Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I'm trying to read some adventure MG/YA books. Mine is an adventure book and I like reading those types of books too. I have read Hatchet(be returning that at our next meeting too, Beth) and I need some recommendations. So if you know of a great adventure read give me a shout out. :)

Thanks for the title tips and I am seriously considering them. In other words, Shadows and Hemlock, as a title for my book is O-U-T, out! Why is the title so critical? Aren't the pages inside what's important? I mean, the words and sentences and voice, that is what is so crucial to get right. Why then am I struggling with this title? Is it to catch an agents eye? I hope my story will do that.

I have read what other writers have said about titles. It's very important to have that right one. Why is it so hard for me? And maybe I'm spending way too much time thinking about this. To be continued... :)

Monday, March 30, 2009

I'm trying to get my WIP FINISHED! and it is not easy! Closing up plot holes, writing beautiful sentences. "It don't come easy," as Ringo Starr once sang about. And trying to find a title that will appeal. The title has always been, Seventy Two Hours. It's a MG novel about two thirteen year old girls who go on an endurance ride in the Blue Ridge Mountains. They end up lost and on their own for three days. The MC also has the added problem of type one diabetes and her insulin pump is empty. I've been searching to see if there is any title that would sound better to the agent/publishers ears.

I've come up with this one, Shadows and Hemlock. Hemlock meaning the evergreen tree not the poison. So what do you think? Beth, I know you like the original but you haven't heard the new one yet. And if anyone has anything to offer up, I'm ready to listen. I want everything to be READY with this MS. And I'm well aware that the title will probably be changed, but I still want something that will have a pleasant sound to it. Any help would be so appreciated!! Thanks :)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

I just wanted to say thank you to those who have signed on to follow my blog! I promise to make it worth your while. And thanks to my newest follower, Willow*waves* We're all in this together and I hope we can learn from each other! I promise to have lots of questions and not so many answers. I have learned a lot in the past few years and you know what? I didn't even realize that I had so much to learn! Thanks and cheers! :)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Do you keep a notebook? I have at least TEN; capitalized so you could really understand that there are ten notebooks surrounding my desk and most of them are empty. They are empty because when I'm writing, I'm typing, not actually writing. My handwriting is an illegible mess that only I can read. Well, Beth has probably learned to decipher it.

I bought them because they called out to me in the store. Something about them said, "Buy me and I'll help you write the greatest novel ever written." I love having them but I don't like writing everything out by hand. Hmm, I hope that doesn't mean I'm getting lazy. I have been pondering my problem and have decided to use the notebooks to jot quick ideas in or unusual names, things like that. Do you actually use notebooks? I'd love to hear what you put in yours. Happy writing. :)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

How do you think that dialogue is best written? Do you edit each sentence of dialogue after you've written it, or do you become the character and immerse yourself in the world of your character,, and then write the dialogue worrying about edits much later. I am thinking on this because I know writers who do it both ways. And both seem to work for each.

I'm becoming my character as I write trying to show her personality in the text. If I worry too much about editing as I go, then I feel as if I loose some part of the person that she is, because I'm worrying about tidying up the work instead of getting who she is across to the reader.

Do you talk aloud as your character when you're writing the dialogue? Actually sitting in the chair and speaking the words that you're typing? What fun! Of course, I think the people around you might stare, but who cares?

There's a wonderful post on all of this over at magicalwords.net written by C.E. Murphy. Thanks for reading and happy dialogue writing.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A good friend of mine, Lea Schizas has graciously offered free copies of the ebook, Critiques Don't Bite to my blogger buddies. The ebook was done with a host of other writers and editors from The Muse online Conference which is the free online conference that Lea does every October. This year will be my third and I wouldn't miss it. And did I mention, IT'S FREE! It lasts an entire week and you never miss anything because you can always log in no matter what time of day and grab whatever workshop you were scheduled for. The presenters are published writers and editors. There are workshops for children's writers as well as for the adult writing genre also.

Send me an email to robyn@robyncampbell.com with FREE CRIT BOOK in the subject heading and I'll make sure you get it right away. :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

How many times a day do you agonize over choosing the right word. This happens to me at least ten times a day while working on my manuscript. But there is always that ONE, sought after word that really makes a difference. And when I find it, I know I've found it. It hits me. Slaps me on the face.

