Saturday, July 31, 2010
I thought this would be an interesting challenge to try and spur people on to write.
For me, I managed to finish two chapters and I am currently still writing the final scenes. I consider that a success.
For those who may have participated...how did you measure up?
Let me know....prizes are involved. :-)
I know many are at Nationals, but I hope there were a few that wrote while they stayed home!
Friday, July 30, 2010
It can be a corner, a chair, a home office, it can even be in your car--just somewhere that is YOURS.
Because in order to write, at least for me, I have to get focused. I need to feel like this is where I can safely sit and write. It sounds selfish, but I discovered it after years of writing in all sorts of places. For me, its my Blue Room, a home office painted a lovely dark blue color by the previous owners. I feel like I write in a cave. I love it. I feel safe here.
This summer a friend and I were discussing why we felt so discombobulated-why we could not focus to write, how we were unable to reach some of our goals. Both of us have school age children, and even though we both implemented a "program" to get the kids on track it still fell short. In frustration my friend stated, "Every time I go into my office, someone is there on my computer or playing on the floor, bringing in their stuff."
Her space was being invaded as was mine. The effect was feeling off balance, unable to focus to push forward. Of course she wrote in different places like I do, but where does she get the bulk of her work done? Where do you? In your SPACE.
Even my children were invading, I had drawings all over my desk. Parts of my chapters I had printed out were stacked haphazardly in different places-not where I put them. My husband would come in and tinker. It stressed me out.
That's when I realized you have to PROTECT THE SPACE.
My friend, she gave time limits to her children on when they could be in her office. She also banished the toys and no playing in there while she worked. She made sure she spent time with them, she was not abandoning them. It worked.
I told my family, you can come into my office, but I forbade them to touch anything on my desk without asking me first. I used bribery. Trips to the library, movies, etc. Its working. For now.
What was the end-result? I am focusing better when I sit down to write. I am slowly getting more work done.
What if you don't have an office? Find a special chair. A corner...someplace that you can make yours. How do you make it yours? Decorate or place near it an item or two that you love. Maybe its a book you have read over and over, or a candle and a trinket or two. For myself, I have two gargoyles that I placed in my office area. Make it your area, the place you feel focused and reminds you of what needs to be done, whether its writing, cross-stitch, or reading. This is the one place that you feel safe. It is yours.
Protect the space.
Tell me your space.......
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
In my attempt to avoid having a pity party over this, I decided to make my time at home MORE important than anything I might have accomplished at the conference. No small task. However, after serious thought, I managed to come up with something. I'm going to finish my WIP. That's about 15k, and yes, I have a day job. But I'm determined to do it. Finish the current manuscript by Sunday night. Is it feasible? Yes. Will I do it? Yes.
How about you? Any goals for those of you not going to the conference? If you're going to the conference, what's the number one thing you hope to accomplish?
Safe travels, everyone.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
And for me this crisis continues throughout the book in mini form with the start of each new chapter.
But nothing compares to the anxiety that comes with penning the all-important first page of a new WIP.
Let’s face it. If you don’t catch the agent/editor/reader on the first page, in the first few lines of your baby, you’ve lost them.
No pressure there, huh?
The fantasy I’m currently revising is a perfect example of how I struggle with beginnings. From its inception I have wrestled with how to start this novel. Twenty-nine beginnings later I thought I finally had it right.
Wrong. A dear friend looked at my shiniest new version and said, “Eh, too confusing and too much of an info dump.”
Back to the drawing board and beginning number thirty. I dumped the entire first chapter and started in a brand new place. Virgin territory, a beginning that was actually new! Surely, I was on the right track.
She looked at it and said, “Jeanie, your beginning is actually in the middle of page two. That’s where you should start.”
I looked and, sure enough, she was right. Why couldn’t I see that?
Too close to my little darlings, I guess.
So, what gives you fits when you write, that hairball of a beginning, the sagging middle or winding it all up in satisfactory fashion?
Friday, July 23, 2010
By: Debbie Kaufman
Lake Cabin Writing Retreat. Isolation and the freedom to work like a fiend possessed.
