Friday, April 29, 2011

Thesaurus Talk: Race

I don't know about you, but my characters tend to "race" around everywhere. Sally raced to the car. John raced to her side. They raced into a hot embrace. You get the picture (though kidding on the last one). So today I'm being super selfish and listing synonyms for "race" as that is one of my overused verbs. What are some of yours?



DEFINITION: To proceed quickly


barrel, belt, blast, blaze, blow, bolt, breeze, careen, career, chase, course, dash, drive, fly, hare, hasten, hurl, hurtle, jet, jump, motor, nip, pelt, rocket, run, rush, rustle, scoot, scurry, scuttle, shoot, speed, step, tear, travel, trot, whirl, whisk, zip, zoom


Have a great weekend!!


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Wasting time

So on Saturday I had this strange experience. I had absentmindedly forgotten to pick up egg dye (gasp!) and ended up going to two places to find it. Well my venture landed me at Rite Aid -- a drugstore of sorts for those of you outside the US. I'm standing there in line, tapping the box, while the woman in front of me argues over some buy-one-get-one offer on a pack of paper plates. By the time the manager agrees to give the lady the discount (just to get her out of the store I'm sure), 15 minutes had passed. FIFTEEN MINUTES. I would have gone elsewhere, but the egg dye in my hand was the last in the store and who knows if I would have found another box elsewhere. I stalk out of the store angry and frustrated that anyone would waste 15 minutes of their time on a $2 pack of paper plates.

But this tramatizing event got me thinking. What little things do we do during the day or week that detracts from the top, say, five most important things in our life? I often have people ask me how I find time to write. They then proceed to tell me how they are too busy to ever "pick up writing." Really? I have a toddler, husband, house, cat, and full-time job yet I find time. Why can't you? The same goes for other things. Church, if that's important to you. Friend-time. Personal-time. Whatever it is that you WISH you had time for, ask yourself, why don't you? Because I'm betting if you priortize those top 5 things, suddenly the day will feel drastically less stressful.

Of course, I'm a stress maniac so don't listen to me. :) Now revelation time. What sucks up all your time?


Friday, April 22, 2011

DICTIONARY DAY with a little style

So today fellow hilarious blogger, Tyson, gave me the Stylish Blogger award. I decided to define an uncommon synonym of "stylish" to celebrate.



Definition: fashionable, stylish

Usage: She wore a modish strapless dress.


Now to the rules for the Stylish award. I have to list 7 things about myself and then suggest a few awesome bloggers. Here goes...

  1. I am only 5'3, 110 lbs fully clothed and soaking wet, yet many of my co-workers refer to me as "intimidating." :) This makes me laugh every time.

  2. I have weird knowledge of all things health and skincare.

  3. I am a total t-shirt and jeans girl, but am crazy particular about said t-shirt and jeans. I own every color of JCrew v-neck T available and more pairs of skinny/straight jeans than any female should ever have.

  4. I married my husband for many reasons, but the longer we've been together I realize how similar he is to my dad (who I adore in every way). I'm thinking that must have sub-consciously played a part.

  5. As a child I could sketch anything. Now, I'm lucky if I can sketch a stick figure. I guess that talent, like writing, requires consistency and practice.

  6. I suck at all things that require athleticism except ping-pong. I kick serious a$$ at ping-pong.

  7. Sometimes I wonder if thinking you suck as a writer is just part of the gig. A few weeks ago, an editor requested my first book on a Saturday, just a few short hours after I queried. The next weekend my second book became a finalist in Utah's popular RWA contest. The next weekend I was practically in tears over how bad both books are. Yeah, I'm mental, but surely I'm not alone here? Okay, maybe I am. :)

Now to the more interesting part of the award thing: cool bloggers.

Laura -- One of my awesome CPs "queen of plot holes"

Amanda -- Another awesome CP "queen of world-building"

Karen -- Who has received this award before, but she needs two!

Jennifer -- Who does the super interesting "creative spaces"

Margo -- Who always has great takes on all things writerly.

Kenda -- Who, like Karen, has gotten this award, but deserves two!

I'm sure I will think of others and will add them here!


