Thursday, April 28, 2011

X - Xactly

Hey, I'm a creative writer. I take liberties with words and stories. Alright, you got me. Can't think of a thing for X.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

W - What's in a name?

What's in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

Willian Shakespeare

Have you ever noticed when naming a child as they get older their name just fits them? You can't imagine them with any other name. Sometimes these names get stereotyped. With characters it's the same thing. Their name is just that - Theirs. It irritates me when people get their name wrong, even if it's only off by one letter. Sure some of my characters have unusual names (Zade, Gemri, Azrit, Ehlrin, Tiani, etc.)but taking the time to get their name right only takes a moment (especially since these are main characters) and it lets whoever you are critiqueing know that you did more than a cursory read through.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

V- Victory, vengeance, virtue

Okay, so once again I'm reaching. I do have something actually to say about this though. I have never read a good book that didn't have some kind of victory in it. Vengeance and virtue are optional (though they do make for interesting plots at times) but without victory in some form I'm left going, "Wait. This can't end this way." and generally never pick up another book that author writes again. Everyone likes to see the protagonist win. You've followed them through the book for a reason. I especially liked Artemis Fowl (a middle grade series) because it had a very unique twist. The main character is the villain! I loved these books and highly recommend them, mainly because they aren't typical. The villain wins in the books, but the author makes sure you're rooting for the villain by the time he wins. It's quite ingenious.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Uniformity in voice

Have you ever read a book where the voice changes drastically throughout the story making you wonder whose POV you're in? I've read a few, some of them published unfortunately, that do just this. It isn't enough for a book to be good if the voice is different for the same character it isn't good. Conversely if you have different POV in your book, make sure the Voice is Different for each person. The best way I find to do this is to actually read your own work. You know your characters best of all, do them a service by making sure they're three dimensional and having their voice be true to them.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

T- Time and Therapy

Time to write, time to read, time to do anything is hard to come by. Often I find myself writing in little snippets in between a million other things I do every day. From the laundry to taking care of the kids to my job my life is busy. I find though that if I don't make the time to write I go crazy. The stories get stuck in my head, wrapping through my mind over and over and driving me to distraction. It is at those times that I set everything aside I can (kids don't just let you set them aside) and write. It is in these moments I realize I write to live. It is my therapy, my way of communicating with a world that I have never been good at. In my characters, these worlds I create, I find myself in all of the pieces of their fragmented and tormented lives, and their successes become mine. Without my writing I regress back into my shell, fighting my autistic tendencies.
Time is important, and there is little of it, but somehow for me when I write that time expands and more is able to be accomplished than I could ever get done without it.

Friday, April 22, 2011

S - Seriously good book

I got hooked. I picked up Orson Scott Card’s new book The Lost Gate at the Library purely by chance. I started it around 9 pm and was sucked in. At 2:30 AM I finally set it aside for the night but only because it was so late, and the moment I could it was in my hands the next morning. Yes, that good. The characters are well rounded, the story keeps you interested and he writes in a way that makes you see what is happening. I’ve read a few of his books before which I liked, but this one I truly loved. Highly recommended to all who want to check it out.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

R is for Rachel

Yes that's me. Funny that R should fall on this of all days as it's my Birthday. Just a shout out for me as the rest of my day will be spent corraling my children and trying to keep my husband sane before I go to work. Fun day, huh.
Birthdays are one thing in stories we sometimes forget. All of our characters no matter where they're from have a birthday, holidays, etc. Sometimes I forget to include such days in my stories though they are very important. As important as it is to us it should be important to them as well even if its just to note the day.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I’m sure you’ve all seen those formulas for writing a query. Character + situation + complication + why should I care = query
or something like that. I’ve used all of them and rewritten my query a million times, and then I send them out and think “Why should an agent care? This query is exactly like a dozen others I’ve read from other people.” I critique queries often and maybe that’s my problem but I get bored reading most of them. Something has to catch my eye and make me go “Wow. I’ve got to read more.” I think that’s how agents must feel. They read a dozen or more (Probably more) of these things every day.
It wouldn’t be so bad I suppose if I hadn’t read my own query fifty million times and tweeked it to work better every single time. I lament that the words don’t flow for me in a query as they do when I’m writing, but I keep trying and eventually I’ll get it right. (Most likely when I stop trying to make it perfect and actually send something.)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

P - Proof read Practice

My name? What does a name matter when your standing on the edge of the Broklyn Bridge? I stared at the girl not sure why she was even talkin too me. I clung to the railing wishing for some sort of reason not to jump.

