The Writing Process, This Is

While we wait for #PItchWars and #WriteOnCon results to roll in, I thought I’d let one of my favorite (GREEN!) characters of all time help me explain the writing process.

Enlighten you, we will.  

So you’re struck with this awesome idea for a story. This story will be like none ever written before it. You must write this story because you owe it to mankind. It’s just that good.

New York Times Best Seller, you will be.

You grab your laptop, crack your knuckles and face the blank page. You can do this. You’ve done your research, checked your genres, calculated word counts, considered POV, planned your plot development. You’re ready.

It looks something like this:

Prepared Yoda


You’re writing. You’re clicking away. You’re pulling words out of places in your brain that you didn’t know existed.  It feels awesome. Like you drank the blue stuff in the Cantina.

Then somewhere along the middle of the manuscript, this happens.

Falling Yoda


And you think, “What I was I thinking? I can’t do this. Writing. Is. Hard.”

After a temporary freak out that probably involves chocolate, ice cream, or wine, you pull yourself up by the bootstraps. Somewhere deep inside you something urges you to keep going. The Force is strong within you.

So you keep writing.

No Try Yoda

There is no try, people. There is no try. 

You’ keep at it. You show character growth. You increase the conflict. You even manage to throw in a love interest (that isn’t the MC’s brother.) You’re balancing it all like a pro.

Balance Yoda

Then somehow you manage to get to the place where you type THE END (Or actually ####### if you want to get modern). You did it.  

Finished, it is.

So you hold your breath as you send it to your Crit Partners or Beta Readers.  As the Force would have it, they return your MS with helpful notes and suggestions. (Or they breathe heavily into a black mask.)

 Now it’s time to revise.

Slasher Yoda

Revise, you do. And edit, and revise some more. You slash out filter words, you cut unnecessary scenes, you light saber the crap out of your little darlings.

 Now your MS is ready to Query.

First you spend almost as long writing the Query letter as you did the MS. Then, you send it to unsuspecting agents with a prayer and unspoken plea to LOVE IT, PLEASE PLEASE LOVE IT!!!

Help me, Agent Awesome, you’re my only hope. 

Piggy Back Yoda


Then you get a rejection letter.

Depressed Yoda


And maybe another.

And possibly a lot more. In fact, you start to think that there’s not a Tauntan’s chance on Tatooine that any agent will want to pick you as a client.

But one day. One, grand and glorious day, you get “THE CALL” from an agent who wants to talk about representation.

Gets your work, she does.

Dancing Yoda


From there, it’s just a short trip in an X-Wing fighter to publication. And by that, I mean: revision, waiting, editor feedback, publishing house submission, waiting, more revision, marketing, foreign rights, more waiting, probably more revision, packaging, droids, and contracts.

And then your day arrives. The Ewoks are saved! Your MS is now a book.

Drawing Yoda

Published Author, you are. 

To my writing friends and Jedis: May the Force be with you. 


Pitch Wars Mentee Bio

My name is Michelle Collins. I enjoy candlelit dinners and long walks on the beach…

Benedict hello

Actually, that’s not true. I’d rather eat at a greasy burger joint and I prefer snow over sand.

(Obviously I’m not really Benedict Cumberbatch either. But wouldn’t it be awesome if I was?)

Michelle Collins green photo

This is me with green nails and shirt to match my MS. Yes, I tend to go be an all or nothing type person.

This is my officially unofficial mentee bio for Brenda Drake’s Pitch Wars contest.  Dannie Morin, one of the mentors for the contest has posted a Blog Hop for potential mentees. Check out Dannie and the other Pitch Wars hopefuls here. Mentee Blog Hop

Now, please allow me to share a little more about myself.

Follow Me Four

I live in the South with my husband and 2 kids (1 of each gender) who are older than I care to mention. We’re all Anglophiles, into European football, and actually enjoy spending time together, usually watching Syfy channel or BBC America. I have been an Elementary teacher and now I teach a Study Skills class at the same local college where I spend my days as an Institutional Research Analyst. (Yeah, I don’t know what that means yet either. Just got the promotion a few days ago! I’ll let you know.) I’ve also spent some time working at a newspaper running a Newspapers In Education program and writing the occasional article. My favorite part of that job was overseeing story time at the library.

I write YA because that’s where my natural voice is, even though I passed YA some time ago. I also read YA because apparently my voice is a direct reflection of my brain. That’s okay. My husband loves me anyway. For reals, I would totally be fine if I only read and wrote YA books forever and ever.

Like most writers, I was a reader first. I enjoy speculative fiction with Sci-Fi being my strong fave. Urban Fantasy, High Fantasy, Magical Realism, and Horror are cool by me too. As long as there’s a strong romantic element, I’m all over it. I haven’t tried a lot of realistic Contemp books, but perhaps I could be swayed by the right one. Just don’t ask me to read THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, for I am a very ugly crier.

Most importantly, I don’t care what the publishers say, I love, love, LOVE Dystopian and will read every one that I can get my grabby hands on. You should know–there are more people out there like me. There are.

DT Matt

We’re the ones you’ll want on your side in the Zombie Apocalypse.

I’ve been a card-carrying Sci-Fi geek for as long as I have been able to comprehend what that means. (My Return of the Jedi collector cards say so.) My fave Sci-Fi (non-book) things are Doctor Who, Fringe, Firefly, Haven, Star Trek, Sherlock (which is not technically Sci-Fi but sometimes looks like it is), The Walking Dead and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

So I guess I like some horror too.

And like all geeks, I have preferences. Here’s where I come down on the important issues:

Next Gen over Original. Ten over Eleven. Spike over Angel. Cumberbatch over Miller. And Daryl Dixon over everyone else on the planet.

Daryl Dixon 1

I dislike bananas, coffee, and Nicholas Cage.

I like pork rinds, the end of Allegiant, and Keanu Reeves.

As you can see, I tend to go against the grain.

Mal giggle

My favorite books through the years are: A Wrinkle in Time, Brave New World, The Giver, Slaughterhouse Five, The Outsiders, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Stand, The Uglies series, Divergent, and all of the Harry Potter books.

If I had three wishes, I’d wish for the imagination of JK Rowling, the dialogue wizardry of Joss Whedon, and the cojones of Steven Moffat.

For mentors considering me: I’m mature enough to take constructive criticism and have learned to put my emotion to the side when I receive it. I love my characters and believe in my MS, therefore I’ll do what I have to do to polish and revise it.  I teach focusing and concentration in my classes, so I can buckle down when needed. Also, I have vacation days left and I’m not afraid to use them.

So bring on your words of wisdom, mentors. I am prepared to matrix them into something amazing!

Keanu  come on

My YA manuscript, EVERGREEN, is character driven with a lot of action and has a high swoony factor. Set during the Vaccine War in the realistic (actually possible) future, it’s topical with that nasty Ebola virus rearing its ugly head again. It combines the Sci-Fi of Frankenstein with the romance of Romeo & Juliet. It’s dark in tone, but not without a sense of humor. So yeah, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll want to make out with someone.

herman lilly

That’s the condensed version of my life and times. I’m open to questions/comments/ARCs of your books.

so long dolphin

So long and thanks for all the fish!