May 28, 2010

Taking a Stand

Hello, blogosphere! Glad to be back. Sorry about the whole no show, no write the past month or so. I've been *gasp* outlining. "But, you've never been a big outliner before! You're more of a pantser!" Yeah, about that. Recently, I've been doing tons of research for a new WIP. It's an adult manuscript, like I mentioned before and this is the first week I've actually started writing it. I'm on chapter two and am lovin' it. And even though I've got all the main points outline, my creativity is still overflowing to the pages. I might've made plot points, but there are still plenty of things to add that spice up the pages. And they're not spicy, but HOT (at least to me). Why? Recently, I took a stand on this manuscript. I decided what's worth fighting for, what's worth walking away from a job for, and what's worth turning my world upside down for. In the end, I came up with serious emotions and passions and figured out how to get them in the manuscript--and on every single page.

I've realized that if I'm writing, I MUST know the battles my MC would fight and why she would fight them because, if not, there's no reason for others to cheer on my new MC. 

May 7, 2010

The sound of victory...

... Or, in my case, the end of the school year. The next three months will be filled with writing, beach, eating, writing, sleeping in, writing, and oh yeah writing. Seeing as I haven't post since, oh, five thousand years ago, I figured I mine as well post this for myself. More accurately, to get my writing & blogging back on track.

What's been going on since my last post? I've been studying like crazy to make sure my college scholarships will still be available come fall semester. And I've been doing writing, but to be perfectly  honest it hasn't been nearly as much as I used to. Same goes for reading. I've been a real slacker lately (tsk, tsk, tsk) and my WIP has been postponed because of it.

On a good note, less writing has given my mind more time to imagine characters and plots and chocolate scenes (you know, the ones you can see yourself writing before the plot is even fully formed). And, it even gave me a blogging idea (which I'll et to come next week.) 

So, that's a summary of Ashley's Hectic Life. Hopefully, with school over, I'll have much more free time to do the things I've been begging myself to do.

Mar 30, 2010

People DO Have More than One Side

Fact of life. 

Everywhere you go, there is someone around being rude to someone else. Random strangers will give you dirty looks for no apparent reason, dogs will pee on your lawn, police will be jerks and hand you a speeding ticket unless you look like Marilyn friggen Monroe, and there will be that one jerk who women just fall the **** all over. Oh, and there will even be that one coworker who fails to wear a skirt that actually her ass. Yes, you women out there should no by now that showing crack at the office is not cool. And, no matter who you are, you've developed your own terms for certain types of people. I don't care if you've never even said your terms out loud, you've made them up or gotten them from somewhere. 

And, eventually, your environment breaks you down. The term is called "having a bad day," and it's something many people have. So, why can't characters?

Everyone has their off days. And, I recently read the third book of a series that the MC had a really bad day. I mean BAD. Her entire day took place in less than 12 hours, apparently. Loved seeing another side of her and could totally understand why she was so much more fed up with life.

Then, I went to (Quick shout out to those who, like me, enjoy checking out the reviews of recently read books to see if what you thought worked and didn't lined up with how most reviewers felt.) And, the negative reviews of this book were ASTOUNDING.

Pretty sure my jaw drooped at that point. Many people said the MC was out of character. But, to me, I felt her slightly more pissed off view of the world was more than just with what she had to deal with. 

So, here's my question (one that I suddenly realized I have no idea what the answer is):
At one point does a character go from being in a bad mood to being out of character? In other words, how long can you readers put up with a characters unusual yet justified attitude before feeling like the attitude is no longer justified? How long do you think a character deserves to feel a certain way about something before shrinking back to the old personality and getting things done, so to speak?

And, on the opposite side, how long do you feel like a character in a book can act the same way without eventually feeling flat or like he/she hasn't gone through enough character development?

Mar 28, 2010

These Our Actors

Alright. So, it's a Sunday night, and I decided to throw up a post. A sort of break from writing, I suppose. Anyway, it's short...Something I just thought of.

Be an actor.

No, really. 

