Thursday, April 28, 2011

Organized Writer. Is that possible?

If my brain wasn't wrapped nice and securely inside my skull and attached to my body, I would swear that sometimes I didn't have one.

I'm a mom for crying out loud!  I'm supposed to multi-task...pop in the laundry while I check my facebook, blog in between my novel writing as I use my free hand to work a puzzle with my son and help with my daughters first grade math...which wait...I SUCK at Math.  What is a girl to do to get a story written?  Why so many road blocks?  I'm so over it, put a cork in me, turn the oven off, whatever, I'm done.  I must find some order in my life. 
Making a darn schedule, prioritizing and then sticking to it, that is the key for making this all work—for me at least.  I know I must do it but the rebellious child in me loathes restriction, being told this is the way it has to be.  I want freedom, fun and all that jazz. 

More than that, though, I want to finish my novel, I want to connect with likeminded individuals through marketing, I want to play with my kids and wear clean cloths so by golly the prioritizing has to begin…tomorrow, once I get over my procrastination thing.

I'm on my way to being organized.  Or so I hope.

What do you do to keep all your eggs in a basket?  Is there a secret trick you want to share because I would love to know.  Like seriously.

Bookanistas supporting an amazing fundraiser with prizes!!!

First things first, my heart goes out to all my Alabama friends caught in the crazy tornados yesterday.  Bama has been a home to me for the past three years and a few tears dropped from my eyes at the pictures I've seen.  We moved about six months ago(our house is still for sell in the Helena area if anyone is interested:)), but I will always hold it near and dear to my heart.  Thankfully no one I know was hurt but my prayers are with those that lost anything during the horrific mess there and the other areas in the south.


On a lighter note, I couldn't be more excited about a fundraiser/giveaway I entered in, so I had to post about I get an extra entry, hopefully winning some much needed critiquing.

Here it is in a nutshell...

The lovely and ubertalented ladies who call themselves the Bookanistas (here is one) are trying to giveback.  In their words:

Charitable donations are a very personal thing. There are so many ways our hard earned money can help others, and lately our world seems to be breaking into pieces around us. Needs are many and great. The Bookanistas want to give back, so in the coming months, we're going to be looking for ways to pour into communities, both bookish and worldwide.

For the month of April, we've chose to spotlight Run For Your Life, largely because the framework is already set up (we'd like to keep it simple our first time out), and also because of personal connections to the cause. Most everyone knows someone who has battled cancer or lost a loved one to it. 
It is true, my Grandmother has lymphoma, and many in my family have lost their lives due to cancer.  I was happy to donate some money to this cause.  They ask for $5 but more or less is fine as well. 

For every dollar you give you get a chance to win one of the great prizes they are offering and if you are a writer or a reader, I promise you won't be sorry you did it.  With query and fifty page manuscript critiques, as well as tons of signed YA books...need I say more?  Well yes, I do, because there is more!

Also, when you donate you are automatically entered into a drawing for a chance to win a private screening of Breaking Dawn with twenty of your closest buddies ...or not so close depending on how you do things.  This is courtesy of Charlie Bewley an actor in the movie.

Sound like something you could get into?  Head on over to Myra McEntire's blog (one of the Bookanista's) and check it out, sign up, do what you have to do!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What's up with the adverb?

I didn't see a thing wrong with adverbs until recently when I submitted my work into a couple of writing contests.  I'm happy to say I placed third in one and top twenty in another but much of my negative feedback had to do with adverbs.  Can I tell you how sad this makes me.  I have loved peppering my writing with 'ly' words.  They have been a part of my life since grade school.  I suppose that's where they needed to stay.

So why are adverbs such backstabbers?

Mark Twain once said, "Adverbs are the tool of the lazy writer."

Huh?  Well, let's take a closer look and see why.

The Encarta World English Dictionary states that an adverb is:
  1. modifier of verb or adjective: a word that modifies a verb, an adjective, another adverb, or a sentence, e.g. "happily," "very," or "frankly".
So basically you use an adverb to spice up a weak word.  For example: "She tightly closed her eyes."  The verb "closed" isn't strong enough so you pop in "tightly" to better describe it.

