Monday, January 30, 2012

Song of the Week: Turning Page by Sleeping at Last

Happy Monday, everyone!

One of the best things I can say about the Twilight franchise is that the movie soundtracks never disappoint.  I’ve found many great artists through these compilations.  This week’s song is straight from their latest movie release, Breaking Dawn, Part One.

Hope you enjoy the beautiful, heart-warming melody and words of this week’s song, Turning Page.

Happy reading and writing, everyone!!


Friday, January 27, 2012

This Week in Favs….

By the time you read this, I will be on the road heading to – wait, I’m not sure where – celebrating my birthday! *throws confetti*  As of right now I have no idea where we’re going to be spending the next 2 nights as my husband was charged with planning a surprise for this big birthday of mine.  Wish me luck! 

And I apologize in advance for not responding quickly on any comments – I promise to catch up when we return on Sunday!  :0)

Playing on the Zune: Save Me From Myself by Christina Aguilera.

Social Media and Author Websites

“All About Web Space for Authors” by Sierra Godfrey on Roni Loren’s blog, Fiction Groupie <—Now I’m debating on moving to a site entirely – I love having a bit more control. *smile*

“Do You Need a Social Media Intervention?” by Angela Ackerman on The Bookshelf Muse <—If you’re experiencing the symptoms of platform and social media overload, Angela has got the cure for you!  A Must-Read!

“How to Effectively Use Twitter for Authors” by Melissa K. Norris on The Wordserve Cooler <—Great tips! Now I’m making effective use of lists!

“Why I Don’t Auto-Follow Back” by Ava Jae on Writability <—Great analysis of why we shouldn’t auto-follow tweeps.

“What Is the Goal of Ranting?” by Jami Gold <—Don’t ever insult authors or readers, especially on the web, it spreads like wildfire and your career just may find itself swallowed by flames.  A Must-Read!

On the Craft

“From Blank Page to Published Book” by Roni Loren on Anita Philmar’s blog <—The journey of a story from draft to the shelf.

“Advantages of Writing a Fast Draft” by Lynda R. Young <—After reading this, are you still debating on whether or not this route is for you?

“Through the Trapdoor – JK Rowling’s Blueprint for the Harry Potter Series” by S.P. Sipal on Harry Potter for Writers <—Analysis of how JKR played with her readers by leaving clues, foreshadowing what was to come. A Must-Read!

“Crabbit’s Tips for Writers: 5 Ingredients of Poor Writing” by Nicola Morgan on Help! I Need a Publisher! <—Great tips on what NOT to do!

“Pacing for Pantsers” by Lisa Gail Green on Paranormal Point of View <—Also great advice for those who have crossed-over to the dark side of plotting.

“Writing Kickass Action Scenes: Part One & Part Two” by S.J. Kincaid on Seeing Creative <—Great analysis on action scenes!

“Don’t Tell Us She’s Special. Show Us.” by Roz Morris on Nail Your Novel <—You can never have too much advice on this particular topic.

“Lending Realism to the Paranormal” by Lisa Gail Green on Mystery Writing is Murder <—Five features that are imperative to creating ‘realistic’ paranormal. A Must-Read!

“Getting a Scene from Brain to Paper” by Kat Zhang on The Katacomb <—How to coax the scene out, little by little. A Must-Read!

“What’s Their Story? Discovering the Front Story of Your Non-Point of View Characters” by Janice Hardy <—Taking a look at you secondary characters to find what it is they want, what their goals are.

“Head Hopping and Hemingway” by Joe Bunting on The Write Practice <—Ground rules for changing POV’s in your story.

“5 Tips for Writing an Effective Plot Twist” by David Lazar on Write It Sideways <—Toss your reader into the mix and try and unexpected kill? These are my kind of plot twists! *grin* 

“4 Techniques for Creating Believable Villains” by Roseann Biederman on Writer’s Digest <—Tips from James Scott Bell’s book, Conflict and Suspense.

“Catching Your World on Paper” by Danyelle Leafty on <—Three main components to consider when building the world of your novel.

“Constructing Your Opposite Turning Points in Story Structure – Part One and Part Two” by Lydia Sharp on The Sharp Angle <—Analysis of a story’s structure.  A Must-Read!

“Writing is Rewriting” by Joe Moore on The Kill Zone <—Tackling the rewriting process.

