Thursday, September 27, 2012

This Week in Favs….

Playing on the Zune: Nada. Catchin’ up on some TV shows…finally!  ;0)

Social Media and Author Websites

Would Hemingway Blog? by Kristen Lamb

5 Top Tips for a Great Author Platform by Rachel Thompson

5 Simple But Powerful Tips for Building Your Blog’s Brand on Pushing Social

Politics, Religion, Social Media & How Great Writers Change the World by Kristen Lamb

On the Craft
Anatomy of a Best-Selling Novel – Structure Part One by Kristen Lamb

Writing Craft: How the Spunky Heroine Fights by Nadine Tomlinson

What Do I Look Like, a Protagonist? Describing Your First Personal Narrator by Janice Hardy

Cliffhangers for Unscrupulous Writers on Moody Writing

Write Tighter, Write Smarter by Ash Krafton on the blog

Just Say No to Melodrama, guest post by Becca Puglisi on the Putting Words Down on Paper blog

Breakaway Body Parts: Are Your Characters’ Body Parts Acting on Their Own? by Janice Hardy

Building Deep Conflict into Novel Structure on Adventures in YA & Children’s Publishing

Writerly Inspiration

Take These Broken Wings and Learn to Fly by Becca Puglisi on The Bookshelf Muse blog

Guilt-Free Creativity: Stop Kicking Yourself & Start Producing by Elizabeth Grace Saunders

Meeting a Troll… by Leo Traynor

On Editing, Critiquing, Querying, Publishing and more…

How to Ruin a Perfectly Good Writing Career by Janet Kobobel Grant on the Books & Such Literary Agency Blog

How to Give a Fair Critique by Ava Jae on Writability

If Your Are a Published Author, You Are a Public Figure – Watch What You Say in Public by Scott Eagan

Working With Our Publicist, guest post by Justine Dell on Seeing Creative

The New Adult Genre: Here to Stay This Time? by Roni Loren

Tips N Tricks: A Checklist for Self-Publishing by Susan Kaye Quinn

How Fake Reviews Hurt Everyone by Jami Gold

7 Steps to Writing an Author Business Plan by Susan Spann on the Writers in the Storm blog

What Should Newbie Writers Focus On? by Jami Gold

Other Round-Ups

The Author Chronicles’ Top Picks Thursday

Stina Lindenblatt’s Cool Links Friday

Roni Loren’s Fill-Me-In Friday

Elizabeth S. Craig’s Twitterific (compilation of all the writing links she’s shared this week – updated on Sundays)

This week on the blog:

Picture by Chalkboard Manifesto

Happy Reading and Writing, everyone!!!


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Creative Procrastination & the Art of Saying ‘No’

Picture by Chalkboard Manifesto
Back in May, I gave a presentation at the dayjob on the book Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy. I'd scheduled time in my workdays for about a month to not only read the book, but to dissect it and put together a two hour presentation and workbook for my teammates.
In Eat That Frog! there are twenty-one important principles Brian lists that are important if you want to learn how to best manage your time, manage your to-do lists, etc., etc. One of the principles in the book is creative procrastination. Or rather, how to practice the art of saying ‘no’ or ‘not right now.’ At the time of putting the presentation together, while I was gearing it more towards what my team and I do on a daily basis at the dayjob, I realized that every one of these principles can be tweeked to fit for the writing life.
When I got the tweeking juuuust right, I decided to share the most important lessons I derived from the book. Are you ready? Awesome – let’s do this!
Take a moment to think about what you need to get done over the course of the next week. Now think on what needs to get done over the next month.
Got your list ready? Good. Now we’re ready to creatively procrastinate.

Take your handy dandy to-do list and read through each item. Decide on the level of importance of each item.

  • Do you have a few things on there that made you think: “Eh, that’s not too important, and it’s not something that really needs to be done at the moment.” I hope you had a few, ‘cause I most certainly did. 
    • Those particular items are the backburners, the items where it’s not life or death if they don’t get done. And because they’re not that important, you can creatively procrastinate on those. Put ‘em in the back of your mind and move on the more important stuff. 
  • What about any items that can't be done until after you've tackled something else? 
    • Move those tasks to the bottom of your list then. Don't even think about those items until you've taken care of the other, more important, this-must-done-first-items. 
Here’s a great guest post that Tina Moss did on this blog last year that has a list of questions to help you decide those backburner items.
By going through your list like this, you're not only identifying those lower-priority tasks that you don't really need to do, you're also organizing your list. So you're really doing two things at once! Ha!

The reason it's important to sit down and take the time to do this with just about everything task list you create is because:

  • Ultimately, you can't do everything, so you have got to procrastinate on the low value items
  • By organizing your list this way, you're saving time in the end. It's the 10/90 Rule of personal effectiveness: It you spend the first 10% of your time planning and organizing your work and/or task list before you begin, you'll save 90% of time in getting the work done when you start. 
  • It's better to consciously procrastinate, than to unconsciously procrastinate. Because when you unconsciously procrastinate, you end up not taking care of the hard, big, and more important tasks that you really do need to get to. 

