Saturday, October 31, 2009

Contest Ends at Midnight

Just a reminder that the Super Stupendous Halloween Spooktacular book giveaway ends tonight at midnight. There's still time to enter.

Also, Kidlit.com has an awesome contest going on. Submit your query for a chance to win a partial critique. That constest ends tonight at midnight too. Head on over and check it out before it's too late.

Happy Halloween, everyone!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Totally Random Friday—Again

Just a few things on this lovely Friday.

1. This is my 100th post! WooHoo! Technically it's the 121st, but since I moved all the posts about my kids to the family blog, this is now the official 100th post. ;)

2. Don't forget about the contest. It ends tomorrow at midnight. Winner will be announced Monday, November 2nd.

3. NaNo starts in a couple of days, and I finally got over there and created an account. Click here and be my buddy. My username is stabby. :)

4. My family blog will officially be private sometime this weekend, so if you want to be invited, please leave a comment with your email address here.

5. I recently rediscovered this song, and it is all kinds of awesome. Do yourself a favor and have a listen. :)


Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Have a safe and fun Halloween!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Contest Update, a Cool Halloween Pic, and HQTP3—Candy

I've decided to add one more book to the Super Stupendous Halloween Spooktacular book giveaway. Woohoo! So, in addition to The Shifter, The Hollow, and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, (and awesome office supplies) the lucky winner will receive...

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan



I loved this book. You can read my semi-review here. If you haven't entered, there's still time. Contest ends Oct. 31st at midnight PST.

And in good Halloweeny contest spirit, Tere Kirkland has submitted a photo of herself and all her minions and earned herself TEN additional entries. She's the cute blue FEMA fairy with the fabulous red wig. Thanks, Tere!



Now for HQTP3(Part 1 and Part 2)—There are certain candies you can only find at Halloween time. I love mallow pumpkins (correction: these are actually called mellowcreme pumpkins) and candy corn. My husband is always on the lookout for Mary Janes, and he'll buy however many bags they have if he finds them. We have to get stocked up for the year. ;)

So, what's your favorite Halloween candy?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Just Kill Them Off Already

In keeping with the Halloween theme, I just wanted to mention something I've been contemplating over the last few days...

Do you ever just want to kill off all the characters in your novel? You rub your hands together and laugh maniacally while you plan the demise of every last one of them? Is that just me?

Sorry for the short post today. I'm trying to finish up Halloween costumes and get my revisions done before NaNo, hence the murderous thoughts. :D Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

HQTP2—Scary Books

Despite my fascination with horror movies, I've never been a big reader of horror. I remember reading the Twilight Series (from the 80's—sorry, no sparkly vampires), and I really liked Vicious Circle by Imogen Howe from that series. I've also read a lot of Christopher Pike books, but it's been years, like since jr. high, so I have no idea if any of those were actually good or scary. ;D

So, what about you? Do you like reading horror? If so, what's your favorite book in that genre? And who's your favorite horror author?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Halloween Quiz Time—Part One (HQTP1) Scary Movies

I LOVE movies that freak me out. Looking back, I think the movie that started it all was Watcher in the Woods. I used to watch it over and over. I even watched it again a few months back, and though it wasn't as scary as I remembered, I still loved it.

The most memorable scary movie for me will always be Pet Semetary. I haven't seen it in two decades, but that little kid with the scalpel still freaks me out. Guard your ankles, people! He might be hiding under your bed. Yikes! ;)

So, I want to know. Do you like scary movies? If so, what's the movie that hooked you? And what's the scariest movie you've ever seen? If not, was there a movie that was so scary you just don't watch them anymore?

Friday, October 23, 2009

NaNo NaNo

Makes me think of Mork and Mindy. :D

Who’s participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)? Raise your hand. *raises hand halfway and braces for flying stones*

I know I told a few of you I wouldn’t be participating, but I think I’ve decided to give it a try, for a few reasons.

1. I would love to be able to turn off my internal editor (aka Little Miss Perfect) and just write. What better way to learn than trying to write 50,000 words in 30 days?

2. My current WIP is a sequel to my finished first novel, and what’s the point of writing it if I never get the first one published? I know at least one of my betas will be upset by this, but I think it will be good for me to pull myself away from the world of Olivia and Jack and work on something else for a while. (Sorry, Little Sis)

3. I’ve had what I think is a pretty good idea simmering for a while now, and I’m excited to get going on it.

So, are you participating? Why or why not?

