Tag Archives: finding an agent

It’s marketing time! More blog posts and interviews, less novel writing.

While I was on vacation, dreaming about getting back and leisurely finishing ASHES IN THE SKY, my publicist sent over my blog tour interviews and guest post requests.

Just_Breathe

After reviewing them (14 in all so far) I decided to write “just a little” of ASHES IN THE SKY per day to keep myself going, and bust out the marketing for FIRE IN THE WOODS as soon as I can (They are all due back by September 15th)

I cringe when I think of it, because my original goal was to finish ASHES IN THE SKY before my vacation.  Then I moved the goal day to a week after vacation when I got bogged down with the edits. Right now that deadline doesn’t look all that rosy either.

Sigh

But I will not be thwarted!  I am doing my best to write clean copy. I am hoping that all I will have to do is general insertion of emotion and setting. Hopefully there will be no huge changes or additions to be made, but I won’t know until I send this puppy out to my beta readers to be slapped around a bit.

As it stands now, I am just turning the corner into act three.  The third and final act should be a roller-coaster ride and easy plot-wise to write, but hard in the “action” department.  I probably only have about 10,000-20,000 words to go.  I can do this. I just need to keep plugging away.

JenniFer_EatonFFire in the Woods Revised Cover

When the edits are finally over… Whew!

Edits are finally done for FIRE IN THE WOODS. Part of me breathes a sigh of relief, while the other part of me cringes in horror.

This was a multi-faceted process, which would have been much easier if I was not writing book two, ASHES IN THE SKY at the same time under a very stringent deadline. I work great under pressure, but not always great under double pressure.

Book Left1Developmental Edit

Anyway, step one was the Developmental Edit. This was not all that hard. There were two minor changes… one that took a half-hour phone conversation with my editor until we worked it out… but really minor for the overall story. #1 was ramping up the father’s reaction at one point, and #2 was giving Jess a little more of a reason to be afraid of another character. Overall, easy fixes.

Book Right1General Editing

After the developmental edit we went through three rounds of general editing for flow, readability and stuff like that. Here is where I found all those words that were repeated. This was the most painstaking part for me.

Book Right1Proofreading

After this we went through three FULL READS of the novel front to back looking for typos, mis-spelled words, improper punctuation and the like. THIS is the part that scares me. I found errors each time I read it (after correcting what I found the previous time). This really stresses me out because being a perfectionist; I would like to have been able to read through front to back without finding any typos. All I can do at this point is hope and pray I found them all. (And maybe bite off a few nails)

So, I leave for vacation knowing that my work is done, and all I need to do now is worry about book two… and reapplying sun screen.

_JenniFer____EatoNcropped-fire-banner-final2.png

 

How to make Your Reader Care About Your Character #5

I am skimming over notes I took from a class about creating characters that your reader will care about.

Disclaimer:  I honestly don’t remember where this handout came from. I’m going to paraphrase the topic and think up my own ideas, but I don’t want anyone to think I’m stealing without giving credit.

It should be a given to an author that they need to create characters that their readers will care about. They do not necessarily have to like the character. Some really great characters are very unlikable. But we need to CARE about them, or we won’t keep reading. Right?

So how do we do this?

1.       Relationships.  (See previous post)

2.       Give them a goal (See previous post)

3.       Caring about others (See previous post)

4.       A special gift or talent. (See previous post)

5.       A handicap

Oooooo.  That’s a good one.

Here’s a good one. Even though you might not be handicapped, you can imagine what it would be like, right?  You feel for someone with a disability.

This came up recently in a comment on my blog, when someone mentioned that the horrid character on the TV show House was softened because he had a handicap.

How about a phobia?

A phobia is a good one two… something they need to overcome in order to fulfill their purpose of hero in the story.

Or something even more simple and relatable

Maybe it is something simple, like they need to run for their lives and the only car available to flee in has a stick shift, but the character does not know how to drive a stick.

Anything wrong with your character is an easy way to make them relatable. No one wants to read about someone who is perfect, right?

Unless you are Mary Poppins.  (But she was only practically perfect, right?)

That’s it!

Five ways to create the ever-important care-factor.  Give your readers characters that they can care about, and they will scream for more!

Think about the main character in your favorite novel. Pinpoint exactly what it was that made you engage with them. What was it? Come on, share the ideas!

_JenniFer____EatoN

Enhanced by Zemanta

How to make Your Reader Care About Your Character #4

I am skimming over notes I took from a class about creating characters that your reader will care about.