Now what if something super-duper important comes up? Like a really great beta reader of yours need you to return the favor with a turn-around time of forty-eight hours. Okay, so now that you've got your list organized by importance, you can now add this particular item to the list and push aside other items that, once again, aren't gonna kill ya if they don’t get done in the timeframe you wanted.
But…what if I really, really don’t have the time to return that favor right now? How do I say "No?"
Telling someone "No" is never easy. Well, let me rephrase that, telling someone you care about, or telling another author who want to see succeed in their career, is never easy (I rephrase because telling my niece and nephew "no" comes waaaay to easy to me *grin*). We’re writers. We know how hard it is, and we’re incredibly giving of our time to other writers, our family, and our characters/stories. So yeah, saying "No" can be difficult.
And there are many ways you can tell a fellow author/writer "No." Jami Gold recently reached out to Twitterverse for some advice on this very topic. The advice she got was fabulous. There were "No’s" and then there were "No, not right now’s." The latter is my favorite response because I don’t want the other person to never approach me again in the future.
And this is actually one of the principles in Eat That Frog! In the book, Brian actually encourages you to practice saying 'no.' Say it early, say it often.

But instead of a flat-out "no," explain you don’t really have the time to take on another project at this time. Explain that, to be quite honest, if you even try to take on the project, you don’t feel as though you’re going to give their WIP the attention it deserves. If this is a writing pal you’ve known for a while, let them know when you should start to have a bit more free time in case they run into anything they might need later. If it’s not a writing pal, then another great suggestion from Jami’s blog post was giving the inquirer a link to somewhere like Critique Circle (a personal fave, but there are other sites shared in Jami’s post). And that falls right into the category of "No I can't right now, but I know of some really great resources to help you get that critique." So you're not leaving anyone in the lurch because you're still being incredibly helpful.
Don’t ever feel bad about saying "No"
I know this is easier said than done. I usually feel a little guilty for a while after having to turn down a request to Beta Read or critique. But every time I do, I have to remind myself that I’m only one person. I can only do so much. If I run myself ragged by saying ‘yes’ to everything everyone asks me to do, I’m going to make myself sick. Then where will I be?
Yes, that sounds a bit selfish at times. Yes, it sucks we’re not the super heroes we wish we were most times. But guess what! The person you just said "No, not right now" to is a writer also! They understand you’re spread a bit thin. They understand you've got the dayjob, the house, the family, the blog, the drafting, the revising, and the editing to take care of. That’s what makes the writing community the most fabulous community out there!
So yea, feel a little bad and guilty, but then remind yourself they're going to understand in the end. Then got get ya a glass of wine and some chocolate and get back to checking those tasks of your never-ending to-do list!
What about you? Do you already creatively procrastinate in your own way? How do you decide what to put on the backburner and what needs to be done right now? Are you practicing the Art of Saying ‘No’ or ‘No, not right now’? Are you secretly a super hero? ‘Cause if you are, I know a lot of writers who’d pay a pretty penny to get your secret. ;0)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

This Week in Favs…

Playing on the Zune: Love Bites (So Do I) by Halestorm

Social Media and Author Websites

 Branding: Know Thy Audience by Jean Oram

Facebook vs. Twitter: Where the Readers Are by Roni Loren

How to Be a Good Commenter by John Scalzi

How “Personal” Should Writers Get on Social Media? by Kristen Lamb

Blogs vs. Vlogs by Michelle Gagnon on The Kill Zone

7 Ways Twitter Sharpens Your Writing by David Masters on Write to Done

 On the Craft

Black Swan – The Trick to Inner and Outer Demons by Kristen Lamb

Breaking Story Structure by Mark Landen

Writing a Novel: Focus on Premise from the Writer’s Digest blog

Dialogue Clinic on Moody Writing

Start Me Up: Planning and Writing a First Draft by Janice Hardy

Writing Historical Paranormal – Double Your Worlds, Double Your Fun! by Lisa Kessler on the Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranomal Chapter of RWA’s blog

Throwing It Away and Starting Over by C. Hope Clark

Texture: Using Details to Make Your World Unique by Nephele on The Knight Agency blog

Five Key Ways to Make Your Characters Memorable by Jordan Dane on The Kill Zone

7 Tricks to Add Variety to Your Dialogue by Marcy Kennedy

 Writerly Inspiration

Why Does Fear Exist? by Marcy Kennedy

5 Tips to Overcome Fear of Rejection by Lori Freeland on Novel Rocket

I Get Knocked Down But I Get Up Again by PJ Parrish on The Kill Zone

 On Editing, Critiquing, Querying, Publishing and more…

 How NOT to Pitch by Marji Laine

The High Bar of Finding an Agent or Publisher by Jami Gold

New Adult by Meredith Barnes

The Paid Reviews Scandal and What It Means for the Future by James Scott Bell on The Kill Zone

The Editor Will See You Now: Harper Voyager to Accept Unagented Manuscripts by Kimberly Turner on Lit Reactor

Other Round-Ups

The Author Chronicles’ Top Picks Thursday

Stina Lindenblatt’s Cool Links Friday

Roni Loren’s Fill-Me-In Friday

Elizabeth S. Craig’s Twitterific (compilation of all the writing links she’s shared this week – updated on Sundays)

This week on the blog: 

Photo by Kristin Nador

Happy Reading and Writing, everyone!!!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

How to Write 5k In a Day

Photo by: Kristin Nador
Recently, I began drafting a new WIP. While I technically wanted to wait until this final round of edits was complete on Destiny Awakened so I could begin the querying process, this story and its characters refused to let me move forward on anything until I gave them some drafting attention.