Also...

My contest is still running to win free books and stuff. Be sure to CHECK IT OUT, if you haven't yet.

And I'm totally loving this version of this song, so I have to share. :D

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Put in My Place by an 8-Year-Old

This is a conversation I had with my youngest daughter this past weekend.

“What day is it today?” she asked.

“Saturday.” I smiled and shouted WooHoo! in my head. “Which means school starts again in less than two days.” (They’d been off for two weeks for Fall Break.)

She gave me her best I’m-eight-so-I-know-everything expression, complete with a flat stare. “You’re just glad we won’t be home with you anymore. Then you can be all alone.”

Maybe a little. “No. I just need my schedule to feel normal again.”

“No, Mommy. You need to feel like your schedule is normal again. Your schedule isn’t alive, so it can’t feel anything.”

Seriously?! Holy crap. I’ve created a monster. Maybe I’ll make her one of my critters. ;)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Branch Stabbed into My Arm like Vampire Fangs on a Moonlit Night

As a general rule, I don’t like similes. A writer that doesn’t like similes? Is that possible?

Sometimes, they work beautifully, creating incredible imagery and pulling me deeper into a character’s experience. Unfortunately, more often than not, they pull me out of whatever story I’m reading. Not because they don’t apply to the description, but because it’s something obscure that most people have never experienced, so I have to really think about it to visualize it or imagine how it would feel. Or, because it’s so off-the-wall, I actually find myself laughing at how ridiculous it sounds.

Like the title of this post, for example. No one has really experienced a vampire bite, and I don’t write vampire stories, so to put it into my writing would create an image that has nothing to do with the storyline, thus pulling the reader out of the story. Make sense? By the way, I totally came up with that awesome simile all on my own, but I’ve seen similar similes ;) in published books.

Let me just say, it's not my intention to offend anyone. I apologize in advance if you think my comments are evil because you love similes like the example I’ve given. We’re all entitled to our own opinions. That’s what makes the world go ‘round, right? Just because I like to pretend I’m right all the time, doesn’t mean I am. (I can’t believe I just typed that. ;D)

Maybe it’s just me, and I’m just not a simile kind of girl. :)

I admit, I have a few in my novel, but it takes quite a bit of contemplation before I’ll put one in my writing. I need to be sure it’s going to add something of value to the description and not disrupt the flow.

So, how to do all of you feel about similes? Do you think they provide valuable imagery that can’t be accomplished any other way, or do you find they detract from a story? Or is it all in the execution?

Just for fun, you can click here for a list of totally outrageous, but hilarious, similes taken from several Washington Post contests.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Super Stupendous Halloween Spooktacular—or FREE BOOKS and STUFF!!!

I ♥ Halloween. It’s my favorite time of year. We finally get some cooler weather around here, and I love dressing my kidlets up and taking them Trick-or-Treating.

So, what better time to have a contest?

Here’s what the lucky winner will receive:

Brand new hardcover copy of THE SHIFTER by Janice Hardy



THE HOLLOW by Jessica Verday



Update: Since it's Halloween, I decided we needed to add some SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK by Alvin Schwartz :)



And The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan



Plus other writerly goodies—pens, pencils, notebooks, etc. Aren’t office supplies awesome?

Here’s how to enter:

+1 leave a comment

+4 if you’re already a follower
+3 for becoming a follower

+2 for posting a link in your sidebar (leave a comment with a link)
+5 for blogging or twittering about and linking to the contest (leave a comment with a link)

And in keeping with the Halloween spirit, I want to see all of your best (or worst :D) Halloween costumes.

So…

+10 for posting a photo of yourself on your blog, or elsewhere online, showing off your best Halloween apparel (leave me a comment with a link) Or, if you’d like, I can post them here. Send me an email. :)

Ends Halloween (Oct 31) at midnight PST. The winner will be announced Monday, November 2nd.