“What Project Runway Taught Me About Explanations” by Veronica Roth <—Learning how to get your message across to the reader without explaining it to them or causing them to feel small. 

Writerly Inspiration 

“11 Things My Grandmother Said About Writing” by A. Victoria Mixon <—My grandmother had similar phrases and now the lightbulb’s on with how it all can relate to writing.  A Must-Read!

“WIP Writing Exercises to Recharge Your Creativity” by Martina Boone on Adventures in YA & Children’s Publishing <—Writing exercises to help recharge your battery before diving back into your story. A Must-Read!

“How to Find Original Ideas When You Have None” by Jody Hedlund <—Advice on getting that brain of yours to churn and create new – and possibly original – ideas. A Must-Read!

On Editing, Critiquing, Querying, Publishing and more…

“Write Tips: 9 Free Ways to Market Your Book” by Brian Thomas Schmidt <—Did you say free, Brian? We like free!

“Results from Writers Digest Conference 2012” by Lisa Wilson-Hall on Girls with Pens <—If you’re like me and are bummed that you missed the conference this year, Lisa lets you in on what you missed (which is enticing enough to ensure you’re there next year).

“Celebrating Bad Reviews” by Mike Mullin on The League of Extraordinary Writers <—Don’t feel bad when you receive or have to give a bad review.

“Speed Up Your Editing in Word” on The Write Technology <—Tips and tricks to help move the process along – a bit faster, I might add.

“What Writers Need to Know About Formatting (FAQs)” by Brian A. Klems on Writer’s Digest <—One stop shop on formatting that MS.

“25 Things Writers Should Know About Agents” by Chuck Wendig on Terribleminds <—How to do your homework and commit to both querying for an agent and making that relationship work.  A Must-Read!

“Do You Call Yourself a Writer or an Author” by Jami Gold <—Great piece that taught me to gather some more self-confidence and call myself an author due to my ultimate goal of becoming published.  A Must-Read!

Happy Reading and Writing, everyone!!!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Writerly Wednesday: Using Birthdays in Your Writing

“With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.”
–William Shakespeare

Photo Credit
Go figure that as my birthday lurks right around the corner, my thoughts immediately turn to fictional characters and their birthdays.  After that comes the thought of actually writing their birthdays into our stories – whether it be a simple or highly dramatic scene that moves the plot along or part of the plot altogether. 

Just as it is for us writers, a characters’ birthday can be a momentous – or sad – occasion.  For me, birthdays are like mini-personal-holidays that I enjoy making a 3-4 day weekend out of.  Speaking of holidays, Jami Gold wrote a fabulous post around Christmas about how to use the holidays in our writing (which inspired this post) so I’d like to take a look at how we can use these particular occasions to texture and depth into our novels.

Writer’s Experience Lends a Hand

No matter your age, you’ve probably had one of those birthdays where:
  • You hoped someone would notice, tell you ‘Happy Birthday,’ and maybe gift you with something sweet (cake, anyone?)
  • You hoped nobody would notice so you could just go back to bed until the day was over
  • You hoped the day would never arrive because it brings with a certain truth you don’t want to face
  • You’d been waiting all year for that day  - you’re now finally able to do something you’ve been hankering to do (drive, date, drink, get the senior’s discount *giggle*)
  • You couldn’t really care less – acknowledge it, don’t acknowledge it, you could really care less…it’s just another year, right?

Now I’m willing to bet that every single one of us has experienced one of the above examples, am I right?  And I’m also willing to bet that we can account for each of our birthdays and describe exactly how we felt that day, correct?  Well guess what?  So can our characters.

“Eighteen isn’t very old,” Alice said…. “It’s older than Edward,” I mumbled.
--Bella Swan, New Moon

“Birthdays could be such a bummer when you were older than the country you lived in.”
--Linsay Sands, A Quick Bite

“Who knows who I would be or what I would talk about if I’d been raised in the Capital?  Maybe my biggest regret would be having feathered costumes at my birthday party, too.”  --Katniss Everdeen, Catching Fire