Wow, just writing those words puts the scene back in my head. Myself at a table on a screened-in porch, ceiling fans augmenting the breeze off the lake. The calm of the water’s surface broken by the occasional ripples of fish eating the insects that landed. The lovely white egret standing on the end of the dock. The lack of response from my computer when I try to access the internet…
Wait, that’s a good thing, right? No internet to play on when I should be writing like a madwoman. It’s actually great unless you are email addicted like me, and you don’t own a Crackberry. Although, in all fairness, I am the guest blog coordinator for www.petitfoursandhottamales.com I manage almost all the blog guests, and authors, editors, and agents wonder when you don’t get back to them for several days.
But, in all truthfulness, I am an email junky. And there was a little research I wanted to do for my current WIP.
So, off I went to civilization with my hostess, Susan May, and my laptop in hand. We no sooner ensconced ourselves in a back booth and fired up our laptops, than the table behind us – one of MANY free tables – was suddenly occupied by a frantic gentleman who decides to deal with one of life’s little crisis moments via his cell phone.
Out loud. Very loud.
Using the free Wi-Fi at McDonald’s suddenly cost more than my small diet drink. A lot more.
Forget everything you ever heard about identity theft. Really. There’s no need for hackers to go to lots of trouble. In this case, all the potential thief needed to do was to sit anywhere within a fifty mile radius of this guy (okay, slight exaggeration) and they would know everything they needed to steal his identity.
Not only did I get to hear him repeat the saga of how his truck door had been hit by “someone who just run off” as he got bounced from extension to extension at his insurance company, but I was also treated to all of his personal information.
No, I take that back. I don’t think I actually heard his momma’s maiden name.
It used to be that you couldn’t tell Bluetooth from crazy as people walked around having quiet conversations with themselves in public places. Now, it seems, all restraint is gone.
Susan and I struggled valiantly not to react to this public display of the man’s life. Of course, Susan had her back to him, so she had it a little easier.
No one but me could see her face.
If you knew Susan, you’d applaud her self-control. She managed not to go smack the poor guy upside the head. Me? I wanted to use his cell phone to do it.
I'm convinced that a jury of my peers would never have convicted me. Especially if those peers had been the other folks sitting in McDonalds that day.
Later, we commiserated on how cell phones have instituted a whole new definition of bad manners, where people talk on them when they shouldn’t, and how we often get to hear more of people’s lives than we’d ever wanted. My conclusion: Forget obsessing about your Facebook privacy settings, people. Stop telling the whole world your business when you’re on a personal call. In Public.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t the worst case of public display of someone’s life on a cell phone; formerly know as TMI, but now PLDD (Public Life Display Disorder) I’ve ever heard.
The absolute worst was the guy in a Hallmark store selecting a greeting card while he loudly announced to his caller that he “Didn’t touch that little girl, no matter what her lying momma says.” I’ll spare you the rest of the conversation. Suffice to say that the clerk would have left WITH the rest of her customers if she could have.
What about you? Do you have a PLDD story to tell about someone’s inappropriate cell phone conversation? Or maybe it was just their timing of talking on the phone? Come on, vent. You know you want to!
So, fire away. And remember your manners next time you’re on the phone in a public location.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
That's because my husband and I recently took the kids on a 12-day tour of Europe. We hit the highlights of cities like London, Venice, and Paris, and enjoyed the natural beauty of Innsbruck and Lucerne. But the most interesting part for me was the details that made Europe different from the US.
Not just foreign languages, old buildings, different food, and paying to use the restroom. I mean the things you might never discover without visiting.
For example, in many of the hotels, the lights wouldn't turn on unless you inserted your key card into a slot by the door. After the first night in one of those hotels, the tour group was laughing about how long it took each of us to figure it out.
In Innsbruck, there are boxes at the crosswalks, but no obvious button to push to request the walk signal. We never did figure out if it was a motion sensor or what.
If you need to know what street you're on, check the wall of the nearest building. No street signs on poles.
The commercial rest stops are amazing. Clean bathrooms, great food, and nice displays. They reminded me of the toll road oases in Illinois and New Jersey, but nicer.
Just to make things confusing in Italy, if you wanted self-service food, it worked like a cafeteria, but if you wanted something made-to-order, you had to pick it out, get a ticket for it, pay at the cashier, then take the receipt back to pick it up. We stuck with self-service and still got excellent food like the tortellini above.
