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Sara Cottingham- Author

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  • September 29, 2017 03:54:11 PM
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Author Sara Cottingham's official site featuring a weekly blog and links to previously published content.

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First off, I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and New Year. Did you know Boise has a potato drop instead of a ball drop on New Year’s Eve? It was fabulous. I can’t say what the potato was made out of that they suspended from the crane in front of the capitol building, but...

First off, I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and New Year. Did you know Boise has a potato drop instead of a ball drop on New Year’s Eve?

It was fabulous. I can’t say what the potato was made out of that they suspended from the crane in front of the capitol building, but it was a great night.

I’m planning on working like crazy until March when I have the opportunity to go to a writing conference. I’m hoping to have the novel done to the point where I might be able to scout for an agent, or at least see if people might be interested in looking at it.

I really have no idea what it will be like, and I think I’m going to need to practice a pitch of some sort. I haven’t done the marketing part, and I’m super nervous about convincing people to believe in either me or the novel.

My thought is that I can always write alone, but if I have to try and convince other people that it is good I might run screaming for the hills. I don’t have the confidence to talk about my book with any sort of bravado.

I know I’ll have to act like I have confidence in my work, and I’m hoping that if I can tell myself often enough I might believe it by the time that I have to pitch my book to someone else.

Other than that, there really isn’t anything new in my life. I had a wonderful holiday season, gained a bit of weight, and watched too many episodes of Gilmore Girls.

Wish me luck on the next bout of editing!


A kind word can make the edits all the better.

I’m not going to lie: I’ve had better holidays. Life has been throwing my family a series of curve balls which have made it impossible for me to get home for the holidays. Luckily, I have friends who are in a similar boat and we’re planning on having Christmas together, but this is the first...

I’m not going to lie: I’ve had better holidays. Life has been throwing my family a series of curve balls which have made it impossible for me to get home for the holidays. Luckily, I have friends who are in a similar boat and we’re planning on having Christmas together, but this is the first time I’ll be spending the holiday away from family.

No doubt the past several weeks have been stressful, but I’m finally back to work after a hiatus. I’ve printed off this draft of Neon Girlfriend, and I’m proud to say that it’s about three hundred and fifty pages.

This is the longest thing I’ve ever written, and I feel a little bit of pride every time I lug the whole thing around while I work on editing. The pride in the manuscript is mitigated by the anxiety of editing. Mainly because I worry if I start picking it apart I’ll have to take off my rose-colored glasses and see where it needs work.

So, I’ve been avoiding it a bit, but I got an email from one of my first readers last night that really made my night. She said she loved my main character, and that she thought my writing was really strong.

It was a simple email and one that I really needed.  It gave me the courage to pick up the edits again. This may sound silly, but it put me back in the holiday spirit. It got me out of the funk I’ve been in. It’s surprising how a couple of sentences from a friend can really turn things around.

My friend’s email doesn’t change my holiday plans, and I’m sure I’ll still be a little sad on Christmas day, but the fact that she thought my main character was intriguing enough to read about was just the kick in the pants I needed.

Sappy, but a good word about one thing in your life can really make the difference when you least expect it.

I won’t be posting until after the new year, so I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season however you chose to celebrate!


A happy early Thanksgiving to you all.

This should be out the day before Thanksgiving, but I just wanted to take this post to tell those that read this blog that I really do appreciate you. It may not be the best blog, but it keeps me honest with how my work is going. Work isn’t always pretty, and there are days...

This should be out the day before Thanksgiving, but I just wanted to take this post to tell those that read this blog that I really do appreciate you. It may not be the best blog, but it keeps me honest with how my work is going.

Work isn’t always pretty, and there are days that I feel like it would be easier if I had picked a different career, but I am thankful for what I do because it challenges me.

I am also thankful for the kind words that people leave me when I have a bad day, and the encouragement I get from seeing others succeed in theirs.

There will be people missing from my life this Thanksgiving, some that I will see again and others who I miss every day, but I am beyond thankful for both. The people who I will be celebrating with mean so much to me, and I hope you can spend the holiday with people you care about, and if not, maybe a phone call to let them know you’re thinking of them.

Cheers!


My final(ish) draft should be done this week!

First off, sorry this is a lot later than normal. I got to work late today, and this got pushed further down the list of things to do. But, I do have a reason for it: my (ideally) final draft should be done this week! I’m so excited, and it’s been a rush trying to...

First off, sorry this is a lot later than normal. I got to work late today, and this got pushed further down the list of things to do.

But, I do have a reason for it: my (ideally) final draft should be done this week!

I’m so excited, and it’s been a rush trying to get it done. I’d realized while doing some research on publishing stats that it wasn’t long enough, so I’ve had to add a ton of content beyond what I initially had. I was worried for a time that I wouldn’t have enough ideas to make it to the suggested word count, but I’m pleased to say that my characters gave me some really good material to work with.

I use Scrivener to write, which I love, but I plan on putting it through a more thorough grammar/spelling/content check before I start sending it out to first readers.

That said, I’m not too nervous about sending it out. Yes, I know they’ll find things I missed, and I’ll no doubt have plot holes and details to tweak, but overall I feel like it’s in a really good place.

My next step will be trying to find a good list of questions to give my first readers when I send them the draft. I’ve found a couple different lists, but I find they are not completely comprehensive. I might just combine the lists I’ve found into one master list.

