Victoria Alt

The writings & ramblings of an aspiring novelist

Victoria Alt is a writer who is aspiring to break into the world of Romance publication. Follow her journey through manuscript completions, submissions, the knock downs and all the successes that happen along the way.
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42,384 / 50,000
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2,135 / 50,000
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Thursday, November 30, 2006
Final NaNo Tally
As I figured, my NaNo manuscript reached its end before the 50 000 word mark. So, we have a final tally of 42 384.

I plan to let this manuscript rest in a desk drawer for a couple of weeks while I take a break from the story. Then, it will be time to pull it out and start editing. There is still a lot of places to add, flesh out characters, build the plotline, etc - and thus, should get me to the word count I am looking for (50 000 - 55 000 words).

So, for the next couple of weeks, I'll be taking some time to catch up on stuff that got put aside - and I've already started writing on my next manuscript.

More about my NaNo experience tomorrow.

Congrats to all who made it - whether they reached the 50 000 word mark or their own personal goal.

posted by Victoria Alt @ 11:10 PM   2 Comments:

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Deciphering the Mess
When writing freehand (on paper), as was necessary if I'm to get to 50 000 words by the end of tomorrow, I've learned a valuable lesson. What is said lesson? To sum it up simply, make sure your handwriting is legible.

I have pages and pages in front of me, and while the first few are quite easy to follow, the ones nearing the middle and end need a decipherer. Now, that is bad when you can't even make out your own handwriting.

However, I will decode this nonsense then continue with a full day of writing today. Thankfully, I will do all today's writing on the computer - thus, I should have no trouble reading what I've written.

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Monday, November 27, 2006
The Race is On
Tonight, my focus will be putting words down on paper and getting some writing done on my NaNo novel.

The keyboard will be on fire - so, full steam ahead.
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Friday, November 24, 2006
Write and See
By the end of the weekend, I should be at a word count of 43 000 words plus. I've worked out my remaining chapters, and in keeping with my writing style, I figure my story will be told by word 43 000.

That means I will have to find a way to incorporate another seven thousand words into my manuscript. There are areas where I can flesh out the characters more and add more depth into a few scenes, but I'm not sure there are seven thousand words there.

I hate to add to the story just to up the word count. Either I will have to incorporate another character or sub-plot. The problem will be adding one that still moves the story along without changing the outcome. I also want it to make sense. I don't want it to look as if it came out of nowhere or gives no real meaning to the story at hand.

By the end of the weekend, I should have a better handle on what I will need to do. There's no sense fretting about it until then.

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Thursday, November 23, 2006
Watch and Write
I wasn't sure how the new job would affect my writing schedule - and aside from actual less writing time, it seems to be going pretty well. Just being out around people has been a good experience. As much as I love to watch people as they go about their business, now I also have the chance to interact as well.

I can already sense character traits building up in my mind. For me, I create my characters around one telling attribute. Now, I should have a plethora of interesting traits in which to build. It's exciting to think about.

And don't even get me started on the various personalities I've already come across. I really feel as if I have the best of both worlds now. During the day, I can socialize amongst people and observe, and during the later hours, I can lock myself away in solitude to create and write.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Manuscript Purgatory
I know writers who have manuscript graveyards located under their beds or set to rest in heavy filing cabinets. These manuscripts run out of steam, need heavy revision, or are unworkable for a number of reasons. In short, there are no plans to work on them in the present.

I have no such graveyard located in my house.

Instead, I send these manuscripts to purgatory. In short, this purgatory is a place of temporary suffering or punishment - and exactly what they deserve. They have not gone to die, but they must atone for their problems and work out their issues before they can resurrect to my working files once more.

While I work on my All In manuscript, I have decided to send the other WIP to that hellish zone of purgatory. After some initial feedback, changes, and more feedback, it is losing its focus and floundering. Heavy re-writes will be in order, and until they make themselves known, in purgatory it will remain.

Thankfully, purgatory is just an uncomfortable place of suffering - not death. I fully plan to tell this story but not until all it is washed of all its sins.

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Change of Schedule
The new job has meant a huge schedule change. Working four days every week means that the evenings are the only option for uninterrupted writing. It also means tuning out all the noise around me - which, now that the Christmas season is upon us, tends to be a lot of noise.

