Archive for the ‘Maureen Johnson’ Tag

In the Blogosphere: 1/10-2/11

“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.

I’ve decided just to focus on agents and querying and . . . stuff, since I need to get a jump on WB workshop stuff this weekend.

Hope you enjoy!

AGENTS & QUERYING & STUFF

I jumped back into the query pool this week with my latest YA contemporary manuscript, so this is largely for me.  :)  Oh yeah—and any of you also at this stage.  Hee.

Many of us have formulated our own lists of “dream agents,” based on stalking meeting some of the industry’s finest at conferences and workshop, reading interviews and blogs, etc.  Here, the Michelle Wolfson-repped rom-com author, Tawna Feske, talks about the downside of dream agents.

See that butterfly net? That's my dream agent. *Creepy much*? You know who you are . . . OK--you prob don't, and that's prob a good thing! :)

And, just in case that depresses you, here is another post by Feske, where she shows her agent-catching query.  For a little inspiration!

Agents dishing out query tips online in response to their query inboxes becomes a heated debate around the blogosphere at least twice a year, but I think it’s a valid discussion whenever it pops up.  Here, Heather Trese of See Heather Write asks: Is the #queries hashtag really good?

Querying can be extremely frustrating (understatement much?), and it can lead to writers getting pushed over the edge of good sense and expressing their frustrations in their Tweets or Facebook statuses. Translation: not good.  Here, Bridget Pilloud has the answer—a bitch box, or the Bitchy Comment Receptacle.  You need to bitch?  Pilloud provides a sounding board—and then deletes your comment so no one will see it.  Win-win!

Ever wonder how agents actually evaluate fulls when they request them?  Well, she doesn’t speak for all of agentkind, but Andrea Brown lit agent Mary Kole says she does it like this.

Going to a conference?  Here’s what kt literary’s Kate Schafer Testerman has to say about talking to agents IRL.

I had the distinct pain pleasure of writing my synopsis for my new MS this weekend.  I had *forgotten* about this, the fabulous Shawntelle Madison’s synopsis wizard.  But you should def check it out!

In my editing of MS #2—as well as in the reading of John Green, Maureen Johnson, E. Lockhart, and other YA all-stars, I’ve done a lot of thinking about the “mature voice” in teen fictionHere are amazegent Mary Kole’s thoughts on the subject.

So, confession: I got a Kindle for Christmas . . . and I love it!  Of course, it WILL NOT take the place of holding an actual book in my hands, but I have already found it great for traveling, working out, and it was VERY helpful last weekend, when I needed to read two harder-to-find books for an interview I was doing.  Agent Kristin Nelson agrees in this post, about the power of story—in any medium.

CONGRATS

A special WOO HOO goes out this week to my Twitter soulmate, Cambria Dillon, who signed with literary agent Vickie Motter of Andrea Hurst & Associates!  SO EXCITED FOR YOU, girl!!!!!!!!  *mwah!*

What better way to celebrate than this??

In the Blogosphere: 10/18-11/12

“In the Blogosphere” is a series, which lists links to writing-related blogs I’ve stumbled upon throughout a given week (usually).

I’m admittedly behind with my Blogosphere posts—I have tons of links saved, dating all the way back to the summer (oh noes!)—but they are all still worth a look.  I’ll catch up eventually, right?

AGENT STUFF

Here, author and D4EO literary agent Mandy Hubbard gives some spillage on some holes in the market as well as subgenres all editors want (hint: middle grade!).

Writer’s Relief talks lit agents—and how to find the best one for you.

Other than announcing he’s leaving the agenting world (!), Nathan Bransford has more bad news: the rejection letter of the future will be silence.

Here, FinePrint Literary’s Suzie Townsend chats about the waiting game.

We all know it’s important to build platform, but do unpubbed writers need to blog? Andrea Brown agent Mary Kole of Kidlit.com weighs in.

WRITING TIPS FROM COOL PEOPLE

Over on her blog, YA author Michelle Hodkin gives an ironic example of what your first pages should look like.* (Hint: if this is what your first pages actually look like, get that delete button ready!) *She also gives links to fabulous resources for fixing up those first pages.

Thinking of planning a trilogy?  Please don’t get started until you read this post by YA author (and my pal—hee!) Jodi Meadows.