The UK had fun names for its pubs. We didn't get a chance to eat at The Slug and Lettuce ("Slug" for short), but we dined at a pub called The Bunch of Grapes (near Harrod's).
This is just a sampling of the things that I noticed on our trip, but I think they're the unique aspects of a place that make it interesting. And as a writer, it's the little details that make a setting real to the reader. I'm already dreaming up ways to incorporate some of the places we visited into a new book.
What are some of the fun things you've learned about different places you've been (foreign or not)?
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Why can't you choose what you forget...and what you remember?
July 20th brings you a hot summer read of love, conflict and amnesia. Nope. Not The Young and the Restless. Forget You is the newest release from MTV Books by award-winning author, Jennifer Echols!
Check out the blurb below:
There’s a lot Zoey would like to forget. Like how her father has knocked up his twenty-four-year old girlfriend. Like Zoey’s fear that the whole town will find out about her mom’s nervous breakdown. Like darkly handsome bad boy Doug taunting her at school. With her life about to become a complete mess, Zoey fights back the only way she knows how, using her famous attention to detail to make sure she’s the perfect daughter, the perfect student, and the perfect girlfriend to ultra-popular football player Brandon.
But then Zoey is in a car crash, and the next day there’s one thing she can’t remember at all—the entire night before. Did she go parking with Brandon, like she planned? And if so, why does it seem like Brandon is avoiding her? And why is Doug—of all people—suddenly acting as if something significant happened between the two of them? Zoey dimly remembers Doug pulling her from the wreck, but he keeps referring to what happened that night as if it was more, and it terrifies Zoey to admit how much is a blank to her. Controlled, meticulous Zoey is quickly losing her grip on the all-important details of her life—a life that seems strangely empty of Brandon, and strangely full of Doug.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
You can check out her website or become a fan of Mama on Facebook.
Who is your heroine, Mace Bauer?
Mama's on the way home from gambling at the Seminole casino, when she gets a hankering for a butterscotch dipped ice cream cone. She pulls into the Dairy Queen in little Himmarshee, Fla, where a fender-bender reveals a body stuffed into the trunk of her turquoise convertible. The police wind up thinking she's the killer. It's up to Mace and her sisters to find the real culprit. If they can't, Mama goes to prison-- just like an embarrassing lyric in a country western song.
I also write my first draft in long-hand (dinosaur-like!). I love the fact I can stick my cheapo spiral notebook in my backpack and go for a walk or a bike ride to the beach, to a coffee shop, to a bench along the New River in downtown Ft. Lauderdale, and get some writing done.
Today, I wrote while sitting on a marble bench in a cemetery, one of my favorite spots. Great atmosphere for a mystery writer, and very quiet!
Because of the inverted pyramid, it took me a long time to learn how NOT to reveal my whole mystery in the first paragraph.
Your books are humorous while delivering great tension and mystery. How do you manage to balance the elements to deliver such an entertaining read while keeping the reader on the edge of his/her seat?
Well, thanks for saying that. I'm flattered! I attempt to take the advice of the great Elmore Leonard, who said: ''Try to leave out the part that readers skip.''
She may take the credit for being the author, but the titles don't say DEBORAH did any of those things, do they?
What is your favorite book?
Monday, July 19, 2010
I did not. I get a C. I only made it to 7 pages.
Still, I am pressing on.
In view of the fact that Nationals are Looming....I will be lenient.
5 pages written if going to Nationals.
20 pages written if NOT going to Nationals.
Revise 10 pages if going to Nationals
30 pages if not NOT going to Nationals.
Due July 30Th, 2010 (Where many of you will be at RWA conference in Orlando).
Tell me how you've done? Or not?
Saturday, July 17, 2010
During an overseas trip to London, I often got my communication wires crossed even though I spoke English. Imagine myself and dear hubby walking into a Boots –the equivalent of our Walgreens—in search of formula for the baby. Each one of us happened to be carrying a child when we tracked down a staffer and asked for the baby formula.
He quirked an eyebrow as he took in our family and deadpanned, “Seems that you’ve already discovered that formula.” The British refer to formula as milk. Lesson learned with much blushing.
