Dawn Meadows

A Romance Writer's Blog

Tools I Use

Every writer has their own routine and their own set of tools that help them keep moving forward.  I try to keep it simple.  Here are some of the tools I use to help me along.

I do all of my writing in MS Word.  I like being about to add notes and use track changes when I'm editing.  Before I could afford MS Word, I used the free program, Open Office, and it was almost just as good.  It has some of the same features and files could be saved as .doc files.

I backup my files using Dropbox, which is just an awesome program.  All of my writing file folders are kept in Dropbox.  I can access them from any computer, and no matter which computer I open files and make changes on, those chances will be there on any other computer, when I open the file again.  If my main laptop dies, I will still have the files on Dropbox and will be able to still retrieve them. 

When I am querying agents, I use Querytracker to keep it all organized.

If I'm stuck and need to push myself to keep writing, I will use Write or Die, which is just a lot of fun.  I recommend using the normal mode, because it's more evil to have to hear that song than to have my words erased.  LOL!  He's got a new editing tool that I want to check out too.

What tools do you use?

Got My 50,000 words. Moving On.

I did it.  Got my 50,000 words for Nano.  I had a bad month with computer woes and financial issues, but I somehow managed. 

Now that I've given myself a few days off from writing, I'm going to focus on submitting two of my completed stories, and I'll be writing two others.  I'm also thinking about what my realistic goals should be for the coming year.

Writing Contests & Nano Progress

I entered the first week of the Some Like It Hot writing contest with All Business.  Unfortunately, I did not place as a finalist, but I did win the random entry contest for a critique of the first chapter!  That's something.  I'm excited about the critique, and I'm looking forward to taking the advice of someone who knows more than I do. 

I am thinking about entering one of my other finished novels for this week's section of the contest.  It will depend on how much time I have to condense my synopsis from three pages to one.

I also entered the 'Tis The Season writing contest as well.  Voting has started.  If you could take a moment to read my excerpt, vote and comment, I would greatly appreciate it.  You don't have to register to vote.  I'm entry number three in the contemporary section. 

And now for my Nano report.

I got off to a good start at midnight and went to sleep with over 2,800 words down.  I plan to spend two hours writing later in the day.  It would be great if I could get 5,000 words written for day one.  It's always good to get a good head start for the month.  So many things can happen to take me away from my laptop for a day.  Like that little holiday, Thanksgiving, where my family expects me to come out of the writing cave and socialize.  :)

NaNoWriMo Time!

I'm a mere hours away from the starting line.

I've got my plot bunny file open, I've been charting out scenes, and I just make the file for the manuscript.  I've got the header set up and I've typed up the title.  It's just waiting for midnight.

I'm very optimistic about this year.  I hope to go well over 50,000 words before the end of the month.


Good luck to the other writers who are participating this year!

What I Like

I just got done reading a book that reminded of me all the things I love to see in a book.  Strong characters, great supporting characters, and the author kept me strung along.  It was a long single title about two families.  The writing was sharp and I knew it was going to be good, when in the early part of the story, the writer was able to put that ache in my chest, that longing for the couple to find happiness.  There were peaks and valleys, but always, that ache was there.  

I want my stories to have that.  To give the reader the slightest bit of hope and put them on a roller coaster ride of emotions, with a satisfying HEA. I want the reader to burn dinner (like I did) because they can't stand to put the book down. 

One of these days...

The story was not perfect, by any means, but it was a great read.  Deborah Smith's Blue Willow.

Busy Life is Real Life Busy

Autumn is here in SoCal.  You can't tell by the wild and brilliant leaves, you can't tell by a chill in the air, but you can tell by how busy I've been.  The kids are firmly set in school, and I've become taxi-mom once again.  Through it all, I've trudged ahead with my dreams, snatching a free moment here and stealing a moment there.

Query letters have been sent to a total of sixteen agents with one request for a partial that resulted in a kind rejection.  I've had six more rejections, so I'm waiting to hear back from nine other agents.  With that story, I entered the New Voices Contest.  I was not one of the ten out of 800 plus entries to move forward to the second round. 

I have completed All Business and started on edits.  The sequel is now in the planning stages, with a ton of notes and a plot bunny form filled out.  I'm waiting for NaNoWriMo to start (November 01, 2010) to actually begin writing.  And it's killing me...

I was invited to join a critcircle and I gladly accepted.  There are four of us, and I'm really enjoying the process.  I've edited/beta'd many a fanfic in my time, still do for a few authors and I've done some critiquing for a couple of original authors, but the circle is something new.  I'm getting three opinions all at once, and it's been very helpful.  I'm planning to enter two contests near the end of this month with All Business and having so many eyes on the story before then gives me a little more confidence.  

When I get blocked or can't write for some reason, I like to play with photoshop.  I've created just-for-fun book covers for All Business and the sequel Risking It All.  I know I won't actually be using them if they get published by an epub, but they were fun to make and they gave me inspiration.

Queries, Partials and Contests.

An update on my queries.  I've had three rejections.  One request for a partial with a rejection coming after she read the partial.  I still have eight more queries out there.  I entered the Mills and Boons Contest, and I'm moving forward.

