Showing posts from April, 2011

The Birth Of An Idea

From the first spark of inspiration to the first words of a novel there is a bit of magic that happens. Whether you're an outliner (writer who works off an outline) or a pantser (writer who flies by the seat of their pants without an outline) there must first be an idea that comes from some type of inspiration. The idea can be based off something that amuses, entertains, frustrates, angers, or inspires you. Regardless of the motivation it must strike a cord within you. Keeping that in mind later as you write the novel will help keep it focused and strong. It will also help you write a one-sentence logline or pitch if that's something you'll need or want. The next part is where the magic comes in, the discovery or creation of the story. I like to think of it as more of a discovery because the way I write is by letting the characters tell me their story. This keeps it organic and natural. If you write this way be careful not to let it distance you though. Telling someone el

Twitter Tuesday~April 26th

I have an interesting round up of tweets from agents for you this week. The first one is from agent Vickie Motter and is really important for anyone who ever gets to submit their full or partial. Check it out: @Vickie_Motter Suuper boring Blog post today. But suuuper important. How to format your ms: Agent Vickie Motter brings us this tweet from agent Rachelle Gardner about how NOT to get an agent. Be sure to read this for what not to do! @ Vickie_Motter RT Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent: How to Get an Agent (NOT!) Writer's Digest brings our attention to a new agent with Liza Dawson Literary: @WritersDigest New Agent: Judith Engracia of Liza Dawson Assoc. seeks literary fiction, urban fantasy, thrillers, YA and MG Chuck Sambuchino of Writer's Digest interviews agent Vickie Motter: @WritersDigest Agent Advice: Vickie Motter of Andrea Hurst & Associates Literary Management http://o

Monday's Muse~The Dawning

Now that the conference is behind me and I've joined the query wars with To Ride A Puca , I am turning my attention to my next novel. This is the exciting time that I like to think of as pre-dawn when the light is just breaking over the horizon and I'm starting to catch the first glimpse of what my new manuscript will be like. And I've got to tell you, I'm loving what I see. Excitement is already starting to build as I'm working on character development and the beginnings of an outline. The outlining and character development stage does give me a lot of time to read though, which I love! I just finished The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell. Oh wow people, RUN out (or click on the title) and get this book quick! It is part historical, part paranormal/magical realism, and all awesome. Saundra makes me strive to write better and reminds me of why I love to read. The Vespertine is beautifully written and that is putting it mildly. Now I'm reading From Dark Places

The Purpose Of A Critique Group

Last weekend I not only attended the Western Washington SCBWI regional conference, I also spent any and all free time in between with my Critique Sisters . In workshopping our novels I realized just how important they are to me and what being part of a critique group is all about. There is much more to it than just critiquing one another's work. A good critique group acts as support when you need, helping to hold up the crushing weight of rejection by reminding you why you write and why you love it. They inspire you and push you to be better, guiding you on the path to accomplishment. On the other end of that spectrum they know when you need a kick in the rear to get you moving along or pull you out of a rut. When your work is not up to your capabilities they aren't afraid to tell you where you can improve it and help you achieve it. Not every critique group works this way but I'm honored and thankful to say that mine does. These ladies aren't just my critique partne

Twitter Tuesday~Submitting Advice

Last week was a good week to catch some excellent advice on Twitter. Never fear if you missed it, I caught it for you! Writer's Digest brings us this tweet from an author who sold to a publisher without an agent: @WritersDigest I Have a Publishing Deal But I Still Want an Agent. Here's Why... Looking for great agent blogs? Look no further... @WritersDigest Announcing the Best Agent Blogs of 2011... - Every year, Writer's Digest puts out its amazing brainbomb of informati... If you're querying you need this book! @ChuckSambuchino I am giving away a copy of the 2011 GUIDE TO LITERARY AGENTS (interview with Red Sofa Lit) Agent Weronika Janczuk give us the inside scoop: @ WeronikaJanczuk   New blog post! Manuscripts I Take On: 1. Is everyone following literary agent Jenny Bent's blog Bent on Books (a... Jane of Writer's Digest brings us a great list of tweets for writer

Monday's Muse~Critique Sisters

These wonderful ladies are what fed my muse last week. Without them it would have starved and likely died a horrible death. What would cause such a hardship on my muse you might wonder? The dreaded query letter. It is the price of completing the editing process. If you read my post on my Critique Sisters Corner then you know writing a query letter is like pulling teeth for me. Don't get me wrong, it does get easier, but I'm not sure it's something that will ever be easy for me. Query letters are creative selling, not creative writing, which is why they're so hard for me. You have to dig deep and figure out what about your novel is going to appeal to agents, then bring it to the surface. With only one short page you must convince the agent your novel is worth their time and interest. My Critique Sisters helped me hone my query letter and inspired me to start submitting my new novel. Over the weekend I had the opportunity to both visit my Sisters and attend the SCBWI