Disclaimer:  I honestly don’t remember where this handout came from. I’m going to paraphrase the topic and think up my own ideas, but I don’t want anyone to think I’m stealing without giving credit.

It should be a given to an author that they need to create characters that their readers will care about. They do not necessarily have to like the character. Some really great characters are very unlikable. But we need to CARE about them, or we won’t keep reading. Right?

So how do we do this?

1.       Relationships.  (See previous post)

2.       Give them a goal (See previous post)

3.       Caring about others (See previous post)

4.       A special gift or talent.

A special gift or talent can be tricky

This one can be tricky, but it can be used when the others fail. A special talent, I think, needs to be part of the plot to make it work.  Like a person loves to draw, so we want to see them become a successful artist.  If they don’t, then why did they have the talent mentioned in the story to begin with?

Make sure it has meaning

This needs to be all about fulfillment. They need to use the talent to make something happen in the story.

Yes, this could be a great device, but be careful to make sure it fits inside your plot and story arc.

What recent special talent have you read that really drew you in to a novel?

_JenniFer____EatoN

Enhanced by Zemanta

How to make Your Reader Care About Your Character #3

I am skimming over notes I took from a class about creating characters that your reader will care about.

Disclaimer:  I honestly don’t remember where this handout came from. I’m going to paraphrase the topic and think up my own ideas, but I don’t want anyone to think I’m stealing without giving credit.

It should be a given to an author that they need to create characters that their readers will care about. They do not necessarily have to like the character. Some really great characters are very unlikable. But we need to CARE about them, or we won’t keep reading. Right?

So how do we do this?

1.       Relationships.  (See previous post)

2.       Give them a goal (See previous post)

3.       Caring about others

Even the most horrible person on the planet has to care about someone, right?

Well, maybe not the most horrible person on the planet. I suppose you could create a noteworthy character who does not care about others, but the more I think of it, even the greatest villains of all time cared about something.

A villain can be a big softie

The guy in Psycho was pretty twisted, but that was okay, because he really loved his grandma. The Dude in Despicable Me wanted to be the greatest villain of all time, but these kids that he cared about kept getting in the way.
I think the idea is that in most cases everyone cares about someone. It may be trivial, or it may be gruesome, like keeping your beloved dead grandma… but it is that “care factor” that a reader can relate to.

Taking the easy way out

The handout talks about easier versions of caring, like taking care of a baby or helping an old lady cross the street.  So, if your character is a nice person, just make sure we can see them doing something that shows that they care for others.  They will get brownie points from your readers for their trouble.

Think about a novel your recently read that you loved. What did the main character care about?

_JenniFer____EatoN

Enhanced by Zemanta

How to make Your Reader Care About Your Character #2

I am skimming over notes I took from a class about creating characters that your reader will care about.

Disclaimer:  I honestly don’t remember where this handout came from. I’m going to paraphrase the topic and think up my own ideas, but I don’t want anyone to think I’m stealing without giving credit.

It should be a given to an author that they need to create characters that their readers will care about. They do not necessarily have to like the character. Some really great characters are very unlikable. But we need to CARE about them, or we won’t keep reading. Right?

So how do we do this?

1.       Relationships.  (See previous post)

2.       Give them a goal

Ugh. Goals. We all have them, right? We all have something we need to do every day. Some goals we like, others we labor over.  The point is, we can all relate to having to do something.

If your character is wandering around in circles with no clear intent, the reader will not be able to engage.  Even before the inciting incident that is the real start to your story… your character has to have a reason for being… a goal of something that needs to be done (it can be simple, like making dinner)

But soon you should hit the “big goal” that will carry your reader along for the rest of the journey. We have to know what the goal is and have a vested interest in the character getting there.

By the way, the “big goal” needs to materialize in the first 25% of the book or earlier.  This may seem like a given to most of you, but I’ve read some works in progress lately where the author did not understand this. Think about your character’s goal, and make sure it is apparent to the reader.

Everyone wants something.

A reader can connect and care if they have the opportunity to root for your character to get what he/she wants.

So go ahead, give them a goal!

What was the character’s goal in your favorite novel? Do you think this is what made it your favorite?

Enhanced by Zemanta

How to make Your Reader Care About Your Character #1

I was cleaning off my desk this weekend and I came across a handout from a seminar or class that I don’t even remember taking.  I read through the page and considered my current work in progress.  I’m pretty sure that by this time in my career I am doing what the handout recommends as an almost instinctual part of my writing process.