Okay, so there's not much here and it isn't too horrible. I have critiqued/proof read some work that is much worse. Even going so far as 'he protruded the knife from his pocket slicing it through the air.' Proof reading is a very important part of writing. If you can't take the time to read your own work and understand words for what they actually mean please don't ask me to read it. It is painful to do so, and I'd much rather spend my time on something worth reading. I know that's harsh, but it's the truth.

Monday, April 18, 2011

O - Octopus Pie

Okay, maybe I'm stretching, but when I think of an octopus I see eight legs going in different directions, some of them twisting about the others, with millions of little suction cups. I know, you're probably wondering what this has to do with writing. I never plan out my books. I've tried it and they always end up terrible and linear. Sometimes I have the opposite problem though. Without planning there are times they spread out in many different directions, twisting about each other in a convoluted mess. Thus, octopus pie. Of course to make these stories understandable some of those side plots must be cut, paring down the story to what is truly important. I tell you the trash can is my best friend at those times even if it is hard to throw out so much work.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

N - Never give up

There are times when life is hard and all of us would like to give up. This picture used to hang on my mother's refrigerator and every time life was hard growing up (which happened a lot) I would see it and know that I just had to keep going. No matter what. As I got older I've learned to dream, and when things are hardest I just have to keep going, because it's when they're hardest that I'm just a step away from success.

Friday, April 15, 2011

M - Mischeif does not make me a villain

I don't know about you but I love the bad boy in a story, that flare for mischief that gets them in just the right amount of trouble to make the story interesting. I don't know how many of you have seen Tangled, but it is the reason I love Rider. Sometimes my characters turn into the perfect blend of bad boy and hero and make the book exciting. I actually did this with a book I coauthored once (not a book I would ever publish). The character saved the story. He was the villain, but not so much the villain and I loved the character. I've often thought of telling his story and getting rid of the rest of the story because before he showed up it was terrible.
Anyway, mischeif is always fun to write.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Ah, love scenes. Those wonderful moments that make boys gag and girls go "ahh". I suck at them. I've read some wonderful ones, ones that seem like they really could happen in REAL life, and others that are completely faked. Mine drag. Okay, really they just drag for me and generally I don't have many as I am terrible at them. My characters are much more likely to bump noses while they kiss, or trip over each others feet, and the scenes themselves are like young teenagers who've never been kissed, fumbling over themselves without any real direction. Needless to say these scenes I'm in and out of as quickly as possible. I suppose it boils down to one thing. I don't have fun writing them. It's a chore I must get through and it shows. The few books that have bearable love scenes are those that others have critiqued a million times and showed me where I went wrong.
So a round of applause to all those who take the time to critique others work. I know how painfully obvious things can be to you, but to the writer it isn't always.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

K- Killing off characters

In many stories I've come across a character dies only to be brought back to life through the power of plot convenience. Some of these that come to mind are Harry Potter and Krilin from Dragonball (Only know about that one because of my husband). I have to admit I've been known to do this myself. The story starts flowing, taking turns I didn't expect and before long my favorite character is dead (for me this is rarely the main character). I'll sit there staring at the screen my mind screaming "No! You can't kill them! They're the best character there is in this entire story!" But for some reason I can't delete that scene either, can't change it. That is the story my characters have told me, and so I end up getting creative and seeing if there is some logical way (can't stand it when stories break their own rules) that I can bring them back. This doesn't always work and many times I've had to set a story aside to deal with the fact that my favorite character is dead.
I find when I read stories where the character is brought back through Plot Convenience I just about am ready to throw the book. Seriously, if you don't want the character dead and can't provide a rational explanation of how they can come back (something I'm likely to believe) then just don't kill them off. A bit hypocritical perhaps, but there it is.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

J- I always get stuck on this letter.

In my writing I've come to realize I use the letter J to start names ALOT. Jared, Jin, and Jonas are just to name a few. Upon realizing this I tried to avoid J names to break the habit and promptly switched to names ending with adon. It took me a bit to realize that one too. Perhaps it's just a comfortable rut I got stuck into but it is very difficult to break. My newest characters have names randomly chosen. (I ask my husband for a letter or series of such and then play with it until I like one.) It's quite amusing.
Are there any ruts you get stuck in?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Idiots - Too stupid to live.

