May your pen be swift and your typing be smooth,
Friday, December 31, 2010
May your pen be swift and your typing be smooth,
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
I have a list of resolutions for myself a mile long, there are always improvements I could be working on, but one of the things in particular is blog comments. I read a lot of blogs, find myself laughing out loud, crying alongside and nodding in agreement. But I don't often make a comment. Which is weird because I LOVE comments on my blog, like I've mentioned to a few people, it makes me feel as if the blog is actually being read. And I think that others must feel the same way.
So, to all the blogs I follow now and will follow in the future I promise to make a comment when I read your blog. Even if it's just a nod of agreement. Or a cyber space knuckle bump. Or even just a happy face :D. Be prepared for the commenting to begin!
Friday, December 24, 2010
16. Make sure the ending echoes the beginning.
17. For fiction, make sure your protagonist has an internal revelation separate from
his external problem solving.
18. Make sure ancillary (supporting ) characters don’t take over the show.
19. Take out clichés.
20. Be interesting with every sentence.
21. Vary the rhythm of your sentences. Not all short, not all long.
22. Put a sensory image in every paragraph. Don’t forget that we currently have five.
23. Make sure that the only thing that slows the plot is a subplot complication and
24. Can you heighten the tension? Tighten the suspense? Do it. (Draw it out)
25. Have you answered all the questions your story posed to the reader? Double check.
26. Omit unnecessary words.
27. In the final read through it should read like the wind.
28. The ending MUST be satisfactory.
29. Memorable fiction has memorable character names. (Try to stay away from the
I truly hope this list of Liz’s helps all of you as much as it has me. Using her suggestions has helped me to make great strides in my work and I know for most of us there is at least one or two things on this extensive list we’re guilty of. ;) Best of luck in your revisions and polish and shine!
Thursday, December 23, 2010
1. Take out all the side trips. If it doesn't further the plot, it doesn't belong no matter how well written.
2. Flesh out areas where you been telling and not showing. (You can use dialogue to help correct this.)
3. Take out every use of the words : very, causing, here, this, now, today, just.
4. Investigate every use of the word "it". There is usually a better word.
5. Investigate every sentence that begins with "There is" or "There are" This indicates a weird point of view.
6. Investigate every adverb. Try to pump up the verb instead.
7. Replay every conversation to make certain the person speaking is attributed correctly.
8. Take out all qualifiers : almost, kind of, nearly, sort of. Pump up the action, the drama.
9. Look for ANYTHING that might distract the reader and fix it. (Liz also called these shin busters, sentences and sections that literally stopped the flow of things.)
10. Make sure the reader is grounded in space and time with every jump.
11. Investigate every use of the verb "to be" (is, are, be, being, am, were) and gerunds. "He was running to the store" vs "He ran to the store."
12. Investigate every use of passive voice, looking for the telltale "by" construction. "The ball was hit by the boy." vs "The boy hit the ball."
13. Make sure every sentence furthers the story.
14. Make sure every chapter has a structure and is weighted at the end.
15. Make sure your opening grabs the reader and flows smoothly into the rest of the story.
Few, it's quite a list, but so helpful. If you get through all these tonight with your revisions and can't wait for tomorrow, you can always check out Liz's website as she has many teaching aids for writers there. http://www.elizabethengstrom.com/
Monday, December 20, 2010
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the grave
Every creature was stirring, invited to a rave.
The stockings were fish net, they had mighty flare,
In hopes that Laurell Hamilton soon would be there.
The vampires were stylin’, dressed mostly in reds,
While visions of blood donors danced in their heads.
Only one lonely zombie, a strange little chap,
Alongside the Werewolves who paced, ready to snap.
When one of the tombstones fell with a clatter,
All Supes sprang into action to see what was the matter.
The moved in a dark horde, quick as The Flash,
Surrounded the gravestone, fists ready to bash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to their blood lusting eyes should appear,
But a sharp wooden stake, and a note they all feared.
The words penned were harsh, they cut to the quick,
Even the vampires felt mildly sick.
A new Huntress was prowling, she sought only their pain,
She fully wrote her intentions, even signed with her name!
"I know what you are, that none in this cemetery are fake!
This Christmas Eve you die - by gun, flame or stake!
The invites I wrote, signed LKH so no Supe would stall.
Now I’ll kill you all surely, I’ll watch you all fall."
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
The Supes they all scattered – ran for their lives,
For the Huntress they feared was soon to arrive.
And then, in a twinkling, they heard a soft click
The sound of a gun loading smooth and real slick.
The zombie tucked its rotted head, and was turning around,
When the whistle of death, took said zombie down.
Next came the Were’s in fur, from their heads to their feet,
They dodged the bullets that came on like sleet.
But it was to no avail, the Huntress was trained well,
In moments the whole pack was sent off to Hell.
The vamps were now pissed and turned Huntress to prey.
They found her crouched amid tombstones, her eyes feral and fae.
Her mouth tightened hard as she drew up her crossbow,
And the first vamp to die was as white as the snow.
The stump of another soon littered the ground,
And the smoke from the flame thrower began to circle around.
The Huntress she laughed while she ran vamps through the belly,
That shook when she twisted the blade, like a bowlful of jelly!
The last vampire held in his teeth a cheroot,
He bowed to the Huntress, a mocking salute,
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave the impression of nothing but dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to the battle,
And even the Huntress was soon feeling rattled.
With one last mighty effort she laid him to rest,
Knowing she’d done all she could to give humans the best.
She sprang to her hummer, gave a sharp piercing whistle,
And away the remains flew like the down of a thistle.
In the night air she exclaimed, ‘ere she drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all humans, and to all Supes a good-night!"
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
This year though I will be starting a new tradition, one that I'm sure many other writers have faced. I have time off through the holidays and during that time off I will be not only working on revisions for Book #2, I will also be working on revisions (hopefully minor) for Book #1. These said revisions need to be finished and polished for . . .wait for it . . .
