Thursday, April 30, 2009

This will probably be short. I'm at the hospital with my son today. Just read the post from Elana Roth entitled; The Lost World of Middle Grade. ARGH! That's what I'm writing, but as I read through, I discover it is talking about the reasons that agents aren't getting too many MG subs. They're begging for middle grade stories. YA is so popular now, due in part to the Twilight series. And she even talks about some Adult literary fiction agents crossing over to represent YA. Whoa! All because of Twilight. Also the fact, that YA sells better than adult. Plus, I know MG kids reading young adult now. Better stories, they tell me.

One blogger wrote that she believes J.k. is part of the problem. After her success, the market was flooded with MG series, causing some writers to back down from MG.

She ended saying to consider this post a call for smart, voice-driven middle grade. YAY! I'm going to answer that call--long about June! :)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I read a good post today from agent Jenny Bent. She was talking about the benefits of younger agents versus older agents. And what she said has totally changed my mind on this topic. As she said, younger agents can sell your book, too. They are willing to take more chances. They're ambitious, and they don't know as much about certain things as the older agents do. That makes them more willing to take a chance on a pre-pubbed writer such as myself. Older agents have a lot to offer, too. They know folks! Publishers, editors and those folks that we writers need for them to know. And if they're really good, they mentor the younger agents when they need it.

I guess what I am saying here is, it doesn't matter about age. Just like in life. There are advantages to both. I'll query 'em all. All of them that rep books like I am writing. Well, not all, but at least, hmm, twenty five of them. :) I'll work hard at this, because it is my DREAM, to sit down, with a cup of coffee, and read MY book! Oh yeah! :)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

How do you handle writer's block? I know people handle things differently, but I have been trying to develop my first page into something winnable(to win an agent) that now my revisions have slowed to a NOT there at all! ARGH! I let it get to me. I shouldn't have, but I did. It's a foggy brain because I can't seem to write today. I gave up and thought that maybe tomorrow I might write all day long! It made me wonder, how many of you even get it? Maybe it's just a me thing. And I don't get it too much, as a matter of fact, I guess this my first time with it.

Do you get up and run around the desk a few times? Trust me, it doesn't work! Eat? Naw, it doesn't work, either. I've tried these today. I hope that giving in to it and deciding to take the day off will be the charm. And I don't have time, because of all the traveling to the hospital with my son. Which I will have to do on Thursday.

Will I defeat this demon? Dunno. I'll let you know, tomorrow! :)

And thanks to all the new folks who signed on. I appreciate it very much! I hope we all get that gold ring. PUBLICATION!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Are Twitter, FaceBook and all the other social networking sites stealing away your time. Your precious writing time? A writer I know said they are like vampires, only instead of sucking your blood, they suck away the hours, minutes, and seconds of your time. Time better spent writing and rewriting. Is this happening to you?

I was wondering because, I won't let it happen to me. I only get on those sites when I've finished my writing or I'm on a much needed break.

How many people fritter away their time on those sites? That could be hazardous to your writing health. I can see wanting to connect with other writers because writing is so solitary, we all need other people, especially people like ourselves. People that write. And those sites can be a way to link up. But don't let it interfere with the job at hand. :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

How many of you hang out at the Book Roast? It's a place where authors hang out and answer questions during the week. On Mondays they have a mystery publisher blogging about different things. It's fun to go and read the posts and they have contests too, for those of you so inclined. Stop by and give it a read, some time.
PJ, I saw your name on the list. Have you already sliced and served?

I'm having a problem with my novel. It's nothing that can't be fixed, but it is going to take some major brain power to figure out a solution. And I've been to the hospital with my son so much lately that brain power is lacking. I mean really lacking. I will try and work the problem out tomorrow morning, that's when my writing goes the best. Early A.M.. How about you? Talk to me!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I'm late with my posting today. I have been deep into my WIP all day and only now have stopped to blog. I made real progress, too.

I was wondering how many of you outline? I started my current WIP without an outline, but I did have a vision of where it was going and of course I had a character chart, too. How many of you do character charts? I love doing them. They help me to know my characters, really know them. Hair color, favorite foods, movies, music, that sort of thing.

But I don't like outlines. I was thinking about starting with an outline on my next manuscript. I'm not even sure how to go about doing one. There are so many different ways to do them. Any advice out there would be very much appreciated. Has outlining worked for you? Why or why not? Thanks for reading. :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

These are my links to ten great blogs that I want to give the Lemonade Stand Award to. Thanks again, Beth


Monday, April 20, 2009

I am at the hospital with my son today, but as promised here is the marvelous Beth Revis. Hello Beth and let me say it’s great to have you here today. Oh and feel free to edit my punctuation. You and I both know it’s just not my thing. Hope you enjoyed those, ahem *pretend* peeps.
Beth Revis has come to talk to us about writing and how blogging can aid us as we walk down this road to publication.
Beth, can you talk about lack of self confidence and what you do to try and overcome this problem that can be overwhelming at times?

