Archive for the ‘WordWatchers’ Tag

EdYoFOffMo (Edit Your Face Off Month) & Hair-Related Questions

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 WordWatchersThe 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.

Example 1:

Aww--me & Kyley T!

Example 2:

Aww, LSD & me!

About three years ago, it started getting shorter:

Kyle's hair did, too, for that matter!

And then I decided to go Holmes:

What a dork. Self-portrait! But cutting my hair this short was a *big deal* for a girl who'd always had long hair.

Same cut, just funkier.

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:

Dislike.

But this is closer:

If she'd take those effing sunglasses off, it would help me decide if this is what I want! Dammit, Katie!

Disklike pic on left; kind of like pic on the right. Yes, I *do* realize this was the same day.

Something soft.  Perhaps the Mandy Moore (LOVE HER):

Or:

Not sure I could pull the more rock star version off. Not crazy about the cowlick, but I suppose one can't control that!

Or:

I thought this was Katie Holmes, but blonde . . . but I don't think it is.

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?

EEK!

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.

Help!

Whaddup Wednesday

Soooooo busy lately, and here’s why:

First of all, I am doing the Write-Brained Network’s WordWatchers + NaNoWriMo/NaNoWraMo to finish my WIP this month.

Basically what that means is, I’ve set a weekly goal (8,000 words) and I’m trying to discipline myself to write at least 1500 words each day I write (a lá NaNoWriMo + WW, which dictates you don’t have to write *every day* necessarily) to wrap up my work-in-progress (WIP) by the end of the month (a lá NaNoWraMo).

Whew—that was an exhausting sentence to type!!

I made—and surpassed—my goal:  8146 for Week 1. *applause*

I started at 31,457 words, and if you look at my word count meter to the right, you can see how I’m doing so far. It feels so great to be making such progress!  I am so *in love* with my manuscript!!

And I really hope I stay so enamored.  However, I know how these things go.

I’ve just learned so much since I wrote my first MS, and that makes me love writing this one that much more.  Here’s why: Not that writing a novel is ever easy, but it’s just much *easier* to know, from the very start, you’re doing things right.  Instead of trying to force something you wrote (before you knew anything about how writing a book works) to be tightly plotted—to have sound structure—to balance X, Y, and Z—it’s just so refreshing to be on the right track from the start!!

I have read people talking about this very thing, but I’m living it now—you really do “learn” on your first MS.

Anyway, I heart Sheena Easton—that’s my working title (explanation).

AMONG OTHER THINGS

I’ve also been:

  • Looking into more speaking gigs
  • Interviewing literary agents
  • Interviewing script managers
  • Moving my online writing group (yes, again—FML)
  • Building a new Web site
  • Planning a workshop/conference for the WB (!)
  • Developing some writing courses (for me to possibly teach in H’burg!)

Things have been so crazy, I’ve actually had to schedule phone calls, just to catch up with people!  (It’s actually worked really well, instead of missing people’s phone calls all the time.  If I know we have a call planned, I schedule around it!)

That said, I’m about to go into my writing cave.  Sheena calls.

ONE MORE THING

However, in anticipation of something *else* I just did—purchase tickets for a midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1, next week—I leave you with something awesome:

In the Blogosphere: 9/12-9/17

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

GET WRITING!

My weekend plans fell through, so now I will be sitting at home [probably with all the lights on all weekend because this will be the first time I'm staying home alone at my house---how lame am I?] with my computer and my beagle.  Which, as much as I love them both, can also both be time sucks!  But I’m buzzing on my WIP right now and would LOVE to get to 30,000 words by Sunday.  It will be a bit of a challenge, but I’m up for it.

Adorable little baby time suck. And a bunch of crap she'd dragged out everywhere and was chewing up. (And my husband's foot.)

All-grown-up time suck. :)

That said, here are some resources—some of which I’ve used and some of which I haven’t yet but might have to employ this weekend, in order to get words written.

  • Write or Die—You can set your word count and your time goals, and this interface will get IN YOUR FACE [well, if you set it that way] until you reach your targets.
  • WriteRoom—This is for Mac users.  It’s a full-screen writing environment that rids you of the “clutter” of word processing programs.  [Referred to by The New York Times as the "ultimate spartan writing utopia."]

