Monday, April 20, 2015

Going under the knife!

You think this post is about editing, don't you?

It should be. But it's not. I'm going in for major surgery and probably won't feel like blogging for a couple of months. Then we move into a new house, so it's going to be hectic. But why don't I leave you with a bit of editing advice anyway?

After having several people look over your 'completed' work (which everyone should do before submitting if they possibly can), it can be confusing as to which advice to take. Every person has a different opinion of what works in a story and what doesn't. This is like going to the zoo and saying that Bears are best, when in fact cats are way cooler.

Instead of taking each and every offer of baby slaying to heart, look at the bigger picture. What do all your critters say that is similar?

If we applied this to the zoo, we could ask: Is there a door missing on one of the alligator cages? Or lion cages or both? What if the visitors can get in, but not out? And maybe someone forgot to feed said wild animals and now all they want to do is eat little Billy who is covered in the chili from his chili-dog? This would be a fun plot idea for a story, but not so much for real life. No one could run a zoo like that. Nor should one have their character run amok. Unless it is vital to the plot, that is. =)

So, if every one says you change POVs several times on one page? You should listen. OR if they hate your MC because he's a sniveling sissy and not likable in any possible way, then maybe you should give him some butt-kicking muscle. Or yada yada yada, the list goes on. Don't be too proud to change your story--even in a major way--if something isn't working. In the long run it's better to change and have people buy your book than let it collect dust. And ants. (The ants come because you're in a depression-eating binge and letting crumbs settle on top o' the manuscript pile. It happens when you don't sell your story.)

Maybe Elephants are best...

What zoo animals do you like? This thought will keep me occupied for several days while in hospital. Especially if you comment =)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Where to find Agents

Since I'm doing this right now I thought I'd write down a few ways to find agents for those of you who are stuck and don't know where to look.

It's hard when you start out writing and have no connections in the publishing world. When I started I had no clue where to look. A lot of newbie writers fall into predatorial traps. They find so-called agents that want to publish their work that contact you with the efficiency of blood-thirsty telemarketers. They feed you lines, like your work is so close to perfection--you're so amazing!--that you just need to fix a few typos and with a small FEE they will find the right publisher for you in no time at all.

This is WRONG. Don't fall for it. I almost did, lo those many years ago when I first started out. Then I stopped and thought for half a second and realized this pretend agency had on hire a rainbow-barfing cat aimed in my direction. After dusting pink and blue fairy dust out from beneath my eyelids, I went to work finding the RIGHT way to do things.

Perhaps this seemed hard at first, but Google didn't betray me a second time. I researched books, found an author that was working with my husband's law firm at the time and between the two I got some great insight. If you can find a writer they are usually quite helpful. The lady I talked to was so enthusiastic I had to keep my pen working until my hand-cramps stopped me. She gave me so much info that I soon saw I had a lot of options. But more than that I found that I had a lot of studying to do before I sought out said beloved agent. My work wasn't ready.

But that's another post entirely.

The ways I've found most helpful in finding an agent are these:

  1. JEFF HERMAN'S GUIDE TO BOOK PUBLISHERS, EDITORS, & LITERARY AGENTS. If you do nothing else but buy this book, you'll be taking a step in the right direction. Not only does Mr. Herman keep an up-to-date list of agents and their preferences, he also gives you article after article of tips and advice on how to perfect the craft. Just an FYI though, agents sometimes change preferences on their websites after Jeff's book has been sent to the printers, so you want to double check online to see if the agent is really a fit for your work. It's always good to do as much research on each agent as possible before submitting to them anyway.
  2. WRITERS CONFERENCES. If you can't go to one to meet key people (for me it was too expensive in the beginning. Hey, I was a struggling artist!), you can at least go online and type in "Writer's Conferences" and it will pull up a bazillion of them for you. After you do this, check to see who is currently attending them. You can Google the names of each agent or their agency, see if they have blogs and at the very least check out what types of MS (manuscripts) they are accepting and what their guidelines are for submissions. Some will click delete as soon as they get a query letter if you don't follow their steps to the 'T'. So do your research!
  3. BOOKS. Look in books that are similar to the one you've written. Sometimes the author will mention their agent in a section devoted to thanking the people who helped them get published. Sometimes this doesn't pan out. They may not cover your genre, but at the very least (if there is an agent mentioned in the book) you can go to the agent's website and maybe find another agent in their agency that can help, or find a link to their blog with other cool info. 
  4. BOOK BLOGGERS. There a tons of bloggers that review books out there hoping you will become part of their special brand of follower. Many have so many followers that writers and publishers send them books to give away as prizes to contests they throw. Some have links to author blogs, who have links to their agent's websites or at least give mention to all the fabu people they meet in the publishing industry. This name dropping can be very helpful and give Google even more business as you go on yet another journey of research. 

This, at least, is a beginning. Don't underestimate the power of research at any stage of your writing career. It's key. Find a clue, track it over the internet and see where it leads you. Once you're in you'll have a plethora of possibilities to choose from. Follow book bloggers, agents, editors, anyone who can give you  more information. It's also a great way to be 'seen'. If you are a regular commentor and get involved this helps get you noticed and helps you as you build a platform. 


Ha. Not really. Let's see if anyone can give us some more tips in the comments. If you do, you'll get the prize of...being my friend? =) 

In the meantime, I should really be updating my links, eh?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

3rd Rock Humor, A tribute to

Just a quick post today. I was watching 3rd Rock From The Sun with hubby last night and remembering what great writers they had on that show. I think some of the funniest humor comes from analyzing the mediocrities of life. Not that this first clip is mediocre in any way! But seriously? 3rd Rock writers had it down to a science!


