Sunday, July 20, 2014

Back from vacation and boy did I...! I did not do any writing. Zip. Zilch. Unless you count the grocery list.
Instead, I read.
You need to read to be a better writer. That much is 100% true. I read Garden Spells, The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden, The Redemption of Callie and Kayden, A Dog's Journey (sequel to A Dog's Purpose), Second Glance by Jodi Piccoult and a book that I am reviewing for a site, here.

The upside to not writing, and being at the beach and not doing ANYTHING--except figuring out what is for dinner, watching dolphins and debating which Old Pro mini golf course we are going to play--is your brain is relaxed and accepting of new ideas.

For Lane Changes, my YA/New Adult novel, I came to the realization I am going to try to market it to an agent again. I had a few nibbles years ago and even after 20 rejection letters and two 'give me more' and one request for a 'full MS' that is enough to carry me through the last few years. I knew I could make it better. So, I tightened it up, added the advice an agent gave me, had another person beta/edit it and after one more read through, I'm going to prepare those query letters. Scary.

For Sticks & Stones, the YA Fantasy I am working on with my friend Cindy, I had about a bajillion ideas come to me. A few I tossed away like a shell into the ocean. The others I let percolate and two were so intense, I dreamt about them. After a day back at home grocery shopping, cleaning, picking up the dog from the kennel, I am hoping I will have time tomorrow to play with these ideas. It's time to get working on Sticks & Stones if I am going to have it to Cindy by mid-August.

Fingers crossed everything falls into place!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Need some crazy stories...

In talking to the publisher who has "Lane Changes" she has decided to wait a year in publishing my book in order to get her business more established, and work on the two projects she has right now, which is fine. This gives me a chance to take the sequel that is written and divide it into another book...the college years. I would love some real-life college stories from anyone out there that can be incorporated into the book. I have some from my own four years at college, but any others would be appreciated. I would not use real names, of course, or even the real college.

Thanks in advance! You can submit the story in the reply here or contact me directly.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

#amwriting #amediting #amreading

Good ol' hashtags for Twitter. I found I did all of these over the 4th of July weekend. We were hit by the remnants of Hurricane Arthur yesterday and there was nothing to do but sit inside on that rainy day and edit. And write. And read.

"Lane Changes", my YA light mystery and romance book, is being reviewed at a small, start up publisher right now. It is 77K words. The publisher knows that there is a book 2, but it was in VERY rough shape. I wrote these two stories back in 2006 to 2008 and for some innane reason, I thought it'd be a good idea to have each chapter be an individual document. There are 30 chapters in the second book and according to the Word's over 111K words long. Me thinks that may be a bit too much for a second book? The second book spans six years; the first four are glossed over because there wasn't much happening pertinent to the main storyline. So, I'm toying with the idea of writing more scenes for the first four years and making this a trilogy. There is a natural stopping point, so it can be done, but it'll be a lot of work. I already have some ideas that are popping into my head that will make the storyline of Lane much richer.

So, this leads me to the many words is TOO many? I know, upon researching for agent submissions, 60K is a good minimum amount of words to have for a novel. I feel 111K is too many, and it's not even fully edited yet. To give you an idea of how much I was writing and editing yesterday for Book 2, when I first opened the file on my laptop and combined all the Chapters into one document, there were 99K words. From July 4-5th, I wrote in 12K more.

Ugh, the Math is what is going to kill me here.

So, yeah. There we go. What do you readers and writers prefer? A three book series where you have to wait three years to finish reading it or a standalone book with a Part 1, Part 2 or Part 3? I guess I will have to wait and see what the publisher would like from me if "Lane Changes" gets picked up!

Picture below stolen from The Waiting is the Hardest Part Blog

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

IWSG--Encouragment via Reviews in Writing

It's the first Wednesday of the month and that means...IWSG time! Today, I'm talking about my thoughts on reviews and how they can encourage you, if done tactfully!

I know there are authors out there who have said they never Google themselves or read reviews about their newest book. I'm not sure I'd have that kind of self control, especially nowadays where most authors have numerous social media sites. You have to maintain them, so you will eventually come across a reader who tells you their thoughts on your work. So, unless you have the money and can hire someone to manage your website/blog/Facebook/Twitter etc accounts for you, you are bound to come across negative and, hopefully, positive reviews/comments.

I wrote FanFiction (Harry Potter) for two years or so. I read FF for longer and I saw some of the "flamers" and what they can write about a person's hard work. I could tell most of those "flamers" were just trying to get a reaction; probably bored teens or even adults who have nothing better to do than start an argument with someone they can't see. On the flip side, there are the gushing positive reviews. You can tell how excited they are to be reading something they connect with. They use numerous exclamation points, caps, or just tell you "I LOVE IT!!!!" Sometimes, you get some detailed feedback about specific scenes, characters or ideas that they liked. I've also seen this with reviews for published works on sites like Amazon, Goodreads and personal Blogs.

Personally, I like the positive feedback (who doesn't?) that comes with "why" they liked it. If they said YA Romance is their favorite genre and they identify with character "A"...why is that? If you loved a specific dialogue scene, "why" did it stick out to you? Negative feedback has it's uses, too. If more than a handful of readers tell you they think that <insert scene here> is "unreal" or "fell flat" it may just have done that, but getting a "why" is helpful. I find it encouraging to hear this kind of feedback as it helps me refine and chisel away at my story, trying to make it better and more appealing.

Knowing what works and what doesn't is encouraging in the long run. You will find that handful of people who just don't like what you wrote, but I chalk that up to the fact this story just isn't their cup of tea. If you can back up your positive and negative reviews with "why", it means alot more to the author than just "This was great" or "I couldn't get into it."

What kind of encouragement helps you as a writer? What do you think of some reviews that you have stumbled across?