Sunday, October 30, 2011

Musical Monday: NaNoWriMo Playlist & The Song of the Week

It’s absolutely incredible how fast time flies. Here we are on October 31st, one day away from the start of NaNoWriMo.

I’ve been doing some super prep work these past two weeks – researching locations and backgrounds on a few new characters (I think that’s as close to plotting as I get these days), getting Scrivener and all of my research set up on my PC so I can hit the ground running tomorrow (after the day job, of course), and convincing my Muse that November is not a good month for a vacation <— God I hope she listens!

One other task I’ve undertaken, this past weekend in particular, is meticulously selecting the perfect music for my writing playlist. In writing, music sets the tone – it evokes the feeling you’re after in a particular scene. Sometimes, you can get so lost in the words, the music just seems to fade away. Other times, it’s there to push you through to the end of a difficult scene. Whatever your reason for selecting the perfect soundtrack for your writing, music is an intricate part of the process.

Here is my NaNoWriMo playlist – which will also be updated on my ‘playlist’ tab – and links to each of the songs on YouTube. There’s always the chance that not all of these songs will be used, and the list just might actually grow as I get further into the writing. But for now, this is what it looks like – in no particular order – and you may notice I’ve got quite a few themes going on:

Another Way to Die by Disturbed
The Bleeding by Five Finger Death Punch
Alone by Bullet for My Valentine
Closer to the Edge by 30 Seconds to Mars
Uprising by Muse
21 Guns by Green Day
Misguided Ghosts by Paramore
Glycerine by Bush
Map of the Problematique by Muse
Feel it in My Bones by Tiesto featuring Tegan and Sara
Fuel by Metallica
Crawling by Linkin Park
The Show Must Go On by Queen
Haunted by Evanescence
Releasing the Demons by Godsmack
City of Delusion by Muse
Attack by 30 Seconds to Mars
Hero by Skillet
Unnatural Selection by Muse
Symphony of Destruction by Megadeath
Place for My Head by Linkin Park
Voodoo by Godsmack
Your Betrayal by Bullet for My Valentine
Jesus (Don’t Touch My Baby) by Ryan Adams
Con-Science by Muse
Serenity by Godsmack
Piano Thing by Muse
Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve
Knights of Cydonia by Muse
Seek and Destroy by Metallica
The Kill by 30 Seconds to Mars
Conspiracy by Paramore
Beautiful Tragedy by In This Moment
Let the Flames Begin by Paramore
Kings and Queens by 30 Seconds to Mars
Woman King by Iron and Wine

Now onto our Song of the Week:

‘Night of the Hunter’ by 30 Seconds to Mars. No matter where I am or what I’m doing, there’s always a song by these guys that fits the situation perfectly.

I hope you enjoy! :0)

Happy Reading & Writing!!!


Friday, October 28, 2011

This Week in Favs…..

Playing on the Zune (mp3): Canned Heat by Jamiroquai – Yes – my boogie is for realz :0)

10) “The Hailstorm Approach: Prep for Nanowrimo in Seven Days (or Less)” by Daniel Swensen on SurlyMuse AND “The NaNoWriMo Checklist” by Leif G.S. Notae on Wrimos FTW! and “NaNo Prep: Planning Your Novel” on The Other Side of the Story with Janice Hardy. I know what you’re thinkin’: “Holy cow! That’s a lot of NaNoWriMo links!” Well, guess what? This isn’t even the tip of the iceberg when it comes to NaNoWriMo links. The blogosphere has been inundated with posts, articles and discussions about NaNo (yes, I’m shortening it since I’m tired of typing the whole thing out). These are the links from this week that I found most helpful. Oh, wait! One more: go check out Alexandra Sokoloff’s blog. She’s doing a series of posts on NaNo that are also super-duper helpful. Counting today, we have 4 days left to prep before we all start banging away on our keyboards with the goal of 50,000 words in 30 days hanging over us. 

9) “Ten Tips on Writing Characters with Accents” by Rose Lerner on Reader, I created him. Talk about a truly helpful post! I’m 100% Southern, so I am fully aware of my accent and how it may sound to others. With writing being an extension of ourselves (in most cases), I tend to include at least one or two southern-accented individuals in my writing. After this article, I now feel like I can project it a little better in my writing. These are extremely helpful tips and I encourage anyone who’s thinking (or has already) of writing a character with an accent – be it British, French, Southern, or Northern – to read this article and think on each tip as they put those characters together.