It will also mean a change in when I blog - which will be in the evenings instead of the morning. I think this might work best - it's the perfect precursor to begin my writing.

Today is my day off and I tend to spend the better part of it writing, or make that catching up on my writing. I've fallen behind in my current WIP, but if all goes well, I should put a good dent in it today. If there is anything I do know about myself, it is that I work well under a deadline so I'm expecting the day to be productive.

Now, one more cup of coffee and I'm on my way.

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Monday, November 20, 2006
New Beginnings
So begins a new day - and a new part-time job. The most exciting thing about this job is the fact that I will be able to people watch all day while I perform my duties. It should also be a good source of character inspiration.

Of course, it will affect my writing schedule, but I'm okay with that. Having a job that does not involve writing and editing will be welcome and should inspire me to write for myself whenever I have time - instead of longing to be free of the computer.

Here's to new beginnings and to a freer writing experience.

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Friday, November 17, 2006
I'm a big believer in karma. If you work hard, persevere, and treat others as you'd like to be treated, good things happen. Why the universe shifted, to give all three of my children and my man the day off, is beyond me. Somehow, though, I will manage to steal some time in my office and get my writing done.

Good things are happening for me too, so, I'm not complaining. I'm finishing my last freelance projects before I shut the door on that aspect of my writing. I've taken a part-time position to supplement my income, which is totally unrelated to writing, and the WIP is coming along nicely. In all respects, life is running smoothly and I'm all for that.

I have one more project in the works but I'll let you all know about that another time. Until then, keep writing!

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Thursday, November 16, 2006
Five Little Words
To keep on schedule for NaNoWriMo, I needed to be at the 25 000-word mark yesterday. After writing into the evening, I pulled up my word count to the total of 24 995 - five little words short.

Sure, I could have written five measly words but I was at the end of a chapter and there was nothing left to tell. I'm so tight with my words that it's not even funny. However, I can live with being five short.

Now that I am back on track, I plan to use today to forge ahead. Again, that's the plan. I still have to make it work. If I make my goal, even if short by five, I'll be one happy writer.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Writers Unite
Living out on an acreage means that, most of my time, I remain isolated from people. Of course, I always have the option of venturing into town and socializing but my personality tends to love being alone.

I'm at ease in my solitude. I always have people willing to tell me their stories - even if it's just various characters in my head. The biggest benefit is all the country space, the sounds, nature and freedom of constant movement. This relaxes me and allows my mind to wander freely.

The downside of such a solitary medium can be the lack of kinship, not of family and friends, but lack of fellow writers. No one in my immediate circle is a writer. Nor do they truly understand the writing process. I find that the only people who understand what you are going through are other writers (and artists).

We all benefit from the advice, encouragement and critiques from our writing peers. If you are lucky, you can find a local writers' group in your area. For those who do not have this option, the online network is another outlet. There are tons of online groups that offer support and guidance - you just have to look thoroughly and find that group that fits right with you.

One of my favorite places to visit is the Absolute Writer Water Cooler. This is a forum for writers in all genres and categories of writing from Romance to Horror, short stories, novels, poetry and more. If you're looking to interact with a group of fellow writers, share experiences, ask and give advice, this is a nice friendly place to do so.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Brain-to-Hand Misfire
Yesterday proved to be quite aggravating. I sat, all set to write a particular scene for my NaNo novel, but to no avail. The words just wouldn't come. What made it worse is that I could see the entire scene clearly in my mind - how it developed, what was said and the outcome. The problem lay in the fact that my fingers wouldn't type the proper words to convey it.

I call it my brain-to-hand misfire - like the brain-to-mouth misfire, when you can see the dream you just awoke from but are unable to put into words what it entailed, or, when you see the word that you want to say but it sticks to the tip of your tongue.

The good thing is I have today to try again - and again, if necessary. And really, isn't that what writing is all about? We write a scene only to rewrite it over and again until it is exactly where we want it.

That's what I'll be doing today - writing and rewriting - and hopefully, the brain and hand will be firing in unison.

