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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Monday, December 12, 2005

Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Happy Endings
by Dani Collins

When I wrote my Xmas newsletter this year, I invited friends and family to keep up with my ‘hilarious writing antics’ here. Probably the most laughable news is that I’m making all kinds of dates for dinner and drinks in Atlanta next year, when the RWA conference will be on. Meanwhile, I have no promise of income past April, just my usual rosy-lensed view of the future. If only I could package and sell that optimism, eh? Then again, that’s pretty much what I’m trying to do, I guess, writing romance. Happy Endings R Us.

But here I am at the end of my year, and isn’t this the usual time to gauge whether or not it was a happy one? Hmm, let’s see. My year started kind of crazy. The American Title competition took up a lot of writing time, so most of the accomplishments were promotion blurbs. While Hustled to the Altar made it to the final four, it didn’t win. The title that did, can be found back on the Noodler page; it was written by our own Janice Lynn.

Then I had the upheaval of moving. Twice. (We rented the first month.) I managed to finish a manuscript, though. Hot Beds, Cold Feet. Since it had been over two years since I’d done that, I was pretty tickled. My agent has since sent it to editors, so keep your fingers crossed for me.

We settled in the new house just in time for school to let out, so I spent the summer on the beach. I know, poor me. Fortunately, I’d bought a Neo, one of those nifty word processors that don’t let you play solitaire or check email—all you can do is write. So I wrote about a hundred pages between sun-screening kids and jumping off the dock.

Then the kids went back to school, and I finally faced long, uninterrupted days. I crept into my *adorable* attic office where I wrote one word on a sticky note, and attached it to my monitor: Produce.

The teachers promptly went on strike.

That only lasted two weeks, and by the end of October, I had managed to revise an old paranormal manuscript. (I exorcised the ghost, so now it’s just ‘normal.’) I sent the ms for critique to another amazing Noodler, our darling Bridget Stuart, a writer of generous spirit and wonderful insight.

While she worked her magic, I decided to spend November doing something called NaNoWriMo, which is just fun to say. Try it. If you want to try it, be prepared to devote the month of November to writing a novel. I did, and eighteen days later, I had a fifty-six-thousand word manuscript. I’m still in shock. It was like having a baby delivered by the taxi driver, when I’m usually the one eleven months pregnant, calling in a team of experts to extract via C-section. The ms needs TLC to make it submission-worthy, but I’m excited to get on with it—and apparently there’s something called NaNoEdMo in March, if I don’t get to polishing this one right away, which I might not, because I have another dear friend who likes to caution me to let my stories ‘sit.’ (Hi, Cathryn!)

I will admit, it’s good advice, and it’s the reason I didn’t go straight back to the beginning of the ms and start revising, the minute I typed ‘The End.’ But there I was, with half a month left that I had blocked for the Nano story. I considered a double-header, then decided to goof off with something I’d wanted to do for a long time. I started rewriting Hustled as a screenplay. Because I’m just not getting enough rejection from New York. However, it’s been a fun exercise, and hey, nothing forces you to sharpen your dialogue like condensing 400 pages of it into 100.

Now it’s December, and la goddess Bridget has just sent my ms back, all deliciously red-lined and happy faced. (A spoonful of sugar, you know.) I’m hoping to have it ready to send to my agent by Christmas, because agents don’t get enough submissions this time of year, when absolutely every hack on the planet throws something in the mail, just to prove they’ve accomplished *something* in the last 365 days. But if there’s time left in the year after that, I have a couple of contest entries I want to prep for January.

And wow. You know what? I’ve accomplished a lot this year. I’m satisfied with this particular happy ending.

Hopefully you're enjoying one as well, looking forward to a bright beginning for 2006. Check back in January, and we'll swap resolutions. Merry Christmas all,


At 10:44 AM, Blogger Horace Finkle said...

Hey, I like your blog. I'll bookmark it for a return visit.

If you want a really good laugh, read If you like it, pass it on to friends and family. People just don't get to laugh enough these days...

At 9:07 PM, Blogger bridget said...

Dani, you and horace finkle have got to stop meeting like this.

You've had one of those amazing ultra-concentrated years, haven't you? Like that dishwashing liquid they pack into tinier and tinier bottles...

Thanks for those strokes in your post =) However, my smiley faces on your ms. are not sugar over medicine, they are mostly shouts of laughter--

you all have *got* to read this one when it hits the shelves. It's a winner.

At 8:30 AM, Blogger Trish Milburn said...

You've obviously been paying attention to your "Produce" sticky note. That's a great idea, by the way. Good luck with the submissions.

At 7:36 AM, Blogger Jill Monroe said...

Dani - that sounds great. I'm so glad you did the NaNo!

Good luck with getting everything sent off!


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