I almost tossed the paper, but thought there may be some people out there who could benefit from these notes.  And, of course, I tend to learn stuff myself when I write out and analyze notes for posts, so let’s see what happens.

To keep things  short, I will break this topic into 5 separate posts.  One thought to chew on at a time.

Disclaimer:  I honestly don’t remember where this handout came from. I’m going to paraphrase the topic and think up my own ideas, but I don’t want anyone to think I’m stealing without giving credit.

All right:  Creating a character people care about:

It should be a given to an author that they need to create characters that their readers will care about. They do not necessarily have to like the character. Some really great characters are very unlikable. But we need to CARE about them, or we won’t keep reading. Right?

So how do we do this?

1.       Relationships.  Everyone in the world has relationships. They can be good, bad, or just tolerable, but you know what a relationship is, and so does your reader. Seeing a character in a relationship is an easy way to help a reader connect.

Let’s think over some memorable relationships.  I’ll grab a character most people know.

Harry Potter.

Harry lives with his aunt and uncle. Wow, they do not treat him well, do they? Have you ever been treated unfairly? Have you every had to put up with it because you had no choice? Have you ever wished a magic letter would show up and scoot you away? (Well, I’m sure the answer is “yes” to most of what I said, anyway.)

Giving Harry this horrible home life helps us to INSTANTLY connect with him. We feel sorry for him and want him to live up to his potential.  If Harry can overcome the odds, maybe we can, too.

Do you see how quickly and easily the connection is made? In the first few scenes we totally care and we are engaged.

Relationships. Use them.

And if your character is stranded on a deserted island, have him draw a face on a ball so he has someone to talk to. Yes, that has been done, but that helped you to connect as well, right?
Relationships are one of the easiest ways to help your readers care about your characters.

How have you used relationships to develop your characters?

_JenniFer____EatoN

Writing Madly to a Deadline, and then NOT submitting

I recently jumped into the running for another anthology, which means writing to a tight deadline.  I tripped up my schedule for a few weeks, finalizing my novel for the Amazon Break Through Novel Contest, and was two-weeks behind schedule. I DID finish in time (barely), but now I sit here the day before the deadline, with a completed manuscript in my hands, second guessing myself.

Do I think it’s not good enough?  No.  The opposite.  It’s tight. It’s precise….

And if you could have seen the look on my son’s face after reading it— Dang.  I haven’t seen him this excited about something since finishing the Hunger Games (Not that mine is even remotely like the Hunger Games)

So what’s the problem?  Submit the dern thing!

Here’s my problem… It’s too long.  I did not make the word count.  I contacted the publisher, and they said they would consider it at the higher word count, but it definitely would have to be cut down by 1500 words for publication in the anthology (If it were chosen)

I searched for those 1500 words, and found a possible 500 to cut, but editing out those 500 would have affected the “mood” of the story.  And if another 1000 words were cut after that, the whole story would seem rushed.

If my son had said “Meh, it’s okay.  I’ve read better.” (Which he has done to me in the past) I would have sliced and diced the 1500 words out of the story and sent it in.

But he didn’t say that.  He asked for more.  My kid the voracious reader said:  “It was really great.  I’ve never read anything like that before.  When will you write another one?”

I thought about what those forced changes would do, and decided to take the creative high road.  I am passing on the anthology, and am now embarking on a search for a publisher of Young Adult Paranormal Short/Novellas.

Ugh!  I hate passing up an opportunity, but I think this particular story needs to find a more suitable home than the confines of an anthology.

I am all for editing… all stories need to be edited, but I don’t want to “cut” just for the sake of “cutting”.  I’d rather have words cut because they don’t belong there… not because there is a stipulation on word count.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation like this?

If not, do you think you’d submit anyway, or search for a new home?

_JenniFer____EatoN

I’m back! The blog tour is finally over. (Thank Goodness) – What I learned. And an ebook #giveaway for #FreeFriday #freestuff

Omigosh.  I can’t believe it’s finally over.  This may have been the most painful thing wonderful experience I’ve ever had as a writer and I hope I never have to put myself through this can’t wait to do another one.

I just came off a month-long blog tour.  45 stops in 30 days.  The over achiever in me says “Yes! Awesome! Bring it!”  But the real-person side of me just wants to take a step back and sleep.

So, what did I learn?  A lot.  Would I do it again?

No._00000

Well, at least not in the same way.

Did we get the word out?  Yes.

Did we sell books?  Yes.

Was it worth it?  I’m not really sure yet.

I don’t think I am going to take on a blog tour this aggressively again. Will I be aggressive?  You betcha! But the rest of my life shouldn’t suffer for it.

