January 23rd, 2013
Oh Em Gee, pitch wars is ON!
I’m kind-of full of SQUEE this morning because I forgot! And then Erinn reminded me! And EEP!
If you’re at all interested in seeing the pitch and first 250 of my novel THE RIDDLE OF LEGEND, which my super fantastical mentor Danielle Ellison worked on with me, jump right over to Brenda Drake’s blog and see!
My lovely friends Erinn, Megan, and Ghenet are also up for the war today, so look for them too! Good luck to you all!! <3<3
March 14th, 2012
I’ll tell ya, there’s nothing quite like the exhaustion that comes from sitting in a waiting room for twelve hours. That’s what I did on Monday. All is well, but my eyelids are still heavy.
Anyway, as I mentioned on Monday, I’m doing some real polishing on my WIP right now. You know, the part where you realize EVERY OTHER WORD in your manuscript is AROUND. lol
It’s LIKE everyone’s EYES are JUST looking AROUND to see SOMETHING. As if you can’t tell, those are my big offender words. I was absolutely cracking up at myself in the waiting room as I realized how many times I can use AROUND in a single page. Holy crap!
If you’ve never used WORDLE, do yourself a favor and check it out. I plug my MS in and when the word cloud pops up it’s glaringly obvious what I need to work on. You would be amazed at how much tighter a sentence gets by taking out that one word. Or how by reworking a few eye rolls into other actions can make the times your MC does roll her eyes much more meaningful.
I know this is probably the most tedious part of the revision process, but it’s also when that WIP starts to glow. So, this is your friendly reminder to keep your crutch words in check.
Tell me, do you do this in revision? Do you find it helpful or do you loathe it?
Make sure you don’t miss the latest review in the SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY ARC Tour from Katharine Owens!
And remember, you still have time to enter for a chance at a spot on the next ARC Tour, so go sign up!
June 23rd, 2011
–noun Grammar. Any member of a class of words that in many languages are distinguished in form, as partly in English by the ending -ly
Oh, the beloved adverb. I don’t know about you guys, but my first drafts are rife with these little beauties. Sometimes it seems like every other word has that pretty -ly stuck on the end of it.
You know, maybe that’s why my second drafts wind up being so much longer than my firsts — all the adverb replacing takes extra words.
Now, let’s get right to the point — finding a lot of adverbs in your MS is a good indicator that you’re doing a lot of telling where you could be showing. Does that mean every single adverb needs to be eliminated? No. Absolutely not. Every once in a while an adverb is the best choice for making the biggest impact in a sentence. Just use them sparingly.
I know a lot of people preach on about the adverb, but I think I’ll give you a few examples to help you out on your journey to a stronger MS.
Adverb/Telling – Savanah bounds to her feet angrily.
Showing – Savanah bounds to her feet with a flourish of lace and golden curls, her face redder than the reddest rose.
Adverb/Telling – She looks at me knowingly.
Showing — She cocks her head at me and purses her lips.
Something I do when I’m trying to rid myself of unnecessary adverbs is to put myself in the character’s position. If I were this character, what facial expression would I make, or what would it look like when I get so mad I jump out of my seat?
That approach, for the most part, helps me to form a more firm visual of the situation, which makes it easier to show it to my audience.
Are adverbs an issue for you? What are some methods you use to keep yourself from being a little too liberal with them?
November 23rd, 2010
I had planned a post for you guys for yesterday, and then thought I could do it today. Unfortunately my slacker sister hasn’t emailed me the videos yet.
We had the best time waiting in line for the showing of Deathly Hallows. We met some great people and made a bunch of hilarious videos. I’ll corner her and force her to email them to me on Thanksgiving if I have to. So look for that post on Monday next week.
For today, lets talk first drafts.
Setting is something I struggle with in my writing. In my first drafts you can pretty much guarantee that you’re only going to get a vague impression of what the setting is like. It’s not that I don’t see the setting in my mind, it’s just that I don’t want to over do it. So in the interest of not going overboard, I do too little.
I think it is always easier to add than it is to cut from scenes.
What about you guys?
I also find that in my first drafts I rush scenes. Hold on to your hat because we are going places, people! lol My manuscripts grow exponentially in revisions.
All the NaNo talk has had me thinking about first drafts and the way they differ from person to person. Everyone has their own processes, strengths, and weaknesses.
So what about you? What are you first draft weaknesses?
November 12th, 2010
You know, I’ve posted several times about revisions and how painful they can be. The thought of facing the monumental task of whipping Emerald in shape was daunting to say the least. I do believe I did a lot of cringing. (And procrastinating)
Then I started the new WIP.
The perfect ending hasn’t come to me yet, so I decided while I wait to revise. I’ve been writing, revising, writing a little more, revising some more, etc lately.
And there has been no cringing.
Yes, there are more -ly words than I will ever admit to, sentence fragments, missing commas, and all sorts of wording errors and omissions. Yet I still don’t cringe.
I realized — I’ve fallen in love. I am so head-over-heels for this story I don’t think anything about it could make me cringe. I love revising it! I love fixing all the adverb-filled sentences and making them stronger because I AM IN LOVE.
Forgive me for being slow on the uptake, but I didn’t know this was possible! The first book I ever sat down and wrote was in high school — never even went back and read it. The second book I wrote — well, tried to write — is stuffed in a drawer, too painful to gaze upon. Then came Emerald. The first book I ever loved enough to go through the painful revisions. I never loved the revision process though.
