Showing posts from 2011

What Does the Editor Mean When She Says That?

This is one of the things I post so I'll know where to go back and find it later when I get my manuscript finished and start submitting it to editors (OK. I will try that route, I'm sure.)

This great article over at Writer's Relief is extremely informative.  What does it mean when an editor tells you, "Your MS is voicey and organic but switches POV indiscriminately"?

Find out here

Now I know that I want my manuscript to have legs, be organic, and to be tight. I don't want it to contain dead metaphors or to be quiet or stale. 

Besides these literary vocabulary gems, here's a link to more basic vocabulary and terms for the publishing industry, also on Writer's Relief:

Now I can find these articles when I need them.  Whew!  Wouldn't want to misplace them.

Thinking like an editor

(Trying to get my mind off my son wrecking my car last night, and think about my writing career instead) I'm not even positive that I want to work with an agent.  The idea of producing my own book and marketing it doesn't scare me. It excites me.  All those tasks that many writers dread are my cup of tea.  Complex formatting in Word?  I've taught that stuff for years.  HTML5?  I've played around with it, and learning it's on my to do list.  Creating a webpage?  Blogging? Twitter? Facebook?  Creating a YouTube trailer?  Bring 'em on!  
But...for this exercise, I am going to examine why an editor would be interested in me.  I would like to see my book(s) in print, on paper, the way I like to read them, and, of course, I think the one I'm working on right now would make an awesome movie....

Chapter Three of  Christina Katz'  book, Get Known Before The Book Dealis 'Swap Shoes.'  It asks you to look at yourself like an editor or an agent.  Are you cau…

Is Being a Geek Goddess a Platform?

Tis the day before Christmas Eve, and I'm reading chapter Two of Christine Katz' book, 'Get Known Before the Book Deal, which asks you to examine what skills you already have that you can use to market yourself and cultivate a readership.  She asks if you have a following, network, or fan base for, essentially anything.

So, I am going to try to answer than question about myself.  Who am I?

I have a combination of technical and creative skills that set me apart from the crowd. When I was working toward my Ph.D. in technical writing, the department sent me out on many intern jobs because so many of them required more technical skills than any other student had.  I am an early adopter of technology and push the limits of what software can do.  I have strong skills in web design, Microsoft Office products, online documentation and the software used to create online courses for education and business.  I do these things very well.

Example of my online class skills

I am also known a…

Platform Time!

When I attended my first writers' meeting, I first heard the term, "platform."  At the last writers' meeting I attended (a different group, but more published), I heard a rant about writing (important) vs. platform (not so much).  But...I think that, with my particular skill set, platform building will be one of my strengths, and that I'll really enjoy it!  To start out, I bought, and just received, 'Get Known before the Book Deal' by Christina Katz.  

I was hoping I'd really read the book, but actually, I'm having a hard time putting it down. That says something, as I'm in the middle of 'A Dance of Dragons.'  The first chapter (and maybe all of it) is kind of in the form of a workbook.  I'm taking it seriously.  It's a little outdated. Christina mentions that the Kindle is getting ready to come out and wonders how that will change the industry.  I think, however, that the basics of platform building will be the same, and that, …

A Week Until Christmas: Ramblings of a Writer

Rush. Rush Rush. So much to do. You know the feeling, don't you?  

Move the wrapping paper upstairs where people can shut the door and wrap in privacy.  My stepsons expect flocking and glitter, so wrapping makes quite a mess.  My hubby says, "I've never noticed that," but I did. The first time I made really fancy packages for them and they ohhed and ahhed. and now they expect it. 

Opps!  The new Persian Rug (my & hubby's mutual Christmas present) comes today.  What haven't we bought yet, and when, except Christmas Eve, will we buy anything that isn't bought by the end of today?  

And then there's the graduation party in January. Electricians coming Monday to restore lights in front that last winter's ice storm took out (finally getting that done) and we want to try to get a new runner on the stairs by the 14th of January. HELP! 

Son's home from college.  He says that he never even really saw any Christmas lights until he got back to Tulsa,  Ou…

And the Party Goes On and On and On

We battled this week and won!  My stepson, Ben, knows EVERYONE, and wanted to invite them all to the graduation party we're giving him.  Finally we convinced him to give another party (that we're NOT paying for) for his Lake Rat friends and let ours be for people he knows from school and business.  His dad had to paint him a picture of some of the uncouth characters he calls friends drinking with potential employers.  For a very smart kid, it took picture drawing to really make him see sense, but now I think we have the invitation list down to a group that might fit into our house.

