Showing posts from September, 2010

Banned Books Week~Blood & Chocolate

This week is banned books week , a time when readers and writers celebrate and support the books that have been banned. There is a list at this link of books that are currently banned but it is by no means all inclusive. Books are banned for a number of different reasons at a number of different places. You might be surprised and appalled by the reasons. There are books that are banned simply because they involve paranormal elements. The Harry Potter books are banned. Really. What does banned mean? Some stores, libraries, and schools won't carry the books. On the flip side of the coin, many libraries and stores fight to keep books from being banned. Today I'm featuring a book that isn't on this banned list but it is banned from many schools and some libraries. It is Blood And Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause. It is a young adult novel about a young girl~Vivian~who struggles to find her place in a world that doesn't accept her kind. It is a very mature read for a y

Time And Place For Backstory

There is a time and place for backstory and the beginning of your novel is not it. Beginning with backstory is a good way to get automatically rejected by many agents and editors. However, backstory is not the same as a prologue. Backstory is talking about something that has already happened where a prologue is something that is happening~even if it's in the past. The difference is action. Most agents and editors want the story to start right away. Readers want a sense that something is happening, there is something at stake, and there is a way to save what is at stake. The inciting incident should be as close to the beginning of your novel as you can get it. This doesn't mean it has to be in the first chapter so long as what comes first is pertinent to the story and is exciting, suspenseful, or interesting enough to start the novel with. Not sure what the inciting incident is? It is the event which occurs and sets the entire novel in motion. Example: In Harry Potter it was t

Twitter Tuesday~Getting Published, Contests & More

Now that I'm editing instead of writing I've spent a lot more time on the internet, which of course means more time on Twitter! It isn't all play. I'm researching my next novel and I drop in on Twitter for a break now and then. The result is a bunch of excellent tweets for you! If you're on submission or plan on submitting any time soon you must read this one: @ V_Motter 86% rejection rate. Learn how to be in the 14% request. If you're thinking about submitting to the Sandra Dijkstra agency you must read this! If you aren't thinking about submitting to them, you should. ;-) @ Natalie_Fischer Check it out!!! Official new SDLA sub guidelines UP AND RUNNING!  #agents, #amwriting Do you write young adult or are you thinking about writing it? You should read this: @ WritersDigest I wanna write YA - Yeah. So there's no denying that YA and books for teens are where it's at these days. Everyone'

Monday's Muse~The Red Pen

This week I've entered the red pen portion of my editing process. Though I love the entire editing process this is by far my favorite part. There is something very satisfying about seeing all those red marks across the pages. It's like a reward for me to get to mark something out or add something in that brilliant red color. I think it makes me feel like I'm improving my work and actually getting somewhere. Polishing away the blemishes, chipping away the rough parts, and fleshing it out where it needs it are all a lot of fun to me. I'm told that I'm the minority when it comes to feeling this way, that most people enjoy writing the rough draft more. But I'm okay with being odd. I have been most of my life, why change now?! The music that is feeding my editing muse if very different from the music that I listened to while writing this novel. I'm not sure why that is. I'm listening to a lot of Dropkick Murphy's . I'm still reading Shadow Hills a

Literary Agent Judged Contest

Over at Chuck Sambuchino's fabulous blog there is an excellent contest going on. It's called the "Dear Lucky Agent" contest and it's for paranormal romance and urban fantasy, adult or young adult! The judge is Marisa Corvisiero of Lori Perkins Literary agency. The main prize is a ten page critique by Marisa and a one year subscription to Writer's Market. For all the details click on the embedded links for the contest above. But hurry, the contest is only open until Wednesday October sixth! Read the rules closely and best of luck to each of you.