Language changes day to day even without leaving home. It all depends on where, how and why we use words.
I started off as a newspaper journalist and covered politics, city and business news. Just the facts only, cut and dry, objective.
When I retired to raise my family, I gave in to my dream of writing fiction. I wanted to write the stories I loved – full of romance, mystery, and paranormals. The first few attempts were disasters. Critique partners would say: you need more setting, your characters need to dialogue rather than be quoted, and where are the emotions? Turning off my news brain proved to be a greater challenge than I expected.
I had to learn a whole new way of writing, slowing down and expanding, knitting together words. The process took several years and led to much frustration. Every time I became overwhelmed, I’d turn to my other passion: cooking. I’d put up my hair and pull out the skillet. I wrote a lot and cooked a lot. Some of my news training – hard-nosed editors and daily deadlines – actually helped me. The end results: I got a greater understanding of the craft. My stories went on to win a few contests, garner some requests.
Then life threw me a curve ball. My local paper gave me the opportunity to be a freelance food writer. My dream job combining both my passions. After much Snoopy dancing, I panicked. Could I write non-fiction again? What if it messed up my hard-earned fiction writing skills? I took a deep breath and wrote my first column and then the next, and next. Maybe my love for food and writing trumped my fears, maybe I’ve grown as a writer. Whatever the reason, the words are flowing.
So I am a mom, a writer and food enthusiast. I’m published in non-fiction. I’m still pre-published in fiction and I still don’t have an agent. I continue to learn, write and cook. Occasionally, I’ll share my journey with you. I hope you enjoy my words.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Another first I remember is seeing Microsoft Windows for the first time. It was in 1989 and our company had bought several of the executives and managers Personal Computers for their desks. Before that a few secretaries had the oversize computers with the tiny black screen with green type and so boring with their large floppy discs and so many codes to remember. The new computers were smaller but so much more powerful. Once again, I was fascinated by the colors appearing on the screen. But this was also in 3D! While other people were going on and on about what all it could do in calculating information, I was ecstatic by the detail pictures and how easy it was to correct a typing error. NO MORE WHITE OUT!
A biggy was the first book I ever owned that hadn’t been my sister’s. I was probably four or five. It was a copy of SCAT! SCAT CAT! It had avocado green binding and the pictures inside were done in watercolors. The paper was thick and silky smooth. I loved it and in fact still own it.
One first we all talk about at one time or another (no, get your mind out of the gutter) is the first book I started. It was never completed, though I did complete a historical seven years later. It was a contemporary and I wrote it in long hand. I remember using the word trudged. I had never used that word in my life and thought it was so cool. "The girl trudged down the road with suitcase in hand." In fact, I was thrilled to hear the word used during a scene in the movie, A KNIGHT’S TALE. Geoffrey Chaucer, naked as the day he was born, walks by Will and his two friends and is asked, “O sir, what are you doing?” And he answers, “Uh…trudging. You know, trudging? To trudge: the slow weary, depressing yet determined walk of a man who has nothing left in life except the impulse to simply soldier on.” Love it!
So here’s to many more firsts as I trudge along my road to publication with the determined hope I'll continue to be fascinated by the colors of each new experience. Soldier on!
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Of course, if I had paid a little more attention to my television and movie viewing choices, I might have discovered that about myself a lot sooner.
Well before Lost, I fell pretty hard for another Southern bad boy, Remy McSwain, the crooked cop with the decent heart in the New Orleans-set crime thriller The Big Easy. The son of an even more crooked cop, Remy had never really questioned the way things were done among his fellow cops until a smart, honest and vulnerable assistant D.A. showed him the dark and dirty reality of what his corruption could lead to. When Remy chooses honor and honesty over tradition and family lies, it's a deeply satisfying moment.
My newest Southern crush is a little more upright than the previous two examples, although Raylan Givens from Justified has more than his share of demons. Between his daddy issues, his women troubles and his well-earned reputation as a trouble magnet, Raylan is a complicated guy. But let him flash me that sexy smile and say something in that mountain drawl, and I'm willing to take on all his baggage.
As you can see, Southern boys are it for me. I love 'em. Can't get enough. Which explains why my Cooper Justice series features six sexy Southern boys who'll gladly give their lives for family, for honor and for the woman who steal their hearts.