The invitations are printed and now is the time for stamping and addressing (do I still know how to do mail merge for the labels?) and envelope stuffing. 

And keeping on refining the Pandora playlist.  I'm wondering if I need to start a second one in case this one gets totally off track, which it sometimes does. 

And I am so upset because I can't find a Audrey Hepburn cardboard cutout (from Bre…

Great Advice: Ways to Build Your Platform

This is one of those articles I choose to put out here mainly because when I have time, I plan to go back and read every word and use it to promote my own career.  Unfortunately, here at Christmas time, with my son getting back from college in a few days, a graduation and a party looming and guests expected, I don't have time to do all the things that Christina Katz recommends in her article in Writers Digest: 

50 SIMPLE WAYS TO BUILD YOUR PLATFORM IN 5 MINUTES A DAYHere are her main points, but you have to read the article to get into the specifics of how to do these things:

Listen & LearnCreate ContextContribute Content

A Blog That Changed My Writing! Thank You!

How to Hook a Reader and NEVER Let Go
I saw a link to this blog post on Twitter this morning.  When I had a few minutes, I started reading it, and what Kristen Lamb said there blew my socks off.  Although I've been trying to include conflict in my first romance novel, I'd never broken down the conflict chapter by chapter before. 
I had tried to write my story in one sentence before. Here's what I had: Problems presented by an old boat inherited from her mother challenge the girl's views of both her mother’s and her choices in life and love.But Kristin said that that one sentence must include an active goal, stakes and conflict so I re-wrote it: As Hadley rushes to sell the boat inherited from her deceased mother so she can leave the bitter memories of her childhood behind, she hires the perfect man for the job, but begins to suspect that he knows dangerous secrets about her mother’s life…

I've been a bad, bad girl

Yes, I haven't been writing here much.  Just like everyone else, my life is crazy this time of year.  My hubby just changed jobs (and now doesn't have to commute to another city), and moved all of his stuff home from a tiny apartment where he stayed during the week. I have had to make room in closets for his stuff, and for me, that task is momentous! I mean, I need a closet for nightware (although I don't sleep in any of it) and one for outdoor coats and jackets, one for blazers and sweaters and the like, one for pants, one for skirts, and one for boots. I live in an eighty-year old house, and closets are small and few, so you can imagine what I've been going through.
My word count is actually lower because I recently  cut some parts out of my manuscript pretty radically. I really like my old couple characters, whom I'm writing about now.And their house(s).I'm still worried, though, and trying to determine if my book really works as a romance.It's different …

A Party from a Romance Novel

So . . . once I thought the party I'm giving in January was the party in my book.  Hummm. 

That party is in the Summer at the Lake, so . . . maybe this party will be in another book. In fact, it already is! The book I'm reading.  It's an English book about a party thrown around the theme of Hollywood's Golden Era, all Vintage and stuff. 

Well, mine is kind of like that.

We have a very vintage tree.  I can only go to garage sales when I can sneak them around my hubby, but one of the things I always look for is vintage Christmas decorations.  Then I go to Margos and get a Christopher Radko every year, and shop at Tuesday Morning to find yet more sparkly, opulent (almost as good a word as succulent) ornaments. Oh, and I forgot the after Christmas ornament sales at Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware and Dillards. 

When my hubby asked what the theme of the party would be, I said "sprarkly and glittery."  We will have plenty of Champagne and clinking glasses.  I …

About All Those Wine Glasses . . . And Corks . . .

What do I need to do first to get ready for this party?  Well, first I have to get ready for the maids THIS WEEK!  First, I'm going to put my Christmas village on top of my kitchen cabinets, but I have champagne glasses there.  In fact, I have wine glasses everywhere. What does that say about me?  Oh dear . . . I think it means I like to entertain, don't you?

(Oh before I forget--read the coolest tip--to start fires--chimineas in summer and fireplaces in winter--all very romantic--fill a jar with a lid with rubbing alchol and put wine corks in it.  Ready to light a fire? Throw in a wine cork.  But keep that jar away from heat and fire, please)

Back to wine glasses and what to do with them. I think I need a cabinet just for wine glasses. Has anyone ever seen anything like that? I can't put them underneath my cabinets in the kitchen. I have lights there. I already have a glass rack on my Tiki bar (yes--I have a tiki bar), but it's full.