8) “On Underestimating Your Readers” by Ava Jae on Writability. This is HUGE! Thanks to Ava, I now realize just how focused on my characters’ eyes I tend to be with my writing. And she’s right – we don’t have to give the reader every single little detail about a character. Dark hair could mean either ash, black, dark brown, etc. The same is said about the eyes – bright eyes could mean any color the reader can think of; they’re just bright when set against the character’s skin tone. Ava, thank you so much for writing this post. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.

7) “11 Ways to a Healthy Brain and Healthy Writing” by Mark Landen. I know, I know…the holidays are coming up and not many of us are thinking about health. I personally know that I’ve been thinking about green been casserole, turkey, ham and sweet potato pie. But if you read this article, you’ll realize by keeping your body healthy, you’re keeping your brain healthy, and in turn, you’re writing will flourish. The only issue I have with this particular post was the tip about circadian rhythm <—not something I’ve been able to accomplish since I can sometimes sleep 12 hours on the weekends (wow, I really just admitted that!). With NaNoWriMo coming up, these tips are incredibly important for all of us (including those that will not be participating this year).

6) “Creating Fear in the Minds of Readers” and “Making it Pay Off” by Lisa Gail Green on Paranormal Point of View. I thoroughly enjoy Lisa’s tips and pointers on topics such as this. Fear is what will hook a reader, and the follow-up is what will have them raving and ready for more. Read, print and insert these into your writing tips notebook – they will be more than helpful when you’re plotting and/or pantsing your way through your next MS.

5) “Soup and Layers” by Becca Puglisi on The Bookshelf Muse. Now I’m hungry again…darn it! Anywho, back to this wonderful nugget of the week. I think the best pleasure you can get out of a finished MS is the moment you look back and notice the layers upon layers of subplots, theme, character arcs, symbolism, etc. Becca did a wonderful job with this post and if we’re paying attention, our revision process should be a lot easier now that we have a handy little guide on what we should look for when fleshing everything out of our first draft.

4) “Drafting vs. Outlining” by Cynthia Robertson. Yes, it’s the age-old question with a new twist: Plotter or Pantser? But I enjoyed Cynthia’s take on the subject: “What some people call outlines are what other people call first drafts….What we choose to call it is just semantics. The method we choose is just preference.” Well, I think that pretty much says it all, doesn’t it? Even though I’m a pantser, I can totally look back at my last first draft and truly see it as really only being an outline. Especially after considering how much revision, re-writing and editing went into it in order to arrive at the fourth draft that I now have. This is a great, information read if you enjoy reading others’ opinions on the topic.

3) “Spice It Up!” by Stina Lendenblatt on Isn’t the picture of the baby chef adorable? I’m not even going to pretend that I know how to pronounce the types of rhetorical devices that Stina has listed in this post, but I can say – without a doubt – is that this is a post that has definitely been saved so I can revisit it several times over the next several years. If you’re either not familiar with rhetorical devices, or have been looking to expand your knowledge on them a bit, this truly is a great article to do that with….I just hope that you have better luck than me when it comes to pronouncing them. ;0)

2) “25 Reasons You Won’t Finish That Story” by Chuck Wendig on Terribleminds. **Profanity Warning – Just sayin’** I do believe that Chuck has pretty much hit the nail on head and listed just about every single reason why some of us don’t manage to finish what we start – which is why this is an incredibly insightful, thought-provoking, entertaining read. Click over there, read it then print it out and think of ways that you are going to combat these reasons and finish your story…on time, I might add. 

1) “The Difference Between Your ‘Current Platform’ and ‘Future Platform’” by Chuck Sambuchino on Writer Unboxed. I wanted to add this link for two particular reasons: 1) there are some of us who are bit familiar with platforms, but tend to think that they are really more for the non-fiction writers, and 2) those of us who know that fiction readers need/could use a platform as well may not fully understand the elements of said platform, much less how to look at it for the future. With that being said, I came out of this article feeling a lil’ scared, but also a lil’ more educated.

