Archive for February, 2011|Monthly archive page
“In the Blogosphere” is a series, which lists links to writing-related blogs I’ve stumbled upon throughout a given week (usually).
I’m making one of my resolutions to be better with these blogosphere posts. *Well, I’m trying, but I’ve been reallllllly busy!* I’ve saved a lot of great stuff, though, and it’s all definitely worth a read.
At RWA nationals in 2010, I attended a fantabulous session with agents of awesome Holly Root and Barbara Poelle, Pocket Books senior editor Abby Zidle, and author Jenny Gardiner, where they reenacted what happens in an acquisitions editorial meeting. SO eye-opening! Along those same lines, WordServe Literary’s Rachelle Gardner recreates a pub committee meeting here.
Is there such a thing as a fictional memoir? The Query Shark herself, FinePrint Literary’s Janet Reid answers that question.
PLATFORM & MARKETING
Over at Writer Unboxed, Writer’s Digest and the University of Cincinnati’s Jane Friedman gives tips about using Facebook as a marketing tool—without becoming a nuisance.
And, here, author Jody Hedlund offers seven ways you can market your book—gasp!—without the Internet.
Here, my favorite Scotsman, Simon C. Larter, says action through dialogue is where it’s at! And he also calls Shakespeare “Billy Shakes,” which is one of the reasons we’re be-fris.
But how does one write good dialogue, you ask? Former agent turned author Nathan Bransford tells you here.
Also, I absolutely love the Sentence Strengthening series on YA Highway. Here’s one on how to more effectively use adjectives and adverbs (or not use them, as the case sometimes is).
Want more strength in your writing? On Write Anything, Annie Evett lists some weak words to “bin” in her series on self-editing tips.
And here is a fantastic, comprehensive resource with that lists tropes (common storytelling devices or conventions) for . . . just about everything. You could seriously spend months playing around in there!
Need to send a press release? Angus Shaw over at The Blog Herald tells you how.
And here, agent Natalie Fischer gives some advice on how to avoid making common mistakes in your manuscript.
We’ve all experienced it—perhaps you’re even going through it right now: The Crazies. Here, author Ally Carter talks about The Crazies—what they are, what not to do when you have them, and how to combat them.
I’m sure some of us have learned this the hard way: Taylor Mali’s The The Impotence of Proofreading. Enjoy.
Happy weekend, everyone!
Two things happened this week that inflamed a writerly itch in me (OK—that doesn’t sound so good, but it’s a good thing—I swear!).
First: Sunday, I attended a meet & greet, where I met (and greeted) a bunch of writers in the Harrisonburg area. As an icebreaking exercise, we were supposed to write up to 500 words in response to a prompt (the bird). I ended up writing a short short story that leaned toward—gasp!—suspense. What?? Completely different from anything I’ve written, well, ever—but it was kind of liberating.
Not that I don’t love YA or plan on changing my genre and writing suspense novels or anything, but it was neat to see what I could come up with in a short amount of time (I did it in about an hour)—and when I’m not the one picking the topic. I got some decent feedback on the piece, too. Score!
Second: Yesterday, I was forced to break out of my hibernation—there were groceries to be bought, movies to return, shoes to pick up, and a new computer charger to find & purchase. <—Yeah, that one was pretty important.
So, I’ve been listening to the same few songs lately, and I was looking forward to listening to them again, during all my errand-running. But when I pulled out my iPod right after I took off, it was dead. Grr.
That was particularly annoying because the ‘burg doesn’t have great radio reception and I don’t yet know the stations very well, but it turned out to be a good thing too.
I flipped around radio stations and heard a lot of songs from my college—and even high school—days. And, I don’t know about you, but songs almost always take me back to exact places and times, feelings, etc. Some of the songs I heard (“Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton, anyone?) yanked memories out of the depths of my brain like a magician pulling a bunch of handkerchiefs through my ear. (You’re welcome for the visual, bee tee dub).
But these two change-ups in my routine sparked something. I know it’s not groundbreaking advice, but it’s been a long time since I’ve entertained the idea of a new manuscript (almost a year!), and I’m proof that altering your yoozh can be fodder to your shiny, new ideas because I got a lot of those yesterday.
Anyway, I highly recommend stepping out of that comfort zone. I know it’s the dead of winter, and it’s nice to wrap up in your robe and settle in to what is comfortable, but if you go out into the cold a bit, you might get some interesting kernels of ideas you never would have gotten!*
Speaking of songs I’ve been listening to over and over (and over) . . .
Stuck in the winter doldrums? Love this song—think the video’s a little creepy**:
**Especially the part where the mom is giving birth and, like, spontaneously combusting. Nope—not helping me not be afraid of childbirth, Katy Perry!
How to Write Full Time and Stay Sane is a series that offers advice to full-time writers about how to stay productive and in good spirits.
With all the
heartwrenching horrendous kick-you-in-the-gut stressful days you will undoubtedly experience as a writer, you’re in need of a little pick-me-up from time to time. So . . . when alcohol crying chocolate beagle snuggling exercise doesn’t quite get those endorphins a-flowin’, I have another solution for ya: a “Worth Saving” e-mail folder.