  • WordWatchers—This has been working for me this month—and this isn’t just shameless self-promotion, as a number of writers have been getting tremendous amounts of work done using this writing program.  It’s through The Write-Brained Network and, like its sister weight-loss program, is something each individual designs to fit his or her lifestyle.  All us Write-Brainiacs participating have set challenging goals, and while we haven’t all been hitting them each week [guilty!] we have been getting tons of work done. And, some people have finished entire projects or gotten over slumps, due to the prodding encouragement of others.

QUERYING & SUCH

Here, literary agent Jennifer Laughran busts publishing industry myths that most writers believe or have heard.

Yeah, but this is real, though.

Two takes on the 5 stages of querying:

  • The first, a guest post by writer Anne Gallagher on the Guide to Literary Agents blog
  • The second, by the inimitable Tahareh

When when those rejections come, Holen Mathews at GotYA offers some constructive questions you need to ask yourself.

SOCIAL MEDIA TIPPAGE

Social media got you down? [If you're Greyhaus Literary's Scott Eagan, then yes.] Author Jody Hedlund offers some advice on how to use it effectively without allowing it to take over your life—and writing time.

And here, Daily Writing Tips lists 40 Twitter hashtags for writers.

CRAFT

I was going through my saved posts for “In the Blogospheres” today and came across this little jobby, by Heather Trese at See Heather Write, on the importance of having a pitch . . .

. . . which goes hand in hand with the post I wrote this week on plot vs. situation.

It was really hard to narrow down which picture I found to be the chachiest. So I went with this one.

Here is a lovely post by Christina Mandelski over at Will Write for Cake wherein she discusses the importance of setting in a story.

And here, Writing for Digital talks about the value of a good editor.  One edit quite possibly changed the entire course of American history!

FANGIRL LOVE

I heart you, John Green.

I heart you, Meg Cabot. [the Allie Finkle #6, Blast from the Past, review she links to at the end of this post is MINE!]

PLUG!

Inky Fresh Press interviewed little ol’ me!

Grounding is important.

Happy weekend, everyone! Come harass me on the WB or Twitter and make sure I’m getting my words written!

In the Blogosphere: 9/5-9/10

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

AGENTS’ TRICKS

Agents are inundated with stuff pretty much year-round, which means a lot of their time is dedicated to clearing out their inboxes and whittling down the slush pile alone!  So, when they give advice on how to get their attention, it’s best to listen up.

Here, Barbara Poelle of Irene Goodman Literary Agency offers six tips on things you can do to make September rock—and, surprisingly, they’re not “revise” or “don’t contact me”—she says you shouldn’t be afraid to use a little shame.

Here, Getting Past the Gatekeeper says it’s basically a no-no to revise and resubmit a manuscript to an agent (meaning, you’ve revised it since they requested pages and you’d like them to look at the new pages instead)—but it *can* be done well.

JUVY

Here, Editorial Anonymous answers the question of whether or not children’s books should take into account entertaining the adults who will be reading them to their kids.

Here, Tahereh makes me feel a lot better about being almost 29 and always going straight to the YA/teen section of the bookstore.  Solidarity! :)

BEDAZZLE YOUR MSS

I have been telling people this for *ages*, but everyone (especially my [former] students!) always thinks I’m nuts.  Or it’s like, “Yeah, yeah—you’re right,” and then you just know they didn’t do it.  Maybe you’ll listen to Heather Trese over at See Heather Write?  It’s really a MUST in terms of revision.

Here, Lydia Kang of The Word is My Oyster talks about and gives examples of character sheets—great tools to make your characters frawesome! <—word stolen from Elana Johnson, and I feel like I can’t use it without giving her a shoutout!  Is there such thing as plagiarism when it comes to Internet slang? She says “fabu,” I’ve noticed, but I have said “faboo” for years . . . (yes, I know hers makes more sense, but I can’t go back NOW!) . . . so I feel like that one’s fair game. :)

But I digress.

Let's bedazzle the crap out of something!

DOH!

Over at Fuel Your Writing, Suzannah Freeman outlines the five mistakes you make when writing a blog postSo, stop it!

Here, Shiver and Linger author Maggie Stiefvater gives you a dose of reality in terms of the publishing industry—and she does it using a ham sandwich.

Here, Kevin Purdy of Lifehacker talks about what caffeine actually does to your brain.  I’m choosing to ignore it. Right now, actually!

I found out about this site by reading this post by Jeff Hirsch over at the League of Extraordinary Writers, where he calls it “The Greatest and Most Horrible Website Ever.”  I mean, how can you not click on something when it’s billed like that, right?