A few hours ago I realized exactly how necessary it is to get inside the skin of my characters while I'm writing them. I can't stop thinking in their heads, or hearing their voices in my ears--even for one second. Why? I can't make a character real if they aren't real to me. I think the most important thing earlier was to quit writing for a little while, close my eyes, and picture my character doing something. I closed my eyes for a whole fifteen minutes. I studied everything bout my MC and how she interacted with the possible love interest. I re-briefed myself in her shape, movement, and mannerisms. Then, I opened my eyes and started writing.

Man, was I on fire.

And, you know what else? I had to re-write an entire argument because I realized she caved way too easily. Totally out of character for a stubborn con artist.

Mar 25, 2010

I have a confession to make...

So, the past few weeks have been tragic. Seriously, how could I NOT POST for so damn long? I have a reason for this. One that most of my readers should understand. I needed something to pass the time while waiting to hear back on previous novel (YA mystery) and got swept up in my new WIP, into her world, and her love life, and her cons, and her backstabbing. 

Whoa, you're thinking. That sounds like a lot of story going on.

Only, it's not. I've been planning this novel out in detail. Using her life as a grifter to be her strength, not some supernatural ability. And, did I mention this is an adult novel? Definitely a direction I hadn't planned to go, but, well, I felt like I could only tell this story through an adult's point of view.

And I really had to tell this story.

So, that's what I've been up to lately. And, since I love my readers oh so much, I decided to share a little snippet of the WIP. Hopefully, others will fall in love with it too when I'm finished. I tried to pick a snippet showcasing the con artist aspect of the book without giving any of the plot away.

There’s a difference between a teacher and a con artist. 

Teachers, like Basel, always appear to be standing tall or stretching upward, even when sitting. Their heads are elevated. There’s even a certain noticeable superiority about them. They believe themselves to be spectacular, known for their intelligence and creative imagination. As a teacher, Basel stands out at any gather. There’s often a small crowd around him, paying attention to what he says. He attracts followers easily. The species who are naive enough to be persuaded into just about anything, yet smart enough to be a true asset.

Then there’s the con artists. Those who have climbed the ladder long enough to gain their own followers but never deceptive enough to plan a coup. Most of these con artists are cold or aloof, acting as if they are better than their superiors but never do a damn thing about it. Some, however, are capable of becoming the next teacher. More importantly, they are capable of betrayal.

I happen to be one of them.

Mar 17, 2010

Happy St. Pattys!

Sorry, but there will be no post today. I am helping my friend out with the patty day bash hosted by his radio station. so excited. hope everyone else has a great night!

Mar 15, 2010

Common Sense Monday

I'm officially back to blogging as much as possible. The past month has been a tad sporadic and I plan to change that/develop an actual schedule.


From now on, I'll be writing common sense posts on Mondays. Think "Back to Basics" but ones that make you re-evaluate not re-learn. Does that make sense? Anyway, today's topic is to write for yourself. On some level everyone knows this, but sometimes it gets replaced with "you should write because you're good at it" or "you owe the world your story" or "you're wasting your talent if you don't do this." These are okay but if they're the main reason you're writing you should stop now.

I write for myself. How do I know this? Take, for example, my new WIP. I've gotten so wrapped up into the characters and action and twist that I stopped sending my prior novel out altogether. Two months ago I sent it to three agents, got two full requests, reject on one and still waiting on the other. Oh man, the waits are brutal, huh? Anyway, it doesn't bother me because I'm *gasps again* enjoying what I'm writing now so much that I don't need to "land an agent" at the moment.

(Though, I want to give a shout out to Elle from my crit group who landed an agent a lil while ago. Totally deserved. Her book Clockwise is going to be a bestseller when sold! )

Okay, back to the point. you do not EVER owe anyone your story. If you think that, someone needs to knock you into the pool with a big ol' noodle. (I'm excluding those of you who have signed contracts with publishers because, uh, why yes you DO owe THEM your story.) 

So back to the quoted reasons I listed in paragraph uno. Writing a book because you're good at it is one of the worst reasons in the world for doing it. Doubt me? Let me paint a picture for you...

You are the world's greatest garbage man. Total awesome at getting suckers barrels into the back of your 5mph-can't-let-anyone-past-you truck. But you hate it. Do you think that you should make it a lifelong career just because you do it well? Yes, if I made millions doing it, one of you thought just now. Whoever did, bad writer. Go find a new hobby.

Okay, last is the "you're wasting you talent by not writing" line.