I've been looking out on Amazo…

OK. I've started.

Anyway,  My husband is assigned to have new outside lighting installed.  I just took all the Champagne glasses that are only used during the holiday season down from the top of my kitchen cabinet.  Yuck. They are dirty.  I'm cleaning the junk out of our old German armoire in the dining room and putting Champagne and wine glasses there.

My husband asked me what the theme of the party should be. "Sparkly!" I answered. "Glittery.  People in beautiful clothes wearing diamonds and jewels.  Drinking Champagne."  

"I like the Champagne part." He smiled at me.  

I've been working on a Pandora playlist for a few months.  I seeded it with Sinatra (yes, my 30-year old stepson likes to sit in his old wooden Chris Craft at the lake and listen to Sinatra. It also has lots of Dean Martian.  The father of hero in the book I'm writing is modeled after Dean Martian-her mother after Natalie Wood.

On the top of the cabinet, I'm going to set up my Christmas villag…

This should be a novel . . .

But I can't write it right now.  I'm trying to finish my first novel, and it's going well, but I have a lot of work yet to do on it.  

And now . . .  

The challenge.  Two months from today, I'll have a giant party in my house.  It's a graduation party. My stepson is graduating from Law School.  We'll have all kinds of guests from his fellow law students, to his co-workers from the oil company where he works, to his rag-a-tag party friends that he hangs out with at the lake to his fun and quirky friends from high school. Also, my son who is a freshman in high school in Connecticut will be there, and possibly some of his friends who are in schools scattered around the northeast.  And on our side, who knows, because my husband's and my life are in flux right now.

My husband turned in his resignation at a job he hated on the day he received a retention bonus for staying there five years longer than he planned or wanted to.  And the jobs he's looking at now cou…

Who's Sexier? Building My Leading Male Character

His name is Kain.

His father is 1/2 American Indian and 1/2 Russian.  His father met his mother in Vietnam.  That's his heritage.

He grew up in Oklahoma and is an artist and a classic wooden boat racer, comfortable in the out-of-doors, comfortable with himself.  He lives in a beautiful and spacious log cabin on the shores of Grand Lake.  He is a golden god. 

Which of these actors should I model him after?

Daniel Henney

Arjun Rampal

Writing Tips from George Orwell

I love George Orwell. I especially love "1984," but you may be more familiar with "Animal Farm." Anyway you look at it, he was a great writer.  He had strong political views, but also strong views about good writing, so I was thrilled to come across this article, posted on the Gotham Writer's Workshop.

With every sentence, Orwell wrote, he asked himself these questions:

What am I trying to say?What words will express it?What image or idiom will make it clearer?Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?
Click here to read the rest of the story . . . 

Give Your Chracters Horoscope Signs?

I think it would be fun to give my characters horoscope signs, then when I write about a certain day, I'll go out and see who's feeling bitchy, and

My main character is either a Gemini, a Sagittarius, or an Aquarius like me. Maybe I should stick to Aquarius, since I understand what it's like to live as one.

So my horoscope today would be

"You are impulsively affectionate and flirtatious at this time, and you feel quite restless if you are in a stable, predictable relationship that offers little excitement. You may be highly attracted to someone new, simply because of the novelty and possibilities for adventure. Also, your friends or love partner may behave in unexpected ways. Flexibility and open-mindedness in your relationships is called for now."

So now I need to figure out what Kain is, and my other characters, and all kinds of interesting interactions might pop up.  

I think I' going to try this technique in the book I'm working on now.  First to f…

Dot Dot Dot

Yes, I'm an ex-English teacher. I'll admit it. I'm a grammar geek, and a technical writing. Please don't hate me.  I even completed all the coursework (but not the dissertation) for a Ph.D in Rhetoric. Oh yes, I did.

But now that I'm trying to write fiction, I'm learning gobs from real writers. I don't have a clue about their educations.  They are writers, living the writing life, selling books that other people pay to read. I am the student here. Looking at my current manuscript recently, I saw many, many uses of ellipses (defined on Wikipedia as "Ellipsis is the narrative device of omitting a portion of the sequence of events, allowing the reader to fill in the narrative gaps.")  I wondered if I was creating a fiction faux pas,

The "dot dot dot' questions always takes me back to one of my favorite movies (again .. .sorry): Mama Mia

It's the diary she kept the year she was pregnant with me. Sophie! 'July 17th. What a night!&…