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Showing posts from February, 2012

What Helped You Most?

Since I don't have any super-inspirational, wisdom-filled articles or guests lined up for today, I decided to let all of you provide those things for this Wednesday's post. The question is: What 3 things have helped you most on your writing journey?  You're welcome to mention more than 3, but try to give the top 3 somewhere in your answer. For me, besides Molly , the author friend who kindly but honestly got me on course in the beginning and my retired English teacher mom, who is the source of my better-than-average grammar skills, my three would have to be: 1. Reading as much fiction as I can get my hands on - to get a feel for what does and doesn't work. (I've read well over 100 books in the last 15 mos, while writing 2 of my own.) 2. Learning and improving along the way, through critiques and articles like Final Revision Editing and The Verb Lottery . (I mean, seriously! I look at some of the first versions of my mss and shudder at how I used to wri

No More Moldy Berries

 Photo by: Robert Cochrane / Okay, so this is totally not writing related, but so what. Here in Houston, fresh berries have hit the produce aisle with their plump juiciness, their vivid colors, and their low prices tempting me to stock up. But they tend to mold before I can eat them. What's a girl to do? My mom sent me this . It's as simple as vinegar and water - who knew? For you busy blog skimmers, here's the quicker 'Just the facts, Mam' version... Place the berries into a mixture of one part vinegar and ten parts water and swirl around. Let sit up to 5 minutes. Drain, rinse (optional), and put them in the fridge. The vinegar kills mold spores and bacteria on the surface of the fruit, extending their shelf life. I hope you'll return tomorrow for a discussion on what helped you the most in your writing journey. See ya then. = ) ### March 23rd  ETA: Just coming back to say the vinegar & water rinse trick worked.  The berries are easi

Writer's Blogs - Discussion

With all the traffic from the Campaign , I thought this might be a good time to start a discussion about writer's blogs (or is that writers' blogs?). I'm a blog newbie, but--visiting as many as I have--I'm quickly discovering what I like and don't like about them. I want to hear what my fellow writers and writing blog visitors have to say on the subject. What do you like?  What don't you like?  What turns you off, and what keeps you coming back?  And my blog is fair game, so don't pull any punches on my account.  ; )

Flash Fiction Challenege

This is the first challenge in Rach's fourth platform-building campaign . The Rules: Write a short story /flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “Shadows crept across the wall”. These five words will be included in the word count.   If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), do one or more of these: 1. end the story with the words: "everything faded." (also included in the word count) 2. include the word "orange" in the story 3. write in the same genre you normally write and or 4. make your story 200 words exactly! Here's Mine: (According to Word 2010, it's exactly 200 words, not counting the title.) * Mild sensuality alert * 'Til Death Shadows crept across the wall as Leah carried the lantern and set it on the bedside table. Nathan sat on the edge of the bed, watching her every move. The angles of his face seemed sharper in

Nancy Kimball on Pacing

We have a guest today I know you will enjoy – award winning author Nancy Kimball.  I met Nancy on my writing journey and I'm glad I did. She's a talented writer and a wonderful person. And somehow, she manages to juggle a skyrocketing writing career with her day job. Hmm. Maybe we need to drag Nancy back sometime to talk about time management and career planning ( if she doesn't have enough to do). Here's Nancy... ~~~~~ Melissa, thanks for inviting me to talk about pacing, one of my favorite fiction craft principles. Pacing is one of those subtle elements of fiction the reader never quite notices, even when he or she is being completely controlled by it. So what exactly is it? Pacing is the speed at which your reader travels through your story. Notice I did not say the speed at which your reader reads , but the speed at which your reader travels through your story. This is controlled by the author and is very important because bad pacing will ruin the reader experi

You Gotta See This Blog

For some really great articles, like 'The Seven Deadly Sins of Prologues' and 'Don't Eat the Butt' parts 1, 2 & 3, check out Kristen Lamb's blog . You won't be sorry. Kristen Lamb is the author of the best-selling books We Are Not Alone—The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer and is represented by Russel Galen of Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary, Inc. in NYC.