That's three weeks on the button. Am I upset about this? Not in the least! This means I have the perfect excuse to get out of all the overeating, excessive drinking, having to talk with people and make nice even though I will probably NEVER meet them again, parties. Because now I can say,
"Nope, can't come. Must write."
Ahh. I am so looking forward to the next three weeks. :)
The question to all of you is, do you use your writing as an excuse to get out of things you don't want to do?
Sunday, December 12, 2010
1. Other than the obvious reason of loving books, what made you want to become an editor?
This may sound odd, but I never actually planned or wanted to be an editor. I knew I liked books and words, but up until I got my MA, I had planned on being a midnight poet and working some other “normal” day job. During the last few years of undergrad though, I started editing papers for friends with Dyslexia and other writers who wanted a second set of eyes before turning something in. Those friends recommended me to their friends and so on until I had strangers asking me for help. When I learned that I could actually make a living as a freelance editor, it was like a light bulb clicked on. It was the perfect job for me and it just sort of fell into my lap. I’ve ever so grateful to those friends who recommended me way back when and set the whole thing in motion.
2. Being an editor, what is your #1 biggest pet peeve when reading a published book?
Endings. I hate being sucked into a really awesome book only to find out that it’s just a really long prologue for a second book or a series. It’s really, really annoying when that first book doesn’t do well (because the ending sucks) and then a second is never released. Be sure to wrap things up at the end, and make this book count.
3. What is your favourite part of the job? What is your least favourite?
Favorite: Spending all day in bed with my dog Mollie reading books and seeing those books go on to find agents and publishing contracts. Happy dancing is a favorite pastime.
Least favorite: Seeing a writer so clueless about everything in this business and having to sit down with them and basically destroy their world. I’m a teaching editor, not just a fixer, and it just kills me to have to give bad news but it’s got to be done.
But then another favorite is when those writers come back after revisions and research and learning and their work is phenomenally better. It might’ve stung at the time, but seeing writers grow and become better is amazing.
4. Approximately how many books/ms are you able to edit in a year?
This year I’ve tried to balance writing two books of my own, editing, and living a life, so I only did about twenty-five. I could do a few more next year now that I’ve found a good rhythm. I don’t like to schedule more than two edits at a time so that I can give the proper amount of attention to each though, so it won’t be a major jump in numbers.
5. As a writer and an editor, does this job leave you much time for your own writing?
If I make time for it, yes. Being an editor takes just as much time as any other full time job. Sometimes I have to say no to things in order to have time to do what I want. I don’t have a TV, so that helps. It’s all about deciding what is worth your time and what you’re willing to give up in order to do those things you love. For me, I want time to edit and work on my own stuff, and play with Mollie. That means giving up TV marathons and nights out and sometimes sleep to get things done. But it’s worth it.
6. Favourite all time book and character?
Oooh, that’s way hard… Um… Can I make a list instead?
Harry Potter series
Anything by Jane Austen
Terry Prachett’s Tiffany Aching series
Douglas Adams’ Hitchhikers series
CS Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia
Beth Revis’ Across The Universe
Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)
Fiver (Watership Down)
Catherine Moreland (Northanger Abbey)
Rob Anybody (Wee Free Men)
Calcifer (Howl’s Moving Castle)
[I seem to like the sidekicks!]
7. How long did it take you to become an editor between any schooling and apprenticeship time?
My training happened over the last five years or so, in classes at college and university. Last February though, I decided to make it official and got a paypal address and a website and put that training to use as a freelancer. All of my clients this year have come through word of mouth, I’ve been really lucky there.
8. What are the one (or two) cliches you see over and over in books, either ones you edit or ones you read?
Cliches, like overused plot devices? I see a lot of "locking eyes with hot boy and am instantly in love." There's a lot of strange goings-on, like sometimes the book doesn't match its description; a romance with too much action and not enough relationship building, etc. Audience expectations and what your book delivers can make or break you. It's important to take a step back and make sure that the story as a whole fits together.
9. What is your best piece of advice for those looking to find an editor?
Ask around before Googling. There are a lot of websites with flashy promises and very little feedback. Ask your writing friends if they’ve used an editor and how their experiences were. After you’ve rounded up a few names with good reputations, then Google them. Find others who praise them or give questionable reviews. Ask for sample edits. Ask them how they work (teaching, fix only, one-time contact, available afterwards for questions, etc) and make sure they are a good fit for you. Ask for CV’s and references. If you’re going to drop $500-$1000+ you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the best value and that the two of you are going to work well together.
C.A. Marshall is a freelance editor, lit agent intern, YA writer, and loves to play with her dog Mollie. She dreams of one day owning a small house near the water, preferably in England, with a shelf full of books she has written and has helped others to write. She can be found in Emmett, MI and at camarshall.com
Thursday, December 09, 2010
Regardless of the fact that yes, I do like surprises and prefer not to write an exhaustive Christmas list, I thought it might be interesting to write a list of the things that I and many other writers really do want.
1. Pens and paper aside as those always end up in a writer’s stocking, how about a laptop? Maybe a Mac, cause we all know that the better the laptop, the better the writing.
2. Don’t forget that just because we have a laptop, doesn’t mean an I Pad isn’t useful. In fact, we as writers could be writing and researching at the same time if these first two items were under the tree.
3. A nice big, fat substantial edit from someone like CA Marshall (who is holding a contest right now to win said edit). If only our loved ones knew how we’d squeal and jump to see this lit up by sparkling lights and tinsel.
4. To find the paper work to a major writer’s conference, like Pacific Northwest Writers or Surrey International would be enough for some writers to break out of their usual quiet, reclusive writer self and go screaming around the house scaring all the cats.
