Friday, October 29

Post Cancelled

Sorry, but today I am too busy to post about pitching an editor. I will post another day.

Wednesday, October 27

Avon Editor Tessa Woodward On The First 3 Pages— Workshop Notes

Alright guys, so during the workshop there was also a panel where Tessa Woodward, Avon editor extraordinaire, did a critique of people's first 3 pages. It was sooo interesting. Here are some big picture things she talked about. Remember guys, she's an editor. I'd definitely take what she says seriously!
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  • Editors can't judge a book by the first 3 pages! She said she has signed a debut book and then had the author delete the first 100 pages! So there is hope =)
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  • In the first pages, get rid of repetition of any kind: Repetitive words, phrases, actions, and sentence structures. We need to get right to the action/importance of the beginning.
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  • Along the lines of the previous statement, she said you must vary how you start paragraphs. In one critique she did, the person started 4 paragraphs in a row with "I".
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  • Don't be afraid to use he/she instead of names! Like "said" he/she is nearly invisible to readers, so don't be worried about using too many (of course, within reason).
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  • Everyone says to make your story realistic, but Tessa strongly stressed that your story shouldn't be too real. We read books to escape reality, not to read our lives being repeated on paper. Get rid of mundane sentences, especially with dialogue.We don't need to hear every single thing that goes on.
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  • With regards to dialogue at the beginning... it must be very, very, very important. Most dialogue, especially at the beginning, doesn't tell the reader much of anything. It's filler.
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  • Don't do all dialogue on any page (beginning, middle, end), especially when the sentence structures are so short. White space isn't good! Add more internal dialogue if this is the case for you. Or, look at the dialogue. Is it really important? Does it add to the story or the scene? If not, get rid of it.
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  • Your first line should be simple! Don't trip up the reader right away, LOL!
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  • The first couple of pages should give the reader organic details (who, what, where, why, how). This is especially the case if you're working with a world that isn't common. So if you write paranormal, sci-fi, urban fantasy, etc... make sure these things are apparent to the reader right away.
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  • Show don't tell! This one is duh, but she finds it so often. However, she also said that you can over show. We don't need to know every facial expression. You can simply say, "He gave her a disgusted look." As well, we don't need to know every single action.
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  • Active, not passive! Once again, duh. This is the biggest indicator of a new writer.
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My take on Tessa:
Omg! She's so sweet! I adored meeting her. Anyone with her as an editor is extremely lucky.
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So what do you guys think? Anything surprise you?

*Make sure to stop by Friday for my experience on pitching an editor (Yes, it was Tessa!)*

Monday, October 25

Agent Laura Bradford On Queries—Workshop Notes

Hello guys. So this week I thought I'd do a series of blog posts about what I learned at the workshop on Saturday. Today, I'm going to talk about queries and what Laura Bradford said about them.

Alright, so the first event at the workshop was a 2 hour critique period where Laura went over several queries. Below are all things she talked about:

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  • In a query, she wants to know more about the story than your credentials. While this makes sense, you wouldn't believe how many people made this mistake.
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  • You must, must, MUST state the genre. She doesn't want to guess or assume what your genre is.
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  • If you do state your genre, you must deliver on that genre. Don't say that it's a romantic suspense with minor paranormal elements and then not mention a single paranormal element in the query.
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  • Do not make bold, all encompassing statements. They drive her insane. They're also pretty arrogant.
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  • While some agents don't want the query to go over 250 words, Laura said to use all of the space on the page. It's there for us to use, so use it!
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  • Hook by your characters, not your theme!
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  • Make sure the character relationships are clear!
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  • Include the associations you belong to (RWA, SCBWI, etc...) In her words, this generally tells the agents that you're "not a wing nut." LOL!
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  • If there is something in your story that might make an agent say no right off the bat, don't mention it! Obviously, don't lie. But if you keep some things to yourself, she may request pages and fall in love with it, regardless of any issues. However, once again, don't lie!
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  • If you write romance (Adult or YA), always include the romantic tension / how the characters feel about each other in the query letter.
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  • Know your genre inside and out, especially regarding word count! This is one of the biggest reasons why she rejects a query.
--------------------------------------------------------------------My comments on Laura: She's hilarious! Seriously. She was nice, informative, and very chatty. She seems like a wonderful agent. Her submission guidelines are here if you want to query her.


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So what do you guys think? Was anything surprising to you?

*Make sure to pop in Wednesday for Avon editor Tessa Woodward's comments on the importance of the first three pages!*

Friday, October 22

Writing Update

Since it's been a while, I thought I'd give you all an update!

