Tuesday, October 19, 2010


As I face the Surrey International Writers’ Conference this Friday, I feel like I am moving into a new stage of my writing career. Gone is the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed newbie I was when I attended the conference last year. In her place is a slightly more jaded writer who has honed her craft, and has come to realize that nothing in this biz comes easy.
Part of the SiWC conference package includes a blue pencil session with someone in the industry. My blue pencil session is with Chuck Sambuchino, the owner of the Guide to Literary Agents blog. I intend to use my ten minutes with Chuck to show him a sample of my writing and grill him for feedback, and to pepper him with questions about my query letter. I’ve used the advice from Chuck’s blog intensively when creating my query, and I’m curious to see what he thinks of it.
The other part of the conference package is a pitch session with a literary agent or editor. I’m walking into my pitch session with Nephele Tempest of The Knight Agency with only one thing: a one page synopsis. I’m not rehearsing, either. Oh, no! I tried that last year and at the last minute I changed my mind and ended up blathering incoherently. Sure, I’ll read over it a few times and even attempt to pitch it to a friend to practice, but no contrived speech. Instead, I will place my sheet in front of me, and refer to it if I feel myself starting to get sidetracked.
My current manuscript Indigo Blaze has been recently re-worked (again!). I began querying it when it was a 96,000 word Young Adult paranormal romance, but I’ve changed it to a “New Adult” paranormal romance and rendered it down to 83,000 words. This way, I hope to cast a wider net and begin querying a wider range of literary agents who represent the adult market.
Other writing projects include a sequel to Indigo Blaze. The working title of this piece is The Chrystal Legacy, and so far, it is 6,000 words. I’m taking my time with this one – no marathon weekends of writing 10,000 words. I am plodding along, trying to write 500-1,000 words every evening. I’m hoping to avoid the extensive slash-and-burn or monumental re-writes of my last manuscript.
The other writing project I am currently revising is my short story Litha, written for the Saskatchewan Romance Writers’ anniversary anthology. One thing I can say about this project—it was HARD. Writing short stories is a skill I definitely have not mastered, and I certainly have a new appreciation for it.
As I continue down the road to publication, I’ve made a few realizations about “web presence”. Blogging is a great way to meet writers and to learn about writing, but it is also extremely addictive and a huge time-waster. While I continue to maintain my blog, Thoughts Interred in Phrase; I do so less frequently, and with shorter posts. I don’t knock myself out trying to come up with something fresh or unique. I don’t try to teach other people about something I’m still learning. I simply write about my writing journey, and try to fit it into my life without it taking my life over altogether. Now I have moved on to the next stage of web presence and set up my website. JoanneBrothwell.com is still under construction and to be honest, is quite similar to my blog; however, it is ready to roll that moment I actually have a product to sell. Stop by and check it out!
Blog with the chicks has been so much fun, guys. I’ve loved the camaraderie, the support and the group wisdom. I know I will miss the blog, but more importantly, I’ll miss the people!
Be well. Write tons. Take care...Goodbye.


Joanne Brothwell said...

I'm in training today, I'll be back tonight to respond to comments. Have a great day!

Anita Mae Draper said...

Hey Joanne, good plan to try for the New Adult vs the Young Adult genre. Definitely more of a chance for publication because of the wider audience.

Wishing you all the best at Surrey as well as with your short story and manuscripts. I certainly hear you on the do-it-right-the-first-time since I don't like massive rewriting either.

And I'll miss you, here, too. :(


Jana Richards said...

Hi Joanne,
I will definitely miss you and the other Chicks. We have to make sure we keep in touch. Perhaps we can all attend another conference together. New York anyone?

Best of luck in Surrey. You've got a couple of very interesting people to see in your blue pencil/agent meetings. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you.

Take care,

Janet said...

It's been a pleasure getting to know you, Joanne! And it sounds like, even though you have lost your Newbie Glow, you have a definite plan moving ahead (great website - very professional looking and compliments your blog very well). Remember, determination and persistance will get you where you want to go!

Can't believe it's been a year since we all met up in Surrey. Where does the time go? Of course, I'm envious of your trip again this fall, but have my fingers crossed for you at both sessions. You've got some experience, so you shouldn't be as nervous. Let me know how you get on - and the details of the conference.

Happy writing :)

Joanne Brothwell said...

Hi Anita Mae,
I'm hoping my ms may even fit with the Harlequin Nocturne imprint now that it is new adult.

I'm looking forward to reporting back at the November meeting about Surrey.

I'll miss you, and the other chicks, too!

Joanne Brothwell said...

Hey, Jana,
New York? I'm in!

Let's definitely keep in touch!

Joanne Brothwell said...

Hi Janet,
It's been great getting to know you too! Very soon I'll be back to hanging around your blog, and I'll be sure to update you on Surrey.

Hayley E. Lavik said...

It's been great watching how much things have changed for you since you started with the SRW and the Chicks. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next. You're going to kick some ass :)

Stephanie said...

Hi Joanne,

You're right. Blogging is a huge time waster. There is something about being able to post a completed piece of writing and move on to the next. I suppose the instant gratification is where the addictive part kicks in :)

Nonetheless, you have put up some great posts in the past that have given me some much-needed insight into the writing world. Thanks for that. Best of luck with your writing.