Friday, February 29, 2008

Time flies

Wow, I can't believe it's been ten days since I last posted.
For my birthday my mom took me to a movie. We saw Untraceable.
Very good, scary. I think Diane Lane did an awesome job playing her character. And I was actually able to guess a future plot point in the movie.
It actually was foreshadowed in the dialogue, and that's how I knew it was coming. It made me think of the use of dialogue in novels.
When I first started writing I hated dialogue. It was boring. What would my characters say? So I tended to narrate alot and let me tell you, that was some really boring stuff. The problem was, I didn't understand the use of dialogue. I thought it was conversation.
"Hi, how are you?"
"Fine. Nice day out today."
"Sure is. See ya."
"Bye."
Guess what? There's absolutely no purpose to the above conversation. Conversation in life can be super dull. Characters should never Conversate.
Every word spoken should have meaning, whether it points to character, foreshadows, or reveals backstory.
And that is what makes reading a book so interesting. Each word reveals something new to be learned or something new to look forward to.
Here's dialogue.
"Boy, these ol' joints sure are hurting today."
"You took your medicine, didn't you?"
"Don't worry about your Grandpa none. Just means the rain is coming."
Okay, so that's not the most earth shattering dialogue in the world, but hopefully you see what I mean.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Slogging Away

I'm slogging away at revising my manuscript. Is slogging a word? Anyhow, it's weird. When I'm writing the first draft, everything is magic.
Then I go back and reread it and everything is crap. That's right. Plot holes, long sentences, things that don't make sense.
I see why editors want revisions so much.
And yes, I know that I'm writing to thin air right now. Someday maybe I'll have bloggees. Commenters.
Ha. If only Miss Snark would come back. I'd forsake this lonely blog and just comment on hers all day long.
Miss Snark, where are you?

-a snarkling who found you too late

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Want some feedback on your writing?

There's a crapometer blog that you can send a few pages to. Elektra publishes it and lets people comment on it.
Book End LLC is holding a contest for the first 100 words of your manuscript.
Pix'n Pens is holding a historical short story contest.
Good luck!

Ouch

So I'm supposed to write a cover letter, which I believe is similar to a query letter. And I have to make a blurb. It hurts, it really hurts, trying to sum up my story in an exciting way using only five sentences.
What I'd like to know is: who created the query letter? Whose idea was it?
I keep putting this chore off because when I sit down to do it, everything I write sounds like. . .well, you know.
Besides this painful situation, all else is well. My kids are down for a nap and I have an hour to myself.
I really should go write. Being a professional means discipline.
Eek, another ouch.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Contests

So after reading several authors' websites I discovered ACFW and RWA. I joined. And then I discovered writing contests and critique partners. Then guess what I did? That's right. I entered some writing contests. Romance Writers of America have hundreds of different chapters and each chapter usually holds some kind of contest.
The first one I entered was ten dollars and called for the first three pages of my manuscript. I bombed it. Okay, maybe I didn't do horrible, but I didn't do great. There were three judges who critiqued my stuff and overall, I got some really good advice. So while I my writer's ego deflated for awhile, it is now recovered.
Plus, I vented to my critique partners (CPs). A little complaining always helps.
Then, the other night I got a long distance phone call. Turns out that the same manuscript placed third in a different contest. That contest called for the first fifteen pages. Woohoo! You can't imagine my screaming.
Because even though third place is not First, guess what? The prize is a review by an editor at a major publishing house! Yes! I entered these contests for unbiased, anonymous critiques of my writing. I never expected to final in one.
So now I'm scrambing to finish the last twenty pages of this manuscript so that I can go back and edit. Then I'll have someone read it for problems, then I'll edit some more. That way, if the editor likes it, I'll have more to show her. Tweaked and polished.
If you've never entered a contest, it's a good idea. But you have to have tough skin 'cause taste is subjective and not every judge will like what you write. But some will.
Okay writers! Any comments? Have any of you entered contests or thought about it?