Have you ever come across characters who are too stupid to live? A few of these are to the point where the reader is screaming "Stop being an idiot. You're going to get yourself killed!"
It isn't so bad except when the character happens to be the hero or the villain. (I'll admit I've written a few of these, but no one will ever see those books.) Most of the time I find this idiocy occurs when the character is one dimensional. Since I realized this I try to know my characters, even the most insignificant person has there own story, their own background. Most of this never gets used in the story, but I know it, and knowing it makes those idiots gain more depth and become real people.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Fantasy has always been my favorite genre. It truly inspires my imagination to create new things and sore to amazing heights. I personally love Brandon Mull's books. Especially his newest Beyonders. It has great description and imagination for new people and creatures. Lots of fun to read, even if it does have a lot of hads.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Everything's Edible

"Everything in this room is edible. Even I'm edible. But that is called cannibalism and is frowned upon in most countries."
Charlie and the Chocolate factory

Awkward moments. Don't you love them. I swear every time I run into one (less frequent than it used to be but still happens often) I think of this and laugh. Sorry folks. That's all I've got for E. Have a great day.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dragons, demons, and dirigibles!

Okay maybe not so much the dirigibles. I often find myself inspired by others work, and the most inane things can spark my imagination. The other day it was sitting in a restaurant and I was tired. Somehow my mind slipped to what nightmares are made from (it had been a long day) and walla a new story was born.
While my inspirations come from many sources, I try to read as much in my favored genre as possible. Mostly fantasy. Thus dragons and demons are an intense part of my imagination. Some of my favorite books include these, but I would have to say it was the book Dragon's Milk that really started me down this path of writing. I read that book at least a dozen times in my early teenage years, and was sadly disappointed once when I relaized my favorite part of the book wasn't actually in said book. It was so vivid that I must have dreamed it, but it was truly the best part of the whole story. It wasn't long after that I wrote my first novel. (One which will never see the light of day again, but it was a start).
My favorite authors always paint the scenes in their stories with such incredible precision that I can see every aspect of the world. I aspire to be like that, and am grateful I've had the chance to meet a few of the authors I admire so much. Their advice has been invaluable, and I look forward to the day that I can do the same for others, inspiring them to reach for their dreams as these people have made me reach for mine.

Monday, April 4, 2011


As a writer I am always challenging myself to improve. With each new revision, each time I help someone else fill the holes in their story, and each book I read, I grow. My ideas blossom into new stories. The best book I've ever written (to date) was done after challenging myself. I wrote six different books (yes books, as in over 75,000 words each) in a six month period of time. I didn't write these books with the intent of publication. I wrote them with the intent to Challenge myself and grow. In each new book I learned something. I wrote in first person, out of my normal genre, with only one POV, etc.
When the idea for my new book came I'd spent so much time learning that it flowed out the tips of my fingers like liquid. I finished it in 3 weeks and then crited it myself. After that, as many of us do, I sent it off to be critiqued by others, expecting my work to come back bleeding red. The only response I have ever gotten is "This book is Wonderful" with a few minor suggestions.

Many blogs issue challenges, which I frequently join in. Because the more challenges you get into the further you will grow, and the better writer you will be.
EMBRACE the CHALLENGES. Accept defeat. Pick yourself up and go again. I'm cheering for you.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Back to Basics

So often as writers we try to vary our sentences, place some variation into our writing and generally make it sound stupendous. I do this myself. unfortunately sometimes we get too creative. And so I've decided to just review the basics. noun, verb, subject. Not all sentences need to be embellished, but for those of us who do so too much (me included) let's remember that the basics of english are the basis for the amazing worlds we create.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Agents and Art-i-Choke on

Officially participating in Alex Cavinaugh's A-Z challenge. Check it out here

On to the blog for A.

Agents. Yes all those wonderful amazing people out there who bury themselves in mountains of words in the hopes of finding that one amazing manuscript. I thank them from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to slush through all those words, especially since I have thrown my hat in the ring.
Here's my problem. I love to create this art I call a story. It's fun. I even love critiqueing my stories and others. I spend my time making those pages shine to precision and hate it when they don't come back with red. And then comes the part I CHOKE on. The Query. I get it to a point I think it's good, and it's not so bad I suppose. I have gotten some personal rejections from my query, but no requests. And so I start again, I revamp, go to the sites, get it critiqued by some wonderful people on QT and AW, and try again. All I can hope is that this time I don't find I've fallen flat on my face, and somewhere that one agent will see my story and want to work with me.