Justine: Reconnecting with Writing

writing, editing, writer, justine covington, eight ladies writingIf you follow the blog regularly, you know that since RWA last summer, I haven’t done much work on Three Proposals, despite back-to-back Immersions in November and January. I’ve been spending a lot of time at my kids’ school since August as the Parent Service Organization (PSO) Vice President, having run a very successful Read-a-Thon last fall and having helped with a well-attended Daddy-Daughter Dance this past weekend. I’ve told the school that there’s no way I’m going to serve on the board next year. It’s time-consuming and while I love doing stuff for my kids, I do surprisingly little in my childs’ classrooms. Frankly, that’s where I’d rather be.

As a part of future planning with the PSO, I’ve been thinking about the trajectory of my career (or lack thereof). I’m not Continue reading

Justine: Make Your Dream Happen

Note: this is a repost, but very timely as I settle in for a week of intensive learning at Margie’s Lawson’s Immersion Master Class in the lower peaks of Colorado. The goal? Learn the craft and learn it well. So I can do what I dreamed about almost a year ago.

sleepingI’ve always been jealous of Nancy and Kat and the other Eight Ladies who can go to bed thinking about their story and actually dream up things that will happen. I hardly ever remember my dreams.

Until last night. Continue reading

Justine: Second-Half Shipwreck

shipwreckThe first half of my book was a train wreck. It took me quite awhile to get it in decent working order, but I can say that for the most part, aside from some much-needed editing, it’s pretty good. Not perfect, but definitely a train chugging along the story railways.

Not so the second half.

After spending several weeks trying to salvage what has turned into a rusty, crack-filled, shipwrecked mess, I’ve decided to go back and reinvent the last half of my book. This isn’t something I approached lightly, or with any enthusiasm whatsoever (if my husband finds out, he’ll kill me. He’s done with this book as much as I am). I was hoping I was at the point where I could just Margie-EDIT the thing and slap a “Ready to Submit” sticker on it.

There are several reasons why that won’t work. Continue reading

Justine: Write It Down or Forget It

My

My “Little Black Book”

This summer’s RWA conference wasn’t the best for me (see this post for reasons why). What’s worse was what I discovered after I got home. My black Moleskine, which contained every little tidbit of information, ideas, notes, practice log lines, minutiae from my trip to England this past May, all the “Heyer-isms” I’d written down after listening to hundreds of hours of her books, advice from fellow writers I’d gleaned at our local RWA chapter meetings…in other words, my entire writing life – was missing.

Gone.

Like that.

*snaps fingers*

I’d never felt so sick in my life.

But there’s Continue reading

Justine: My Plan for Finishing The Damn Book

deadlineI’ve been out of my story, and out of my character’s heads, for quite awhile now. Since the beginning of July. It wasn’t really intentional – we went on vacation, which was promptly followed up by RWA, and the last week and a half I’ve been gearing up for the start of school for my kids.

There are advantages to being out of my story, the biggest being I see it with fresh eyes. The other advantage is it makes me realize I want to quit working on my current book and get on with the next one. It’s like an albatross around my neck. And so, as Rachel Beecroft, friend and frequent commenter dared suggested, here is my plan for Finishing The Damn Book (tempered by a Reality Check):

August 14th EOD

  1. Complete the outstanding critiques I need to do (5 or 6 of them) and turn them in to their respective owners.
  2. Review the last 5 or 6 chapters I was working on before my hiatus and have a game plan for what stays, what goes, and what needs to change.

Reality Check: kids are starting (new!) school, I still have PTA stuff to finish up, we’re having part of our house painted, and I have lots of doctor appointments that I’ve been putting off. Continue reading

Justine: When It’s Time to Leave Your Critique Group

red flagI’ve been involved in an informal critique group for just about 3 years now – the Eight Ladies – and another regular group (meaning we meet weekly) for just over a year. A few months ago, I joined a third critique group, but I just notified the members that I must withdraw from it.

There are many reasons to join a critique group, and also many reasons to leave one, but there are a few things that should be red flags. If any of the things listed below are happening in your critique group, perhaps it’s time to set sail and find another. Continue reading

Congratulations Jeanne! Golden Heart Winner!

RWA's Golden Heart necklace, awarded to each Golden Heart winner.

RWA’s Golden Heart necklace, awarded to each Golden Heart winner.

The Eight Ladies were thrilled to be in New York to witness our very own Jeanne Oates Estridge win the Golden Heart for her paranormal “Demons Don’t” on Saturday night!

There were lots of screams and shouts of joy from one corner of the room and many of us (like me!) had tears in their eyes. We have all worked very hard since the McDaniel program on fine-tuning and improving our writing, and seeing Jeanne win was a testament to that.

All the ladies had a great weekend, received requests for fulls and partials, and attended some great workshops. Details on that in the days to come!

In the meantime, we wish Jeanne every success and are so proud of her!