Saturday, May 23, 2009

May 22, 2009 - Blast you, plumbing!

Life -

My mother's hot water situation continues to be a threat to my already tenuous sanity. I think I may have figured out where I went wrong. With the bottom element useless, we had merely taped off the wires that previously led to the element, assuming it would be needed to prevent any kind of fire situation, but now, I think there's a possibility that the upper element is failing because the lower is still connected, but where it hooks to the element, there isn't a completed circuit. Either that or I blew the element. If that's the case, I can switch it. This morning I tried out the element wrench I bought for my previously mangled lower one and it worked like a charm. The element started unscrewing with a minimum of effort. Of course, in my early morning haze, I neglected to remember that the water heater was still pressurized and filled with water.... While I soaked myself, Lindsay rifled through the slightly creepy collection of preserves that my grandparents stored in the crawlspace/cellar. She eventually found one with a date: 1964.

I had to work tonight too, an odd day in the middle of my days off because we're still short managers. We had an excellent dude in today that I can only describe as a 55 year old hillbilly Matthew Mcconaughey. He was wandering aimlessly around the store until my cashier asked the gentleman if she could help him. He explained that he'd been locked in the car while his mother shopped, but he wasn't a dog, and he could leave if he wanted, dammit! Then he saw his mom and said that he'd better get back in the car before she saw him. My favorite parts were his leather vest and his laid back vibes, man.

Writing -

I have a sudden and looming deadline for my novel. After checking out a pretty good pile of YA and 3-6 grade novels from the library, I decided that I should start looking into publishers. As I browsed, I stumbled across a yearly contest from a fairly large publishing company for a Young Adult/Children's novel publishing contract.

The prize is $1500 and a $7500 advance against royalties as well as a standard publishing contract for both a hardcover and softback novel. The main criteria is that it is written for a 3-6 grade reading level and that it falls between 96 and 160 pages double spaced.

Now, I don't really have any illusions that I'll win the contest; most of the previous winners have been more traditional and they've largely contained an ethnic element, such as an African American boy growing a garden in an inner city community garden, not a bookworm boy being haunted by ghosts in a spooky northwest fishing village, but entering in the contest will do one major thing for me. It will force me to write with a certain goal in mind, not just randomly when I feel like it. The other definite upside is that while they wont provide feedback, at least there's a pretty high likelihood of my manuscript being read, and they have chosen honorable mentions in the past to print as well.

Of course, my main hurdles at this point are time and consistency. I currently have around 27,400 words written, and I estimate the total book at 45,000 so I'm progressing well, but I have 39 days to complete a first draft, make at least two full edits and draw a few of the accompanying illustrations, as well as work at my graves job full time.... could be tight! I'm also worried that as I read it back after I finish that the tone and writing of the book will vary between a children's fiction, one meant for an older crowd, like high school age, and an adult novel. I've found that I pick up influences from what I read quite strongly.

I completed 733 words on Wednesday, 3637 on Thursday, and 1379 today. I'm off the next three, so I hope to really bust out the chapters. Besides, I'm at the fun part to write, the dramatic part!

At any rate, wish me luck, I'm really going to need it!

The Last Sentence -

He missed his parents terribly.

From "The Whispering Ferns - A Moonstone Bay Mystery"


The Grows said...

39 days huh? Sweet that means that in 39 days you can send me a copy and then I will get to read it. I am so excited to see the finished copy. I bet it will be great. You are such a visionist and I bet it will show in your writing.

Kristopher and Crew said...

You know a copy will be on the way, Miss. B. After all, you're the closest thing to a 3rd grader I know... Heehee...