And……here’s out bit of fun for the week!

This is a funny video that takes a look at how Harry Potter should’ve ended. Though I personally think it ended in the most perfect fashion possible, I still find this video hilarious (especially the one-second clip of Neville).


Happy Reading & Writing!!


Monday, October 24, 2011

Song of the Week: Country Song by Seether

This is just a fun song to do almost anything to - whether it's write, dance, clean, or travel, there's something about this song that makes it fun (and the video's a little entertaining as well).


Friday, October 21, 2011

This Week in Favs……

Playing on the Zune(mp3): Map of the Problematique by Muse Yup, movin’ and groovin’ to one of my favorite tunes! :0)

10) “And Pretty Words All in a Row: Tightening Your Narrative Voice” on The Other Side of the Story by Janice Hardy. This is one of the hardest parts about editing/revising…but it can also be one of the fun parts. Janice is right, during the drafting process, we tend to think faster than our fingers can type, so we end up with run-on sentences, more than one topic per paragraph, and we can wander a little from the scene we’re writing at that moment. But all of that is okay because the first draft is *supposed* to be messy. That’s the reason they call it a draft. Janice has highlighted the three main areas that everyone must go back and tighten before even thinking of sending our MS over to a CP or beta reader. I enjoyed the examples – er, mini-lessons – she gave as well.

9) “Numbers Are Our Friend – Writers and the Wild World of Metrics” by Kristen Lamb. (Don’t forget to also check out Kristen’s latest entry into structure: “Structure Part 3 – Introducing the Opposition”) Numbers, folks! This week, there’s been talk and more talk about the numbers – and more talk about how the numbers behind an author doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to become a NYTBS. I’ve learned in the last few months to not focus so much on the numbers and focus more on the quality of the relationships I’m building. Kristen’s post this week was rather enjoyable since she took a different approach to the number’s game: “Numbers help us improve. They help us adjust and make a new plan if the old one isn’t working.” Hmm…..I never thought of it that way. Now that I am, I’ve been spending some time brainstorming post ideas…..

8) “Publishing in the Brave New World” by Rachelle Gardner. Given the topic circulating the blogosphere this week, I wanted to throw this one in so that we have all ends of the spectrum represented with regards to numbers. After getting a little frustrated over the post from the day before, I’m glad she wrote this one as a follow-up. Rachelle’s rant on this post posed an interesting prospective as well as a reality check: “Publishers did not create this brave new techno-world we live in.” Well, that may be true, but most of them sure have clung to it more in certain areas than others. But I do like the fact that Rachelle doesn’t enjoy that simple fact anymore than we do. 

7) “A Guide to Preparing for NaNoWriMo: The Pantsless Way” by Amber West on A Day Without Sushi. Even if you’re a plotter, some of these NaNoWriMo prep tips should be helpful – especially those on making a schedule, changing your voicemail, and pre-apologies <—Yes, pre-apologies is a BIG one around this time of year. I’m still getting around to mine since I plan on hitting it hard next month to bang out *more* than the 50,000 word-count goal! Overall, this was definitely an enjoyable and refreshing read.

6) “How Bad is Plagiarism?” by Jami Gold and “Beware of the Confidence Man” by Amber West. I still find it hard to believe that there are people out there who are more than willing to steal the genius and hard work of others, stamp their name on it, and sell/mark it as their own. But I’m extremely grateful that this blogger and so-called ‘writer’ was busted. By the way, Terrell Mims’ site where all of this happened on? It’s officially been deleted from WordPress. Reading Jami and Amber’s posts are a good reminder for all of us to be weary of some of the people out there in the blogging and Twitter worlds. It makes me sick to my stomach to even think about how many writers were betrayed…and even more sick to think there are others out there who haven’t been caught yet.

5) “25 Questions to Ask as You Write” by Chuck Wendig on Terrible Minds. **Language warning on this one** If you’re easily offended, then you may not want to read this one. But if you’re like me and you’re not *smiles*, then pop over to this page. This was a rather enjoyable and entertaining read as I’m sure that most of us have asked at least 8-10 of these questions while writing. If you find yourself nodding too many times to count, then I’d say the click over there was well worth it. :0)

4) “Write With Passion or Not at All” by Daniel Swenson on SurlyMuse. YES! Please, dear God, write what you’re passionate about – not what other people say you should write or what you think your family and/or friends will love. If you’re heart’s not in it, then nobody’s going to buy it. “I’m saying that giving yourself permission to suck can lead you through the Valley of Suck to the Mountain of Awesome, whereas taking the shortcut through the Cave of Guilt only leads to the Lava-Filled Grotto of Hopelessness…” Well said, Daniel! Bravo!

