Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday Wind Up

Plan for this week - finish up cleaning out Unwilling, which I've inexplicably renamed "Unwilling Fringe". Uhm. Because I liked the way it looked way up on the header next to my name and page number.

I also formatted everything, even though I'm only on CH5.

This novel is an odd bugger - and I think a lot of it is because I wrote it during NANO and clearly didn't care how stupid my main character sounded on occasion. The first three chapters are solid, and the main reason why I'm working so hard on finishing this properly. Last 2 chapters that I've read are weird. CH5? I'm deleting the entire thing as soon as I get home from my hair appointment. It's bad. Very bad.

I sat back scoffing at my own wip where two characters took over a scene to discuss doomsday scenarios just because a little white poodle in the neighborhood got lost and was found in a barn that had a big hex sign on it.


Heh, so as you can see, much revising is needed before I can finish this book.

Personal Note:

The next time I blog, my lovely long flowing black hair will be a LOT shorter. I skipped my haircut this summer and regret it. It's too long. Heavy. Gets in my way. Hangs on my neck. Takes forever to shampoo and dry. It's a pain, pain, pain.

Comment on Character and Setting Building + Religious Organizations

Just a thought here: If you are a writer who grew up in a religious home and still maintains close and faithful affiliations to the religion of your birth, etc - It's crazy to expect you to cut/void any references or worldviews coming from that perspective you were raised with.

Plainly speaking here - I don't care for Meyer's Twilight books, but that's because it just isn't my thing. I read the first page and just wasn't hooked as a reader. Then reading reviews of the other books + watching the movie turned me off trying again.

I like romance, I like vamps, I like angst, I like chosen one main characters who has delicious blood and whose mind cannot be read -> All of that is great. Problem is the way the love affair between the two characters proceeded. It just was a turnoff for me.

I'm having the same problem with Evermore and Blue Moon by Alyson Noel.

That's seperate from harping on the badness of the books because of some perceived Morman themes. Mormies are the nicest people in the world. Some (ok most) of them have strange ideas that go against my religious ideas, but blegh. So what. That's not a reason to go attacking people personally, or bashing their books because you don't like a religion.

Don't do this list***

Pasted below is a list from Writer's Digest which I thought ABSOLUTELY was important, not just for my own writing (I'm guilty of a few of those things in my work sometimes) but for other people who I might crit or help out from time to time.

I'll sneak comments in where I'm guilty or have a pet peeve***

What Agents Hate
September 22, 2008
by Chuck Sambuchino (Writer's Digest, Link at bottom of page)

Literary Reps vent about their Chapter 1 turn-offs.

Ask any literary agent what they’re looking for in a novel’s first chapter and they’ll all say the same thing: “Good writing that hooks me in.” Agents appreciate the same elements of good writing that readers do. They want action; they want compelling characters and a reason to read on; they want to feel an immediate connection with your writing.

But what about all those things they don’t want to see? Obvious mistakes such as grammatical errors and awkward writing aside, writers need to be conscious of Chapter 1 clichés and typical agent pet peeves—either of which can get a rejection letter sent your way.

Here, dozens of established literary agents vent about everything they can’t stand to see in your all-important first chapter.


“Most agents hate prologues. Just make the first chapter relevant and well written.”
—Andrea Brown, Andrea Brown Literary Agency

“Prologues are usually a lazy way to give back-story chunks to the reader and can be handled with more finesse throughout the story. Damn the prologue, full speed ahead!”
—Laurie McLean, Larsen-Pomada Literary Agents

Prologues are my pet peeve - I know why people do them, because it is really easy to drop stuff in that you don't want to deal with later. But at the same time, I know what or how I read, and most agents (the gods we worship) have remarked negatively time and again.

That said, I am guilty of the backstory non-prologue beginning. Belongs in the same court, when you have one of those conversations or scenes where nothing happens, but you reveal everything about the world setting and the characters before putting the train on the tracks. I'M SO GUILTY! Laurie McLean was the agent who gave me that huge eye-opening email on the problem - for which I thank her muchly.


