DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS Book 2 Outlined

I have been a busy little bee.

tumblr_inline_n5i6fwTwVA1qafrh6

In my mind, DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS has always been a series. As I write, I picture the events as if they were a movie or TV show (who knows, I’m a dreamer — maybe one day that will happen). I decided to sit down and write out what would happen next in the lives of Arissa and Erica. With the help of some amazing writing friends, I brainstormed one hell of a ride for them in book two.

tumblr_mvrxlpqkGX1smngwlo1_500

The way I set this series up, I could go on and on torturing the lives of Innsbrooke High’s finest. With that being said, book two leaves off right where book one ended and answers many of the questions the reader is left to contemplate in book one. Especially considering the ending to book one. I’m not surprised, but my outline for book two is much longer than my outline for book one. I now understand why some books get larger as you add to the series (Harry Potter comes to mind). When all was said and done, I had outlined thirteen pages of action-packed OMGs and WTFs. The first four pages are the result of random brainstorming. What follows is my outline-of-awesomeness.

DLS BS outline

I’m not going to start writing this quite yet, but at least now, I know where I’m going.

Tagline: Some secrets take you to the grave.

DIRTY LITTLE SECRET Synopsis

Writing the synopsis is evil. If you’ve ever attempted to do it, you know what I mean.

tumblr_inline_mxpjj4DxA71r3mq40

The idea of taking 84K words and smooshing all the exciting parts of the story into one or two pages is enough to make some want to give up writing.

tumblr_inline_mwymy32vic1qefzfb

Before I could attempt such a feat, I had to get caffeinated.

tumblr_me1lq5AWBB1qkbtx4o1_500I worked at it for days.

tumblr_inline_mveka0Wbae1r73ga0

It was tough, but I did it.

tumblr_m8etayZ23n1qmqmhzo1_500

One step closer to querying!

DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS CP/BETA Round 1

The novel is complete. Not only is it complete, it’s been edited by my handy dandy CP1. She wore her editing hat well as she suggested certain things be tightened to make DLS shine. It’s now in the hands of my Beta readers for Round 1. Once I receive their feedback, I will take any and all suggestions into consideration and make improvements as needed before moving to Round 2. I’m excited because I have published and unpublished, agented and unagented authors reading DLS to make sure it has that WOW factor, I tried so hard to achieve.

roundone00

Something amazing happened before in my world last week. I was chatting with an agented friend of mine on twitter and her agent got involved in the conversation. She knew my MS wasn’t completed edited, but she was interested and wanted to read any polished pages I had. After fighting the urge to jump up and down kermit flailing, I sent her the first two chapters with my query. So, before I even started querying, I found an agent interested in reading. From what I understand, this is not something that happens, so you can bet I’m thankful she showed an interest. Now, I’m waiting to see what my Beta’s think of my full MS and what the agent thinks of the first two chapters I sent.

MAKE IT COUNT Cover Reveal

It is with great pleasure that I present to you the cover for Megan Erikson’s novel, MAKE IT COUNT. Is this thing not the most amazing cover you’ve ever laid your eyes on?

 MakeItCount

Not only do you get a peek at the cover, you get an excerpt from the novel. Enjoy!!

MAKE IT COUNT excerpt:

Kat gathered her books and stuffed them into her plaid Burberry messenger bag, then headed toward the front doors, smoothie from the library snack shop in hand. Head bent, fiddling with the clasp of her bag, she stumbled into a wall of human on the pavement outside.

“Oh, I’m sorry—” Her voice dropped out when she realized the solid flesh belonged to Alec, Max’s best friend.

She’d only met him once or twice before he’d moved in with Max this semester and every time, he cocked his eyebrow with a half frown like he knew something she didn’t. Which he actually did, since he had brainy superpowers. Smarter than a speeding Einstein. Able to leap over C-minus students like her in a single bound.

She didn’t trust people that smart. And she didn’t trust a guy who didn’t ogle her ass or leer at her boobs like every other member of the straight male species on the planet.

Right now, that raised-eyebrow frown pinned her where she stood. His pale green eyes behind thick black frames roamed over her shoulder to the library and then back to her. With his pin-stripe button-down, dark jeans with Converse shoes and hair styled in a short, messy pompadour, he looked like a nerdy Elvis.

His frown morphed into a smile when he spotted the smoothie in her hand, and she definitely didn’t notice his full lips. “You know, you don’t have to venture into the forbidden zone just to get a smoothie.”

Oooh. The jerk. She glanced around surreptitiously, then leaned in and spoke in a low voice. “Just play it cool. Don’t let it slip someone like me snuck in the library.” She gripped his forearm and whispered. “Password today is rosebud.”

His face blanked and he looked at her like he’d never seen her before. Kat debated whether or not that was an improvement over his other look.

But then those intelligent eyes narrowed and a smirk curled his lips. “I know. We nerds get an e-mail every morning.”

See? He always needed the last word. She propped a hand on her hip and leaned in. “Well, sounds like you have a mole. Might want to look into that.”

He opened his mouth but she cut him off. “Just looking out for you guys. Anyway, see ya around!”

Before he could shoot back a snarky comeback, Kat skirted around him and bounded down the stairs. She chalked that up as Kat 1, Alec 0.

About the author:

 Headshot3

MEGAN ERICKSON grew up in a family that averages 5’3” on a good day and started writing to create characters who could reach the top kitchen shelf.

She’s got a couple of tattoos, has a thing for gladiators and has been called a crazy cat lady. After working as a journalist for years, she decided she liked creating her own endings better and switched back to fiction.

She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids and two cats. And no, she still can’t reach the stupid top shelf.


