Christa M. Miller's Blog (14)

Starting the next novel

Crap. Has it really been four months since I posted here? Crap. Hopefully this post from my other blog will explain my absence a little!

Meanwhile, I've gotten to work on the next novel. I already have a fair number of rough scenes written, plus an outline and character sketches. I've been contemplating how to go about revising the thing (yes--already!), largely because my last novel was difficult to…


Added by Christa M. Miller on December 5, 2007 at 6:55am — No Comments

Pretty, pretty spreadsheet

I have an Excel spreadsheet that I use to track all my agent submissions. It contains more than 100 names so I had to figure out a way to keep track of where and when I submitted. I write the dates, but that's too confusing - so - I color code. Red is for shortlisted agents (the ones I really want offers from). Blue is for ones I've submitted to. Hot pink is for requested materials. Green is for rejections. Black is default (the ones that don't fit into those categories). It's a pretty, pretty… Continue

Added by Christa M. Miller on August 14, 2007 at 3:25am — 3 Comments

From Seuss to Spade?

Conversation between Hamlet and Rain Dog at bedtime:

H: Daddy, tell me a story about a bad man.
R: What kind of bad man?
H: Just a bad man.
R: Does he stay bad, or become nice?
H: He stays bad.

Four years old and already thinking noirish thoughts. It's a crime writer's career dream come true.

Added by Christa M. Miller on July 31, 2007 at 12:21pm — No Comments

On the road

We recently took a two-day (one way) road trip to South Carolina. Of course I brought the PDA, because I accomplish a lot of writing on car rides. This time, though, I had the same problem I've had on other protracted car trips: other than a few ideas here and there that I was able to jot down, I didn't write at all. Not in the car or at the rest stops or even at the hotels once we stopped moving. It was a vacation from writing and I'm still on it - Rain Dog and I are talking about running some… Continue

Added by Christa M. Miller on July 20, 2007 at 1:40am — 3 Comments

Will it never end?

I was re-drafting my query today for my novel HURT and got a brainstorm: What if this character dunnit, not the original? Oh, stop, I told myself, but it was too late. I was thinking about it. Then I started to write the thoughts down. And I realized that this potential revision could solve a number of niggling problems I had with the story. It could strengthen a couple of weak characters, cast light on others' motivations, take out the tired old serial-killer motif and focus on a…


Added by Christa M. Miller on June 30, 2007 at 12:49pm — 3 Comments

A late birthday present

I'm one of those people who is impossible to buy for. I have to make lists for people, but often I have no idea what I want, myself. Other than writing time, and no one wants to believe that that is ALL I want. I don't quite understand - if I ask for it, I must want it, right? - but whatever.

So I asked for things for Christmas, but ended up returning them because 1) they weren't quite what I needed (yes, I'm also one of those people who only asks for necessary things) and 2) we were…


Added by Christa M. Miller on June 2, 2007 at 8:27am — No Comments

Bits and bites

I decided to "go with the flow" in my lack of commitment to any one story. Now I find random ideas popping into my head - so when that happens, I write them down, either in the story itself or in a "random ideas" file on my PDA, to be imported later into the pertinent document. So far it seems to be going OK. It's very much a creative frame of mind rather than the more logical approach I take to revisions/edits, but maybe that reflects the chaos of my life right now (2 little kids, possible…


Added by Christa M. Miller on May 19, 2007 at 8:36am — No Comments

Lack of commitment

I've got about half a dozen stories in progress, most in various stages of revision. Trouble is, I can't seem to commit to any of them.

There's the one I wanted to submit to the New England Crimebake contest, but lost so much time during the 3-day power outage last week that I don't think it will be done in time (April 30). There's the one I want to submit to Mr. Bagley's anthology. A few others that I dusted off from when I wrote them years ago, and the two zombie short stories that…


Added by Christa M. Miller on April 28, 2007 at 6:15am — 2 Comments

What do I want?

Sometimes I think I don't really want to be published at all. I read the horror stories about publishing and publicity, reviews and remainders, and I wonder why I'm doing this at all. What is so important to me about seeing my fiction published? Why am I sitting here praying just to be shortlisted for the contest I entered my novel in?

It's not because I think people who look at me as a loser will realize I'm not. A friend wisely pointed out once that people who think you're a loser…


Added by Christa M. Miller on April 4, 2007 at 6:47am — 7 Comments


Props to Alison Gaylin for coming up with a name for this affliction. It works.

It's reared its head a couple of times over the last few months, while I revise my novel yet again. Is especially acute when I read about people I know whose novels or short stories are nominated for some award or, heck, published. I know the only way to do anything about it - at least in this case - is to get a few critiquers on board to work with me, and to keep working on myself. And yet: I totally…


Added by Christa M. Miller on March 20, 2007 at 3:06am — 9 Comments

Writing hard-to-work-with characters

I've struggled with a character in my novel for as many years as I've been writing it. It wasn't that I was trying to make him do something that went against what he wanted to do. I realized a long time ago that he was repressed.

Therefore, finding things out about him was always more like creating him from scratch, rather than his telling me as I went along (as the other two main characters did). Figuring out his motivations, weak points, etc. however? Not like pulling teeth - more…


Added by Christa M. Miller on March 15, 2007 at 7:04am — 4 Comments

Novel POV vs. short story POV

I was trying to figure out why I write my novels from the cops' POV, and my short stories from the criminals'. I can only guess that a novel lets a mystery unfold - it takes time for cops to piece together the evidence enough to find the perp and make an arrest - whereas a short story is a good venue to show the rashness of most criminal acts: crimes not planned, but committed (or at least conceived) in the heat of a moment.

Anyone else notice this trend in their own, or…


Added by Christa M. Miller on March 12, 2007 at 8:12am — 8 Comments

The best part of the BSSP

I run the risk of sounding like a dork, but I think my favorite part of the recent BSSP was the sense of community. It is so easy to think in terms of writers who are on one side or the other of a published "wall," but what this project showed is that regardless of status, we all still love writing and reading - the pleasure of creating for others' eyes, and the pleasure of enjoying it.

Thanks again to those who commented on my story. And thanks to everyone who participated. I hadn't…


Added by Christa M. Miller on March 8, 2007 at 1:50am — 3 Comments

As if two other blogs weren't enough...

Here's a third. I'd been thinking about creating a writing blog anyway. This seems like a good opportunity and the perfect place. It remains to be seen whether I can 1) make the time and 2) think of interesting things to say about my writing!

Added by Christa M. Miller on March 5, 2007 at 3:10am — 3 Comments

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