“I dislike endless ‘laundry list’ character descriptions. For example: ‘She had eyes the color of a summer sky and long blonde hair that fell in ringlets past her shoulders. Her petite nose was the perfect size for her heart-shaped face. Her azure dress—with the empire waist and long, tight sleeves—sported tiny pearl buttons down the bodice. Ivory lace peeked out of the hem in front, blah, blah.’ Who cares! Work it into the story.”
—Laurie McLean, Larsen-Pomada Literary Agents

“Slow writing with a lot of description puts me off very quickly. I like a first chapter that moves quickly and draws me in so I’m immediately hooked.”
—Andrea Hurst, Andrea Hurst Literary Management

“Avoid any description of the weather.”
—Denise Marcil, Denise Marcil Literary Agency

“In romance, I can’t stand this scenario: A woman is awakened to find a strange man in her bedroom—and then automatically finds him attractive. I’m sorry, but if I awoke to a strange man in my bedroom, I’d be reaching for a weapon—not admiring the view.”
—Kristin Nelson, Nelson Literary Agency

Description? I don't do it, but sometimes don't really have a problem when other people do it. I read fantasy though. You must have lots of description to set up a world and make it something new and different for the reader. Some fantasy writers do this very well too. <- I don't. I'm terribly general when it comes to describing things, so I try to avoid it whenever possible.

Weather? Oddly, this made me twitch guiltily as I thought about the raining downpour at the beginning of my book. It was not described further than a sentence though.

Slow writing - guilty. At least while editing, I noticed some scenes which I put in originally to expand characters, but which I didn't need at all. It takes time and distance before you get to that point when you recognize that kind of problem. Unless you are an experience writer, I suppose... I notice with my current wips, I'm more likely to keep things fast paced and charging towards a goal.

Unrealistic circumstances - that made me laugh. And yet it goes back to what I mentioned and worried about in a previous post. How much of what we write is the way it is because we want it to be that way? Do we take a moment to discern how realistic something is? Or do we try to back up everything with 'reasons why'?


“A pet peeve of mine is ragged, fuzzy point of view. How can a reader follow what’s happening? I also dislike beginning with a killer’s POV. Who would want to be in such an ugly place? I feel like a nasty voyeur.”
—Cricket Freeman, The August Agency

“An opening that’s predictable won’t hook me in. If the average person could have come up with the characters and situations, I’ll pass. I’m looking for a unique outlook, voice, or character and situation.”
—Debbie Carter, Muse Literary Management

“Avoid the opening line: ‘My name is … .’ ”
—Michelle Andelman, Andrea Brown Literary Agency

The 'my name is' opening line made me laugh. Fortunately, while tempted, I haven't actually begun a story that way. The reason why it's a problem is it emphasizes the first person pov before the reader even has a chance to get into the story. It pushes them out.


“I don’t really like ‘first day of school’ beginnings, ‘from the beginning of time,’ or ‘once upon a time.’ Specifically, I dislike a Chapter 1 in which nothing happens.”
—Jessica Regel, Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency

“ ‘The weather’ is always a problem—the author feels he has to set up the scene and tell us who the characters are, etc. I like starting a story in medias res.”
—Elizabeth Pomada, Larsen-Pomada Literary Agents

“A cheesy hook drives me nuts. They say ‘Open with a hook!’ to grab the reader. That’s true, but there’s a fine line between an intriguing hook and one that’s just silly.
“An example of a silly hook would be opening with a line of overtly sexual dialogue. Or opening with a hook that’s just too convoluted to be truly interesting.”
—Daniel Lazar, Writers House

The first one flagged by Jessica Regel is one that I'm constantly struggling over. I'm weak with beginnings. It's the point of the book when I like to dither and get my feet wet before I jump in.


“I hate it when a book begins with an adventure that turns out to be a dream at the end of the chapter.”
—Mollie Glick, Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency

“I don’t want to read about anyone sleeping, dreaming, waking up or staring at anything.”
—Ellen Pepus, Ellen Pepus Literary Agency

“I don’t like it when the main character dies at the end of Chapter 1. Why did I just spend all this time with this character? I feel cheated.”
—Cricket Freeman, The August Agency

Oh gosh! Pet peeves galore. People don't DO any of this!!!!


“I don’t like descriptions of the characters where writers make them too perfect. Heroines (and heroes) who are described physically as being virtually unflawed come across as unrelatable
and boring. No ‘flowing, wind-swept golden locks’; no ‘eyes as blue as the sky’; no ‘willowy, perfect figures.’ ”
—Laura Bradford, Bradford Literary Agency

“[I dislike] inauthentic dialogue to tell the reader who the characters are, instead of showing who the characters are.”
—Jennifer Cayea, Avenue A Literary

“Many writers express the character’s backstory before they get to the plot. Good writers will go back and cut that stuff out and get right to the plot. The character’s backstory stays with them—it’s in their DNA.
“To paraphrase Bruno Bettelheim: ‘The more the character in a fairy tale is described, the less the audience will identify with him. … The less the character is characterized and described, the more likely the reader is to identify with him.’ ”
—Adam Chromy, Artists and Artisans