3) “5 Tips for Not Screwing Up Your Character’s Name” by Suzanne Johnson on Roni Loren’s Writing Blog: Fiction Groupie. Naming a character can either be fun or downright frustrating. If you’re like me, you search through surname databases by origin – be it French, English, Italian, etc. – and you’re able to narrow it down to oh, maybe 20 possible names for one character. I liked this post because it actually might make the name-selection process a little simpler for everyone. If you take into account the origin, how much you love it (and whether or not you can live it with for several years), and the history behind the name, then selecting a name should be a whole lost easy going forward. This is definitely one that was printing and added to the book!

2) “The Sum of the Parts: Writing a Synopsis” on The Other Side of the Story with Janice Hardy. Remember the post from Roni Loren on synopsis? Well, here’s another great post that makes this process seem a little easier to approach. It’s another for flagging/printing – right alongside Roni’s fabulous post!

1) “Insanity Behind the Pressure to Have ‘Numbers’” by Jami Gold. *cracks knuckles* *stops and thinks for a moment* Actually, I think I already feel better now that I have also ranted in public…though on Jami’s blog. But nonetheless, I have got to give Jami kudos here for having the anatomy to speak up – once again – and say exactly what’s been on the minds of most of us writers. I stewed a little over Rachelle’s post earlier this week that sparked Jami’s post, but Jami put it out there and guess what! She was able to get to the heart of the matter (which sparked Rachelle’s second post on numbers listed above), instill hope in a lot of us writers, and build on another genuine relationship. I encourage everyone to dive in and share your opinion/thoughts on the subject...after all, it effects all of us. 

Are we ready for a bit of Friday fun?

I seriously don’t know why, but this video is hilarious….something about the way this guy lands against the wall then falls to the floor? I dunno – but it had me cracking up for at least 10 minutes.

Hope you enjoy!!


Happy Reading & Writing!!!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

What’s in Your Toolbox? – A Writer’s Bookshelf

Recently, I did a major overhaul on my writing space. The overhaul allowed me to create some much-needed space on my shelves for books on the craft as well as added space on my physical desktop for the research I’ve been doing on my next idea.

This process got me thinking about a writer’s toolbox.
We each have one, but what we carry inside can be vastly different from our fellow writers.
A few of the items I believe all writers have inside their immediate (the one we carry everywhere) toolbox are: our ideas (or Muse – if they can actually fit inside that small, tight confined space), experiences, vocabulary, music that drives the words onto the page, a pen and a notebook (or index cards or post-it notes).
But what about the other items – the ones we can’t take with us everywhere we go? The first obvious one that comes to mind is our computer, since those can be a little too bulky to carry around everywhere. But I’m mainly thinking about the many books on/about the craft that accumulate on our shelves. Looking at my stack of writing books made me wonder what’s on everyone’s shelves and whether or not all of us have a few of the same books.
Given the fact that the writing community is forever open and honest, and everyone enjoys sharing ideas and resources with each other, I wanted to take this opportunity to find out what you have on your shelves at home.
I’ll show you mine if you show me yours. *smile*

  • Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary and Thesaurus
  • The BIG Book of Words You Should Know (this is an interesting book as it separates words into those you should absolutely know, words most people don’t know, words you should know but probably don’t, and words you shouldn’t know)
  • Write That Book Already! By Sam Barry & Kathi Kamen Goldmark
  • *Writer’s Market Guide to Getting Published from the Editors of Writer’s Digest
  • *Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass
  • Characters and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card
  • *Write Great Fiction: Dialogue by Gloria Kempton
  • *Write Great Fiction: Revision & Self-Editing by James Scott Bell
  • *Write Great Fiction: Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell
  • *Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder
  • Painless Grammar by Rebecca Elliot, Ph. D.
  • The Black Dagger Brotherhood: An Insider’s Guide (particular section entitled: ‘For Writers’) by J.R. Ward
  • Writing the Paranormal Novel by Steven Harper
  • *On Writing by Steven King
  • *The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. & E.B. White
  • *The Art of War for Writers by James Scott Bell
*Book not pictured as it is on my Nook/computer:
  • Writing Fiction for All You’re Worth by James Scott Bell
  • Love Writing by Virna DePaul & Tawny Weber
**I highly recommend these for writers.