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  • So as I'm sure most of you know, I've started querying. I'm not going to go into stats or anything like that, but I will say it's going well =)
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  • In other news, on Sunday I opened up a new document and started my next medieval. Yay! To try something new, I'm not going to worry about word count this round. Near the end of my last story, I didn't write a certain number each day. Instead, I had a goal of finishing two scenes that day or whatever. It really worked for me, so I think that's the way I'm going to go, at least for now. I will, of course, keep you guys updated on how it goes.
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  • In addition to not worrying about word count, I think I might also try to write a "back cover blurb." I've heard it can make writing the query later easier, so I thought I'd try it out =)
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  • And lastly, I am now attending a workshop on Saturday hosted by the Calgary RWA. Laura Bradford of the Bradford Literary Agency will be there, as well as Avon editor Tessa Woodward. I'm nervous but excited. (But secretly pretty nervous, LOL). I will make sure to take lots of notes for you guys =)
So how are your stories coming along?

Thursday, October 21

School, Surgery, and Snow

So I've been a littleand by little, I mean a lotneglectful of my blog. Sorry guys, my life has been hectic! Anyway, I thought I'd take the time to give you guys an update on how I'm doing this semester.

School:
  • It's going pretty well so far. I'm sitting at an "A" in all of my classes. Yay!
  • My Children's Literature class is way too freaking easy. I picked the class as a fun elective. You know, quick and easy. Yeah, well, I wasn't thinking that one through. The homework is so easy I put it off most days. Not good.  I actually think I've mastered sleeping with my eyes open. Hey, at least I've learned something!
  • Just last week I attended the Under the Western Skies conference for my Eco Literature class. No, I didn't have a choice. I had to attend a panel and then do a presentation on it. Thankfully, the panel I went to (Environmental Pedagogies) was good. I didn't have high hopes for it, but I thought it was interesting. However, nothing was going to make me go to more of the conference than I had to, LOL!
Surgery:
  • Oh boy, where do I start? As some of you know, I'm scheduled for my Ulnar Nerve Transposition Surgery November 15th. To make this simple, the ulnar nerve runs from your neck down your arm to your hand. Sometimes (like in my case), it gets pinched at the elbow. This causes pain, numbness, and loss of hand control. In general, it sucks. Unfortunately, my surgery is during the semester and there's nothing I can do about it. I'll miss at least a week of school, perhaps a bit more.
Snow:
  • This one is pretty self explanatory. It snowed last Friday. Snowed. SNOWED! *sobs* Anyone want to switch locations with me? It's pretty here? We have the mountains?
So how are you guys?  =)

Wednesday, October 20

Early Morning Text Session Gone Awry

This was a text I received earlier today from a fellow student at my university. I typed it out word for word what she sent me. Can you decipher it?

"I will take a jon later tip afternoon and get Back to you"

I received this text while heading into the city for the day. For the life of me, I do not know what she was thinking when she texted me that. Anyway, I texted her back with the appropriate "Huh?" and this is what she meant to say...

"I will take a look for the NEP scale and get back to you."
LOL! Yep, quite a difference.

Monday, October 18

Yep, That's About Right


To make image larger, click on it.


My dad showed me this. Man is he ever right, LOL!

Monday, October 11

Proud To Be A Romance Writer

As you all know, I write hot historical romance novels. I make no secret of my love for a good romance story. I often can't enjoy a book without some sort of lovey dovey action going on. I freely, openly admit it. And yes, I dare anyone to make fun of me for it.  I fit none of the typical "lonely, old, dumb" stereotypes. Most romance readers don't.

But I digress from the purpose of this post. My lovely friend and occasional critique partner Diana Paz has written an excellent blog post on this subject. I urge you to check it out and leave your thoughts =)

xo

Happy Thanksgiving!


Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!
I hope everyone has a wonderful day  =)

Friday, October 8

A Kiss




"A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech 
when words becomes superfluous."
-Ingrid Bergman

Monday, October 4

Books I've Read Recently

  1. His At Night by Sherry Thomas (Another fabulous book! 4.5/5)
  2. The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford (school book: classic! I loved the movie as a kid)
  3. Curious Incident Of The Dog by Mark Haddon (school book: I loved this book)
  4. 20th Century Children's Poetry Treasury by Jack Prelutsky (school book)
  5. The Duff by Kody Keplinger (3.5/5 I liked it and will buy more books from the author, but there were some fundamental things that bugged me).
  6. Tempting the Marquess by Sara Lindsey (3.5/5)
  7. The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting (4/5)
  8. Firelight by Sophie Jordan (5/5)
My total for the year is now 66 books.

I've also been busy with several other texts for school: Chaucers' The Cantebury Tales as well as Margery Kempe's The Book of Margery Kempe (ugh). For history, I'm slowly slogging my way through the readings (they're about 50 dense pages a week, sometimes more). In addition to all of that, I'm also reading the CoursePack for my Eco Literature class (it's quite large... and also dense).

So what about you guys? Have you read any of the above books?

Friday, October 1

Imagination

At the Library
by Nikki Grimes

I flip the pages of a book and slip inside,
where crystal seas await and pirates hide.
I find a paradise where birds can talk,
where children fly and trees prefer to walk.
Sometimes I end up on a city street.
I recognize the brownskin girl I meet.
She's skinny, but she’s strong, and brave, and wise.
I smile because I see me in her eyes.
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