Happy haunting! :D

Monday, October 19, 2009

REVIEW: THE SHIFTER by Janice Hardy

From the back of the book:

Nya is an orphan struggling for survival in a city crippled by war. She is also a Taker—with her touch, she can heal injuries, pulling pain from another person into her own body. But unlike her sister, Tali, and the other Takers who become Healers' League apprentices, Nya's skill is flawed: She can't push that pain into pynvium, the enchanted metal used to store it. All she can do is shift it into another person, a dangerous skill that she must keep hidden from forces occupying her city. If discovered, she'd be used as a human weapon against her own people.


Rumors of another war make Nya's life harder, forcing her to take desperate risks just to find work and food. She pushes her luck too far and exposes her secret to a pain merchant eager to use her shifting ability for his own sinister purposes. At first Nya refuses, but when Tali and other League Healers mysteriously disappear, she's faced with some difficult choices. As her father used to say, principles are a bargain at any price; but how many will Nya have to sell to get Tali back alive?

I've said this before, but I'm gonna say it again, dang it! I'm not very good at writing reviews. It feels like a book report, which feels like homework, and the idea of homework turns my brain to mush, even though I've been out of school for like... Well, we don't need numbers for everything. ;P But I read it, and I liked it, so here's my two cents, in all its awkward glory:

I was super excited when I won an ARC of THE SHIFTER (in case you couldn’t tell from all the previous posts about it). I first heard about it on agent Kristin Nelson’s blog. I liked the premise and the original title (UK title), THE PAIN MERCHANTS, sounded very cool, so I planned to purchase it when it came out.

But you can’t beat free, and it’s an ARC too! Woohoo! I did purchase a copy as well. More on that at the end. :)

First off, I have to point out that the book starts out with chickens. If you’ve read Janice Hardy’s blog or The Healing Wars blog, you know she has a thing for chickens. I think it’s awesome she found a way to work it into her book. It works perfectly too.

Chickens and all, the tension starts on the first page and keeps up a nice, steady build until the end. Nya is relatable and real, and I found myself rooting for her as she was forced to choose between using her ability to help or to hurt, in order to protect the people she loves.

While the story touches on some serious issues like poverty and discrimination, it’s geared toward a younger audience, so it was a relatively light, easy read. I breezed through it in less than a week, just reading for an hour or so each night. My kids (ages 8, 9, and 11) are excited about it, and I feel very comfortable with them reading it.

Unlike other books I’ve read recently, I didn’t find myself going into editor mode as I read. Yes, there were a few obvious typos, but I’m assuming those were caught and fixed before the final printing. I did notice a couple of similes that tripped me up, but I’m starting to think I might have simile issues. I’ll be discussing that topic further on Wednesday.

Altogether, it was a great read, and I’m looking forward to the sequel.

Now, for the reason I purchased a book I already have an ARC of. Tune in tomorrow for the first official contest on my blog! I have my 100th post coming up and the best holiday of the year (that would be Halloween) is next week, so it’s time to celebrate! :)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Have You Ever Noticed...

The word WEIRD is spelled weird? MS Word auto corrects it so I always forget the "I before E except after C" thing doesn't apply, and it makes me crazy. I'm constantly misspelling it.

That is all. :)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Little Miss Perfect Rears Her Snooty Head

I was going to do an evil post today about similes, but I decided Friday needs to be a positive day, so I’ll save the evil for Monday. :)

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about perfectionism. I know that a lot of us crazy writers suffer from this disease. I definitely haven’t been spared.

It can be a good thing, and it pushes us to want to learn how to make our writing better and always put out our best work.

BUT…

Most of the time, I think it’s more a hindrance than a help. Often, it keeps the words from flowing, because for some reason, I think I can do it perfect the first time. We all know this is impossible, but Little Miss Perfect refuses to accept it. She knows everything. Everything. She thinks she’s so smart. She’s kind of stuck up, actually, and most of the time, I don’t like her very much.

We all make mistakes. It’s part of being human. I see typos and misspelled words all over the place. What’s the difference between others’ mistakes and my mistakes? When other people do it, I can let it go. Oh, must be a typo. No biggie. Or, She was in a hurry, because she’s really nice and tries to visit all the blogs she follows and leave thoughtful comments. All is forgiven.

If I make a mistake, my throat feels like it’s going to close up, and my mouse wielding hand is just itching to delete and fix it. It makes me crazy I can’t edit my comments. That’s part of the reason I don’t comment much, because it takes me so long to leave a comment. Everything I do must be proofread to perfection.