5. A writers retreat us something most writers only dream of, a place of solitude and inspiration where the only demand is to write is on my list. I prefer a beach side hut, or mountain chalet if I’m being really honest.
6. Here comes the big one. Have the loving spouse go and find you an agent. Surely at Best Buy there is an isle where you could pick and choose. Or maybe Bed Bath and Beyond would have a back room of agents.
7. And if an agent seems to difficult for the loved ones to find, perhaps they would have better luck going straight to the source and be able to procure a contract with a publisher. Hmm. That would be the best ever!
8. Our own personal marketer and PR director to run all the social media that is needed to get your name out there so you as a writer could focus on just the writing.
9. A dinner/lunch date with your favourite author and they didn’t mind when you peppered them with questions.
10. And the realist in me is going to put out there that if you are totally stumped on what to buy for your reclusive, cranky writer, get them a gift card for Chapters, Barnes and Noble or some other bookstore (e-book counts too).
There’s the list, hope it helps for all of you buying for a writer or two. As always, if you would like to add to the list, please do, I have a few writers I need to buy for and damn they are a hard bunch!
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
The copy of Zoe Archers book WARRIOR will be going to Tanya!
Congratulations to both ladies, who I'm sure will now be hooked on the series as much as I am!
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
1. You spend a lot of time doing research for your books, how many hours do you think you actually put into each novel?
As far as research time, that's difficult to say. I do several days to a week or two of preliminary research, but even when I'm actually writing the book itself, I'm constantly looking things up either in books or online. I remember waaaay back in the day when the only source of information came from libraries. I still love libraries, and still use them, but if there's anything that the internet is good for (aside from shopping and Twitter), it's research. The other day, I needed to know about 18th century powder flasks. A few Google searches later, I had the information I needed. But I'm careful to double check information that I get online. It can be pretty dodgy.
2. How long does it take you to write your novel and get it to the point where you send it to your editor? And along that line, do you employ a free lance editor to look at your work prior to sending it to the publisher?
WARRIOR probably took me about seven or eight months, all told, but I was writing spec, so the time parameters were a little more open-ended. I wrote SCOUNDREL and REBEL in four months, per my contract. STRANGER took a little longer, because I wrote a novella ("The Undying Heart" in HALF PAST DEAD) in the middle of that, and also because my deadline wasn't as tight for it. For the first book in my new HELLRAISERS series, I have five months per book. My husband (sci-fi romance author Nico Rosso http://www.nicorosso.com/ is my critique partner, so he reads and gives notes as I write, then he reads the completed first draft in its entirety. I do more revisions based on his notes, then give it to my agent for her feedback. After all these revisions, I send it to my editor. I definitely don't need to hire a free lance editor, since I already have several pairs of eyes looking at my stuff already!
3. Which of your books is your personal favourite? Can you tell us why?
That's such a tough question! They each have their special places in my heart. WARRIOR was my first foray into writing historical paranormal adventure romance, and it really was in many ways the "book of my heart," so it definitely means a lot to me. I loved writing SCOUNDREL because the hero, Bennett, was so much fun and the setting (Greece) was so rich and beautiful. REBEL has such a kick-ass heroine in Astrid, and that was great. And then with STRANGER, I was able to wrap up the whole storyline, plus I was finally writing Catullus's story. I love all my heroes, but seriously, I think Catullus is wonderful. Shy inventor genius hero! So awesome!
4. If you could spend a day with one of your characters, who would it be and why?
Oh, probably Catullus. I'm not scientifically minded, so it would be very interesting to watch him work. Plus, he's an intellectual and collects waistcoats. He's also a field operative for the Blades, so he's got some stories to tell, once he gets over his initial shyness.
5. What is the one thing in publishing or the publishing process that you find the most irritating?
I'm glad that there is finally more variety in terms of setting and storyline. For a while, it was getting pretty limited in terms of what publishers were buying--not mine, of course! It would be nice if there was a way to know sales information sooner, but accounting in publishing is a complex and sometimes baffling process. People ask me now how the Blades of the Rose series is doing, and I can only shrug. I really won't know a thing for at least six months, if not longer.
6. For us up and comers, do you have piece of advice that you wish you had when you were starting out?
I learned by doing, and that's what new writers need to know. The way to get better is to keep writing. Thinking about writing doesn't get the book written, and doesn't make you a stronger writer. Sit down and write.
7. Last question, if you could go back and re-do your writing career, what, if anything would you change?
Honestly, I'm pretty happy with the way everything has played out thus far. I started writing when I was a little kid, and always with the goal toward publication. There have been many hard knocks along the way, but it's made me wiser, stronger and grateful for any success. There were moments of hubris and moments of despair, and I managed to survive all of them. There's a reason why, when I sold my first book (LADY X'S COWBOY), I had the Japanese characters for "courage" tattooed on my ankle.
As an added bonus, Zoe has graciously offered a free SIGNED copy of Scoundrel and I will be adding to the goodies with a copy of Warrior to give out to two lucky commenters.
All you've got to do is tell us who your favorite hero/heroine couple is. The more badass the better!
You can get an extra entry by being a follower of my blog. Good luck to you all, and thank you again to Zoe.
P.S. This contest is only open to Canadian and US residents and will run until December 7th at midnight.
3rd Place and winner of Witchling and a chocolate bar of their choice goes to -- Ebyss
2nd Place and winner if The Guardian and Purdy's chococlate goes to-- Deven Avila
1st Place and winner of the Mistborn Trilogy (one of my favorites of all time) and some scrumptious Lindor chocolate goes to ---Julie Okami
Thanks again to all who entered, couldn't have the contest without you! And to the winners, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and send me your contact information so I can send you your goodies. :)
And don't forget to check out the blog later today for ANOTHER GIVEAWAY! I will have Zoe Archer, author supreme of Paranormal Adventure Romance books in a cool interview AND giving away a signed copy of one of her books.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
1. Keep your character numbers low. The lower the better. And this doesn't just mean the characters that are physically in the scenes, but also the ones they, your characters, talk or think about. I would say five or so is your max. I find this difficult as I always want to fill the reader in on EVERYTHING right off the bat, but its better to hold off. This will also save your editor some grief. Why is this important? Too many character gets confusing for the reader to track and they could quickly lose interest.
