Month: October 2012 Page 1 of 2


I already have a novel. I don’t want to write my next one in a month because I don’t think it will turn out as well as I want it to. So I’m giving myself a different sort of goal for November, albeit related to novels and writing.

By the end of the month, I want to have 30 writing-related actions completed. They may not all be writing. It could be working on an outline, writing a query letter, researching agents, editing my current work, and I’m even going to include imaginative story-building in there although it’s a bit of a cheat because most of my waking hours are consumed by my imagination anyway. But on days where I’m on a plane for 7 hours, that might be all I can accomplish. And I’m hoping that some days I can do two or three different tasks so I can take a break here and there.

Once a week or so I’ll post what I’ve done, for accountability’s sake, and hopefully by the end of the month I’ll have a nice list of accomplishments, ’cause I’m sure doing squat right now. Time to get back on the horse, and there’s nothing better for that than a NaNo challenge. And good luck to everyone that’s participating this month!

I Should Tape This To My Bathroom Mirror


I’m a needs-visual-reminders kind of girl. I tattoo them on my body, remember? Still struggling this week. But getting better.

Six Sentence Sunday

“I’ll print you out a copy and you can have it in the morning, but you should get some rest now,” Dane said. Fatigue stole over me, a little too suddenly to be natural.

“Cut it out, Dane,” I said through a massive yawn, “I don’t need your help to fall asleep.”

“After the past few days you should be used to it,” he said, and smirked. “Honestly, I’ve never had so much trouble keeping a girl in bed before.” A clever retort was on my lips, but I fell asleep before I could utter it.


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Settling Down

After my last post, in which I sent my book out into the wide world, I basically had a complete meltdown. I like the bubble that surrounds my comfort zone, and I don’t like to stray out of it. Putting something I’ve worked really hard at for close to a year into the hands of others? Not comfortable. Then, because – hey! if you’re gonna do it, do it all the way – I shared it with eight or ten friends.

Cue sleepless nights, disjointed thoughts, jitteriness and physical malaise.

The symptoms aren’t new to me – I’ve suffered from generalized anxiety pretty much my entire life – but I was surprised at how strongly I was affected. I wrote the book because I felt like I had to and I was ready to do it, but my intention was always to try and have it published. I’m not second-guessing that decision at all, but I do need to spend some time on reflection to try and find out what about that step bothers me so much right now.

I hope in a few days things will be back to normal and I can start moving forward again. Until the feedback starts rolling in, I want to start some more detailed planning of the next book in the series and try and flesh out some of the “a bunch of stuff happens” (actual notation) in the middle of my rough outline. I have a few scenes written that need to be organized into that as well. Yeah, that’s right, I’m diving fully into outlining this time around. I pantsed my way through almost all of The Unravelling and when I started I actually only had four or five scenes out of the whole book envisioned. Pretty much the entire thing was “a bunch of stuff happens” in my head until I started writing. Now that I know these characters a bit better, I think I owe it to them to plan stuff out.

And as November 1 approaches I’m SO tempted to do NaNoWriMo again. I managed to win it last year, writing a silly contemporary romance, but this year I’m going to Mexico for a week in the middle of it and I don’t want to spend my time there hunched over my laptop instead of sitting on the beach, nor can I make up the missed days over the rest of the month. All the same, I’d like to start writing the second book (it’s called The Unseeing, by the way, have I mentioned that before?) in earnest sometime in November. I have to do something with my time.

In the meantime this blog is probably going to get quieter and posts less frequent as I’ll have little to say while I’m not actively working on anything. With any luck that will change sometime next month as I get back into the swing of things. My last Six Sentence Sunday from The Unravelling is scheduled for this weekend. Hope you enjoy it!

One last thing: if anyone’s looking to swap novels for critiquing purposes, drop me an email through the Contact page above. I’d love to read what others have been working on, and have my stuff reviewed as well.

Happy writing, everyone. 🙂

Fear and Excitement

That pretty much sums it up. I just submitted The Unravelling to Harper Voyager’s open call for unpublished novels. It’s the first time I’ve sent it off anywhere, and I’ve been editing and revising frantically for the past four days to have it done in time. It was a little scary to click the ‘submit’ button (and super-annoying after I worked myself up to it yesterday only to find that entries were no longer being accepted, but that was resolved today, whew) and send my heart’s work off for strangers to pick apart.

To do so I had to write my first query letter as well. Wanna read what I sent? I’d love opinions and critiques so I can improve on it.

Attn: Agent X:

In the heart of Montmatre, Paris, touch-phobic songwriter Callie Kincaid’s best friend is murdered by a terrifying creature, triggering a cataclysmic series of events and forcing her to team up with enigmatic alchemist Remy Dane to discover the root of her fears and the powers behind them as the fabric of the world begins to unravel.

