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!