One thing that few people realize about me is that I have horrible self-confidence—not just about my writing, but about everything! But I learned during those painful junior high years, where I was ceaselessly plagued for pimples and braces, that the only difference between me and the cool kids (other than designer clothes) was confidence. So I walked with my head held up high...and it worked. Since then, I’ve applied that to everything in my life: if I think I can, and act like I can, and believe I can, then I will at least have the courage to try...and if I fail, then I’ve at least tried something new. Life is more full of adventure this way, that’s for sure!

How has having your blog added to your writing?
I used to think that writers were horribly selfish people who lived in their ivory towers and laughed at the scribbling pre-published writers who groveled at their feet. When I started the blog, I started it mostly to be self-reflective and keep track of links that I liked. Then I started meeting other writers. First, PJ Hoover, whose kindness blew me out of the water (and destroyed my previous image of ivory towered writers not daring to mess with the Untouchable prepubbed writers). She really gave me the encouragement to keep up the blog and turn it into something more. Since then, I’ve tried to use the blog as a combination of sharing with others what works and doesn’t, and keeping myself on task. I feel like a tool when I write a blog entry about writing and I’ve not written anything lately. So by making writing posts public, I also self-shame myself into sticking to my writing goals.

What advice do you have for new writers who are just beginning their blogs?
1. Never post anything negative about agents/editors/writers. No matter how mad you are about the rejection, you look unprofessional when you post about it.
2. Be wary of posting too much of your work online. There’s copyright issues, sure, but you also don’t want to have too much up there that’s not polished/not professional (in case an agent actually does look at it), nor do you want another Midnight Sun on your hands if someone leaks it.
3. Try to keep a professional tone—you don’t want to sound whiney or desperate.
4. Make the blog something you wouldn’t be ashamed of if your favorite author, your dream agent, or your future publisher read it.
5. Maintain focus. If you’re writing a blog about writing, then don’t include too many pictures of the dog.
6. On the other hand, though, it IS always fun to get a peek into a writer’s personal life, so don’t be afraid to occasionally post about things you’re passionate about.
7. Have fun! If you don’t enjoy blogging, and it’s become a chore—quit. There are better ways of spending your time. Such as writing a novel.

What is the most important piece of advice you would like to give to the writers out there in blogosphere?
Don’t be one of those writers that make the rest of us cringe. We all know “writers” who are self-absorbed, don’t read submission guidelines, think self-publishing = viable publishing, blame the market instead of their own writing, etc., etc. Don’t be that person.

What do you do when you find yourself stuck while writing your story?
Usually play on the internet! Inevitably, I take a break from it. Typically, however, while I’m taking a break, I’m also thinking about the story. If the solution doesn’t come to me, however, I just sit down and force myself to stare at the computer until I write something, Just writing gets the juices flowing and the story picks back up again. Butt-in-chair never fails.

How long do you give yourself to look over potential agents to query?
At least a month or two. When I finish a novel, I seek out beta readers. While they’re reading, I research agents. I also keep track of any potential agents while I’m writing. I’ve got a folder full of bookmarks to new agents sites. When I’m ready to query, I’m starting there.

Any other thoughts about this road we’re all on together?
Personally, I feel that all writers should ask him or herself this question when they start thinking about publication: am I in it for the fun of writing, or am I in it for the fun...and for publication? I’ve been reading a lot lately, between queryfail and agentfail and agent blogs, about writers who don’t seem to have a realistic picture of writing as a business. Although writing itself is an art, publication is business, and I feel very strongly that every writer should present him or herself in a professional manner. That certainly doesn’t mean not to have fun! Just today I wrote a blog post that involved Tyra Banks and Easter candy...but at the root of all my dealings with writing, I’m striving to make myself both a better writer and a better professional.

Thanks so much for being brave enough to be my test subject! You’ll never know how much it’s appreciated. *Everyone claps*

Sunday, April 19, 2009

I hope y'all kept up with queryday on Twitter. I like the name queryday much better. Queryfail doesn't have the same sound that queryday has. It was eye-opening that's for sure. I learned a few things, but there's one thing I'm still stumped on. Should we single space or double space our queries? I feel that is important. I think that agents eyes are so tired that double spacing would be the way to go. You know, easier to read. But I saw where some said you should always single space. It's not going to say on their web site, so how do we know, and does it matter? If they want to read your manuscript, they want to read it no matter how many spaces, right?