I was good at martial arts growing up. Entered all the competitions and even one a few tournaments. My family said I should continue with it because I was just so darned good. Well, after a while I hated said "talent" and started doing kickboxing (which I'm still in love with). Just because you're good doesn't mean you need to do it.

You should be writing because you love to write, because sitting down and conjuring a story out of thin air makes you laugh, cry, cringe, and ultimately forget that you've got the oven on or your favorite t.v. show started twenty minutes ago. 

That's my first common sense post. As always, feel free to drop a few thoughts below.

Mar 13, 2010

What villain?

(Indiana Jones is not the hero or villain of this story. He's there for purely entertainment purposes only. )

So this broad-shoulder, gun totting man walks into a club. His black hat is pulled down low, and the duster he's wearing billows. OH, yeah. Scary dude. He's mean with more battle scars than the mafia guys on General Hospital. There's bourbon on his breath and death in his eyes.

The guy walks over to the hero and presses the gun against his temple. He laughs and says, "You're a dead man Mr. Walker."

Mr. Walker, our hero, puts down his old-fashioned and curls his fingers into a faux-gun, making the boom sound.

The villain falls over dead.

Okay, okay. This is an exaggerations--if not, you have some serious learning to do. But, variations of this lackluster showdown happens all the time. Writers love their MC and shy away from them having their asses kicked. When they make it to the final scene, most authors want to race right through the ending so everyone can bow down to the hero.

Er, no.

Or, even worse, you pull out some random kryptonite that had never been introduced in the story and defeat the villain with it. Ack.

When you write a story, you commit to hitting your hero where it hurts.  Your hero has to win only AFTER he gets the crap beat out of him (varies, depending on your genre) at least once. Maybe after Mrs. Walker dumps him for the villain or gets tossed into a garbage can and left for dead. Most people do this without truly understanding why their favorite characters needs a few beatings or a break-up. It's because, for winning to mean anything, your character has to earn it.

Short. Simple. Sweet.

In what ways have you proven your character earns the big win in the end? Did you find knocking the MC down first easy or difficult? Did you recently give your MC a mini-win in the first cpl of chapters without truly understanding why he/she deserved it?

Feel free to answer these questions or offer up your own thoughts in the comment section of this post.

Feb 18, 2010

Backing into a Corner

It happens to everyone eventually. And, yes, it's happening to me right now. What am I talking about? Let me set the scene for you.

You've backed yourself into a corner, and you've done a bang-up job of it. Your character can't figure out how to get him or herself out, and neither can you. So, you've stopped writing lest you put three more words on the page and inadvertently kill your MC.

Hey, it happens. Sometimes a character iss already on the kamikaze mission, so to speak, and tearing toward his or her inevitable destruction with no way out, and anything you could can think of to save them would be cheating.

So, I broke down my dilema by asking myself these questions:

1. What part of the action could only my MC do?
2. What parts could be played by another character?
3.  Who else's injury might play the same role as the MC and have the same importance to it?
4. How could could I split the actions that had to be taken in the scene so my heroes do the things only they could do, while someone else sacrificed ____ in order to help 'em out?

These Q's may not apply to everyone, but I think the steps I thought of when in a bind might help.

Step 1: First, remember every question you ask yourself centers around creating change. Your doing so to watch dominoes fall in a direction you had never thought of before.
Step 2: Ask the simple who, what, where, when, why, and how before its too late.
Step 3: Avoid weakening the impact of your scenes simply because of changes.
Step 4: Find out why new things are happening & make damn well sure you refit the story around the changes you need to make.

So, my question to everyone is have any of you gotten stuck lately? If so, what methods did you use to work your MC out of it?

Feb 5, 2010

Pacing: Part 2

Life prevented me from posting the past two days, so I'm skipping my WoW and writing about breathers in novels. Sometimes this can be the downfall of a good pacer.

Many people ask, "How do I give the reader a breather between action scene?"

Be warned: my answer may not be exactly correct, but I'd like to think through my months of writing research that I've learned a thing or two about writing. 

Okay, back to the answer.