2. This could apply to any section of your book but I tend to use it at the beginning with my council of Archangels having a discussion about the problems they must attend to. Using a group, or meeting in your book is a common trick for writers to get across a lot of information to the reader quickly. This also can be very confusing as again you are probably dealing with multiple characters talking about multiple characters. And because its a commoon device it doesn't exactly make you stand out of the crowd. Not good for the readers, agents or editors.
That's it, I've got to get back to my Nanowrimo project now. I'm way behind and only have 4 full days left. Hope these tips help and please add to them in the comments section!
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
The rules will be similar but I will tweak them a little, just to keep it interesting. So for those of you who entered last time and missed out on the goodies, here's chance #2, coming up within the week. :)
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
1. This one is an irritant to many who aren’t writers too I’m quite sure. The phone. It never rings until I’m comfortable in my chair, laptop revved up and fingers are on the keyboard. And it's across the room.
2. The weather. Why is it so damn sunny and nice out on my days I set aside for writing? I want it dark and stormy, a real mood intensifier. Not some unseasonably warm , happy come play outside temptation of a day.
3. Slow Internet is the bane of my existence. I have to wait to get to a wireless café or steal from my neighbour if I want to upload pictures on the blog (of which you will see are absent from this post) or if I even want to send out a large attachment.
4. The cat, much as I love her, seems to feel that if I’m writing, she must not be getting the attention she deserves. This also applies to the dogs, my husband and numerous other people who shall remain nameless.
5. Unknown technical problems. Like the computer shutting itself off with unsaved work on the screen. Or randomly choosing not to hook up to the Internet. Or choosing not to be able to find files that I have JUST saved.
6. Not hearing back from agents, editors or publishers in the time frame that THEY give. My agent isn’t a problem (She’s wonderful!), but I’m finding that publishing houses and editors don’t follow much in the way of their own time lines. Poopy heads.
7. Someone who has never written a book telling you how you should write yours. Or how they could write a book no problem, they just never got around to it. I try not to strangle these people. I prefer to kill them off in a scene somewhere. Preferably a nice, gruesome scene. Maybe turn them into a rotting zombie.
8. People asking, “Aren’t you done yet?” or “You’re a writer?” both are said with a large dose of snobbery and condescension. And yes, I have had people ask me these things.
9. A minor character in your book suddenly deciding to take on a life of their own and you realize that you now have to write them their own story. Or series. This one isn’t all bad, just one of those moments that you let out a sigh and wish your characters would sometimes, once in a while, behave themselves.
10. Last but not least. You finish your book, hand it out to your beta readers or editor, they give you their feedback and you realize that you have to cut out a massive chunk of your book and re-write it. Yes it will make the book better, but damn, I always wish I could have figured it out sooner and saved myself some grief.
Like a bad case of hives, these irritants can really get under your skin if you let them and worse, they can completely derail you from your writing progress. Take a deep breath, a walk in that beautiful sunshine that’s tempting you and let the irritation go.
I would love to hear what other irritants are out there, so comment away, tell us how bad a case of hives you’ve got and how you deal with them.
Friday, November 12, 2010
I would however like to thank my husband, who does not always fit into those catergories, for a few things. Not what you’d expect, but the kind of things, I, as a person have needed.
To the one who has stretched me further than any other person in my life:
There are times when I’ve cursed you, for your bluntness, your ability to see through my defences and for calling me on my bluffs. There are times when I’ve lain in bed, crying myself to sleep for a misplaced word, tone in your voice or what I perceive as a lack of attention. You have forced me to look at myself, my life and my decisions with a logical eye (not something I have) as well as an eye to the future. I hated it at times.
Do I regret having you in my life? No. In pushing me out of my comfort zones and forcing me to stand up for what I believe in and who I am you’ve made me a better person. Was the ride always comfortable? No, but it taught me things that I otherwise never would have learned, or if I had, the lessons would have been at the hands of those who cared nothing for me and did what they did only to hurt me.
Do you regret having taught me these things? I think maybe there are days that you do. You didn’t want a doormat for a wife and you saw in me the possibility of a woman of strength. Now you have her, I think perhaps there are days you wonder why you did what you did. I see it in your eyes, a glimmer of what the hell did I teach her that for. But more than that, I see respect for me as a person, not just as your wife.
You’ve pushed me to lengths that no one else in my life has ever even thought of and I thank you for that. You are the one who believed in me when no one else did, you are the one who forced me to see the person I could be, you are the one who drove me to fight for want I want in my life. These are not things that many women would be thankful for, and I certainly wasn’t in the moments that they happened. But ten years and all that lays within them has given me a little perspective. And a lot of gratitude for the stubborn, complicated man that I love more than anyone else in this world.
So for all of you who struggle with a man like mine, hang on to him. He will teach you things you never knew about yourself and when you look back, you will see how just far you’ve come.
Monday, November 08, 2010
Now I get a chance to return the favour and I hope you'll go check out my post on her site as I had fun writing it. The post even has a few tips on how to speed up the publishing process by cutting out some common and easily fixed mistakes, all of which I've made of course!
So check it out and be sure to leave a comment. :)
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
- New writers almost always use 1st person or omniscient narrative.
- 3rd person is more difficult, not more logical
- Don't just add a POV character to add info. Scenes are for advancing the story.
- (This is my favorite) "Readers are like mother cats." If a mother cat has only three kittens and you take one away, she notices. If a mother cat has nine kittens and you take one away, she won't notice. Same with readers. If you have lots of characters, they (the readers) will not really notice/care. If they have only a few characters to attach to, they will identify and care more about what's going on.