And by drafting attention, I mean getting 5k down in one day, followed by another 5k, and another, and another. Before I knew it, I’d reached the 30k mark. *cue hallelujah chorus* How in the world did this happen? Most times it’s like pulling teeth to get to 30k within two weeks, much less within one week.

Like a good student of Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, I set out to discover the secret to my fast-drafting so I could share and hopefully help me fellow writers see their word counts soar to new heights as well. *grin* And to make the discovery even more daunting, I set out on that journey on a Tuesday night, right after a rough day at the dayjob.
Did it still work? Did I still get 5k down within that small window? Why yes, yes I did. And here’s how:
  1. At all costs, turn off the inner editor and ignore the my-brain-moves-faster-than-my-fingers mentality. In other words: DON’T LOOK BACK! NEVER LOOK BACK! What’s that saying? “Don’t look back. It’s bad luck.” Exactly. This applies to writing. If you look back and start corrected anything you’ve previously written while drafting, you’ll ruin the mad-writing-mojo you’ve got going on. One thing that helps me with this is having a wickedly-awesome story-themed playlist plugged into my ears. It drowns out the inner editor’s voice.
  2. Have a road map. Or at least have some idea of where you’re story’s going to go. You know those moments where you’re stuck because you don’t know where to go from there? Yup. I hate that too. One way to negate this is by having some idea of where your story is going. If you’re a pantser, then hearing this may make your eye twitch. Relax. Breath. You don't have to plot by normal standards before you set out to write. Instead, you can spend the first 30-or-so minutes brainstorming about what you’re going to write: what scene(s) is in your head? How will that scene(s) contribute to the overall plot? Once you’ve got this down, start writing. The best part about doing this is that nothing is in stone. If the muse throws you a bone and takes you in a completely different-yet-workable direction, follow as though you’re Dorothy and the breadcrumbs the muse is leaving you are your yellow brick road.
  3. Lock the doors, turn off the television, turn the volume up on your writing playlist. So I already addressed why the playlist should be turned up – this helps tune out the inner editor. Locking the doors and turning off all distractions is also a major factor in getting 5k words down in one day. Now, I don’t have children – yet – so I’m sure this is going to be difficult to do when I do, but even so, it’s important for parents to take time out for themselves. So if you’re a parent, this just may be the time you choose to take just for yourself. If so, lock that door and pray the kids don’t get into too much trouble while you’re drafting. :0)
  4. Put the pressure on yourself – but not too much pressure. Ah, pressure, pressure, pressure. I’ve got to get down 5k today. Because if I don’t, then I won’t be able to move forward tomorrow, and that means I won’t have this first draft completed on time. Or better yet: If I don’t get 5k down today, then I can’t have that yummy red velvet cupcake my bestie made. And damn, it’s so yummy….I have to have one of those today. See what I did there? Yup, figure out your ultimate goal, and use it to put the pressure on yourself. If you’re an unpublished author, then it’s time we started to get used to having deadlines, and this is one way to get started. But be careful with this one! Stress kills. Don’t push yourself so far off the edge that you end up losing lots or sleep or depriving yourself of life’s pleasures.
  5. Take breaks – often. One thing I learned in my Immersion Master Class with Margie Lawson is that taking breaks is crucial. Before Colorado, I would sit my butt in the chair for…I dunno… like 5 hours straight. Yeah…and the hubby was a big contributor to that success because he’d gladly bring me coffee, soda, water, food, and chocolate. But since I’ve returned home, we’ve made it a point to ensure that I’m breaking away from the computer at least once every 1.5hrs or so. Now, the rule for your eyes is that you should give them a break every hour by concentrating on something other than the computer screen, and that’s easy to do as long as you have some research printed out that you can concentrate on during that time. But after about 90 minutes or so, you’ll want to completely step away from all things story-related to take a walk, watch an episode of that TV show we’re behind on, run out and grab a cup of Starbucks, or peruse the shelves at the local bookstore for 30 minutes. However you choose to break for at least 30 minutes, do it. You’ll sit back down at the computer and the words will flow so much faster than they would’ve if you hadn’t taken that break (and your body – particularly your butt – will thank you).
What about you? Do you find yourself fast-drafting to get through that initial draft? What is your largest wordcount in a single day? What other secrets of fastdrafting can you share?

Friday, September 14, 2012

This Week in Favs…

The Winner of a E-Book copy of NORMALISH by Margaret Lesh is *drumroll*………….

Sharon Ledwith!!!!!!