The main thing that makes me so crazy is I can’t let it go. Some of you probably noticed and were too nice to say anything, but my post from Monday had a typo in the title and a misspelled word in the body of the post. Nothing serious, but it’s going to bother me for a while. Even though it’s all fixed now. Neurotic? Yes. Can it be helped? I don’t know. I’m guessing, unlikely.

So, now for the positive point of this post. In the midst of striving for perfection, we often forget our best qualities and focus on the things we’re doing wrong. And we ALL have good, no, excellent qualities. Each and every one of us.

I know this is hard, but all humility and insecurity are being thrown to the wind today. Say goodbye.

Goodbye, humility. Goodbye, insecurity. I’m sure you’ll both find your way back soon.

I want to know what makes you awesome. It doesn’t have to be about writing. Whatever you want to share. Anything to give yourself a little boost before the weekend. :D

Don’t slink away and try to hide in the bloggy shadows. No one will boo your awesomeness here. :) I’ll give you a starter phrase:

I am awesome because…

Example:

I am awesome, because I make all of my kids’ Halloween costumes, so they get to be whatever they want. (I have to make up for all the time I spend writing/crafting/being generally distracted somehow.) Oh, and I think they’re the best dressed kids, every Halloween. :D That’s mine.

Now it’s your turn. Aaaand go!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sweet Undertones with a Nutty Finish

Thank you, Tere, for inspiring this post with your comment yesterday. :)

First off, the point of this post is not just to tell you a cutesy story about my daughter. Number one, I don’t think it’s cutesy so much as hilarious, and two, this does relate to writing. Sort of. :)

My youngest is a very unique individual. She often lives in a world of her own making, and some of the things that come out of her mouth have me really wondering what is going on her head. A lot of times, though, she has me rolling on the floor, literally. She’s given me quite a bit of writing material for my family blog.

My favorite story, ever, is from when she was four years old. She stayed home with her dad while I took the older two to the bus stop. She was curled up next to him in bed, when the phone—at the opposite corner of the bed—rang. My husband got up and crawled across the bed to answer it.

“I see your nuts, Daddy,” a tiny voice said behind him.

As you can imagine, my husband was horrified. I was, when he told me.

What if this was the end of the story? What would you think of me? Boo! What is she teaching her children? My kids are very sheltered, I assure you. And that's not the end.

This is how the story could have ended:

My husband, in the throws of what threatened to be a very serious heart attack, turned around and said, “What did you say?”

Eyes wide, terrified by her father’s tone, she immediately burst into tears and didn’t stop crying until Mom got home.

All that build up, and then she just cried? How lame is that?

Now, as emotional as she is, this ending is not that unlikely. Fortunately, she was in a good mood that morning and this is not how it ended.

Here’s the whole story with the real ending:

When my youngest was four years old, she stayed home with her dad while I took the older two to the bus stop. She was curled up next to him in bed, when the phone—at the opposite corner of the bed—rang. My husband got up and crawled across the bed to answer it.

“I see your nuts, Daddy,” a tiny voice said behind him.

In the throws of what threatened to be a very serious heart attack, he turned around and said, “What did you say?”

She pointed to a can of cashews on the nightstand. “I see your nuts, Daddy.”

Now, isn’t the second ending SO. MUCH. BETTER? I was laughing about that one for weeks.

Okay, so the point is, the ending can make or break a story. It doesn’t matter how good the rest of the story is, if the ending falls flat, you’re only going to upset or annoy your reader. The first ending probably left you feeling let down. Maybe even hoping I never bore with another anecdote about my children again. I don’t know. Maybe the real ending had the same result, but let’s pretend for the sake of this post, that it didn’t. ;)

So, what do you think? What is essential to a good ending? Anything that drives you crazy in an ending and makes you want to throw the book across the room?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tapped Out

As I stare at the wall with a blank expression, drool sliding down my chin, I realize I have no idea what to post on today. My idea well has run dry.

Surely you can think of something to go on and on about, I tell myself. But no. There’s nothing there. My brain is empty. Or almost empty. All I can think about are my revisions and getting those done. That’s a good thing, right?