These are the books that are on my actual shelves – it does not include those that have managed to find themselves in a box where one day, I will end up searching high and low for them – and driving myself crazy until I find them.
Now it’s your turn!
Name some of the writing books you have on your shelf at home. Which ones are your favorites? Is there a book in particular that you don’t see on my shelf that you feel we as writers absolutely must have?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Song of the Week: Waking the Witch by Kate Bush

This week's song was not chosen because of Halloween - though it was another awesome reason this song was chosen. This song was 'mainly' chosen because it is one of those amazing songs you can get lost in writing to.

When I hit 'play' on this one, everything fades into the background - all my focus is on what's in front of me....the characters and their story.

Hope you enjoy!

**Don't forget to leave any music/playlist suggestions in the comments. I'm always looking for new music to add to my writing playlist. :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

This Week in Favs…….

Playing on the Zune: “Misguided Ghosts” by Paramore <—This just so happens to be one of my favorite bands. I can always find the perfect song to fuel my writing with these guys on my playlist  :0) 

10) “A Time to Kill…Your Novel” by Marcus Brotherton, guest blogger on Rachelle Gardner’s blog. Ack! I hate the words ‘kill’ and ‘your novel’ in the same sentence…but it’s a fact of the writer’s life that must be faced. Not everything is going to be gold when it’s completed – and as I’ve said before: Every completed MS you write is a stepping stone in the journey to getting published. You learn something valuable from every single one of them, taking it with you onto the next, hoping the next one will be the one to bring you success in reaching your ultimate goal.

9) “5 Great Bits of Wisdom from a New York Times Bestseller” by Jenny Hansen. Yes, these are the same tips that you read and hear about so often within the writing blogoverse – but they’re SO TRUE! Never give up, visualize your goals, never stop learning, be a good ‘writing’ friend, and show up to the page and do the work. Save and/or print this page. It served as a good reminder for me this week when I started to feel lost and frustrated with my writing. Maybe it’ll either do the same or something different for you.  :0) 

8) “Guest Author Kenn Crawford: Tools of the Trade to Beat Writer’s Block” on The Other Side of the Story with Janice Hardy. Ok, I don’t necessarily believe in writer’s block….I believe in the Muse taking a major vacay without me. But nonetheless, even while the Muse is out on the beach drinkin’ Mai Tai’s, there are words that have to be written – even if it’s just 500/day – and the tools we should have are the write ticket to getting the creative juices flowing again: dictionary, thesaurus, ‘idea file’….not to mention the fact that we should always just keep writing whenever the block hits. Words have the power to pull you through!

7) “Symbolism in Writing: Shell Cottage: A Respite from the Storm” by SP Sipal on Harry Potter for Writers. Why hadn’t I thought of this before?!? Oh, duh! *head palm* I know why! Because sometimes what is staring you straight in the face – such as symbolism – isn’t what you see at first glance. Thanks to Susan, my mind is wide open to the symbols we see in everyday life. They may not be meant to have a meaning, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find one. I love how Susan explained the history behind a shell’s meaning then weaved it into a pivotal moment in young Mr. Potter’s life. Genius!

**Want some help on weaving symbols into your writing? Go check out the Symbolism Thesaurus on The Bookshelf Muse.

6) “10 Ways to Launch Strong Scenes” by Jordan E. Rosenfield on Writer’s Digest. What an informative article! Three different types of launches – action, narrative, and setting – and tips on how to get your scene airborne from each one! I loves it! Here’s a little tidbit to get you wanting to read more: “Each new scene still has a responsibility to the idea or plot you started with, and that is to communicate your idea in a way that is vivifying for the reader and that provides an experience, not a lecture.”

