Showing posts with label novel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label novel. Show all posts

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Review of When Sparrows Fall by Meg Moseley

A young widow is held in the grips of a twisted pastor and his congregation’s narrow rules by a secret that could destroy her family. Miranda is raising her six children in a bubble, sheltering them from worldly things—like fiction—until an accident brings her husband’s estranged brother into their lives. 

Jack is a college professor, set on enlightening his nieces and nephews to literature and modern culture. Even though he has turned Miranda’s world on end, she is forced to rely on either Jack or the church people. 

She chooses Jack.

Through his prodding, will Miranda be able to gather the courage to stand up to the controlling leader of the eccentric flock?

This is a charming story of a self-reliant woman trying to summon the courage to rebel against a cult-like church leader, and a caring man who steps up to the sudden challenge of raising six children.

Moseley’s descriptive writing is as delightful as a babbling brook on a summer day. Her main characters are full of life and quite charming. A nice pace running through a really good story kept me turning pages.

A 2011 Grace Awards winner, this well-written book is a great bedtime read. I didn’t want to put it down.  

You can learn more about Meg here. 

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I Didn't Die

I've just been taking a break.

My focus was off because of things in my life... mostly good things, but they still interfered.  Life does tend to get in the way of writing; but sometimes what I've written gets in the way of writing...

I reached a part that was giving me fits!  I didn't like the flow.  I wasn't happy with the story line... it seemed to lag a bit.  I want the important parts of these chapters to be more compact.  The voice didn't match the rest of my ms.  I was spending way too much time fixing little things, when I really needed to start over with that whole part.

I've been spending less time reading blogs, but still daily follow  Susan's blog, A Walk In My Shoes.  She has become a friend, offering me priceless advice.  ...reluctantly, I might add.  Not reluctant to share and to help, but reluctant to call it advice.  Rather, she modestly says it's just her opinion.  Susan supports my opinion to start over with this section.  She's been in a similar spot, wasting precious time on a part that just wasn't working.

It's so wonderful to have other writers to share with, and to glean from.  If you're a new writer, I encourage you to follow not only the blogs of agents and publishers (though much priceless information is freely given there) but to also follow blogs of other writers...  people that have been where you are, that can offer opinions to steer you around the roadblocks that can sometimes cause a new writer to give up too easily.  And don't just limit it to writers in your own genre.  All writers have common problems and solutions.

Hopefully, when you've found a few blogs to follow that you can relate to and learn from, you will be able to ask questions and get good sound answers.  Just because the current problem you're dealing with is not a current topic in Blogville, doesn't mean you can't ask it in a comment form, or even e-mail it to the blogger.  The people I've met through blogs are eager to help ,and to develop friendships.  Even though there are infinite great books that talk about specific topics concerning the craft, feedback from other writers is priceless.

It's hard for me to think about tossing such a huge section of my WIP; but if it's not working, what good is it?  So any day now, I'm going to go back to the outline process for this section, and add more structured detail to keep me on track.  I know what needs to be in there.  That's all that needs to be in there.  Once I establish my direction, my words should again flow as they did in the beginning.

As I get further along with my book, I do plan to join local writers' groups for the face-to-face support they offer.  But, in the meantime, I'll meet up with the talent right here in Blogville.  And Susan... thank you for everything!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I Finished My Book!

Oh, I wish it was that one!  No, I just finished reading The Appeal by John Grisham. 

I needed a break from my WIP.  I had to get my mind off it for a bit.  I didn't like the last chapter I wrote and thought taking a break would help me regain my focus on where I really want it to go.  I want to pick it up again with a fresh mind. 

I'm one of those people that don't typically follow authors, but Grisham is my favorite.  The only other author I can think of, that I actually own more than one book written by them, is Samuel Clemons.  I have three by Clemons that I was given when I was young.  I own a whole shelf of Grisham's work.