“I’m turned off when a writer feels the need to fill in all the backstory before starting the story; a story that opens on the protagonist’s mental reflection of their situation is a red flag.”
—Stephany Evans, FinePrint Literary Management

“One of the biggest problems is the ‘information dump’ in the first few pages, where the author is trying to tell us everything we supposedly need to know to understand the story. Getting to know characters in a story is like getting to know people in real life. You find out their personality and details of their life over time.”
—Rachelle Gardner, WordServe Literary

Same as above - I know the whole need to do backstory etc, because it helps the writer just as much as a reader. On the other hand, there are ways of doing it and hiding it. Most people (including me) aren't deft enough with the wording to hide a blatant infodump. It's generally noticable, especially to somebody who hasn't read or written the novel.

/Link to WD article

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Blog Beamer

A ridiculously hilarious and inciteful industry blog I cam across a short while ago -

The Intern

If you are following the publishing blogs, then you probably have already stumbled across this gem. If you haven't, do feed the need and add to your blog feed. She's the funniest thing ever. I'm still cracking up about her entry on the self-published author who talked her ear off about the wickedness of the traditional publishing industry, before she stuff a bunch of cwaptastic books into the Intern's hands to show around the office. The woman also bragged about selling 35K books - which would be remarkably good, if it were true. :]

ETA - I have no idea why this is showing up on the blog, despite the OBVIOUS pre-date. Weird.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday Freezer

SCREAMSSSSSSSS! <- I had the whole post typed up and I pressed some hideous button that deleted everything.

Here we go again - 2 times makes lucky, right? Grr.


I queried a little bit the last two weeks, and have reached that point when I think it might be wise to let Swapped sit for a while. Last time it snagged partial requests. This time = none. I think I need to wait for the market to change a little bit.

So now, I'm focusing on getting other things ready.

Marbles is the logical candidate, but it needs a lot of work. I need to somehow make it stand out a little more without overwriting. The overwriting happened in those scenes where I didn't really know where I was going and dithered. Lots of mind-babble from the main character.

Just picked up Unwilling again. I'm editing a little bit, and know I can at least put this one through public queues without worrying about sex content. I'm waffling back and forth about Marbles and where the plot is headed. I know there might be some sex. Unwilling will have some sexual tension, but no action - simply because the characters are never going to be alone. With Unwilling, I need to change the one character so he's more interesting and less of a snot. I know he's going to be introduced to the main character, and he's her dream guy as opposed to the safe choice at her church. At the same time, I want the plot to be stronger and less centered around love/sex/mating or whatever.

Which reminds me - does anyone else have that problem or secret worry?

I love romance and am always setting my characters up with an appropriate party, then afterwards I wondered if people are going to be asking that dreaded question:

Why are they attracted to each other? Why did they fall in love? Are they together simply because (you) decided that the novel would end with a HEA?

I got that question repeatedly from two of my greatest critters, and it was one of those things that stuck in my head when I edited and moved on to other projects. It's that extra perspective or nuance that happens when you push the plot onwards and try to get everything orderly settled out. Sometimes you forget the real world and you'll get those readers clucking and saying that it would never happen.

It's just like what I saw somewhere - an agent scoffing at all of the romance novel subs which start off with the woman waking up to find a man in her room whom she is inexplicably attracted to and turned on by. A real woman would be freaking out and looking for something to defend her body from a possible sexual predator.

It's so easy to do stuff without applying the common sense real world thinking to it.

Book Reccomendation

If you are a YA reader, for the LOVE OF GOD!!!! do yourself a favor and buy two new books - The Summoning and The Awakening.

These books are about Chloe, a nice normal short girl with pink striped hair who discovers that she can see ghosts. Which makes her attack her teacher. Which sends her off to the cuckoo camp, or rather special home for young adults with PROBLEMS. She's told she's schitso and given pills to make her feel better and stop hallucinating. Doesn't work and Chloe gets with the other students to discover certain secrets about the home and about themselves. Like crazy weird and FANTASTIC superpowers. Then they run away and are caught. The end of book 1 (Summoning).

Book 2 (Awakening) starts off right where the previous book left off, and it never stops. Chloe learns more about the superpowers which she and the others have, and how they (the kids) had been genetically enhanced by the creepy Edison Group. The part I'm a little fuzzy on is whether the kids had been messed around with in egg stage, or if it was all a matter of the parents making babies with nonhumans (like werewolves). The book has chase and search scenes mostly, with lots of character development and hints of a love triangle (of course, my love triangle attenna pops up at the vaguest hints). Ends with the characters finding a safe spot, where they will doubtlessly regroup for the final push to destroy Edison Group and rescue people and stuff. Yay.

