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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Weekly Writing Recap: Relief

This past Friday evening, I heaved a huge sigh.


After months of hard work involving a complete rewrite of the Violets & Violins, more editing passes than I want to think about,
judicious use of the delete key and incorporation of my critique partners' excellent suggestions, I sent my story into the world.

My last submission took place over two years ago. At that point, after the inevitable rejections, I realized I'd been hasty in sending my work out. My writing wasn't at a publishable level, and, hard as it was, I accepted that fact.

I spent the next year doing two things. I focused less on writing and more on learning my craft. I also established a web presence and met many wonderful writers, authors and blogging buddies.

When I returned to my writing this past spring, I sensed a change. After a short-lived foray into contemporary romance the prior year, I returned to my first love, historicals, and set to work rewriting one of the five stories I'd completed in my first two years.

I entered contests to get feedback and see if my work fared better. It did! Violets & Violins has soared through the contest circuit, taking first place six times. (I received notification of my first in the Southern Heat inspirational category this afternoon.)

Upon completing my final editing pass of V&V, I prepared my manuscript and synopsis files, drafted a query letter and, with a trembling finger, hit "send." And my literary baby winged its way through cyberspace.

What's next?

First, I cleaned house. The laundry is underway now. I'm preparing to excavate in my office so I can get to my computer without having to burrow my way through the small room. Then I'll enjoy Christmas with my family.

And after that?

My dear sweet heroine, Rebecca, who waited patiently while I worked on Elenora's story, will get my attention. I've already begun the rewrite of Becky's story, which was one of my 2008 Golden Heart finalist entries. Once the Fashion Queen is back at college and Gwynly has returned to teaching teens the value of chemistry, I'll hang with Rebecca and James on a regular basis.

• • • • •

If you're a writer, how do you know when to stop tweaking a manuscript and submit it?

Have you ever started a project and headed in one direction, shifted part way through and learned later you had been on the right track to begin with?

Does your house look like a disaster area when you finish a major project, or are you able to keep things in order all along? If the latter, please share your secrets.

• • • • •

I wish you a blessed celebration of Christmas.

I'm eager to spend the time with Gwynly and the Fashion Queen here at home. We have the privilege of lighting the Christ candle at our church's Candlelight Service on Christmas Eve. We'll see what's in our stockings when we get home and watch the Muppet Christmas Carol. The next day, we'll open our gifts, wrapped in colorful drawstring bags, while carols play.

What are your plans?


sherrinda said...

Six first places??? That is so wonderful, Keli! What validation on your hard work and diligence to learn your craft. You truly are an inspiration and I love reading about your journey.

My house turns into a wreck when I am focused on writing. Of course, trying to keep the house in PERFECT order while on the market has proven to be a challenge. lol

Enjoy your holiday and may you be blessed!

Jessica said...

Your plans sound wonderful. :-)

I can't wait to see what happens with V&V! And Kudos to you for putting that kind of dedication and work into your writing. I really believe it's that kind of teachability and perseverance that leads to success. :-)

Now for some of your virtues to rub off on me.... LOL!

Let us know what happens! :-)

Anonymous said...

Believe it or not, our plans are still up in the air. Many family dramas going on right now, so its tiptoe this way and that and fly by the seat of our pants as we go. Praying for a Christmas miracle for our family and many others. Your plans sound peaceful and lovely! Blessings :O)

Jarmara Falconer said...

Merry Christmas to you and Yours

Susan Anne Mason said...

Merry Christmas, Keli!

May you and your family enjoy a fun filled holiday and may 2010 bring you many more writing successes!

Your pixie pal,


Keli Gwyn said...

Sherrinda, thanks for being such an encouragement to me. You're a real sweetie. And thanks for admitting that your house suffers when you write. It's nice to know I'm not alone. I feel for you, though, at having to keep yours realtor ready, especially during the holidays.

Keli Gwyn said...

Jessie, thanks for the well wishes on my writing and for the compliments. I strive to be a continual learner. Comes from loving school as a child, I guess. My favorite day growing up was the first day of school--and not just because that's when I got to wear my new clothes. :-)

Keli Gwyn said...

Diane, I hope things come together and that you and your family have a blessed Christmas, one so special you'll treasure the memories for years to come.

Keli Gwyn said...

Jarmara, thanks for stopping by and for the good wishes. I wish you the merriest of Christmases.

Keli Gwyn said...

Sue, I hope you and your family have a blessed celebration of Christmas. I wish you a new year in which many of your dreams come true.

Jill Kemerer said...

Keli, I can't wait for the day (coming very soon!!) you tell us you got "the call"! You're such an inspiration!

Have a very Merry Christmas!!

Keli Gwyn said...

Jill, I'm still in shock, but I did receive a very important call last night. Rachelle Gardner offered me representation, and I'm now her client. I'm thrilled beyond words!