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Monday, November 13, 2006
Silver Linings
The beginning of winter and its cold temperatures always brings on the first round of colds, the flu, and sinus congestion. The last of which, I am suffering with right now.

This concerned me as I am trying to get through NaNo, relatively on schedule. Where I thought my congestion might slow me down, it turned into a bonus. I spent the day in bed - and to my disbelief, got more writing done than I normally would have otherwise.

I guess when one is stuck in bed, you cannot find other things to do such as vacuum floors, wash dishes, fold laundry and tend to other distractions. All you can do is lie in bed - and write!

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Friday, November 10, 2006
Containing the Ego
Beware of self-indulgence. The romance surrounding the writing profession carries several myths that one must suffer in order to be creative; that one must be cantankerous and objectionable in order to be bright; that ego is paramount over skill; that one can rise to a level from which one can tell the reader to go to hell. These myths, if believed, can ruin you. If you believe you can make a living as a writer, you already have enough ego. - David Brin

All writers have egos and most of us long for the day when others will sing our praises - or at the very least, comment favorably on our work. Until we reach that point, it is productive to keep learning, growing and perfecting our skill. To do that, we need the advice, wisdom and support of other writers.

I know this. It's also the reason it bothers me to encounter the odd writer who is unwilling to, for lack of better words, come down to earth and join the rest of us. For some, they see writing as a competition. Their lack of support, encouragement, and almost disdain for aspiring writers irks me to no end.

I have been writing for years, to some success, although in a different genre than the one I am writing for now. I am always willing to share tips, ideas, leads, and even offer critiques to fellow writers. Do I mean to say that I know everything? - certainly not. What it implies is that I want to support other writers in their quest and will always lend a hand, when and where I can, to help them succeed.

Although writing is a solitary task, we as a group, need to support and encourage one another whenever we can. There's no need to view writing as a competition - there are enough hungry readers in all types of genres for all of us. Writing is our life, our passion and something we can't help but do. So, instead of rolling your eyes at the new writer beginning the learning process or viewing them as a potential opponent, open your arms, minds and hearts and welcome them into this great group of people pursing their dreams and doing what they love to do.

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Thursday, November 09, 2006
Brain Drain
Is there a worse feeling than bumping your coffee cup as you bring it to your lips, only to watch it spill all over your keyboard? If there is, I can't think of it this morning. Now, to continue on - mind you, I just know this keyboard will be leaking for hours - damn it, I lost my train of thought.

Something I've learnt is not to fight a mind that won't think straight, so, in no particular order:

Why do kids virtually ignore you while you walk around, vacuum the carpet or otherwise engage in menial tasks only to wait until you settle comfortably in your chair to ask for something?

On the subject of children, why does it take a cowbell and cattle prod to rouse my youngest out of bed on school mornings, yet he is capable of rising, all on his own, at five a.m. on Saturdays for his cartoon fix.

And now for my favorite - where does all this dust come from? I just dusted yesterday and already my computer is covered in a thick coating - and I can just imagine the unique and intriguing mixture I have now of dust and coffee settling within my keyboard. If there was ever a market for cultivating dust and manufacturing it into a saleable product, I will have hit the jackpot.

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Perfect Writing Weather
I admit it. I'm not a fan of winter or snow for that matter. However, as I sit here and look out my window, all I see is snow everywhere - covering the ground and falling from the sky with no end in sight.

Its days like these that I am glad I work from home. I get to stay all warm, cozy, coffee in hand, and type my little heart out, which will prove a good thing as I try to get back into the middle of my work in progress.

Fortunately, all the conflicts are in place and I'm ready to take my characters on an emotional roller coaster ride. Now, if that doesn't heat up the atmosphere around here, I don't know what will.

Snow, fireworks, cold shoulders and smoldering passions - yes sir, just another fun-filled day here in my world in good old western Canada.

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Word Count Worries
My NaNo novel is back on track as far as word count is concerned. Today begins chapter four, and so far, the story and characters are progressing as intended. My goal was to aim for chapter lengths of 4000+ words. During this rough draft, they are falling short, which is a recurring theme for me.

I need to learn to fully flesh out my scenes. Descriptions are my weak point. As I've stated before, there are two main reasons why this plagues me. First, I tend to be a tight writer, revealing the specifics and details on a need to know basis. The second is that too much description tends to make my eyes glaze over. I really need to find a healthy and reasonable balance.