Any suggestions? What do you do when you’re feeling like your idea well has run dry? Any failsafe brainstorming tricks that get you back on track quick? Sometimes, staring at the wall with a blank expression does work. For me anyway. Just not today. :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Showing Off Her Nunchuck Skills

A while back, I posted a review of Elana Johnson's awesome new ebook, From the Query to the Call. I found out later that anyone who purchases that ebook, gets a query shredding from the Query Ninja herself, Miss ElanaJ.

So, I took my query that had already been through the wringer with some awesome help from Suzanne Palmieri and great advice over on Beth Revis's blog, and sent it over to Elana. She applied her ninja skills and helped me polish it up. Now it's all shiny and sparkly. That's what ninjas do, right? Make things shiny and sparkly? ;D

Head on over and check it out, if you'd like. I'd love to hear what you think.

Happy Tuesday!!

BTW: I know it's nunchaku, not nunchuck. My reasoning is long and boring. I'll spare you.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Feeling Lucky--Good Thing or Bad Thing?

Guess what?

I won another contest. Over on Christine Fonseca's blog. I know. Totally crazy. Seriously, I never win anything, ever. So, I want to know what this all means. I'm not normally a superstitious person, but now I'm wondering if this is a sign. :)

Okay, only kind of, but something weird is going on. My husband says it means I should start sending out queries. I still have about 100 pages left on my revisions. I know I said something a while back about a goal, but sometimes the real life things must take precedence over the make-believe things. So sad.

This last revision is just a final once over, checking punctuation and making sure all my changes flow. Although, I did completely rewrite the beginning of chapter two last night. I'm starting to think if I don't get this baby out there, I'm never going to be able to cut the apron strings. There will always be something needing improvement. Always.

It's so close to ready. I'm just hoping my luck will hold for another few days. If it's not gone already. ;)

So, what do you all think? Do you have periods of time when you feel luckier than others? How much do you think luck plays into querying and getting requests and offers for representation? Or do you think it's all just a matter of skill? You know, like bo staff skills and ninja skills. ;D

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Friday, October 9, 2009

Totally Random Friday

A few things today, in no particular order.

1. I still haven't received my ARC of Janice Hardy's THE SHIFTER. Boohoo. :^( Dang slow postal service. Maybe this afternoon? I'm about ready to go buy a copy and then maybe use it for a contest. Hmm. We'll see. I have a 40% off coupon for Borders that I have to use anyway...

2. Christine Fonseca has created a new blog called Growing Up Gifted. She's just getting started, but there's already great info there about gifted children. If you even think you might have a gifted child, it's worth checking out. Great insight there about how the gifted mind works.


3. Like forever ago, Stina Lindenblatt gave me the Premios Dardos award. Thank you, Stina. I'm supposed to pass it on to five other people, but I'm having a hard time narrowing it down. So, happy Friday! You're all winners!! Woohoo! :D


4. Susan R. Mills (formerly Lazy Writer) has a great post up today on her blog, A Walk in My Shoes, about marketing ourselves as authors. Definitely worth checking out.

5. Tere Kirkland (formerly TereLiz) of the The Lesser Key has a great contest going on. You could win a copy of Jessica Verday's new novel THE HOLLOW.

6. I'm often inspired by other bloggers for my posts, but today someone was inspired by me. :) I know. I can't believe it either. Yesterday, we talked about whether you should wait to query your first novel until the second novel is done. Roni at Fiction Groupie has a great post today expanding on that. And she has some very good reasons to wait.

7. In an effort to keep my personal life personal and protect my kiddos, I'm making my family blog private. If you're interested in having access to that blog, leave your email address here, and if I know you, I'll invite you. :)

8. I came across this video, and I thinks it's just incredible and had to share. These amazing little girls are 6, 7, and 8 years old.



Happy Friday, all! Have a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

You Want Me to Put My Baby Where?

In a drawer? A closed drawer? And then you want me to leave it there?! The horror!!

No, I’m not insane. Not yet, anyway. ;)

I’m sure most of us have heard it. I know agent Janet Reid has blogged about it, and other agents probably have too. However, I’m not ready to give in just yet.

What am I rambling about?

I’m rambling about taking my precious first novel and putting it in a drawer, or on a shelf, or some undisclosed file on my hard drive to sit while I write novel number two. We, novel one and I, have become quite close over the last year, and I’m afraid I can’t do that. I want this baby to get out into the world, so it can grow up to be a published novel.