As I closed the back cover of this one, I thought about whether or not I am at all influenced by his writing.  My first reaction is, of course not...  My story ideas are nothing like his.  My writing style is far different.  I do admire that he manages to write stacks of best-sellers without filling them full of trash talk.  I'm not big on the foul language found in a lot of books.  I really like that his books aren't all about happy endings.  They're more true to life.  I also like the fact that, even though the majority of his books deal with some angle on the legal profession, he throws in a few unexpected storylines... even a little comedy.

Still I wonder...  Perhaps when I'm done writing this ms, I'll ponder the question again as I evaluate my characters and flow.  If I do find a similarity in style, is it necessarily influence?  Maybe I like his writing because of that common thread, instead of his writing being the cause of it.  If you were to ask me what writer I thought influenced me the most, my answer would be, "I have no idea."   I have been writing essays, songs and poems since I was a child.  It's hard to say what might have influenced my style.

How about you?  Is there a particular author that influences your writing style?  Describe the way your work reflects that influence.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Or should I say kidnapped!  What am I writing?  Labels.  Yep, labels.  Oh, it takes lots of creative genius to come up with a label for an egg carton.

In case you don't follow my farm blog blahwg!, I'm talking about Mr J's chicken hobby.  My other blog documented our journey with his chickens.  In April, we became caretakers of seventy-five day-old chicks!  Now we sell eggs.  (For the record, birds are dirty, nasty animals.  I do not share his love of chickens. However, I am a farmer's wife, for better or for worse...)

Yesterday, I rode with Mr J to the local feed store to pick up 250 generic egg cartons.  So I spent the evening coming up with designs to his liking for the 250 cartons.  Between you and me, I think an agent is easier to please.  But now, here I sit with a stack of approved labels to cut and apply.

Crooked Creek Farm
Free-Range Eggs 

Liz, if you can hear me, I'll be there soon...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Danger of Agents' Blogs Part II - My Brain is a Sponge

...and it's dripping all over my manuscript!  Have you seen that commercial for bing, the new search engine?  It's the one where the people keep spewing strings of information.  I'm having a similar problem.

I am constantly editing.  I write, then edit, then write some more...  I wish I could just write the whole thing down, and then, when the story is finished, go back and begin the editing process.  I've written on this before... my obsessive need to edit, but now I've taken it to the next level!

I made need to take a vacation from my WIP.  Not because I need distance from it, but I need to escape the thoughts that are consuming me.

 I absorbed all this information from reading the blogs, and now it's flooding my consciousness.  As I'm writing the current chapter, my brain keeps jumping back to previous parts and telling me, "You're supposed to..." or "Don't you remember what she said about..."  I think it's a form of mental illness.  Whatever it is, it's driving me crazy!  I think about it while I'm cooking and doing dishes.

Isn't this a good thing?  I mean, I've really learned a lot about the structure of a good manuscript.  That has to make me a better writer.  On the other hand, if it drives me over the edge, will I have access to my laptop in the padded room?

Is there anything in your writing process that you're extremely obsessive about?  Share with me so I don't think I'm all alone...  Hello?  Are you out there?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Writer's Haven Goes to Hell

I do most of my writing in my bedroom. I designed this house with my in-laws in mind, so we each have our own area at opposite ends of the house. From my room, I cannot hear their TV. I made our bedroom large enough for our sitting area. I have two wing-back recliners with a table between them.

When I look straight ahead from my chair, I can just barely see the neighbor's house, as the leaves are starting to fall. In the summer, I see only trees. When I look to the side, through the doors to my deck, I see pasture and more trees, sometimes goats and horses. It is a very peaceful setting... a true writer's paradise!

Beyond the pasture and woods is a bike path, which borders our property. The grandkids love that feature! Across the bike path, there was a welding shop. It was sold to some guys that cut firewood. Then it stood empty, waiting for the new owners. Well, they've moved in...

It is now home to a dance school. How nice. Apparently, the instructors believe in fresh air. Yes, they do routines outside the building. Ordinarily it wouldn't matter, since it's so far away. Ordinarily one does not associate a loud bass drum with a dance class.