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Storytelling vs. Writing

Yesterday, I finished up a popular novel that I enjoyed for the storytelling, but realized early on that the writing wasn't stellar. All the traditional rules were broken, continuously. POV switches. Tense switches. Pages upon pages of backstory. Pages upon pages of dialogue. That sort of thing. But I still enjoyed the book because aside from the writerly things *we* writers notice, the author was a great storyteller.

I think there is a difference between good writing and good storytelling. I've read books where the writing was so beautiful that I had to re-read passages again and again. But by story end I had no idea what the story was about. Now, the true geniuses (like C.S. Lewis) are the ones who can do both.

How about you? Do you notice this difference and if so which do you prefer if you can only have one in a book -- captivating storytelling or beautiful writing?


Friday, April 15, 2011

Thesaurus Talk: RUSH

Yep, it's Thesaurus Talk Time. But before I list the overused word, I want to caution against replacing basic words with fancy-barely-can-pronouce words. When you replace the overused word, the sentence should flow equally as well or better. If not, you may want to rework the sentence.

Overused word:



to cause to move or proceed fast or faster


accelerate, bundle, fast-track, hasten, quicken, speed up, whisk

Related words:

drive, goad, propel, push, race, spur, stir, urge


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

How many revisions?

Sorry for the blog delay. Sick child causes all extras to stop. But tonight, with a much healthier child finally in bed, I finished my fifth revision of TWISTED ROOT. Oddly enough, I thought I only revised it twice, but doc name reads TwistedRoot.5. Hmm. And that's when I realized I revised the first half five times and the second only twice. Does anyone else do this? I find my writing improves as I near the end. Plus, midway through TR, I came to a halt, lost on how to finish. I had to plot out the end fully in order to continue, which perhaps resulted in a cleaner draft? I'm not sure, but I am soooo glad to be done. For now. M.B.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Dictionary Day: Choleric

Yesterday, I was a bit on the moody side and decided to find a synonym of moody for my dictionary word of the day. The reason? We often have moody characters, right? Now of course we should "show" instead of "tell" their moodiness, but assuming you've already done that and need a flashy adjective, then here you go.



TYPE: Adjective

DEFINITION: easily moved to often unreasonable or excessive anger

USAGE: Watch out for the choleric librarian. Sue forgot her books, and the crazy lib bit her head off.


Happy weekend, all!


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Hello, Subjectivity, how are you today?

Today I wanted to talk about a wall standing in front of unpublished writers. Her name is Subjectivity. And I'd say she looks something like this:

I sent a long (sorry again!) email to one of my CPs about this very thing last night. See, somehow my WIP became a finalist in a popular RWA contest. I nearly cried and definitely screamed. Well then I submitted the same thing for a critique and it was ripped apart. Now, don't get me wrong, I love a hard crit. But now I'm torn--do I fix all the issues? Fix only the issues that feel right to me? Ignore it? Tough thing to work through for sure.

But this is what I realized: subjectivity isn't just an agent/editor issue. No, subjectivity is something to consider with CPs and betas as well. This is why it's important to support your work. Love what you do and trust in your skills. I have a hard time with this, I'll admit, but I think it's vital for success in this business.

What do you think? Ever receive a crit that felt off? Ever give one and wonder if you missed the entire point of the MS?


Monday, April 4, 2011


I’ve grown a little obsessed with Goodreads lately. Some reviewers seem to love everything, while others hate everything. The logic behind many of the reviews can be fairly funny to read. One such topic for YA has been “insta-love.” The reviews define the term as two characters meet and 20 pages later they’re madly in love, willing to give up their lives for one another.

While I think 20 pages is likely quick for the word “love,” I do not think it is too quick for obsession. Why? Because that is teen love. I have a 14-year-old niece who has a different boyfriend all the time it seems. One such boyfriend “cheated” on her—meaning he went to a movie with another girl—and she said “it was really hard because we were together so long.” So I asked her how long and she responded: “three weeks.” Yep, it took three whole weeks for my young niece to fall for some boy.

I think it is very important to remember our true audience when writing for YA. We are not writing for the 30-year-old women who read YA—yes I am one of them! We are not writing for parents. No, we are writing for the teen girls and boys who do fall instantly in love, who do act foolish and rash and stupid at times. That is the life of a teen. And to me, these people who judge quick love—or obsession—in YA novels do not grasp that of all the elements of YA, quick obsession is likely the most realistic.

What do you think?