- An intrusive narrator breaks POV's voice and does not make you care about the characters
- If you have a good POV it should feel like 1st person when its actually in 3rd.
There was a lot more to the class, it was three hours of POV and Voice, we covered linguistics and how that can help your writing, scene development, character voice and lots more, so I will add to this topic another day. Hope these tips help!
Friday, October 29, 2010
Short answer is "No." Longer answer is "It would be nice to get a Yes right out of the gates and avoid the whole rejection process." The thing I find kind of funny is the fact that the word "decline" is supposed to be less painful than "rejection". Last I heard, they mean the same thing. Though I suppose that rejection has more of a throw away attitude to it. Now the editors are putting my ms in a folder nicely instead of chucking it across the room and into a large paper shredder. Oh come on you can laugh at that. :D You gotta laugh, its the only response to these sorts of things.
For those of you doing NanWrimo, I too am taking the month long challenge and if you'd like to buddy up to me I would be glad to have you there. I got real creative and used my Twitter account name. So you can find me under "queryaddict" and I hope to see a lot of you there.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
This is my 100th blog post and I wanted it to be, well, epic is the only word that comes to mind. Seeing as I just came home from SiWC and am full of inspiration from all the wonderful speakers, I thought that perhaps instead of being epic on my own, I would let someone else do it for me. Namely, Robert Dugoni who gave THE most epic of all speeches. Keep in mind that this is as close to it as I could come with my faulty memory.
"When looking at the publishing world and trying to break in, for those of you who are still trying to make it past the front gate, its like looking up at the Black Gates of Mordor. Like an impossible task with talk of publishing houses cutting back, e-pubs taking over and the recession hitting hard. But I would say to you this,
Writers of Surrey! My brothers and sisters. I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of writers fail, when agents and editors forsake us and we break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. By all that you hold dear on this good earth, I bid you to write. An hour of rejections and shattered pens may come when the Age of writers comes crashing down, but it is not this day. This day, this day we write!"
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
"Must get agent, must get agent, must get agent. . . "
Phew. Its quite the relief that for the moment the only people I'm trying to impress are the editors . . . . . Oh crap.
Well, so much for that initial theory. Let the games begin either way. I won't be back until Sunday so don't expect much on the blog unless there is a major development. Here's hoping! :)
Saturday, October 16, 2010
I finished my ms three (3) days ago and already I'm back at it with another series as I promised to give myself at least a week away from the Chronicles Series. (Which actually was supposed to be a week off of writing the next book in the series, but I've been outlining already.)
So I've gone back to a piece I'd written not quite a year ago. One that initially was intended just for a writing group piece (a Christmas piece of all things) but has started to really get my attention lately. When discussing possible projects after my first series is completed, this seems to be the one that people are most interested in seeing.
I also need something to take with me to the Surrey International Writers Conference for the Blue Pencil Session wherein you get to sit down with a well known and published author (In my case I'm sitting with Robert Dugoni) and they read a bit of your work and give you some feedback.
If you want to check out the rough, rough copy of my piece I'm thinking of taking and am currently editing the heck out of, check out my website and go to the short stories section and click on the tentatively titled, "Cursed". Or just click on my link below.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
"It should scare you. Writers are getting hit HARD with this economic decline. Sad, but true."
Crap, that was depressing. So, I decided to go to Publisher's Marketplace and see what I could find there. Surely, someone must be making money as a writer? Perhaps they just aren't talking about it, perhaps they like their privacy? This was my hope. And here are my findings. Make of it what you will, it buoyed my spirits up and gave me a light at the end of the scary publishing tunnel.
All these numbers are for the last 12 months and include all categories, international rights and foreign rights.
1324 deals were made where the author earned $1-$49,000 with the top earning genre being Fiction followed closely by Women's/Romance.
233 deals were made where the author earned $50,000-$99,000 with the top earning genre being Fiction followed by Children's/YA.
194 deals were made where the author earned $100,000- $250,000 with the top earning genre being Children's/YA followed by Women's/Romance.
99 deals were made where the author earned $251,000-$499,000 with the top earning genre being Children's/YA followed by Fiction.
138 deals were made where the author earned $500,000 or more with the top earning genre being Children's/YA followed by Fiction.
And these numbers don't cover EVERY single deal out there, just the ones that show an amount of money made. So what does this tell us? Well, here are a few more numbers. 1302 deals were made under the Children's/Ya section. 342 were made in the Women's/Romance and in Fiction there were 1433 deals made.
Why you may ask, do these numbers make me feel better? 1. Books are still being bought, lots and lots of books. 2. The top three money makers are genre's that cover a lot of peoples MS's including my own. 3. Just knowing that it is possible to make good money at this very subjective business gives me hope. I for one, believe it is possible to make it as a writer.
Friday, October 08, 2010
I love Calvin and Hobbes, it is one of my favorite comics for so many reasons. But this one is by far the funniest when it comes to writing.
I'm sure you've read books like this, books where the author is trying hard to sound smart, intelligent and highly educated but they come across as pompous, irritating and desperate.
Calvin here of course is just being his difficult self, trying to make his teachers life a little more complicated and get a good grade in the process. Maybe that's why the smarty pants writers write the way they do? To get a good grade (win an award) and impress the teacher (reviewers).
Me, I'd rather write a book that all the kids (readers) like and forget about the teachers (reviewers), after all, its not the reviewers that make you a NYT best seller.
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
What do you do when you have TOO many story ideas? The very first thing you need to do is drop to your knees and thank God you have this problem. More than once I've heard that people have "only so many stories" in them. So if you have an abundance, be grateful.
Second thing, write them down, all of them. Even those that seem silly or not even a full story idea but just a scene or a character, you'll forget them if you only keep the idea in your head and not on paper or on file.