My favorite example of birthdays written into novels is from Harry PotterThe Sorcerer’s Stone was the first encounter we had with Harry and how he discovered his magical blood on his eleventh birthday.  With each book we celebrated his birthdays alongside him while new discoveries or plots were brought to light within the surrounding days:
  • Chamber of Secrets: Harry receives a visit from Dobby the house-elf who warned him to not return to Hogwarts.
  • Prisoner of Azkaban: Harry receives a pocket sneakoscope from Ron, a broomstick servicing kit from Hermoine, and The Monster Book from Hagrid.
  • Goblet of Fire: Harry receives one cake each from Sirius, Ron, Hermoine and Hagrid
  • Order of the Phoenix: Harry and his cousin, Dudley, are attacked by Dementors – his defense of which sparks a hearing at the Ministry of Magic.
  • Half-Blood Prince: During Harry’s birthday celebration, Remus reports that Igo Karkaroff is dead, Bill Weasley mentions Florean Forescue had been kidnapped by Death Eaters, and Author Weasley informs everyone that Mr. Ollivander has disappeared – of course Molly did not appreciate such topics being discussed at the time.
  • Deathly Hollows: A party is held for Harry at the Burrow and is interrupted by the Minister of Magic who asks for his support.  His birthday is significant because the Ministry’s trace on him disappears, enabling him to disapperate from one location to the next undetected. He also learns of the gift he received from Sirius Black on his first birthday: a toy broomstick.

Just think: the weaving of Harry’s birthdays into each book brought to life each event/revelation as it unfolded around him, reminding every single one of us that while we sit and celebrate, the world continues to turn and bad news continues to happen all around us. 

The same came be true of our characters and their stories!

All you have to do is think of how your character would react if their birthday were tomorrow:
  • How could that response be used to move the plot forward in an interesting way?
  • Does their reaction bring forth a bit of soul searching that could be used towards their character arc?
  • Could their birthday be used to possibly bring them closer to the one they love?  Or instead, push away their love?

The possibilities are truly endless when it comes to how this personal holiday can be used.  And a writer’s imagination is a force to be reckoned with.  So I challenge you to begin thinking – if you haven’t done so already – about how you can use this every-person, once-a-year experience to your advantage so you can bring the reader closer to your characters.

I’ve used an upcoming 30th birthday for my Destiny Awakened character, Avalyn, as a plot point – something life-changing happens on/around that date and there’s no way she can stop or delay it – she has to face it dead-on while falling in love with a vampire and learning to live a new life. 

So how about you – what types of birthdays have you had?  Can you relate to each of the birthday feeling examples?  Do you have any that aren’t listed?  Have you written a character’s birthday into a story?  How did you use that event – was it mentioned in passing, or was it a significant event?  Anyone else have a birthday coming up? *grin*

Friday, January 20, 2012

This Week in Favs…

Hellooooo, everyone!  Happy Friday to you all!

Welcome to the new, ‘re-vamped’ edition of ‘This Week in Favs,’ where I share my favorite writerly blog posts of the week with you – my fellow writer.  *smiles*

Lately I've been coming across a lot more than the standard 10-20 blog posts that I want oh-so-badly to share with you all.  So with the New Year comes new ideas/beginnings and this is one of them!  Beginning with this week’s post, instead of my usual paragraph describing the awesomeness of each post, I will try to convey in one sentence what my greatest take-away from the post was (what a challenge that can be!). 

I do hope you enjoy this new version of ‘This Week in Favs',’ and that you all have a wonderful and restful weekend full of writing!


Playin’ on the Zune: “If God Will Send His Angels” by U2 (on the City of Angels soundtrack).

Social Media
“Give Back and Don’t Worry” by Daniel Swensen on SurlyMuse. <—Daniel shares the secret to social media success: give back and don’t worry! So simple yet powerful.

On the Craft
“25 Things Writers Should Start Doing (ASAFP)” by Chuck Wendig on TerribleMinds. <—How to reach the happy medium by trying new things, put yourself out there more with your writing, and write what you want to write. A must-read!

“How to Make Your Book Play Out Like a Movie” by Jody Hedlund. <—How to bring your story to life so the reader receives the absolute best reading experience from your story. 

“4 Writing Routines You Can Live With” by Sarah Baughman on Write it Sideways.  <—Great routines for those days/weeks/months where a normal writing routine or schedule just isn’t possible (think squeeze it in whenever you can with these routines). 

“Rhythm of the Words: Voice in Dialog” by Janice Hardy. <—Using your favorite novels to help you examine your word choices and cadences within your own writing so your words will flow.

“Put Your Reader in Your POV Character’s Skin” by Margie Lawson on Jenny Hansen’s More Cowbell. <—Strong writing carries psychological power that will grab your reader – great writing advice! A must-read!

