Tag Archives | A-Z blogfest

The dips in the road on the writer’s journey.

I had all sorts of great plans for the rest of the A-Z Challenge. But April vacation finally arrived – even though it still feels like February. And with that, the winds are blowing me to Nashville to visit my sister for a few days.

Without having the time to visit your blogs because I’ll be building play-doh sculptures with my niece and watching my nephew ride his bike, I’m going to take the rest of this week off.

But I’ll leave you with a story that will hopefully leave you encouraged in that you aren’t alone in this crazy journey.

It was my first manuscript. I think I’d been working on it for like two years. #iwasaslowlearner  I should’ve moved on it with way earlier than I did instead of trying to incorporate all I was learning.

I joined an online critique site where I critiqued other writers’ work and they critiqued mine. About halfway through my story, one critiquer left me a pretty harsh crit. With out mincing words, he said that basically my story’s plotline was a disaster.

I was devastated. For about two weeks I couldn’t work on my story. Yes. I eventually overcame it, got my confidence back and kept writing. Looking back, I’m not sure if he was right or wrong, but I’m pretty sure he didn’t go about it the right way.

So, I’ve been there. If you’re writing your first story and get harsh feedback, consider it like breaking in those molar teeth. Rejection is part of it. And we need to learn from it and try and glean from it. Even if we don’t look at that crit for a few months, when we’re ready.

Maybe you’ve been getting rejections on fulls. Still be thankful that you got the requests. That means you had a great idea, wrote a good query, and had decent opening pages! That’s awesome.

Maybe you haven’t been able to get any requests off your query. That can be extremely discouraging. Relook at your query letter. Get feedback. If need be, relook at your story idea and your voice. This might not be the story that gets published but keep learning and know that it is possible.

Or maybe you have had an agent for a while but haven’t been able to land a book deal. I can’t imagine what that’s like. But obviously your writing has lots of potential. So keep trying! We’re behind you.

So try and celebrate the small victories, the small advances. And realize discouragement is a part of the writer’s journey. Except it as that and know it won’t last.

Feel free to share your most discouraging writing moment. Or share the small victories you’ve celebrated along the way.

Comments { 43 }

Read, read, read – and why you should.

R is for Read, read, read.

I’m a s-l-o-w learner.

The biggest advice to improving writing is two-fold. Write, write, write. And read, read, read. I saw it all the time.

I knew that. But I didn’t get it. Not really. I mean why did I have to read so much? I was a writer. I should be writing. And when I did read, I couldn’t shut off my writer’s brain. Or I’d read all the books in my library that I was interested in. I couldn’t afford to buy new releases. That was before I started blogging and didn’t even know what the new releases were!

I have a new motto. Read, read, read and read some more.

  • I get books on interlibrary loan.
  • I put in requests for my library to purchase books – I just need patience.
  • I ask for Amazon and Borders gift cards for my birthday and Christmas.
  • I enter online contests for book giveaways – when I’m not required to do ten millions things just to enter it.
  • I look on the Amazon market place and find year-old releases sometimes for under 2 dollars plus the 4 dollars shipping.
  • I pay attention to e-book promotional freebies.
  • I kept track of my exercise for a year and my insurance company rewarded me 300 dollars.
  • If nothing else, I read the first chapter on Amazon or the Kindle samples.
  • I read for fun but I also read to learn.

Why a writer should read, read, read, and read some more:

  • Support other writers/authors.
  • See what’s already been done.
  • Get a feel for what’s being published.
  • Distinguish the different styles that go with different genres.
  • Learn the genres.
  • Study character, plot, openings, midpoints, endings, sentence structure, internal monologues, transitions, cliffhangers, dialogue, romantic tension, description. And the list is endless.
  • The more I read, the more it transfers over to my writing. In a good way.
  • Figure out if I’m more of a commercial or literary writer and study those books.
  • Compare your writing to your favorite books and see what you can learn!
  • And because at some point, we decided to write because we love a good story.

If you’re not reading in and out of your genre, maybe you should? What do you think?

