Sunday, August 31, 2008

What do agents do?

Find out from superstar agent, Molly Friedrich, in her long, but fascinating interview.

Then a short and sweet post about giving the reader some air.

Wish I had some other news, but right now my head is fogged.
Remember how I began waking up at six? So have my kids. They're bouncing around in their dark bedroom as I write. They used to wake up at seven.

Somehow I think this is my fault.

Labor Day we'll be going to the Lowry Zoo. What are you guys doing for the day?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Help, I'm cramping . . .

Real quick, don't forget to check out the info on author Brenda Coulter. Her new book, At His Command, should be out now. Read about it here.

Now on to sillier things.

Recently I've gone a little crazy in the head. Not only is my alarm now set to six a.m., but I've gone running twice this week.
If you know me personally, yes, I realize I'm thin. :-) But I'm twenty-five now. My thighs have begun to . . . ahem, you know.
So I'm trying to be somewhat healthy by running. Boy am I sore! Every muscle below my belly button is screaming.
Same thing with my head. With my first finished manuscript I got into a habit of writing a thousand words a day. That was a kid ago. Eventually, I fell out of the habit. Now I'm sore trying to get back into it.
The first few days I was pretty proud of my progress on my current wip, but this morning I stared at the screen.
The bad thing is I knew exactly what I want to happen next, just couldn't get my fingers to move.
Ha. My brain might be cramped from getting my creative muscle into shape, but it feels good. Productive and healthy.

Any special exercises you do to get into writing fitness? Any tricks you want to pass my way?

By the way, one form rejection in the mail . . .

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Staying in Character

I know I recently wrote about this, but I want to do it again because it came up when I was writing last night.
My heroine wanted the hero to give her a good reason why he should go on a date with her. So I'm thinking, hmmm, maybe they share a favorite movie? You know, similar taste and all. I've got it. Last of the Mohicans!
Immediately I realized that movie wouldn't work. Firstly, it's MY favorite, not Rachel's. Secondly, I'm totally different than my heroine. She's bold and adventurous. I'm adventurous too, but not to the point of breaking rules. But she loves to bend the rules.
Anyways, so I was stuck. What kind of movie would she like? He'd have to like it, too.
The dilemma proved to be too much for me. I went with music instead.

Jazz.

It's passionate and classy, just like my heroine.

How do you characterize your peeps when their tastes are totally different from yours?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Writerly Blues

I've noticed different phases when I write. There are times when words flow from me, magical and strong. Fresh ideas, brilliant phrases that light up my computer screen. Then there are times when I'm bored. I don't want to write because I feel empty of words.

And then there are the blues. These seem to come at the end of my manuscripts and during the revision process.

I'm having them right now with the first manuscript I ever finished. My style of writing is different with that one. The tone is different. I'm almost done with my gazillionth revision. Yay. But I almost wasn't going to market this story, except for one person's words.

One person.

This manuscript was critiqued by harlequin. Yep, I paid for it and am forever grateful that I did. But every time I wonder whether this story is worth publishing, I remember the end of the critique letter. The part where the critiquer said that my story was beautiful and intriguing.


Was it Mark Twain who said he could live on one good compliment for a month?


I've been living on it for a year.


These blues come and go. I know that from past experience. But when they're here, it's great to have an anchor to hold on to until they pass.


Publishing is an arduous road. Rejection hides in crevices, it waits over every hill. What boosts your morale when the writing blues strike? What gives you inspiration to keep writing?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Just Stuff

A few different things on my mind.

First, hubby and I spent the last few weeks watching the first season of Ugly Betty. I was so into the story until I realized that Betty and Daniel don't get together. (yes, I cheated and looked up Season 2 recaps on the internet). This is what being a romance writer has done to me. Betty and Henry??? No, Betty and Daniel! Of course, he needs to get his act together but their special friendship and the way he looks at her just makes me want to scream with frustration. Hubby, btw, thinks I'm crazy.

On to less weird things. No more rejections in the mail. :-( So I sent out three more queries/proposals because I'm impatient. Hope it doesn't backfire.

This is a hoot.

Also, thank goodness Hurricane Fay skipped around my city. If you don't believe in prayer, well, I won't try to convince you, but last Sunday my pastor prayed publicly that Fay would miss us. At the time, she was headed our way. Then she shifted. Of course, I hope she just dies and skips everyone. But I am thankful to have my house intact and my children safe. God is so cool.

Ha, I knew I had more to say. Tired of being rejected? So are tons of other people. Check out this interesting website.

Now I'm really done.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Writers Wanted

So it looks as if there are some writers wanted for a sexy line over at harlequin. Check out Scott Eagan's blog, of Greyhaus Literary Agency.

If I wrote hot and sexy stuff, I'd be all over this.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Writing 3-D

"Hey, girl!"
"Mokie?" The blonde's eyebrows shot up to her frazzled hairline. "What'chu doin' here?"
"Just checking out the competition." Mokie sneered. "Looks like someone did a number on your hair."

What's missing in that teensy, tiny little scene? We know what's there.
Sight. We see what's happening.

But that's it. We ONLY see.

I think new writers, myself included, tend to write like we're watching a movie. One dimensionally. But a story needs to be more than seen. A reader wants to feel the character's emotions. The reader wants to hear, smell, taste and feel the scene. That's why writing three dimensionally is so important. You want your reader right there with your main character. Shove 'em in that scene. Punch the reader with the realness of it.