Next up, in my August Intrigue One Tough Marine, Luke Cooper has been living in self-imposed exile from his family for a long time. He has his reasons for staying away, but when the widow of an old friend needs his help, he realizes the only people he can really trust to have his back are his family.
And in September's Bachelor Sheriff, Aaron Cooper assigns himself to play bodyguard to an old high school classmate who's become the target of a killer. Though the football star and the geeky brainiac had hardly been friends, Aaron's not going to let a former classmate die on his watch, and he's willing to put himself on the line to make sure she stays safe. But who knew little Miss Valedictorian would turn out to be so tempting?
How about you? What kind of hero is your catnip? Cowboys? Princes? Sheikhs? Cops? Tell us all about it!
Monday, July 12, 2010
Being published, being a bestseller, doesn't make the feeling go away. It can be just as strong with the evidence of your success (i.e. book covers) staring you in the face as it can be when you have none of that.
Some days I wonder when my editor will realize she made a mistake and I just don't have what it takes. Some days I stare at the story in progress and wonder how on earth I've made it through 7 books so far (7 that Harlequin have bought, not counting the under-the-bed books). I wonder when it's finally going to happen and the page will just stay blank because I can't possibly think of another word to put on it.
If you've ever felt any of this, believe me that you are not alone! It happens whether you've published several books or no books. I stumbled across a post by Bob Mayer that gave me several aha moments, and I wanted to share it with you. Go forth and read Bob's words of wisdom. Know you are not alone. :)
Sunday, July 11, 2010
How do you feel?
If you didn't accomplish it, why?
*I managed to squeak out my 15 pages---IF you want, I will give you until Monday, July 12 to finish your homework.
Since Nationals are looming for many of you, I am going to go easy on you.
Assignment # 2:
10 pages written or 15 pages revised.
Come one, you can do this one!
DUE DATE: JULY 17, 2010 (and the next assisgnment)
Saturday, July 10, 2010
While we two kittens were away, darling hubby was left to fend by himself. Some wives go to extreme levels to assist their hubbies with basic household chores while they are gone. I once read an article about three different wives who leave their darling husbands for the summer. They shared their preparations for their husbands' comfort while they were gone. One woman put 5 sheets on top of each other (bottom) so all the husband had to do was pull the top sheet off, put in a basket, and have a clean sheet again once a week! Another had all the meals prepped, frozen and labeled. Now mind you, all these ladies take the children with them, so the darling husbands don't have to worry about childcare.
Confession: I was not listed in that article.
I've hauled out of town with my darling daughter for up to a month at a time. When she was a baby and a pre-schooler, we'd go to Canada and stay with my BF and her children while she housesat her parent's place in Vancouver Island or West Vancouver. Over the years, we've gone all over the USA as well. Just this year, we've gone to Asheville, Duke, DC, VA, NJ and NYC without my darling hubby. When she was younger, and we were poorer, we just hung out and played with the kids or took them to the beach. We wives would work together and all the housework would be completed without any problems. The summers were easy and lazy. But I was still the "parent-in-charge" or PIC as we called it. I wasn't worrying about my hubby having clean sheets while I was gone. Nor was I worried about his belly being full. I had the real job--one where I had total responsibility of a child 24/7.
Confession: When DH had a temporary position up in DC, I was on my own for weeks on end with my 2-4 year old. I developed the utmost respect for single moms/dads and military families with spouses deployed. That was hard!!
Sometimes I wonder what my DH is doing while we kittens are away. My big mouse is at home right now dealing with the cats, one who is 18 and addicted to wet cat food, as well as his job and our house. Here are my thoughts about his life while we are away:
*Laundry: I know he's done laundry. He wanted me to show him how to use the new machines we bought for this house (when I am home, I do it all), but I figured he has a doctorate in physics so he could teach himself the basics. I'm fairly certain he is not sorting his clothes (he confessed this to me). Now I wonder if all his clothes are turning a faint shade of gray.