Hirsch is referring to this site, TV Tropes, which lists—in crazy number and detail—just about every trope* (narrative, character, etc.) out there . . . and it breaks them down by categories, genres, etc.  It’s just nuts.  There really isn’t an original thought to be had anymore!  Beware: The site is totally addicting!

ONLINE IDENTITIES

Over on her blog, Kristen Lamb coughs up the single best way for authors to become a brand**—and it may be easier than you think.

And Jane Friedman discusses how to manage multiple (online) identities: avoid.

It can get complicated. Just ask Lana, Lois, and Chloe.

GET WRITING!

September is so back-to-school/let’s get down to business, and a lot of folks are talking about butt-in-chair-and-write time.

Here, Jody Hedlund talks about what to do when your writing routine is disrupted.

This is what I do.

Across the Universe author Beth Revis and my pal, The New Soul Trilogy author, Jodi Meadows—along with Authoress Anonymous (and probably some others) have been “word racing” on Twitter to get the words written.  Here are two great posts Revis did about their little project—what they’re doing and how it’s going.

We’ve got our own little GET WORDS WRITTEN thing going on over at The Write-Brained Network, and that’s WordWatchers.  It’s a little like NaNoWriMo, but you can tailor it to what fits in your schedule.  Details here.

Come play with us!

*Ahem—What is a “trope”?  In this sense, it’s a common or overused theme or device.

**Kyle, this is for you.

Invitation & Contest: The Write-Brained Network & WordWatchers

Last week, I announced the emerging of The Write-Brained Network, my online writing organization (formerly Shenandoah Writers Online).

YOU ARE INVITED

I’d like to extend a formal invitation to anyone out there stumbling upon this blog post who is a writer and who has not yet checked us out.  I’d love to meet you—virtually or otherwise. :)

We are doing some cool things, and I’ve love to have you be a part of them:

  • We currently have four satellite chapters starting up throughout the country—soon to be six!
  • Three members have also started subgroups by genre—currently, for YA (YAwesome Writers), horror writers (The Dark Ones), and literary writers (Literary Lovers)
  • As well, we are in talks about putting on an IRL conference possibly as early as next year!

Like I said—cool things happening.  I could not be more of a proud mama bear. :)

Click here to check out The Write-Brained Network.

CONTEST

This is our third month doing WordWatchers, and while we’ve had participation every month, I’d like to up the ante a bit for September.

This month, we’re competing for a prize (well, I won’t be, since I’m the one offering the prize, but whatever!).

No, I'm not giving out Grammys, but that would be cool!

One winner will receive a 10-page manuscript critique from moi, and one will receive ONE of a number of SIGNED BOOKS (I finally got my box o’ plunder back from the RWA conference, and there’s a ton of great stuff available in there—details forthcoming)!

To be eligible, all you have to do is:

1) Be a member of the Write-Brained Network.

2) Participate in WordWatchers.  Click here for details on what that is, if you don’t know. The gist: set a weekly word goal and WRITE!
3) Log your progress on the WB group wall and/or in the September WordWatchers discussion in our WB forum.

Don't let this alien beat you!

Here’s how the entries will be handled:
+1 entry for setting a goal and participating (publicly)
+1 entry for every day you log your writing progress
+5 entries for every week you HIT your weekly writing goal
+3 entries for every person you invite to join the WB (who joins!) between now and the end of the month*
+2 entries if you Tweet or blog about the WB*

*You will have to let me know if you invited someone and they joined or if you’ve blogged/Tweeted about the WB—I’m not a mindreader!

At the end of the month, I’ll have you tally your entries, send them to me, and I’ll pick two winners.

Sound good?

In the Blogosphere: 6/21-7/2

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

BE CAREFUL

As Sarah Jane Freymann Literary’s Katharine Sands discussed at Southeastern Writers association last week, when pitching, it’s important to be ready.  Over at Self Editing Blog, John Robert Marlow discusses jumping the gun: suicide by submission.

Likewise, Nelson Literary Agency’s Kristin Nelson describes the dangers of starting your novel in the wrong place.

WORTHLESS WORDS

You know, I sort of think this is kind of a fabulous blog post.  Writer and part-time doctor Lydia Kang of The Word is My Oyster says: Stop apologizing! Chuck that qualifying language and strengthen your writing.