Writing For Your Audience

The first person you have to write for is yourself but there is someone else you must keep in mind while writing, your audience. If you don't know your audience and keep them in mind, chances are they won't connect well with your novel. Genre can help you narrow it down and identify who they are. If you pick up a young adult novel you'll notice they have a particular tone to them, the tone of a teenager. The language is different, the thought process is different, and the plots of such books are focused around what would interest a teenager. A woman's literature novel will read with the tone of woman. It will play to women's interests by focusing on subject matter they want to read about. There is often a more emotional feel to these novels. Thrillers tend to read with an exciting edge that appeals to men. Men have their own language to a point and operate more on action and literal thinking, this is reflected in novels written for them. There are always excepti

Your Novel's Affect On Readers

Authors are only half of the equation that makes a novel successful, readers and the affect our work has on them, is the other half. We must never forget that latter half and it's importance. This doesn't mean you have to write your novel differently but it does mean you have to be prepared. Not everyone will love your work, in fact some will hate it. Count on that and accept it now that way it doesn't break your heart when it happens. We can't please everyone and we shouldn't try. Readers buy your book because something about it sparks their interest. They keep reading your book~and hopefully buy your future books~because they connect with it on some kind of emotional level. Before you ask, yes this goes for men as well. Excitement is an emotion, just not a warm and fuzzy one. That emotional connection is the thing you need to keep in mind when you're writing your novel. Ask yourself if you've engaged the reader by evoking emotion. Good characters develop

Twitter Tuesday~WriteOnCon, Websites & Agents

I've been crazy busy this week working on completely the rough draft of my manuscript so I didn't have much of a chance to get on Twitter, or any of my other social networks. I missed you guys! For those who aren't on Twitter or Facebook, or Scribblerati, I had a bit of good news yesterday. Nephele Tempest asked for my full manuscript for The Secret Of Spruce Knoll ! I'm really excited because she is beyond awesome. Back to business though! Here are a few of the links I managed to catch. WriteOnCon is an amazing writers' conference for young adult and middle grade writers that started this year. It is completely on line and the first conference was completely free. If you missed it I'm so sorry because it was beyond amazing. The great news is, they're gearing up to do it again! Check out the announcement here: @Casey_McCormick A WriteOnCon announcement!  #writeoncon If you're like me you've had moments where you wish literar

Monday's Muse~Finishing

The First Dragonwatcher is finished! Well, okay, finished isn't exactly accurate since it still has a four step editing process to go through. But the rough draft is done, and that is worth celebrating! Hence the confetti. I plan to have the editing process complete by the end of the month. But the best laid plans often go awry as you know! Case in point: I had planned to have the rough draft of this book finished by the first of September. But eighteen days late isn't all that bad I suppose. Once I've run it through my editing process I'll send it off to my beta readers and wait. But finishing in itself is inspiring! Though I still have a long road of editing ahead of me I'm going to pause for a day and celebrate the monumental success of finishing a first draft. All too often we writers get caught up in the pursuit of getting published and we forget to celebrate our successes along the way. It is a very long road and if we don't take time out to celebrate o

Movie Rights To Vampire Academy Sell

If you read young adult you've probably at least heard of Rachelle Mead's Vampire Academy series. If not you need to check it out! Due to over saturation of the market, it takes an outstanding vampire novel to even remotely turn my head. I'll be honest, I wouldn't have even picked this book up if I hadn't been in the airport bookstore absolutely desperate for something to read on my upcoming five hour flight. I opened this book and read the first sentence, then the first page, then I HAD to buy it. This book is anything but clique. The main character Rose drew me in and wouldn't let go. I'm huge on good character development and she didn't disappoint. Everything about her was so tangible and real, despite the fantastic situation. And it only got better the further into the book I got! Enough raving about how fantastic the book is though, go check it out for yourself. But hurry, with any luck there will be a movie very soon and you know the book is a

The Power Of Language

The way a writer uses language in their novel can either make it distinctive and fresh, or dull and uninspired. It's one of the weapons in your writer arsenal so make sure you know how to handle it like a pro. Slang is one way to use language to your advantage. However, you have to be careful that it isn't something that will be obsolete or unpopular by the time your book comes out. Don't forget, finding an agent, then a publisher, and getting published can take years. The beauty of slang is that you can create your own, the catch is that you have to make sure your readers understand what it means. Anyone who loves sci-fi can tell you what frakkin means and from which series it originated. In my novel there are no clocks and time isn't thought of in minutes and hours. They use sundials and think of time in shadows of the sundial instead. I had to clarify that so the reader understood it. Use your character's ethnic background to add flavor to the language of you

