Carol Callicotte

Author

Update on First Times and Second Chances March 9, 2018

Filed under: Books,Writing,Young Adult — A French American Life @ 3:30 pm
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Major reconstruction: completed.

First Times and Second Chances began as a novel about a fifteen–year-old girl who goes to a summer camp. I first wrote it when I was 14 or 15. It was, in some ways, my fantasy of a summer of freedom and a gorgeous boy who found me irresistible. The camp I created was devoid of structure or adult supervision and was completely unrealistic. Still the bones were good.

About nine years ago I began rewriting it as an adventure camp for teens: more structure, more realistic – but still, it didn’t work. The setting was too … blah. The execution too… pedestrian.

Seven years ago I had an epiphany: I love France. I know France. I speak French. I have a unique skill set and the experience of attending not one but two French immersion programs in France. Why not change the setting? Et voila, I decided to send Jenni to Antibes.

Thus began a third major overhaul of this book. One that involved killing so many darlings. Beloved characters – excised. Plot developments, dialogue exchanges, and scenes I once was once married to ending in divorce. I tore apart my book. Scene by scene. Paragraph by paragraph. Word by word. The essence and the main plot line remained, but everything else was reborn as something new.

I’ve been buried in my latest draft since September, when I committed to writing at least an hour each day. I threw myself, heart and soul, into finding Jenni’s story. I needed it, too. These last few years, I’ve desperately needed an escape; a beach read that allowed me to escape reality.

I wrote. I rewrote. I analyzed on a macro-level: Does each scene move the plot forward? Does my main character change? Does she have a goal in each scene? Does the tension rise? Does it all make sense? I analyzed on a micro-level: searching for words and phrases I tend to use as crutches or that might be my own idiosyncrasies that would annoy my readers.

And now – I have a book. A book I’m excited about. A book an agent might be (fingers and toes crossed) excited about.

Next steps: Probably another revision – hopefully not a huge one. Then – let the agent search begin!

 

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Conferencing March 16, 2010

I’ve been to two conferences in the last couple months: The San Diego State University Writer’s Conference, and then my fourth (!) year at the Southern California Writer’s Conference here in San Diego. I guess this makes me a conference junkie.

Going to conferences is great, regardless of where you are as a writer. Contemplating exercising that right brain in this particular creative endeavor? There’s plenty of inspiration for newbies. A draft or partial draft in and unsure what on earth you’ve gotten yourself into? Seminars on every aspect of story creation or editing can be found at most any conference. Curious about the business side? Plenty of information to be found. Have a clean, edited final manuscript? Here’s a great place to connect with agents and editors.

The thing I’ve loved most, however, about going to conferences is the people I meet and the inspiration I take away. I always leave with a few new friends (and potential critique partners) and with a renewed sense of purpose. This year was no different.

I haven’t ventured out of San Diego yet for a conference; any suggestions out there on good ones you’ve been to?

CURRENTLY READING: THE LITTLE BOOK by Selden Edwards

Confession: I hate time travel stories. I get stuck every time on the whole grandfather clause thing; plus the butterfly effect. But two things have snuck in under my radar. The TV show Lost. I loved it from the get go, and then they started the whole time travel storyline, but I was already hooked. And then, this not so little book. I knew it was time travel and hesitated to buy it, but I heard the author speak at the SCWC and he was so charming that I had to give his book a try. SO GLAD I did – I’m loving it so far. A caveat: both of these time travel stories contend that whatever happened, happened, so the outcomes can’t be changed. That’s time travel I can live with.

 

Quiet but Working September 3, 2009

Filed under: Books,Cheater,Projects,Writing — A French American Life @ 11:42 am
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I know I’ve been quiet lately. At least blog quiet. I’ve taken a long break from the submission process for Cheater, but plan to start up again this month. And the most important thing is this: I have been writing. A lot. I’ve found a great rhythm and balance between working part time and writing part time, and have been happily delving into a YA novel I wrote as a 13 year old. It needs a lot of work – but the bones are good. It’s been fun (yet angst inducing) to return to the teenage world. Mostly fun. And I have to say, I love the voice I’ve found, and it is so easy, scarily easy, to slip into my inner teenager. This character is flowing over with potential, and I can see myself writing many, many stories with her. Changing my focus from searching for an agent back to craft has been rejuvenating. Just what I needed to do some revising on Cheater and jump back into the toil of the querying process!

 

Word Count August 26, 2008

Filed under: For Writers,Writing,Writing World — A French American Life @ 12:34 pm
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For those of you who, like me, have been confused by word count expectations for novels, agent Colleen Lindsay of FinePrint Literary Management has an excellent post on this subject.  The numbers I’ve heard vary widely depending on the source.  Thanks to Colleen for giving us some solid guidelines.