Welcome Carrie Butler

Today we have Carrie Butler from So, You're a Writer over to discuss the importance of first chapters. Carrie and I met a few months back via an ad I posted for critique partners.  I definitely hit the jackpot with her. Not only has she turned out to be a super critter—she’s an incredibly talented writer and a great friend, too. (I wasn’t kidding when I said she frequently causes me to spray coffee all over my screen. = P) Unlike me, Carrie’s many writing strengths include beginnings. ; ) Here's Carrie...  ~~~~~ “What is the first chapter , Mr. Trebek?” That is correct.  *Applause* …Okay, so I’m not Alex Trebek. I’m not a game show host. I never even knew Merv Griffin. But I do know this: If you don’t nail your first chapter, your book could be in jeopardy. (Oh, I went there…) Let’s say you have an MC named Jill. Starting out, you may feel tempted to lead with her backstory. After all, you need to explain why Jill doesn’t trust men, before she meets her love interest, right?

A Change in Plans

Due to a minor scheduling snafu (which was my fault entirely *blush*), the next installment in the You Are Here tour is being posted a day early so that author and friend Carrie Butler can make a guest appearance on the blog tomorrow. But, hey. It's a 2-for-1 this week, so that's good for you. To see a list of upcoming guests and topics, go to: Upcoming Guests & Events . (This link can also be found under 'Page Index' on the right hand side of the blog.) Now for Wednesday's post... The next topic on the tour deals with fiction writing skills that are not as obvious or basic as some, but ones that are important if you want your writing to be the best it can be. You may not be ready to incorporate these yet, but it won't hurt to familiarize yourself with the concepts my next article touches on. This way, when you get critiques from more experienced writers, you'll at least be prepared...and you won't think they're writing snobs. ; ) Please

11 Questions ...Make that 22 ...Er 33

Thanks, Rachel Morgan , for tagging me in the 11 Questions game. We blog campaigners are having some fun playing the blogging writer's version of 20 Questions. So sit back and enjoy...and realize: I was answering some of these at 4:00 AM when I was just a little punchy. 1. Describe yourself in one word. Practical 2. What was your favourite book as a child? Little House In The Big Woods (Wilder) 3. eBooks or paper books? Depends on price, but I prefer e-books (convenience, and storage issues) 4. If you could go back in time and change one thing in your life, what would it be? Go away to college right after high school 5. What song is currently stuck in your head? The annoying background music of the Wii on standby 6. What fictional character do you most resemble? I'll let my blogging buddies decide that. (...or maybe not. = \ ) 7. If you could have any super power, what would you choose? I almost said 'to read minds,' but on second thought: the ability to heal. I've

We have visitors

I'd like to extend a warm welcome to the OYANers. They're a group of home-schooled students using the One Year Adventure Novel (OYAN) to hone their fiction writing skills. Hi, guys. *smiling and waving* Thanks for visiting the blog. And to my fellow writers: C'mon, you a comment and say hello to your future competition. ; )

Next Stop On The Tour

It's Wednesday, and y'all know what that means - it's time for a new and clever post to magically appear. As promised, the next stop on the You Are Here tour is waiting, and it's only a click away. This week's topic is ' Showing & Telling .' Enjoy!

You Are Here

You’re a writer. It’s just something one knows. I mean, the drive is unmistakable. It wakes you up in the night and makes you forgo sleep to get that scene down just right before the inspiration leaves—and leaves you wishing you’d struck while the iron was hot...those bursts of genius so incredible that—try as they might—your feverishly-typing hands can’t possibly keep up with your brain. You know what I’m talking about. You’re probably sitting there nodding your head and smiling one of those conspiratorial, smug smiles. But where are you in your writing journey? Anyone with a reasonable command of the language can write. The question is: are you writing something others will actually want to read? In the spirit of ‘paying it forward,’ I’ve decided to dedicate my first few blog posts to helping beginning writers find their way. If you’re relatively new to the game, you’ll likely find something here—hopefully a lot of things—to help you make the transition from scoff-worthy beginner to

Super Platform-Building Opportunity

I'm popping in to let everyone know about a fellow writer's platform-building campaign. Want to meet other writers like yourself--people who want to succeed and help others along the way? Want to build your online presence? Check it out and tell your friends. Rach's 4th Writer's Campaign