First, let's get to the good stuff. Drum roll please. :) :)
The winner of the title contest is: Candy Ganger, Silent Stables: The Disappearance of Fancy and Rundee. You have my email, lady. So shoot me one with your mailing address. Congrats. She wins a $30.00 Barnes and Noble gift card and a sweet little basket of goodies from Village Coffee. http://themisadventuresincandyland.blogspot.com/
The second place winner was right on Candy's heels (only missed it by 6 votes. And believe me, I counted ten times.) so I will send Doctor Lydia Kang, Gone in a Gallop, a $15.00 Barnes and Noble gift card. Thanks and congrats Lydia. Email me with your contact info. http://lydiakang.blogspot.com/
Check out these blogs. These ladies are amazing.
Thanks everyone for all the wonderful title ideas. Dang, you people are GOOOOD!
What are your writerly strengths? Weaknesses? I'll go first. My strengths? Voice. Dialogue. Weaknesses? Voice. Dialogue. Yep. You read that right.
I love to write. I love to write for kids. And I have been told I have great voice. And not so great voice. I have been told I'm a whiz with dialogue. And I've been told I write too much dialogue. My strengths and weaknesses are the same. So I must find the right balance.
The problem with my dialogue can be summed up like this. Sometimes I go to the extreme. Trying to hard. And I get so into writing dialogue that five pages later I go, "Oops." I have really been trying to use lots more description and not so much dialogue. But I have to be careful, lest I write an entire book with dialogue. :)
I must remind myself of these things every once in a while:
Always be careful not to use phony dialogue just to get where you are going. You know, to advance the plot. I would never say to a friend, "Where are we going?" That is just for the readers benefit and the reader doesn't like it. :) Or "what's up with that?" *groan*
Never sound like another writer. I have my own voice. And it's very nice. :)
Suffixes. Ness words. The reader doesn't like them. They make the reader trip. He/she has to come back and reread. And we can do without them.
Smart quotes. Use them. The agent will have to change over to smart quotes, anyway.
Commas, those little buggers. I sometimes don't like to put them where they go, because I don't like the pause they give. Put them. Punctuation is very important. Learn the rules. :) (I'm still learning.)
I have a little problem with pacing that I am correcting. *CONFETTI* It can be too smooth. Too just so. I need to remember to shake it up. Or it can be too uneven. YIKES. Speak the scene out loud. You'll know, because you'll hear it. Very important.
I'm just glad that I can admit my faults. Shhhh, don't tell hubby.
Two great books? Page After Page and Chapter After Chapter, both by Heather Sellers.
Do you know what your strengths as a writer are? Your weaknesses? Care to show? And show how you fixed it. Someone else might need to know. :) I love you all. :)