Congratulations, Sharon Ledwith! *throws confetti*

Please shoot me an email and, and I’ll ensure your info is sent over to Susan Sipal with Euterpe (Musa Publishing). You’ll receive your e-book copy of NORMALISH upon it’s release on October 5th!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Now, onto this week’s weekly round-up of writerly blogs!

Playing on the Zune: Madness by Muse <—I’m super-excited for Muse’s new album to come out at the end of the month!  :0)

Social Media and Author Websites

How to Write an Author Bio When You Don’t Feel Like an Author…Yet by Anne R. Allen

How Much Are We Responsible for our Guest Posters? by Jami Gold

Is Your Website at Risk from Hackers? 8 Ways to Protect Your Blog by Marcy Kennedy

Social Media Fitness for Authors: Happy Findings by August McLaughlin

Why Write Blog Posts Consistently? by Ava Jae on Writability

On the Craft

Writing Advice May Lead to Blindness by Amber West on A Day Without Sushi

Little Darlings & Why They Must Die…for REAL by Kristen Lamb

Without Delay by Donald Maass on Writer Unboxed

Keeping it Fresh by Alexis Morgan on RWA: Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal Chapter blog

Building Suspense: Meeting Readers in the Middle, guest post by Donna Galanti on The Bookshelf Muse blog

Words for Your Writing Toolbox: Get Rid of “Get” by Sharla Rae on the Writers In The Storm Blog

Writerly Inspiration
Writing Saved My Life by Tina Moss

Ugh, What Do I Write About? The Struggle for Ideas by Janice Hardy

10 Excuses for Not Writing – and How to Smash Them by K.M. Weiland on Wordplay

For Writers. On Towards THE END by Amy K. Sorrel

On Editing, Critiquing, Querying, Publishing and more…

How to Be a Writer: 201 Compelling Tips by Mary Jaksch on Write to Done

Small Publishers: Tips for Success – Guest: Musa Publishing on Jami Gold’s blog

How a Traditional Publisher Could Harm a Writer’s Career by Mark Coker on The Digital Reader

Sue Quinn: It’s a Great Day to Be a Writer on The Bookshelf Muse blog

How Do You Make a Living as a Novelist? by Randy Ingermanson

Revising to Raise the Stakes, guest post  by Aimee Salter on The Other Side of the Story with Janice Hardy

Mythbusting – Three Lies That Could Sabotage Your Writing Success by Kristen Lamb

Big-6 Publisher Jumps on the Indie Bandwagon by Alan Rinzler

Writing With Passion and Purpose by Joanna Penn on The Creative Penn

How to Meet Your Writing Deadlines (Every Time) by Krissy Brady on Write It Sideways

Other Round-Ups

The Author Chronicles’ Top Picks Thursday

Stina Lindenblatt’s Cool Links Friday

Roni Loren’s Fill-Me-In Friday

Elizabeth S. Craig’s Twitterific (compilation of all the writing links she’s shared this week – updated on Sundays)

This week on the blog: 

Happy Reading and Writing, everyone!!!


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What Happens After the Offer (Traditional and Small Press)–Guest Post by Ellen Brock of Musa Publishing

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Boy, do I have another treat for you this week! ;)

Normally, I don't dive too  much into the publishing side of authorial dreams -- I prefer to leave that to the more informed and experienced, such as published authors, literary agents, and/or editors. Sooo.... guess who I have here today? *smile*

Yup, I have an editor visiting with us today: Ellen Brock -- the head editor for Euterpe, the YA imprint at Musa Publishing.

By way of my good friend, Susan Sipal (most of you may know her as the genius behind the blog and craft book, Harry Potter for Writers -- which is now Myth, Magic & Mystery), who is an editor for Euterpe, invited me to be a part of Euterpe's Back to School Extravaganza and Book Club Giveaway this week! And just what is their Back to School Extravaganza? Well, Euterpe is celebrating the start of a new school year by encouraging young readers, read, read!!

Don't you remember that special book that got you thinking, "Man, I wanna write a story like that!"? Well, that's part of the gist here. Euterpe is making the effort to help young readers find those special books that spark the fire of imagination and creativity. All this week you can find many, many fun and informative posts written by either an Euterpe author, or by Susan Sipal and the head editor of Euterpe, Ellen Brock (check out this post from yesterday on Jami Gold's blog: Small Presses: Davids in a Field of Goliaths).

AND, they're doing giveaways ALL WEEK with every guest post (so be sure to check out the details at the end of the post)!

So without further ado, please give Ellen your undivided attention as she gives us insight on what happens after the offer.....


What Happens After the Offer With a Small Press

You got The Call (or email).  After years of writing, months of submitting, the endless waiting and agonizing, being rejected from every angle imaginable, second guessing your every decision regarding the choice to write and the story you so carefully crafted, the most insightful, discerning editor on the planet has finally recognized your story's worth and called you with an offer.

What happens now?

First, you celebrate.  Pop the champagne, go out to eat with the family who believed in you all along (we hope!), broadcast your triumph across Twitter, and relax in the warm glow that the goal you worked toward so hard for so long has finally come to fruition.

