Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thankful Thursday

No, your eyes aren't deceiving you. There's a new post and it's not Wednesday. I'm inspired by Oasis for YA bloggers to post what I'm thankful for:

1. My family. I have an unconditional springboard for creative release with them. They understand me and, yet they still love me. Yeah, I got a little mushy.

2. Writing. Yes, I'm thankful for it. It's my means of release and my sanity. Who wants the world in black and white - I want full technicolor. With writing, I don't have to wait for someone else to give me thrills. I can do it myself.

3. Lastly, certainly not least, I'm thankful for the chocolate cake with chocolate fudge frosting sitting on my counter top. I've got to get off here before everybody gets home. I need to eat that last piece.

The highly generous Oasis for YA bloggers are offering a free critique from all five bloggers. Yes, I said that right. All five bloggers will critique your work. They'll either critique your query or your first chapter. So hurry on over. You must join the site to particpate for a chance to win but if you're a writer you should already be a member. There's so much going on over there. You won't regret it! I promise.

Have a great day. Don't forget to read a book. And laugh-out-loud. That's an order!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I'm sooo Random...

I don't have anything significant to say. No wise words for my followers. No wisdom to depart. So, I thought I'd babble. If you don't mind. I love list - can't you tell. So in no particular order, I'd like to introduce my ramblings.

1. I purchased, If I Stay, by Gayle Forman a couple days ago. I can't wait to read it but my daughter nearly wrestled from my hands. So, I'll wait until she finishes it.

2. Can't wait to read Delirium, by Lauren Oliver. Love is a disease. Why didn't I think of that?

3. I just ate a giant piece of chocolate cake with chocolate fugdge frosting and I don't feel guilty at all.

4. Everyone keeps telling me to read the Odd Thomas books by Dean Koontz. I want to but I keep finding YA books to read instead. Well, except that new Stephen King compilation I read.

5. I love how my bookcase looks. So full. But I need to get a new one. Too many books.

6. Actually, I'd like to retract the last part of that previous sentence. One can never have too many books. Sorry about the slip.

7. I wish I could kick booty like Katniss Everdeen, love as hard as Bella Swan and have as much money as Oprah. LOL, well a quarter of Oprah's money would be nice.

8. I wish I had a Super-Power or powers like Wisty and Whit Allgood from Witch and Wizard.

9. I need to read the sequel to Witch and Wizard, The Gift. Can't wait.

10. I need to go lie down and have a real lazy day. Before the kids come home and I have to help with homework, cook dinner, clean the kitchen....

Have a great day. Don't forget to read a book. And laugh-out-loud. That's an order!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Help, I need somebody!!!

Okay, I’m being selfish this week. I need your help ***said in the whiniest voice I could muster*** I have a list of agents I want to send my Manuscript to. Apart from hiding in the bushes outside their homes, I’ve properly stalked them for months. I know what they’re looking for. I’m polishing my manuscript until it shines. Last, but not least, I must rewrite the query letter, again. Yes, again. Will the madness never end? *ahem* Rant aside, here I place it for all to see. I humbly step to the side so you can rip it to shreds. And here we go:

Dear Agent,

Sixteen-year old Chloe Carmichael possesses great powers; she only wishes someone had told her of their existence sooner.

Chloe’s sheltered life has no room for the supernatural. Yet, she continually exhibits supernatural power. She witnesses the death of her boyfriend before it occurs, hears voices of people that aren’t present and sees objects move when she’s angry. She cannot ignore the things that have transpired, or the fact that they began the day Chris Thomas arrived.

Chris, suave and handsome, arrived to Whitney Young High School exploding with mystery. He, along with six other teens, weaves a remarkable tale for Chloe, one she’s reluctant to believe. Her real name is Amanda. She and Chris are soul mates from another universe. They must fight to save the world from an enemy they call the E.N.O. Or he’ll destroy them and everyone else on all the universes.

