Tag Archives: Writer Resources

Simple Rules to Writing a Great Novel

Writing_A_Great_Novel

For the past 32 weeks, we’ve been discussing Guthrie’s 32 Rules to Writing A Great Novel.  Here is a handy-dandy list of all the articles and links to them, all in one place.

This is a great time to review, especially if you are editing your manuscript.

Please let me know which one you found the most helpful, or if you think this guy is just off his rocker. :-)

Enjoy!

And Happy Editing!

01- Writing is Subjective – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1yw

02- Oblique Dialog – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1An

03- Whatsa Strong Verb? – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1AK

04- Easy on the Adjectives – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1B8

05- Two for One is not always a good thing – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1Bc

06- The shorter the better – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1Cd

07- Once is enough, Thank you very much. – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1Ci

08- Show, Don’t Tell – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1Cl

09- Just the facts, Ma’am – The important facts – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1Cp

10- Don’t be cute – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1Eg

11- Sound like a writer, without SOUNDING like a writer – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1El

12- Who’s talking now? – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1El

13- Yep. Your Write. Ya gotta change it. – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1Ff

14- Stop “saying” things – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1Fk

15- They’re not psychic – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1Fq

16- Come late, leave early – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1H0

17- Don’t dump on me! – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1H2

18- Goals, anyone? – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1HL

19- Don’t sleep with him/her – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1HP

20- Go ahead, torture ‘em! – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1HR

21- The stinkier the better – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1HT

22- The long and short of it – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1IP

23- Stop being all proper – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1Ke

24- Stop feeling! And no thinking! – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1Kp

25- Don’t repeat the tense – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1Kt

26- Cut your weakest player – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1Ky

27- Plant Vegetables, not information – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1KD

28- Keep it to yourself, Jerk! – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1KG

29- No happy shruggers – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1KK

30- Pronouns. Tricky little suckers – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1KM

31- Shoot him later – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1KO

32- Forget about it – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1KQ

Another Publisher Bites the Dust

It’s one of the risks we take as authors when we put our work out there, especially with one of the smaller publishing houses.  A week ago, Still Moments Publishing closed for submissions “due to the que being full”.

Hmmm.  Odd, huh?

Yesterday, it was announced that Still Moments Publishing is being absorbed by another publisher.  Which one, I don’t know yet.

Do I regret my decision to go with them?  Not at all.  I learned a lot about Romance Writing through them.  The experience with my editors was overwhelmingly positive, and my writing grew because of it.  The mild inconvenience I am experiencing now is a small price to pay for growing as a writer.

The transition has been as painless as possible.  Still Moments has been very good about it.  I already have my rights back, and am seeking a new publisher.  I wish everyone at Still Moments the best in their future endeavors.

So, if you’ve been thinking of picking up a copy of “Jack and Jill”, or “For the Love of Christmas”, you might want to do so sooner than later.  Most Still Moments titles will start disappearing in the next few days.

JenniFer_EatonF

 

Give that Publisher What They Want Dernit! – Keep It simple

I am uber stoker to be able to dig into the wild and crazy brain of someone who is out there doing this crazy publishing stuff professionally. When you read this, you’re gonna want to slap yourself silly, because this is hearing it right from someone who does this for a living. For the next few weeks, we will be delving into the slush pile with professional editor and author Danielle Ackley-McPhail

Here we go…

The Writer’s Toolbox: Give ’Em What They Want! Why Formatting Is Important By Danielle Ackley-McPhail

(Originally published in Allegory Magazine ©2011)

—————————————————————–

So far, we’ve discussed that nothing will help your manuscript if the editor in question is not even willing to read it.

We’ve discussed remembering your contact information, and some basics… How to identify yourself, and your manuscript.

Last week we discussed basic formatting.  Now we’ll go into some special stuff.