And just to prove that even something as mundane as tissues can be evocative if you go about it the WRITE way....

And just because this scene is one of my favorites:

Have a great diurnal! (Or day, depending on who or what you are)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Why we write for teens

Between birthday bashes and buying a house I've had very little time to post,  but in the after math of craziness, watching my old favorite ANNE OF GREEN GABLES,  I had a thought. Why do I write for teens? 

I've probably written about this before,  but in a different light let's think about why teens read at all.  For me it wasn't only escape. It was more than that. Let's be honest,  whether a teen has valid reason or not,  they think their lives are pretty sucky. Whatever situation there's a void that needs filling. Maybe they don't have friends. Maybe they have parents that aren't understanding. Or maybe their situation is less than desirable.

The world isn't the pretty picture our parents often times paint for us.

In our teen years we discover this. That life's a complex place where things are tough. There are trials we all face that sometimes we don't think we can handle. Even if we had it hard as kids-in the teen years our faith that things will work out wavers.

This is where books can be beneficial. They allow us to have friends that care and have parents that (hopefully) love us,  where trials find happy endings.

Now I'm not going into preaching mode. This is just where I leave all you fellow writers and others to ponder. I'm sure I could list lots of scenarios in which books help. But maybe you can add those in the comments.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Maze Runner in Germany

I had to post this pic of the first MAZE RUNNER movie opening in Germany. I loved listening to James Dashner talk about his 'study' schedule while writing these books when at an event at a Barnes & Noble here in Utah a couple years back. He was already at a point where he was able to quit his day job and spend a good about of time going to movies. It seemed funny to me (funny in a jealousy-enducing sort of way), and yet now that he's helping with screenplays it all makes sense.

Reminds me of that saying, 'Dress for the job you want', or something to that effect. We could apply this to writing. You have to put in the work for the level of success you want to achieve. If you're only in it for the money and don't put your heart and soul into your writing, you probably won't get anywhere.

Don't worry. I'm sweating over my work and am still not published either. But I dream. And have hope that things will work out. Maybe soon? Whatever happens, it's been worth it. I LOVE to write. More than that I love to improve at whatever it is I'm doing.

How about you? Are you there yet? Keep trying! You will get there!

And for fun....

How sweet. They have cute animals in Europe, too. Who knew? =)

There's a deeper message there. I'll let you figure that one out on your own. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Spring Cleaning and Querying

Okay, so it's not spring. But it sure feels like it! Holy cow! Talk about crazy weather! I'm so loving the warm temperatures, though. Aren't you?

So, here's a random pic that I love. Taken on the banks of the Thames river when I was in Europe this past fall. I don't know why this interests me, but can't you imagine a story just from this picture?

What happened to this person? Why did they lose a shoe? Was it some ruckusy party that she was a part of and just got too drunk and decided to throw her shoe overboard? (Which is just another reason one should never drink. I hate losing shoes! Or getting kidnapped, which is my next point). Or was it a scary incident of kidnapping (see) where she was, of course, drunk, tried to hit her assailant with the sharp end of her stiletto, he slapped it out of her hand, and it got tossed into the Thames? Either way there had to be a boat involved, I'm thinking.

What gives you inspiration? I love seeing new places (and sometimes old ones I'm familiar with) and coming up with a background story. Also, there were a lot of interesting people on this trip. I took pictures of some of them when they weren't looking. Sorry O:). Frankly, some types of people really used to scare me, but to get over it I imagine them as characters in my book and then decide what happened in their life to produce their current state-of-self.

On an awesomer note, I am now done with edits and also with writing my query letter for DEAD LIBRARY! My critter will be looking it over and then PHEW, I will submit my story. Wish me luck! (No really, I'll need it!)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

I think I'm back now OR Europe Part 1

Wow, what a RIDE!

First jetlag, then personal health stuff that was less fun than, well, anything else.

Now that I'm back let's get down to some Europe pics. Book related mostly, but maybe I'll be nice and add a few extra...

First, (and this isn't the book related ones...), I had to add this picture. The hubbs bought himself LEDERHOSEN! Yes. The full garb. This is his hat, which he wore EVERYWHERE. It was awesome. I love that man of mine.

Don't know why, just cool.

I keep thinking somehow the druids will make their way into DEAD LIBRARY, but I haven't quite figured that one out. But Stonehenge was every bit as cool as I imagined.

Yes, I totally did that...

This first Europe Edition Book Of Mormon will mean something to other LDS folk. =)

This is a place that's special to me. Groombridge Place is my ancestor's home. And though it's not so much a literary place, I've personally read about it in my own family history books, so I added it. Also, if you've seen the Kiera Knightly version of Pride and Prejudice, this is the house they used. They now do tours there. Unfortunately for us it was closed the only day we could go see it. But we did get some great pictures of the outside. 

The white cliffs of Dover. Wow, how beautiful! Has anyone read a book where they were mentioned? I'm curious. It seems like a place that should be written about. 

Kings Cross Station. Wish we could've gone in, but we were on a mission that day and couldn't spare the time. 

And next just some other random pics from London. I think you'll recognize some of these =)

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace
You'd be surprised how hard it is to get a great shot of Buckingham Palace. This wasn't the best view, but you get the idea.
The second one was better, I think.

You've got to zoom in on this one. I loved the ads on these buses.

Shakespeare's theater

Shakespeare's Theater

Tower of London exhibit honoring those who fought in WWI I believe.  

Anyway, that's all for now. I may post more. There was at least one other pic that was book worthy that I should put on here. This is a drop in the bucket. I think I took over 3000 pics. But man! If you ever can--I know how hard/expensive it is--go to EUROPE! So much culture there, so much to learn and see and experience. And so much fodder for stories.