Now to have this WIP, and to have so much love for it that I’m looking forward to revisions? I’m a little bit in shock. I don’t quite know how to handle it. Well, except to plant butt in chair and go for it.
What about you guys? Ever experienced the love so deep you can’t wait to revise it over and over and over again?
October 21st, 2010
I am a rule breaker. I’ve probably broken every writing rule known to man in the course of drafting my stories.
And you know what?
I don’t care.
I find it perfectly and spectacularly awesome that I can, amazingly, use astonishingly high amounts of -ly words in nearly every sentence. Really.
I love that I can allow myself to write without worry of run on sentences, or dangling modifiers.
Every time I see a missing comma it makes me smile.
My tense may change every other sentence, but that’s okay because my character is being genuine.
It’s the first draft, and I’m allowed to break the rules!
Will I go back and fix them? Yes.
Giving myself the artistic license to write whatever I feel allows me to be authentic to my voice — to the character’s voice. I can go back and refine it later.
It’s what works for me. I allow myself to use “just” every other word if necessary, along with “so”, “like”, and “maybe”.
Whatever works to get the words on the page.
What about you? Do you allow yourself to break the rules, or do you stress over every single word?
September 24th, 2010
I’m sure you can all guess this, but I’m still gathering info on pitching to an agent. Lo and behold on Monday morning what should pop into my Google Reader but another more than helpful post by agent Rachelle Gardner. Her posts are always spot on. Here is the list she gives for questions you need to have the answers to in order to give a good pitch. Some of these I really would never have thought of.
11 Questions for Crafting a Pitch: (According to Rachelle Gardner)
1. What genre is your book?
2. What’s most unique or special about your book?
3. Who is the protagonist and what’s the most interesting thing about him or her?
4. Who is the antagonist and how is he/she standing in the way of the protagonist’s goal?
5. What conflict, dilemma or choice does the protagonist face?
6. What are the consequences of the choice or conflict?
7. What is the main event that gets the story started?
8. What are the main points of action that drive the plot?
9. What is the setting of the story?
10. What is the interesting backstory that affects your characters in the current story?
11. What is the book’s theme?
Pretty awesome, right? Now to get to work answering them.
September 23rd, 2010
With heavy revisions done comes the final phase for a WIP — the edits. The time where you get to spend hours debating over comma placement, verb usage, and page formatting.
So, not the most exciting part of writing is it? No. Admittedly not.
My first thought when I got to this stage was: How can I make this more exciting?
The answer? Having the whole MS printed and bound. It has a cover page and all! It cost me about $30 at Office Depot to have the whole thing printed on good quality paper, comb bound, with card stock front and back covers. Not too shabby. I also bought myself a new red pen.
I get so excited over office supplies. I can’t help it.
Something I read a while back that I put to use for these edits — before I printed the pages, I changed the font. I had read on kidlit.com once that changing the font can trick your eyes into seeing more errors because you’re not used to the way it looks.
It works! For real!
What do you all do to get excited over edits? Just push through or try and make it fun?
It’s really so interesting to go back and read the whole story through. There were even parts that surprised me — that I’d forgotten about. It’s surreal. I still find it odd to say, “I’ve written a book.” To go back and read the whole thing — well, it’s just plain amazing.
Now, back to being a nervous wreck about making sure it is perfect. My goal is to have it done by Sunday so it can go through one final beta read-through before the conference.
September 22nd, 2010
Time for Road Trip Wednesday!!
Road Trip Wednesday is a “Blog Carnival,” where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and we answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.
This week’s topic:
If you went to school with your characters, would you be friends?
In Emerald’s Keeper fourteen year old Mandy is a freshman in high school. Honestly, she’s the kind of friend I wish I’d found when I was fourteen.
Believe it or not I was a painfully shy teenager. I didn’t start opening up until I was maybe a Junior, but more-so as a Senior in high school. So if I could have mustered up the courage to even approach Mandy — yeah, I’d have been her friend.
My newest WIP is about a sixteen year old girl named Kate. Now Kate is the type of girl I’d have wished I was friends with. She speaks her mind and isn’t afraid to tell someone off. She’s fun and spunky…everything I wanted to be as a teen but didn’t have the guts to pull off. So I’d have pretty much worshiped her from afar.
What about you guys? Would you have been friends with your characters in high school?
September 20th, 2010
So, how many three-year-olds have you met that can sing Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds?
Super Spawn can. The whole way through. lol
We listen to Marley a lot in our house. One Love was my brother’s song that he lived by…even had a One Love tattoo. So, naturally, we think it is the coolest thing on the planet that Super Spawn is randomly spouting off Marley lyrics.
This morning, as I sat here munching my english muffin trying to decide what to blog about, that song got me thinking. Do you write with a deeper meaning, or just for the story?
Let me explain what I mean. Many of the scenes in my stories have much deeper significance than just in the story itself. Phrases that I use, certain reactions from the characters, etc, may come from experiences that I’ve had or actual events in my own life.
The title of one of my WIPs is The Clock May Soon Be Still, which is a line from a poem my brother wrote. That whole MS is based around his poem.
I guess I’m just wondering who else does that. Do you think it makes a story stronger, or puts it in danger of being “too close” to the writer so they don’t see the flaws?