writers
Received by September 1, 2011
Up to 20 pages of any scene that showcases your use of sensual tension, plus an unjudged 1-page set-up (optional).
Deadline: September 2, 2011
First thirty pages.
Chick Lit Writers of the World
Received by midnight: September 6, 2011
No more than five thousand words.
Received by September 9, 2011
Writer must submit up to the first 7000 words (approx 25-28 pages) of manuscript.
RWA New York City
Midnight: September 12, 2011
Fifteen pages maximum, brief synopsis (two pages maximum, not judged)
Donna Caubarreaux is a member of Coeur de Louisiane, Scriptscene Chapter, NOLA Stars, Heart of Louisiana, and EPIC. She received a RWA Service Award in 1997