REALITY CHECK

Thinking of doing a little freelancing?  Down the Shore with Jen’s Jen A. Miller (@jerseyshorejen) explains four things you need in order to make it.  A must-read for all fledgling freelancers.

Aw, a baby freelancer.

QUERY STUFF

Here, award-winning fiction and nonfiction author JC Hutchins of Writer Unboxed discusses crafting killer pitches by offering and analyzing examples of good ones.

I’m a little behind with my Blogosphere posts—I saved this one two months ago!!—but it’s too good not to share.  Young adult fantasy author Jodi Meadows of the Query Project gave us a gift on her birthday: the query she wrote for Erin Incarnate that helped her snag fab agent Lauren MacLeod of the Strothman Agency.

GET WRITING!

Looking for a little motivation to get words written?  The Michelle Wolfson repped Tawna Feske details a recent Twitter writing sensation, #1k1hr, where one must turn off her self-editor and get words on the page—1,000 of them, to be exact—in an hour.

If you’re looking for something just as satisfying but a little more flexible and a little more long-term, check out my new writing SWO program, WordWatchers. Pick a weekly word count goal, and divvy up the words written per day in a way that fits your schedule!

OMG

In honor of Eclipse coming out this week . . . if you thought the people who stand in lines for twelve hours to see the Twilight movies were wonky, you weren’t wrong—but there are wonkier folks out there.  Here, Great White Snark gives us a dozen such psychopaths.

New WB Writing Program: WordWatchers

I was so impressed with the amount of participation we had in May with SheNoWriMo and I received so much positive feedback from SW(IRL) and Write-Brainiacs about the contest that I’d like to implement another, similar, writing program.

I drew my inspiration from weight-loss program WeightWatchers’s point system (in case that wasn’t obvious); however, instead of trying to reduce your mass, we’ll be bulking up—on words written, that is.

From what I gather, the WeightWatchers folks design a program—specific to each person—based on a number of factors: ideal body weight according to height, age, etc.

Hear me now, and understand me later. The WB is here to PUMP--your MANUSCRIPT up!

Participants are then given a number of “points” they are allowed to consume per day, per week, etc. (foods are assigned numeric values in the way of these points), and they can eat whatever foods they want to get to their allotted points—as long as they don’t exceed their daily/weekly goals.

THE PROGRAM

With SheNoWriMo, although participants picked reasonable daily word-count goals, sometimes life got in the way.  In that event, people usually caught up over the next few days.

That said, I’d like WordWatchers to be more like that.  Let’s stick to weekly writing goals.

The WB Network's (awesome) May contest (formerly Shenandoah Writers Online)

THE RULES

Set a weekly word-count goal.  Divvy up the daily writing however you want, but make sure you get to your WordWatcher word-count total by the end of each week.  Easy peasy.  This will allow you to take days off without the guilt—whatever fits your schedule.

For instance, if you think your schedule will only allow you to comfortably write 3500 words/week (that’s two pages a day), fine.  That’s your goal.  Post it on the WordWatchers discussion in the forum on The Write-Brained Network and on your WB “wall,” and have at it.

You can write one continuous piece or many of smaller pieces or—heck—even writing prompts (you CANNOT count blog posts, e-mails, status updates, or Tweets, however).

Just set a goal for yourself, and do the writing.  And keep us posted about it.  Ideally, I’d like all participants to keep a daily record (on their WB walls) of their progress, like last time—it was nice when we were all cheering each other on—but since WordWatchers is a little more flexible than SheNoWriMo, perhaps it’s more feasible for you to mark your weekly progress.  We can still root for the participants.

SOME WORDS ON WORD COUNT

"One . . . ah-ah-ah . . ."

As a general rule, 250 words = one page of writing.  That should help you gauge the amount of words to which you think you can commit every week.

Remember: Don’t be too aggressive.  Don’t make it impossible to reach your weekly goals, or you might get discouraged from continuing with the program.  However, don’t be wimpy with your goals, either; challenge yourself.

Essentially, tailor your WordWatchers program to your lifestyle as well as your writing tastes/purposes.

ON YOUR MARKS . . .

We’ll start July 1, so think about your ideal weekly word count, and keep your eyes peeled for the WordWatchers discussion on the WB forum.

As with SheNoWriMo, my ultimate goal here is to get folks writing.  Something.  Consistently.

I do hope a lot of peeps will consider taking part in it.*

*You must be a member of the Write-Brained Network to participate.  Not a member yet?  E-mail me or click here to get started.

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