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Showing posts from October, 2009

Know Thy Self: Guest Post

A real-life vent from a dear friend of mine on the perils of "jumping into bed" with an agent. Thank you for sharing your story, Anonymous Guest. :-)

First, I’d like to thank my gracious blog host, Jessica, for letting me post this. It’s been therapeutic to vent in a “public” venue.

As for jumping into bed with an agent, I’m someone who’s in that bed right now, trying to decide whether to "suck it up” or toss the covers aside and find another mate.

It’s so easy to say: I’m going to research every agent inside and out, read their every blog entry and online interview, talk to their other clients, and ask all the right questions to turn down any agent who answers even one of them wrong. That still doesn’t mean the marriage will be perfect. Even more than knowing your agent (which is virtually impossible until you start working with them anyway), is know your own career path. That’s the only way to assure the partnership will be successful.

I’d been trying to get an agent …

Strange Bedfellows

Sometimes we hop into bed with an agent before thinking things through. Passion kicks in and oops, we're in "bed" with a stranger.

Just because an agent is reputable and nice doesn't mean they'll be the right fit. If you don't ask the right questions you might jump in with someone who:

Hogs the covers.

Takes up all the room on the mattress.

Huddles on the edge of mattress and you can barely reach him.

Snores in the middle of pillowtalk.

Have you thought about what to ask an agent before accepting an offer of representation? What things are you willing to overlook and what qualities are important to you?

Pacing

I knew someone whose manuscript was rejected because of uneven pacing. It was the first time I'd heard of such a thing, and boy did it scare me.

Thinking about pacing, for me, is like thinking about calculus or trying to get home from the Orlando airport. I get lost. Easily. Frequently.

But I've managed to glean a few tidbits about pacing from different places (and since it's been a while I don't know who to thank--sorry!).

1. Pacing should slow when there's tension. I take that to mean we want the moment to stretch out wire-taut.

2. Pacing can be linked to conflict issues. So if your middle is sagging, your pacing might be off.

3. Pacing is the rhythm of the novel. Check out this excellent article by bestselling author Vicki Hinze.

What have you heard about pacing? How's the pacing in your manuscript? Your life? *grin*
Any good advice to share?

Writer's Angst and some Thank Yous

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Thank You Jeanette!


Thank You Steph in the City!






Here's a cute video I found over at Miss Snark's First Victim. It's an advertisement for Authoress's Book Agent Demystified, but I still thought it was really funny and kind of true. At least for the beginning of most of our writing journeys.



Have a great weekend!

You Reap What You Sow

I strongly believe in sowing and reaping. Some people might believe in karma, some in 'what goes around, comes around.'

The basic principle here is that everything has consequences.

I just loved a recent episode of House because it was about sowing and reaping. Balance, even. The dad sacrificed everything to save his son, and being the wonderful show it is, the son lived. Not only that, but the minor characters have made some choices that are now beginning to bear fruit (and add conflict).

Consequences.

Are you making sure your characters are suffering from their bad choices? Being rewarded for their good ones? It's the little choices at the beginning of the story that should affect the rest of the book. I think these seemingly inconsequential choices should weave together and create the plot.

What do you think about sowing and reaping? Is your MC making good choices or bad ones, and how does that affect your character's moral arc?

Oh Toliet Brush, How I Do Love Thee

As I was cleaning my bathrooms yesterday, it struck me how thankul I am that I no longer have to use my hands to clean the toilet bowl. I remembered how as a kid I hated sticking my fingers into that cold, nasty water.

But now I have my trusty toilet brush. Swish, swish and I'm done. No mess, little effort.

Thanks to computers, writing is easier too. No more whiteout in the typewriter, just a beautiful delete button. Then there's control F. And most recently I discovered page breaks. I'm sure there's lots of other cool tools.

What's your favorite word processing tool? House-cleaning tool? What do you wish would be invented?

Conference Goodies!

On my last post Deb mentioned wanting to hear about the good stuff from the conference. So here we go:

1) Amazing networking. I met many of my blogger friends, plus new bloggers.

2) I met my wonderful and generous crit partner. Also roomed with her, which was awesome.

3) Books, books, and more books. They gave away a whole bunch too!

4) Seeing editors and agents and realizing many of them are my age. Kind of a funky feeling there, but good.

5) Delicious desserts

6) Tree Climbing

7) Being surrounded by other writers is one of the biggest supports I've ever felt. It's incredible.

So that's the good stuff from the conference. There's so much more I could write about, but others have covered it better than me. The links below are for fellow bloggers who did more detail on various aspects of the conference.

Katie's Post

Jody's Post

Krista's Post

Eileen's Post

Jeannie's Post

Any links you all want to add?

Conference Bloopers

I tried hard to keep my foot on the ground, but gravity didn't cooperate and my size ten got stuck in my mouth a few times.

The worse faux pas was when I saw an author whose name I recognized and since she was standing right next to me, I told her how much I liked her book. And then I paused, horror filling me as I realized that I couldn't remember which book of hers I'd read. And then I tried to fill up that awkward silence by saying I knew I'd read a book of hers, but I couldn't remember which...uh, yeah. Not quite the right thing to say. That was my worst thing, I think, especially because I didn't know whether I'd maybe hurt her feelings. The last thing I'd want to do was make an author feel like her book wasn't memorable.