But beware: what comes up, must eventually come down.  In a day or so, probably right when you're in the middle of contract negotiations, the euphoria you've experienced as the result of this success will be succeeded by the frustrations of the new challenges you've encountered in what you thought was going to be the post-acceptance land of milk and honey.

These highs and lows are the secret inner world of the published author.  Just because one book gets accepted doesn't mean everything you write now will.  And just because a book gets published doesn't mean it will garner 5-star reviews or sell to the heights you desire.  As writers, at least those of us who make a career of it, we must learn to take the good with the bad, the highs with the lows, and continue to put our stories out there.

Being aware beforehand of what you'll face after that first call can help shape your expectations and make the roller coaster ride of publishing a bit less scary.

1) Expect to be edited heavily, many times through - Through the many lines of edits you're getting ready to face, keep one thing in mind: out of the hundreds of manuscripts your editor read, she liked your work enough to invest in it.  You'll probably forget this important tidbit when you're dredging your way through structural edits, content revisions, line edits, and galleys.  Different houses have different layers for editing, but they all boil down to polishing your manuscript to its brightest shine.  As authors, it's hard for us to separate what's inside our heads from what's in black and white on the page (or screen).  It takes a fresh pair of knowledgeable eyes to really pinpoint where a reader has been left confused, where narration has turned to drudgery, or where an emotional conflict needs to be heightened.  Work through these changes as professionally and quickly as possible.  When frustrated, sound off to a close friend or family member.  But when talking with your editor, remember that she wouldn't have bought your book nor suggested the changes you're wading through if she didn't believe in your story.

2) Expect to have differences of opinion regarding cover art - With traditional publishing, it's one of the main things authors have the least control over.  And yet because it's the most visual reflection of your story and the primary weapon in drawing a reader's initial attention, writers fret and agonize over the artistic portrait of their baby.  Many writers will eventually be disappointed with a book's cover.  With big publishers, most debut or mid-list authors have little to no say in their cover art.  But with a small press, the author usually has more input.  Make sure that early on you fill out any cover questionnaires and share ideas and images you'd like incorporated.  At Euterpe, we provide a cover art worksheet to every author and pay attention to the author's desires.  We take great pride in our authors' satisfaction with the beauty of their cover art.

3) Expect to be a partner with your publisher to promote your work - Gone are the days of multi-city book tours, magazine promotions, and dozens of ARCs sent out for review.  Even in the golden days of publishing, this level of publisher support was only ever offered to the higher echelon of bestselling authors.  Today, for Big 6 and Small Press alike, publishers expect authors to partner with them to promote their work, and most of the promotion will occur online.  If you've not yet started building an online presence via blogging or other social media, the time to start is now.  Word of mouth has always been the key to selling books.  Word of mouth starts with a great story told.  And now, word of mouth breaks out most frequently via online methods.  At Euterpe, we'll work with you to identify which form of online presence suits you personally. We also provide Euterpe authors with a weekly newsletter of promotional opportunities, making it easier for them to get out and market their books.

4) Expect that some of your ideas may not work for your publisher - One of the most unrealistic expectations that would-be authors have is that after they sell their first work, everything else will sell afterward.  Depending on your sales and the ease in which you work with your editor, future sales may get easier, but they will never be assured.  Not every concept you have will be marketable for that editor at that publisher at that time.  It's still nothing personal.  It's just what sells.  At Euterpe, we help our authors build careers.  Our authors can appreciate the fact that they now have an editor on their side who will give them feedback on an idea before they've written a whole book.  Keep a file for your "not yet right" ideas, and one day they may be right for another editor at another house or at another time.

5) Expect that publishing will always be difficult, but still rewarding - If you've made it this far, if you've stuck through the frustrations and difficulties all writers must face to get a manuscript accepted for publication, you have what it takes.  Yes, you will face challenges, but remember the reward at the end of the road -- your reader's eyes glued to the page (or screen) as they experience the thrill of reading your story.  This is the goal we share at Euterpe.


From the moment she learned to read, Ellen always had her nose in a book, tearing through the youth section of the library like a little tornado. As she grew up, she never lost her love for the YA and MG stories that captured her imagination and fostered her life-long love of reading and writing. She began editing manuscripts as a volunteer in her early teens. Today, she has worked with hundreds of clients on manuscripts, screenplays, graphic novels, and more. Ellen has a BA in electronic media communications and is the head editor of Euterpe and co-head editor of Pan. She is also the owner of Keytop, Inc., an editing company that primarily serves new authors. She is the proud mommy of seven pet rats and a hedgehog.


With today's post, Euterpe is giving away a free copy of NORMALISH by Margaret Lesh!

People tell you high school's so great and wonderful, but they're lying. It's mostly horrible and full of disappointment. It sucks. Your best friend abandons you. The jerk you're in love with pretends to be into you, and then the big dump. The boy you've really clicked with as a friend decides to go all crushy over you, so you break his heart just like yours was -- smashed into little pieces . Your sister goes mental , and you get involved with a guy who’s even crazier than she is (who you know is a very bad idea, but you do it anyway). Math only adds another stink of failure to the whole thing.

