Archive for the ‘Write-Brained Network’ Tag
First, I have no idea what’s up with the formatting of the text on this post. But I have 18 bajillion things to do today, so rather than freak out about it, I’m letting it go.
WHAT?? I know. That’s so un-Ricki.
My apologies for being a bit sparse with the posts as of late. My aforementioned sickness, which lasted several weeks, played a large part in that, as did some freelancing and, of course, the Write-Brained Network.
What will be pulling my focus now? NoRhym-O-ReMo
But this is something anyone can take part in—and I hope you will!
LET ME ‘SPLAIN
There are no rules.
Well, that’s not entirely true—but, let’s say, you make your own rules. Just write something. Every day. For the month of May. NoRhym-O-ReMo is like NaNoWriMo, but a more accommodating of your schedule.
For traditional NaNoWriMo, folks set out to write 1500 words a day—and then, at the end of the month of November (National Novel Writing Month), they have a 50,000-word first draft of something. For those of you unfamiliar with NaNoWriMo, click here.
For NoRhym-O-ReMo, let’s be more flexible. Set your own goal for your daily word count. For instance, if you think your schedule will only allow you to comfortably write 500 words/day, fine. That’s your goal. Post it here, and have at it.
You can write one continuous piece or a lot of smaller pieces—or, heck—even just writing prompts.
And if you find your schedule changes, and you are writing more (or less) than you had hoped, adjust your goals as you go.
REPITE, POR FAVOR?
Just set a goal for yourself and DO THE WRITING. And keep us posted about it. Participants are keeping records of their progress over on the WB—and it’s hugely inspiring (and kick-in-the-pantsing) to see other folks succeeding.
WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH WORD COUNT?
As a general rule in the industry, 250 words=1 page. That should help you gauge the amount of words to which you think you can commit per day.
When setting your goal: Don’t be too aggressive. Not that you shouldn’t challenge yourself, but I’m just saying don’t say you want to write 3K/day if there’s no way you can feasibly do that! You don’t want to make it impossible to reach your daily goals—that might discourage you from continuing. However, don’t be wimpy either. Throw out a number you’d be happy reaching per day, and get those words down.
OK, so what are you waiting for? If you’re not already a member of the WB, get on over there. It’s painless—really. You’ll meet a lot of fantastic writing folks and you’ll even get to keep your first born. (Well, probably.)
If we get enough participants, I’ll be offering up a prize or two. Stay tuned . . .
If you’re looking to get serious about a new manuscript, if you want to finish/up your word count on an existing one, or if you just need a little incentive to write whatever it is you’re writing get on over to NoRhym-O-ReMo and DO IT.
*cracks the whip*
Last May, my online writing community was much smaller—and called Shenandoah Writers Online—so we had SheNoWriMo, which was SWO’s reboot of NaNoWriMo for the month of May.
We’re doing the same thing this year—only now we’re the Write-Brained Network—and we’re calling it: NoRhym-O-ReMo (No Rhyme or Reason [Writing] Month).
I’ll be posting more info about this next week, but if you’re looking to get serious about a new manuscript (or if you’re looking to finish/up your word count on an existing one), it’s on like Donkey Kong in May, baby.
I’m celebrating National Poetry Month on the Write-Brained Network in a big way.
Poetry seems to intimidate people who don’t write or read it often (what is up with that??), and I think this is a great opportunity to change that perception and do something cool. So, if poetry isn’t necessarily in your comfort zone, GOOD! All the better! I hope you’ll come check us out our festivities and participate anyway!
Since September on the WB, we have had writing challenges every month. For example, we have WordWatchers, which is basically like NaNoWriMo—except it’s a bit more laid back in that you set the amount of words you think would be feasible (but still challenging) to write in a given week, and then you report on your progress, etc.
However, WordWatchers is for fiction and nonfiction and doesn’t really work for poets because poetry isn’t about making daily or weekly word counts.
Enter RhyMoWriMo, which will be sort of like WordWatchers. The poetry won’t have to RHYME—I just thought the name had a nice, dorky ring to it. Participants will have one official prompt or type of poem to write per week in April (starting Monday, April 4), for a chance to win a prize.
MODERN POETS SERIES
To introduce some amazing modern poets to the group, we will present a series of short interviews with a “featured poet” or poetry expert each week.
To kick off our the series, meet Dave Lucas, whose debut poetry collection, Weather, hit shelves April 1.
Dave was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He is the recipient of a Henry Hoyns Fellowship from the University of Virginia and a “Discovery”/The Nation Prize, and his poems have appeared in many journals including Paris Review, Poetry, and Slate. He lives in Cleveland and Ann Arbor, where he is a PhD candidate in English language and literature at the University of Michigan.