Only problem is Book 3 isn't coming out until NEXT MAY!!!!!!!!!!!


Look to the right side of the screen for my library link.

Personal Note:

I'm tired and sore.

Word of warning to those that may follow. Leather sandals were not created for their owners to jog on the treadmill in. Those ancient greek marathon guys running around in sandals? Complete myth, or they had feet of granite.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


That title would be on account I almost forgot to type something in here today. I'm skipping a lot of stuff otherwise today. it's therapeutic!


Need to get to that. I work better on my big computer, which I'm too lazy to set up. It's in a bag right next to my sleeping abode.

Currently typing on 8" netbook instead of my 17" sleeping beast.

Secret Agent Obsession

I've been distracted by the 'Are you Hooked' Secret Agent contest over on MSFV - Right here.

It's one of those compulsion things. I'm compulsed. :(

I try to comment on all of the entries and then I sit back to see if I was right. The point is learning from others + agent what works and what doesn't. I haven't posted snippets in ages - partly because I don't have anything ready that isn't already out there (ahem, Swapped).

The other reason is freakily conspiratorial, which is why I'll bite my tongue and hide it in the closet where nobody will notice it. <- reason, not tongue.

What works this time around?

I'm kinda of the opinion that a lot doesn't work. Even though I said 'hooked' to a lot of the entries, I'm conscious of the cold fact that if it were me on my own time... odds are I wouldn't really be hooked. That's partly because I'm a finicky reader, but also I'm not sure of the marketability of a lot of these novels, even if the writing is good.

I suppose that explains why such a large quantity of queries get rejected by the gods (agents). Because it's hard to feel excited about a project coming in, if it doesn't stand out. When you get into the YA and Urbfa trying to get published, the main thing that comes to mind is a lot of the plots start to sound the same. Or the ones that are different and unique are a little too off the wall and possibly nonsaleable.


Something else that bothers me about the contests lately are the disregard for the rules displayed by the people subbing material. There are set rules about genres, length, responding negatively to critters, critting anonymously... and people still break those rules. I don't know what they are hoping to gain. It's just rude.


One more thing. This has to do with a discussion of rules (not related to MSFV contest) over at workshop. It gets a little frustrating how some people are convinced that the gods (agents and eds) are out to bag their souls and dispose of them via the septic tank only to be discovered years later by vomiting septic tank cleaning out guy (this actually happened, bion). Or sometimes they rant about how Twilight and HP authors break the rules and make ZILLIONS. Or whatever.

The thing that's frustrating is these people don't see the mistakes in their own work. They don't keep themselves informed! Which is so easy nowadays, because all agents make themselves available on every social medium possible.

Take mss lengths for example. The agents don't have a secret society where they have secret rules that only special people get to hear in a most secret fashion (coincidentally in that closet where I'm keeping all my conspiratorial theories). They freely offer advice to all aspyauthors to chop chop chop chop down to 120K or less.

This is the reason why you should not envy those people during NANO who write 300K + word novels in the month. Just tell yourself that those people are going to have to sit their chair-shaped (nano side effect) butts down and cut 200K out of that finished novel. Relish their horror and don't do as they do.

Was having a discussion somewhere with somebody about chopping 60K words from their novel. Another person came on and bragged about how they'd chopped their novel down to 150K and seemed confident that the novel was thus perfect and they would get published with that word quantity.

If that person were studying the market and eavesdropping at every single medium possible, s/he would know they have more chopping to do before the mss is perfect for querying.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Monday Wind Up

Just quickly -

Did NOT do full edit over weekend. Had church both Saturday and Sunday, which meant I got off the wrong side of the bed. <- That does not mean I was crabby, just my routine was messed up. Only non-sleeping thing done on Saturday was trip to park to watch reenactments. They reminded me a little bit of a Renaissance festival, actually. Walked through the woods and gawked at tents and teepees set up in various spots. I took a few pictures of the people, except the indians. They wore only the loincloth in front, so um... I felt a bit indecent taking pictures of them. Dog also 'got into the drink' as according to people I ran into. I allowed him so he cooled off, as it was over 90 degrees out there. The kids went dashing into the lake with him and he refused to get out until the waves started coming in. They were BIG waves and scared him out.

The reenactment drew British and French people out of the woodwork. The French people were nice but incomprehensible. The British people fell all over my dog. Funny thing about them is the parents had all kinds of accents (coming from different parts of the UK, I imagine). The kids had American accents though. Funny.