5) “Structure Part 2 – Plot Problems – Falcor the Luck Dragon & the Purple Tornado” by Kristen Lamb. Despite what my husband may think, I did not choose this post just because it had a picture of Falcor (although that helped *wink*). Any story that has a major plot issue is doomed to fail – and I believe I just stated the obvious, didn’t I? But it’s true. And unlike The Neverending Story, we can’t call upon Falcor to fly in and save us. Instead, we have to back track and fix it because it’s never going to sell if we don’t. I also loved Kristen’s story behind the purple tornado – major plot events that are too much, too soon. She really nailed it on the head in this article, pointing out the major reasons why plots tend to either fail or leave the reader high and dry for the rest of the story.

4) “Character or Plot or Setting? Building Your Story’s Universe” on Adventure’s in Children’s PublishingDo you begin with character, plot, or setting when you write? This is the main question this article posed to me this week. My honest answer would be the characters and the setting. Plot tends to tag along at the end of the day saying, “Yeah, I’ll show up to the party if you really want me to.” This is both good and bad, but it just means that I really have to focus on the plot of the story somewhere in the middle of writing – and that’s okay, because the writing process is one that you make your own. <—this is obvious by the great comments that followed the post which were just as enjoyable to read as the article itself.

3) “Make Your Setting a Character” by Susan Meissner on Novel Rocket. I just noticed how this post can tie right into #4. For some writers, setting is what comes first. When that comes first, the setting truly is a character of the story – it has a personality all on its own, and I’ve read quite a few books where the setting was more intriguing to me than the story itself, but this article isn’t geared towards doing that. It’s geared towards bringing your setting to life on the page. As a way to flex your writing muscles on this, there’s a little exercise at the end of the article that actually has me planning on re-watching You’ve Got Mail sometime this weekend. :0)

2) “What Does It Take to Sell Books” by Jami Gold. This is one of Jami’s best posts by far! I took a lot out of this one as it made me think about the writing friends I’ve come to know and love, through Twitter and blogging, and the fact that they are there for me throughout the writing process. If they’re here for me now, then won’t they also be here for me whenever I’m published? To me, that is invaluable because as you know, the writing community is one where ideas are spread and support is given more than any of us could’ve ever imagined. The personal connections you make with others is how you sell books…but it’s not about quantity – it’s about the quality of your work and the quality of those connections. 

1) “Why Steve Jobs Could Have Been a Writer” by Lisa Gail Green on Paranormal Point of View. This one truly needs no words from me as Steve Jobs was a genius – but I DARE you to listen to the speech in its entirety and not feel like he was speaking directly to you. Thank you, Lisa, for posting his speech. He really could’ve been a writer – and an amazing one at that! Now, go over and there and have a listen. Go ahead…I double-dog dare you! 

And here’s some more Friday fun: A new Simon’s Cat has been posted!!


Happy Reading & Writing Everyone!!!!


Friday, October 7, 2011

This Week in Favs……

Playing on the Zune: “Factory of Faith” by Red Hot Chili Peppers – Yes, I’m still listening to their new album and I can’t get enough of it!! :0)

10) “Don’t Be a Poser: Write What You Love” by Roni Loren. I can’t think of a better way to start off this week’s round-up than with a post of 100% truth – Write what you love! I agree with Roni – it’s easy when you think about it, correct? But for some, it’s not so easy. Some of us get caught up in what’s hot in the market – currently – or we listen to the direction of others who tell us what we should be writing. But the fact is, when you don’t truly love what you’re writing….. it shows!!! BIG time! If you love it, write it and let that writing speak for itself. I love the advice Roni gives: “…try to find the balance between writing a story that you think will sell with writing the story that you are passionate about.”

9) “Why Gatekeeper’s Aren’t Evil” by Ava Jae on Writability. You had me at the word evil, Ava. *grin* In all seriousness though, Ava is absolutely, 100% spot-on with this post: not everything we write is going to pour out of us like gold. We have to gather tools, sharpen them, and be willing to toss the manuscripts aside that aren’t the one – the ones that aren’t meant to help you find an agent or a publisher. It hurts, but we have to remember that saying: “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” I personally believe that timing is everything – and that success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. All those manuscripts are stepping stones – they’re guiding your way to the ultimate story that will make you a STAR.

