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Showing posts from September, 2010

What annoys you the most?

What annoys you the most about writing? Is it a struggle or confusion? What element confounds you the most?

For me it is the comma. I have always detested the comma and feel that comma splice is among the most offensive forms of writing. I would rather see no commas at all than one thrown in for the heck of it. So, yeah, my crit group loves to decorate my MS with commas. I have always felt that commas (at least in some uses) are subjective. BUT they are necessary, and so, I will list the most common reasons to use a comma as a way of clearing my conscience.

1. Series of 3 or more with a single conjunction
EXAMPLE: Amy bought toothpaste, lotion, and lip gloss at the store.

2. Parenthetic expressions or nonessential clause/phrase
EXAMPLE: Cassey, on the other hand, wanted to go to the mall.
EXAMPLE: My rose garden, when in full bloom, is beautiful.

UMMM...let's see

3. Introductory phrases/clauses before main clause
EXAMPLE: While I was sleeping, Mom cleaned my room.

4. Separating two independ…

CONTEST MONDAY!

There are lots of great contests going on in the blogosphere, but two caught my attention today that deserve mentioning.

1. Angela at The Bookshelf Muse is offering a 3 month mentorship. This contest is open through Wednesday, September 29th so hurry over. I have not entered the contest, yet, but definitely plan to!

http://thebookshelfmuse.blogspot.com/2010/09/1000-followers-contest-mentorship.html

2. Roni at Fiction Groupie has a great contest running through Sunday. It's her birthday so pop over and say Happy Birthday, then enter your email address as a comment and presto! You are entered into the contest to receive a 5 page crit from her. She will select two winners. One will get the option of either the crit or a new copy of Wicked Becomes You by Meredith Duran. The second winner will receive whichever is left.

http://fictiongroupie.blogspot.com/2010/09/birthday-contest.html

Good luck to everyone!!!

M.B. :)

Absence makes the heart grow fonder...

I have had a bad week. Scratch that -- two weeks. I am a fairly private person, but as the last few weeks have been so horrible I hope you will find it okay that I share it with you.

Two weeks ago my husband lost his job. We are fortunate, in many ways, as while I am part-time my salary covers most of our bills. But bills were not my concern. Our insurance was with my husband and Cobra was more than my mortgage so it wasn't an option. We decided to wait to see if he found a job quickly and if not would search out private insurance options. Thankfully God took care of us and my DH begins his new job on Monday...but it wasn't quick enough.

Last Saturday my daughter, Rylie, began to run a high 103 fever. We gave her Motrin and she fell asleep in my arms. By 5 am on Sunday the fever was over 104 and climbing. We rushed her to the ER. After well over an hour we were taken back and the first words out of the doctors mouth were "Oh, you're paying for this." He assured us …

Hooks?

Hooks are maybe one of the most frustrating elements of writing. We need to hook on the first page, first paragraph, etc. We have to hook in our query. There seems to be endless requests for strong hooks. Which brings me to my post/question for today -- what hooks you?

I've read through the first few pages of my favorite books lately just analyzing the hooks. Want to know what they all have in common? They present a question. Not a true question with a question mark, but a question in the reader's mind and that question has to be answered. So, as a reader, I read on in hopes of getting my answer. I also think one similarity is that the initial question presented is always answered by the end of that first chapter. And many times the first chapter presents one or more questions that push the story forward.

Let's take Hunger Games as an example. The last line of the first paragraph reads: This is the day of the reaping.
Immediately we want to know what's a reaping? Why does…

Let's talk about sex -- Writing Topics Wednesday!

Today is Writing Topic Wednesday and while most of the time I will focus on issues that surround most writers -- hooks, passive voice, etc. -- today I want to talk about sex, specifically in YA.

There seem to be two groups of thought on this topic. Some claim it is irresponsible to delve into sex scenes, especially gratuitous sex scenes, in YAs. Others feel sex is part of the teenage world so why not? There are many examples of YA books with sexual content, from discreet scenes in Shiver to more detailed encounters reported in The Duff (of which I have only read the first few chapters on B&N so I cannot claim to have an opinion on that one). And let's not forget Twilight and while the book contained no hint of actual sex, the implication of heated desire was more than there. A hot guy wants to suck a girls blood because she smells so damn good he can't stand it. Uh, yeah.

Now as writers we often suggest that the story "tells itself" and therefore whatever is fine a…

Contest Monday!