Dog got praised for his enormous head but absolutely gentle and kind expression. He did get the 'Golden face' right at least. I'm also feeling better about his hips. He runs like a deer - his hocks go together and swing out a little bit. That is an indication of irregular hips. He is very spry though.

Back to writing -

Read through Marbles last night <- The only thing I managed over the entire weekend. I love everything I've written so far and am loath to change it, despite the fact I'm not really inclined to post it at critting group for various reasons. It's very pushing-envelope-eee.

Only thing is I plan to change the last chapter I landed on before bedtime. I released an alien and set out to make him a guinea pig, but it came too soon. Plus there are too many problems with people trusting the one guy after he does this to my main character. It just doesn't work.

So erase that.

Instead, I'm going to go ahead with a chapter that is more lesson time with D. Watching lesson time with L and T. Selling a few books for a positive. And then also moving on and having D and V open the doorway. While V and T/L go through, D makes MC experiment on the hostage. That's where I'll end that chapter.

It's a plot.

Monday Pet Peeve

As of 8PM, Monday Evening, while I debate venturing out into the dusk to walk my pooch, this came up again and as always it bugs me just a little bit, because in a way it reminds me of a promiscuous teenager's view on getting paid for sex.

There are writers out there who have suddenly discovered that SEX IS HOT. To write, I mean. And so they are suddenly jumping on the bandwagon and writing EROTICA. Or what they THINK is EROTICA. BECAUSE EROTICA SELLS. And you don't really have to worry about a plot or the writing that much, because EROTICA SELLS regardless of that stuff.

On one hand, I think these are the same people who jumped on the YA bandwagon a couple years back with the success of Harry Potter and Twilight. Everyone suddenly had a YA book they were scrounging together. The theory was you were writing for dopey children who didn't really care about plots or anything like that. KIDS ARE EASILY HUMORED, BECAUSE THEY LIKED THAT GHASTLY HARRY POTTER. JUST WRITE SOMETHING SHORT AND SILLY AND IT WILL SELL SELL SELL.

Dear writers. I am one of you. Or rather I write and want to be successful. That said, stop with the bandwagon jumping. Write because you want to and have a passion for the genre and words. Don't write because you want to jump on the latest craze.

This just reminds me from Little Women, when Jo's german boyfriend discovered she was writing macabre stuff for the newspaper. I never really got why he started jumping on her and making her feel like cwap about it. Until now. The thing is I don't think people should settle for what sells.

That is all.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Blog Beamer

This week's blog post, I'll scoot you over to a couple places.

First - Sherwood Smith's website.


Well, if you write young adult fantasy, she's a good example of one of those originators. Her generation looked to people like Tolkien for writing inspiration. Confessably, I loathe Tolkien (partly as a matter of principle, because I think way too many people connect fantasy to his work alone and go gaak and judgemental, when there is so much ELSE out there - it IS a big genre, dudes) and have not wasted my time reading his books.

1. They are not the sort of stuff I'm interested in reading. (a) All guys (2) wars (3) main character dies in the end (4) depression (5) plagues (6) talking down to readers and playing on Alice in Wonderland, at least that was my first impression when I picked up the Hobbit.

2. The writing is archaic, so the odds are I would only be picking up bad habits from the books.

Sherwood Smith was the first fantasy writer I've ever read. Well technically. As a child, I read every single storybook and fairy tale collection I could get my hands on. Then I moved on to history and horror books before discovering her 'Wren to the Rescue'.

At my age and experience, I really only appreciate the Wren books for nostalgia reasons. I prefer her Crown Duel books more, or think they better bridge the gap between childhood and adulthood.

Still, the first time I read that book, I WAS age appropriate, and therefore worshipped the book. That first book became tattered from all the times I read it and imagined writing something similar. For the first time in my life, I actually wanted to write a real fantasy novel. Not just a fairy tale. A novel - and one that would give other people the same feeling that I got from WTTR.

There are other reasons to snag on the link to Sherwood's website. She is one of those authors who makes herself available and both posts material and writing tips on her website for people to learn from, and she also answers emails and blog comments. If you are a young writer and still learning the craft, Sherwood's a great teacher.

Sherwood Smith home website

The other website I wanted to mention, only because I listed her books the other day - Alyson Noel.

Just for the record. Whenever I become published and get going with things, I SO WANT WHOEVER DOES HER WEBSITE AND BLOG TO GET ME SET UP. Yes, those caps are necessary. :P

[side note, dog hair and keyboard don't mix. *scowls at nonworking keys*]

This is her main website with links to seperate pages for her seperate works.

I just like the way it has been set up. Useful, easy to get around, not too busy, fun.