As she acclimates to this new life, she struggles with the perfection of Amanda and the imperfections of Chloe. Her often-overwhelming attraction to Chris is as perplexing as the new super-abilities she possesses. However, she must face a dubious truth. She may never recall Amanda or her infallible life and if she does, she may lose Chloe forever.

THE CHLOE CHRONICLES AND THE REBIRTH is complete at 75,000 words, and is young adult paranormal. This title should fit well with your current interest. It has the elements that you mention on your website… yada yada yada…

The entire novel can be sent at your request. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Are you using your Weapon?

The position as writer can be a lonely one. As writers we struggle with hardships that others just can't comprehend. "If it causes you pain, then stop." "Nobody's making you do this." Do those words sound familiar?

My family is supportive, in their way. And my friends say they understand but they don’t. I’m not going to sit and have a pity party, though. Because I have a tool at my disposal that can turn any frown or wayward thought on its head.

It’s my imagination.

Yes, my imagination. We, as writers, use it everyday when we pound out words at our computers, typewriters and place pen on paper. Unless, you write nonfiction – I mean the boring, textbook kind – you use your imagination to create. This is an indispensable tool in our arsenal against those creeping thoughts that come to sabotage our creativity and kill our spirits.

How can we use imagination to our advantage?

I tell myself stories all the time and the best ones are always about me. I see me accomplishing my dream of becoming a published author. I picture the conversation between my agent and me. He/She will call and express how they are so happy to have found me in their slush pile. They will explain how they couldn’t put the book down. “I was up all night,” they’ll say.

I picture the next phone call from my agent. “We’re going to auction the book tomorrow.” Yeah, I know, I’m dreaming big. Right. But that’s the point. Dream big or go home! Well, something like that.

My point is, motivate yourself. Stop having a pity party for a week when you get a rejection. Cry, stomp, cry more, punch the wall…then move on. Rejection hurts. It’s like a personal attack against you. Only, its not.

I’m ready to start querying for a story that I’ve been working on and I think that situation spawned this post. I struggle with rejection too. But I do still have my imagination and it won’t allow me to dwell in pity.

So everyone’s invited to my party. My book release party. YAH ME!!!! Come dressed in your finest. I’ve invited some of my closes friends, like, Oprah, George Clooney, Ben Affleck, Stephen King…

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Terms, What terms???

I thought I’d have a little fun today ***gasps*** with terms every writer should be familiar with. Hey, it’s my blog. I’m entitled to some fun. There’s also some good info here if you read closely. Here’s my list of terms you'd better know before you hit the ‘send’ button releasing your MS to that agent:

Protagonist – The lead drama queen or mysterious dude in your story. The lead character.

Manuscript (Ms) – that thing you’ve toiled over for the past year or ten. No further explanation necessary.

Plot – If you don’t know this, you shouldn’t be writing. But just in case, it’s what happens in the story. It’s the story.

Character Driven Stories – Stories in which your main character takes over everything. The story develops around the main character and how they feel, or act, or look or don’t feel or don’t look.  

Dialogue – Stop the babbling people, please. What your characters say to one another. Only to advance the story. Only.

Agent - the person born with the singular objective of torturing you. Also the literary representative for your fiction/nonfiction writing.

Point of View (POV) – The characters head you’re stuck in for a year or ten. The characters prospective the story is told from.

·       First Person – yeah, only I have the spotlight

·       Second Person – who cares, nobody uses this right? Just in case, it’s told from the POV of “you” – like academic material.

·       Third Person – your head hopping in first person POV here.

o      Omniscient – the know-it-all POV. Feelings, so many feelings… Everything is seen and known by the reader.
o      Limited – Hey, you. No, not you. Her. Yes, her. From one-person’s perspective…he, she, they, are utilized.
o      Objective – oh, God, I can’t feel anything. The reader gets action and dialogue, only.