Keep It Simple

Matters of Style

No matter what I type here there are going to be plenty of examples of publishers that do things different from what I’ve covered. Sometimes that is just a product of their experience or how they were taught. Sometimes it has to do with style guides. You may or may not have heard of these; the most familiar are the AP Style Guide, the Chicago Manual of Style, and Strunk and Whites. Many of these have their roots in print journalism and are meant to unify style for consistency. Basically they are journalists’ grammar and style bibles. Their use is no longer limited to newspapers or magazines. Not only do they guide a writer in matters of style, but they also cover grammar issues that are often confused or lost in depths of time-fogged memory.

Keep it Simple!

Before the time of electronic submissions not listening to this advice was one of the biggest mistakes beginners made. You would laugh your butts off if you had heard some of the stories I have about the manner in which some hopeful authors have submitted their manuscripts. We are talking complete bells and whistles here of the type you would expect from the ad campaign of a major corporation. Everything from fancy, scented paper to puzzle-box packaging, all of it intended to catch the eye and stand out like a psychedelic dream. Unfortunately, all that does is relegate your manuscript to the list of over-drinks stories editors tell.

Things might have changed now that the majority of submissions are handled electronically, but it is still important for you to know that a story should be noticed for the quality of the writing, not the inventiveness or style of its presentation. If you are submitting by conventional mail use plain white or cream bond paper and observe the formatting guidelines I reviewed above; if you are submitting electronically, don’t use fancy type or try to set your manuscript as if it is a finished book; don’t use colored text or insert photographs (unless they are a key point of what you are submitting, such as an academic text or how-to); and don’t add any other bells and whistles you might be considering. Let me be clear: The manuscript should stand on its own merit. If the writing isn’t any good, none of the flash is going to make a difference. What it will do is distract the editor from your work and likely cause them to reject it outright as being unprofessional.

Award-winning author Danielle Ackley-McPhail has worked both sides of the publishing industry for over seventeen years. Currently, she is a project editor and promotions manager for Dark Quest Books.

Her published works include four urban fantasy novels, Yesterday’s Dreams, Tomorrow’s Memories, Today’s Promise, and The Halfling’s Court: A Bad-Ass Faerie Tale. She is also the author of a single-author collection of science fiction stories called A Legacy of Stars, the non-fiction writers guide, The Literary Handyman and is the senior editor of the Bad-Ass Faeries anthology series, Dragon’s Lure, and In An Iron Cage. Her work is included in numerous other anthologies and collections, including Rum and Runestones, Dark Furies, Breach the Hull, So It Begins, By Other Means, No Man’s Land, Space Pirates, Space Horrors, Barbarians at the Jumpgate, and Mermaid 13.

She is a member of the New Jersey Authors Network and Broad Universe, a writer’s organization focusing on promoting the works of women authors in the speculative genres.

Danielle lives somewhere in New Jersey with husband and fellow writer, Mike McPhail, mother-in-law Teresa, and three extremely spoiled cats. She can be found on LiveJournal (damcphail, badassfaeries, darkquestbooks, lit_handyman), Facebook (Danielle Ackley-McPhail), and Twitter (DAckley-McPhail). To learn more about her work, visit http://www.sidhenadaire.com, http://www.literaryhandyman.com, or www.badassfaeries.com.

Website and/or blog www.sidhenadaire.com, http://lit_handyman.livejournal.com, http://damcphail.livejournal.com

Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/DMcPhail

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/#!/danielle.ackleymcphail

Amazon author page   http://www.amazon.com/Danielle-Ackley-McPhail/e/B002GZVZPQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1331314265&sr=8-1

Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/989939.Danielle_Ackley_McPhail

http://www.badassfaeries.com/

http://www.sidhenadaire.com/

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Write a Story with Me Part 23 — Which Daughter to Choose– with Aparnauteur

Are ya looking for Romancing Your E-Reader?  25 Ebooks Up for grabs!  Click Here to Enter!

ChristmasFiligree

Yay!  Write a Story with Me is back!  (This is my little Christmas present to myself.)  I have to admit that people have been writing away during our little break and…..  Ooooooo I feel a battle brewing! Enjoy the ride!

Now remember, we’ve got a battle on the verge of rocking.  Marci is tied to a table in her father’s ship, her sister is flying out in space, and the very lives of the faeries are on the line.  What the heck is going to happen?  Let’s see!