I plan to send out a few more queries next week, when I have time to pay close attention to what I'm doing.  In the meantime, I've been working and that has taken time away from my writing.  I would like have All Business completed and some edits done before Oct. 25th when I'll need the first chapter ready for a contest I plan to enter.  Here's hoping I can meet that deadline.  I have a chapter and half left to write, but haven't had time to write in a week.  

Query and Writing Progress

I have sent ten queries out to agents this last week.  I've already gotten one polite rejection.  I am doing more research and lining up my next batch of agents to query, and will start sending those out on Monday. 

I love querytracker.

I've gotten over 12,000 of All business written, but stalled after coming down with a terrible cold that has sapped all of my energy.  I've been focusing on the query letters until I get healthy.  I'm hoping to get back to writing by Monday at the latest.  I'd love to have the rough draft of this story done before Sept. 1.  I have some betas and crit partners ready to read it as soon as I get the rough draft self-edited.  I would love to have this story submitted to epubs by the November so I can concentrated on NaNoWriMo.

Writing Inspiration ~ Where Do You Get Yours?

It’s difficult for me to explain inspiration or what prods me to write, but I do know my writing is richer and more layered when I am inspired to write as opposed to when I force myself to write.  With the start of this new story, I have been attempting to push myself to write.  I somehow manage during NaNoWriMo to push myself and write a set amount of words everyday and I’m doing okay with this new story.  The one thing I have been doing is taking mini breaks to grasp for more inspiration.

I find inspiration in many places.

Movies.  There are a few movies I have set aside to watch because they churn up inspiration in my gut.  Some of these movies I know by heart now, and I can just watch a particular scene to get that feeling.  I’ve noticed that most of these movies have a similar plot.  The number one movie that I watch for inspiration is The Cutting Edge.  There are so many scenes in it that move me.  Others on my list are:  The Proposal, Love Actually, The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Step Up, Real Genius, Drop Dead Fred.

Buy It at Amazon!

What I’ve noticed about my list is that it says something about me.  I’m not much of an intellectual.  My list does not include smart movies with complex plots and there isn’t a sober, depressing one in the bunch.  There might be a bit of drama, but the emphasis is on the relationships or the fun.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

New Project Started ~ All Business

I'm thrilled to report that I have started a new story.  The idea came to me quite some time ago, but I had too many other things going at the time to do much more than write down basic notes.  About a paragraph's worth.

Last night, I used a form that Kendal Ashby had sent me once when we were exchanging chapters.  She's an awesome critique partner, by the way.  I was able to fill out the form, which included character sketches, conflict notes, a story blurb, scenes that must be in the story, the black moment and the end scene notes.

And better than all of that!  I was able to get the first chapter written.  I'm stoked!  Like, totally.  I credit the Romance Diva chat room for helping me to get the second half of the chapter written.  I love those timed challenges.

The working title for this 25,000 word novella is All Business. I shall keep everyone posted of my progress as I plod along.  :)

All Business

Is Giddy-Happy 'Cause I Won Some Stuff!

I used to be able to say that I never win anything, but can't now.  In the last two weeks I've won three great prizes by just commenting on a blog or forum post.

I  was thrilled to win a copy of Moving Target by Rosalie Stanton.  I love this author's clean, engaging writing and this newest novella did not disappoint.  You can pre-order it here.

Yesterday was the start of the NGTCC over at Romance Divas.  I commented on three door prize posts and won two of them!  An ebook from author David Bridger entitled Beauty and the Bastard.  I'm halfway done with it now.  It is very interesting to read a romance novel written by a man.  The writing is clear and the story is really good.  So good that I didn't get to sleep until two in the morning.

I also won a synopsis and first three chapters critique from Golden Heart Finalist, Cynthia Justlin.  I'm really excited about this one. 

Getting Ready to Query Literary Agents

I'm going to try using Query Tracker to keep track of queries that I send out.  I really like how the website is set up.  I'll be able to keep track of who I have sent a query to and when I get a rejection.  I really love how they have a place to paste in the exact query letter sent to the agent, because while the blurb section will always be the same, each query will need to be personalized and I like the idea of being able to see exactly what I sent to different agents.

I have used Query Tracker to find some of the agents I plan to send the first wave a queries to, but I have also found agents in other ways and went back to tracker and added them in to my personal list.  I've found agents in forum posts and on other writer's blogs.  I pay attention when someone praises their agent and then I look them up and see if they would be a good fit for me.  

If all goes well, I will start sending out queries in the next few days.  *bites nails*

My New Blog ~ What to Expect

Every author should have a web presence.  At least that's the advice I see while lurker on writing forums.  So, here I am.  Present and accounted for.

It is my intention to update this blog on a regular basis.  I would like to point others to good writing sources online and great authors.  I'd also like to discuss all aspects of writing and keep everyone updated on the progress of my writing.  There shall be many posts about my quest for an agent.  Most of those posts will be non-whiny ones about the rejections I know will start coming in.

Hopefully, there will also be some excited posts about requests for partials or full manuscripts.  And one day in the future, I expect to post about getting that agent, getting a publishing contract and more.  There shall be excited posts with cover art and dates for when the book is available!  I can't wait!

I write Young Adult novels and Contemporary or Paranormal Romances.  I'll save my chit-chat about projects that I have ongoing for another post.