Tag Archives: World Literature

Rule #4 of 32 Simple Rules to the Writing the Best Novel Ever


I’m dissecting the article Hunting Down the Pleonasm, by Allen Guthrie, using it as a cattle prod to search for little nasties in my manuscript.  Yep, you can join in the fun, too.  Let’s take a looksee at topic #4

4: Cut adjectives where possible. See rule 3 (for ‘verb’ read ‘noun’).

Ha!  Since I posed it last week, let me do a little cut and paste for you.

3: Use strong nouns in preference to adjectives. I won’t say avoid adjectives, period, because about once every fifty pages they’re okay! What’s not okay is to use an adjectives as an excuse for failing to find the correct noun.

swish swivel squiggle 2

Hmmm.  No adjectives?  As in NONE?  I’m not sure I agree with this, although I have caught myself using TOO MANY from time to time.  I mean, you need to describe stuff, right?

Strong nouns?  I think maybe he should have re-thought that.  I can understand not saying: “The angry dog barked”

What should be said is “The dog lowered his head, baring teeth.  His bark echoed through the room”

The second angry dog is much more menacing, and I didn’t use any adjectives.  I think he may just be talking about the whole show verses tell issue, because you’re gonna have to describe a few things sooner or later, right?

Open discussion time!  What have you found with your writing and adjectives?  What do you think Allen Gutrie’s point is? Where do you think adjectives are necessary?



The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. Did you enter?

The window for submitting to the Amazon Breakthrough novel contest has closed.  Did you enter?  Did you even know about it?

With a $50,000 first prize, it does cause quite a stir.

When I first found out about it months ago, I brushed it off because my current WIP, Fire in the Woods was complete, but hovering at a pitiful 42,000 words and didn’t make the minimum word count.  Then a few weeks ago people started talking about it again as the submission window opened, and guess what?  I was now ABOVE THE REQUIRED WORD COUNT.

So, did I enter?  You bet your left butt cheek I did!

Do I have high hopes?  Well, 1 in 10,000 is really not all that bad in odds, if you consider that 50% of the entries will probably be junk.  I’m a realist though…

Round one is based on your pitch.  Pitching is not my strong point.  I like my pitch, but I have no idea if it is good enough to be selected as a top choice.  When I looked at the pitches of past winners, I had to scratch my head.  If I saw some of those, I would have passed them over… so who knows what they are REALLY looking for (or were all the others really that bad?) Ha!

So, I have no idea how I will do… but what this did force me to do is speed up my editing process, and completely re-write my beginning.  My manuscript is a lot sharper now than it was a few weeks ago, so if anything, that’s a plus for me.

Do I have a chance of winning?  Well, I kind of look at it like this… I looked at past winners, and I felt the same way as I do about the Oscars.  Movies that win an Oscar are the ones that I would rather get a root canal than have to sit through.  To me, Oscar=boring.  That’s the way I feel about a lot of the past Breakthrough Novel winners as well.  I am sure they were well written, but not “my cup of tea”.

So, no…. Fire in the Woods is not the “Artsy” type that usually wins this type of thing.  But I entered.  At least I tried — and I did a lot of polishing to get it there.

Who knows?  This year might be the year of the manic chase/explosion novel!

Good luck to everyone who entered!


The Monomaniacal Middle Grade Reviewer Won’t take time to Review!

I have a problem.  It’s a good problem.  My kid won’t stop reading.

“Sweetie, would you like to do another book review for me?”

“After I finish reading this book, Mom.”

“Ummm, okay, but you said that after you finished the last two.”

“But this is just sooo good!”

Ugh.  Now, here is my problem.  I cannot afford to feed this kid’s reading habit!  I filled his kindle with Literature.  Tarzan, Huck Fin, etc.  It’s all stuff my husband SWORE he would like.  But no dice.  He starts ‘em, but he doesn’t finish them.  He is just not interested in the classics.

He is extremely particular.  He needs high action, suspense, and comedy all wrapped up in a neat little package.

He’s interested in big block-buster novels, which shouldn’t be a problem, but he wants them when they just hit the bookstores, and some of them are $24.  Okay, so, yes, I have paid that much for a book for myself, but it takes me usually a month to read it.  This kid will plow through a 300 page novel in two days!

Maybe someday I will just yank a book out of his hands and say “You can have another after you tell everyone why the heck you liked the last ten so much!”

Hey… he may as well earn those books rather than me just handing them over, right?

Now if I could just get his brother to pick up something OTHER than Calvin and Hobbs, maybe I could at least get a second read out of these novels.

Maybe someday.  ***sigh***

YATopia Micro-Synopsis Writing Contest

There’s a Micro-Synopsis contest going on over at YATopia

Here’s the Scoop From the Yatopia Blog Site:


A Micro Synopsis competition is no small feat – it’s HUGE! And a real test of a writer’s ability to use economy of words.

So YA agent John Cusick from S©ott Treimel NY (can check out his tweets here and an interview with him here), wants you to woo him with not a one page synopsis, but a THREE SENTENCE synopsis that covers the set-up, story and ending (you don’t have to give away a twist/ending – but a taste of it to spark interest).

Your name
Your email
Promo link (blog post preferred,

Age Group (open to MG, 8 – 12, & YA, 13 – 18, only)
Word Count

The manuscript must be complete and ready for querying. John is open to nearly any genre, but says High Fantasy (dragons, dwarfs and elves) and Vampires are a hard sell at the moment, so you probably won’t get a request if you enter a MS in one of those areas.

There’s no limit on the number of entries (yes you can enter multiple times if you have more than one MS), but you MUST be a follower of the blog.

The all important prizes! The winner will get a full MS request and two runners up will get a request for the first 30 pages of their MS.

Remember this is NOT a pitch contest, so don’t just condense your query. The contest will be open until midnight 11 August. So start shrinking your synopsis!


A 35 word pitch for the past one was hard enough.  I’ll see what I can do with a three-sentence synopsis.  Who knows?  Gotta chew on this one a bit.

Get your groove on and Good Luck!

UPDATE:  Okay… Here’s what I am going with…

Overwhelmed by the power given to him by the Great Goddess, Magellan Talbot kills hundreds of people before he erases his memory in hopes of saving the galaxy from suffering a similar fate.  Undaunted, the Goddess surrounds her champion with friends who will unknowingly protect him as she maneuvers him toward the threat he was created to thwart. Without his memory, though, Magellan is vulnerable, and the Goddess must protect him from unknown enemies seeking to smother him.