Writing Community Support

The writing community is the most supportive community I've ever come across. Many of you have heard me say this before but after last month I believe it warrants saying again. Each and every one of you has gone above and beyond for me or someone I care about in some way, shape, or form and for that I am truly thankful. Last month my friend, Carolina Valdez Miller , landed an agent and celebrated with all of us and you came together to congratulate her. My friend Brenda Drake celebrated her birthday month with all of us by doing amazing contests throughout the entire month, and you all came together to support her. When I told you all about my novel, The Secret Of Spruce Knoll , being entered in the Gatekeeper's Discovery contest many of you clicked onto the link and voted for it. Thanks to you I had enough votes to make it to the first round where the Gatekeeper staff read the top 100 entries with the most votes. I was #9 and that was all thanks to you wonderful people. A f

Twitter Tuesday~Contests, Conferences, & More

I took time out of my crazy editing week to drop in on Twitter and find you these excellent tweets. This first one if from agent Irene Goodman, a contest for historical fiction that you have until July 1st to enter! @WritersDigest Agent Irene Goodman requesting HISTORICAL FICTION pitches - winners will be offered representation! If you have self-published a book (I'm giving my self-pubbed friends the eye right now) then you need to enter this contest from Writer's Digest! @WritersDigest Less than 2 weeks left to enter WD Self-Pub Book Awards. Grand prize gets $3000 and a trip to NYC! Agent Vickie Motter talks YA and MG topics from the Whidbey Conference! If you write either of those you won't want to miss her blog this week! @Vickie_Motter On my blog this week I'll be talking about topics from the Whidbey Conference. Today, YA, MG, and children's. My friend Roni brings us a gr

Monday's Muse~Final Edits

One of the best parts about being a writer is what inspired me last week; seeing a project come together beautifully. The notes from my Critique Sisters  arrived as well as the notes of my wonderfully supportive friend Carolina  and I spent the week entering them then doing a final read through out loud to my ever helpful other half. It feels good, solid, and compelling, it feels done. Well, not done in the sense that I won't have to edit again once I get an agent (because one almost always has to edit upon signing with an agent), but highly polished and ready to submit. Yep, To Ride A Puca is out on submission! Whoo hoo! Now that I've hit send on the very first submission I think I shall go throw up. Just kidding, the submission butterflies migrate after you've been doing this for a while. At least until the requests start coming in. Then it's nervousville all over again and the butterflies start hatching in my tummy. Speaking of querying, this Wednesday I'll be

April Feature Debut Author~Amy Holder

This month I have the pleasure of featuring a friend of mine, Amy Holder , who's book I've been looking forward to for a long time. Before we meet Amy though, here is a bit about The Lipstick Laws(don't you just love that title?!). At Penford High School, Britney Taylor is queen bee. She dates whomever she likes, rules over her inner circle of friends like Genghis Khan, and can ruin anyone's life as easily as snapping her perfectly manicured fingers. Just ask the unfortunate few who have crossed her. For April Bowers, Britney is also the answer to her prayers. With zero friends and nothing close to a boyfriend, April is so unpopular, kids don't know she exists. That is, until Britney notices her. One lunch spent at Britney's table, and April is basking in the glow of popularity. But Britney's friendship comes with a price tag. How much is April willing to pay?   Welcome to Heather's Odyssey Amy! I love that you're a fan of silly comedies and

Twitter Tuesday~Writing Competitions, New Agents, Speed Dating Tips & More!

It was a light tweeting week for me since I've had my nose deeply embedded in my editing. But I couldn't leave you hanging so I caught a few great ones for you. If you haven't read this post by ex-agent Nathan Bransford about self-publishing vs. traditional then you have to! @NathanBransford Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing: Which Way Will You Make More Money? If you haven't entered the Writer's Digest annual writing competition or haven't heard about it be sure to click on this one! @WritersDigest Just over a month left to enter the WD Annual Writing Comp. Win $3000 and a trip to NYC! My friend Monica brings us this link to a new agent. Remember they're great opportunities for writers who are on the hunt! @Monica_BW New AGENT, who repps YA! (Among other genres) Agent Ginger Clark shares a few trends editors are seeing in submissions right now: @Ginger_Clark Two tr

Monday's Muse~My Happy Place

I am in my happy place, the one I love above all others; editing! This was my go to picture throughout my young adult historical novel, To Ride A Puca. It only makes sense that is sustain me now as I work my way through the editing process. I don't know who painted it so please leave me a link if you do so I can give them credit and link back to them. I’m so excited about this book because it feels special. From the research and outlining stage it spoke to me in a different way than any of my other novels have. I felt a deep connection to this one and now that I'm editing it I'm noticing that came through in the writing in a good way. I'm finishing up reading The Clearing by Anne Riley and am loving it. It started out with a bang then slowed down for a few chapters but after that it picked up and swept me away. I would definitely recommend this novel. Next up is The Lipstick Laws by Amy Holder which I'm really looking forward to, and not just because she's