Well... it's been a whirlwind couple of days here. But I'll get to that in a second. In my last post, I reviewed the books I have read in the past months, specifically those for my course. And, as my course starts TOMORROW, I promised an update on my writing as well.
When I left my job, countless people asked me how I intended to spend my time. I don't think they imagined I could just read and write all day. Actually, I was pretty nervous myself. I had trained myself to think in thirty minute chunks. I fantasized about what having more time would do for my writing, but was afraid I would never get past my thirty minute chunk mindset. Well, I'm happy to say that hasn't been a problem at all. The limitless time has been such a blessing, and I feel like I've been able to try new things and stretch myself in a way I was never able to before when working in thirty minute chunks. Most days I now put in 3-4 hours, sometimes as many as 9.
My goal was to have a complete rough draft of my work in progress before classes started. I had no idea how quickly I could work when I wasn't restricted to thirty minutes a day. I finished the draft within the next two weeks. I then spent several weeks sorting out the plot, tying up lose ends, making sure each character had a logical story. And now I am about a third of the way through my first revision.
The writing has gone so well, in fact, that I have begun to search for new story ideas. I'm pleased to report I've found a few since my last post about searching for inspiration. They're still quite amorphous, but I look forward to exploring them further as my course gets underway.
So picture this, if you will. Anne is confident, hardworking, feeling good about her current wip, excited about everything before her. Then, Sunday afternoon, the phone rings and all my confidence and composure vanishes.
I learned I had won a spot in SCBWI's* UNDISCOVERED VOICES 2010 for the first few chapters of my previous work in progress, ADÈLE (my ghost story). To quote UV's website, "Undiscovered Voices is an anthology of excerpts from unpublished children’s fiction from the members of SCBWI British Isles, as selected by a combination of editors and agents."
Actually, what the heck, I'll quote most of the press release I got:
"We are proud to announce the following twelve stories and authors will be featured in the British SCBWI's Undiscovered Voices 2010 anthology:
Adele by Anne M Leone (Anne ML Anderson)
Back from the Dead by Nick Cross
Fifteen Days Without a Head by Dave Cousins
One of a Kind by Jude Ensaff (Najoud Ensaff)
From Darkness by Emily George
At Yellow Lake by Jane McLoughlin
Not Just the Blues by Claire O'Brien
The Truth about Celia Frost by Paula Rawsthorne
Vivian Divine and the Days of the Dead by Lauren Sabel
Slugs in the Toilet by Lisa Joy Smith
Blinding Darkness by Abbie Todd
Becoming Invisible by Yona Wiseman
"We received nearly 150 submissions from SCBWI members. The response was beyond our wildest expectations both in terms of quantity and quality. These selected stories are a fantastic sample of the submissions we received. The judges endeavored to select a variety of voices, styles and genre from the anonymous submissions in an effort to demonstrate the array of talent in the British SCBWI.
"Undiscovered Voices will be published in February 2010 and distributed at no cost to US and UK-based editors and agents focusing on children's literature. Best-selling children's author Melvin Burgess will write an introduction to the book, and we will include judges' comments for each selected story appearing in the anthology. The book will be available for sale at British SCBWI events after its publication.
"The anthology's goal is not only to introduce new, promising voices in children's literature but also elevate British SCBWI in the minds of editors and agents which will help to benefit every SCBWI member.
"Special thanks to our judges for their hard work and for their enthusiasm for the project:
Julia Churchill, The Greenhouse Literary Agency; Zoe Duncan, Scholastic Children's Books; Lindsey Heaven, Puffin Books; Sarah Manson, Literary Agent; Jo Unwin, Conville and Walsh; and Emma Young, Macmillan Children's Books."
So yeah, a bit of a big deal. And you see how I'm first? Alphabetizing at its finest!
In all seriousness, though, I was blown away to be included in this very prestigious publication. SCBWI-BI has only done this once before (2008), and the writers from that publication have been extremely successful (Steve Hartley, Harriet Goodwin, Sarwat Chadda, etc). My hands still tremble every time I think about it. Who knew I could be such a flake? Needless to say, all my writing habits and plans for my current wip (not to mention house cleaning, email, and grocery shopping) have flown out the window for the moment. But in a good way. I'm thrilled for the opportunity to share ADÈLE (have I mentioned it's a ghost story??).
Best wishes to all of you in your own writing projects!
*SCBWI: The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (note: I've linked to the British Isles chapter, but it is an international organization).