I understand the logic. The idea is that after you finish number two or three or four, you’ll go back and realize everything that was wrong with number one. But I’m rationalizing (possibly deluding myself) that since my novel in its current state is so different from the original version, it doesn’t really count as a first novel.

Seriously, if I posted some of the stuff from the original version, I would never be able to show my face on the blogosphere again. You’d all be reaching for the red hot poker to alleviate the suffering your eyes would be forced to endure just reading it. What? You think that’s a little dramatic? Well, you’ll never know till you read it, which you won’t, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

Now, I’m not saying that the agents are wrong. I’m just saying that maybe they’re not always right. Besides, I can’t give up without trying.

So, how do you feel about this? Not whether my novel is ready, but the idea in general. Should a first time novelist banish her first born to his room until the other kids have had a chance to play?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

But She has a Good Personality

I don’t know how it works for anyone else, but when I’m reading a book, I form an image of a character rather quickly. And that image can be based on any number of things. Usually there is some description in the book, but more often than not, what I’m picturing in my head is based on a character’s personality, attitude, or even the things that they say and how they say them. Physical descriptors like eye color, hair color, height, or the shape of a character’s face, are just there to tweak that image, if they have any impact at all.

Are you confused yet?

Okay, this is how it works for me, and I’m guessing I’m not alone in this. When I read a book, I liken the characters to people I know. This is where the personality traits come in. If a character reminds me of someone I know, that’s how I’m going to picture him, regardless of how the author describes that character. Sometimes this will cause a little hiccup for me if I’m reading and come to a physical descriptor that doesn’t match that image, but I’ve gotten used to it. Usually, I’ll just ignore the descriptor.

What?! But that’s not what the author intended for you to picture! Um, I don’t care. They’ll get over it, I’m sure. I know it wouldn’t bother me, if I was the author. (That’s has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?)

Can you keep a secret? I have a character in my book that has no physical description whatsoever and no one has ever noticed it. Not one single critter or beta reader. Can you guess why?

The why is actually pretty simple—they can relate the character to someone in their own life. And I think that makes that character more personal to them. Okay, so I don’t know any of this for certain, and maybe my critters and beta readers are just being nice, but it makes sense to me.

Let’s take Edward from TWILIGHT as an example, only because most of us have read it, and there’s a movie to see what he really looks like. Well, sort of. Just bear with me, folks.

When I read TWILIGHT and all the descriptions of Edward’s beauty and blah, blah, blah, I didn't picture Robert Pattinson or anyone resembling Robert Pattinson. But Stephenie Meyer said on her website that she could picture him as Edward. She would be the expert on what he looks like, after all. Besides that, thousands of screaming girls have solidified his “hotness”, so who cares what I think, right?

So, what does this tell us?

Different people have different ideas of beauty, and different ideas of ugliness, to be fair. So why would I put a long, drawn out description of how beautiful a character is, complete with head-to-toe details, when I know that not everyone is going to have the same idea of beautiful? Why not just put in a few key descriptors, give him the hottest personality ever, and leave the rest to the imagination?

See, this rambling mess led to a point. I knew I’d get there eventually.

So, what do you all think? Do we need a super detailed description of a character to create an image, or is it better to let that image form based on the character’s, um, character?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Feeling Sorry for Myself

Remember last week when I said I won an ARC of Janice Hardy's THE SHIFTER? Yeah, well. Since I was so neglectful in checking back to see who the winner was, it didn't get sent until last week, and therefore, I haven't received it yet. And it was released today. It's totally my fault for not checking, but I still feel like having a pity party for myself. Poor me. :^(

So, is it still considered an "advance reader copy" if I get it after the release date?

More Description? Can’t I Just Draw You a Picture?

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, know that I like to analyze the crap out of everything. So, it’s only logical that I’ve determined what I deem to be my biggest weakness when it comes to writing.

I love to write dialogue, but I think that’s because dialogue is relatively easy for me. But description? Just the thought makes all my creative functions shut down. Writing description requires me to think, and where’s the fun in that?