“What About Adverbs?” by Beth Hill on The Editor’s Blog. <—Aha! Not all adverbs are bad, you just gotta know when/where to use them!

“A Foolish Inconsistency – Round Out Your Characters with Contradictions” by Roz Morris on Nail Your Novel.  <—Making your characters more believable – this is one flaw that we all sometimes have, so why not your characters?

“The Simple Formula to Write a Book” by Joe Bunting on The Write Practice.  <—The equation to writing a book because anything of value consists of pain and time.

“Why Use Past Tense?” by Ava Jae on Writability.  <—A follow-up to the equally awesome post, “Why Use Present Tense.”  Both posts present the pro’s and con’s of writing in either present or past tense – this can come in handy when you’re starting a new project and trying to determine exactly how the story is going to share with the reader.

“Weaving in Symbolism” by Stina Lindenblatt.  <—Creating a rich story is as easy as sowing in a bit of symbolism!  She also gives two resources on how to learn more on this topic. 

“Avoiding a Passive Beginning” by Lisa Gail Green on Paranormal Point of View.  <—Great tips from Lisa on how to keep the opening of your book from being too passive such as creating an interesting situation and a multi-dimensional character.  

“3 Reasons Kathryn Stockett’s The Help Because a Bestseller” by Marcy Kennedy on Girls with Pens.  <—Unforgettable tips on how to make your novel and your characters shine!

Writerly Inspiration
“What Writers Can Learn from Tim Tebow” by James Scott Bell on The Kill Zone. <—Mr. Bell’s done it again!  It doesn’t matter what other people say, it’s what’s on the inside of the writer counts – drive, determination, heart and guts! A must-read!

“What Every Writer Needs” on Left-Brained Business for Write-Brained People.  <—Business can’t grow without diligence – neither can your writing career!

“Writerly Inspiration and Aha Moments” by Martina Boone on Adventures in YA & Children’s Publishing.  <—Why taking the time to attend a writing conference will be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make.

“Beware the Dream Destroyers” by Julie Musil.  <—Nothing should ever bring a writer down – bad situations, doubt and delays: they’re only temporary.

On Critiquing, Querying and Publishing
“Is Your Book Good, Great or HOT?” by Rachelle Gardner.  <—Writing a new novel and querying agents? Time-consuming and stressful.  Knowing how it works and understanding that when you receive a rejection may simply be because your project isn’t HOT at the moment?  Priceless.

“One Important Way for Authors to Get Discovered by Readers” by Jody Hedlund. <—Best advice in a long time on how to take charge of your marketing efforts when it’s publishing time.

“It Doesn’t Have to be Hot to Sell” by Rachelle Gardner.  <—Even though it’s not hot right now doesn’t mean it won’t be a little ways down the road.

“Can Critique Groups Do More Harm than Good?” by Kristen Lamb.  <—An eye-opening post on becoming aware of the trouble spots that critique groups can have. A must-read!

“The Road to Success Part Two – Understanding the Why Behind the Buy” by Kristen Lamb.  <—It all comes down to your heart in order to sell books – pushy marketing won’t do it, only your writing and the emotional connection you make with the reader will.

“A Peak Behind the Publishing Curtain” by Veronica Roth.  <—Great educational information on what happens after you write that novel and obtain an agent/publisher – and exactly who is involved in making your book happen.  I love it when published authors give back to the writing community with information like this! A must-read!

Happy Reading and Writing, everyone!!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Writerly Wednesday: Learning and Exercising Your Brain–The Right Brain Left Brain Post

Over the weekend I realized something odd - yet important - about my writing process: When I’m writing (and re-writing) – or basically creating from ‘scratch’ – I tend to do so in my bedroom.  When I’m editing – be it my work or someone else’s – or plotting (which I am now proud to say that I do!) I tend to do so in the computer room.  Odd, huh?

Now here’s the kicker as to why for each of those locations:

Writing & Re-Writing
When we’re relaxed, our mind can open up a bit easier, allowing us to explore new territory within our creativity.  When I’m in the bedroom relaxing on the bed, I tend to not only have my earbuds in as I write, but I also have a movie or TV show playing off to the side.  With music, I can write/create to both music with lyrics and movie scores.  With movies, it can’t just be any movie or show, it has to be particular ones that I can look to when I feel a bit caught and need a few second break before continuing. And these would be movies such as Underworld, Harry Potter, Shutter, Black Swan, Lord of the Rings, Friends with Money, Serendipity (I have a bit of a crush on John Cusak – and Kate Beckinsale, for that matter *smile*), and Pride and Prejudice (the latest re-make with Kiera Knightley).  My go-to TV shows are The L Word, The Vampire Diaries, True Blood, and ER (Ah, Noah Wiley…I’m gonna have to watch that tonight).