Before I dig into the things I’ve learned, let’s discuss the result…

Don’t get me wrong, this was not an overall bad experience.  My fear is, though, that I may have lost some of my following because I was not “here”.  That is what is really bothering me.

Soooooo… In the future, I will not be wreaking havoc across the internet for thirty days straight.  I will take it easy so I can still enjoy my life, because I can’t write when I’m stressed, and that just doesn’t work for anyone, does it?

I’m going to cut back a bit on blogging too, so I have enough time for my extensive goals for 2013… but I have some great things planned.

Mondays will be my days for posting about whatever pops into my head… The fun rants on my writing, my world, or whatever.

Tuesdays will continue to be Write a Story with Me, which is still going strong, and new people are signing up.  This has been a HOOT!

Wednesdays and Thursdays I will take off, unless I have a book review or something exciting that I can’t wait until Monday for.

Friday is something brand new I’m going to try out as a gift to everyone who’s supported me through all this.  #FreeFridays will feature a different author every week with a giveaway. They may give away a book, an ebook, chocolate, dogs, cats, whatever. But it’s a chance for them to promote their book, and a chance at a freebee for all those who comment.  Should be fun.  By the way… since this is the first #FreeFriday, everyone who comments today will have a chance to win either For the Love of Christmas or Make Believe on ebook. (your choice)  Yay!

Saturdays will be open to my whims, and I may not always post.  But for the next month I will be featuring the continuation of author/Editor Danielle Ackley McPhail’s advice on the do’s and don’ts of how to submit your manuscript.  It’s great stuff we can all learn from.

Sunday will return to Sunday Snippets, where I will showcase a snippet from my current work in progress, and invite you all to do the same.  It’s a time to share a little, and see what you guys think of it.  I’ve thought of making this a weekly blog hop, but it will be very informal, and I won’t kick you off if you post more than six sentences.  Yeah, I’m nice that way.  If you want to sign up, click here and be sure to hop around to other people’s sites to see their snippets.

Okay!  Now that all of that is out of the way….. What I learned:

A few things to keep in mind when you set up your own blog tours:

1.       Just because a person says they will host you, and you do the interview, doesn’t mean they will post it.  Just say’n.  Be ready for it.  It’s embarrassing to send people to a post and have it not be there.

2.       Confirm, and make sure you get confirmations.  I sent out interviews and sent confirmation emails, but in one instance I didn’t get a response for the confirmation.  Not sure what happened to my emails, but the host never got either, so the post ended up late.  My fault for not following up better on that one.

3.       There will be posts that it seems no one has read.  I try to tell myself that not everyone who reads posts comments. I hope some people read some of those guest posts, because I thought they were pretty good! Try to keep your chin up.  No all stops will look as successful as others, but you won’t know unless the host lets you know the number of hits.

4.       Some tour stops will be AWESOME.  Make a note of those people and become buddies.  Luckily for me, I’m already buddies, so everyone else has to suck up to them J

5.       Scheduling, doing the interview/post, telling people where you are that day, and following up and answering questions on all those other sites is time consuming and exhausting.  Be ready for it. No matter how well you think you have prepared… well, you know how it is.

6.       Don’t forget about Facebook.  I forgot about Facebook.  Oh well.

So, there you have it.  The good, the bad and the ugly – and what I learned through all this monotony.  For the most part, it was fun, and if I were a full time professional writer, and didn’t have another job, a part time job, a poodle that needs to be brushed, three kids with homework and a husband, it would have been no problem.  But for me, I think a more leisurely pace will be the ticket for the next one.

Thanks for sticking with me! And Here’s to an AWESOME 2013!  What do you have on tap for this year?

Don’t forget one commenter below will get their choice of For the Love of Christmas or Make Believe on ebook!

It’s GREAT to be back!

JenniFer_EatonF

By request: Who’s verses Whose

It never occurred to me to do an article on Who’s verses whose, because I don’t think I’ve ever had a problem with it.  I can see how this could be confusing, however.

I will try to make this as simple as possible.

Who’s” is kind of like “it’s”.   It is a contraction of two words.

Who is going to the store?

Who’s going to the store?

Whose is the possessive form of “Who”.

Who does this book belong to?

Whose book is this?

I believe the problem that may cause confusion is that sneaky little apostrophe.  In most cases apostrophe with an “S” denotes a possessive.  That is not true for “who”, or for “it”.

It’s just another one of those wonderful little rules that make the English language so much fun!

Hope this helps!