What would happen if you used a verb with more zing from the start negating the need for an adverb all together.  How about this instead: "Her eyes slammed shut."  Bam!  Just by changing the verb from "closed" to "slammed" you instantly get a picture of what is going on and it isn't as wordy, which adverbs tend to bring about in writing.

Another problem when using adverbs too often is the risk of telling the story rather than showing it (another big no no we will discuss later).  You want the reader to feel like they are right there in the action with the characters, not on the sidelines watching.

I'm not saying adverbs should be banned from writing.  They are a part of the English language for reason and I personally like them every now and again.

If you're an adverb lover why not try to flex your writing muscle a bit more today.  Right something and go through replacing all the 'ly' adverbs with more dynamic verbs, adjectives, etc.  See where that takes you.

What are your thoughts on adverbs?  Do you love them, love to hate them or a little of both?

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Couple Things

Before I delve into the many faucets of writing and publishing, hopefully gathering helpful information and communicating them to you simply, I first want to clarify a couple things. 

As I stated in my last post, you can find a million opinions out there about how you should do what and when in reference to writing and getting published.  When you come here I will give you the 'writing for dummies' version--the simple of the simple--and always stick to two things when deciding which rules fit for the beginning writer.

1) I err on the side of caution for the newbie writers trying to be published.  For example: if the safe way to get an agent to read your first three chapters is to "show, not tell" but you have a butt-load of information you feel needs to come out about the main character right away, then I'm going to suggest you weave it into the action instead of just explaining it.  Do some authors get published with long ramblings and descriptions about their characters?  Well sure.  But do you want to risk it on your first novel?  I don't think I so.

2) I am of the mind you should do what, deep down in your heart of hearts, you feel is right in regards to your writing.  ALWAYS!

That's it. 

Yes, I am aware these two rules can often times coincide with one another.  If rule number one isn't melding with what your heart tells you and you have consulted with some outside help, possibly a critique group (we will talk about them in the near future), mentor, etc and you are just certain you need to do it the unconventional way, then by all means do it!  I have read many debut novels that don't stick to guidelines and are wonderful reads...yours may be as well.  I am merely here to give information in a simple way.  But heck, sometimes life isn't simple!  In that case go with rule number two and follow your heart.

What about you, anyone out there want to share about times they had to go with gut over protocol?


Wednesday I'm going to cover adverbs--such lovely little buggers aren't they--and why they are a no no in the writing world.

Until then...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The writing world is hard. Keep it simple.

In my journey through all things writing I have discovered something...there are about a zillion and one opinions on any given subject concerning writing, publishing, querying and so forth, and some of it reads like a foreign language. 

Now I don't consider myself too particularly dense, but man, what does a writer have to do to get a straight answer on the web!?!

Not that all sites are this way.  For as many crazy ones out there, you can also find an equal amount of excellent and very helpful ones.  Some of my favorite blogs so far are Elana Johnson, Nathan Bransford, Janet Reid, and Pub Rants.  These seriously are just a few of them and I have gained some great insight scouring their's like they're are my best friends but they don't even know, that really sounds creepy so scratch that last bit.

Anyhoo, with all the twisted wires in the writer/publishing world as well as the crazy lingo, I thought how lovely it would be to go to a kind of Writing for Dummies place.  So guess what?  I'm going to try to deliver it on my own. 

That's right.  I am a newbie to the writers world who continues to learn as I grow.  I'm not ashamed to touch on the really easy writing topics that some may feel afraid to ask professionals because they will be laughed at in front of the whole writing blogosphere.  I'm also not worried about dumbing down the hard stuff so those not in the complete know can understand.

So come back and check it out and if you have anything (writing-wise) you are desperate for just ask and if I don't know the answer I will surely find and tell you the easiest, most straight forward form of the answer I can.

Happy hunting writers, but don't hunt so hard and so long you waste all those precious writing moments and find nothing but a bald spot where you've ripped your hair out in frustration.