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Showing posts from June, 2011

Where do you get your ideas?

The other night I had a very vivid nightmare. I was in my bathroom with my husband, while a pack of zombies tried to plow through the door. Thankfully, I had air freshener handy and snatched it up as though it were a rifle. Somehow my air freshener weapon killed off the zombies. I woke with a start, convinced that the zombies were in my house. I told my husband about it the next day and he said, "You should write a book about that!"

Don't worry. I have no intention of writing a novel about zombie-killing air freshener. Though that may work for an MG. Hmmm....no just kidding. But this did get me thinking about how we come up with our ideas.

For TWISTED ROOT, there were two things that brought the idea together. First, my husband is obsessed with the Science channel and watches all of those alien shows. One such show had a theory that struck me as plausible. This was the first seed of an idea.

The second seed came a few weeks later. I was staring into my heavily wooded backya…

Ah, Revision, oh how I hate you...

Yes, indeed. I am not one of those people who adore revising. I have a zillion ideas in my head at any given moment, and all are itching to be written. That said, I definitely appreciate revision and what it does for my work. So I'm diving into another revision. Well, technically, I've already begun. I decided this weekend that I do not simply want to get an agent and become published. I want my debut novel to be great. I'm willing to put in the work to get it there, even if that requires 10 more revisions. (Though hopefully it doesn't.)

And here are the things I’m working on:


World -- clarifying things that are perhaps only clear in my head
Character -- making the ordinary both exceptional and unique
Pacing -- getting to the point quicker
So, I'll let you know when I've completed it. For now, wish me luck. I'll need it. :)

M.B.

Friday Father's Day Style

Today I thought I would dedicate my entry to my dad. My dad is actually my first reader. He reads my work before CPs, before betas, before editing a gazillion times. My dad then listens as I talk out plot issues, character issues, etc.

And then he does it all over again for each revision.

Then I begin querying and he gets to read a gazillion query letters, helps me analyze requests, etc. When my last book only garnered a few requests, he cheered me on. When this one hit double the number of requests with half as many queries sent, he talked to me daily asking for updates, getting as excited as I am with each request.

I am tremendously lucky to have such an amazing and supportive father. So this weekend, I say thanks to my dad and cheer him on as he dives into one of those life battles that we never wish for our parents.

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!

M.B.

Culturize me

* First, let me note that for some cosmic, freakish reason I am unable to respond to my posts. Yeah, Blogger hates me. If you have experienced this and have a fix please feel free to email me. But for those who have commented on my posts, please know that I have had fantastic responses...in my head...but still. :)

Now for today's post I want to talk about commercial versus literary fiction. Each has its charms. One is action-packed and fun, while the other has beautiful writing (albeit sometimes boring). I have read most of the greats, but have yet to really appreciate contemporary literary works. What about you? There are a few that I adore, but in general I prefer a tighter pacing than is traditionally found in literary fiction.

I'm hoping you can change my mind. Have you read a fantastic literary work recently? Care to share? Culturize me. (Yeah, that's my term for books that are supposed to make us think. Don't judge me.)

M.B.

Reading and Jealousy

Last week I read a book that I loved so much that I found myself envious of the writer's skills. Have you ever reacted in this way? It is certainly something we, as writers, face. Others are getting agents, deals, film and foreign rights. I get that form of jealousy and feel it is completely natural. I try to restrict myself from reading too much of that sort of thing. But getting jealous when reading something? Anyone ever experience such craziness?

Perhaps it's just me, but planted in that jealousy is also a desire to learn from the fantastic authors who have published before me and will no doubt publisher after me. So how about you--do you ever feel envious when reading?

M.B.

Query thoughts

I plan to get back to regularly scheduled programming next week. MWF schedule, all that jazz. But today I wanted to go over a few of my experiences in the query game. I'm no expert, but I have noticed a few trends.



Your query does not need to discuss your entire story. Honestly, the query should only detail the inciting incident.
The query letter should be very tight. Read it a zillion times, send it to betas, etc. Make sure the query letter is intriguing above all else. Don't worry about gimmicks. Just make sure it is very easy to read with simple sentences, and leaves the agent asking: "What?! That's it?! I need to know more!!!"
Query letter aside, your pages need to shine. Solid writing is expected, but in my experience, the second most important element to writing is pacing.
Stay ubber professional in all dealings, but realize they are people too.
When you start getting requests, like I know you will, be sure to send the correct version. I accidentally sent a …

Utterly T-talkative

Warning, this is not a writerly post...per se. Do you ever have moments that are outside your norm? Where you know exactly what to say and act, but are so caught off guard that your normal attitude/behavior goes right out the window?

I had that experience last night.

I'm used to dealing with executives, part of the day job. It is nothing for me to get a call or be on conference with the president or CEO of some major company. I know how to speak professionally and with thought.

Yet all that went out the window last night. I received a lovely call from a lovely person. I knew from the beginning that the first call should be all business. So perhaps it was that I had just washed off my make-up and still had a tinge of soap on my face. Or perhaps it was the toddler in the bath singing (DH was with her of course). Or perhaps it was sheer, utter, giddiness, but for whatever reason I became a talker. You know the kind. The ones that speak fast and with emotion and sound like they've ha…