Are you sure you want to give them a breather? Most stories naturally slip out of the raging waters and into mellow pools from time to time. If your story already has some contemplative spots in it, funny bits, or places where your characters have some down time, then don't break up your action sequences out of obligation. By doing this, you can throw the pacing off completely. You've got to run the scene as hard as you can. If, however, you've read through your first daft and discovered you're going to give your reader a heart attack if you don't give them some breathers, then by all means create one in or between scenes.

How do you write a breather?

Well, an in-scene breather can start off like terrible things are about to happen, but then comedy or farce or another distracting mechanism is used to downplay the danger and relax the reader. Then, you pick up the tension again by bringing in the expected conflict from an unexpected place.

Between scenes, to me anyone, can be more difficult because if done incorrectly it can bore the reader/make dream agent stop reading. Don't make them babble at a bar and think it's a breather. You don't want to take the reader out of the story, just supplement the overall story plot with ongoing but less tense action from a second story.

Warning: This can be harder than it looks for three reasons.
1. Every reader is different, and some like complexity, while some don't.
2. Every character is different, and readers will have favorites. So, by focusing on a secondary characters side plot you could inadvertently piss the reader off. Just sayin'.
3. Everyone views action differently, and what some find thrilling other will find dull. 


And, vice versa. You'll always be right, with the exact same things and for exactly opposite reasons. But nobody ever quits because of fan mail and glowing reviews. It's the "this book sucked" e-mails and the "boring, stupid, and a waste of time" reviews that make you want to back your bag and take the midnight train to Georgia. (Ignore my lame attempt at comedy.)

Remember what I said earlier? You can't please everybody. This is why you don't write for readers. You write for one reader. Yourself.

Just sayin'.

Glad we've established that writing between-scenes breathers have built in problems wich ar unfixable, and which resolve around readers likes and expectations, and all of them will get you some good reviews and some bad. You'll win readers and lose others. It's that, er, simple.

You can't fix readers. But, you can fix other problems with between-scene breathers, and that's what I'm going to write about. The biggy is to create a breather between your main storyline's scenes, and you work in alternating storyline. Just don't write it like a jigsaw puzzle, people. 

That's about it. Anyone have anything they want to add? Or maybe you want to discuss you breathers and whether they're helpful or hurtful? As always, feel free to comment below!

Feb 3, 2010

Contest Alert

Lisa Desrochers, author of Personal Demons, is holding monthly contests on her blog. So, hurry up and check out every months contest for a chance to win an ARC of Personal Demons or other debut novels. Click here to check it out.

Feb 2, 2010

Keeping Up

"Where did the plot go?"

I've seen this a few times in novels (even published ones). Pacing, for some, can be the most difficult issue of storytelling if you let it. It can ruin characters, crunch on descriptions, and tear down an entire plot--key words are if you let it.

Think of it as Godzilla, decimating entire novels.

When it comes to pacing, most people wonder these Q's:

1.Is skipping over the boring parts okay?
2.How do I give the reader a breather between very heavy action scenes?
3.How do I keep the pages turning when the stakes aren't life or death?

I think I'll focus on numero uno today. And save the other two for the rest of the week, depending on how much I feel like writing.

1. Answer: Yes, skipping over the boring parts is you job. You're the story's filter; you decide which parts are compelling/facsinating, will move the story forward, and leave your readers breathless. There is no such thing as a necessary boring part.

Let me repeat that.

There is NO SUCH THING as a necessary boring part. If whatever you have going out is boring, uh, make it interesting. Okay? If you can't, and refuse to make every sentence, every chapter interesting, then you've failed as a writer. 

To make a plot interesting you should have critical conflict, action,a plot constantly moving forward, and something that's put at risk. "Well," you ask, "how do I make sure every scene moves my story forward?"

Easy. You figure out what changes, and then change it. If absolutely nothing--and I mean nothing--makes the scene interesting, you'll have to kill it. Chop its head off, douse it in fire, or jam a stake in its heart. Whatever your forte is, do it. if there's important info in there, break it into bits and sprinkle it into other sections of your novel, between characters, or maybe even in dialogue. 

Your turn!