High school blows.
Just ask freshman Stacy.
She’d want you to know.

How to enter: Just leave a comment! Tell us what you're looking forward to after you receive the offer. If you've received and/or signed an offer, tell us about your experience. OR, you can just leave a comment telling Susan & Ellen how awesome they are for creating this whole extravaganza that will help churn out the readers of tomorrow. :)

Deadline: All comments received by 10pm EST tomorrow night (Thursday, 9/13) will be entered for the giveaway. The winner will be picked via, and will be announced with my weekly mash-up of writing links, This Week in Favs, this Friday (9/14).

Addition Info: NORMALISH will be released in October (10/5), so the winner of this prize will receive their copy of on that date.

Good luck! 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

This Week in Favs…

Playing on the Zune: Welcome to England by Tori Amos

Social Media and Author Websites

Six Essential Tips for Getting Your Guest Posts Accepted by Ali Luke on Write to Done

6 Tips for Successful Networking by Rachelle Gardner

How to Build a Readership for Your Blog and Books by Jody Hedlund

3 Reasons Why Coercing Readers Into Newsletter Subscriptions is a Bad Idea by Roni Loren

Social Clear-Cutting – Can Our Social Media Behaviors Destroy Our Social Environment by Kristen Lamb

A 10-Point Plan for Connecting with Online Influencers (Without Turning into a Suck-Up) by Sonia Simone on Copyblogger

Discovering Your Author Brand by Stina Lindenblatt

Why Every Author Should be Guest Posting by Ali Luke on Aliventures

On the Craft 

Plotting, Pantsing and Plantsing: Finding What Makes You Tick by August McLaughlin

How to Become a Better Writer by Rachelle Gardner

Are Your Characters Based on Real People? by Jami Gold

What’s Your Vision? by Jodi Meadows on Pub(lising) Crawl

Character Development: Exploiting Weaknesses by Ava Jae on Writability

Is Your Scene Break a Lying, Cheating Fraud? by K.M. Weiland on Wordplay

It’s Not Just About the Writing by Martina Boone on Adventures in YA & Children’s Publishing

Ten Guidelines for Co-Writing on Romance Writers Behaving Badly

Flip the Script: End Anywhere by Jael McHenry on Writer Unboxed

Writing Mistake: Are Your Characters Invincible by Ava Jae on Writability

Five Smarter Habits of Great Writers by Joe Bunting on Write to Done

Commas and Dashes and Colons (oh my!) by Linda Gray on Write of Passage

Writerly Inspiration 

Don’t Hit the Snooze Button on Writing Biz Success on Left-Brained Business for Write-Brained People

WOW Wednesday: Nikki Loftin on Writing Big or Going Home on Adventures in YA & Children’s Publishing

Fall – Season of Renewed Hope and Commitment by Yelena Casale

7 Tips for Keeping Your Motivation as a Writer by Roz Morris on Nail Your Novel

On Editing, Critiquing, Querying, Publishing and more… 

Guest Author Alex Hughes: How to Revise a Novel on The Other Side of the Story with Janice Hardy

In Publishing, You Need Patience; Things Take A LOT of Time by Scott Eagan

What to Do When People Don’t Get Your Story by Jody Hedlund

Pitch to Win! by Michael Ehret on Novel Rocket

Why Every Author Needs a Professional Photo – Guest Post by Brent Foster on Marcy Kennedy’s blog

Writing Contest for Published and Unpublished Authors (Maryland Romance Writers) by Christi Barth

Submission Dos and Don’ts by Nephele on The Knight Agency blog

How to Deal With Revision Fatigue by Nathan Bransford

The Death of Genre: Drifting Toward a Post-Genre Future by Chuck Wendig

How to Be a Know-It-All by Jane Lebak on QueryTracker

Ways to Become an Insecure Writer by Lynda R. Young on W.I.P. It: an Author’s Journey

Ownership in the Digital Age, Part 1 on Dear Author

Other Round-Ups

The Author Chronicles’ Top Picks Thursday

Stina Lindenblatt’s Cool Links Friday

Roni Loren’s Fill-Me-In Friday

Elizabeth S. Craig’s Twitterific (compilation of all the writing links she’s shared this week – updated on Sundays)

This week on the blog: 

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 My Guest Posts This Week: 

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Happy Reading and Writing, everyone!!!


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Dig Deep for NYT Writing! – Guest Post by Margie Lawson

Margie and I dancing before headin' to the airport
Merry Christmas! Whoa – wait… it’s not Christmas yet... but it sure does feel like it! I’ve got an  awesome treat for you guys today! Not only do I have the wonderful and amazing Margie Lawson here with an awesome guest post about NYT writing, but I’m also guest blogging at two blogs today! I’m sharing my experience, the takeaways, and the lessons I learned while in one of Margie’s Immersion Master Classes!

And we’re calling it The Margie Lawson Triple Blog Extravaganza! 

Part One of my Immersion Master Class experience is at Jami Gold’s blog, and Part Two is with Angela Ackerman at The Bookshelf Muse blog.