At first I thought there was someone parked on the bike path with those big woofers blaring. The bass sounded like a cadence for a marching band. I thought about putting on my industrial strength earmuffs, but decided it should quit soon. It didn't.

Hubby came in from splitting wood. "How do you like having a dance place next door?" he asked.

"Is that what that is?" I yelled over the ba-da-da-DUM, ba-da-da-DUM.

He smiled. "Every Saturday."

"Oh, well. Dance classes only last for about an hour, don't they?" I guess I'll write later...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Editing My Blogs

One of the blogs I follow, A Walk In My Shoes by Susan Mills, has been discussing the topic of what we post in our blogs; specifically, things we wouldn't want potential agents to read. Susan would have been celebrating her 100th post today, but instead is celebrating 88. Why? She recently deleted several posts that she felt did not show her in the very best light when agent shopping. They weren't whiny or negative... just things that she felt didn't belong in the showcase.

I've been thinking a lot about this topic myself. I've been a little busy, and I would rather spend time on my WIP than editing my blog; but it will come. I've begun to look at this blog as a type of business blog. My main focus, in the beginning, was to document my journey in becoming a published author. I also wanted to be able to give a leg up to others... share things I learned along the way. Those are still my main concerns for this blog. However, my objective is still to be published. An important part of that goal is obtaining representation. So, like Susan, I've been considering deleting any posts that I feel do not show me in the very best light, looking at it from the viewpoint of an agent.

I've also been thinking a lot about my sister blogs. Most of my regular readers are aware that I have two other blogs. I've always kept my topics divided. When I want to share what's happening on my farm, I post to that blog. Things about writing and pursuing publication belong here. Then there's my miscellaneous blog, for anything that doesn't belong on the other two. I have links to the others in my sidebar that I will probably remove. Still, if an agent were to google, they would find the other blogs. I don't think anything I've posted there would necessarily show me in a negative way, but then...

What about the opinion posts? What if the agent I'm querying strongly disagrees with my feelings on a particular issue in the news? (Agents, after all, are people.) Would their viewpoint color their decision on my query? I don't think any agent would truly pass up on a manuscript they thought would easily sell, just because they disagree with my politics. It is how they make a living. But what if my book was a probably? What if they weren't sure whether or not to represent me? Could what I choose to write about on my other blogs tip the scales?

Of course, my other blogs could be a positive thing, too. Suppose the agent was a big animal lover. Maybe the scales would tip in my direction when she read about my relationship with Maggie. Then again, I don't edit my blogs. I just type what's on my mind and hit the publish post button. What if an agent were to scrutinize my grammar and punctuation on my other blogs? I don't think it would have much effect, really. It's not like I'm submitting these posts for publication elsewhere; but it is something to think about.

Another thing I've been thinking about lately is using a pen name. I have one in mind that is very special to me. (Sounds like another post, doesn't it? You will be the first to know.) If I do decide to use a pen name, should I completely separate my writer's blog from any ties to my actual identity? I'm not hiding. You all know what city I live in, and from pictures I've posted of my farm, it would not take a genius to track me down. Maybe I'll want to change that when (not if) I do become published.

I have a goal for my manuscript today, so I don't really have time to ponder all these things now. I would like to know your thoughts. Do you think my identity as a writer should be separated from my identity as a grandmother and farmer's wife? Do you think there are subjects I should avoid posting on this blog? Are you in a similar situation with your blog? Let me know what you think...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Danger of Agents' Blogs

I have posted several times about the positive side of following agents' blogs. Now, it's time I told the other side of the story...

Remember when you first discovered the internet? If you're like me, you were in utter amazement at the amount of information suddenly at the tips of your fingers. It was overwhelming! Often, when I was researching a particular topic, I would find myself venturing off my planned path to explore whatever popped up. Hours would pass before I noticed.

I'm experiencing that again...

I start my e-day by reading my mail. Then I come to Blogville and check my dashboard for new posts from the blogs I follow. It didn't take long before I was spending more time reading blogs than writing my ms. I could so easily lose track of time.