Writing isn't just about which tag to use or should I even use a tag. It's not just about voice (though that's vital), it's not only about description, and detail. Throw in picking that one word that makes such a difference in the sound and texture of your story, that you know it was meant to live in your book, and in that particular sentence. I struggled with this the other day. I spent quite some time searching for a word that would make the sentence jump off the page. I agonized until, EUREKA, I found the word I'd been searching for. And I knew the time had not been wasted because that one word made such a big difference in the tone of my story.

Am I the only one? Do you hunt out that perfect word, nod your head and smile to yourself after finding it? :)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Click here to enter the Book Giveaway for a SIGNED copy of The Forest of Hands and Teeth and swag from the Book Launch Party of Awesome! Contest closes on April 5th.

The link above will take you over to the Writing it out blog to enter, my smarter than me critique partner, Beth's contest. Go enter, NOW! :)
Someone once said that "Writing a book is a journey--don't get lost along the way." How many of you feel lost? Maybe you've come to a point in your WIP and you aren't sure which way to go. Or you've come through a time when you didn't think your book would be finished because you lost your focus. But you finished your book and now you are subbing to agents and/or editors. How did you drive through the roadblocks, face the long revision process and get through that dang, mushy middle?

What you have to say will help folks who are feeling disappointed that the process is moving slower than they'd hoped. When I first started my book I had only written picture books. Picture books and novels are two totally different entities. I wasn't use to the freedom of description that we have writing novels. I love it! So tell us about your journey. It is a meaningful trip to take. And one that I don't want to miss.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I went to Carrie Ryan's book launch yesterday. It seemed to be exactly how I envisioned it would be. Lots of goodies to snack on and giveaways, too. She signed books and at one point there was a long line. I'm sure that had to make her feel great. She is very personable and smiled a lot. Of course, I'm sure I'll be smiling a lot at my first book launch too. I thought about mine. When she was signing books and chatting with folks, giving hugs and posing for pictures, I thought about how she must have felt. EUPHORIC! :)

I can't wait to have that feeling. I guess that means I'll work even harder to get this novel revised. And make it so much fun to read that I know I'll snatch an agent. So I've come back into the real world. My real world. My real, prepublished world. But the next time I go to a book launch it might just be my own. Or definitely my critique partner Beth's. Which will make me almost as happy as my own. :)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I'm going to my FIRST EVER book launch today. YAY! Carrie Ryan is a member of our SCBWI Carolina's and I'm very excited to go. She sent an email in to our list the other day reminding everyone about the launch and apologizing for the self promotion. You should have seen the mail she received telling her NOT to be sorry for advertising her book. And I agree! These days the author has to do a lot of the promotion and 'advertising' or it might not get done. Never apologize for success. Think about how hard it was for you to get to where you are and celebrate yourself and your book. Hard work and fortitude are to be respected in any business, especially publishing. The criticism that writers take on a daily basis shows just how much we are willing to go through to get to that reward...becoming published.

When that day comes for me, you better believe that I'm going to "shout it from the rooftops" and I've learned that I don't have to apologize! :)

Friday, March 20, 2009

When are you finished? When can you say," I'm ready to submit to agents/publishers?" I have been listening to other writers who feel that they need to constantly be working on their WIP and it seems to me that their work never gets sent out. These writers are getting their work critiqued by everyone and they will never take the next step because it will never be deemed, "ready."

I don't want to be like that. I hope that my inner voice will tell me, "It's ready." So how do you know? My critique partner knew. She's sending out to agents now. I revised chapter three and something said,"Oh yeah, that's good, girl." Maybe the first three chapters are ready. I'll let you know.

So, when are you finished? :)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Get your twitter mosaic here.

How do you writers out there punch up weak scenes in your books? Are there tips you want to share that have helped you in the past? Do you use the senses to take you into the world of your book and then try to imagine how smell or touch might enliven your written word? Do you become your character and then rewrite the weak scene and it comes alive for you? "It's alive, it's alive!" Sorry, I've always wanted to say that.