Over at the Guide to Literary Agents blog, Chuck Sambuchino shares five screenwriting tips [from Neil Landau and Matt Frederick's 101 Things I Learned in Film School] *all* writers can use.

A DAY IN THE LIFE

Ever wonder what full-time writers do all day?  Over at Writing it Out, Across the Universe author Beth Revis live-blogged a day in her busy writer life.

While we’re living vicariously through others, middle-grade author Stephanie Blake shares how she got plucked from the slush pile over at Adventures in Children’s Publishing.

GETTING READY

As you know, I’m a huge enthusiast of writers’ conferences.  Well, so is the University of Cincinnati and Writer’s Digest’s Jane FriedmanHere, she talks about the benefits of attending these functions.

Having trouble formatting your synopsis? Here’s a checklist of the essentials, from WD.

Going along with that, Write Anything’s Annie Evett talks about the importance of building a writer portfolio—how to, what to include, etc.

Worried you’ll lose your blog content? Guest blogger Peta Jenneth Andersen explains how, over at Guide to Literary Agents blog.

Nanu-nanu!

Over at Self Editing Blog, author John Robert Marlow talks about jumping the gun.

NANO-TASTIC!

You may be participating in this writing marathon, but you can still be healthy about it. Write Anything’s Annie Evett tells us how.

Here, YA author of awesome Maureen Johnson answers a slew of NaNo questions.

Here are some NaNo DOs and DON’Ts, courtesy of TerribleMinds.

And over at Write Anything, Andrea Allison offers some Web site aids to help you stick with it.

MORE COOL STUFF

I heart Meg CabotHere’s an interview L.A. Times’s Carolyn Kellogg of Jacket Copy did with the author extraordinaire this summer.

Um, coolest thing ever?  Make your Twitter feed into a daily newspaper!

In the Blogosphere: 5/31-6/4

“In the Blogosphere” is a series, which lists links to writing-related blogs I’ve stumbled upon throughout a given week (usually).

CONGRATS ARE IN ORDER

A few weeks ago, lit agent Kate Schafer Testerman of kt literary hosted a picture prompt contest on her blog, and fellow SWO member Alicia Caldwell tied with another writer for first place.  Her entry was certainly memorable.  Click here to give it a read.  This earns Caldwell a 30-minute phone conversation with the agent extraordinaire—and, as Testerman is YA author and writing hero of mine Maureen Johnson‘s agent, color me jealous!   Congrats, Alicia!

The next person I’m opening virtual champagne bottles for is up-and-coming YA author Michelle Hodkin.  Not only did Hodkin score Fox Literary Agency‘s own Diana Fox as an agent a few short weeks ago, but last week, she also landed a two-book deal for her debut YA series, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer.  Truly awesome news, and I couldn’t be happier to have met her at a conference last fall or that all her hard work is coming to fruition like this!  Congrats, Michelle!

Dudes--don't forget I knew you when, when "everybody knows your name"!

HOW-TOs

This next post comes from YA authors Lisa and Laura Roecker, a sister duo, who are quickly becoming some of my favorite lit peeps out there.  I mean, not only are they from my humble homeland, Cleveland, but they also crack me up with just about every blog post—what’s not to love?  Here, they give suggestions on how to be perky like Kelly Ripa without becoming a cokehead or a caffeine pill addict like Saved by the Bell‘s Jessie Spano.  What’s not to love?  I, for one, could definitely use perkiness pointers!

Over at Adventures in Children’s Publishing, Martina Boone and Marissa Graff take a comprehensive look at how to craft successful scenes.  Definitely worth bookmarking.

She doesn't look very excited here!

CHILL, BABY, CHILL

I’m sure every writer has experienced the gut-wrenching awfulness when someone reads his/her book.  Will they like it?  What will they say?  Will this change how they view me?  If they don’t like it, does this mean it’s not publishable? In this post, the Rachelle Gardner-repped Jody Hedlund discusses this very thing and gives some insight as to the different perspectives of agents, publishers, and even your grandma as they read your book—and suggests with how much salt we need to take their reactions.

You really like me! I mean . . . do you??

RESTORING MY FAITH IN HUMANITY

Here, the Roeckers are at it again, making me even more of a fangirl with a mere post about how Sex and the City 2 sucked and how the unfortunate flick is a microcosm for why the rest of the world hates America.  I’m glad someone said it!