I want to be as professional as I can in my querying. So how do y'all answer this? I read where little things like this, has stopped them from requesting to read the full manuscript. And the most important way to not land an agent is the failure to follow directions. So what do you do? And is it important? Thanks for reading. :)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Does a writer need online video to promote his/her writing? This is a question that faces each of us as more and more writers feel they need a more personal and memorable way to reach out once their book is published. And it is something to think about before the book is sold. This is a way to increase trust and it makes us more credible. Writers that are already using it claim that it creates a personal connection with your audience, They also tell us that this is just another way of expanding your online presence. YouTube, TubeMogul, and UStream just to name a few, are for the most part free. They tell us that they will vastly improve our search engine rankings.

We're told that online video is much more effective than a text-only website. I learned all of this from Lou Bortone. He had an online live chat yesterday, about using this as a way of generating awareness for our books. Lou is a Branding and Video Coach, for those of you unfamiliar with him. He said that YouTube is on its way back up. And that every writer needs to consider online video.

I thought writing was about writing. I'm wondering what Poe or Hemingway or any of the GREAT writers that came before would say about all of this. I'm guessing some would love it and others would hate it. It's the times, my friends. Any comments? :)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

First of all, thanks for all the good wishes, thoughts and prayers for my son. He is very bruised on his face and I have to keep it wet with vaseline but thanks be to God, he is okay. YAY! He wouldn't wake up from the general anesthesia, (which really scared me) so they had to make him wake up. Finally, he woke up and is doing a little better today. I'm really thankful for all of you. I'll be back full force tomorrow and don't forget about my interview with the famous Beth Revis, *smiles* on Monday, April 20th. Be safe, :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I am at the hospital with my son today. He's having his surgery. Please think about him and send a prayer up to God for him. I thank you with all my heart, my writing friends. And please(WHOOPS there's that word-- and, Davin), happy writing to all! Talk to ya tomorrow! :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Please DO NOT forget my interview with fantasy/sci-fi writer, Beth Revis, Monday April 2oth. Yeah, yeah, I slipped her some peeps to get her to do it. And please do NOT forget to enter my contest:

The prize: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Ways to enter:
-You're a follower or you become one (1 point)
-You comment on this post (1point)
-You post this somewhere on your blog (2 points) and comment telling me so with a link to your blog.
-You get a someone to become a follower (3 points) and comment telling me you have done so.
Contest ends May 1st and runs internationally. :)

I have decided to begin keeping a tally of my revisions for the week. In other words on Monday, I promised myself that I would revise four chapters this week. I'm wondering what y'all think of this. I know authors keep track of so many words that they want to write in a week but what do you think of doing it in revisions? And it's a little low because of my son's surgery tomorrow. Otherwise it might be eight chapters. Do you think this is a good idea? Have you ever done it? If so, please let me know if it worked for you. It seems to me that at some point I will let it rest for a couple of weeks, but I'd like to think it is done and then let it rest. When I pick it up after the rest period then I will just have minor things to fix, I hope! Thanks for reading and thanks to those who have decided to follow my blog. We're all in this together. :)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

I met with Beth today at our coffee house and we talked about all things writerly! AHHH, how nice it is to talk writerly with another writer! We had a great meeting and discussed some things about our manuscripts, and I came home with countless ideas for helping my story.

Might I say, it comes in quite HANDY to have a World Literature teacher as your critique partner. I highly recommend it! She's always showing me my punctuation errors (of which there are many). I have learned a lot from her and count myself blessed to have her in my corner. YAY for Beth. Speaking of Beth Revis, she will be interviewed on this blog, Monday, April 20th 2009. :)
I realize it has been two days with no posts. Sorry, I have been getting ready for my son's surgery on the fifteenth of April and then we had bad thunderstorms yesterday and the internet was down. Just got it back up so I will post later today. Off to my critique group meeting. :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Do kids prefer single POV novels? And what about agents/editors? Do they prefer them? These questions were posted on a list serve that I'm on and I decided it was worth discussing. Is it okay to tell a historical novel in multiple POVS? That is done frequently, isn't it? And what about other genres? YA romance? Contemporary, for example. One or two POVs? I know that a change between two main characters is done, alternating chapters, and done repeatedly. In my MG book, I have to change POV as I switch to another setting. But there are just two POVs in the book. It keeps going back to these two characters. Some books switch between two POVS every chapter.

It makes me wonder what editors think about alternating POVs. And the most important question, what do the readers think about it. Is it confusing to them? Certainly not to the YA audience, but what about MGers? Which do the readers prefer?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

What makes a good story? Start with a likable character, add some great action, and throw in a dash of well written description that takes the reader to the place they need to be. There are A LOT of stories published everyday that don't come close to accomplishing any of these things.

