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Writer-All-Nighter (2)

6 Jan

Wonder what  happens when an author (writer)  pulls an all nighter. Well here’s a list of my favorite all nighter activities:

#1. Write: This is probably a given, but I thought I’d better mention it to avoid confusion.

#2. Visit Blogs: Comment on the blogs in the blogroll for two reasons. First off because this is a great all nighter intermission activity. And second, it’s always nice to take time out for others when your otherwise busy.

#3. Read: That’s right. During my all nighters it’s essential that I keep a book close (that’s not my own) and read five pages here and there. I find this helps me to pull back from what I’m attempting to write so that when I revisit my work ten minutes later it’s like looking at it with fresher eyes.

#4. Chat on Skype: This works especially well with a friend in another time zone who’s impressed when you say, “Oh yeah, I’m still awake at 2 am. What time is it there? Oh, only 9? What’s that, you need to go to bed?” I find this activity tends to revive me for the big finish.

And finally, the  activity to do when pulling an all nighter…


How do you handle an all nighter?


Unrealistic Much?

14 May are, I guess.

At YA Fiction Fanatics (YAFF – an on-line critique group consisting of myself and other aspiring authors) one of our members posted a link to a teen blog, where the girl went on about how ‘unrealistic’ YA novels are today. And how writers don’t realistically capture the high school experience.

The girl’s spunky, which was great, but the blog prompted thoughts from several of us in the group. After all, no matter our age now (and I’m pretty far from old) we did each go to high school. lol. Even if high school didn’t include a hundred cells in every class.

Basically her thoughts were this. Cliques are not as apparent as novels like to suggest, high school kids tend to be very stressed about school, not just the opposite sex, and college plans exhaust them to NO END. Added on that, sports, work, and texting and she’s down right wiped out. OMG. (Makes me tired just thinking about. J/k. Like I said I’m not that old). In her post she went on to say that the YA novels don’t focus on the truth of 5 hours of homework a night and constant collage plans. (I’m paraphrasing here, these are not her exact words. Well the 5 hours of homework is…maybe that should be in quotations?)

Well anyway, her thoughts prompted a discussion within the group and here’s what we came up with: that it may be possible ‘cliques’ seem less noticeable when your popular. (The fact that the girl had well over 700 subscribers to her blog and over 28 comments on this one post alone, tells me she’s doing okay in that department.) And then there’s the whole how BIG is your school? We, out-of-touch-writers–once students ourselves–have determined that the social cliques might be a bit more obvious in the smaller schools. But since I don’t plan on cyber-stalking to find out what school said teen goes to, I’ll just assume it’s average–whatever average is. lol. (Yes, I know my research efforts are very focused).

Lastly, we writers thought, hmmm, YA FICTION. I’m not sure the girl would be reading so much if we all wrote books about 5 hours of homework a night and college apps. I think maybe some teens prefer unrealistic cliques, love interests, and making the grade with minimal effort. I do have to say though, I don’t think I ever went to school with any werewolves, vampires, mind readers, or the like.

Still, the girls post was fantastic. Most times I don’t think YA writers get across the pressures on teens today, but I think instead we try to offer time away from that stress, if only for 250-300 pages. (TA4N–oh, for those who don’t read text: That’s all for now).

Strawberry Sundae Saturday…

8 May in a booth at a local truck stop, sucking down a strawberry sundae with whipped cream on top. I glance over at my husband and admit to having the urge to jump across the table to kiss the crumbs, from his fried mushrooms, off his lips. lol. I’m not sure what triggered the thought but it was there. So much so, that I put my spoon down and gripped the bench I was sitting on to keep from doing just what I wanted. (There was young children in the room after all.)  🙂

Anyway, I asked him, why he thought I was wanting to leap over the table and devour him. He shrugged and said, maybe it was because he was smiling more today.

This got me thinking about the characters in books and what triggers their attraction to each other. Contrary to what some may think, not all characters are so beautiful that they immediately want each other. An author/friend of mine has said on several occasions that it drives her crazy reading romances where the hero and heroine are attracted to each other but for no apparent reason. She says, “Feelings come from somewhere.”

And she’s right.

Today’s feelings for my husband were brought on by a smile. (That’s what he said.) But after further thought, I like to mix sweet and salty foods. So, I’m chalking up my urge to jump over the table, to eating a strawberry sundae and wanting something fried/salty with it. And it’s not my fault the crumbs were clinging to his lips. 🙂

When you write do you consider the ‘why’? Why does your character feel this way or that? If you can’t answer the why you may need to go back to the drawing board. (Also, do you mix sweet/salty foods?) I recently taught our kids to dip french fries in ice cream. (But only as a treat. Once or twice per summer.)  😉

Writing a book is a journey, not a trip to the corner store.