I’ve been keeping one for a while—it’s just an extra e-mail folder where I store e-mails that give me the warm fuzzies. I’m not talking forwards here—unless that’s your thing—but anything that makes you feel . . . well, good.
Mine isn’t all writing related—many are just convos with friends that make me laugh or smile. It cheers me up to look in there every now and then!
Even as I’m typing this, I’m like, “Ricki, that is the corniest thing I’ve ever heard—and what’s even worse? You’re announcing it on the Internet.“ But, when you’re writing full time, you need corny, people. Deal with it.
So I hold my head up high. And I keep my inbox (relatively) clear, since my pack rat tendencies of the e-mail variety are stowed away for when I really need them.
I have been somewhat absent from the blogosphere as of late. That’s because, in the last three weeks, I have done a lot of things.
- Spent a few days in Georgia, visiting friends
- Facilitated a Shenandoah Writers meeting
- Met with the fabulous people of the Arts Council of the Valley, who are helping me and the Write-Brained Network put on our WB Workshop
- Gone to the dentist—not all that time-consuming, but it did take me away from work
- Gotten my hair cut (not a pixie—sorry to disappoint)—ditto from above note
- Traveled to Front Royal, Va., for a mini writers’ retreat with Sara McClung and Cristin Terrill
- Gone with Jodi Meadows to an author reading/signing of debut literary novelist Hannah Pittard (The Fates Will Find Their Way)
- Gotten sick
- Trying not to be sick
- Writing interview questions for both Wendy Toliver and Meg Cabot (I’m interviewing them for an article for the 2012 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market [Writer's Digest Books], and I need to send the questions, um, Nowsville, if I expect to meet my March 1 deadline. Wha??)
- Contacting potential speakers for the WB Workshop
- Building a Web site for the WB Workshop
- Oh yeah—and I also started querying (in a *tiny* round) my latest YA manuscript, so this is why I have to distract myself with all the other stuff. So I won’t go nuts.
I was going to write a post about how wonderful and ooey-gooey it made me feel to see my former students and my Georgia be-fris, but decided I don’t have the brain power to dedicate to that this week. All my energy needs to be focused on interviewing those two awesome authors. And I definitely think the urge to clone myself and stick one Ricki clone back in Georgia would overwhelm me, so I don’t even want to go there.
I also wanted to write about how much fun I had at my writers’ retreat this past weekend, but Cristin did a great job of it here. I agree with her wholeheartedly—that getting together with other writers and realizing you all think you suck is really important for a writer’s sanity.
I will say, however, I would recommend a get-together like this to anyone. I felt completely recharged come Sunday morning, and I actually wish we’d had another day, since we all seemed to be much more in work mode—you know, at, like, 11 p.m. Saturday night. Next time, we vowed we will add at least a day or two more.
We now have a date for the Write-Brained Network’s workshop. We have a title, too.
Drumroll, please . . .
The One-Stop Workshop
for the Serious Writer:
A Roadmap from
“How to” through “I Did”
Mark your calendars for 9.10. 11, folks—for a full day of tips from the pros as well as writerly camaraderie.
Okay, well, that’s it for me at the moment. I hope you can bear with me through all this craziness. I promise to be back with a super awesome “In the Blogosphere” this Friday or Saturday.
Happy Wednesday, everyone!
How much coffee do you drink? Writers and nonwriters alike can answer—I’m just curious.
I went on a writing retreat with Sara McClung and Cristin Terrill this weekend, and they seem to think I drink a lot! Which, I know I do . . . but I didn’t really drink that much in front of them, and so now I’m interested to know how much people generally drink.
How many cups a day? A week?
Thank God my Facebook friends reminded me that today is Groundhog Day—otherwise, I might have forgotten the utterly pointless holiday this year. However, any reminder of Bill Murray is a good thing—so there’s a reason to smile.
But that got me thinking about how I’ve been kinda Punxsutawney Phil with my manuscript. I’ve stayed a bit underground lately—my loyal blog followers may have noticed this—because I have been swamped with work. However, it’s mostly because I’ve been going over and over my latest manuscript. I finally finished editing it to my satisfaction two weeks ago, but now I’m trying to come up with the perfect title (no such luck yet) and writing and rewriting my query ad nauseum.
Some of my friends are starting to ask why I’m *still* not jumping into the query pool. They think I’m worrying too much about it. And I suppose I am.
But no matter how many times I rewrite my query, it seems like there’s something I can change—a new word I can use—something to cut. Then it’s back to the drawing board because I don’t want to put it—and myself—out there until I’m 100% on everything.
Some call this crazy; others call it the “right way” of handling it. I don’t even know anymore!
I suppose I’m being a little wackadoo, but I’m just afraid of opening that query door and seeing my shadow.
However, I am starting to realize that, until I pop my head out, I can’t know if it will be an early spring or six more weeks of winter for my writing career. Right?
Tell me: How do you know when it’s time?