Since NaNo is a tight schedule, I will continue on to finish the story as is. Once it's complete, I will go back and see where I can flesh out my characters and scenes. Of course, this works in theory. To win NaNo, you must write 50 000 words by the end of November. My word count goal for this novel is 50 - 57 000 words. If I don't start writing more elaborately detailed scenes, I may finish my story before I even hit the 50 000-word mark.

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Monday, November 06, 2006
No Writing Weekends
Weekends tend to be downtime for me and this weekend proved no exception. I had a couple free hours on Saturday to write but opted to go out on the quads with the family. It was a little cool but running free over the fields, checking out the wildlife and hearing squealing children from behind just cannot be beat.

Sunday came and went with its own distractions - namely NASCAR - good going Tony! After the race came the scramble of supper, homework and bath times. If anything, I can say my weekends stay consistent.

Unfortunately, that means I am behind in my desired word count. That makes the goal for today rather straight forward - finish my business work then hit the keyboard in hardcore style..

Do I regret taking the downtime? Not for one minute. Without taking a break and getting myself out of my office, my productivity would wane until I wasn't productive at all. Writing is hard work. You spend many hours alone. Sometimes the words come while other times, it's a full-out drag-down fight just to get something on the paper.

Break is over though, so that means I'm back to work. Wish me luck.

posted by Victoria Alt @ 10:16 AM   1 Comments:

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Friday, November 03, 2006
Coffee, Candy & Cigarettes
I am guilty of certain vices when I am writing and creating at the keyboard. These vices fall under the three C's: coffee, candy and cigarettes.

The first is easy - I definitely need caffeine in those first morning hours as I rouse myself from sleep and prepare for the day. It's also a nice, warm and friendly beverage throughout - and one that has me hooked.

The candy is just a yummy habit. When I am staring out the window, day dreaming or working out a plot twist in my head, I love to chomp back a few sweet treats. Of course, one must be careful in this area as a writer spends most of the day in a sedentary position. As much as I love candy, I am not so much a fan of a big butt.

The cigarettes are bad - yes, I know this, but in my defense, I'm not sure how much of them I actually enjoy. I think it becomes a psychological thing for me - I need to see that grey smoke wafting up in the air to feel productive. Of course, when I am being productive, that means I rarely get the chance to reach over and actually take a puff. Instead, I have an ashtray full of non-smoked butts but plenty of work to show for myself.

In the end, I guess it all works out.

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Thursday, November 02, 2006
I'm Sleeping Here!
Yesterday was a good writing day but a horrible one for sleep. I've had these characters in my head for a while now, but the act of putting their personalities and actions onto paper has set them loose. So loose, that they're talking to me while I'm trying to sleep.

I was tempted to get out of bed a couple of times last night and do some writing just to shut them up. Instead, however, I tossed and turned and plain old tried to ignore them. Let's just say they can be annoyingly loud when they want to say something.

Now I'm awake, I've had my coffee and I'm ready to listen. I hope that they'll talk themselves silly all day and be ready for bed tonight when I am.

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006
And We're Off
November 1st marks the start of NaNoWriMo. It's finally time to put all those ideas, plot planning and character development to paper. The goal is to write 50 000 words by midnight November 31, which approximates to 1 667 words per day. For myself, I'm going to aim a bit higher. There are always days when the words don't want to come and I want to be prepared.

So, on that note, in one hundred words or less, I leave you with a rough blurb from my NaNoWriMo WIP.

Jordan Wallace knows something about gambling - it's easy to lose. Determined to succeed where her father did not, Jordan stakes her goal to win the Wellington Poker Tournament and secure a future for herself.

However, her plans go awry when Blake Myers shows up at the Wellington. Not only is he a threat to win and thus, destroy her dream, he is also the man who broke her heart one year before. Forced to deal with him and the feelings she still has for him, Jordan must decide if gambling on love is worth an ALL IN bet.

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About Me

Name: Victoria Alt
Location: Lloydminster, Canada
I have been writing for years, although this is my first venture into the world of writing romance.
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