23 – Aparnauteur

“Poor girl, scared her, didn’t we? For a moment I thought our invisibilatrix was toast.”

“Not a chance. As for the little glitch, she’s the only one who saw us. I doubt that her addled brain would have pieced it together. Meanwhile, I want you to check if any of Janosc’s waspy pals are about to join us on our precipice rendezvous. He is paranoid enough not to trust his own self in the operation.”

“It’s all under control, Mme. I sent a Morse to Marriott. He’ll take care of those red dots flanking our target. Our target, meanwhile, drifted to two and a half sea miles port side. They seem to be having trouble keeping an even keel. I am guessing their vessel is as old as Yoran. It’s funny how we’re part of the same—Oh no! What did I just say–forgive me for my indiscretion–he’s your father–what I meant to say was–I am extremely sorry, Mme Sian”

“Oh, don’t makes a hames of it now, Jodi. Just keep up with the update. When are we getting Marci out of the vessel?”

“I slipped the sonambulator into Bethany’s toque. She never removes it when she travels. It emits a sound whose frequency would tell us when’s the right time.”

“Perfect. We now wait for your pesky pal to do what she does best—eavesdrop”

Yoran had known for some time that Sian was trailing him. What he didn’t know was which daughter to choose.

Write a Story with Me is a group endeavor just for the fun of it.  A different writer adds a new 250 words each week.  It is the ultimate Flash Fiction Challenge!

If you’d like to sign up, come on over.  There’s always room for more!

Part One – Jennifer M. Eaton

Part Two – J. Keller Ford

Part Three – Susan Roebuck

Part Four – Elin Gregory

Part Five – Eileen Snyder

Part Six – Mikaela Wire

Part Seven — Vanessa Chapman

Part Eight — Ravena Guron

Part Nine – Vikki Thompson

Part Ten — Susan Rocan mywithershins

Part Eleven — Kate Johnston  AKA 4AMWriter

Part Twelve — Julie Catherine

Part Thirteen — Kai Damian

Part Fourteen — Richard Leonard

Part Fifteen — Sharon Manship

Part Sixteen – Shannon Blue Christensen

Part Seventeen — Bryn Jones

Part Eighteen — Jennifer M. Eaton

Part Nineteen — Shannon Burton

Part Twenty — J.Keller Ford

Part Twenty-One — Susan Roebuck

Part Twenty-Two — Elin Gregory

Part Twenty-Three — Aparnauteur

Don’t forget to stop by next week to see what happens next.

 Vanessa Chapman —- TAG!  You are “It”

The Big Announcement! Writing to a Deadline AGAIN #4 The Big Announcement!

I am so excited to announce that I’ve just signed a contract with Still Moments Publishing to have my story Connect the Dots included in their 2012 Christmas Anthology.

This is totally unbelievable.  In January, I posted a big boisterous banner proclaiming that I WOULD BE PUBLISHED by the end of 2012.  It was quite a lofty goal for me, and now I will have two stories coming out this year.

I’m giddy with glee.

Hey, Canada.  Look South.  See that big bright light down in the USA?  That’s me smiling!

Oh, guys.  This is just so dern cool.  You have no idea.

Click here to see my query blurb and promo page for Connect the Dots.  Yeah, No explosions.  I was a good girl for Christmas.

Writing to a Deadline AGAIN? You betcha! Part Two

Yes, here we go again.  When I left you I had five weeks to write a story from scratch and submit.  Here’s how I did it.

Check out yesterday’s post by clicking here to see how I got myself into this mess.

Okay, so this is how I did it…

I took two days to come up with and outline the story.

I gave myself 1,000 words a day of writing time by placing FIRE IN THE WOODS on hold.  Within Ten days (two weeks in to the process—I don’t write on weekends) I had a rough draft.

Three more weeks until Deadline.

I posted the first half of my story on Scribophile, took general comments, and did a mild revision.

Two weeks until deadline… and no one had even seen the second half.