As per my new schedule today is CONTEST MONDAY!

******************************************************** September Secret Agent contest on Miss Snark's First Victim Basic Info: Priliminary info only, actual contest begins September 20th but note that the contest WILL be full within minutes of opening which is why I am posting about it today. Get yourself ready! I participated in the July contest and the feedback was amazing! Details: Submit first 250 words for critique. If the Secret Agent loves it he/she will request pages. Genres:
SF/F
Historical and paranormal romance
MG and YA (including all subgenres) ********************************************************

Putting others down...

I missed my Wednesday writing post so I'll do a double post next week to catch up...well, I'll try. ;)

A strange thing happened to me last week. I'm not going to get into the crazy/petty details but I am learning there is a particular breed of person (can be male or female) that enjoys making statements that bring others down. I have had this happen to me twice in the last week. Now, don't get too sad for me, I'm a pretty tough cookie and take this sort of thing in stride, but others do not. I found myself listening and wondering why people choose to behave this way? Is it a self-esteem thing? That's what all the psych majors would say, but I think it runs deeper than that. And the reason I chose to blog about it today is that there seems to be an overload of this type of person in the writing world.

Have you met one? Either in person or online? It's the kind of writer that likes to tell you what you are doing wrong and what you can do to make it to THEIR lev…

Blog Awards!

***********************************************************************************
Well I am thrilled to death to have received the below blog awards from two fantastic bloggers - Amanda at Madameduck and Catherine at The Writing Room.





Thanks so much to both of you! Blogging is a newer thing for me and I am glad you've enjoyed my posts so far. :)

The rules:

1. Thank and link back to the blogger who gave the award.
2. Share seven things about yourself.
3. Pass the award on to fifteen bloggers, newly discovered or those you've been following
4. Contact the bloggers that you selected for awards. My favorites: 1. Anna Staniszewski2. Jennifer Bertman 3. Rose Cooper4. Karen Strong5. Liz Straw... More to come. :)

Contests, opportunities, etc.

New post schedule. I will be aiming to post every M, W, F.

Mondays - Contest information
Wednesday - Writing problems and suggestions (including links) of ways to overcome them
Friday - Confetti (Anything goes, but I will try to concentrate on book reviews)

Now on to the fun!

CONTEST INFORMATION
__________________________________________________________________________
C.A. Marshall - freelance editor, agent intern, super woman

Okay, this is crazy stuff, just crazy! Ms. Marshall is offering a chance to win a full MS edit on her blog! All you have to do is enter, but if you follow her blog, tweet about it, and blog about it, you'll increase your chances to win. Then enter all that jazz into the form on her blog and presto! You've just entered a contest with a chance to win a full critique. Now go, hurry up!

http://www.camarshall.com/

__________________________________________________________________________
This contest inspired me to start a continuous post. So, every Monday be on the l…

Writing that evokes emotion

So as I mentioned in a previous post I just finished reading Stein's On Writing. Great book, if you have not read it yet you need to. It is so fantastic!

Well in the book he touches on our role as writers. Most writers say they write to express themselves or to tell a story. He says that's wrong. You should be writing to evoke emotion in your reader. What does that mean exactly? The long and short of it is that we, as people, experience everyday life. Don't write about everyday life. Write with feeling. Develop characters with feeling. Show drama and intensity and tension throughout your book so your story, even if it's a quiet story, leaves that reader feeling something.

I thought for a bit about how to do this exactly when suddenly it occurred to me that anything BIG that has ever happened in our lives inflicted emotion in us. Death does not only make us sad. It causes our bodies to ache. Our brains to feel like mush. Death changes our bodies and minds in ways the wor…

Writing Books...

I've read many writing books and can say that the vast majority of them would produce nothing more than a cookie-cutter book with little to no life. I have found only 3 that I feel are at all inspiring - Bird by Bird, On writing - both King's and Stein's. I loved all three of these books. I do like Self-editing for Fiction Writers as well, but for different reasons. I realized today that while many writing books are by agents or editors or publishing pro's. These three are actually by writers. Of all the experts to seek out in writing wouldn't you think we would turn to writers first? Oddly enough, I think we often turn to agents or editors and while their information is gold. It doesn't often speak to me in the manner that a writer can. I have read countless mentions of "show don't tell" but only after reading Sol Stein's description did the light bulb turn on. I've read editors speak about the value of tight writing. Okay, what in the he…