THIS WEEK’S CHALLENGE
Try your hand at writing a sonnet—extra points for a “more advanced” entry (here’s a refresher course). Leave your entries in the comments to this post for a chance to win a signed copy of Dave’s debut collection, Weather.
POETRY CHAT—APRIL 26, 9-10 PM
This month’s chat topic to be poetry. Genius, I know. But it’s going to be a little different in that we will have a guest or two—perhaps one or two of the folks featured in the series (TBA).
The gist . . .
We started by discussing the different methods people use when they need to do research. We brainstormed a quick list of ways to do research and came up with reading stuff and interviewing pros or specialists. Nothing too groundbreaking there, no?
Then, we talked about the ways in which we go about incorporating research. Because everyone’s process is different, it was interesting to compare notes. Some Write-Brainiacs need to have their whole plot frame up before they even attempt doing any research. Others begin writing and leave themselves notes in terms of where they need some research beefing (in other words, get the story down and THEN worry about the nitty gritty). Others still can’t move on to the next sentence if they haven’t done their homework.
After that, we talked about where people go to get the necessary info:
- Google. We agreed that with the Internet, there isn’t really much excuse for getting something wrong these days. A good, old-fashioned Internet (or library) search can mean all the difference in a lot of cases, so it’s a good thing that’s pretty accessible to pretty much everyone.
- ProfNet. I hadn’t heard of this one, but it definitely sounds like it’s worth checking out. Through PR Newswire, ProfNet is a free database where one can search for info—or (and this is where I was really sold) ask a specific question that one of their 30,000 professionals will answer. And they’ve got pros in a ton of areas!
- Google Maps. We got into a little discussion about research and setting—i.e., do you have to have visited the place you’re writing about (if it’s not a fictitious world you’ve created). Of course, if you’re looking for concrete details, it’s probably better if you’ve been there or at least talked to someone who has been. However, if you are simply looking for distances of locations, Google Maps is a great tool.
- Lydia Kang’s Medical Mondays. For medical research, I pointed to a blog I follow—The Word is My Oyster—by doctor/writer/blogger Lydia Kang. She has a series she does every where she takes some kind of medical condition and explains it thoroughly for writers looking to incorporate things about it into their work. If she hasn’t already done a Medical Monday on a subject of your choice, you can write in and she’ll answer your questions in a subsequent post. For example, today’s question is: “If someone died and was buried in a shallow grave in New England (about an hour northwest of Boston) for nine years, would only a skeleton and clothing be left behind? Or would hair, skin or anything else be left?” Find out the answer here.
- CSI stuff. We also talked about a few books out there that cops and other investigative types have written—some specifically *for* writers to answer their questions about police procedure where crimes are concerned, etc. For a while, a few of us thought we were talking about the same book only to find out we were talking about a couple of different books, but in the midst of that convo, someone metioned the Crime Scene Investigator Network Newsletter (which is exactly what it sounds like).
ORGANIZATION OF RESEARCH
After all that, we discussed how (and where) to keep everything straight, and, quite frankly, we talked about Scrivener so much they should be endorsing us. But some other Scrivener-esque programs out there were mentions as well—two being Evernote and My Novel.
I haven’t tried any of these, but with the glowing reviews from other Write-Brainiacs, I can’t wait to play around with them soon, as I embark on manuscript #3!
All in all, it was an enjoyable hour (two hours for some of us who stuck around after the allotted time!). I always have a great time chatting live with other WBers.
Want in? Join us March 22 from 9-10 p.m. EST for our next WB Live Chat! Topic: Plotters & Pantsers.
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!
Last night, the Write-Brained Network hosted its first live chat since moving back to Ning.
The topic was broad—query and agent-related support—but we kept a good convo going.
The gist . . .
One of the reasons we chose this particular topic for the chat was because of a question a Write-Brainiac had: How do you know know when to heed an agent’s advice in terms of making changes to your manuscript? This particular writer was talking about when one gets a personalized rejection—not when one gets an editorial letter or something, etc.
Some of the suggestions from the group:
- Always. An agent knows what sells and what will make your book more salable. That is why you are querying an agent in the first place.
- When the feedback resonates with you.
As we talked, I extended this idea of resonating to not just agent feedback, but for all feedback you receive—be it from betas, crit partners, your writing group, your mom, agents, or editors.
As I have been preparing to query myself (and, therefore, getting lots of feedback on my manuscript from multiple sources), I have thought much on this subject.
It seems like, at least for me, whenever I write something, I have certain insecurities with it—things that tug at my guts a little, and I’ll think, “If this scoots past X, Y, and Z betas, then it must be okay.” Many times, those are the things X, Y, and Z betas mention as items to change, cut, condense, or expand. So, when I get their feedback, it resonates—and I know it’s not just my writerly insecurities being all OCD. (Sometimes that is the case, however!)
On the topic of resonating . . .
Sometimes you’ll get feedback that you never would have considered or recognized yourself. (This is why you need to get feedback, people!) It’s a subjective business, and sometimes someone will come up with a killer idea or ask a question that spawns a twist you hadn’t anticipated—but that is a good problem to have. If it resonates, if you can see how incorporating the suggestion would make the book better, then, I say, do it!
More from the chat . . .
Another Write-Brainiac asked about nonfiction books and whether or not the writer should secure the rights to photographs prior to querying agents, or if that is the agent’s job.
This was a bit of a stumper. We discussed it as best we could—I gave some suggestions based on what I know of related situations, but none of us pretended to be experts in this area. If you *are*, please leave advice in the comments!
My immediate response to this was that, the closer a writer comes to having everything in place before he queries, the more professional and “together” the writer will appear to the agent. Less work for the agent = happier agent, etc.
However, I can also see where this might not be the case.
Related(ish) examples . . .
Children’s author Gail Langer Karwoski spoke at the Southeastern Writers Association conference last summer about something similar, regarding the writer/author relationship:
- Most picture books begin with the story, unless you have a legal relationship with the illustrator (it’s you, your relative, your spouse).
- If there’s no legal relationship and you’re trying to suggest an illustrator in your proposal, it’s like a siren screaming “AMATEUR” (=rejection).
- Many times, pub houses will pair a newer author with a more established illustrator to increase the book’s chances of selling.
- If you can do both (you don’t just “doodle”), you should; just make sure your proposal is professional.
- Many agents want author/illustrators (because it’s less people to pay and more of a cut of the money for them).
Also, I know that, when my Writer’s Digest Books editor, Chuck Sambuchino, wrote his Gnomes book—which is a nonfiction, humor book—he wasn’t expected to have the photos with it. The publisher, Ten Speed Press, chose photographers to take pictures, and Chuck and his agent were able to pick their favorite from there. (I also understand that the author having a say in that kind of thing isn’t common.)
Along the lines of securing rights, if there are specific photos you want and *you* are taking them (and there’s a reason you are the only one who can take said photos), I believe you technically already own the rights to them, as soon as the picture is snapped. Same thing with writing. Yes, you can register something with the U.S. Copyright office, but you actually “own” something as soon as you write it.
However, the WBer with the question was actually asking about photos of a structure that no longer exists—so it’s not as though new photos can be taken of it. From what I know and what I’ve read*, my instincts lead me back to my initial answer—that the writer should have the rights secured before querying the agent.
Anything to add?
*Helpful copyright articles from the Guide to Literary Agents blog:
**Not a Write-Brainiac yet? Click here to get started.
Brisbane in Queensland, Australia, is not only one of the places in Australia that has been declared a disaster area due to the massive floods sweeping the country at the moment; it’s also home to a member of my online writers’ group, Write-Brainiac Marice Kraal.
I was stunned to learn, when going through my Google Reader today, that Brisbane is also home to two contributors to Write Anything, a blog I regularly link to in my “In the Blogosphere” round-up posts.
They are trying to get the word out about disaster relief, and the ladies of Write Anything are doing so via anthology.
Click here for more details on how to submit work to the anthology they will be selling to raise money to help the disaster effort.
Also, please keep Marice and her family, as well as all those dealing with the floods, in your thoughts and prayers.
December 1, people—here we are! We made it out of the NaNo trenches of November, and I’m declaring December EdYoFOffMo (Edit Your Face Off Month).
FYI: EdYoFOffMo is pronounced ed-yo-FOFF-mo, in case you care.
Over at the Write-Brained Network, I’ve created a Subgroup specifically for this, so interested parties can track their progress. If you’d like to get in on this action, join the WB (and then the EdYoFOffMo—I just can’t get enough of it!—subgroup) STAT.
HOW IT WORKS
Basically, it will work like WordWatchers—The gist of WW: set a weekly word goal and WRITE!—only, since we all edit differently, all our goals will be different.
At the beginning of each week (we’ll typically go Monday-Sunday; however, this will be a shorty week, since Dec. 1 lands on a Wednesday), participants will set a goal for what they want to get done, editing wise, that week. For example, it could be a certain amount of edited pages, a run-through for smoothing out transitions or beefing up setting/atmosphere, taking a machete to adverbs or passive verbs, etc. Whatever you want; whatever fits with your life, but is still challenging.
Bottom line: Let’s not lose the momentum we built during such a successful November.*
*If you don’t have a finished draft of something, then do WordWatchers and try to get it done! You can jump into EdYoFOffMo at any time. It’s just for fun—and to be accountable—and to keep us sane as we edit.
Also: Don’t be afraid to join the WB and participate in these contests. Believe me—you’re not going to find a more supportive group out there. Seeing others’ progress really is inspiring. It provides a major push to get your shizz done as well.
So, if you’re interested in participating in EdYoFOffMo, go to Subgroups (in the top tab of the WB’s main page) and join the EdYoFOffMo group.
I’ll see you over there!
And now . . . totally off topic: Hair-Related Questions.
Well, actually, it’s not completely off topic, because it involves cutting—just words and not hair!
So, pretty much all my life, I had long hair.
About three years ago, it started getting shorter:
And then I decided to go Holmes:
And it’s been pretty much like this ever since:
However, I’ve been seeing some cute pixie haircuts out there lately, and it’s making me wonder . . . should I do it?
I wouldn’t want the Holmes pixie. There’s something too 1967 about it:
But this is closer:
Something soft. Perhaps the Mandy Moore (LOVE HER):
So, um, what do you think? Besides “these are all exactly the same, Ricki”?
My one fear about it is that I’ll hate it, it will take forever to grow out to my current length (which I def like—I was even thinking of growing it out just a little longer and have done that *just a tad* this fall), and it will look horrible in the interim. And I’ll look like a boy. And . . . and . . .
Anyone out there have a short short short haircut? Or *have* you had one? What was your experience in growing it out?
Furthermore, should I just be brave and do it?
I’ll probably chicken out, but I’ve been thinking about it lately. Not sure what my husband thinks, but he *does* think my ears are cute, for some reason. And he hasn’t really seen them in about three years! This would be his big chance!
Next haircut scheduled: Dec. 16.
“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 about 50 links saved, dating all the way back to the summer (oh noes!)—but they are all still worth a look. I’m getting there!
CRAFTING A WINNER
At Kidlit.com, über fantastic Andrea Brown agent Mary Kole talks about “prime real estate”—and the three places she considers that to be in your manuscript. Um—sold!
Here, Kole says, if your characters shoot glances, you should be shot!*
In her guest post on Writer Unboxed, the ZOMG-awesome Laura Espinosa (a Write-Brainiac!) tells how getting in touch with your inner actor can help you iron out those pesky, hard-to-write scenes.
This question has come up with some international Write-Brained Network folks—yes, we are global, people!! Here, Mary Kole (yes, again—she’s on fire!!) discusses how to handle your manuscript if you are an international writer and/or writing international settings.
Paranormalcy author, the adorable Kiersten White answers reader questions and dishes on how/when to query as well as how to make blog follower friends.
Here, the now-former agent extraordinaire, author Nathan Bransford, debunks the top 10 myths about the future of e-publishing.
“RE” STUFF (-VISION & -SOURCES)
Many folks have tackled this subject, but here is the Suzie-Townsend-repped Kristin Miller of YA Highway’s take on how to revise and resubmit.
Here, on See Heather Write, Heather Trese outlines some of her incredible takeaways from a session on revising with Gennifer Choldenko. (Really really faboo post!)
The fabulous duo at Adventures in Children’s Publishing (Martina Boone and Marissa Graff) details the seven basic plot types in this equally as fabulous post. Where does yours fit?
If you’re looking for some awesome Web resources for writers, the good folks of EduChoices.org have compiled 50 of the best in terms of reference; fiction, nonfiction, and freelance writng; and writing in general.
Here, author Jody Hedlund suggests how to attract readers to your bloggity blog. (<—Well, she doesn’t actually call it that!)
In her guest post over at Writer Unboxed, Writer’s Digest and the University of Cincinnati’s own Jane Friedman says specificity sets apart the professionals from the amateurs.
Over at the Huffington Post , Denise Brodey gives a five-point plan on how to sell books. Having a Twitter account won’t do it alone.
Over at Inky Fresh Press, the OMGiDONTknowWHATi’dDOwithoutHER Write-Brainiac Bridgid Gallagher offers five tips on how to improve that elusive thing everyone wants to grab hold of: voice.
On her blog, freelancer and YA writer Heather Trese does it again, relaying valuable info she learned about voice during a workshop with Rachel Vail.
Here, the inimitable T.H. Mafi (Tahereh), delivers the best writerly pep talk evarrr. Bookmark it, folks. Fo’ realz.
Feeling a little bipolar about your manuscript? Jody Hedlund says that’s normal, and she offers suggestions on how to deal.
BECAUSE IT’S AWESOME
At Querypolitan, the fabulous Kate Hart *just may* be on to something: Edward Cullen and Vanilla Ice—one and the same?
Please check out my new Web site.
*OK—she doesn’t quite put it *that* way!