CONTESTS

In celebration of the awesomeness that is going on with her writing career, Michelle Hodkin is hosting a contest over at her blog.  Check it out!

As well, Inky Fresh Press is running a romance contest—don’t miss your chance to win some great (signed) books by Kate MacAlister and Cherry Adair!

Knowing Your Process is Half the Battle

I’ve been answering some neglected e-mails today, and in one, I described my current mood by using the following video.  It’s from Forgetting Sarah Marshall; YES, I used it in my last 15 Beats post; and, YES, he swears twice (get over it):

But I think we all feel like this at one point or another—especially writers (<— probably more often than normal people)—where everything you’re doing feels like it’s pointless or for naught or just plain horrible and what were you thinking,  subjecting yourself to this??

So, what do you do when you’re feeling like that?  How do you get out of it?

Part of what helps me is that I’ve come to a point where I know it’s part of my process. And I know it’s something everyone feels at one time or another.

Maybe you’re going, “I never feel that way.  I always know I’m awesome.”  (If you are saying that, I have two words for you—and I’m not going to post them here.)

True, knowing there are going to be hours/days/weeks I’m going to feel like a hack doesn’t make me feel better instantly when I’m in that state, but I think it’s important to get to the point where you can acknowledge that it’s just a phase.  Then, you can being to look yourself objectively and get over it faster.

For instance, I notice I tend to feel this way when I’m close to something: an epiphany—a creative burst—a panic attack?  (<—Naw, I’ve only had one of those.)

My point?  I dunno—go back to the aforementioned video!

But I’d be willing to bet this happens to others when they at the precipice of awesomeness (<—hopefully) as well.  The late, great Blake Snyder might call this the “Dark Night of the Soul” beat, were your writing life a screenplay.

The question is, what makes you “Break into Three”(Act III)?

Since the rest of this post was probably very rambling and depressing, I’ll leave you with a ray of sucky sunshine from YA author Maureen Johnson:

Shenandoah Writers Hosting a Write-In Saturday, May 15

For any writers in the Harrisonburg, Va., area who are interested, I am hosting a write-in at my humble abode this Saturday, May 15, from 11 A.M. – 5 P.M.

THE GIST

Because this profession has the propensity to be such a solitary one, I find I sometimes need that extra boost that camaraderie provides (hence Shenandoah Writers, Shenandoah Writers Online, SheNoWriMo, etc.).  While the act of writing is individual, I think it might be neat to feed off the energy of others.  That’s why I think, although I would have done SheNoWriMo myself if I’d had to, I have been staying on top of my word count (for the most part).  It makes one accountable.

It has worked for some of my favorite authors (John Green, Maureen Johnson, E. Lockhart), so perhaps it will work for us as well!
I have never been to a write-in or writers’ retreat before, but I envision this as a way to force oneself to get the writing done.  We all have crazy things going on in our lives, I’m sure, and we don’t always make as much time to write as we intend – so this is kind of an organized way of taking that time and being accountable to others – butt in chair and WRITE, as they say, the whole time.  

We will each be working on our OWN projects.  It will likely be a largely quiet day.

WHAT WE’LL HAVE

We have plenty of comfortable spaces to set up little “Internet cafes” as well as places to get a little bit of distance—no need for anyone to bring card tables or chairs, like we discussed at the meeting.  As well, we have outlets all over the place as well as two power strips, so we should be set in terms of power, no matter where people set up camp.

In addition, we recently acquired a 30-cup coffee pot, so we will have plenty of fuel to keep us going!

WHAT TO BRING

  • Laptops
  • Power cords for your laptops
  • Pens/Notebooks if you think you’ll be writing/outlining by hand
  • Your favorite writing snacks – we intend to do dinner at 5PM with anyone who wants to go, but if you’d like to snack throughout the day, pack yourself a little somethin’ somethin’ :)

RSVP

Please let me know if you can make it. Even if you’ve never been to a Shenandoah Writers (IRL) meeting, but you’re in the area and interested, we’d love to have you—I just need to be able to plan for it, so it would be nice if you’d let me know.

As well, if you aren’t sure you can commit to the whole time, that’s totally fine.  You can certainly come and go as you please.

Please contact me for directions.