Oh! And before you get going, allow me to let you in on a little something: Margie’s giving away three exciting gifts during this extravaganza! Woo hoo!!! See? It’s like Christmas in September! 

Here’s a breakdown of prizes for the Triple Blog Extravaganza:
All you have to do is comment! That’s THREE chances for you to win and learn how to pack a powerful, emotional punch and deep edit for NYT writing in your WIP!

Buckle up and get ready to comment so you can grab a seat and be a graduate of one of Margie’s courses!

Take it away, Margie….


A huge heartfelt hug to Melinda Collins for writing the blogs about my Immersion Master Class and setting up the Triple Blog Extravaganza!

A giant Thank You to Jami Gold and Angela Ackerman for featuring Melinda’s piece on their blogs.

Visit all three blogs today!  You have three chances to be a WINNER today! 

Dig Deep for NYT Writing!

By Margie Lawson

Writing is hard, hard, hard.

Digging deep to write fresh is harder, harder, harder.

It’s dig-to-China-with-your-pinkie harder.

Each time you write, you have the opportunity to write something in a way that has never been written by anyone else.

You may describe a feeling in a way no one else ever thought to describe that feeling. And the way you write it may resonate with thousands, or tens of thousands  who read your words.

The passage below is from a Margie-grad, Lisa Wells, the author of Dibs. She’s taken all my writing craft classes and attended a four-day Immersion Master Class in my home in June. I have her permission to share this excerpt she deep edited in Immersion class.

Lisa Wells, excerpt from The To Do List. 
The sound of children laughing pulled her out of her daze. She glanced toward the playground. Small children: round, skinny, short, tall, were climbing, swinging, sliding, hiding on the same equipment she’d once played on. To the casual observer, they were normal children.
But she wasn’t casual and they weren’t normal.
She didn’t need to be a doctor to know if you took an x-ray of their childlike bodies, you’d see loneliness lining the inside of their laughter and caution patrolling the outside of their hearts.
You’d see a trash bag full of rotting hope at the bottom of their bellies, and an old tattered bag of self-esteem on broken-down shelves.
You’d see the hardened hearts of the older orphans tattooed with name-calling graffiti. Words like unloved, unwelcomed, unliked, unwanted permanently etched in pain. 
And you’d see their memories of the families who came looking for a child and didn’t choose them…and didn’t choose them….and didn’t choose them.
And that’s not all you’d see.

BLOG GUESTS:  That’s fresh writing. That’s NYT writing.

Every time I read that passage it gives me visceral responses.

Kudos to Lisa Wells.

NYT writing doesn’t have to be long. It may be a short sentence.

It may be what I call a SAP. Short And Powerful. 

Here’s a SAP from Robert B. Parker, Widow’s Walk:

The sinking feeling bottomed.

I know that feeling. I know what that character is feeling.

But I’ve never seen that feeling written with those four words. Ever.

It’s a SAP. Short And Powerful.

Here’s another short sentence that grabbed me. It seems like a simple sentence, but it carries power. It’s by another Immersion grad, Bernadette Hearne.

Bernadette Hearne, from her WIP, Traitor to Love.
Sally hovered in the doorway, bearing a tea tray and a scowl.

That sentence is an example of one of the thirty rhetorical writers I cover in my Deep Editing course. It’s a zeugma. You’ve got to love anything called a zeugma!  J

Here’s another zeugma. This one is from Suzanne Turner, who is a multi-Margie grad, and a two-time Immersion Master Class grad. 

Suzanne Turner, from her WIP, The Lost Chord

His voice was low and rough, filled with the promise of a new puppy, or the moon, or an apology.
Ah – That zeugma is in a dialogue cue.

Here’s another example of zeugma in a dialogue cue. It’s from Joan Swan, another Margie grad. Joan Swan is a multi-Margie grad, a two-time Immersion Master Class grad, and a three-time Golden Heart nominee.

Her debut novel, Fever, was released in the spring, and Intimate Enemies was just released.

Joan Swan, from book 3 in the Phoenix Rising series, to be released in 2013.
“Come on, baby.” He crooned the words in a voice that should have been outlawed. Deep and smooth and so damn sexy.
Joan’s example includes another rhetorical device too.

Polysyndeton: Deep and smooth and so damn sexy.

Joan created what I call poly-zeugma. A rhetorical device combo. Smart!  And smooth too.

If you’re still not sure what a zeugma is, I’ll share one more example. It’s one I made up for teaching purposes.

Margie grabbed her purse, her keys, and her steely resolve.

Now – I bet you know how to write a zeugma.  :-)

What contributes to NYT writing?

Using style and structure and thirty-plus rhetorical devices.

Thinking like a psychologist. Knowing the nuances of writing craft.

I teach six different writing craft courses and each course is loaded with dozens of Deep Editing techniques that teach writers how to add power to their writing.

Yep. Each course is full of DOZENS of psychologically-based deep editing tips and techniques.

Here’s a sample. It’s just a sample.