I don't mean to be unkind here, so sorry if it comes out that way. If you want to be a writer and get some finished work out and about. The best way to go about it is apply butt to chair, switch computer on, go into your Word program (or whatever you use) and start typing. Don't worry about what people think about the idea until after you are finished. A finished project can always be tweaked around and improved. You have plenty of working time and space. The first option is to get in the game and WRITE the fangled thing.

There are people out there who don't want to commit to a project until after they are assured that everyone in the world loves it. What usually happens is they get so caught up in discussing the project and gathering ideas from other people, they never actually get started on the novel itself. Not for months and months anyway.

I know there are other people who start out this way and waffle from idea to idea. They are idea generators, not writers.

I'm convinced these are the same people who, once they discover you write, rush up to you and tell you this whole idea they have. And of course they want to cowrite the idea with you. Never mind you have your own writing projects which you are either writing or polishing.

If you are one of these people -

Dude! Get to work.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday Freezer


Today was a good editing day. With NSAM, I figured out a problem I had with an early chapter. This was the one where I cheated in the early drafts and made my critters roll their eyes back in murderous disbelief and nonvisualness. I expanded a travel scene out, threw in a really long ladder, and chopped the top of a mountain off - and I think it is a lot more believable. Or something. :)

I also had time to read through 3 chapters of Marbles. This would be the first 3 chapters. I can happily say they are ready for 'other eyes'. If I finish up the book sometime soon, I'll put it up for crit. I'm being very careful about this novel, because it is one of those where I feel like I got the voice right on the first go. Who knows, I might change my mind in a year after growing up a bit more writing-wise.

Book Suggestion of Week
How about the Immortals? Simply because I'm planning to run out and buy the second book of the series. Here's the plots taken from the author (Alyson Noel)'s website:


Since a horrible accident claimed the lives of her family, Ever can see auras, hear people's thoughts, and know a person's entire life story by touch. Going out of her way to avoid human contact and suppress her abilities has branded her as a freak at her new high school—but everything changes when she meets Damen.

Damen Auguste is gorgeous, exotic and wealthy. He's the only one who can silence the noise and random energy in her head—wielding a magic so intense, it's as though he can see straight into her soul. As Ever is drawn deeper into his enticing world of secrets and mystery, she's left with more questions than answers. She has no idea just who he really is—or what he is. The only thing she knows to be true is she's falling deeply and helplessly in love with him.

The first book had just about everything you would want to see in a book about vampires immortals. Ever gets the guy in the end - sort of.

Blue Moon

Just as Ever is learning everything she can about her new abilities as an immortal, initiated into the dark, seductive world by her beloved Damen, something terrible is happening to him. As Ever's powers are increasing, Damen's are fading—stricken by a mysterious illness that threatens his memory, his identity, his life.

Desperate to save him, Ever travels to the mystical dimension of Summerland, uncovering not only the secrets of Damen's past—the brutal, tortured history he hoped to keep hidden—but also an ancient text revealing the workings of time. With the approaching blue moon heralding her only window for travel, Ever is forced to decide between turning back the clock and saving her family from the accident that claimed them—or staying in the present and saving Damen, who grows weaker each day...

At the end of the first book, I was wondering a little bit what the selling point of the second book would be. I mean, Ever had her powers, knew how to use them. She had the guy, they had their smooch and connection and all that. It wasn't like the Twilight series (which I refuse to read, btw) where readers were strung along with the hope that the main characters would get to have sex finally, or at least be together.

Damien losing his mind though. It might be one of those cliche type things - like from Ghost Whisperer where her hubby did the body snatching thing and lost his memory. She had to woo the guy he had become and hope he remembered her and everything at some point. On that subject, I was a little disapointed with how that turned out. Not that I was among the "KILL THE UGLY MAN" crowd. I just wished there was something of the other guy left. The "I'm completely me again" thing just seemed like a sudden cop-out or cheat.

Random Editing Notes

*Be ready to kill your darlings if need be. I mean those extra words or lines that you thought were so fine and dandy when you first wrote them. They're not. Kill them dead.

*If doing multiple projects, I'm sure you've run into the same problem, but ugh! I keep forgetting my main character's name, or writing the wrong name down. Rose is the MC from NSAM. Anne is the MC from Swapped. They keep showing up in the wrong novel as I edit. So irritating to have to edit what I just edited to make sure I didn't screw up the names.

*Don't be afraid of change. If a scene isn't leaping off the page and filling you with gloating pleasure, don't be afraid to try something new to enliven the piece. See what I wrote above about sawed off mountain tops.