Defining And Knowing Your Genre

What genre do you write? This is a tough question for many writers to answer and yet it is vital to writing a successful genre book. You must know what genre you're writing. If you don't agents and editors will think you haven't done your homework. To be a successful writer one must read. You can't do a marathon if you don't run and you can't write a novel if you don't read. You don't have to strictly read the genre you write but you do need to read a lot of it. That way you'll know what the trends are and who the top authors are. This will come into play later when you're ready to submit. How do you figure out what your genre is? If there is an element of fantasy, it's fantasy. Such as dragons, faeries, elves, angels, etcetera. Sci-Fi is a completely different genre. Sci-Fi means the novel is based off probability and possibility, technology and advancement in essence. Paranormal falls under fantasy unless we break things down into sub gen

Twitter Tuesday~Queries, Agents, & More

I didn't spend a lot of time on Twitter this week but I did manage to catch quite a few great tweets for writers. This one from Weronika, an agent with D4EO literary is great insight into rejections and what they mean: @WeronikaJanczuk New blog post! The One Thing You Should Be "Reading Into" (Queries): I hear the phrase "I don't know how to analyz... Author Elizabeth Craig gives us this warning about why it is so important to meet your deadlines once you have a publishing contract. You don't want to miss this: @elizabethscraig This is Why You Always Meet Your Deadlines: Here is the tweet of the agent reader opportunity I posted about last Friday: @WeronikaJanczuk New blog post! An Opportunity to Read: I'd like to find someone who's interested in both a) reading some partial (... A bit of excellent advice straight from an agent: @Jolina_Joy An agent answers writers' question

Monday's Muse~Elmore's Red Dragon

This painting by the fabulous Larry Elmore has inspired me since before I reached my teen years. Larry had a huge hand in defining the way I see dragons. I chose this picture for last week because I'm working on the climax chapter of my young adult fantasy novel in which my main character has to battle a dragon. While the battle ends up looking nothing like this, the metaphor worked perfectly. It's hard to believe I'm only a chapter away from finishing the first draft of this baby! It has been a fun book to write and I look forward to editing it! I'm still reading Shadow Hills though I'm starting to zip through it now. I love the mystery and suspense in this novel, and the character development is very compelling! Click on the picture of it on my right sidebar to learn more about it. I don't have a song link for you today because I've been listening to pretty much anything and everything, a lot of Manowar, the Braveheart soundtrack, LOTR soundtrack, and m

Reader For A Literary Agent Opportunity

A fabulous new agent with D4EO literary , Weronika Janczuk , is looking for a reader to perform a literary intern-type job for her. It will be unpaid but the rewards are better than mere monetary. You will get the opportunity to ask an agent in-depth questions about writing and publishing. So what do you have to do? That's the beautiful part, you get to read. As fun as that sounds there is more to it than that. Weronika will send you 2~5 partial or full manuscripts a month and you will have to read them in a timely manner~two days tops~then write a one-paragraph reader's report. Weronika has listed specifics on her blog as to what kind of reading she expects you to have done in the past. Details as to how to apply for the position are on her blog as well. Be sure to stop by and check it out! Just click on her name to get there.

Agent Hunting Tips

Hunting for an agent isn't like trophy hunting where you want the buck with the biggest rack. Hmm, I see where that could be taken wrong. Moving along. You want, no, you need to find the agent that is right for you. Not just any agent will do. Trust me, I'm speaking with the voice of experience on this one. Connecting with the right agent starts in the querying process. Do NOT blanket query. What that means is sending out generalized query letters to pretty much everyone who calls themselves an agent. Take your time and do your research. Make sure the agents you submit to represent your genre. Just because someone takes urban fantasy does not mean they'll take fantasy. Just because they take young adult does not mean they'll take middle grade. Read the agent's bio's carefully. That is your introduction to them, your chance to get to know them a little. Then read what they're looking for. If it isn't under their bio it is almost always under the submiss

