Monday, May 31, 2010

Fear Not, My Fellow Writers

Storytelling has been around for centuries. The method, however, has been fluid.

From poems like Iliad to stories told orally around a fire, literature always seems to be evolving and changing to best suit the needs (and sometimes attention spans) of its audience.

Which leads me into the territory of the enhanced book.

It's scary to think of books changing, although technically commercial fiction hasn't been around all that long. I want a career in writing just like the rest of you, but will the books I'm writing be the books that are selling?

I don't want to fear that what I love will no longer exist years from now. However, while change is difficult, stories that touch the heart will always be around, no matter what format they're in.

Below are links to two different agent posts on the future of books. What do you think? Will there be a place for fiction as we know it? Do the coming changes worry you or excite you?

PubRants
Janet Reid

Friday, May 28, 2010

Telling Isn't Bad

Telling isn't always bad.

As I was reading The Book Thief, it occurred to me that the entire story could be told orally and still be effective and strong. I was constantly aware that Death was narrating the story to me (telling). Deep POV? If it was there, I didn't see it. Most of the book seemed to be an omniscient Point of View.

Despite this departure from what I normally read in books, I loved The Book Thief.

What was the last book you read that noticeably "broke the rules" and yet you didn't care because it was done so well? Do you know what Telling is, and do you feel you've mastered it?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I'd Forgotten about Myself

Last Friday I did my first day of training for a waitress position. It's been eight years since I last waitressed, but on Friday I remembered something about myself.

I like it.

I like serving people their food, getting drinks, writing down orders, bustling around and being busy. It made me think of my characters and of the careers I give them. Remembering also made me think about the different types of personalities and how funny that I, someone who doesn't necessarily seek out social situations, like waitressing.

What kind of job do you have right now? Do you like it? What does your main character do and what does that job say about your MC's personality?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Appreciating the New Look of the Ocean

I dipped my toes in the query ocean and noticed the changes.

While the agents I want to query haven't really changed, some of their policies have. For the better, in my opinion.

Two agents who have a no response policy (meaning no rejection letter, just silence if they're not interested) now send an automated confirmation that they've received my query.

I love that. Two years ago I queried the same agents and had to hope my e-mail reached them. Now I can KNOW for sure that the agent got my query and just isn't interested when I don't hear back.

Have you noticed any changes since the last time you queried? What things do publishing professionals do that you appreciate?

Friday, May 21, 2010

I Have a Job

Today I start training for a waitressing job at the golf course next door so I'll be absent from the blogosphere.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Go Ahead, Play With Your Words

That's right: chew them, throw them, see if they stick to the wall or slide down. Step on them, mush them, ball them up and sit on them. Like a toddler who plays with his food, we should play with our words, smear them around and taste them.

I finished The Book Thief a few days ago and all I can say is wow, wow, wow. Both from both a reader's and writer's perspective.

His writing was fresh and intriguing. Vivid. I noticed Zusak constantly attributed human actions to nonliving things. Of course I had to look him up. I found this interview and think it's worth watching, especially his thoughts on writing at the end (3min52sec).

He's the one who's now encouraging me to play with my words.



Do you play with your words? Or are you constantly reaching for a napkin?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Turning Points

Every story must have turning points, both in the plot and in the character. Turning points can be crucial to the pacing of a story. It isn't something I fully get, but from what I understand a turning point is when the character or the plot changes somehow.The best turning points, in my opinion, is when a change in the plot creates a change in the character.

New information comes to light. Someone dies while the killer is in jail, thus causing the policeman to doubt his or her gut. The heiress discovers her hero is broke, creating an inner turmoil that he's only marrying her for her money.

What do you know about turning points in fiction? Any advice? What major turning point have you experienced and how did it affect your life?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Dipping My Toes in the Query Ocean

Well, I've done it.

Sent out five queries for a story that's been waiting patiently to be released. I'd forgotten how horrible the waiting feels, and it's only been a few days!

Are any of you querying right now? Care to share in my sweaty palms and dreadful imaginings? When was the last time you queried?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Emotion vs Intelligence (non-writing related post)

I stumbled across this ARTICLE that proposes women shouldn't change their name when they get married.

The article is intriguing, but what really caught my attention was this statement:

"When Helga shared her partner’s last name, both male and female [survey] participants perceived her as more caring, more dependent, less intelligent, more emotional and less competent – that is, the researchers say, more aligned with female stereotypes."

It almost seems as if there's a line of thinking that says a caring nature and deep emotions equals a lesser intellect. Seriously? Do people really think that?

What do you think about taking your spouse's name? Other than professional reasons (such as a name being a brand) is there a reason you would want to keep your own last name in marriage? Also, do you think intellect can be measured by emotional values? Does anyone else wonder who was surveyed for this article?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Do the Write Thing

Most of you have probably heard of the flooding in Nashville. To help the victims, some writers put together an auction.
Check it out HERE. It's called Do the Write Thing For Nashville and it's awesome!
There are critiques, editor/agent phone calls, jewelry, and books on the bidding block. I plan to check out what's up tomorrow!

This is a great idea! I hope they raise a million dollars with this!

Hope to see you in the comments section. :-)

(I may be at the beach today, so if I miss your posts, I'll be around later)

Who would you want a manuscript critique from? Which publisher are you targeting for your work? Do you know anyone in Nashville? Any specific prayer requests?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Review: Roaring Lions, Cracking Rocks by Warren Baldwin

A while back I received fellow blogger Warren Baldwin's book Roaring Lions, Cracking Rocks and Other Gems from Proverbs.

I really enjoy Warren's Family Fountain blog so I looked forward to reading his book. I'm not sure whether it's a devotional or not because I don't usually read devotionals, but it is interesting and it is practical. I like that each essay has a theme taken from a proverb and that the essays are arranged according to subject matter, such as Responsibility and Spiritual Living. Warren also uses real-life examples, which I think strengthens his points.

You can learn more about Warren on his website or his blogs. You can buy his book HERE.

Do you read devotionals? Have you ever written any? What's your favorite book of the Bible?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Great Hero

This is a repost from 2008...


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 (the hero), on the other hand, is giving up everything. For what? His honor? The respect of his boy? Justice? 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.

How do you write an awesome hero? Who is your real-life hero? Your favorite fictional hero?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Got Garbage?

Compost: a combination of decomposed plants and animal materials and other organic materials that are being decomposed largely through aerobic decomposition into a rich black soil.

Ever think your daydreaming might be a waste of time? The procrastination that strikes suddenly and with paralyzing force a loss of opportunity?

Maybe not.

Deb posted a fascinating account of a conference she attended. In it, author Ursula LeGuin spoke about compost, and how it's similar to what happens in our writing lives.
LeGuin is quoted as saying,
"Compost needs silence, darkness, time and patience."

Which ingredient do you find easiest to find? Which is more elusive? Is the soil of your writing garden dry or rich?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Uber Excited

I picked up the Book Thief from the library yesterday. I've heard so much about the prose and the story, though I didn't actually know the plot line.

When I read the back, I got so excited. The Holocaust has always been a fascinating/dreadful era to me. Ever since I read The Devil's Arithmetic in sixth grade, I've been hooked by the amazing heroism displayed by so many during that time.

Needless to say, I can't wait to start The Book Thief!

When was the last time you were pleasantly surprised by something unexpected? What was the last book you read that you couldn't put down?