Share with me your thoughts on how to strengthen your weak, tired, scenes.And there are always going to be weak scenes that need help, especially in the middle, huh Davin? :) Maybe it will help another writer who is having a problem with this. And we need to be there for each other on this sometimes rocky and always exciting road we're on. Thanks for reading. :)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

How much dialog is too much? Can too much dialog ruin a good thing? A lot of the dialog in my first draft was simply info dumping put there to tell the reader some things they need to know. In other words it was awful. When I wrote it I thought it was needed, but after reading it I quickly said, "UGH! Who wrote that?" There was a lot of talking between my two characters. Same characters from yesterdays post. And I mean A LOT of talking. About stuff they would just normally know without saying. So how do you know when there is too much?

Maybe that's how I write my first draft. Mostly dialog. Now comes the cuttin'. And it's BRUTAL! The best way to write dialog is to keep it short, and real. And make the dialog bring the reader into the story not take them away from it. Hmm, any advice out there in blogosphere for this dialog crazed writer? :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I was in one of those negative moods yesterday. I thought that having a--POOR ME party, commonly known as a pity party would be the tonic I needed. WRONG! That just made me even more negative. It has to do with my current WIP and a rock or a stick.

My two girls age 13 are lost in the Blue Ridge Mountains and have walked right up onto a snake. A rattle snake. My dilemma? Claire can't move because she is standing too close to the said offender. So Anna, the MC must act fast! She sees a rock about as big as a soccer ball and kneels down on a quest to grab the rock. Stretching out her arm (and here is where said dilemma comes in) she pulls the rock to her and then grabs it up throwing the rock on the snake and saving Claire from a certain death. As she throws it, I now having Claire jumping back. There are some that think the rock is too big and this feat cannot be accomplished. So I should use a stick. What say you? I need help. Now remember Anna is an accomplished young lady in the area of horses. So she is no weakling.

Well back to it and I'll be checking in to look for any comments on this. PLEASE :( :( turn my frown upside down.

Happy St. Paddy's Day one and all. I'm definitely Irish--O'Ross O'Donnell and this is a day of corned beef and cabbage and Irish soda bread. MMMMM--yum!

Monday, March 16, 2009

A while back on my SCBWI list there was a discussion on how to write sound into dialogue? What I mean by that is if you're going to need to write a creepy sound, do you just write a sound like CRNNK or is it more effective to evoke the fear earlier on in the story so that you don't need the sound? You already have the fear by association and so when it's time to use a sound word you don't even need the actual word. I think making sure your character gets nervous when he hears a certain noise without having to write the noise is more effective. And you can do this by writing fear into your character when a certain memory comes to his mind but you have to be careful and not get carried away with this either. There's a fine line here too? Anyone have anything to add?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I worked on my WIP yesterday and couldn't post anything on my blog. The muse was flowing along and life seemed ever so wonderful. I love those times. And when those days come I like to make use of them. I'm hoping today after my critique group meeting the muse will still be hanging out! Oh yeah!

Have any of you come across this blog--behlerblog.wordpress.com/2007/10/17/submission-autopsy-part-1-show-vs-tell/

It is absolutely hysterical and so true. Check it out if you haven't already. There are four parts to the autopsy.

I hope the muse strikes one and all!! :)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I wanted to write something writerly today. And I was wondering if anyone has the same problem that I seem to have. I write stuff into my characters dialogue that I want the reader to know. And this could be things that people wouldn't normally discuss. In other words, I'm throwing dialogue in there that I shouldn't, but it's become a habit and I don't know how to avoid doing it. For instance, having the characters discuss something that should be totally obvious to them which means they wouldn't talk about this something. They would just do it. But I feel the reader needs to know. How do I show it without dialogue? Through actions, and reactions? If characterA is going to pick up a rock and character B knows this, character A is not going to say to B, "I'm going to pick up this rock" but it's important to the story and the reader needs to know so how do I show that A is picking up the rock without using dialogue? Like this; A bent down and quickly grabbed the rock that was about the size of her fist?
Tomorrow Shelli over at Market My Words is having an MRI. Please pray for her that everything is normal up there and that she get over this dizziness she is having. My son is also having a problem with dizziness so I know what she is going through. He had an MRI on Tuesday. He has a rare brain disorder and use to have about 35-40 seizures a day. He's been seizure free for 13 years, Praise be to God, believe me. So I'm sending great vibes and karma over to Shelli today. :)

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Time! For writing! I'm a morning person when it comes to my writing schedule. I write best in the early to mid A.M.. I am thinking about an all nighter--or almost an all nighter. Write from eleven o'clock until three or four and then get some sleep. Things are getting in the way of my morning writing time. Things that can't be helped but they are still taking me away from my schedule.