The second blooper was less serious. I'd just met some fellow bloggers and we were talking and I threw out the word heroine in our conversation. The blogger (wasn't it you, Katie?) looked at me funny and it dawned on me …

An Announcement and apology

From Kat at Tender Graces and Angie at Gumbo Writer:

You are cordially invited to attend an "open house" beginning Wednesday, October 14, in honor of the newly renovated Rose &Thorn Journal: http://www.roseandthornjournal.com

Drop by, sign up for the newsletter, check out the new digs (and blog!), follow us on Twitter and Facebook, leave us your comments/thoughts, and wish us well!

Rose &Thorn is a quarterly literary journal featuring the voices of emerging and established authors, poets and artists.

Now...go enjoy the open bar and appetizer spread!

Angie Ledbetter &Kathryn Magendie
Co-Editor/Publishers
Rose & Thorn Journal



As for an apology, I'm going to be really busy today so I might miss some of your blog posts. Just wanted to apologize and let you all know that I'm still following you and will be back in blogaholic mode by Friday. I hope you're able to check out the Rose & Thorn!

Consistent Characterization

Sometimes when I read a series of books where they are all tied into the same family or place, I notice that a main character from a previous book doesn't seem as real when put in a secondary role.
It's always disappointing to me that someone I loved becomes such a shadow, as though a secondary character can't be as strong as the current main character.

It's not consistent.

I just finished Julie Lessman's A Passion Denied. This is the third book in her Daughters of Boston series and the heroine is the third sister in the family. There's a scene where all three sisters from the book are together in the kitchen and it made me laugh several times.

Lessman did something I don't usually see. She managed to keep each character strong and original without taking the focus off the main sister of that particular book. Talk about consistency!

Faith was still more serious and prayerful. Charity, hot-headed and sensual. And the heroine a little of both.

Have you written a s…

The Dead Don't Always Die

I wrote the following when I first started this blog. Totally forgot about it too, but since I'm feeling exhausted and my brain is on post-freeze, I thought I'd repost it. Wish I had the link because it was really an amazing story.

Yesterday I logged onto Yahoo and got the shock of a lifetime. Okay, not really, but it was a surprise. A man who'd been pronounced brain dead by doctors suddenly, on the day of the plug-pulling, moved. Yes, he moved, then woke up, and forty-eight hours later went home. How incredible is that? How awesome! So I was in a really good mood and decided that maybe I don't want Dear Hubby to pull the plug on me if I'm ever brain dead. 'Cause obviously the doctors were wrong.
And then my mind started thinking about books, which is a common ailment of mine. The thinking about books thingy, that is.
There was a time historicals were considered dead. And now everyone's saying, NO More Chick-Lit! And guess what? Historicals are back in a big w…

A Bitter Root

See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many


Grace is a beautiful thing. We all need it.

Bitterness is ugly. Most of us have it.

When I think about bitterness, I think of a vine growing around our hearts and choking us. I'm not trying to preach to anyone today, but I did think it's worth noting how easy it is to become bitter in a business like publishing.

This is a subjective business, one that doesn't necessarily conform to rules. We want rules. We come up with formulas and plotting strategies and one-sheets. We revise and edit, revise and edit, shooting for perfection.

And then we face rejection.

It's the subjectivity that's the toughest, because in this business, you can't measure success by publishing. Getting a contract means a lot of people like your book. Rejection doesn't mean people DON'T like your book.

The business of publishing isn't a formula. There are things we can do to d…

Sin + Virtue = Bestseller

I took this class at ACFW. Agent Natasha Kern was the speaker and she kept me hooked.

Basically, she taught us that what makes a novel great is this simple formula. I wondered what her class would be like HERE. Now I know.

Our main character must have a great desire, one main thing that comes from their strongest virtue. This virtue must drive the main character. Conflict comes through the form of the character's biggest weakness, or sin. The character must be tempted away from their goals (something heroic deriving from their virtue) by their very own sins/lusts/flaws.

She used the example of Scarlett O'Hara, who loves her home Tara and wants to protect it at any cost. She does horrible things but the reader forgives her because we understand her driving need is heroic. Even her love for Rhett is a conflict, because it clashes with her virtuous passion to save her beloved Tara.

Another example was Julie Lessman's character Faith, in A Passion Most Pure. Faith desires to be G…

New Word and True Heroism

Here's a link to One Very Brave Heroic boy who I think is completely awesome!

Here's a link to the new word on the block (and it cracks me up). Shug.

If you were going to combine two words to make a new one, what would they be? Do you think you could do what that boy did? Why or why not?

Jessica Nelson, Super Spy

I'm guilty.

Guilty of reading my sisters' diaries. Guilty of listening to strangers' conversations. Guilting of putting my ear to a wall and trying to hear what's happening in the next room.

My heart galloped in my chest when, in my high school years, I discovered I could listen in on my mom's phone conversations via the radio. Yep. Turned it to the right channel with the antenna pointed just so, and I could hear every word.

But my curiosity always battled my conscience. Now, instead of eavesdropping on others, I write characters who do it.

Have you ever eavesdropped? Heard something you shouldn't have? Did you regret it or enjoy it?