Comments { 32 }

M is for a humongous dark beast that terrorized me.

M is for Moose

Many people come up North and then want to go farther North to see moose. They return and show me pictures and I think, maybe I should go see moose, I mean they’re not that far away.

But no more.

A couple years ago, on a normal day like any other, I slipped into my running clothes and sneakers, ready for my daily run. I stretched and did some jumping jacks #notreallybecauseIcan’tdojumpingjacksanymoreafterhavingthreekids.   #momsunderstand

I breathed in the crisp fall air, looking forward to crunching through the dead leaves on the dirt roads behind my house.

While I ran, I did the normal eccentric things I do while running. I talked to myself. I reworked queries in my head, searching for that perfect first hooky line. I talked myself into or out of thinking my writing sucks. I jumped at the squirrels running around in the brush. #i’mjumpylikethat    #i’vehaddeersrunacrosstheroad

But this one day, I stopped halfway and stretched, looked up and saw a moose about 50 yards away. I thought it was pretty cool, so I continued to study him. Until he started clip clopping toward me.

In that one second, my heart leapt from my chest and I swear I left it in the road. With terror racing through my veins and, me, breaking out in a sweat – and not because I was running – I jogged up the road toward home.

I peeked back over my shoulder to see if he was following me. This huge, dark-colored beast had his eyes trained on me and not because I looked cute in my running clothes.  #freakingout

And I started sprinting.

I soon realized I couldn’t outrun a beast with legs as tall as my house. #seriously #nothyperbole

I took a quick right into someone’s driveway and sprinted into the garage, ready to bang on their windows and cry for sanctuary.

The moose stopped where I turned right. He sniffed the air, first left, then right; and then turned left.   #ididn’trunforaweek  #whenididrunihadfasttimes

So, do you want to come up North and take pictures of the pretty moose?

Comments { 33 }

Jocks and Stereotypes

J is for Jocks and Stereotypes – my favorite male leads

I only have to look at my some of favorite books in the last few months to find my favorite male leads. PERFECT CHEMISTRY, WICKED LOVELY, NIGHTSHADE…

These main guys could’ve been a stereotype. And I guarantee I would not have liked the book as much if they were.

What do Alejandro, Seth, and Ren have in common?

They all had potential to be a stereotype.

Alejandro, the Mexican, belongs to a gang, lives in a low economic area, good with mechanics, and has tattoos.

Seth, the bad boy, lives alone, tons of piercings, hot, somewhat of a playboy.

Ren, the alpha werewolf is tough, demanding, cocky.

So what made me fall in love with these seemingly shallow stereotypes?

Alejandro loved his family. He was willing to cross lines and visit Brittany in her home. He was sweet. He was willing to die for his family. And ultimately, he was willing to turn his back on his “brothers” to be with Brittany.

Seth, for all his looks, put Aislinn first. He’d given up the life of a playboy to wait for her. He believed in her. He was sweet, caring, and was nothing like you’d expect to be from outward appearance.

And Ren. Yes, he was all Alpha. But there were times, where the author showed how much he cared for Calla. How much he was willing to do for her. If I were Calla, I’d choose Ren.

The only time there is a stereotypical character, male lead or not, is when the character is underdeveloped.

Who are some of your favorite male leads? What did you like about them?

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Do you write high-concept? Or not?

H is for high-concept

It took me a while to figure out what exactly this meant. And for a while I didn’t even care. I just wanted to write the stories I wanted to write. That’s what a lot of the advice says to do. Follow your heart.

But is your heart always right? It might be. It might be that your writing isn’t up to par yet. Or it could be the story premise.

Check out Roni Loren’s post on the subject of high-concept stories.

So why should I, or you, as writers try for high-concept?

Well, it depends on your goals and what you want to accomplish with your writing. There is definitely a market for quieter books that appeal to the library and school market. But my impression is that it’s harder to find an agent with a quiet book. Am I wrong on this?

You tell me – do you try for high concept? Do you even care?

Comments { 35 }