And if you're really struggling with this overflowing river of ideas, pass them on to someone else. Yup, you heard me, if you don't want to write them down or use them yourself, help one of those struggling writers who used up all their story ideas already. But really, I doubt it if you'll ever have to use this step. And if you do, keep me in mine, I can always use a good idea. ;)
Sunday, October 03, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
So, now onto the fun part. Revising, or editing, or re-writing, whatever you want to call it. The idea would be to have it ready to go to Carolyn by the end of October and hopefully sooner, like have it ready for the Surrey International Writers Conference.
While this is all good there is a little kernel of concern sprouting in my head. What I'm worried about is, is this a fast enough turn around? I think its fast, but I'm far from a professional at this point in my career. Anyone got any ideas on what the industry standard is as to how fast we should be getting our sequels done as a debut author? I've seen a few authors mention how long it takes them, but they are writing short stories, something in the 55,000 word range and I don't think that is a fair standard when I'm writing something twice the size when its all said and done.
Let me what you think folks. Whether it's your opinion, experience or something you've read, I'd love to know what you think about the speed of getting a rough draft done.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
There is this thing currently going around tumblr about why dating a writer is good. I think it’s nice that this thing is going around, because I like writers, and lots of us could use more dates. As a writer who has dated people, though — including other writers — I would like to offer some correctives to this list.
The items in bold are the alleged reasons to date a writer. I have replaced the original commentary with my bleak corrective, in lightface.
Writers will romance you with words. We probably won’t. We write for ourselves or for money and by the time we’re done we’re sick of it. If we have to write you something there’s a good chance it’ll take us two days and we’ll be really snippy and grumpy about the process.
Writers will write about you. You don’t want this. Trust me.
Writers will take you to interesting events. No. We will not. We are busy writing. Leave us alone about these “interesting events.” I know one person who dates a terrific writer. He goes out alone. She is busy writing.
Writers will remind you that money doesn’t matter so much. Yes. We will do this by borrowing money from you. Constantly.
Writers will acknowledge you and dedicate things to you. A better way to ensure this would be to become an agent. That way you’d actually make money off of talking people through their neuroses.
Writers will offer you an interesting perspective on things. Yes. Constantly. While you’re trying to watch TV or take a shower. You will have to listen to observations all day long, in addition to being asked to read the observations we wrote about when you were at work and unavailable for bothering. It will be almost as annoying as dating a stand-up comedian, except if you don’t find these observations scintillating we will think you’re dumb, instead of uptight.
Writers are smart. The moment you realize this is not true, your relationship with a writer will develop a significant problem.
Writers are really passionate. About writing. Not necessarily about you. Are you writing?
Writers can think through their feelings. So don’t start an argument unless you’re ready for a very, very lengthy explication of our position, our feelings about your position, and what scenes from our recent fiction the whole thing is reminding us of.
Writers enjoy their solitude. So get lost, will you?
Writers are creative. This is why we have such good reasons why you should lend us $300 and/or leave us alone, we’re writing.
Writers wear their hearts on their sleeves. Serious advice: if you meet a writer who’s actually demonstrative, be careful.
Writers will teach you cool new words. This is possibly true! We may also expect you to remember them, correct your grammar, and look pained after reading mundane notes you’ve left for us.
Writers may be able to adjust their schedules for you. Writers may be able to adjust their schedules for writing. Are you writing? Get in line, then.
Writers can find 1000 ways to tell you why they like you. By the 108th you’ll be pretty sure we’re just making them up for fun.
Writers communicate in a bunch of different ways. But mostly writing. Hope you don’t like talking on the phone — that shit is rough.
Writers can work from anywhere. So you might want to pass on that tandem bike rental when you’re on vacation.
Writers are surrounded by interesting people. Every last one of whom is imaginary.
Writers are easy to buy gifts for. This is true. Keep it in mind when your birthday rolls around, okay?
Writers are sexy. No argument. Some people think this about heroin addicts, too.
Alternate solution: it will be pretty much like dating anyone else who likes to do a particular thing, you know?
Friday, September 24, 2010
To quote a friend on Twitter, “Some issues need to be addressed; not silenced and suppressed!” In case you’ve been hiding in the crags of Mount Doom for the past few days, Sunday began what is known across America as Banned Books Week. Backed by the American Library Association and other such worthy organizations, Banned Books Week is the seven-day time frame readers nationwide celebrate anti-censorship efforts by reading their favorite banned or challenged book. Or if you’re crazy like me, you attempt to read a different banned book every day (I’ve only downed one so far; it was epic).
Whatever the case, you can assure hundreds of thousands of readers have at least dedicated a day of their time to pouring—or in my case, slogging—through a banned or challenged novel in support of a worthy cause. But you may be asking yourself, “Who would bother banning a book in America?” Which is, of course, a noteworthy inquiry. After all, does not the “land of the free” maintain a Freedom of Speech clause? Does not Freedom of Speech mean just that—one may “speak freely” of whatever they desire? Even if it does damage the general populace?
The answer to these questions is a definite yes. Anyone who attempts to trample underfoot any human being’s right to read anything from books on political anarchy to novels dealing with rape and drug abuse has suddenly crossed the line. By American standards and bylaws, they have suddenly become unconstitutional.
Why, then, do book banners persist? One can never say, but if we are to believe their claims, it is because they’re ensuring their children remain free of the drivel often published and placed onto library shelves and classroom reading lists. It might be easy to side with these censorship fanatics, except for the mere fact that while ensuring the literary virginity of their children (and themselves for that matter), they are robbing the rest of America of their freedom to practice a key portion of the First Amendment.