I challenge everyone to identify a boring part in your novel. Yes, we all have one. Don't think you're are above it Mr. Bob. Try asking yourself what you had a hard time writing? What part did you write so/so because a point "needed" to get across? Or, if you're someone who can write 20,000 words on The Life and Times of My Pepper Shaker, with daily entries on how it's just sitting there, pass it on to your critique group (or beta reader) and see if they fall out of their chair, passed out cold, while reading it. More than likely, someone will say, "That was interesting," with strain on the last word and failure to make eye contact with you.

Then, test out your boring section by asking yourself if it a) adds info that will lead to the story's conclusion b) develop an essential part of your character c) inserts critical conflict.

Tomorrow will be my WoW and then I'll continue my posts on pacing with plot breathers. Feel free to leave something in the comment section, if you have anything to say!

Jan 28, 2010

Award TIme! Come, take a look!

I've collected a few awards over the past week and decided today was the day to hand them out. And by that I mean...EVERYONE gets one! Yes, that's correct. Anyone who comments underneath this blog can pick one of the awards listed below. It's my way of saying thanks to all of you awesome followers/commenters : )

First up is the Who Loves You Baby award. It was given to me by Lucy @ Delightful Reviews. The only rule is to simply pass the award on to great bloggers who have recently given you an award.

Next up is the Humane Award. Also given to me by Lucy. For this award, you're supposed to honor certain bloggers that are kindhearted individuals. Ones that regularly take part in your blog and always leave the sweetest comments. If it wasn't for ya'll, my site would be an ordinary writing blog. Every follower has a unique blog that sets he or she apart, which is why you should check out my followers--especially my awesome commenters ; )

Third, is another Lucy handed out to all her fabulous followers. It's the blogger buddie award.

Last is the Kreativ Blogger Award. Given to me by Elle @ Elle Strauss. The rules are I have to tell you seven things about me before passing it on to seven other creative bloggers. (In this case, all my followers.)

1. I'm a single child.
2. I've ventured into writing Adult books.
3. I have a weird fascination with accents.
4. I'm Christian.
5. I sometimes snort when I laugh.
6. One month after I got my license and car, I rear-ended somebody.
7. I have my current WIP in a black binder with character sketches, scene drafts, and two possible outlines that I can't choose between.

Congratulations all my wonderful followers/commenters!

Jan 26, 2010

When it comes to...

characters they need to serve a purpose, not matter the size of their role. You need them in every novel. Even the paperboy who makes an appearance should have a little quirk that makes him something other than a flat popsicle stick.

I'm going to post challenges from now on every Tuesday. Challenges that writers who read my blog can either do on their computer, on a piece of paper, or in my comment section. (But, most of these are a little personal to be posting here.)

Anyway, I'm going to start with a simple one and then work toward more complicated ones every week. 

Here's the challenge:

Write a paragraph describing a side character that rarely makes an appearance. NOT THE MAIN CHARACTER. Write what you now, or more importantly, what the READER should know. Keep it short and focus on one important thing--what purpose does this character have toward moving the plot along?

If you can't think of one way the side character moves the story along, I'd consider deleting him or her.

I'm posting this because I believe EVERY character should have an authentic feel to them and purpose, not just the main character.

For example, in my WIP there's a bookstore owner. He needs more customers to come in or else the shop may close. As a result, he often lashes out on the MC, his employee, and takes a lot of smoke breaks to de-stress in the back room. This leads to an interesting fire hazard scene. Even though he's a minor character, his disgusting smoking habit will lead to an action-packed scene, one that forces the MC to make a major decision.

Jan 21, 2010

What could go wrong?

Revisions can be tough, with the dry eyeballs and freezing fingers because they haven't left your laptop in hours. Everyone goes through their revisions looking for the basics like plot, pacing, and character development. Well, I've decided to list OTHER things to look for, some that are sort of subdivisions of the examples listed about. Hopefully, like me, these will make you think harder when editing your novel. 