Disappointing endings, sorry beginnings, or both contribute to bad stories. So how do we want our stories to be different than these? We want our stories to make time pass in a way that the reader doesn't even realize that any time has passed. That they have been so riveted by our plot, characters, and detail... time has past unnoticed. We want the reader to immerse themselves in the story. To travel to the setting and walk down the road with the main character.

The good stories are so valuable. Isn't that what we want ours to be? :)

Monday, April 6, 2009

I gave up and thanks to Sarah over at, I joined Twitter. Needing friends here, need to feel the love.

Fast forward to Sunday(yesterday) and my critiquing partner, Beth sent me an invite to join Facebook. Yes, I did that too. We'd went to a writing workshop on Saturday and it was about marketing your book and getting your name out there. Beth was already a member of facebook, but I hadn't had the opportunity to jump in.

I have been with goodreads for about six to eight months and I love it. Got A LOT of friends there and feelin' the love, it's oh so fine! Now if I can just get it together on facebook and twitter I'll be doing everything I need to do, to market my book. OOPS, I forgot, first things first, I need to finish the book! :)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I just discovered Document Map in word. I love this new found friend, but I'm wondering if I'm the only person in the world that didn't know of its existence.

It is so cool, no more scrolling through your entire manuscript to find a certain page. You simply click on view, then click Document Map and your chapter numbers appear on the left side. Say you wanted to go to chapter twelve--no scrolling through, just click on chapter twelve and it takes you to chapter twelve.

Seriously, I AM the only one who didn't know about this, aren't I? Well, it's official now, the WHOLE world knows about this little gem. Give or take a few.

I know there are folks out there that swear by Word Perfect. I like Word, it does what I tell it to and that's good enough for me.

I'm wondering why no one told me about it before. Hmmm

Friday, April 3, 2009

I live on a farm, and well, it's farming season again. Time to get out the hoe and do a little backbreaking work. It's all good though. The fresh veggies and exercise will help me stay healthy.

My twenty three year old son has a rare brain disorder (though he is doing great) he needs to have some laser surgery done, because his gums are going to grow over his teeth(one of the affects of Sturge-Weber Syndrome). Please send a prayer up to God for him. I love Christopher so very much and he truly inspires me with his courage. Thanks for praying.

There doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day. I blogged that I would be writing in the midnight hour and that time has come. I'll let you know how it works for me. I already have my next novel in the planning stages and I will be thrilled to get started on it. It will be a YA book. It seems to me like writers are always planning the next book even before they're finished with the current one. Is it just me? Do you make plans for the next story even if it's in your head and not on paper? It gives me a release to think about the next one. Sometimes I need that. :)

Don't forget to enter my contest to win a free copy of the book, The Hunger Games.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Contest alert *Giant NEON SIGN*

The prize: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Ways to enter:
-You're a follower or you become one (1 point)
-You comment on this post (1point)
-You post this somewhere on your blog (2 points) and comment telling me so with a link to your blog.
-You get a someone to become a follower (3 points) and comment telling me you have done so.
Contest ends May 1st and runs internationally. :)
Style and voice. Voice and style. Are they the same? I once read that, "Voice is the authors natural use of language to create authentic and original characters and unique storytelling."

So style is the result of the voice? I know that if you have three different people write about the same subject, of course, you'll get three different images, three different ways of speaking, all expressing different style. Each voice is unique to the writer. So how do you develop your natural voice and change it with every new manuscript that you write, to fit your new characters and story? Your voice is yours and yours alone and it changes with every story that you write to fit the new people in the next tale. I can prove this by asking you to look at Stephen King or J.K. Rowling. If you read anything by either of these writers one thing is obvious. Their voice. You can tell that a book was written by them just by reading a paragraph. Their voice belongs to them. It is clear, well defined. And so is their style. Does this come from practice or is it just natural? Something for you to think on.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

How long does it take you to completely finish your revisions? I ask this question, because I'm in revisions as y'all know, and I wondered if I could win the, slower than a slug, award. I heard a writer once say, he was finished within three months with all of it. He started submitting within six months of actually starting his book. That was on his first YA novel. He now has eight or ten published and several more coming out every year from now until the end of time.

I started mine for NANO-2008. I started revising before I was finished with the first draft. It seems to me that I should be DONE already!! Alas, I'm not. I still have chapters that haven't been touched by revision yet. Probably by Easter week I will have all chapters revised at least once. But that's almost five months from the day I started writing and I'll be no where near finished revising.

Am I slower than a slug??