Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Have you voted for the title you like? It closes August 30th.

How do you add backstory? Dialogue? In SEVENTY-TWO HOURS, I have the girls talking about the old times they had together. Very effective and easy to do.

Or do you use flashbacks? I do have Anna thinking about times gone by. The only thing I don't like about this is I HAD to use the word had. Since it was past perfect. So I didn't use it too much. But I had to use it some. When you read the novel, you'll see why. :)

Going over past events in your character's head. This is a great way to weave in backstory. Because it is so natural. I'm always going over events in my head. So it is very  normal for my character to do this. Not too much, mind you. I think it can slow down the narrative if used too much.

Why use backstory? The reader needs to know significant things about your character. If it's relevant. Like Anna's diabetes. Anna and Claire's past friendship. Stuff like that.  It shows why a character acts a certain way. But we don't want to bore the readers to tears. So we stuff it in in short snippets. No one wants to read three pages of backstory. UGH. And NEVER start your novel with backstory. YAWN

And remember that lack of info is just what the doctor ordered for your reader. Makes them curious and that's a very good thing for your book. Anyone have anything to add? Tell it to me. :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Don't Query Too Soon

I almost made the mistake of querying early, too early. I said, I almost made that mistake. When I finished my book I thought it was ready. I said, "here it is world. I know you're going to love it as much as I do. And I will get paid tons of bills, enormous amounts of CASH."  But I began to notice a lot of problems that needed to be worked out. And I noticed these problems in time. WOOT! I noticed places where I made the DREADED AND MOST UNPROFESSIONAL mistake of telling instead of showing. Yup, GUILTY!

So, I didn't query. I said, "Stop, slow down, you move to fast." I wonder how many will have that song in their head today. hehe

Writers have to make sure our books are the best they can be. I know of a writer that queried her book too early. She sent queries out to all the agents she could find. This writer decided to 'fix' the problems she began to notice in her book. Now the book is ready, but agents have already turned it down. She is hoping that a handful of agents will take another look. I hope so, too.

How do we know when it's time? That's a hard question to answer.  I took another look. A serious look. And I just knew it wasn't ready yet. No major plot problems, but some lots of characterization problems. No major things, just little fixes throughout. I read my story like a book ALOUD. That's when I saw the problems. Then I went back over it marking here and there. And there you have it. Now I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I'm ready and my story is ready.

What ways do you double check and triple check to make sure you and your story are set to go?

Big shout out to my great pal Linda Kage. Her book, The Trouble With Tomboys was released a couple weeks ago. (Apologies on my tardiness, Linda. It has been given a FOUR star review. WOO-HOO. Way to go girl. Happy days and no one is more happy for you than me. Well, probably you, your hubby, family members, but you know what I'm sayin'.

Next up, my sweet pal Patti Lacy. She just announced that she has sold her book, Reclaiming Lily to Bethany House. Congrats Patti. WOO-HOO. I am so happy for you. You deserve this and I can't wait to read it. I am buying An Irishwoman's Tale next week.

Last but not least, one of my first blogging buds, Michelle Davidson Argyle just released her Novella Cinders. It is getting rave reviews and I plan on purchasing it next week, too. Glam congrats. I know you are on cloud nine. I'm right there with you. There is a blog tour for the book in September.

Check these blogs out if you haven't already. Great ladies, great talents, great blogs. I love all of you. :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tags, tags, and more tags and Dialogue, too.

Don't forget to vote on which title you love for my new book. Polls close (I've always wanted to say that.) August 30th. Go here peeps.>

Tags. We love 'em, we hate 'em. Sometimes we don't know what to do with them. Or at least I don't. :) Too many tags can distract the reader. Pull them out of your story. I like to see dialogue with nothing else but the dialogue. No tags. Not all the time, mind you, but there are certain times when you need nothing but the characters speaking.

Good dialogue can be complicated. It needs to move the story forward and reveal important character info without seeming fake. It needs to seem genuine without actually being genuine. Throughout your novel you can sprinkle in a couple of lines of just dialogue. The reader should be able to KNOW who is speaking without any help from tags or beats.

Listen to the way people talk. Pay attention to the natural rhythms we use when we speak. Then use them in your writing.

Never use dialogue to tell the readers things your characters all ready know. I have been guilty of this more times than I'd like to count. Okay, HUNDREDS!

The best way to figure out if you're using too many tags is to read your scenes/story aloud. It is very telling when you actually hear what you've written.

Oh, and how many times does your character shrug or breath? YIKES! I am guilty of having my characters breath so much they should have been hyperventilating.

Anything I forgot? Tell it to me in the comments. :)

And I want to give a SHOUT-OUT to my pal Jody Hedlund. Her book The Preacher’s Bride will be out in October, but you can pre-order it now. And her blog is mentioned on the Write It sideways site, 23 (more)Websites that Make Your Writing Stronger.

Don't we love it when our fellow writers have success? Friday another shout-out to Glam. You peeps are having so much success that I'm going to get hoarse with all of this shouting out. :) Write on.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hmm, Are You External or Internal?

Don't forget to vote for the title you think is the most awesome title. Go here>

As I began writing my next book, it occurred to me that conflict is the lifeblood of our books. There is external and internal. What comes easiest for you as you write your novel? External conflicts or internal? I'm an external kinda gal. I write external conflicts with ease. They just seem to gush out of me. But internal? Oh, mercy me. There is where my troubles start.

Internal conflict is the problem facing our character on the inside and its influence on the character.  It shows how our characters grow throughout the novel. It shows how they change. Not my cup of tea. And we must remember to do everything in our power to keep our MC from reaching their goal. Every bump in the road must show our character something. Expose the weakness in our character. Make him/her human.

External conflict is what drives our characters to make choices. Internal choices. You can't have one without the other. So how can I be great at one and awful at the other if they intertwine so? Dunno. Wish I did. I'm working on it though.

You have to have emotion and conflict on every page. And this tension is what makes the reader love the MC and hate the antagonist. This is also where those famous words, "show no tell," become meaningful to us as writers. Instead of a character rambling on about how much she hates John Doe ;) show it through body language. Actions speak louder than words.

Drama = conflict. Conflict = a best seller. :) Anything I forgot to mention in this post? :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I have not been able to post anything all week here at the ol' house. I don't understand why blogger is being so hard to get along with. I was preparing to type up a bad-tempered letter to send to the powers that be and guess what? It finally worked for me. GAH! Double GAH!

A giant SHOUT OUT to Candy for all the hard work and love she put into her contest. I think writers are the most  considerate, warm-hearted folks in this universe and beyond. Which reminds me, I cried at the end of Toy Story. Yup, I embarrassed all who pretended they weren't with me. ;)


The top ten titles (in order of how many votes they received) are listed here. Please vote on which title you think I should use. A lot of you emailed your votes to me and that is just fine. Either email or by commenting on this post. Your vote will be counted. Without further adieu:

 Silent Stables: The Disappearance of Fancy and Rundee  

The Horse Pirates

Gone in a Gallop

"The C.I.A." - Grand Larceny - Horse Theft
(C-laire, I-an and A-nna)   

To Catch a (Horse)Thief      
Searching For Fancy     

Thieves in Their Pockets  

The White Pines Kidnapping    

Take Hold of the Reins

So let's get out the vote. Cuz, I need a title, yanno??

And thank you to everyone who sent in titles ideas. Every title got at least one vote, which only goes to prove that y'all are just awesome title thinker-uppers.

Oh and Jennifer Shirk raised a great question about the genre. So I thought I'd fix that. It is middle grade action/adventure.