Sunday, January 23, 2011

Nervous Wreck

So the Nervous Wreck is here. This dreaded monster attacked me this morning as I woke up and realized that the Amazon breakthrough contest begins tonight. Despite the weeks of preparation, the hours of writing that horrible gainly thing people call a pitch, and the dozens of critiques I've received, my brain has spun out of control. I know my story is good, but the dreaded monster is telling me it isn't quite good enough.

This time I've told myself I don't care (A perfectly good lie to get me moving). I've done the best I can. The worst that can happen is disqualification. It's not like giant armies of robots will come rip me apart for trying. Right? Because now that I've written it I can see it all happen. Again, the dreaded monster has got me. Is there no release?

Saturday, January 15, 2011


I was trying to write the end to a query. Everything that came was immediately erased again as it was terrible. After a while I just got frustrated, stuck my fingers to the keyboard and let a ramble pour out in the form of the end. Then my husband jumped on and we had a good time just laughing at all these things. So i thought I'd share them with all of you.

With a large following of people who love ninja and the ideas behind their abilities dorks everywhere will love this book!
People who like books about things that don’t suck will love this book.
Everyone will like this book! It has a ninja!! Everything is better with ninjas! EVERYTHING!!
Finally a book your mother won’t mind you reading. If you don’t read it you will be letting your mother down and we wouldn’t want that would we?
It fits between the HERE and NOW as a clever way of getting out of writing this. Also it will fit nicely on the third shelf from the bottom at the bookstore.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Great starting tips!

A friend of mine sent me some notes from a workshop they took. They're good suggestions and make sense, so I'm sharing them with all of you. Enjoy.

Jan 5th 2011, Salt Lake library
Notes from Clint Johnson’s Workshop: Beginnings

Main purpose of Workshop: First line of the manuscript and 1st paragraphs
First lines should evoke an emotional response from the reader
-surprise, fear, humor, ect
1st line’s purpose is to sell the reason to keep reading

Reminders: Don’t start at the beginning of the story! This ends up giving huge gaps until PP1 (plot point one, the inciting incident)
Don’t start with the main characters getting to know each other. They should already have strong mixed emotions about one another. This makes for better book beginnings.

Beginnings of Books must have:
1. Perspective to view the world (POV Character)
2. An Idea of the conflict
3. An idea of what is at stake
Preferably all within the first chapter. If so, the reader will follow you through the rest of your book! Character, Conflict, and a Question. Same is true for the first line of your book.

Must have the following within the first line and better established by the end of the first page:
It is a natural human instinct to want to see the conflict presented RESOLVED. This is the #1 reason why readers keep reading! Have this start within the very first line.
--create a visceral feeling for the character
“I did nothing wrong—technically”. Causes doubt?

First line must pose a question. Natural human instinct to want to know the answer—readers will read on to find it. Implied questions work better than direct.
Book Example: “The clocks were striking 13” Creates question with the setting description.
Always introduce abnormal after normal, not before. (It was April, bright and cold, clocks were striking 13). Look for contrast and similarities in your book to create questions.
Caution of quantity of unanswered questions causing frustration. Every question posed must be answered in the story!

POV character is the window into the world that the reader feels comfortable with and trusts.

Second Tier of important things
-humor or whit. If you use it in the first line, it is a commitment to continue through the book
-shock or horror
-style or voice

NO NOT USE List (Unless it works!)
1. don’t start with a dialog! Publishers/agents view this as artificially abrupt. Uncreative.
2. don’t start with a Dream or waking up
It is too common vs fresh. Uncertain and distorted
3. NO BACKSTORY in the beginning of the story at all! If you must have backstory in the book, have it later on, and must jump back to tell a story! Otherwise, it creates speedbumps.
4. Avoid lengthy description. In older books, setting was a character and they did it well. It would have its own voice. That doesn’t work anymore—setting is morphing/dying in today’s literature. But don’t leave it out completely either.
Have the character describe the setting! Use their voice, how they would describe it.
4. Don’t use a False Hook!!!!!! Means that the opening scene is something to get reader’s attention, and then the story actually starts afterwards. Ch 1 should have everything to do with the book as much as PP1 (inciting incident) does.
An author sets the rules for the book. Readers don’t get a choice. They have to trust you as you set your book rules starting with line 1. Don’t mislead.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

NEW YEAR Resolutions

I generally don't go for the New Year resolutions as most people never accomplish them. Instead I create small goals throughout the year to get me to where i ultimately want to be, regardless of how long it takes. This year i decided my main goal is to find an agent. That's it. So, first baby steps. Revise my query, again, and send out to 5 agents this week. Next week five more. I've also decided to query two different books, as i have a dozen to choose from. The first will be the one I've been querying off and on for over a year now. The second a new book, one that I can't seem to stop writing more books about this character. He's just so cool. Half demon half human he protects a village of people who only know him as a demon and want him dead. The action never stops and the few beta readers I've had (not friends or family) want to read more. So once I get my query and synopsis done its off to the agents.