New example:
The funeral home stank. Not like disinfectant, but like something had died. Like something had burned to a crisp on the blood-red carpet.
In the viewing room a willowy woman swiped at her face with a wilted hankie. She shoved it into her pocket, the rustle of it the only sound in the silent room.
"Hey, girl!"
"Mokie?" The blonde's eyebrows shot up to her frazzled hairline. "What'chu doin' here?"
Her voice, normally scratchy from cigs she was always puffing on, sounded strangely soft. As if she'd actually loved Mokie's husband.
"Just checking out the competition." Mokie sneered, then her gaze lifted to the blonde's hairline. "Looks like someone did a number on your hair."

Okay, I know that is really lacking. But do you think it adds to the scene? There's the smell of something burnt (the blonde's hair) and the sound of her hankie being put away. Okay, I'm sure most women don't use a hankie, but for the life of me I can't think of what it might be called. Maybe I should have stuck to the crinkle of tissue paper?

Anyways, use your senses in your scenes. And don't go overboard. If you're going to go out of your way to show how something sounds, smells or feels, make sure it has a purpose. Let it tie in to the story.

For example, maybe your hero has warm hands, callused and strong. Maybe his fingers grip the heroine's and she feels those calluses and knows that he's a hard worker. That he can take care of stuff.
But the villain? His hands are cold. Smooth. When he shakes your heroine's hands, his palms are damp with sweat. Yuck, right?

Well, I think I'm diverging from the point of this post. Sorry.

The point is, delve deep into your scenes. Show the important things by using your senses. The reader needs to feel, smell, taste, hear and see everything the POV character does.

So how do you make your scenes deeper? Any favorite sensory weapons in your writing arsenal?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Sweet Romance

I just finished Brenda Coulter's new book, At His Command. What a sweet romance! The characters were immediately likeable and sympathetic. And though there are some painful moments in the book, Brenda balances them with a nice dose of humor. This is the first book of hers I've read and I really liked it. Not only was the characterization great (I could practically hear the Texas twangs) but she used lovely metaphors and her writing style is active and smooth. Plus, the first kiss . . . Actually, I think it was the second, but let's just say the first REAL kiss was great! I loved that scene.

So, although this was the first book of hers I've read, it most definitely won't be the last. Nice job, Brenda, in creating a heart-stirring read!

At His Command will be available in stores August 26.
If you'd like to learn more about Brenda you can visit her blog, No Rules. Just write.

If you don't like to shop online (like me, lol) you should be able to find this book in Wal-Mart. Otherwise, you can Order it now from Amazon.com

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0373874960

Well, I was just skimming through Brenda's website and found her very cool diary of what to expect after getting the call. Check it out!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Wow

Here's an article on a writer friend who was in a car accident recently.

It's inspiring. A reminder of the invisible God who works in our lives in such visible ways.



Her blog is here.

Contest Alert

Rachelle's having a contest which involves a ten-page critique for the winner!!!!

BTW, I'm almost done with my book.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A slip of the tongue . . .

Okay, I guess it's not really a review. More like a blog about a good book. Which I'm delighted to say it really is.
I was a little worried that maybe I wouldn't like it. But no worries! :-)
Will post later.

My first book review . . .

is coming.

I haven't read it yet, but I'm fixing to. And then, I'll be posting my thoughts.
It's kind of exciting. In school I loved doing book reports. Never thought they'd come into play later.
Although, I'm not sure if the review will be in "report" format. In fact, I'm not sure how to do this at all.

Any suggestions?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Incommunicado

Won't be posting for a week.
Will be without internet.
Soaking up the rays.
Lounging by the surf.
In the Keys.

Hehehe.

See y'all later.

Consistent Characterization

Characterization is SO important in your story. Unlike real life, a character should have reasons for their actions and their actions should line up with their personality. Slobs don't have neat bedrooms. Perfectionists won't throw their Burger King bag on the floor of their car. So when you write a scene, make sure the character is doing things consistent with their personality.
That goes for dialogue, too. Someone raised in Alabama will speak differently than a New Yorker. Not just in dialogue, but maybe in the way they view life. If your hero was raised tough, have him talk tough. Be consistent.
I always thought I was consistent. Until I won an editorial review.
Very few comments in the chapter, yet one was next to a paragraph of the hero. The editor wrote "inconsistent characterization". You could have knocked me over. I never saw it coming but it really turned on a light for me.
Now when I write I always wonder, would she do this? Would she say this? And would she really compare her attraction to the hero to what she feels for her toolbox?
Only if she's into tools.
This characterization thing can get fun, once you get the hang of it. For example, in one of my manuscripts the hero is a government agent in covert ops. This is back in the day, with the beginnings of the FBI. For fun, I had him inwardly compare the heroine's eyes as "shining like the stock of his favorite rifle". Well, not exactly like that, but close.
It still makes me laugh. Whenever it gets critiqued, if it's jarring, I'll take it out. But for now it's a part of his characterization, because he thinks in terms like that.

Whew, long post, huh?

So what's your favorite characterization tools? How do you decide what to use and what not?

Friday, August 1, 2008

Not another post . . .

Nope, just a link.

Tips for writing by some guy quoting strange scriptures, lol!

Synopses

I just finished a class on writing synopses and boy, was it helpful. If you struggle with them, this class was great. Go here to buy a copy of the worksheet. It's very cheap and easy to follow.
I'm planning to use mine for my other manuscripts.