Recently, I made the decision to just scan the agents' blogs for topics of particular interest. I saved notes on some of them. I was learning a lot of what I felt was very useful information. Problem was, what good is it to me if I never finish my book?

I've got to get back on track. For now, I'm not going to read ANY agents' blogs. That's right... none of them!

One of the things I've learned from following them, is that they do a very good job of titling their posts and referencing topics. When I am ready for the next step, it will be quite easy for me to search their blogs for the information I need.

According to my calendar, it is mid-September already. I should have been done with the initial writing and well underway with the editing!

Do you find yourself putting aside your WIP because of too much time spent elsewhere? If writing is your dream, make it a priority. Don't save it for when everything else is done... for filling those left-over minutes at the end of the day.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Long Wait

Why is that everything I see, hear or smell gets me thinking about my MS? A story on the news makes me ponder a new plot. A song on the radio creates a scene in my head. I was born to write. I really believe that. I wrote songs and poems when I was a kid. I have long made my own greeting cards. I just don't have trouble getting the words from my brain to paper (or laptop). When I found out what blogging was, I was delighted to join in.

Even though I find much enjoyment in these things, my real dream is to be a published author... Not just published, but actually making my living at it. A career. I didn't want to be able to tell people I wrote a book. I want to someday say, "I write books!"

I am not as happy with my progress as I could be; I get side-tracked too often. (I spent my writing time this weekend twiddling with baby shower stuff.) I am determined to make a bigger push toward my goal. After all, I'm not getting any younger!

...but it does take time. I think that instant gratification spoils some things. I see that in the younger generation. They don't wait for things the way we did. The waiting is an important part. It's the part that pushes our dream to the mountain peak. Without the wait, it's just something we want, we get, we move on...

The wait. As with anything else in life, the longer we want it, the greater the reward. Didn't someone famous once say something like, "The harder we have to fight for it, the greater...." We appreciate it more. We savor the accomplishment.

I'm sitting here, reading through my morning e-mails, and I came across this devotional:

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”
- Proverbs 13:12

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Chicago Manual of Style

Just thought I'd drop a quick note about my experience using the Chicago Manual of Style. I spoke about it before, but had only used the Q&A section. The Q&A is free, but doesn't necessarily contain everything you might need. The manual is in outline form, so looking up particulars is relatively easy. You can access the outline free also, in case you want to learn more about it before subscribing.

No, I don't receive a kickback from them. (Unless they really want to reward me for the mention... I could force myself to accept a gratuity.) I do like to share whatever great things I happen to stumble over in my quest to write this book. I have used the Q&A a couple of times, and thought it was very helpful.

Yesterday I had a brain fart. That's what I call it anyway. I had a punctuation issue come up where memory failed me. I knew I knew the answer, but it was buried deep, and I didn't have time to find a shovel. I clicked on my shortcut button for the manual. I tried the Q&A, but, after a few clicks, I hadn't found the answer I wanted. I quickly decided to bite the bullet and make the HUGE investment of $30/yr for a subscription. Delightfully, they offer a 30 day free trial! Although I will pay the fee when my 30 days are up, I do appreciate an extra month.

I spent less than a minute signing up. They send a confirmation e-mail. I clicked on the link in the e-mail and accessed my awesome manual. From the time I decided to sign up until I had the answer that had sent me there in the first place, took about 3 minutes. For less than a dime a day, I now have access to an indexed reference that is quick, user-friendly, and concise. Unless you are an expert in the area of grammar, I encourage you to check out the online manual.

I love being a writer in this day of technology. I can't imagine myself, years ago, sitting in a stiff chair, facing a typewriter, surrounded by stacks of reference materials, (atlas, dictionary, thesaurus, grammar text...) feeling creative. When the juices are flowing, I want as little interruption as possible. If I have to lift my fingers from the keyboard to the mouse, I can deal with that!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Using Real Names of Things...