8) “Research: Getting the Details Right” by Lisa Hall-Wilson on Girls With Pens. Oh, I totally dislike a book that doesn’t have the details right – especially when it comes to foreign languages and locations. It makes me toss the book aside asking, “Has the reader not heard of Google?!?” I love using Google to find all sorts of resources that are required before sitting down to write that first draft. Google Earth is so much fun and I use Google Translator almost everyday and lately, that’s because I’ve discovered a few more phrases for my WIP that need translating. Prior to that, I took a chance and asked an American author who lives in France, Amy Plum, a favor for some translations (for that, I'll always be grateful). The point is, research can be one of the most enjoyable parts – other than the writing itself – of pulling a story together.

7) “Strike Back Against Setbacks” by Jael McHenry on Writer Unboxed. We’ve all faced setbacks in our writing lives – from not being able to find the time to edit because the day job’s too crazy so you get home too late to do anything, to not being able to catch enough sleep to meet that writing goal. I liked Jael’s three simple ways to address any setback (when a positive outlook doesn’t feel like enough): Head-on, Off to to the Side, and Not at All. Yup – this one’s been printed and added to the wall’o’encouragement!

6) “Feed Your Senses” by Lisa Gail Green on Paranormal Point of View. Like some other writers out there, I’ve been feeding my senses while writing without truly knowing it. Thanks to Lisa’s post, I’m now conscious of it and can add a few things here and there to make the experience better – adding a good-smelling candle to my desk, ensuring I have the right song on in the background for the scene (since I tend to forget the music is still set for the scene before because I’m so focused), and possibly writing a few scenes in longhand from the comfort of my bed – which may do wonders so I’m hoping my writing is fast enough to keep up with how fast my thoughts fly when writing. *crosses fingers* And Lisa, I too enjoy a nice glass of wine while writing in the evening. :0)

5) “Top 10 Writing Distractions” by Katy, Storytelling Nomad. Ah….the distractions that keep us from getting down to business. I think Katy pretty much pegged every distraction I’ve ever had in my writing life: housework, food, sleep, DVD’s, reading, Twitter, blogging, exercise and time. Katy lists the reason and gives the argument and reality of each one – and she makes some super-awesome points on a few. This is a new blog for me so I’ll be watching this one closely. So far, I’m loving what I’m reading from Katy. 

4) “Hook Lines and Stinkers: Crafting Lines to Draw the Reader In” by Janice Hardy on The Other Side of the Story. I was hooked into this article this week by Janice simply because of her rule of thumb that she shares: “I have one to three hook lines most pages…If you don’t have at least one hook like per page, that could be a red flag that something is off.” Hmmm…..never thought of it that way for some reason, and now I can’t help but want to read through my MS again to ensure I do, in fact, have at least one hook line per page. *pulls MS out and forgets about this post* <—J/K!

3) “Being Your Own Inspiration” by Martina Boone on Adventures in Children’s Publishing. Here’s our dose of inspiration for the week! I’ll let you go to this site and read the post for yourself instead of spoiling the inspiration for you. It may feel a bit stronger if you read it from Martina – without my input on this one. Don’t forget to leave a comment and enter for the giveaway!

2) “So You’re Looking for a Literary Agent…” by Tina Moss. I failed to congratulate Tina on the blog last week on an incredibly exciting announcement she had last week: She’s got an agent!!!! So, congrats again, Tina! Now, onto her post on lit agents: This is some of the best advice I’ve heard with regards to finding and signing with a literary agent. And I thoroughly enjoyed how Tina presented it – from the ‘do you have what it takes’ questions to the step-by-step guidebook about the journey into gaining representation (The ‘PB & J time’ dancer is awesome also!). Thank you, Tina, for the information and the amazing advice: “BElieve in YOUrself” :0)

1) “How to Avoid the Publishing Kool-Aid” and “Are Writers Entrepreneurs?” by Jami Gold. THESE posts had me wanting to jump around – though I don’t think anyone in the office would’ve appreciated it at the time. *smile* Jami is a rock star thanks to these posts. In her first post this week, she put something out there that most of us have been thinking – self-publishing vs. traditional publishing: neither is better than the other. It truly does depend on the writer. With the second post, she shows us exactly why a writer would choose one over the other – because it truly depends on how we see our business <—which is the business of writing! If we plan to make a living from writing, which is the ultimate dream, then we may see writing as a business that we need to grow from the ground-up. And how we go about that has everything to do with our personal philosophy. Bravo, Jami!! You rock, my dear!!! *high fives*

Here's a funny video that some of you may have seen already since I posted on Twitter earlier this week. Harry Potter fans will definitely get a kick out of it - and those who aren't, you'll still find it rather enjoyable. ;)

Happy Reading & Writing!!!