Choosing A Point Of View

The point of view you choose to use could be what makes your novel stand out or what makes agents and editors pass it up. There are many things to consider when making the decision of which point of view to choose. First you must choose the most compelling character. Sometimes a stable hand's point of view is more interesting than a prince's. Explore each of the characters in your novel thoroughly and decide whose point of view would interest you the most. The next big decision you have to make is what kind of point of view do you want to tell the novel in. First person is literally in the head of the main character. It is the kind of novel filled with I, me, and my type of phrasing. This is very popular in young adult. This point of view has its up and down sides. On the plus side, the reader is immersed fully in the story by experiencing everything the main character does down to their very thoughts. Its can be easier for the writer because you only have to deal with one

Publishing Industry People Dish on Twitter

If you haven't taken the Twitter plunge yet don't worry, I've been keeping an eye on it for you. Writers you don't want to miss these Twitter highlights from last week! For non-Twitter peeps, the @ symbol indicates someones Twitter name. Alice Pope from Writer's Digest shares this insightful round table discussion between agents and editors about breaking into the young adult genre: @alicepope Check out this @WritersDigest agent and editor round table on breaking into YA Here is a tweet from Alice with a bit of inspiring news about the publishing industry: @alicepope Today on the SCBWI blog--In the News This Week This Tweet from Writers Digest opened my eyes to how agents are being affected in the changing publishing industry: @WritersDigest The Evolving Role of Literary Agents - Today I'm a guest interviewee over at Jungle Red Writers, on the evolving rol... My friend Jul

Monday's Muse~Hidden Ice City

I found this inspiring picture at  Fantasy Art Design , a site of free wallpapers. It transported me and put me in exactly the right frame of mind for my latest chapter. This week my main character comes to realize the importance of team work and good friends that you can rely on. I'm nearing the end of the first draft and am picking up momentum as I go. As if that wasn't keeping me busy enough I completed my 'final' read through edit of The Secret of Spruce Knoll and have begun submitting it to agents! Now The First Dragonwatcher has my complete and undivided attention. The book that is feeding my muse is Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus. If you missed my feature on it last week take a look at this link . I'm loving it so far! It's mysterious, creepy, and has sucked me right in. My MP3 player and I haven't had much time together this week because I've been so busy so I don't have a song link for you this week. What inspired you last week?

The Importance Of Grammar

How important is grammar to a writer? That's like asking how important water is to a fish. Yet you might be surprised by the number of writers that don't take it serious enough. Considering there are agents and editors out there who will shape and change your book, how important is it really though? How much editing can you expect an agent, and especially an editor to do? You might not like the answers. Grammar is to your novel what air is to you. Without it your novel cannot breathe. Agents get thousands of submissions every month. With such a high volume they are looking for two things. The first of which is a reason to reject your work. The second is outstanding writing. Because of that first reason, good grammar is vital to your chances of getting out of the slush pile. Agents may help with minor grammar if your writing is powerful enough and your story is compelling enough. The English language is one of the hardest languages in the world. With words like their, they&#

September Debut Author~Anastasia Hopcus

This month's featured debut author is Anastasia Hopcus . She has graciously taken time out of her busy schedule to stop by and tell us about about herself and her novel. Anastasia's debut novel Shadow Hills   is now available! First a bit about this intriguing novel. After her sister Athena's tragic death, it's obvious that grief-stricken Persephone "Phe" Archer no longer belongs in Los Angeles. Hoping to make sense of her sister's sudden demise and the cryptic dreams following it, Phe abandons her bubbly LA life to attend an uptight East Coast preparatory school in Shadow Hills, MA — a school which her sister mysteriously mentioned in her last diary entry before she died. Once there, Phe quickly realizes that something is deeply amiss in her new town. Not only does Shadow Hills' history boast an unexplained epidemic that decimated hundreds of its citizens in the 1700s, but its modern townies also seem eerily psychic, with the bizarre ability to