A new month, new goals, new obstacles

Ah, June. A new month to accomplish new goals, to figure out how to improve my work so I can find that elusive contract, to take other steps to meet my ultimate goal of publishing a book.

One way I've figured out how to catch an editor's attention, to make my work more saleable, one I already knew, was reading books similar to mine. In other words, I needed more young adult fiction. Well, going to the library is definitely out. In addition to competing with teens doing their summer reading lists, I also have to bump right into the buying program. Believe me, our library depends heavily on donations, and they don't care what century they were printed in. Most of the stuff in the juvenile section is extremely old. Frustration sets in. I sure can't buy any more books since I blew the book budget for the year already. Just had to have the next installment of Michael Scott's Nicholas Flamel series. It's as good if not better than the Harry Potter books. Also, my youngest, a teen now, really wanted the last of Rick Riordan's Olympian series plus the Demigod Files, a kind of go along that explains all the unusual creatures in the series.

Now, just how would I figure out a way to read all those teen books and figure out what special element is missing from my work? Well, I found it. In http://www.bookdaily.com/ I choose what books I want to look over (all young adult fiction, since that's my focus now) and they e-mail me the first chapter every day.

I have to admit. The first few days I was about to toss out everything I'd ever done. I knew the Twilight series was hot now. I'd heard vampire books were hot now, but I never imagined they were quite that hot. To quote another writer friend: It amazes me that vampires seem to be a new metaphor for young love--a pairing that literally sucks the life out of the participants leaving them catatonic for eternity. Has our culture allowed the concept of love to evolve into such a dismal thought? I guess it is not any worse than believing that one day a prince will come and allow a girl to live happily ever after. Enough with vampires already!! Thank you, Dottie, for expressing my thoughts so eloquently.

However, I decided to plod through all the overdone vampire plots and look for the hidden nuggets within the chaff. And I found it. I discovered I'd found the right formula all along. Blend the sometimes boring descriptions into the action. Make them part of the plot, a reason for being. With that in mind, I've reworked a non-moving young adult novel into someting I hope will attract attention, sent to my local SCBWI contest, and am now reworking a historical fiction story about a girl who dreams of riding for the Pony Express. Slow going, that one, since I have to make sure I have all the facts right, but I think it will come out right in the end.

June goals? Submit new stories, look over a couple of magazines that accept fiction and maybe develop some stories for them, work on two already plotted books I've had on the back burner forever, and finish outlining a new story my daughter inspired me to write by one of her Facebook postings. Oh, and finally get a meeting together of local writers. The last one, I think, will be the hardest to accomplish.