11 Feb

The Journey Ahead

You’ll get the following advice: start a manuscript with action, make motivation clear from the start, hook the reader in the first line, don’t leave the reader with unanswered questions in the first chapter. The list goes on, and on, and on. For some books, these ideas work. For others, not so much. And others still, apply all of them.

The fact is, writing isn’t and shouldn’t be cookie cutter.

Yes, there are rules in writing. Sure, there are ideas out there that work great for the multitudes. On the other hand, we need to remember that while we live in a fast paced world of information, where how-to-do-just-about-anything is at a touch of a button. We also need to know when to apply what applies to us. With so many suggestions out there, it is difficult to sift through them. And if not careful, you might very well end up with a one page, thrill-a-minute story, that lasted literally a minute.

Writing is a journey.

I’m not saying don’t start with a hook. In my opinion you need to. However, will that hook be in the first line, first page, first chapter? You decide. I’m not saying ignore character motivation. Honestly, you shouldn’t, it’s essential. But, does that motivation need to be addressed in the first three words? Usually not.

The best suggestion I’ve ever read was simply this, write!

I’m adding a bit to it, because so much out there tells us to make it to the corner store. I suggest writing a journey. One that starts with a Title, a sentence, a paragraph, a page, a chapter. Applying only the suggestions you need to get you through to the end. You see, a journey takes you from one place to another and doesn’t tell you how to get there. A trip to the corner store shouldn’t be everyone’s destination.

Agent sites and blogs, when you query.

9 Feb

Word of warning. Cause for concern. Be sure and check out agents and their sites before subbing to them. During a visit to one of my favorite agent sites this past week, I read that the agent has considered pulling submission in the United States because authors are not subbing anything remotely close to what they represent. Mind you, this is an agency that deals solely with YA/MG manuscripts. Still, a quick click of the mouse and a writer will know what the agency does and does not rep.

Don’t get me wrong, mistakes get made. Sometimes we hit send on our submissions before checking that everything is attached, spelled or punctuated properly. However, a mistake is a mistake, but unprofessional is unprofessional. It is a mistake to forget an attachment. It is unprofessional to approach an agent when you have done no research on whether or not the agent even reps your genre.

We expect agents to respond to us, get annoyed when they don’t. We expect them to represent us to the best of their ability, to get our books published and on the shelf. And we would be furious if they didn’t do their homework on publishers. So again, I caution all authors take a good look at the agent prior to submitting to them. In the end, it saves everyone time, allows agents to continue excepting submissions and heck, maybe even respond too them.

The title of this post says it all: Agent sites and blogs. Just use them. Most times you’ll find nice specifics that can help you to personalize your query. It’s worth the time.

After you comment feel free to check on the ‘Agent blogs’ on my sidebar. Also, when searching for an agent at lets say, Agent Query, don’t forget to look at their agency websites for more personal guidelines. After all, agents are human too and they may have forgotten to update their guidelines.

Good luck and happy querying.

Not Just Romance – Wednesday Writing Topic

27 Jan
How do you know what to write? Or for that matter what to read?

The average reader would be shocked by the number of genres (aka categories) authors can write under. We don’t just wake up one day and say, “I’m going to write romance.” Okay, so maybe we do. But as authors we are suppose to give our romance a name. For instance, I’ve recently finished a Young Adult Paranormal Romance (aka YA Para Romo). My current WIP (Work  in Progress), is a Post WWII Novel, and is considered a Mainstream Romance. As well as a 2nd WIP. It’s a  YA Fantasy Romance.

But there are many, many, more: Romantic Comedy, Contemporary Romance, Sci-Fi Romance, Historical Romance, Inspirational Romance and Romantic suspense. Gasp, Erotica. (And any combination of these) 😉 Of course there are others I’ve missed.But I’m sure you’re catching my drift.

So how do we decide what we write?

For many of us, we are geared to write what we read. And for those of us who’ll devour any book no matter what the genre, its simply what we’re passionate about.

I love romance in almost any genre, though I have my preferences when it comes to which genres I like best. So I write my passion, Romance. And I choose the genres I write because they are what I like to read with the exception of Romantic Comedy. I avoid writing Romo Coms like the plague. You can’t force funny, if you know what I mean.

So if you’re a reader, what do you like to read the most, and why?

If you’re an author, what is your passion and what genres do you prefer?

After you comment click on here for Wikipedia Free Encylopedia-Romance Novel to read more about my passion and where/how it originated.

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