The Unravelling follows Callie’s quest to avenge her best friend’s killing in a world that’s increasingly falling apart. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tidal waves have killed millions in the past month, and the disasters aren’t natural. The creatures terrorizing Paris seem to think she has something they’re looking for, but as far as she’s concerned she’s just a normal girl who happens to be able to sense the emotions of others when she touches them. Under the tutelage of Dane, Callie begins to learn to harness the abilities that have hidden behind her phobia, but is she strong enough to overcome her fears and find the key to ending the chaos that has overtaken the world? The Unravelling, complete at just over 100,000 words, is the first of a three-book series that continues with The Unseeing, currently a work in progress, and The Unknowing, outlined.

I’m a freelance writer whose work has been published in The Calgary Herald, The Calgary Sun, Avenue Magazine, Resorts Magazine, Birth of a Mother and many others. I have also worked as a scriptwriter and researcher for the nationally-televised non-fiction series Taste! The Beverage Show, Wine Basics, Beer Basics and Spirit Basics. The Unravelling is my second novel.

Thank you for your consideration,

Nicole Bross

What do you think? Would you want to read this book?

(if you happen to see a spelling or grammatical error included in the above, please, please don’t point it out, I’ll be crushed and will obsess over it endlessly)

(the letter wasn’t actually addressed to Agent X either, that’s just my place filler for a real person’s name)

Six Sentence Sunday

“Like hell you will,” I said, crossing my arms. Before I knew what was happening he had me by the shoulders, pushing me backwards, and in two short steps his body was pressing me against the brick wall of the building, my wrists pinned above my head.

“You don’t believe me?” he said, his mouth millimetres from my ear. “You want to push me a little further tonight, find out if I’m really any safer than one of those things?” His eyes were sparking with anger, and as the silence lengthened between us and our breath mingled, his gaze kept flicking from my eyes to my mouth.

Without thinking I parted my lips.


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Stick A Fork In Me

Oh my GOD so many things about this book are driving me around the bend right now. Everything is wrong. My first chapter which I thought two days ago was much improved is awful again. My hook isn’t hooky at all. It’s a sharp pin that pokes and stabs and says “don’t read me! don’t read me!” Some of my characters are shockingly one-dimensional and way underdeveloped. The song lyrics I struggled all day to write today are at best amateurish. And the formatting! The formatting is all wrong.

Revising it into what I want it to be is like trying to stuff a live octopus into a lunchbox.

Last week we were such good friends. I loved you. What happened? Where did we go wrong?

I’m ready to walk away.

No Poet

One of the aspects I’ve really struggled with while writing this story is the fact that my main character is a songwriter. I foolishly decided (okay, not at all, it’s pretty central to the story arc) to include some of her lyrics, but at the time I wrote the chapter, just inserted lyrics will go here. Well, now it’s time to pay the piper, and I have to write some rhymy bits. Tomorrow’s the day. All I’m going to do is focus on writing some believable lyrics, and with that, my manuscript will finally be finished. I’ve already done a couple revision passes and cut over 10,000 words (!), but this song thing is standing in the way of my being able to say my book is written.

In high school I wrote some truly dreadful poetry. I’ll be channelling that muse again, and hopefully she’s matured and improved over the last 15 years.

Slash and Burn?

More like bunker bomb. I’m annihilating my book, one chapter at a time.

And it feels FANTASTIC.

I took chapter 1, chopped it all up, threw a bunch of the pieces (1,600 of them!) away and rewrote pretty much all of it, including a much stronger intro that I think really grabs the reader’s attention. And in fixing chapter 1, I stopped hating chapter 2 so much. One was where all the problems were.

Furthermore, I’m no longer worried about my word count issues. I’ve found 2,000 words to edit out in the first two chapters alone, and have lots of notes for cuts in later parts, both major and minor.

I think I’ve nailed down my system for editing, which I’ll share with you. I’m sure it’s by no means original, so I take no credit for it.

  • Edit 1: For story. Plot holes, cutting the big and small bits that don’t fit, fixing loose ends, continuity.
  • Edit 2: For mood and tone. Adding what’s needed to better achieve the feelings I want to set for readers.
  • Edit 3: Dialogue. Making sure it flows and sounds conversational, getting rid of any stray adverbs, improving pacing.
  • Edit 4: Scenes vs. narrative. Ensure a good balance between the two.
  • Edit 5: Paper edit. Just me and my red pen.
  • Edit 6: The one where I hand it over to people I trust to be even more brutal than me.
  • Edit 7: Taking all that marvelous feedback and implementing it.

And after all that I’ll probably still hand it over to a professional.

I have spreadsheets and summaries and documents galore. I’m so organized I’m ultra-organized. What can I say? I’m an editor at heart, always have been.

Six Sentence Sunday

A searing pain ripped all up my right side where I’d hit the ledge, almost sending me to my knees again. I had to find a way out of this, but I couldn’t move my right arm to get the second dagger out of my other pocket. Dane was right, I thought as the Ker advanced on me, slowly, its grin showing that it was enjoying toying with me. I’m not ready for this.

I didn’t even see it move. One second it was five feet away, the next second I was flat on my back and it was on top of me, a burning sensation filling my midsection.


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