*Cooking: He's probably not cooking much. He's gone out for dinner with colleagues a few times. Yesterday he had his usual "Scotch Friday at PF Changs"--I don't even ask anymore. He told me he went to Publix and bought ribs, pre-made, to cook in the oven. He's in "man food heaven" and enjoying his meat. I have no idea if vegetables or salads have made it into his stomach. I don't think the caveman diet will kill him, but I'll be glad to see him eat greens when I return.
*Working at Home: I know my DH is missing his MAC book cause he left it in the Reagan Airport so I've been hauling it with me since I retrieved it a week ago. But he's a hunky geek who can't resist working math problems and other such nonsense, so he's probably got a stack of books next to his red reclining chair with doodles and notations on them as well as another laptop to work out his mathematical issues. I know he's glad I'm not there to gripe about the clutter pile next to his chair or, most likely, on the kitchen table.
*Care and Feeding of the Critters: He's been looking after the cats, Mischief and the Dowager Feline Clancy. They're still alive. I hear Clancy crying loudly for more wet cat food whenever I call him, day or night. He threatens to shoot them both, but I know he loves them, too. He's a soft hearted guy when it comes to the critters.
*Household: I don't want to know. I'll see soon enough. But he's relatively neat and clean due to 25 years of training so I am not too worried. The floors will need a bath, but the rest of the house should be okay.
Confession: I had fully intended to dig into the housework and the laundry and the 4th book's revision on Monday after I returned.
But a funny and wonderful thing happened while I was away. I checked my emails while we were in our hotel room last night. I have a request for a FULL for a manuscript I queried to Modern Heat sitting in my email in-box. Even darling hubby posted on my Facebook that I will be "Miss... I - gottta-work-my-a**-off-until-this-is-out-the-door-and-can't-focus-on-anything-else-wife" when I return home. And he's right. He knows me well. But you know what I love about my Mouse in the House? He's happy for me and is very excited for my opportunity. He'll support me in my endeavor.
I'm a very lucky Kitten indeed cause my Big Mouse in the House is a true hero!
Thursday, July 08, 2010
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
It hit me this morning while washing my hair. I was contemplating writing and social media (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc.). I wondered how much involvement was too much. Is it even necessary? I thought, what a great topic to blog about. Then the light bulb went off. I totally and completely forgot. Yep, you got it - yesterday was my day to blog. Sorry for dropping the ball.
Obviously, I've figured out that I don't need too much. Right now I juggle twitter, blogging here and attending my writers' group monthly. Sounds paltry comparatively, but it keeps me connected and growing as a writer. Yet, I look at some recent successful writers and wonder if its necessary. For me, in this day and age, I think the answer is yes. But then the question becomes how much is enough.
So, what do you think? Is social media necessary to find success? If so, how involved should a writer become?
Monday, July 05, 2010
I was given this idea by a fellow writer, Nicki Salcedo from Georgia Romance Writers group, who called these challenges Homework assignments. It was because of these assignments, I managed to clean up my partial and send it off in time for the Maggies. (I just won't mention the gnashing of teeth).
Note: www.candacehavens.com also has an excellent site/group that challenges writers to complete their manuscripts. If you like this challenge, I'd encourage you to check it out.
This is a 3 week challenge. At the end of the 3 weeks, if you managed to complete ALL assignments. A small prize will be awarded--such as chocolate, tea, a book...or something odd, you never know what I am going to do.
***IMPORTANT**** I can ONLY send prizes to those within the United States.....I apologize for this, but I figure if I sent you chocolate, not only would it take forever, but cost more than if you bought it yourself. But I will give a HUGE congrats on this blog.
- Find a partner, a friend, fellow writer (they can participate in the challenge or not). They will receive your pages. Once you find a partner, decide whether you want them to take a look at the pages for a critique (as well as if you want to critique theirs), or just have them verify that you sent the required work.
- Each week I will post the Assignment, and everyone should comment on what they accomplished or did not. Tentative days I will post the assignment are: July 11, 2010, July 17, 2010, July 25, 2010 **RESULTS will be posted on July 31, 2010.
- Prizes: This works on the honor system. You post that you have made it, I will believe you. Only you will know if you lied. For those who are to get prizes, I will post an email at the end of the three weeks, and you can contact me directly with your mailing address. I want to keep your information as private as possible.