Genre – a particular style, content type and form of literature
·       Mystery – Who killed Mrs. Shoemaker with the knife in the Library? Was it Colonel Mustard? If so, why?
·       Thriller/Suspense – Can our hero stop the bomb from blowing up that school bus filled with kids that’s on the train track with a train barreling towards them…?
·       Science Fiction – I went to the future yesterday and met my agent and she told me that my book will bring about world peace and I’ll be elected the first President of the World because of it.
·       Romance – I love Billy but he loves my best friend, Sue. Sue dies in a horrible accident but now I’ve married Bob. Then Bob dies in a skiing accident and Billy and I reunite for our 20th School reunion and we fall in love and live happily ever after.
·       Horror – Blood streaked his face as he inched closer to me. I tried to scream but only a garbled incoherent sound escaped my lips…
·       Fantasy – Last night while I slept, a set of dwarves entered my house. They cleaned everything from top to bottom then they left a neat note, thanking me for the opportunity to clean my home.
·       Literary Fiction – Mrs. Shoemaker is dead. How will Mr. Shoemaker cope with life without her? What will he do?

Submission requirements – those snarky rules every agent wields over writers like an iron fists. For heavens sake adhere to them.

First Draft – the first complete copy of that garbled mess that filled your head for a year or ten.

Edit – take that first draft you slaved over for one to ten years and kill it.  Polishing the ms for publication.

Slush Pile – Where my manuscript currently is. It’s the stack of queries an agent is currently dredging…I mean reading, from eager authors.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Who is your Villian

Welcome to the SheWrites Blogger Ball!

Welcome SheWriter's from the Blog Hop!!!! Thanks for visiting. I hope you find useful information here. I thought I'd share two things about me that most don't know.

  1. I love to play practical jokes on my kids. Well, my hubby and I do. We'll take them to the doctor and our youngest will just be there for a check-up but we'll tell her she has to get a shot. Once the waterworks start we'll stop but it is a fun way to keep the kids in-line while we're out. But they're getting older and I think they're catching on to us.
  2. I adore action movies. I'm a junkie. I live vicariously through the andrenaline packed, tension filled, movies I see. I have dreams about them. When new movies are released that have all the elements I like: my mouth waters, I bite my nails, sweat beats my brow...LOL, okay, I just can't wait.

Now on to my tips:

We spend a great deal of time developing our main characters for our stories. We ensure that they have depth and that our audience is able to relate to them but we often overlook another character that is as equally important, the villain.

The same care given to developing the MC should also be given to the villain(s). If your villains are not as highly crafted as the MC, the story will fall flat. After all, the point of the villain is to bring drama and tension. If your story lacks a strong villain then your story will lack the tension needed to capture the reader’s attention. As you develop your villain, some things to consider are:

Who (or what) is your villain?

A villain does not have to be an external force, only. Actually, the best books I’ve read had a good measure of internal conflict. The MC struggles to reach his or her goal because of mistakes that they make. They are at odds with themselves. They can’t decide what direction to go or what to say in the heat of the moment. But remember eventually the MC must come to terms with what must be done and do it.

In my opinion, there should be multiple villains. Again, villains can be inner and outer forces, such as: the weather, doubt (inner struggle), friends, fear (inner struggle)… My point is, the more you throw at your MC the more tension and sometimes the better the story. If you have too much tension, however, the story can also fall flat. Find a happy medium between action (tense moments between the MC and villains) and narration (let the MC go to sleep, take a walk to relax…).

What is your villians goals?

Just as your MC has a goal, your villain must have one too. Even if the MC/narrator does not know that goal, you, the author, must. Everything that your villain does must be done to prevent the MC from obtaining his or her desires. So what does the villain want? He/She should do everything he/she can to accomplish their task.

Is your villain a formidable opponent for your MC?

Your villains villainous skills should parlay him/her a position on the America’s Most Wanted List. He/She should be ruthless and seemingly unstoppable. If every time the villain pops up your MC kicks booty there’s no conflict. If the MC can figure out what the villain wants and how to stop him from getting it on page two of your story, you’re probably going to lose your audience. You’d sure lose me. Make the villains goals complicated, not as complex as the Tax Codes but enough that your audience will keep wanting to know what he/she will do to accomplish this crazy thing they want.