Editing & Plotting
When getting down to business – the business of major editing and plotting – the environment doesn’t have to be as relaxed.  Why?  Because we’ve already done all of the creating, it’s all right there in front of you, it just has to be cut, slashed, bled, and re-arranged (to name a few).  So when I’m in that mode, I tend to work from the computer room with my laptop plugged into a dual monitor for easy research and plenty of room to open as many tabs and windows as I need to get the job done.  I also like this better because when I sit at a desk and begin this work, it feels a bit more like work (though it’s not) so my brain somehow clicks into the mode of ‘it’s time to get busy and make this shine.’ I still wear my earbuds and listen to a fabulous soundtrack, but the kicker is that it can’t be music with lyrics – it can only be movie scores.  An extra voice in my head while trying to be analytical just doesn’t work for me, so I turn to either the X-Men: First Class, Inception, Transformers Movies, Pride and Prejudice, Twilight Movies, Harry Potter or the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtracks (and I’m continually looking for more, by the way). 

So What’s the Point?

There are two points to today’s post:

  1. Learn how your brain works – which side is more dominant, the left or the right? Once you know, you can work on bringing the dominant side up to par to match the other.
  2. Learn how to feed the side of your brain when you're not working. 

How Do I Know Which Side is Dominant?

I’ll make this easy for you: Click on this link and take the Right Brain Left Brain Test.

You don’t have to sign up for anything.  It’s 20 questions that gauge your brain usage and you get some pretty cool results back like this:

Pic's not that great, but these are my results :)

Once you know what side of your brain is more dominant, you begin to feed and strengthen the other side.  As you can see, I’m a bit more analytical than I tend to think I am, so I need to continue to work on my creative side a bit more – and I’m totally excited to get started!

Feed Your Right Brain

The right side of your brain is popularly known as being the best at creativity.  Expressing emotions, writing, music (composing or playing), reading, visual imaging and intuition are only a few items the right brain is great at. 

By listening to music and having a movie playing while I’m writing, I’m feeding my brain at the moment of creativity, but at the same time, I try to feed that side of the brain by doing other activities outside of my writing time.

So How Do I Feed It?

  • Try new things such as: 
    • Learn to play music (or singing in the shower works)
    • Sketch or do a bit of arts and crafts.
      • Local craft stores tend to have workshops on the weekend.
      • Or you can start on that scrapbook you’ve been meaning to get to lately
  • Get out and see some art!
    • Support a local art gallery by paying them a visit once a month.
  • Go see a movie (or rent one). 
    • This particular part of your brain loves to start churning on new ideas when you watch a movie and begin to wonder ‘if’ something happened differently in the plot.
  • Be active! This allows your brain some downtime to actually think about what it is you want to do in that story…plus it gives you a chance to take care of your body and spend some time with your family by either:
    • Getting out with the kids and playing some sports, or
    • Getting outside for a walk/run at least twice a week (or the treadmill/elliptical if you prefer).

Feed Your Left Brain

The left side of your brain is the more analytical, logical part of your thinking cap.  It tends to be the side that assists you with language, brainstorming/critical thinking, crunching numbers, and deciding whether or not that new plot you thought of will actually work.

By sitting down at the desk to click my left brain into ‘work’ mode, I’m feeding that analytical side of my brain that loves to make notes, research, and force the story to bleed a little.  I also feed this part of my brain when I’m not writing (and when I’m not already doing that at the day job).

So How Do I Feed It?
  • Word and number puzzles are a great start!
    • Word Search, Crossword, Sudoku, etc., all of these games are great ways to exercise this side of the brain.  I personally have a Nintendo DS that I play logical, brain exercising games on.
  • Read!
    • This should be a no-brainer since in order to be a writer, you have to be a reader first and foremost. 
    • Whether it’s that new book you couldn’t wait to get your hands on, a newspaper or a magazine, exercise this side of your brain by reading (and surprising, the right side of your brain might join in from time to time as your imagination begins to peak).
  • Learn a new skill!
    • Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn how to speak French, German or Spanish. Learning a new language is like doing yoga – after you’ve practiced it for a while, your muscles become used to be stretched and contorted, so they tend to crave being stretched even further.
    • Another idea is learning how to cross-stitch or knit.  Believe it or not, there’s some math involved in those crafty little skills and you’ll be able to invite the other side of your brain to have in on the fun every now and then.
    • Purchase a new writing program and become an expert on it.  Mastering a new and possibly difficult program via the tutorial videos is similar to learning a new language since you have to remember where all the cool features are - and how to use them. 