Am I the only one having this problem? For those of you that write in the morning do things try to keep you from your writing? I wonder if I'll be able to concentrate at that time. I'm usually in bed by eleven p.m.. I'll let you know how my experiment goes, and if I'm even brave enough to try it. Time!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

What do you think about changing POV in different chapters in children's books? In the Harry Potter books for example the majority of chapters being written in the protagonist's POV . But there might be some chapters in different POV. Mine changes POV in four chapters which seems a nice fit to me. I know Adult books do this a lot.

When changing POV like that does everything that happens have to be known to the protagonist?

And omnipresent POV is what?? Is that when it's not in any one charater's POV? The narrative written as though it's coming from some person unrelated to the story in any way. The Lord of the Rings books for example? Is that an old fashioned way of telling the story? AUGH!! It's all so deep. I just want to write. And rules...are made to be broken, right?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A great blog to get your creativity flowing is over at Davin's, literarylab.blogspot.com

For the past few days he has been talking about physical descriptions and do they matter?? My two cents? Physical description is great up to a point. But I believe the reader likes to form pictures in his or her mind as they're reading. You know, make up their minds as to what a person looks like. So I agree it's good in measured amounts but I don't want to know everything from the writer. I like to make up my own mind.

And Davin did an experiment by writing a scene with minimal physical description and then the visitors commented as to what pictures they formed in their heads. The people that commented had some vastly different pictures in their heads and some of the images they had were the same. Some of the folks had full photographs forming in their heads. Amazing stuff. Just to get y'all to thinking...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Okay, when dealing with conversation in a novel should you drop all descriptive tags favoring 'she said' over 'she grumbled'? It makes it easier to set up the scene using 'she shouted' over 'she said'. I know there are times when you have to use 'said' but combining the dialogue with action and rhythm makes it more interesting to read. And it reads much more easily.

I have to watch not to overuse strong verbs when dealing with tags. I can't seem to find that balance. And how do you know when you've used too them too much? I mean there isn't a formula to go by. I know when you read it out loud it has to sound natural. But my ears might hear natural and someone else might read the same passage and say it doesn't sound real. Off I go to write some more wonderfully, descriptive tags. And let's not even get started on my over/under use of commas.

Monday, March 2, 2009

It Finally Snowed! Wahoo!!

In North Carolina we got six and a half inches of the white stuff. So writing has taken a back seat to playing in the snow! We went sledding down our big hill. But we couldn't make a snowman or throw snowballs because the snow is so powdery. Still it was fun to play in and we don't get too much of it. This was the most we've had in several years.

I've come in the house to get some work done but with all the activity going on, I doubt I'll be able to write much. I think I'll put my ear plugs in. Maybe that'll do it. Later I'll saddle a horse and take a ride. We live in the country and riding a horse in the snow will inspire anyone. The beauty is so encouraging. I hope everyone else can get some serious writing done.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Thumbs up to a great contest going on over at Market My Words.
"Comment Your Butt Off" is just what it says. A contest where all you really have to do is visit Shelli's blog and leave daily comments. You're going to do that anyway, so hop on over, hang out a spell, and leave a comment while you're there. You might just win a web site designed by Shelli.
There's a link to it under my blog list.

March 1st

It's March, wahoo! I'm ready for spring time to arrive.

It gives a girl ideas to write about. There are a lot of conversations to hear. Let's admit it! We writers listen in on other people. It's food for our novels and it helps us write REAL.

So I get out and listen. Not to be nosy but so I can get a feel for how people talk. It helps me with my voice. And I write for kids so I usually listen to anyone from five years old to eighteen years old. I do notice what adults say too. Just not as much as the kids. When I started doing this I felt guilty. Now it has become a habit and I do it without even thinking about it. And the things I hear. Of course, I never repeat what I learn. So if you're eating out or having coffee look around, I might be listening. And learning. I promise I won't tell a soul!!:) It's just fodder for my stories.