1. writing too long/ too short
2. losing track of plot lines
3. having scenes that go nowhere (remember my post the other day?)
4. writing saggy, baggy middles
5. phony-sounding dialogue/ real-sounding dialogue that DOES NOTHING to move the story forward/ cryptic, unintelligible dialogue
6. excessive internal dialogue
7. stiff awkward action/ pointless action/ nothing BUT action
8. plots that wander off on tangents/ plots that never reach an ending
9. repetitive chapter structure
10. endings that just don't matter/ endings that fizzle when they should be SIZZLING
11. infodumps 
12. confusing flashbacks and flashforwards
13. "protected" main characters
14. characters with no redeeming qualities/ characters with no questionable qualities/ characters with no conflict
15. verbosity, verbosity, verbosity
16. no mini-cliffhangers through the book/ too many cliffhangers
17. breaking story's rules/ a character for an easy out
18. BIG ONE HERE--cheating the plot for an easy out
19. broken plot logic
20. plot stalls frequently
21. writing/plot are mucho amatuerish
22. character have terrible, awkward dialects

...And, the list could go on and on. Ya'll get the picture, right? I hope so because my fingers are once again frozen thinking of all these. 

Feel free to add to this list in the comments section!

Whoops! Sorry guys!

I realized I forgot to put when the Libba Bray contest ends. Well, it ends Feb 13 because I have something planned for the next day. So, hurry up and enter!

Jan 19, 2010

One word: Awesome & Funny!

Oh wait. That's two. My bad. Just sit down for a moment and watch this creative book trailer to know what I'm talking about.

So many times, people brush off book trailers because they think they are too expensive or pointless. Well, I couldn't name how many times a trailer as convinced me to go buy a book NOW or else I'd surely die. (Although, I actually read this book BEFORE the trailer.) Even Nathan Bransford had a guest post on book trailers the other day that made me wonder...

How important do YOU think book trailers are when advertising?

Jan 18, 2010

What to write?

Well, you can start by only writing the good stuff.

Sounds pretty obvious, doesn't it? I mean, c'mon, who wants to write the bad stuff? Yet, time and time again, I read a blog post or hear a member of the Florida Writer's Association say, "I can't wait to get through this chapter so I can get to the next."

Wait a minute. If you don't want to be WRITING the chapter, then why should we want to READ it? To be honest, I've been to this point. I've found myself dragging through a scene because I think it HAS to be there to make sense.

Here's the thing...It doesn't!

I've learned that if I'm not having fun writing a scene, then I need to scrap it and find another way to convey whatever that chapter was meant to. So, my tip for the day is that if you're having a miserable time writing a scene or two, stop yourself. Check out the scene and figure out what the heck is wrong with it.

Still not convinced?

Well, what if that dull scene is the reason an interested agent stops reading?

Hmmm. Got you there, huh?

So, you tell me. Has this happened to recently? If so, what do you do about it?

P.S.--Sorry about lack of posts. I didn't have internet access for a couple days.

Jan 13, 2010

The time has come...

...for a critique group!

It's a proven fact that authors, both new and seasoned, benefit from critique assessments of their work. Unbiased critiques are often essential to a writer's future success. Finding the right mix of people to form the group, however, can be a tricky business.

People say, "Well, you need people who are similar." Then, how will you get different results. While I believe wholeheartedly in finding writers in the same genre (or in my case, YA writers), I think a bit of a mix in personalities could be exciting. I'm looking for writers of YA who read more than paranormal romance (though, don't get me wrong those are great). I've thought a few a few guidelines that are basically for people who don't have as much time as they'd like. I'm thinking of making sure everyone edits a chapter a week (not for everyone just one crit member).

I'm a firm believer that everyone in the crit group should be in the same level in their careers, so to speak. Which is why I'm looking for people who have studied pace, character development, et cetera. If you've been through the querying process at least once or going through it at the moment, then I'd say you could be in the group.

BUT, I'm only looking to build a small group of three maybe four people.

Okay, enough about my crit group. It's simple. Email me if you're interested and I'll keeping in touch with everyone, slowly getting a group built of people who appreciate each other's various writing styles. So, feel free to shoot me an email anytime if you're interested.

Jan 7, 2010

Payback with a Pie & Award

Remember the link I put up on my New Year's post? Well, that little link with the girlfriend whacking her boyfriend made me laugh. But, I recently came across the one where said boyfriend gets girl back with pie. Both jokes were totally unoriginal, but they made me laugh nevertheless. Click here to see his revenge.

On a lighter note, I got another blog award. Thanks, Amanda! Like I've said before, the bog you've created has loads of your personality in every post and I love that. Anyway, on to the rules. I'm supposed to list 10 things that make me happy, try to do at least one of them today, tag 10 bloggers that brighten my day, and link back to the person that tag me.