Yes, I'm limiting my time here. Yes, really. It's just that something I've been wondering about showed up on a billboard in Blogville today. I was just running my quick errands, (scanning the agent blogs) when I came across this title: Product Placement in Books posted by Bookends, LLC.

I have mentioned specific products in my MS: his car, her Frappucino (hmm... wonder where THAT came from?) I never question the use of these things. I assumed that since no one was harmed because the car had a severe manufacturer's defect, or because she never accused Starbucks of product tainting, that I didn't have a problem. After reading this post, I'll assume for now that I'm right.

The thing that had me wondering was names of specific places. My WIP is set in several cities; some I'm familiar with, some not. My BF is a source for some places in NY where my character lives in the present time. In her visit to her hometown area, she reflects comparatively on her neighborhood hangout vs. the restaurant/bar where she is dining with her sister. My BF once asked if I was allowed to use those names. I replied, of course! Why not? Hmm.... Maybe I should have really thought about the question.

It's still a question. The linked post did not address this specific issue. I did, however, leave a comment with my question. Hopefully the author of the post or another commenter will address this issue for me.

FYI... for any newbies out there that just happened to stumble along here: When you leave a comment, (in most cases) there is a box to check to have follow-up comments sent to you via e-mail. I do this when I want to see what others think about a particular topic, or post a question that I hope to see answered.

If you're a literary attorney, or just happen to know the legality of all this, please post a comment for others to read and learn from.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Progress report, and plans for the future:

Finally! I got back to the book today. Health issues have had my mind a little off. I tried writing some the past couple of weeks, but when I read it today, I had to laugh! Every other word was not just misspelled... it was flat the wrong word! For example, did you know I had a character called 'and Sher'. Oh wait, that's supposed to be Aunt Sher. Well, you get the picture. I ended up deleting blocks of it. There were sentences that didn't even make sense to me. What was I trying to say? Hope it wasn't a great idea, because it's sure as heck gone now!

After deleting the evidence of the brain farts, and fixing the keeper parts, I refreshed my memory and began to proceed. I finished the chapter! Yea,me! Word count: 48,819. Yeah, long way to go... but at least I'm going!

I have made a resolution... Well, I made it long ago, but never paid it any mind. I dug it up and dusted it off... I must limit the time I spend in Blogville. Many of you may not know... I'm still reading your blogs, but not leaving so many comments. I simply can't keep up with it. I now realize how much my blogging has interfered with my writing pace. It used to be something I did in between writing. Somehow it became something I did, and if time permitted, I wrote.

I will still be visiting all the blogs I follow, but not on a daily basis. I will not, I repeat, NOT, catch up on everything I miss. That's my downfall. When I skip reading and just write, I come back to Blogville and read everything I missed! How is that working for me? Uh... not.

I am serious about my writing. I want so much to finish this book. I have ideas already for the next several manuscripts. I've got to get them out of my head and into my laptop.

Please don't forget me while I'm gone. I will miss you all...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Self-Publishing... Is it right for you?

Let me start out by stating that if I choose to go the route of a standard publisher, I will certainly do so only with agent representation. Even though I've only been following the blogs for a short period of time, I have learned that it's well worth it to have an agent do the hard work. Yes, writing and editing seem to be the easy parts. It's work, but it's on your time at your pace. Once you're ready to submit, it's a whole other ball game!

However, I still have not ruled out self-publishing. When I've finished my manuscript and received professional critiques that tell me I'm the next Dan Brown, I will seek an agent. What if I'm not? What if it's just a good book. I've done very little research into self-publishing. I checked some sites back when I first started my WIP. I had never read an agent's or editor's blog. I didn't even know about blogspot then; but now I do. I spend so much time reading and learning, writing notes, copying links, that I've not gone back to researching the self-pub route... until now.

Morgan Mandel at The Blood-Red Pencil just posted her seventh post of a seven-part series on self-publishing. If you have even the tiniest inkling that self-publishing might be for you, I encourage you to read the seven-part series. Morgan laid out clearly every step of her process, from the legal aspect to selling the books. She also included links to the sources she used in her journey. She shared details of how she used Word to format her ms for the print size, plus disclosed the other software she used.