*Check your spelling - I'm having mind-blots and using UK spelling in spots. I blame my UK friends at the critting group. Their spelling is starting to rub off on me.

Other notes:

This came up at the critting group, and I thought it was important to put somewhere. Genre is a dirty word thrown around my mainstream eds. It means anything with fantasy, romance, horror, and scifi in it. My initial opinion is mainstream is a genre too, but that's just me. Very rarily do books with fantasy elements get slotted as mainstream lit.

If you are writing a novel, it's kindofa good idea to line up all the elements covered in your novel - like romance, horror, fantasy, etc - and rate them. Whatever element is the strongest part of the central theme of your book - that's what genre your book is.

The Time Traveler's Wife, for example, has several main elements that I can think of which would almost make it invalid in most mainstream eds eyes, were it not an excellent book that appeals to mainstream lit readers. It has time travel and a man with a weird disease - very definitely science fiction. The book is about his bittersweet romance with the lady whom he has to keep abandoning for long stretches of time. That's romance. The plot itself though - it kinda falls under the same category as one of those mainstream novels about a woman whose husband vanishes time and again, and what she does to deal with the problematic relationship. The book was written as a metaphor for failed relationships. So yeah. That's a mainstream lit thing if I ever saw one.

Before anybody jumps on the cross-genre parade, btw - the author of TTW had a lot of problems getting published the traditional way. Agents didn't want to touch the book. I'm wondering a little bit if the reason why is because she was reluctant to view her work as scifi. Maybe she did not approach scifi type agents.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Two more on the burner...

This is a belated Wednesday piece. I did newsletter for work yesterday and that kinda took up my time and brainworkings Tuesday and Wednesday. Newsletter came out right. :)

Swapped Fate : I finished the full book edit. Waiting mode now.

NSAM Please: This is the latest editing project. It's interesting how much my perspective has changed in the two years since I last picked this book up to read or edit. I still love the ideas, but some of the scenes are really shoddy work. For example, I had no idea what I was talking about on this part where the MC is approaching a mountain. Plus, I fleshed out characters a bit more so they are less cartoony. At least, that's what I'm working on. I edited three chapters. I'm on CH4 now.

Trickle : Yes. Dear God, I've gone and pulled Trickle out from the dark and bewebbed cranny where I'd stuffed it earlier. A friend was taking stock of all of the projects she has on hand, and it inspired me to do the same. Trickle is... oh dear, it is HORRIBLE writing. It needs to be updated and filled in more, but I still love the plot. The scenes are all there. I can just use them as notes.

Why am I doing this? I got stuck on Marbles which is the one I should be finishing right now. It has nothing to do with my desire to write or interest in the book. And the writing is fine. It's just that I can't deal with the subject matter right now because of stuff going on in my personal life. It's scary.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Monday Mash

EDITING: Did full final-final-final polish edit of Swapped Fate over the weekend. All 20 chapters and 90,000 words. Rah.

Main things I found and had to fix:

1. Rampant paragraph breaks - for aesthetics, I went through and combined 'paragraphs' as there was no reason for 'them breaks'.

2. Character name abuse - I kept using 'Anne' too much instead of mixing a few pronouns in. Strange, because I usually lecture my critters on the same fault! Egad. Really.

3. Tiny thread breaks, like the 'glowing eyes' thing that never really developed into anything. Also the Wishmaster being a guy or a girl according to the bad guy. At the end I had to come up with a reason for his confusion.

4. Extra dialogue dithering and such - I cut back on 30-100 words every chapter.

5. Got rid of superfluous silly capitalizations.

And that was really it. This full edit was actually relaxing compared to the edits that Marbles has been going through. I loved how clean and easy to read it was. Proof I hadn't wasted my time with all the past edits. Gives me more confidence in the hunt to come. Or it just makes me feel better anyway.

Lesson Learned to go into other projects I work on ater this:

Start at the beginning of the story, not in the past of the story. NSAM is coming up next on the edit cruise. After critters mentioned how confused they were about who/what/when/how of the characters and the world, I decided to go back and add the background and past to the story. Fortunately, I didn't listen to my impulses and query the story right off, because I know NOW that it would not have worked out. I need to stick with the original beginning and just make it less confusing is all.


Two things and not all at once:

1. Edit/Write Marbles. I still love it, but needs work. Am 60,000 words in. 20K more to finish.

2. Write Herbarian for August NANO. I'm 10,000 words in.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Blog Beamer 8/9/09

For this first week, I choose thegreatmissjj who I follow on Twitter.

Aside from the fact that she jumps from planes for fun. *shudders* and she can draw fabulously better than I can in my DREAMS (I do angry stick figures)- I'd like to think we have a lot in common. Ok, we have maybe one thing in common. She writes, and so do I.