10 things that make me happy:
1. my family
2. my friends
3. writing (that should be a given)
4. being so engrossed in a good book that i feel lost when i'm done
5. the show GREEK on abc family
6. my car  : )
7.  my beta readers
8. my laptop...come to think of it, laptop should be higher up on this list!
9. music that fits a moment in my life perfectly
10. a really funny (or corny) joke

10 blogs that make me happy(Note: there were so many to choose from. Sorry that I couldn't pick everyone!):
2. Lucy
4. Liz
7. Roni
8. Kari

And, last is a quote from Desperate Housewives that has absolutely nothing to do with this post at all..."Carlos, we were married! I'm entitled to half of everything you embezzle!" --Gabby

Jan 6, 2010

100 Followers Contest!

I'm probably a day or two late on this, but I've been busy getting back into the swing of things with work and whatnot. Luckily, I have a special treat for ya'll! If you entered my previous contest, then you know I like to ask your opinions on what the next contest should be. The requests for this series was about 15 people. Crazy, right? So, while I've never read this series, I'm going to do a contest on it anyway.


The series is A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray!

Old series, but I've heard it's a good one! Next time I'm thinking the entire Marked Series by P.C. Cast but I haven't decided yet. Anyway, you can fill out the form here to enter. Goodluck everyone!

Jan 2, 2010

No Kissing!

You know that moment when you get all excited because two characters are about to kiss? Their breath gets heavier, their stomachs are in knots, they’re dizzy with excitement. And then nothing. Maybe something like the picture below happens...

It’s called the “No kiss” or “Almost Kiss.” And, its got the reader smacking their heads against the book in disappointment. If done right, the reader is begging for them to kiss one another when the moment arrives. Frankie at Frankie Writes has deemed today the official No-Kiss Blogfest. The rules are you can blog about your WIP, one you just wrote for the Blogfest, one from a book, movie clip, or t.v. show.I’ve decided to partake in it and post a scene from a current WIP that’s only 18,000 words.

“Give up the mission,” Booth said quietly.

“No, I’m getting it done.”

“I don’t think anyone can do it. It’s too dangerous. For Christ’s sake, he killed your parents.” He paused, and I knew he was thinking about his own parents. Like mine, they’d died. “He’s killed a lot of people, Sadie.”

Once again, the fear of being sickeningly inadequate for this job reared its head. But somehow Booth thinking that, too, was enough to make me go forward. “We have six days. This could still work,” I croaked.

“I hope so. For all for our sake’s.” He shook his head, looking out the car window at the darkness. “You should go back inside,” he surprised me by saying. The words themselves barely reached me, it was the impact of them that hummed through the air.

“Don’t you want details about last night?” I cracked a window, suddenly needing to breathe.

His eyes flicked to me after a few moments of silence. “No. Just be careful tonight.” The look in his eyes, like I’d disappointed him somehow, reminded me of how I’d wronged everyone I cared about. It reminded me of what I had to do to make everything right again.

“There’s a lot at stake,” he went on. Booth always seemed so inflexible, so humorless. Tonight was no different. “We need that information in order to--”

“I don’t need a repeat of last night’s beware speech. You’re not my dad.”

He gave me a slight smile. The first I’d seen in weeks. Then, in a move so fast I didn’t see, Booth was across the seat, holding me against him, hard. I gasped in surprise as his mouth slanted down--Oh god, he was going to kiss me. Every nerve ending tingled in anticipation, and I was about to close my eyes, to meet his lips with the same hunger and urgency I saw in his eyes, when his chin jerked upward.

He kissed my forehead, barely breathing the words, “You're right. I’m not your dad.”

At a loss for words, I stumbled out of the car. I was shaking up the porch steps, and my arms felt empty because he wasn't in them.

Jan 1, 2010

Query Recap & Awards

Okay, I'm officially back! And, yes, it's a little late to be doing a post but I'm wired and know that tomorrow will entail loads of packing and final goodbyes to my family. Sigh. I guess the next time I see them will be the summer :-/

So, in light of my query wars, I've decided to post some updates. I've started to query my YA Mystery and out of the three I sent around december 15th, I had two requests. One partial and one upfront full which was awesome. The agent who asked for a full actually read the first ten pages at the bottom of the query because it was in her guidelines. So, it makes me feel really good to know my query and first ten pages of Never Kill a Boy on the Fifth Date is agent-worthy.