What about you?  When you’re in writing mode, what types of quirky things do you like to surround yourself with?  When you’re in editing mode, what are your must-haves or absolutely-can’t-haves? Are you left brained or right brained?  What are some activities that you already do to strengthen the less dominant side of your brain? 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Song of the Week: Monday Morning by Death Cab for Cutie

Death Cab for Cutie is one of those bands where you can write and edit to every song they’ve ever recorded.

This week’s song is one that I listened to practically all day Sunday while I was polishing up the last bit of my short story, plotting out the remainder of my NaNo MS, doing the laundry, and cooking chicken and pastry. 

Regardless of what you're doing, it's just great background music! Period.

I highly suggest picking up their latest album, Codes and Keys, as soon as you can.  You’re writing will thank you! :0)


Happy Reading & Writing!


Sunday, January 15, 2012

This is What I Feel Like Today….

Yup, that pretty much sums it up…..

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Friday, January 13, 2012

This Week in Favs....

10)  “The Line Forms Where?  Knowing Where to Start Your Novel” by Janice Hardy on The Other Side of the Story with Janice Hardy.  Openings are difficult.  Every author has struggled with figuring out where their story should start.  Here’s an awesome post that will assist you in drawing that line so you can discover exactly where your story should start – with a scene that will grab your reader’s attention and suck them into your story. 

9)  How to Make Good Writing Great” by James Killick.  Yes, yes, yes, another post on how to take your writing from first base to home.  But let’s be honest, you can never have enough awesome tips that’ll help you along in your writing journey – and these tips from James are no exception with a list that takes us back to the bare bones of the craft – the basics – and how they can be used in the right way to create a home run in our writing.  This is a great, must-read for all writers this week. 

 8)  “Remember, Trends Started 3 Years Ago” by Scott Eagan.  Take a peek inside the journey from writer to published author with this eye-opening post from literary agent, Scott Eagan.  We all know the amount of time it can take to go from finished manuscript to a book on the shelf, but in this post, Scott’s laid out a timeline of exactly how long this can take – which is a wonderful reminder that most of the trends of today actually began a few years ago. 

7)  “How Writing Groups Can Work for You” by Susan Bearman on Write It Sideways.  It’s easy to become comfortable with being by yourself – just you and your writing – but every writer should be a part of the writing community.  Whether with online groups or local critique groups, being a part of one can be invaluable…at least that’s what I’m learning from this week’s post. *smile* Susan’s made a list of ‘should do’s’ when it comes to joining a writing group that writers should bookmark and refer to when you’re ready to start crawling out of your shell – er, venturing out into the writing world. 

6)  “Getting the Most From a Critique” by Lisa Hall-Wilson on Girls with Pens.  Here’s another must-read post from the week all about how to approach critiquing in order to get the most of out of it.  From setting goals to choosing critiquers, Lisa has written quite an informative post on how to ensure you’re getting enough feedback to improve upon your weaknesses and to move forward and make your story the best it can possibly be.

5)  “5 Narrative Mistakes You Can Fix Now” by Elise Rome on Roni Loren’s blog, Fiction Groupie.  Yay! Someone has mentioned one of my pet peeves: not taking advantage of contractions!  Well, that’s the first narrative mistake that Elise has listed in this post, but it’s the one that I wanted to jump up and down for.  When I first started writing, subconsciously, I did not use contractions during those first drafts.  But now, I definitely realize that there are needed because these days, nobody speaks perfect English…and it does become rather annoying when you’re reading back through your MS.  All of her other tips – avoid repetition, for one – are absolute musts that have to be corrected before you even consider submitting your story to an agent or editor. 