I’ve only gone a little crazy getting this far. My sleep schedule is ruined, and I should really take a vow to not eat popcorn for every meal.

Does it feel like the house is in a particularly profound state of dusty disarray? A little, but the animals are happy and healthy, so I’ll take it as a win overall. And let’s be honest, my house is only ever clean for a few hours before and after people come over.

So, I will take my accomplishment, push through to the end, and probably take a long deserved rest next week!

 


I have never felt this good about my book.

Since I last posted I’ve been working my tush off. I’m averaging about 3,000 words a day, and it all feels like decent work. There are some spots that I’ll need to go back at look at, but overall it feels great. It feels like a solid book, and that feeling is intoxicating as it...

Since I last posted I’ve been working my tush off. I’m averaging about 3,000 words a day, and it all feels like decent work. There are some spots that I’ll need to go back at look at, but overall it feels great.

It feels like a solid book, and that feeling is intoxicating as it gets closer to the end of this draft. This won’t be the final draft, but it will be one of my last.

Maybe it’s because I don’t have the usual responsibilities later in the day, but the freedom of being able to work late into the night is such a gift. Even if I reach my goal word count I can always go back and edit or add more as I want.

I will say that I can tend to go a bit overboard. When I was in middle school and just writing for fun I would often wake up with my notebook in my bed. I find that is happening more and more while I work on this draft.

 

I have had to change my ending, which I knew would happen, but I have found that marking out the plot points beforehand has helped in writing the end.

I was working on a plot point yesterday that I had plotted out, and as I was finishing up the scene I thought, “hmm, well that’s how I get to the end.”

If this seems weird, I hardly ever do an outline for my books because I tend to let them lead me to wherever they want to go, but I may start doing more serious outlines as the book becomes more concrete. It has helped with the stress of trying to remember what I needed to work on next.

It wasn’t anything monumental in terms of how the ending changed, but it simply solidified the setting for where my main character ends up. That said, with the ending secure the book feels more and more solid. I’m not going to print this copy just yet, but when I do I know I’ll be holding the complete story in my hands. I can’t wait.

The one shocker that I faced this week is pricing when it comes to getting my manuscript ready for editing. I was thinking about having an editor look through it, but when I looked at the average cost of an editor I realized that it wasn’t at all feasible. It was around $8,000 for an 80,000-word manuscript. Now, if I had the money I’d 100% do something like that, but I’m hella broke, so now I just need to find some people that I trust to be my test readers.

Only after I get their feedback will I start looking for an agent. That process is further off than I had initially thought, but I’d rather not rush the editing. If I get rejected because the book has flaws I’ll have no one to blame but myself.

For now, I’m still super motivated, and I’m hoping to carry this momentum through to the end of the book.

Have any of you ever solicited for an agent? Share your experience/tips below!


Remembering to write for joy.

Here’s the thing: I’m alone. The hubby is gone on a business trip, and while that means I’ve been doing a lot more Netflix marathons than is probably healthy, it also means I’ve been doing a lot of writing. And I’m remembering what it is like to write for the fun of it. I mentioned...

Here’s the thing: I’m alone. The hubby is gone on a business trip, and while that means I’ve been doing a lot more Netflix marathons than is probably healthy, it also means I’ve been doing a lot of writing. And I’m remembering what it is like to write for the fun of it.

I mentioned right after I got done with my MFA I felt burnt out on writing. Any time I sat down to try and write I was just stressed because I’d become so used to writing on a crazy deadline.

I don’t know what has changed with my mood, my brain, or whatever, but I’ve been averaging about 2,500 words a day. The story has just taken on a life of its own, and I’m just there writing it all down. I feel like the secretary taking notes in an important business meeting. It’s a wonderful feeling. I’m not stressed when I sit down to write. Even managing the 2,500 words a day, when I get finished with that goal I know I could keep writing more. I’m not exhausted by the end, and it isn’t taking me an insane amount of time to get to that word count. It seems like it happens within three hours. All. New. Content.

I don’t think I’ve reached this level of writing frenzy in a while. In fact, I know I haven’t. For so long it’s felt like a struggle, and I kept doing it because I knew I loved it, but now it feels joyous to be writing again. I just hope I can keep it going.

My goal is to double my word count for my novel within a month, and I really think I can do it. I also think I can write more than the 2,500 words I have been managing each day. I want to try for 3,000 in the next several days and see what that feels like.

Has anyone else hit this point where the story just seems to be writing itself? It’s exhilarating and intoxicating.

I think my writing is being fed by the amount of reading I’ve been doing. I’ve found that if I read in the morning, write in the afternoon, and then read more at night I just have no issue when I sit down to the computer.

Side note: the current book I’m reading is The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. It is nothing like what I’m writing, but the language is wonderful and I will be reading more from him in the future.

The only way I know how to describe this feeling is how I used to feel when I wrote when I was in middle school. I wrote because the story that I wanted to read hadn’t been written yet. I wrote because I just loved the feeling of seeing something come to life in front of me. And that it was something I had helped create.

I know I posted an update about Neon Girlfriend in ages, but that break has truly done me wonders. Maybe I’m riding a bit of a writer’s high, but I’m loving it. I love knowing that when I sit down to work it won’t be like pulling teeth. At this pace, I’m sure I’ll have an update for you in two weeks, and I might even release an excerpt!

Like below if you’ve had this same motivation, or if you want an excerpt from my novel with the next post!

 


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