I'm going to recap on what I've learned this year about querying before I get to the awards (I know how excited you guys must be about those. I know I always am).

Okay. Deep breath.

Writing a query is different than writing a novel. But, really, good writing is still good writing. Learning about query writing can even help with your novel. For instance, the first thirty pages should be able to be summed up in one action-packed opening sentence for the query. If it sounds boring, then you took too long to jump into the heart of your story. If the sentence is too complicated, then your beginning may sound rushed or make little sense to others. Its hard to judge your work when you already know everything about it! Sometimes I forget the reader isn't me and reference world-building points that are in my outline for myself but never discussed in my novels. Whoops.

Anyway, back to queries. You have one page to make a breathtaking first impression as a writer, a person, and for your story. You have to entice the agent with your story and impress them with the freshness of your voice. And at the same time you have to outline the main plot of your story in just a few sentences and show your experience and why you're submiting to a particular agent.

Doing all of this, I believe, is a lesson in editing that will help with your book. You'll develop a better understand of the rule "make sure every word counts." You'll also, with practice, pick up on how to write just the right words to tell your story in the briefest and most interesting way with the flow, action, et cetera. The main thing queries help me with is understanding the voice of my novel. With Evie Dawson, I had to go back after my first query rough draft and edit a chapter because I suddenly realized it lacked my voice. All in all, I've learned that as writers we should invest time in every word of our novel like we do with our queries. 

Writers: I'm interested in hearing what ya'll have learned the past year about queries and how the knowledge has helped your writing skills.

Now, on to the awards!

First off, we have the lovely Honest Scrap Award. Thanks, Marce! Seriously, ya'll need to check her blog. It's one of many blogs I'm addicted to reading. The rules of the award are that I must list 10 honest things about myself and then pass the award on to 7 blogs.

My 10 truths:

1. I grew up in Rhode Island. Since I left for college, I've become annoyed by the fact that the south has never tasted the luxury of coffee milk and quahogs. 
2. I'm shamelessly addicted to the show GREEK and CRIMINAL MINDS. If you've never heard of theses shows, I suggested going over to surfthechannel[dot]come and watching the first episode of each. Be warned: you might become a nerd like me.
3. Staying with the nerd thing, since I was sick ten years ago my eyeshot has been HORRIBLE. I can't see without my glasses contacts. And only through recent developments have I learned that I also cannot drive without them. I'll save that story for another day.
5. I draw my main characters before writing about them. If their pictures don't resonate with me, I remove them from the story.
6. I have two jobs. One of which is waitressing. So, I feel the need to inform you the customers who ask me stuff that's clearly written in the menu I purposely stall ten minutes before putting their orders into our computer system. Believe me, I'm one of the nicest. You should see what my coworkers do to the S.O.S's (Stuck on Stupid's).
7. The term S.O.S. is a code my mother and I share for when we are around people with no common senses whatsoever.
8. Since my college is in the South, I've started saying ya'll which only adds to the corniness I've inherited from my dad.
9. I once ran over an armadillo...and cried about it for three days. To this day, I still feel sorry for the first, and hopefully last, animal I've ever killed.
10. I have an obsession with Ireland. No, I'm not Irish or anything. I just really want to travel there someday.

Now, I'm passing the award on to seven blogs I enjoy reading. This was really hard because there's so many I love. I hated only picking seven!!!
3. K.M.

Another award I've received is the lovely blog award. It's so cool getting this blog again because it means new people are stumbling onto my blog and liking what they see. Thanks so much Lovely Miss Lucy : )! The rules are I have to link back to the person who granted me the award, pass the award on to ten blogs that I've recently discovered, and let them know that I chose them

My recent finds:

Okay, so it's about 12: 30 a.m. and I'm finally finished with this post. I really encourage readers of my blog to check out the links of fellow bloggers. I'll let all the winners know tomorrow since there are 17 total...I don't think my eyes will stay open as I sift through more blogs.

So, night everyone and I can't wait to hear about what you've all learned from queries tomorrow!