4)  Two Things Every Novel Needs” by James Scott Bell on The Kill Zone.  I’ve been waiting for another writing book to come out from James, so needless to say, I’ve already purchased my copy of Conflict and Suspense, but for those of you who haven’t gotten yours just yet, here’s a little sneak peek into the latest writing book from one of my favorite writing-craft authors.  Check this post out, leave a comment then go buy yourself a copy to make sure every story you write from now on has both of these must-have elements.

3)  “Walls on the Path to Publication: a Necessity or a Nuisance?” by Jody Hedlund and “When to Take the Next Step” by Lisa Gail Green on Paranormal Point of View.  It’s a two-for-one deal! *smile* Both of these posts basically address the same question:  How do you know when it’s time to query/submit/publish?  Lisa’s posts addresses the ‘how do I know my book’s done enough to start submitting’ while Jody’s post addresses the ‘how do I know I’m ready for publication’ question.  Both sides of the spectrum, be it querying/submitting to gain an agent or publisher, or deciding whether you’re ready to self-publish are addressed between these two thought-provoking posts and the best part is that there’s enough tips between the two to where you really can’t go wrong in whatever direction you choose.  Both should definitely be bookmarked and saved for that moment in time when you think: “Am I ready?”

2)  “Five Productivity Tips” by Ann Aguirre on Writer Unboxed.  LOVE these tips from Ann Aguirre on how to be productive during your writing time!  Every writer struggles with distractions such as Twitter, Facebook (the internet in general), writer’s block, etc.  And Ann’s listed the best tips possible for how to avoid those distractions altogether so you can get the most of your time when you’re writing.  She also reminds us to not feel guilty when we have to lock ourselves away and get some writing done.  This is great read for all writers who need a bit of a push in the ‘write’ direction.

1)  “25 Things Writers Should Know About Finding their Voice” by Chuck Wendig on Terrible Minds.  Here’s another awesome list from Chuck Wendig, but this week I couldn’t be happier to share another one of his ’25 Things’ as it relates to finding your voice, which we can all agree is the #1 thing an agent/editor/reader is drawn to when they’re reading your story.  Thanks again, Chuck, for another great listing!

Honorable Mentions to Also Check Out:

Happy Friday the 13th, everyone!!  


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Writerly Wednesday: Paying It Forward - The Versatile Blogger Award

I’d like give a big MUCHOS GRACIAS to Yelena Casale for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award! *throws confetti* Here’s a link to that post in case you missed it.  ;)

Here are the rules of the award:

1)      In a post on your blog, nominate 15 fellow bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award.
2)      In the same post, add the Versatile Blogger Award.
3)      In the same post, thank the blogger who nominated you in a post with a link back to their blog.
4)      In the same post, share 7 completely random pieces of information about yourself.
5)      In the same post, include this set of rules.
6)      Inform each nominated blogger of their nomination by posting a comment on each of their blogs.

 Here we go!

I’d like to pass on the Versatile Blogger Award to the following bloggers:

2)      Jami Gold
8)      Laura Pauling

7 Random Facts About Me:

1.      I’m 6’1” and I like to wear high heels (on most days when a lot of walking isn’t required).  What? My hubby’s 6’10” – I feel tiny when I stand next to him… plus is gives me an excuse to buy hot shoes like the ones I’ve been eyeing for about two weeks:

Don't know where I'd wear these, but you can'y deny the awesomeness. :)

2.      As if the love of music didn’t really give it away: I am a bank geek!  I played the flute all throughout middle & high school and on into college where I also played the saxophone (Yes, we had band camps. No, they were nothing like what you saw in American Pie).

3.      I have a son. He is furry, likes to purr a lot, wakes me up when I continually hit the snooze button, and his name is Dusty.

4.      My grandparents were international missionaries who lived in the Domincan Republic for about 10 years, and Trinidad and Tobago for 11.  Trinidad and Tobago is my all-time favorite vacation spot and I really hope to get back there one day (minus the family and plus the husband *smile*).
Trinidad & Tobago (photo credit)

5.      My great-grandmother collects salt and pepper shakers – she currently has about 1,000 sets in her home (where my sister now resides while she is in a nursing home). 

Photo Credit

6.      I have an industrial piercing.  I got it on my honeymoon when my bestie said she planned on getting one while we were at the beach.  It’s the best impulse purchase I’ve ever made.

7.      I began a new diet plan last year (as a New Year’s resolution) and I’ve lost 3lbs since last Wednesday.  Ultimate goal: To get down to 150lbs.

What about you - Any random facts about yourself you’d like to share?
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