You will note in her comments that she does respond to questions. I left a comment inquiring about her cost, which she promptly answered and openly revealed. I urge you to visit her sites; and hey! How about buying her book? I read the excerpt and I'm going to get my copy!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Wisdom for Writing

While reading my morning mail, I came across this in my daily devotional message from the Presidential Prayer Team:

"One definition for wisdom is “the skill of navigating toward a goal with precision.”" Even though the message was pointed to the leadership of this country, I quickly associated it with my writing practices.

Am I using wisdom with my writing? I'm not speaking of the text of my novel, but rather my own personal habits regarding when and how I write. To answer my own question, no; I do not navigate toward the goal with precision. The goal of course being FINISH the book!

Do I possess the skill or wisdom? Yes, I believe I have the skill to push ahead on schedule. The bigger question is, why don't I employ the skill? Hmm... Good question.

I am, by nature, a procrastinator. I've just never been a hurry-up-and-get-it-done type of person. Don't get me wrong. I'm never late! I never turned in assignments late. I've always been punctual with my work. One of my favorite examples concerns my best friend's wedding gown. I made it for her. I remember her coming over the day before the wedding asking about the dress. I calmly told her, it was almost done; all I had left was the sleeves and the hem. Yes, the dress was finished in plenty of time. She would have preferred a little wiggle room on the time-line. We laugh about it now, but seriously, if she had told me to have it ready a week before... it would have been ready a week before. Not eight days, mind you, but a week.

The problem with my book is that I don't have a due date. I just realized this! If I had a written-in-stone date that I had to meet, I'd meet it. I don't have a set number of hours per day designated for writing my book. If I did, I would fit it in. See, I have the knowledge. I know what's wrong with my habits and what I have to do to change it. I guess the wisdom part comes in when I decide to do what I know.

Are you using wisdom in your writing habits? Do you have a clear goal you are pursuing?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Saved from the Chopping Block

The other day I tweeted about deleting a big chunk of my book. Have you ever been on auto-pilot with your writing? That's how I felt about the last bunch of pages. I was going down a path that I did not plan. It didn't seem to fit. It felt unpurposeful. That's why I was moving so slow... I didn't know where to go with it. Yet, I was reluctant to delete the pages. Something kept me plugging away.

It's almost as though my subconscious decides where the story is going without telling me. I was getting really frustrated today. I started pacing. I'm not a pacer, but there I was... pacing. I stepped out onto the balcony and stared across the pasture. I went back in and walked around the bedroom. Why the heck am I writing about this ridiculous Thanksgiving dinner thing. It had nothing to do with the story line. I went back outside. This went on for several minutes.... then BAM! It hit me.

Suddenly I knew why I was writing this... It was the only way to bring the characters together at that point in time for the dialog that started filling my head. It needed to be said. I hadn't covered that yet. But why would she be there then? Tada! She came for Thanksgiving! Duh.

I guess I need to trust my instinct a little more. I was so afraid I'd gone off on a wild tangent, with no hope of returning to my outline. Then, in the blink of an eye, it all came together. The words came and my fingers flew. I quickly tapped out six-hundred more words. I could have gone all night, had I not needed to prepare dinner. I wish I could convince Hubby to live on Atkins' protein shakes...

Have you ever wondered why you were writing a passage that wasn't planned, only to discover that it fit perfectly into your story line? The brain is an amazing thing!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Michael Bolton in my book?

Hurray for me! I've passed forty-seven thousand words! I like spelling it out; makes it feel like even more! I had reached another transition that was giving me some difficulty. It didn't seem 'alive' enough. I spent oodles of time with my fingers in the correct position, staring at the screen. I'd never get this book done, if I kept erasing everything I wrote...

Finally a break through came and the words started flowing again. It's late 1990. Thanksgiving actually. Liz has company. A song comes on the radio...

