Monday, November 8, 2010

Cooking Curriculums and A Helpful Rejection

Nano report: A lousy 5423 words. That's a good 6000+ words behind. And I still haven't decided if I'm jumping ship yet. Instead, I stopped writing on Saturday and decided to try and knock out one project that has been crowding my mind and crimping my creative juices.
I spent the whole weekend working on the Home-school Cooking Curriculum. I now have 4/5 standards written with teacher guides, student sheets, answer sheets, and half of the optional games, hand outs, etc. With any luck I'll finish the 5th standard today (which would be excellent since my mom takes it to be reviewed by her professor on the 11th).

Then I'll just need to finish up the videos, power point presentations and quizzes. See? No wonder I can't concentrate on Talia's problems. I have enough of my own at the moment. Oh, the things we do in the hopes of making a little extra money. The nice thing is I feel like I'm using my degree for something (after sitting on it for 14 years!).

My mom and her project partner keep gushing about how impressed they were with my organizational skills. Right now that is priceless. I need to feel like I'm doing something right, since I'm letting my Nano region down. The front page photo was too much pressure! (Yeah, I found out the article and my picture made the FRONT page of Saturday's Charlotte Observer.

That's really cool, but now I feel like everyone I know is watching. And waiting. Aaaaaahhhh! Too much pressure!
In other news...

One of my fulls just came back to me with a rejection. A positive rejection in my mind. I thought I'd share it with you.

Thanks again for sending us your submission for SENDEK. ____has had the opportunity to read it, but unfortunately we don't feel it's ready for publication with us at this time.

Although I don't have specific comments, I do have some general ones that _____has asked me to pass along to you.

The story feels rushed. Try to slow down and draw out your characters.
Go through the story and check your tenses. There was confusion between past and present tense.

For us specifically, we do not prefer books where the POV changes from first to third person, even when it is for different characters within a book. I know other publishers don't have an issue with this, but we do not prefer it.

For me, Charity, I suggest you expand your use of a critique partner or even a group. The more people (with critiquing experience) who get their eyes on your book, the more potential you will have for growth. Additionally, even if you don't have a book yet, continue to work your marketing as an author and not only for one book. Getting your name out is more important than getting the title of one book out...with the expectation that you are going to publish many many books during your career.

Good luck with NaNoWriMo as well! I hope you have a great time with it and come out with something fantastic.

Keep us in mind for the future, okay? We'd love to hear from you again with another submission.

Isn't that a lovely rejection letter? I think so. It gave me some things to concentrate on in the next round of revisions. Here's the best part...none of those things were a surprise to me. Now, you may be asking yourself, if you knew that, why did you query?

Well, I wasn't sure. I've been trying to find a critique group to match my genre for 9 months with very little luck. A few wonderful people have read it for me and given me excellent feedback, but I needed someone to really rake it over. I was desperate for some professional feedback and this smaller publishing company was a great opportunity to find it. Since pitching to this company and sending them my MS, I have found a WONDERFUL crit partner. *waves* Hey Carol!

She doesn't pull any punches and she is so good at catching me in all of my trouble spots. And, as a bonus, I'm loving her book at the same time. I think it's a match made in heaven.

Becky, if you're seeing this, feel free to tell me "I told you so." My good friend Becky informed me that the book snowballed. I cut a lot of backstory from the beginning but never got around to filling it in somewhere toward the back. I need to work on that. It will help break up the tension and help the reader understand my characters better.

But now, I want to revise. Not write for Nano. Doesn't matter today though. I MUST finish that curriculum!

What things are tangling your mind into knots today?