Also she reads and I enjoy reading her reviews.

Do stop by at her website and see. :]

Click here

Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday Freezer

Editing - I edited 2 chapters this morning. I'm trying to get back to work right now. Have 12 more chapters to go before I'm done. These are light last minute edits, when I'm changing words and nudging sentences. Very final draft though. I would not be querying otherwise. Yesterday, I did 6 chapters. Today, I'm aiming for at least 3 more. Tomorrow will be whatever is left of the book. I'm discovering once again that I really love this novel. I feel confident trying to sell it. I guess that is the most important thing or 1st in a line of steps.

1. If you want to sell a book to an agent, you must love the book and it must be something that YOU would read yourself, were you somebody else browsing the shelves at the bookstore.

2. Before the agent takes on your project, they have to love and be confident that they can sell your work.

3. And the editor/publisher must feel the same way before they invest in your books.

Book Choice

*wiggles off the hook*

I don't have any book plottings prepared today. Next week should be better.

Instead, I will simply take the moment to look forward to August 25 when Richelle Mead's latest Vampire Academy book comes out in bookstores.

Here's the snippet from Richelle's blog:

Rose Hathaway's life will never be the same.

The recent attack on St. Vladimir's Academy devastated the entire Moroi world. Many are dead. And, for the few victims carried off by Strigoi, their fates are even worse. A rare tattoo now adorns Rose's neck, a mark that says she's killed far too many Strigoi to count. But only one victim matters . . . Dimitri Belikov. Rose must now choose one of two very different paths: honoring her life's vow to protect Lissa—her best friend and the last surviving Dragomir princess—or, dropping out of the Academy to strike out on her own and hunt down the man she loves. She'll have to go to the ends of the earth to find Dimitri and keep the promise he begged her to make. But the question is, when the time comes, will he want to be saved?

Now, with everything at stake—and worlds away from St. Vladimir's and her unguarded, vulnerable, and newly rebellious best friend—can Rose find the strength to destroy Dimitri? Or, will she sacrifice herself for a chance at eternal love?

Dimitri is Strigoi right now. Or IS HE?! *still can't believe that happened*

*** Random secret: Last year for NANO, I made use of the Turkish Evil Eye beads for my then WIP (Marbles). This was before I read the Vampire Academy books and discovered that Richelle had made use of those odd little things for her plotwork. So annoyed me. Really! Now I look like a copycat. :P

Last Minute Comment

I'm not in the position to be the EXPERT on ALL THAT IS WRITING, but ahem, here are a few things I picked up while editing SWAPPED yesterday and today, as well as working on other projects lately:

1. Don't put random capitalizations into your work. Looks fancy right now, but it is sheer misery removing them. So don't do it.

2. If you invent an 'accent' for a certain people in your book, be sure to set up certain rules and limit the accent a little bit so it isn't like trying to decipher cryptoquizzes when editing. Hate to think of the reader's perspective.

3. Be imaginative with curse words and religious references. God can't exist in most fantasy worlds, because well - for my case, I'd be guilty about creating godlike characters. So, instead I adhere to the 'ancestors' deal which is a bit more comfortable to slip in and out. That part's fine, but I had a little trouble when I saw references to heaven, hell, damnation, paradise, damn. I slipped up in my worldbuilding when I used those words. In edits, I'm snagging on every one of those words and creating a fantasy alternative, or an extension of the worldbuilding.

That's all.

Have a good weekend!

Editing Marks the Rulez


I'm a writer. Aspiring one.

I have one finished novel (SWAPPED FATE) that I'm starting to shop around after extensive edits. I also have other projects that I'll try to highlight on the side area. I've also published a few short stories. I'll see if I can find those again and post links.

Just thought I'd start a place, untouched by politics or weird religious ramblings where I focus purely on the writing progress. It will be COMPLICATED keeping my focus, but I'll do my darndest to play the serious one who writes. At least that's the plan.

Blog to be updated three times a week - Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Mainly just noting where I am in the writing or editing phases. And I'll force myself to save up items that I want to remark or highlight from the news - strictly writing/reading related.

Oh, and something else I plan to do: Blog Beamers, maybe I should fit that in on a special day. Basically, there are blogs out there which are GREAT for aspiring writers to check out. Things I wished that I knew when I started out. I mean, geez. First will be Sunday. *winx*

I might even do a book highlight on Friday, in addition to the 'writing roundup'. This may include books I've read, or books I WANT to read.

My Shelfari Bookshelf

Shelfari: Book reviews on your book blog

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