Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Process

Happy Thursday peeps!

Not much to say today, except that I am deep into the querying process. It's full of highs and lows. If you've done it, you know what I'm talking about.

On the flip side, my wonderful crit partner, Natasha (Writes by Moonlight), is revealing a secret tomorrow!! :) Stop by and give her some love.

What do you do to deal with the drama of querying?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Unscary the Query!

Tuesday night I attended a webinar given by the fabulous agent Sara Megibow, of Nelson Literary Agency. It was based off of her popular twitter series #10queriesin10tweets. If you follow Sara, you will probably be familiar with this.I really enjoy reading when she does these. Us unpublished, unagented authors can easily become obsessed with any information that we think might give us an edge in the game. Even though the tweets are fairly vague (she can't legally give too much away, queries are private) it makes us feel like we're doing SOMETHING to send us further in the right direction.

Because people are so into it, Sara put together this webinar. If she does it again, I suggest you attend and enter your query. You never know, right? And the least that might happen is that you will learn something. Here are a few things I took from the class. Oh, and follow Sara HERE.

(To be clear...these are my thoughts based on the info given! :))

1. The writing is the most important thing. I know, I know. You've heard this so. many. times. But think about it. You are-in essence-submitting a professional letter to an agent to CONVINCE THEM YOU CAN WRITE A BOOK!! So of course the writing is the most important thing! If you can't put together an intelligent thought about your book, why would they believe you can actually write your book?

2. The hook has to be good. With no hook, there is no interest. Without good writing, the hook won't be clearly expressed. You're book might very well be amazing. It might have an excellent hook, but if it isn't clear and well written in your query, you can forget about it!

3. The hook should involve WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, and WHY. All of these are important. There were some beautifully written pieces that described the character and their deep emotions. She said they were well written....BUT, what happens to these wonderful characters? What do they DO? There has to be a story. An interesting character does not a book make.

4. Good writing is not subjective. We like to coat our gentle feelings over rejections with thoughts like "this is a subjective business." I understand, and in some ways it is. Genre is subjective. Character types might be subjective. However, good writing is not subjective. Any agent will know good writing when they see it. Perfect your craft and someone out there will probably be interested in your work.

5. In addition to number 4, do your research. Since agents like to rep what they like, (subjective) make sure you are querying the right people. Do not waste that agents time (and ours, those of us who ARE doing the research) by mucking up the slush pile with your query that is for sure not a good fit. Agents submission guidelines are not hard to find. Don't think you will change their mind.

6. The slush pile is brutal. I'm going to be honest, all the queries read in the webinar were pretty darn good. On any given day if I'd picked one up ALONE, I would probably have positive things to say. That being said, when we went through query after query, it was really easy to see how it could get boring. Things didn't sound interesting, characters started to resemble each other, and good all blended together. You have to make yours stand out. You do that with good writing, a great hook, and  being sure that it's the right genre for the right person.

7. If you're not getting requests....go back to the manuscript! To paraphrase Sara, once your book is written well, and edited to it's potential, it's easier to clearly pinpoint the hook and express it with your practiced writing.

I learned a lot, and really enjoyed it. Sara was fun, engaging and very passionate about the business. Agents are people, and they want to find beautifully written stories. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there. Querying, waiting and getting rejected is hard. Really hard. But if I had to put all the advice I've accumulated over the past few years from other authors into one piece of advice, it is this. Don't. Give. Up.

I'm not going to, and you shouldn't either. If you keep reading, writing, and working hard, it will happen.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Two Great Books!

I want to start off with a random comment. I absolutely LOVE the feeling of knowing that dinner is done and cooking away in a crock pot. It is the best! Add the yummy smell on top of that...perfect day!

Now on to the two books I just read. They couldn't be more different and I loved them both.

BELLES by Jen Calonita

I'm going to be honest here, if I'd read a blurb of this book I may not have picked it up. NOT because there is anything wrong with it, it's just not usually my kind of story. The new girl/mean girl high school drama is not usually my thing. Ughh...maybe it's because these kind of books are not written for ME, a 33 year old woman. (Ya, think?) That being said, the title and the cover drew me in instantly. I snapped it off the shelf. And you know what? I adored the story, and the characters.

Isabelle was very easy to like. I loved the opening with her and Brayden. LOVED it. I related to her, and really liked how she cared for her grandmother. Mirabelle was equally well written. I didn't always like her behavior, but I liked her, and I understood her.Of course, there was a mean girl we love to hate. I have a feeling at some point we may not hate her anymore. Who knows. This appears to be a trilogy, and I can't wait to get book two soon!!

Second book was ENCLAVE by Ann Aguirre

WOW, is all I can say. I LOVED this book. The writing was amazing. The world building was so good, I could picture it perfectly. The on. I adored fearless Deuce and completely fell in love with brooding Fade. This is what I think you would call Post-apocalyptic.

I'll be honest, it's a hard sell for me with a story where the romantic relationship doesn't take center stage. It's there, but she paces it well. I love it when she pulls a couple more people into the mix (wink). The setting and plot are so interesting that I was hooked the whole way through. I can't wait to get more of it!

Check these two out...oh and refer all young people to them! I've already told my friends with teens/tweens about both of them!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Turning Point

I have reached a new point in my parenting career. Last week, all three of my boys starting school FULL DAY.

I know it's probably not right to be as thrilled about this as I am. However, you may want to reread the paragraph above. See the part that said THREE BOYS!? Okay, you may now understand. Having three boys in my house is HARD! Beyond hard, it's taxing, exhausting, mind numbingly frustrating.

I love them with all my heart, but it  is such a beautiful thing to have eight hours of silence. I have lots of plans for myself this school year. Lots of writing, and lots of getting my house in shape! HAHAHAHA.

One of those might happen...I'll let you guess which.

I also recently signed up for Sara Megibow's online workshop Ten Queries In Ten Tweets. I love it when she does this on Twitter, and I'm looking forward to improving my query!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Critiques and Travel

Those are the two items on my mind today.

1. I was just 'strongly encouraged' to add another scene to my MS. This coming from my amazing critique partners. I always hear my girls out, they know what their doing. Their talented, and I know they have the me, and my MS's best interest at heart. Long story short, I followed their advice. And I LOVE it.

So I wonder, how do you feel when someone suggests a change to your work? What is your process for considering it? Does it depend on the person, the amount of work?

I guess the moral of the story is get yourself some good critique partners.

2. Tomorrow morning, at the crack of dawn, we get on a plane for Gulf Shores. Yay!! Beach and sun...hopefully. There better not be any hurricanes or I'm going to be PISSED!!! ugh.

This will be the first time my three boys fly. I'm nervous about that, but also very excited. They will love it.

Happy Thursday everyone!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Cause for celebration!!

If you've been reading my blog for a while, or since last years A-Z, you may remember a post I wrote about my wedding ring. 

A couple years ago, the main stone of my ring fell out. One day, I looked down, and it was GONE! I was devastated. Beyond devastated. So was my husband. And let's be honest, a carat sized diamond is not something you rush out and replace. (Okay, not if you're my family, you don't. )

Well, good news!! My ring is all fixed!! YAY!!! It only took close to two years, but I am so happy to be sporting my wedding bands again. I had forgotten how much I missed them!! I had received such sweet comments on that post, I felt compelled to share the news with you all! :)

In other news, I picked up this book at the library yesterday. It has the most beautiful cover! Sounds like a southern Cinderella story, so I snatched it up. I'll let you know what I think!! :)What has everyone else been reading??
BELLES by Jen Calonita  

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