It’s my opinion that if you’re setting is relatively commonplace—a bedroom, a kitchen, a park, whatever—it doesn’t need to be described in detail, or even at all, unless it’s vital to the storyline. Most people can conjure up some image without a description. I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong, but this is how I rationalize my minimalist approach to setting description. :)

Besides, my novel is already 10,000 words too long, according to all the word count Nazis out there, so more description would only add to that. So, I use that rationalization too.

To be honest, when I’m reading, if I can conjure up an image without it, sometimes I’ll just skip the description. I like to read about the characters, not the setting. Just my personal preference.

So, I’m wondering. What’s your take on this? Do you love to write beautiful setting descriptions? Do you think it’s an integral part of every scene, or do you think it’s unnecessary sometimes?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Those Who Think They Know Everything Annoy Those of Us Who Do

Nothing pulls a reader out of a story like inaccurate facts. Or, even worse, coming to a scene and thinking, “That totally would never happen that way.”

We’ve all heard it before. Write what you know. It’s definitely true. No one wants to read a story by someone who doesn’t have their facts straight, but new knowledge is always easy to attain, especially with the internet. With a few clicks on the keyboard, a writer can find all there is to know about just about any subject.

But there are certain things that can only be learned through life experience. Now, I think that writers as a whole are a more empathetic group than most. We have to really get inside our characters’ heads and see everything through their eyes, but without having similar experiences in our own lives that we can compare them to, how can we put that emotional aspect in our writing?

A book about the basics of cattle ranching might be interesting to some, and written by someone who’s actually worked on a cattle ranch would be much more informative, but it would read like a textbook to me. I want strong characters, and turmoil in those characters’ lives. And I want to know how they react to that turmoil.

Rancher Bob is about to lose everything to the nasty new banker. I know, totally cliché, but it’s early on a Monday. So, we could go over all the technical aspects of that situation—posted notices about foreclosure, lawyer involvement, all the things Bob does to try to keep the ranch—but without getting Bob’s emotional reactions, and all the anger, frustration, and despair involved in a situation like that, the story, in my opinion, would be pretty boring.

And that is what I interpret write what you know to mean. It’s drawing on your own life experience to make your characters believable and their experiences believable. And being able to give the reader something to connect to in that character, to keep them reading. That’s the ultimate goal, right? To have our words read and appreciated, and our characters loved by others as much as we love them?

So, I’m wondering. What do you all think? Should write what you know be taken to mean just factual knowledge, or is there more to it than that?

Note: I got the title of this post from a t-shirt my husband has. It’s my favorite. :) I'm thinking about making a badge...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday Fringe Funnies

No time for a real post today. I don't know why, but with my kids getting a two week break at the end of each quarter, it always feels like the end of the school year. And we always have a gazillion things going on.

In lieu of a post, here are a few short, funny clips from Fringe, so if you haven't seen it, you can see why it's so awesome. I LOVE this show, and I'm so excited that it's started again. Just to forewarn you, there is a possibility this will just solidify any notions you may have that I'm a total dork. :)

Happy Friday!






Thursday, October 1, 2009

It's My Blog, and I'll ??? if I Want To...

There's been quite a bit of buzz around the blogosphere lately about what's appropriate content for a writer's blog.

Should it be all writing, all the time? Or is it okay to sprinkle in some personal stuff?

And what about rejection? Is it okay to post about your rejections and how they have helped you become a better writer? Or does that make you look unpublishable? It's my opinion that this subject (posting about your rejections) is simply a matter of how you approach it. But I know there are some agent opinions floating around out there, too, about how these kinds of posts can cast a writer in a bad light.

And platform. Should you choose a theme and stick with it? Should a writer blog only for selfless reasons? Or is it okay to blog simply to tell the world what's going on in your mind? I know I'm guilty of this, but I figure if people don't want to read about it, they'll stop reading. Don't get me wrong. I love my readers, every single one of them, but I can't expect anyone to be interested in all the same things I'm interested in. Some of the stuff I like is boring. I'm okay with that.

So, I'm wondering. What's your take on this? How should a writer handle his/her blog? What's appropriate, and what isn't? And why do you blog? Also, if you have any other thoughts on any of the other questions in this post, I would love to hear what you think.

I know my blog is all over the place, but please don't let that affect your opinion. You don't need to worry about hurting my feelings. :)