Just Sunday, September 19, 2010 a book banner by the name of Wesley Scroggins in Missouri was reported as working to remove SPEAK, Laurie Halse Anderson’s extraordinarily moving novel, from a local high school’s reading list. He believed it and other novels on the list should be classified as “soft pornography.” An hour and a half away in Stockton, about a week or two prior to the Anderson event, a unanimous vote from the school board actually banned Sherman Alexie’s THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN from classrooms! “This book in a nutshell is my hope,” one student claimed, “It's not about giving up. It's about not letting people tell you you're not worth it.”
This week on Twitter, the hashtag #SpeakLoudly has become quite popular (I wouldn’t be surprised to see it trend by the end of the week). When it comes to anti-censorship, this hashtag should be our daily mantra, words we say when all someone wants to do is shut us up. Let Banned Books Week 2010 be about speaking up. Join the chorus and chant with one voice, “Speak Loudly!”
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Guest post by Brenda Sedore
Social media can be your best friend or your worst enemy. It depends on how much you control it or how much it controls you. Let me explain.
As my husband, Daryl Sedore, and I prepared to launch our debut novels around the same time, we began exploring social media as a marketing tool. We discovered that it is imperative to the modern author.
What is social media? The main players in this new game are Twitter and Facebook. Twitter allows you to connect with others in the publishing industry as well as the readers of your books. You can both cross-promote other authors and reach your readers in a personal way.
I recently read The Tale of Halcyon Crane and did a review on it on Goodreads, another great social media tool. I gave it 4 stars and did a quick review on the high points of the novel. My review was posted to Twitter. Within a few hours, the author, Wendy Webb, sent me a tweet thanking me for my review and expressing her pleasure that I'd enjoyed her book.
I thought to myself how things have changed for the better. In the past, I wouldn't have had a personal note from the author. I might have taken the trouble to write a fan letter, which may or may not have been replied to, but not always by the author herself. How nice to connect with an author of whom I'm a fan. That's one of the beauties of social media.
The other big player in the social media game is Facebook. Facebook was started as a way of connecting to people you know or have known in the past. It is rapidly becoming a way of promoting books and other endeavors. My son, Dan Oig, is a musician. Social media sites such as Facebook have given him a much wider audience than he might otherwise have gotten in a small Canadian city.
Now, back to why I called this post The Dangers of Social Media. Everything sounds perfect, doesn't it? For everything positive, there is always a negative side. Just like anything with the Internet, it needs to be handled with self-control. If your reasons for using social media are to promote yourself, you need to have something to promote, yes? If you're promoting your writing, you need to take time to write. It's easy to keep Twitter open while writing, or stop in the middle of a scene to check Facebook and see how many new friend requests you have.
There is another danger. It's easy to forget that the people you chat with every day are people you don't know. This is still a business and you need to act in a business-like manner. If you want to Tweet and Facebook personal things, you should have a separate account.
I'd love to hear how social media has worked for you as an author, musician, or whatever your passion is. Do you see it as an important tool, or something you don't have time for? Please leave a comment with your thoughts. Social media and blogging is about connections and conversations. Thanks for reading.
Links to some great social media sites:
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Let me tell you why I like this particular design. There were others that I thought were darker, more suited to a writer of urban fantasy, but they were TOO damn dark and I couldn't get any of my words to show up! This is what I get for not being as technically savvy as I'd like. So the light colour scheme of this background has a lot to do with why I chose it. It also has some great swirly magigs which caught my fancy.
So tell me what you think, let me have it straight up, no dilution. Too sissy? Girly? Ready for a change already?
Thursday, September 16, 2010
I recieved an email from my fantastic agent, Carolyn Swayze, where in she let me know that she had sent of a submission of my ms for Gluttony, and the first three chapters of book #2, Wrath to a MAJOR publishing house! I nearly wet my pants. Of course, that was after I choked on my maccaroni and cheese.
We could expect at the longest for it to take a month for the editor of said publishing house to get back to us, but it may be shorter. Let me show you what I mean. I can't tell you how happy I am to have such a phenomenol agent. Here's what she said to the editor (I've put "the editor" and "them" in place of name and gender) :
I told the editor that it was going to be a multiple submission but as the editor had invited it, I was giving them priority, and teased them by adding "go ahead, make a pre-emptive offer". This might spur them to drop everything and read asap.
Now we just have to wait and see. (Sorry for any spelling mistakes, computer and internet were acting up!)
Monday, September 13, 2010
The past six years have been a journey of writing for me, working on my first novel and hiding out in the back bedroom so no one would know what I was up to all the way to attending the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference where I met my fantastic agent, Carolyn Swayze. Some days it seems to have happened so fast I'm afraid to blink in case I miss something. Other days I'm full of impatience, waiting for the next step, urging the process to hurry up.
And still there are other days where I wonder what the hell I'm doing, how could anyone think a goober like me could be a writer? I think I need the flashes of immaturity, they take away the anxiety. For instance, today I figured out where the quad keys were hidden, started the Beast up and proceeded to tear up and down the road with my Ipod on nice and loud. The new ruts in the road are a particular mark of pride for me.
So I guess what I'm trying to say is, if you have writing related stress, find a nice, immature activity and that should shake all the anxiety write, I mean right out of you. Have fun, take a breather and steal your husbands quad. If nothing else, you'll have to come up with a good story for the appearance of burnouts, branch scratches on your face and the windswept look of your hair.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Fear is a wild horse that needs a tight rein, for it is both friend and foe, both good and evil, and to live effectively one must learn to master it. . .
By using the fear of insecurity, defeat and failure as a lash and spur to high achievement.
By flooding the dark corners of fear and superstition with the bright light of reason and knowledge, this mapping the unknown, overcoming fancy with fact, dispersing hobgoblins of the imagination and revealing the truth that sets one free.
By beholding the power of faith to work miracles, as expressed in these inspiring words: "Fear knocked at the door: Faith opened it. And lo, there was no one there."
Wilfred A Peterson
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
Grand Prize of a $50 Starbucks G/C and the first book in the Laurell K. Hamilton Anita Blake Series, Guilty Pleasures goes to. . . .