Links:

Avon Romance: http://avonromance.com/book/megan-erickson-make-it-count
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20705734-make-it-count
Author website: http://meganerickson.org/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authormeganerickson
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MeganErickson_

 

DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS is COMPLETE!

Up until this point, the only novels I’d ever written were fantasy and paranormal romance. I decided this time, I wanted to try to write something a little more commercial. Sprinkle in a few random visits with my muse and DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS was born. Started Feb 1 as a part of FebNo, I connected with my MC, sixteen-year-old Arissa Jayne and her life in the armpit of ‘Merica, Innsbrooke, Florida. (FYI: There is no Innsbrooke, FL, but my location for DLS is very loosely based on the area around Dixie County, FL).

As I wrote this YA LGBT Thriller, I discovered things about my characters, I’d never considered. For example, Arissa LOVES classic rock. Whenever I needed to get into her head, I just opened up Pandora’s classic rock station and within minutes, I was her.

Finally, the story drew to a close and I wrote the words THE END just so I could see them. Adrenaline coursed through my veins and I donned a large Cheshire grin. Whether this novel ever finds an agent, a publisher, or just runs through my friends and Beta readers, doesn’t matter. What matters is that I FINISHED IT.

THE END

That being said, I have my trusty team of CPs hard at work. The first half of the MS is already edited and ready to go. Now, the rest is waiting patiently for them to devour so I can send it to my Beta readers. In the meantime, I’m ending my self-inflicted hermit status and returning to civilization.

Plotting DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS

I am a plotter. I take an idea and I try to break it down into an outline. Each bullet represents something that happens in a chapter. If detail is needed, I elaborate. It makes it easier for me to stay on target and not run off into another world where secondary characters take over (that happened with this MS A LOT to the point where I had to rename a character and the cause behind their disability because he demanded he get his own book).

In February, I started this novel, so I started an outline.

DLS Outline

I hit 50K in the month of February. Took a break for the first few weeks of March and caught up on ABC Scandal. When I started back up, I didn’t write, but edited. I cut over 4K from the intro and in March added a total of 19K words, giving me a net of 15K. The homestretch came the first week of April and I finished the MS on April 6th in the wee early morning hours. My completed outline grew into the beast you see below. It is much more involved than my original and I added the yellow highlighting to signify whenever something insane happened due to my stalker, Secret. As you can see, there is A LOT OF YELLOW.

outline fini

I will admit, I did stray from the outline some, but overall, this worked for me. My first Thriller is in the bag and I couldn’t be more excited.

Question for all my readers: What’s your style? Are you a pantser or a plotter or some wicked hybrid?

Am I Finished Editing?

correction

The novel is complete. You’ve walked away and started something else or started marathoning Doctor Who to give your mind a break. Is it ready for querying?

NO. I repeat: NO.

After it’s been through your Beta readers and CP team is it ready for querying?

Probably not, but maybe.

If you are like me, when you write, you slice open a vein and let the words flow. This tends to produce some passive phrases, adverb vomit, and some telling then showing paragraphs. You might catch some of it, when you edit, and your CP team might catch the rest. Heck, your grammar checker on Word or whatever program you use, might catch some. But is that enough?

NO. I repeat: NO.

Unless you are that good at editing. Most people aren’t. Not at first anyway.

There are two places you can go to that are free and will help you spot the number of adverbs, weak words, passive voice, etc. found in your writing. If you blog, consider using this. If you write, it’s a staple. I recommend using these sites before you pay for an editor. If you can eliminate this yourself, it means less money you spend on them.

The two sites I’m referring to are AutoCrit and EditMinion. Before I participated in PitchMAS and PITMAD, I’d never heard of either of these sites. Now, I use EditMinion because autocrit will only allow short passages before you are required to pay and receive limited feedback. It seems like a good investment for a CP team to split, but I’m not paying $77 alone.  With EditMinion, you can copy your entire novel or chapter by chapter and find out where your flaws are.

These sites are one of the many tools an author can use to figure out ways they can tighten their manuscript until they don’t have to rely on them anymore. As you edit and CP for others, finding the issues mentioned above become easier and you can transfer that to your own manuscript. It took me a while to reach a point where I didn’t feel like I needed to use either of these sites, but I’m glad I used them while I was still learning. Do yourself a favor – put your MS under the scrutiny of EditMinion (or Autocrit) before you query.

Meet Riker Irin

Riker Stats

PitMad Results

pitmadresults

Pitmad flew by and wow, what another amazing day. I went in with my three original pitches and half-way through the day one came to me that captured Carri’s voice so well, I pitched it the rest of the evening. When all was said and done I walked away with 6 favorites. 

I’ve started the traditional query process as well, which has started off exceptionally well with my first query landing me a full request.

This is me:

Happy PitMad Day

Today is the day. It’s finally arrived. Time to submit my twitter pitches to the hash tag #PitMad and hope to catch the eye of an agent or editor. If they like it, they will star my submission and I will submit my manuscript. From 8AM EST to 8PM EST, authors can pitch their novel twice an hour. I still have three pitches, but I scheduled my tweets leading with the pitch from PitchMAS that got me the most attention.

Here’s what I’m pitching:

Banned from Heaven for who she is. Wanted by Hell for what she can do. An ancient plot makes her a danger to both.

Being chased by demons & hellhounds might sound terrifying, unless you’re Carri & dating an Angel. Then it must be Thursday.

Don’t blink. Don’t look away. Carri did & lived. Now Hell wants her to break them back into Heaven & Hell can be very persuasive.

Fingers crossed for some tweets getting favorited!

Follow

Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: