Friday, May 30, 2008

Clause Help

Got a really helpful post in my e-mail today by Mary DeMuth. Check it out if you struggle with grammar.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Strange Phenomenon

Today I was at the end of a wonderful book. I had tears in my eyes during the "Black Moment". And then motherhood called. So I put the book down, waiting for bedtime to come so that I could finish it. Well, I had to run to the library to e-mail a contest entry. (I don't have Word, unfortunately.)
Guess what happened? Like an addict, I was lured to the fiction aisle.
And I rented the newest book by my favorite author. And then I had to resist reading it as I drove home. That's right. As I drove.
The funny thing was, I'd been obsessed with finishing the earlier book but once I saw this book I totally forgot about the first one.
It got me to thinking. Publishers, agents, and writers speculate on what really sells a book.
The cover? The blurb? The title?
I used to think the cover hooked me, then the blurb. But now I gotta admit, the name sold me. That is, the author.
After being so into the one book, I was pretty shocked when I suddenly wanted to toss it aside in favor of the newer book.

By the way, I finished Only Uni and it was great! Funny and deep. Really funny, actually. So I resisted temptation and now I'm glad I did.

But who knew a favorite author would be such a powerful hook?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Memorial Day

Today is a wonderful day to remember the courage and honor of so many who've given their time and lives for America. So many times I'm irritated by our ever-encroaching government but it's good to realize that I still have so many liberties others don't. It sounds cliche but I really am proud to be an American.

On a side note, a few days ago author Rhonda Mcknight posted about book marketing. It's worth a read and it's informative. Looks like someday when I get published I'll have my work cut out for me.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Dreaded Synopsis

No, I didn't make that wonderful title up. It's on the Steeple Hill website. You can find the link on the side of my blog.
I find myself in a scary place. A request for a synopsis for one of my manuscripts has reached me. The problem? I hate synopses. I have no confidence in my ability to write one in an incredible way that makes someone want to read my story. Structurally, I know some basic rules.
So for the last two days I've been procrastinating. It's make or break here. I want this synopsis to be awesome, so titillating that the editor throws her hands in the air and screeches, "I Must Read That!" And then she calls me in the middle of the night to talk contract.
OUCH. Sorry, just pinched myself so I'd wake up.
Anywayyyyy. Thank goodness for critique groups. I'm going to toss my synopsis out there and tell them to eat it up and spit it out.
Ew. Okay, nasty image.
Big Sigh. The important thing is to do my best and trust God to guide this manuscript (and my life) in the direction He wants it to go.
Alrighty then.
Now I need to write it. :-(

Friday, May 23, 2008

I'm Back

Yay, home at last. I had a great time in the Keys but had to leave my laptop behind, which stunk. So I brought two books and they lasted for three days. That left me with four days of tv watching, which, after awhile, gets really boring.

But the books I read were wonderful.

Deception, by Randy Alcorn, has lovely prose. I think that's what I fell in love with in the story. The voice of it. Kudos to Alcorn. In my opinion, this is his best book yet. And the mystery tied up so nicely.

The other book I read was Sushi For One by Camy Tang. This is her debut novel and let me tell you, it was great! Very easy to get into, but the best thing was how Tang handled her character's issues. I don't cry easily, but I did with this story. Two things really struck me.

One, the heroine's wounds. Tang didn't blare everything out or get wishy-washy. She made the trauma deeper not by what she wrote, but by what she didn't. It was painful to read and I think Tang did an awesome job showing how her character's past affected every day of her present.

Two, the hero's discovery of Jesus. Let me say that one thing I don't usually enjoy reading in novels is a character's conversion. Usually it seems stale to me. Religious and just not real. Not in this story. When the hero sees a picture of the crucifixion I totally felt his fascination and pain. That scene was so powerful, so beautifully written, that it reminded me of what I felt when I first believed. So awesome.

Now I'm chomping at the bit to get to her next novel, Only Uni. You can check out Tang's blog here.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Some Other Blogs

I'm going to the Keys!!!


If you're interested in knowing some differences between self-publishing and traditional, check out Rachelle Gardner's blog.


The Seekers have Camy Tang as their blogger today. She's got lots of good stuff about characterization!

New post next week! I'll be back with a tan. Hopefully.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Good Guys

Boy, do I love heroes. Especially the dark and brooding ones. But whether moody, cold, or boy next door, heroes should have one thing in common.
They're NEVER perfect.
A good hero needs some flaws. Not necessarily anything truly evil and not something annoying. But something to make them real. Something to make their sacrifice/choice/good deed truly heroic.
Being a hero shouldn't be easy. It should come with a price.
I wrote earlier about the movie 3:10 to Yuma. The villain helped the hero out by getting on the train to go to jail, but it wasn't a heroic move. At first glance, or if you'd missed some dialogue, you might think so. But the villain, good old Ben Wade, (yes, the mark of a great character is that days later I still remember his name) is not a hero for a reason. He'd already admitted to escaping from that particular jail before. Twice.
So his actions, while making him likeable, did not make him heroic. There was no real cost.
Dan, on the otherhand, is giving up everything. For what? His honor? The respect of his boy? Justice? I'm not sure the "for what" really matters. What creates a truly compelling hero are his choices throughout the story. When things get tough, when he's torn between his weaknesses, his needs, and what he knows is right, he chooses the good way.
Makes me think of Jeremiah 6:16
". . . ask where the good way is and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls."
Want an incredible hero? Flaw him, hurt him, and then have him choose the right way.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Movies As Muse

Speaking of villains and heroes, last night I watched 3:10 to Yuma. Wow, what an awesome movie! It's now my favorite after The Last of the Mohicans.
3:10 to Yuma has all the things an incredible story needs. Conflict, characterization, dialogue, it had it all.
And the hero and villain? Wonderfully done. The hero was not perfect. He struggled to do right. The villian was not all bad. I loved them both. Really such a perfect movie all around.
While I'm thinking about The Last of The Mohicans, that villain was sympathetic as well. We got his backstory of the murdered family and now his quest for revenge. But he's twisted, just like Hawkeye says.
Ahhhh, big sigh of contentment. These are truly great stories that I believe will live on for a long, long time.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Villains!

Ahhh, the bad guys. Most stories have them in one way or another. The important thing to remember is that no one is ALL bad. That's right. The bad guy, or villain, should have a little good in 'em. A certain strength. They need to be real because, in my opinion, reality is scarier than some inhuman monster. For example, Tess Gerritsen's books scare me way more than Dean Koontz's. You want your villain scary? You want him to make the reader fear for your protagonist?
Give the bad guy a mix of good traits and bad. Then let the bad overpower the good.
That's only my opinion, though.

Does anyone think it's strange for an unpubbed writer to give writing advice? Hhhmmm. Maybe I need to do book reviews. lol

I'd love to do an interview with an author. That would be cool.

Next post, I'll talk about heros/heroines.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Rejection

Whew, went out of town and am just now getting back into the flow of things.
So I was thinking about rejection. I have two finished manuscripts that I keep working on. I began to wonder if perhaps I'm afraid to actually send them out into the big, wonderful world of publishing. Then I decided no, they just need work.
But it's important to never let fear rule you. Let it speak. Consider what it is saying. Weigh it. Then make a decision and move forward.
So I'm revising one manuscript and getting beta readers for the other.
This is definitely a scary thing. Writing is subjective and I know some people won't like mine. But what if everyone doesn't? That would be a bitter pill.
And yet, I would still write. I'm not sure there's anything that could stop me. In sixth grade my class did a book project and I wrote my first story. I've never stopped writing since and if no one else likes it . . . well, I do.
Writing is a pleasure. Most of the time, lol.
I've been hearing this quote alot lately and I think it bears repeating.

"Nevah, nevah give up."
So said Winston Churchill.