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Takin’ a Look Back at Seven Special Posts

Last week, a fabulous fellow blogger/writer, SP Sipal, gave me the “7 X 7 Link Award”!

I was super-excited to receive this and can’t believe that even though I’ve only been at this since May, I’ve got an answer for each one of these categories! :0)

If any of your answers are different from mine, please feel free to comment and let me know! It can be hard to decipher these for yourself since you, as the writer, are not the intended audience for the posts.

Here we go:

MOST SURPRISINGLY SUCCESSFUL: “Whose Line?!? Using Multiple Points of View in Your Writing” I loved writing this one – and not just because I actually watched a few episodes of ‘Whose Line?’ to get me into writing it. There’s nothing I love more than to write a book where there are multiple viewpoints (that are clear and concise) are used to show the entire story as it happens around the many characters. :0)

MOST CONTROVERSIAL: I don’t really think that I’ve had one, but if I had to choose, it’d be “First Sentences”. This was a scary thing for me to post (although it was so much fun to be in Barnes & Noble for three hours doing research) because I was basically taking published author’s books, critiquing their first lines (without knowing anything else about the book other than the name and what the cover looked like) and posting it here for others to read – and more of those comments were fun and not intending to really hurt anyone’s feelings.

MOST BEAUTIFUL: Hmmm….. I don’t really think that I have a post that I’d consider '’most beautiful’, but the first thing that came to mind when I went looking for one was a Song of the Week post: “Butterflies and Hurricanes by Muse”. I love this band and for me, this song is beautiful because it really evokes an emotion out of the listener – be it to take a chance of to get out there and change the world….one book at a time, that is :0)

MOST POPULAR: This is one that’s not even one I’ve written – which is completely awesome. It’s from the Week of the Writer, and it was the post that ended our fun week of celebration: “Top 10 Tips of Writing I Learned from Studying JK Rowling” by SP Sipal. As of today, that post has had 450 page views (it’s original post date was August 26th, 2011). Needless to say, that was an unbelievable post and I’m so thrilled to have hosted it on my blog!

MOST UNDERRATED: “Editing Is Fun….Yes, I’m Serious!!” <—This is a post that I thought would’ve been a little more popular than it was – simply because of the title, maybe? I’m not sure, but this is one of the first posts I’d written about the craft – and it’s one that came from out of nowhere. I was editing one night and BAM! I had a new & shiny article to post on my blog :0)

MOST PRIDE WORTHY: “Finding the Balance” Yeah….this is definitely my most pride worthy because I basically put my struggles out there for everyone to see – along with how I was going to solve the ever-nagging problem of ‘how can we do it all?’. I’ve struggled a little bit – okay, a lot – with the schedule I had set forth for myself, but because I’ve written this article, the balance is always in the back of mind, reminding me that I need to slow down and relax a little. We can’t all be Superman, can we?

MOST HELPFUL: As of today, I think my most helpful post would be “Getting From Point A to Point Z: The Unruly, Untrusting and Hard-Headed Character” because it personally helped me. After I wrote this, the character I’d been struggling with finally pulled a brick from their wall and let me in a little. I’m still getting to know him, and everyday I learn more, but I don’t think I would’ve been able to get this far without having sat down and banged out this article.

Thank you, Susan, for the award and the chance to take a look back over the last few months of my ‘blogging life’. There were smiles, frowns, grins, laughs, and booty dances along the way to figuring out which posts would make the cut for these categories.

Now, in the spirit of paying it forward, I’m going to pass this award along to a few fantastic bloggers:

Merry Farmer
Trish Gentry
Charissa Weeks
J.C. Fiske

Happy Reading & Writing, Everyone!!!

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