Power words. Visceral responses. Fresh writing. Cadence. Cadence. Cadence. Fresh writing. Varying length of sentences. Avoiding Telling Tags. Fresh writing. Body Language. White space. Avoiding Linear Load Issues. Dialogue Cues. Fresh writing. Avoiding clichés. Kissing your as’s goodbye. Natural sounding dialogue. Fresh writing. Tracking senses. Keeping your voice strong and fresh. Nixing echo words. Assessing flow. Clarity. Clarity. Clarity. Humor Hits. Fresh writing.

Working harder.

Digging deeper.

Making words and phrases carry triple their weight.

Writing a non-POV character’s description so expertly, that your POV character’s attitude toward that character is clear, and powerful. But conveying that attitude just through the description.

Nixing all the mundane.

Crafting every sentence to propel the reader into the next sentence. And the next. And the next.

Writing so agents and editors and reviewers and readers will never want your book to end.

I could share hundreds of NYT examples, just from a few groups of Immersion grads, or from on Fab 30 course.

My apologies to all the mega-talented Margie grads I didn’t have an opportunity to spotlight in this blog. You all know your writing impresses me. I trust that your writing will impress agents and editors too.

I’ll share one more example. This one is from multi-Margie-grad, and Immersion grad, Melinda Collins.

I surprised Melinda. She didn’t know I planned to use an example from her WIP.  When she reads this, I bet she gets a visceral response!

Melinda worked on this piece in Immersion class. She also tweaked it with the help of her Editing Partner and Immersion sister, Samantha Leach.

Melinda Collins, from her WIP, Destiny Awakened

At fourteen, I realized he wasn’t the man I once knew. It felt like he turned into a mad scientist and forgot all about the daughter he left behind. So I cut him out of my life and buried those memories deep. Mammoth cave deep. Grand Canyon deep. But my traitorous brain ambushed me and they were exhumed. And with each stab, the shovel pierced my scarred-over heart.

NYT Beautiful.

Margie-grads: What rhetorical devices did Melinda use?

I’ll share one, Margie-grads share one.

Parallelism: So I cut him out of my life and buried those memories deep

The examples in this blog share fresh psychologically empowered writing.  NYT writing. It’s cotton-candy-on-your-tongue writing. It makes the reader want more and more and more.

My online courses are loaded with tips and techniques for how to dig deep. How to write fresh. How to add power to every page, every sentence. Please drop by my web site and check out my courses, and the full line-up of courses offered by Lawson Writer's Academy.
Check out my Immersion Master Class page too!


1. You may post an example of fresh writing from your WIP or fresh writing from one of your favorite authors.

2. You may write something fresh – and post it.

3. You may post a comment -- or post ‘Hi Margie!’

4. Margie-grads – Post the example and name of the rhetorical device that Melinda used.
You could WIN an online course from me, a $40 value!

Winners on all three blogs are selected by

I’ll post the names of the winners on the blog on Wednesday, between 12:00 and 12:30PM Mountain Time.

Lawson Writer's Academy now has 37 courses and 12 instructors. LWA courses are taught in a cyber classroom from Margie’s website,

The first three courses just started. Registration is open through Friday.
     Instructor: Lisa Miller

     Instructor: Shirley Jump

      Instructor: Suzi Lazear

      Instructor: Margie Lawson

Please check Lawson Writer's Academy to read course descriptions for October and November courses. Thank you! 


Margie Lawson —psychotherapist, editor, and international presenter—developed innovative editing systems and deep editing techniques used by writers, from newbies to NYT Bestsellers. She teaches writers how to edit for psychological power, how to hook the reader viscerally, how to create a page-turner.

Thousands of writers have learned Margie’s psychologically-based deep editing material. In the last seven years, she presented over seventy full day Master Classes for writers in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Please contact Margie if you think your group might be interested in having her present a master class for them.

For more information on Lawson Writer’s Academy, lecture packets, full day master classes, and the 4-day Immersion Master Class sessions offered in Margie’s Colorado mountain-top home, visit:


Melinda here! WOW! WOW! WOW! Now we ALL know what to strive for: NYT Writing!!!

Oh my goodness, I cannot tell you how much my writing has changed since having taken one of Margie’s classes! And it’s not just my writing itself, it’s my writing process, my thinking process, my editing process. ALL of it has changed! And ALL of it for the better! I am a stronger, more confident writer thanks to the time I’ve spent learning from her, and I do hope that you get the chance to learn from her as well!

And DOUBLE oh my goodness! Margie certainly surprised me by using that example from my latest WIP! *happy dance happy dance* Thank you, Margie! YES, I had a visceral response! *BIG grin* And thank you to ALL my immersion sisters for all of your support during and since our Immersion Master Class!

Whew! Okay, so don’t forget, Margie’s giving away one online class here, a lecture packet at Jami’s blog with Part One of my Immersion Master Class post, and another lecture packet at The Bookshelf Muse blog with Part Two of my Immersion Master Class post. Just leave a comment to enter!

The winners will be decided/announced by Margie on Wednesday, September 5th (tomorrow)!

Good luck and Happy NYT Writing!!
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