FINALLY

I think it will be a neat experience.  And hey—if it doesn’t work out or we hate it or something, that’s okay, too.  We’ll find out!

If you have any questions between now and Saturday, please feel free to shoot me an e-mail.

Looking forward to it!

In the Blogosphere: 3/22-3/26

“In the Blogosphere” is a weekly series, which lists links to writing-related blogs I’ve stumbled upon throughout a given week.  Most posts will be from that week, but if I find some “oldies but goodies,” I’ll throw those up here as well.

I never find as much time to read blogs as I want, but here are a few posts that struck me this week.

STRATEGERY

Over at Incurable Disease of Writing, guest blogger, bestselling author, award-winning screenwriter and educator Ami Hendrickson offers a three-step approach to editing.

Here are two great posts, brought to you by Naomi Dunford of Itty Biz: Marketing for Businesses without Marketing DepartmentsThe first discusses the difference between being hungry and starving and is a must-read for all writers.  The second talks about the dreaded “elevator pitch” and suggests you boil yours down to seven words, like the people passing out prostitution pamphlets in Las Vegas.

As well, the good folks at Lyrical Press, Inc. give six strategies to overcome what they call “author fatigue” (when writers lose their way, about 50 pages into their manuscripts).

REASSURANCE

I recently found a group blog, Old People Writing for Teens (OPWFT), and it’s one of my new favorite places to visit.  Particularly if you’re in the querying stage, you’ll want to check out these three posts, which should help you feel better about any of your own submission slip-ups:

Are you neurotic?  Rejections and scathing critiques have you down?  Curtis Brown, Ltd., literary agent Nathan Bransford says feeling like you’re the worst writer (evaaaar!) might not be a bad thing.

In case you were wondering, it’s okay to suck.  Over on her blog, up-and-coming young adult author Myra McEntire asks you to listen to bestselling juvenile lit authors Meg Cabot and Maureen Johnson when it comes to writing—not her.

Why, thank you, bunny!

CONTESTS

Since I just realized I forgot to include the link in last week’s blogosphere post, here’s the link to the contest over at Getting Past the Gatekeeper that requires a love of Jane Austen as well as skill at writing queries.  You’ve got until April 5 to write a query as if you wrote, and are pitching, Pride and Prejudice for a chance to win some great Austen-related prizes!

Are you covering up a crazy past?  Over at bestselling middle-grade and young adult author Lauren Myracle’s blog, Jo Whittemore wants to know the craziest legal thing you’ve ever done to get something you wanted.  Two lucky winners will receive signed copies of Whittemore’s new book, Front Page Face-Off.

And, if you’re a glutton for punishment—which, if you’re a writer, you definitely are—try your hand at Script Frenzy‘s screenwriting contest.  Akin to NaNoWriMo‘s novel-in-a-month contest, participants will write a 100-page screenplay in the month of April.  This contest isn’t about the prize; it’s about the challenge!

I *heart* that this is about a school newspaper!

SPRING CLEANING

Get out the rubber gloves; it’s time to declutter your Facebook friends and Twitter followers.  The Gawker‘s Brian Moylan suggests eight annoying FB and Twitter types to cut loose.

In the Blogosphere: 3/1-3/5

“In the Blogosphere” is a weekly series, which lists links to writing-related blogs I’ve stumbled upon throughout a given week.  Most posts will be from that week, but if I find some “oldies but goodies,” I’ll throw those up here as well.

I never find as much time to read blogs as I want, but here are a few posts that struck me this week.

LIVING VICARIOUSLY THROUGH OTHERS

This week has been a positive one, in terms of getting some nibbles and bites on my manuscript.  I’m trying very hard to curb my excitement, however, as I know the road to publication is actually more like a jacked-up staircase.

In the interest of keeping positive, let’s live vicariously through three up-and-coming young adult authors:

  • Jodi Meadows.  Although this happened a few weeks ago, I only found out this week: my new pal, who has been up and down her jacked-up staircase for the past 7 years, signed with Lauren MacLeod of The Strothman Agency (whom Jodi refers to as “agent of awesome”).
  • Sarah Wylie.  If this post doesn’t warm your heart, you’re dead inside.  Wylie, repped by FinePrint Literary‘s Suzie Townsend, announced her debut novel, All These Lives, was just sold at auction and will be out in 2012.
  • Steph Bowe.  This 16-year-old Aussie is repped by Curtis Brown Ltd.’s Ginger Clark, and her debut novel (working title: These Bones) will be published this September in Australia and New Zealand (Text Publishing) and the summer of 2011 in the U.S. (Egmont USA).  She’s also a part of The YA 5, a blog dedicated to changing the way young adult literature is discussed.