Now it was time for my writing buddies to jump on board.  They all read it in full.  One ripped me a new one.  It almost felt like a “keep out of genres you don’t write” kind of critique.  Ever gotten one of those?

One beta said it was good, but when I asked her about the harsh comments I received from the other person, she agreed with many of them. (Ugh!) Later the same day, two glowing betas came back with mild changes only.

Talk about contradicting criticism!

I mentioned that I was now unsure, and was considering an overhaul… and one buddy… let’s call her multi-published Romance Writer #1 said:  “DON’T YOU DARE!  This is your story, not hers.  Tweak if you must, but don’t change. Always go with your gut.  Your gut likes what you wrote. The publisher will, too.”

So, I thought it over, and agreed with Romance Writer #1.  If I made the drastic changes to both my characters to make everyone happy, it would be sappy, and not really what I wanted.  So I stuck to my guns.  Tweak, polish, complete.

One week and three days until the deadline.

Oh Crud!  I need a query!

I wrote up a query really fast and sent it to my query gnome.  (If you don’t have one, find one)  She slashed my blurb and re-wrote it for me, but left the rest in-tact.  I tweaked slightly to keep in my voice and posted it to my Scribophile group.

Multi-published Romance Writer #2 jumped in and tweaked it some more.

You know what? I ended up with something that even made ME want to read it, and I don’t read Romance. (It’s great having friends that like to write queries.)

One week to deadline:

Yes, I pressed the submit button, and I did it one week early.  Funny, I was not as stressed about this one. I’m not sure why.

I learned a few things through this process…

Well, maybe not learned, but it reiterated things I already knew:

1.        I can write under incredible pressure.

2.       You need more than one beta, get many opinions and go with majority… don’t try to make them all happy

3.       Go with your gut.

4.       Writing buddies are incredibly important.  My friends knew I had a deadline, and they dropped what they were doing to critique.  Know what?  I will do the same for them.  If you don’t have writing buddies, find them.

Thank you Sisterhood of the Traveling Pens!

(Note… all my buddies are “on-line” friends.  Social networking.  It ROCKS!)

So, that ends the tale of my latest madness writing adventure.  Will it work out? Dunno.  But I do know that push comes to shove, I Can do this.

My advice?  Challenge yourself. You don’t know what will happen or what you can do until you try.

Six Sentence Sunday – A blast from the past. This is funny.

It’s Six Sentence Sunday again.  Today’s is gonna give you a giggle. I’m going to allow you to wallow in my ineptness.

If you haven’t heard, Six Sentence Sunday is a group of people who mostly post their own work, but I just shoot out six sentences of whatever takes my fancy.  Sometimes what I’m writing, or sometimes what I’m reading.  If you want to find out more, click here.  Visit Six Sentence Sunday Site.

I’m still reading Oracle by JC Martin.  I didn’t want to post another 6 sentences from the same work, so I was sitting here at my desk, and I saw a printed copy of my early novel HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT hanging out, feeling abandoned.

I thought it would be fun to open it up to a random page, and just pick six sentences.

Now… I wrote this well over a year ago, maybe even two years, as last year at this time I was editing it.  I laughed when I read this passage.  I am going to curtail my inner-editor and post it exactly as it is printed.  Mistakes and all.

Yes, thank goodness, I have come incredibly far in a little over a year.

At his feet, an arbor bug struggled to scale a small mound of dirt.

Harris sighed as he watched it.  Why doesn’t it just walk around it?  After it fell back for the third time, Harris flattened the mound with his foot, and the small creature continued on its way.  He closed his eyes and smiled, actually finding gratification in helping something so small.  Would Daniel Hyelven have done that?

OMIGOSH!  Can you stand how much tell is in those six sentences?

Did I really use the word “it” four times in the same line?

This is really embarrassing.   I just couldn’t believe it, but I thought it would be worth a laugh.

I just love this story, and someday I will go back and fix it.  After looking at this paragraph, I know it will be a huge undertaking. :-)

Hope you got a good giggle!