I realize that the ending of this challenge coincides with RWA national conference. If there are not many participants, I will run this again in August or September if everyone likes it. Plus, all the kinks will be worked out and I may have new and evil rules....but I am hoping to keep it simple.
Are you ready? I'm going to start easy on you....
Write 15 new pages of your story --OR-- Revise 30 pages of your current story.
DUE BY MIDNIGHT JULY 11, 2010
Find your partner: GO!!!
Good luck! ;-)
Sunday, July 04, 2010
Writers spend a lot of time getting feedback on what they've done. Sometimes we get praise and sometimes we get our noses rubbed in it. Not fun no matter what your species. And while we expect that sort of treatment from editors and agents, when we get it from our fellow writers it can be a bit disconcerting. Or can it?
Some people respond really well to "tough love." The best thing for them can be some drill sergeant yelling at them about how much time they spend on Facebook and how this thing or that thing is not helping their writing. They do much better when someone is shaming them or telling them they aren't trying hard enough to make time for writing. These people work best under a constant harangue of negative reinforcement. I admire people like that. I wish I could be one. I'm not. For me, all of that sniping makes me feel bad about myself. I begin to feel useless. Instead of trying to change what is being said I begin to believe it. And I get discouraged.
Some people, like me, do much better with a cheer leading type encouragement. You can do it. I believe in you. You'll do better tomorrow. Sounds great, right? I try very hard to be that way with other writers. I want people to do well and I want them to know I believe in them. Positive reinforcement. Praise for small victories. Little validations here and there. That works for me. BUT, there are those who think all that does is give a person permission to blow off a bad day or two or twenty with the excuse that they will do better tomorrow. Or the day after that. Or ... You get the picture.
So, what kind of person are you? What makes you plop your butt in that chair and write. Do you write better if you are glowing from someone's praise of your work or do you do better when you get "pissed off" because someone has called you out on your time wasting, your lack of focus, your unproductive behavior? (I say "pissed off" in spite of it being unladylike because frankly, "upset" is what little old ladies get when their cake falls. I get "pissed off!")
Which one works for you? And which one do you use when you feel like a fellow writer needs some encouragement? And where do contests fall in that miasma. Do you enter contests in the hope of positive reinforcement? Do you do it because you are masochistic and want to hear someone say bad things about your writing?
Are you a carrot or a stick? And please don't rub your puppy's nose in his pee. He doesn't know why you are doing it and he is telling other dogs (and possibly cats if he is bilingual) that you are some kind of nut with serious urinary issues. And he's right!
Friday, July 02, 2010
The other day I was reminded of a very basic fact. Good writing will prevail even if the story line is not very complicated. I was reminded of this by reading Danielle Steele's book, Big Girl. The story is about just that--a big girl. Now, some of you who know me may say that it resonated with me because I am carrying around a few extra pounds. Although that is true, it wasn't what appealed to me about this book. It was the clarity of the author's voice, her ability to paint a picture that evoked an emotional response and simple story telling that had a beginning, a middle and an end.
There were no big surprises, complicated plots or exotic locations that piqued my interest. It was just a nice story, told by a good story teller, who has the ability to convey an emotional response from her readers. I had forgotten how good she is. It's no wonder she has sold over 590 million books.
Thanks for the reminder, Danielle. You don't have to come up with complicated plots, exotic locations or bizarre twists and turns in your manuscript. Simple, clear, writing, that is believable and the reader can identify with, will do the trick.
Thursday, July 01, 2010
The Colby Agency is back!
Harlequin Intrigue brings us another another heart-stopping suspense from award-winning author, Debra Webb. Colby Control, the next installment in the popular Colby Agency series, is available today, July 1, 2010! Passion, suspense and action equal a hot read for the summer!
"When the Colby Agency and the Equalizers merged, their agents were expected to work together. But the moment Ted Tallant met hotshot investigator Nora Friedman, there were sparks—and not the good kind. Nora was a risk taker, while Ted was a by-the-book kind of guy.
When they were sent to Vegas on a case, those sparks turned into something hotter. They were good together—really good. But when an enemy from Nora's past twisted their assignment into something deadly, all hell broke loose. And suddenly skill and attraction weren't enough. They would have to trust each other…or everyone would die."
Available at your nearest bookstores or buy here from eHarlequin! Happy reading!