**Just a reminder: My guest blog on “leetspeak/text message lingo” in YA will appear on Bowe’s blog Monday, so don’t forget to check it out!

NIT PICKING

Thursday was National Grammar Day, and in the spirit of nitpicking, Curtis Brown Ltd.’s Nathan Bransford blogged about your spelling/grammar pet peeves.

Nerdfighter master and New York Times bestseller John Green adds to the grammar hilarity with this pic.

As well, one of my new favorites, YA author extraordinaire Maureen Johnson critiqued a query letter on the blog of superagent Daphne Unfeasible (her agent Kate Schafer Testerman of kt literary‘s alter ego).

SOME THINGS TO THINK ABOUT

At coffee with Jodi the other day, I brought up the subject of author advances.  Being that I didn’t know much about what to expect—I thought the average book deal was wayyyyy less than it actually is—Jodi put me in touch with this post by fantasy author Jim C. Hines.  I learned a lot!

Are you one of those Facebookers who changes your status every time something upsets you?  You might want to think twice about that after reading this post by Andrea Brown Literary Agency‘s Mary Kole over at Kidlit.com.

Excercise some.

Sometimes, dying dramatically or mysteriously is part of the job description when you sign up to be a writer.  The folks over at Schmoop.com take a peek at the fascinating deaths of nine famous writers.

STUFF THAT’S PROBABLY GOOD FOR YOU

Not that I can do this, but I can appreciate the idea behind it.  Author and webmaster of A Life Less Anxious: Freedom from Panic Attacks and Social Anxiety Without Drugs or Therapy Steve Pavilanis gives some tips on how to function without caffeine.

But - but - I need it!

In the Blogosphere: 12/21-12/25

“In the Blogosphere” is a weekly series, which lists links to writing-related blogs I’ve stumbled upon throughout a given week.  Most posts will be from that week, but if I find some “oldies but goodies,” I’ll throw those up here as well.

I never find as much time to read blogs as I want, but here are a few posts that struck me this week.

RESOURCES

Upstart Crow Literary founder Michael Stearns lists 20 things the editors of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers say make for a good children’s story.  Stearns says these qualities might not be true of *every* good story—but he believes they are true of the *best* stories.  And, um, he’s a literary agent, so I’m thinking he knows a thing or two about the subject?

Here, Rob Reinalda of Ragan Communications offers advice on how to add some sizzle to your writing: use clichés.  Wha?  Reinalda is talking about foreign idioms, and in the post, he plugs Jag Bhalla’s book, I’m Not Hanging Noodles on Your Ears (and Other Intriguing Idioms from Around the World).  Being the language nerd that I am, I wish I had heard of this book about a week earlier so I could have added it to my Christmas list—sounds interesting!

A Yiddish insult: "Onions should grow from your navel." Well, I never!!!

Writer’s Relief talks critique partners: why they’re helpful, how to find them, and what to look for in one.

Super hilarious and super awesome young adult author Maureen Johnson gives the gift of a free e-book—her latest, Suite Scarlett–(from now through Jan. 15) on her blog.  Don’t miss your chance to get your hands on it!

Over at Writer Unboxed, Writer’s Digest‘s (F+W Media) Jane Friedman discusses what makes her tic in terms of Web sites and blogs.

NOT A BLOG

I stumbled upon the first of this seven-part YouTube series on the aforementioned Jane Friedman‘s blog, There Are No Rules, but it was so hilarious—and helpful—I wanted to post the links to all the videos.

Mike of Red Letter Media, a filmmaker, videographer, editor, and video blogger, reviews Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace.  Each video is about 10 minutes long, and as I mentioned, there are seven of them, but they are chockfull of not only cracks at George Lucas but also tips on storytelling—from character development to plot.

Oh gawd.

He’s got a pretty sick sense of humor, which my husband and I found to be pretty entertaining; but if you are easily offended, this might not be the video series for you.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 32 other followers

%d bloggers like this: