Archive for the ‘voice’ Tag

In the Blogosphere: 12/6-1/7

“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.  I’ve saved lots of great stuff, and it’s all definitely worth a read.

QUERY STUFF

The onset of January seems to signal the big “okay” in terms of opening the query floodgates after the usual holiday standstill.  With that in mind, here are some links to help you with your queries:

  • I recently found this Yahoo! Group dedicated to giving and receiving feedback exclusively on queries.
  • Here, former agent extraordinaire Nathan Bransford tells you how to write a query.

I ain't afraid 'a no procrastination!

PROCRASTINATION BUSTERS

The new year is also a time to buckle down, set some goals, and get back at it.

Dr. Wicked’s Write or Die can help you do just that.

As well, Christine Macdonald offers six tips to help you combat procrastination.

You know that whole multitasking thing you’re doing?  Here, Writing for Digital discusses how he’s thought multitasking has helped him—but he also mentions some studies that suggest it can work against creativity and productivity.  V. interesting!

One good way to be productive is to set a routine.  However, Dale Challener Roe over at Write Anything suggests you re-evaluate your regimen, to make sure you don’t get in a rut.

PICKY STUFF

As my writing group and crit partners know, I’m quick to point out unnecessary dialogue tags.  *Ahem—most of them are unnecessary.  When you *must* tag, however, it’s better to do so through an action sentence.

Not Enough Words and Simon C. Larter agree.  Thanks, guys!

To cliff hang (at the ends of chapters) or not to cliff hang? Ray Rhamey shares his thoughts over at Writer Unboxed.

Agent of awesome Mary Kole of Andrea Brown Literary Agency answers a reader’s question about scene and chapter length as well as where to break.

CHILD’S PLAY

Middle-grade novels are hot right now, and “boy books” are even more sought after by agents and editors.  Here, Kole discusses character and voice in MG boy books as well as touches on what author Hannah Moskowitz calls “The Boy Problem.”

Moving into more adult subjects in kids’ lit FinePrint Literary agent Suzie Townsend touches on violence while Kole talks about mature voices.

UNCLE NATHAN’S DEMYSTIFICATION

Um, how creepy was that section title?

I’ve got a lot of Nathan Bransford links saved.  Here are some faves:

  • Here, NB discusses publishers’ service packages are changing
  • Here, he explains the meaning of that mysterious term we hear all the time “high concept
  • Here, he tells us how to write a novel! (And he would know—he’s an author!)

DOs & DON’Ts

On her blog, author Jody Hedlund talks about self promo—without the eye-rolls.

Over at Pub Rants, Kristin Nelson of Nelson Literary provides one more question authors should ask agents before signing the big representation contract.

At Everything 2, Antonio M. D’souza (aka digitalboy) lists the 10 commandments of bad writers.

AWESOME

This week, it was announced that a “politically correct” version of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is to be released.  A former student of mine, Dan Wilbur, runs the blog Better Book Titles, and here is his answer to that.

Have a great weekend, peeps!

In the Blogosphere: 11/22-12/3

“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 so many links saved, some dating all the way back to the summer (oh noes!)—but they are all still worth a look.  I’m getting there!

CREATING CHARACTERS

Heather Trese over at See Heather Write blogged some of her great notes from the SCBWI conference.  Here, she shares what she learned about creating characters from author Carolyn Mackler.

Over at Writer Unboxed, The Donald (Donald Maass) talks about how to write characters—ones who are on and off the page.

This fantabulicious post on creating memorable characters comes to us from author and D4EO agent Mandy Hubbard, in a guest post she did at the WriteOnCon blog.

What is Aladdin doing with Ariel! I'm telling Eric & Jasmine . . . oh wait.

RULES, OR A LACK THEREOF

Freelancer Kelly James-Enger talks about the 10% rule as applied to word count.

At There Are No Rules, Writer’s Digest and the University of Cincinnati’s Jane Friedman relays Dennis Hensley’s “12 things that matter to agents and editors when being pitched by writers.”

And while we’re on the subject of rules and percentages, Authoress Anonymous over at Miss Snark’s First Victim talks about the 25% rule, when it comes to plot.

TAKING THE BLAH OUT OF BLOGGING

Here, Paranormalcy author and popular blogger Kiersten White gives some blogging tips.

Here, author and speaker Jody Hedlund makes a case for blogging—and how it can help any kind of writer.

YOU’RE GROUNDED!

This post goes along with the one from the last “In the Blogosphere” post (about the “prime real estate” of your manuscript).  In it, the awesome Mary Kole talks about grounding the reader in all things your story—in every chapter.

Here, the Kole-ster does it again (that was supposed to be pronounced “KOLE-stur,” but, admittedly, looks like “molester.”  And kind of made me chuckle too much to fix.* Sorry, MK!) , answering questions about international writers and settings.

KID STUFF

Over at YA Highway, guest columnist Amna Mohdin says your taste in books is your own.

Here, Heather Trese gives some tips on writing for boys, of the middle-grade variety.

Mmm. Tasty

AGENT ADVICE

Tossing around the idea of submitting directly to publishers, sans agent?  YA author Hannah Moskowitz makes a case for why you want to have an agent.

Here is Greenhouse Literary agent Sarah Davies on how to find the best agent for your work.

Yes, I interview lit agents on the GLA blog, and I want to give props to this faboo interview with the aforementioned Sarah Davies (by Michelle Schusterman over at YA Highway).

JUST SO YOU KNOW . . .

In this post at Write Anything, Andrea Allison gives the straight dope on point of view, for all those who need a little refresher course.

Just can’t get away from it—voice!  Here, T.H. Mafi sheds some light on this somewhat intangible, but oh-so-important thing.

Have a newsletter? Sean D’Souza at Copyblogger tells you five reasons no one is reading it.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

In the Blogosphere: 11/15-11/19

“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.

Q&A

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.

THE FUTURE

Here, the now-former agent extraordinaire, author Nathan Bransford, debunks the top 10 myths about the future of e-publishing.

In the yeeeeeeear two thousaaaaaaaaaaaaand!

“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.

ATTRACTION

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.

WHATCHOO TALKIN’ ABOUT, WILLIS?

Write Anything’s Annie Evett did a neat little four-part series on dialogue.  Check it out: part one, part two, part three, & part four.

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.

THERE THERE

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?

ALSO?

Please check out my new Web site. :)

Happy weekend!!!

*OK—she doesn’t quite put it *that* way!

In the Blogosphere: 9/20-10/15

“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 May/June-ish (oh noes!)—but they are all still worth a look.  I’ll catch up eventually, right?

AGENT STUFF

Author and D4EO agent Mandy Hubbard gives a bit of unorthodox advice . . . about how one line can change your career.

Here, another agent-turned-author, the fabulous Nathan Bransford of Curtis Brown, Ltd., talks about “undercooking” a novel.

Here, Bookends, LLC, agent Jessica Faust offers some query don’ts.


CRAFT & MANUSCRIPT PREP

Over at Write Anything, Annie Evett did a nice little series on voice and dialogue.  Here’s the last of those posts, that contains links to the others in the series.

At League of Extraordinary Writers, Angie Smibert discusses handling readers’ baggage and creating the appearance of truth that readers can find believable.

At Novel Matters, Patti Hill demonstrates how to weed your manuscript.

One of my favorite features over at YA Highway, Amanda Hannah talks about passive sentences one “Sentence Strengthening Sunday” (you don’t have to be a YA writer to appreciate the fabulosity of this) right here.

Confused about manuscript formatting?  Author Louise Wise gives you a crash course here.

Here, YA author Jamie Harrington talks about constructive criticism.  Can you handle it?

Middle-grade author Janice Hardy discusses a subject near and dear to my heart—grammar.  Just what are the basics everyone needs to know?

PEP TALKS

We all need a good writerly pep talk now and again.

Here’s one from YA author Elana Johnson.

Here’s another from freelancer Heather Trese, for good measure.

EXTRAS

You’ve got just over a week left to enter my scary story contest—freak me out in 1,000 words of less!

Over at Savvy B2B Marketing, Wendy Thomas discusses a subject that fascinates me these days: online writing vs. old school journalism (being that I used to teach journalism . . . and now I do a good bit of online writing!).

Here, Writer’s Digest Books’ own Robert Lee Brewer offers a Twitter cheat sheet for those not “hip” to all the “lingo” (hehe) or not quite sure how to optimize your use.

In the Blogosphere: 7/19-7/23

“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 May (oh noes!)—but they are all still worth a look.  I’ll catch up eventually, right?

QUERIES

Querying/pitching is up there in terms of the most discussed topics on industry blogs and at writing conferences.  I find it always helps me to look at others’ queries in order to better gauge what does and doesn’t work with my own pitches.

Here, at The Public Query Slushpile, fellow Ohioan Rick Daley has dedicated an entire forum to queries and feedback. The idea of the blog being? Leave feedback on others’ queries. Post your queries.* Get feedback from others. It’s that simple.  The site isn’t exactly like Janet Reid’s Query Shark or Jodi Meadows’s Query Project (in that it’s not just industry pros offering feedback—it’s an open forum for all), but the entries do get a good amount of feedback from readers.  And we are all trying to appeal to readers after all, are we not?  Check it out!

Who says slush can't be delicious?

Over on her blog, Canuck mathematics textbook writer (<—Yes, I included that part for my math-ed professor hubs!) Cheryl Angst compiles and comments on a list of 10 things Howard Morhaim Literary Agency’s Kate McKean tweeted as things that she thinks while she reads queries. Very interesting read!

Going along with the two, more regular, query workshops above, D4EO agent Mandy Hubbard conducted her own query clinic back in May.  Here is the post where she discusses the concept, and here is the last in the series (I’ve included this one because she links to all four of the queries she workshopped in it).

TICK TOCK

Summer seems to be about the hardest time of year to find butt-in-chair-and-write time.

Here, YA paranormal romance author Maggie Stiefvater (Shiver, Linger, etc.) offers some thoughtful advice on how writers can to best manage their time.

Over at Writer Unboxed, Anna Elliott chimes in on this subject as well.

CHARACTERS

Afraid your characters are too one-dimensional?  Paulo Campos of yingleyangle gives three tips on how to breathe some life into your darlings.

Here, longtime industry insider Alan Rinzler offers some further insight on how to create and use author James Scott Bell‘s idea of a voice journal.

RANDOMNOSITY

Since it was our four-year anniversary this week, I am posting this in honor of my husband.  Magazine editor and freelance writer Heather Trese says, “You might be married to a writer if . . . “

And, um, how random is this?  Molly is famous!  About a month ago, Annalemma Magazine used a picture of Molly (my beagly beagle) in an article they did about online writing communities.  The caption says that that pic was the first to come up when they Google image searched online writing community! (It looks like she’s since been ousted, however.  It’s on the fourth page.)

You're not the only famous beagle!

*There is a debate about whether or not to post your original work online.  It’s up to you.  Enough industry blogs host contests or query workshops all the time where people post their original queries, so I wouldn’t necessarily worry about someone stealing your work . . . but it *can* happen.  It would probably be pretty easy to prove your query was yours, though—particularly if you posted in on the Internet.  If you’d like feedback from other writers but you’re wary of posting your work on an open forum, try a password-encrypted, by-invitation-only community like *shameless plug* Shenandoah Writers Online!

In the Blogosphere: 7/5-7/16

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

SOCIAL NETWORKING

We’ve all got Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn accounts in order to boost our platforms, right?  But how do we make sure we’re using these tools effectively?

Here, Suzie Townsend of FinePrint Literary Management says voice is key when blogging.

As well, Writer Unboxed’s Kathleen Bolton discusses five rules to keep in mind before posting anything online.

VOICE

I’ve had several writer friends ask me about voice lately.  What is it?  How do you craft it?  Is it something you just have to *have*, or can it be developed?

Ah, voice. You slippery, intangible bastard, you.

In her “Footnotes” series over at the Guide to Literary Agents blog, guest blogger Nancy Parish lists five voice-related articles that just might help you answer some of those questions.

As well, Curtis Brown Ltd.’s Nathan Bransford weighs in on the subject.

TREND-TASTIC

There is much debate on whether or not one should write to trends. The common school of thought is that, once something is trendy on the shelves, that particular trend is about three years old—and, therefore, no longer the “it” thing.

D4Eo Literary’s Mandy Hubbard posted a very interesting two-part series on trends.  Here, she discusses what’s trendy (like, in the slush pile) and what possible holes there are in the market.  Here, she divulges what she’s noticed editors are currently seeking.  (She also says NOT to write to trends.)

Going along with the idea of writing the books you want to write and staying true to yourself, Curtis Brown Ltd.’s Sarah LaPolla says we could all learn a thing or two from Betty White at her Glass Cases blog.

A MATTER OF STYLE

I’ve been doing a lot of editing lately, so I’ve been paying a lot of attention to grammar and formatting.  And, of course, that differs, depending on what type of writing you’re doing and who you’re writing it for.

At his Questions and Quandaries blog, Writer’s Digest’s Brian A. Klems preaches to the choir (well, if I’m the choir) about The Chicago Manual of Style. Here, he gives a nice little breakdown of what stylebooks to use and when—and he offers practical advice in terms of grammar and style as well.

Adjectives are the devil—and The Conversion Chronicles’s Daphne Gray-Grant agrees in this fantastic pro-verb post.

This Week’s SWO LIVE CHAT & Story Openers

I’m hosting a live chat this Tuesday, May 25, from 9-10 P.M. EST on Shenandoah Writers Online.*

Our chats sometimes run over, if we feel so inclined, but the “official” time for this event is from 9-10 P.M.  Even if you can only stop by for a few minutes, it’d be good to have you poke your head in and say hello.**

TOPIC

We discussed story openers at the last Shenandoah Writers (IRL) meeting, and I’d like to further that conversation with the online group.

WHAT TO BRING

It would be great if you brought the opening line or lines of something you’ve written as well as the opening line or lines from one of your favorite books.

I would like to discuss what makes these openers successful (i.e., what hooks the reader, what we learn in the opening, etc.) as well as what we think are the elements of a successful opener.

This will also give participants a chance to workshop their own opening lines/paragraphs with the group and gain some feedback.

EXAMPLE

Here is one of the openings I’m bringing:

Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you’d expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn’t hold with such nonsense.

What do we learn from this opening?

  • We gain some insight into the characters of the Dursleys:
    • J.K. Rowling (yes, this is the opening line to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) straight out tells us they are “normal” and happy to be so.  “Perfectly” in front of “normal” and the “thank you very much” shows that they are a bit snooty—it gives a sense of being uppity (a.k.a. we’re getting voice here).
    • Just from this first line, we learn the Dursleys are the type of people who don’t like their feathers ruffled—they like to maintain decorum.  They feel strange and mysterious things are nonsensical.
  • The first part of the second line (“They were the last people you’d expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious”) suggests to the reader that, although you wouldn’t expect them to be involved in something like that, they were involved in something like that.  Thus, the juxtaposition of these opposites—normal and strange—hooks the reader.  We want to know what it is they are involved in—and how these uppity people will deal with it/cover it up.

That’s just a taste.  I’ve posted some other novel openers—including my two novel openers—in “Files” on the SWO site, so please feel free to take a look.  If you’re not a member, see below to get started.

QUESTION

What do you think makes a good opening? 

If you can’t make it to the chat but would like to get in on the conversation, please leave your thoughts in the comments of this post.

*For more information about SWO, click on “Shenandoah Writers” in “Categories” in the right-hand side bar.

**You must be a member of SWO to participate in the chat.  Not a member yet?  E-mail me or click here to get started.

In the Blogosphere: 2/8-2/12

“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

If you’re entering the editing stages, this post by YA author Natalie Whipple is for you.  On her Between Fact & Fiction blog, Whipple discusses different ways to edit.

Stuck on structure?  Aspiring sci-fi author Andrew Rosenberg has a great series on story structure at The WriteRunner—and here, he’s begun another one on scene structure.

Need help with your synopsis?  The good people of Writer’s Digest have provided this checklist for your perusing pleasure.

There is a serious drought of boy books in young adult fiction, but before you try your hand at breaking your way into this area, check out this post over at YA Fresh.  In it, Tina Ferraro shares tips on writing for guys, as outlined by YA authors Michael Reisman and Ben Esch at a recent bookstore appearance.

This isn't the kind of boy book I'm talking about, but it's good too. :)

LITERARY AGENTS

If you’re in the query stages and you’re not getting any bites, see how your query stacks up against a really good one.  Here, Caren Johnson Literary‘s Elana Roth analyzes a query letter that grabbed her.

I know I’ve been linking to her a lot lately, but WordServe Literary‘s Rachelle Gardner keeps writing terrific posts!  In this one, she talks craft, story and voice.

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND

In a world where real journalism is dying and blogs are taking over cyberspace, the folks at Hyper Modern Writing remind us of the importance of fact checking.

As well, at Ragan’s PR Daily, Christine Kent says short, snappy subject lines might be the key to freelancing success.

If you’re thinking about joining a writing group, Australia’s Marsha Durham gives you a few things to consider before making a commitment, over on her Writing Companion blog.

IN THE NEWS

I just added this link so I could post a picture of Taylor Lautner (just kidding).  In The New York Times, director of the American Indian Studies Center at the University of California Angela R. Riley opines about Twilight saga author Stephenie Meyer‘s use of the Quileute Indians.

Someone get this poor boy a towel!

INTERVIEWS

Over at Writer’s Digest, check out what 179 Ways to Save a Novel author Peter Selgin has to say about agents, writing and the publishing industry overall.

As well, The Knight Agency‘s Lucienne Diver had an interesting little chat with The Naughty List author Suzanne Young over on her blog, Authorial, Agently and Personal Ramblings.

In case you missed my post earlier in the week, I interviewed fellow Southeastern Writers Association presenter inspirational author Emily Sue Harvey.

Also, Shenandoah Writers Online member Katy Doman conducted our first Author Spotlight with nonfiction writer and poet Dana Wildsmith. You must be a member of SWO to access this interview, but e-mail me at ricki@rickischultz.com, and I’ll send you an invitiation on the double!

GRAMMAR HUMOR

Hehehehehehe.

FACEBOOK FUN

Think your Facebook etiquette is decent?  Better check, using this cartoon at The Oatmeal as well as this YouTube video.

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