Second Place and winner of the first two books in Kelley Armstong's series, Bitten and Stolen goes to. . .
ANASSA who writes from her blog Specnology
Third place and winner of Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey is. . .
Fourth through tenth place winners have the opportunity to write a guest blog here on Wringing Out Words. In no particular order they are :
Annie Q Syed (@so_you_know)
CA Marchall (@ca_marshall)
Jessica Brooks (@coffeelvnmom)
Shawna Thomas (@writermomof5)
Be sure to leave a comment with your email so I can contact you about your prize, how to get it to you or what and when you'd like to do a guest posting! Again, congratulations to the winners!
P.S. Good contest or not so much? Would you enter again?? Thinking about making this a three times a year kind of deal
As I'm still tallying everyone's entries up, making sure I translate Twitter names into real names and all that jazz, it may take me another day or so before the full list of winners gets posted. I will tell you that I have decided to have 10 winners, 6-10 being guest blog posts here on Wringing out Words.
As some of you may have read the fine print, I stole this idea from CA Marshall who's contest I entered a couple of months back. Coming full circle, Cassandra is having another contest, again for a free manuscript edit! And yes, I will be entering her contest. I think it's an awesome prize and one that any writer can use. Cassandra's contest ends on September 20th and if things go as they did last time, there won't be just one free edit handed out, but a few. (She's far too nice!) So good luck to those who entered my contest, and good luck to those who enter CA Marshall's Contest.
Monday, August 30, 2010
The most important reason behind my contest is this. Publishing houses are next on my to-do list and I would love to have a generous following of people who when the big day comes and my book hits the shelves, they are lined up outside the bookstore to buy it. Isn’t that every writer’s dream? That and I love the idea of more people participating on my blog, giving me feedback and just being a part of this journey of mine.
I also want to inspire others. So, part of this contest revolves around you and YOUR writing. This is an honour system contest, though I will check out the blogs that do a posting. I trust all of you to keep me updated on your entries by making a comment on my Contest blog post and then I will put all the entries in a big barrel, spin it around and draw out some lucky winners!
Here’s how you get entries into the contest:
If you’re a current follower of my blog-5 entries
New blog followers-3entries
Current Twitter followers-5 entries
New Twitter followers- 3 entries
Every RT or Tweet about the contest-2 entries (be sure to put @queryaddict so I can
Blog about this contest or blog about Wringing Out Words-10 entries. Here you could get 20 entries if you do two separate blogs!
List Wringing out Words on your blog roll- 4 entries
For every thousand words you write during the week of the contest (on your honour) I will give you 2 entries into the contest. Motivation, motivation, motivation!
There will be multiple winners as I’ve seen on other contests; it’s hard to award just one grand prize!(If you already have the book listed you can choose another of your liking)
The grand Prize will be something that no true lover of books, whether it be writing or reading can do without. Coffee. Or, because of the postal system, a Starbucks Gift Certificate along with a copy of book one of Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series, Guilty Pleasures.
Second place is two books from Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld Series, Bitten and Stolen.
Third Place is the first book in Jacqueline Carey’s series, Kushiel’s Dart.
A guest blog will be offered to places 4-6 on my blog, Wringing out Words. And if there are more than 6 people who enter this contest, I may find prizes for places 7-10. Thanks for checking it out and good luck!
Contest will run from August 30th- September 6th closing at midnight.
*Creative contest Idea stolen with permission from CA Marshall.*
Sunday, August 29, 2010
This may stem from the fact that as I child I had very few friends (a distinct possibility but not one I'm willing to give much thought to at the moment) or the fact that September 7th is the day that my agent, Carolyn Swayze, will be submitting my ms to PUBLISHERS! Very exciting and very contest worthy.
The contest will be designed to bring new followers to my blog and Twitter account. I want to be able to reach as many people as possible through my blog, Twitter and website. I expect that the new followers, and you who have been with me since the beginning, will all stick around long enough to buy my first book. In fact, part of being a follower of my blog or Twitter account requires the you must line up outside your local bookstore, at a minimum of the day before my book will be released. Really, it's in the fine print. ;p
And for you sceptics, THERE WILL BE PRIZES! I will have multiple prizes, because when can there be just one winner? Not on my shift! It doesn't matter where you live, Canada, USA or over seas, I will send the prizes to you where ever the winners are.
Shannon's Friend Seeking Contest will start as soon as I reach 500 followers on Twitter and as of this post I'm 9 people away. The details, prizes and start time to be announced when that magic number is reached.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
I've never had this kind of a deadine with my creative writing before. Articles, yes, in my head don't have to really keep them deadlines, yes. But real, honest to goodness, someone is depending on me to keep my butt going with my writing deadline? Nope, this is the first. I think the panic was good. It motivated me more than anything else could have. No bribery, teasers or torture could have made me type any faster or more frequently.
I think my plot is solid for book # 2. The likelihood is that it will change and evolve as I edit and add depth to the scenes and characters. I say this, because I feel like I need a disclaimer for what I hand in to my agent.
"This is good, but it'll be better in a month when I've had more time to tweak it."
I'm sure she knows that, but I still want to impress her. I still want her to think she's found a gem and not a rough dirty rock that got polished up for one weekend conference.
It's all in the hands of the Internet gods now, as I just emailed my agent the synopsis and first three chapters of book # 2. At the very least, she should be impressed with the fact that I beat my first deadline by two weeks. I hope.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
I'm going a guest blog! Wow, like a real grown up writer or something. It's my most embarrassing moments from the Seattle conference, so be sure to enjoy it.
Many thanks to Jeff for the opportunity, he has a really good blog and I appreciate the chance to expose myself and my style to his followers. Get your mind out of the gutter.
So be sure to check it out, maybe even considering following Jeff's blog if you aren't already as he has some great writing on there!