Jon Gibbs’s Ten things I wish I knew before I was published #2: It Ain’t Easy, Baby

You will not get published by accident.  You need to go to workshops, and send your stuff out.  No one will accidentally read your manuscript.

Now, I need to admit that I have a friend who posted an excerpt from her novel on her blog, and a publisher happened upon it.  He asked her to send him a full, and he eventually published her.

It does happen, but the chances are so slim I can’t think of a number that small.

There are people out there who walk around carrying “Writer’s Market” hoping someone will see them and say “are you a writer?”  Seriously… it’s not going to happen.

You need to submit.  Press that little submit button.  I know it’s hard, I’ve been there, but it can be done.

Go ahead, stick those pages in that envelope.  Send your baby on its way.  It won’t get anywhere if you don’t let it leave home.

You need to decide if you are a recreational writer, or a professional writer.  Either one is fine, but professional writing is work.  You need to apply for jobs… no different here.

(Unless you go for self-publishing, but that’s another story completely)

Note:  The above are Jon Gibb’s main speaking points, with my rambling opinions attached.

Jon Gibbs is the author of one of my son’s favorite books:  FUR-FACE, which was nominated for a Crystal Kite Award.

Jon is an Englishman transplanted to New Jersey, USA, where he is an ‘author in residence’ at Lakehurst Elementary School.  Jon is the founding member of The New Jersey Author’s Network and FindAWritingGroup.com.

Jon blogs at jongibbs.livejournal.com

Website: www.acatofninetales.com

The Art of Procrastination: Isn’t Writing Still Fun?

I did something for the first time the other day.  I procrastinated.

Now, I’m not talking about the laundry, or doing the dishes—I procrastinated about writing.

Editing to be more exact.

Believe it or not, I have NEVER procrastinated before when it had to do with writing.  Never Ever.  Writing was always my escape.  What better way to get away from the world than with characters that I love.

So here I am, vacuuming, and actually shaving the dog (which I had been procrastinating over for three months.)  Now, I’m not talking about a little procrastination.  This dog was on the grooming table for a full two hours straight.  (No, she does not look like the same dog anymore.)

And it was all because I didn’t want to edit.  So, why is that?

I think it is because I have a list of things from the publisher to make sure that are not in my novel.  I think it is because I need to dig in and perfect it.  But wasn’t it perfect already?

Well yes, and no.  There’s nothing like pasting your novel into a manuscript analyzer if you want to make yourself run and hide.

By now, yes, I have started editing.  I am fixing and sculpting, and despite my initial hesitation, LAST WINTER RED is actually getting better.

Hmmmm.  Maybe these publishers actually know what they are talking about :-)

The Road to Publication #3: The Bad News – More Editing?

Wait a minute… I just spent two months writing to a deadline.  Now I have more deadlines?  Yikes!

Wow, the day after the contract was signed, all the “stuff” came flooding in.  Tons of emails, and tons of information.  I knew that there would be a lot to do, but I must admit, when I saw it spelled out, I was a little daunted.

One of the emails contained a very long list of things that need to be done before the target release date.  Thank goodness, many of the things on the list are dates when the publisher needs to do things.  But there are things that I need to do.

***editing***

Ugh.  Editing.  I figured I would need to do a little work on it, but I was a little surprised when they asked me to go through LAST WINTER RED and look for about 50 possible things that the editors will flag, so it will be as clean as possible before they have to review it.
I am using a computer program to analyses my manuscript, and it’s surprising when a computer highlights possible problems how many things pop up that you don’t see when you read.  As always, I don’t agree with everything the computer says.  A computer does not, or instance, understand that you are looking for an emotional reaction when you purposely repeat a word five times in a paragraph, and that it was intentional…but in the instances where it was not intentional, I was able to make the changes, and the sentences are much stronger.

That is where I am now.  There are about six different reports to run like this.  Some of them overlap, but it is a lot to look at, and a lot to consider (see that… duplication of “a lot” for an emotional response… are ya feeling emotional?)

Anyway…tons to do, and now there is a new deadline, and five other authors in the same boat counting on me to finish in time.

No Pressure.