So what were some of the popular songs in 1990? I went to a jukebox site and clicked on 1990. (Research is important.) 'How am I Supposed to Live Without You?' by Michael Bolton was on the list. Talk about memories...I remember how jealous the men at work were over Michael Bolton. In my bedroom, I had a stereo with a 3-CD changer. It was probably 1993 or '94 actually. Occasionally I would put in something different to listen to; but as soon as it was over the other CD was put back in. This album was one of the three semi-permanent residents for quite a while. Yes, I was a hopeless romantic. Every night while lying in bed I listened over and over again to those same three CDs. What were the other two?
Go back in your mind to the nineties... Are there any albums that stand out in your memory? Tell me why?

Friday, August 7, 2009

In it for the long haul...

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. T. S. Eliot

This quote was on Judy's The Road to Here blog this morning, in her post, A Far Reaching Thought.

It quickly reminded me of one of my favorite quotes... Thomas Edison said, "Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up."

I have spent a lot of time this week reading blogs of writers, authors, agents, editors and publishers. If I weren't so determined, and I didn't have my Blogville fan club cheering me on, I could easily get discouraged. Blog after blog advises the same thing: You have to be better than the very best to have the slimmest chance of having anyone even ask for a paragraph of your work. You must spend three years perfecting your query letter, and this only after spending twenty years editing your first novel. Then, if you're luckier than a lottery winner, you must repeat that almost thirty years of work in a few months for your second book, or risk acquiring the reputation of a loser and violating your contract.

I have learned that there are plenty of people out there that make a living at helping you with your query letter, and that using them practically guarantees a letter (according to an agent's blog) that will be tossed. I have also learned that it is much harder to write a good query letter than it is to write a novel.

I have learned that you must make a terrific and lasting first impression with an agent, but must, at the same time, blend into the woodwork, so as not to appear anxiously self-promoting. There are conferences that allow you to mingle with agents, but if you get some face-to-face time, do not, under any circumstances, mention the fact that you have written a wonderful book.

I have learned that if a publisher is interested in reading your manuscript, by all means send it to them, even if it is the wrong thing to do!

I have learned that self-publishing can be a great route for many, but you'd have to be crazy to publish your manuscript without an agent... You will be taken to the proverbial cleaners!

I have learned that there are firm rules that you must adhere to, and even when you do, you'd have better luck getting struck twice by lightening.

With all this wonderful information, am I discouraged? Heck, no! How do you think people advised T.E. when he wanted to fly a kite in a thunderstorm? I'm probably on the verge of a sensational best seller!

Friday, July 31, 2009

How many times can I go through Chapter Eleven?

Don't I have to wait so many years? Just kidding... It's not THAT Chapter Eleven.

Did you ever get the feeling your manuscript was more like a jigsaw puzzle? Maybe you've put a piece into the wrong place, and that's why you can't find the piece you need now? Or maybe a Rubik's Cube would better describe it...

I cut out Chapter One. Yep, sure did. But it's not gone; it's right after Chapter Two. Or, should I say it is Chapter Two, and now Chapter Two is Chapter One? What about Chapter Nine? Well, it's way behind Chapter Twelve. So now it's Chapter ?? and Chapter Ten is Chapter Nine. And since I left off with Chapter Twelve, it is now Chapter Eleven. The old Chapter Nine will come along much later in the story...

Have I lost you yet? It was hard for me to keep my head straight too. I did a lot of editing last night. The first two chapters of my ms, being totally separate scenes, could easily be flipped. I decided, that since Chapter Two had much more 'grab' in the opening sentences than Chapter One, that it should be first. I am very please with the results.

Looking through my outline, I saw I needed to change the chain of events. Chapter Nine would be better off later in the book to keep the time-line more sensible. There will be many more chapters before that one now, so who knows what number it will end up being!

It wasn't easy, taking the saw blade to my book. I loved the jump from Eight to Nine, and from Nine to Ten. (I'll let you know what chapter it becomes; then, if you read it someday, you can see what I'm talking about.) It was like taking a pair of scissors to your grandmother's wedding gown. But hey, if it doesn't fit... We must bear in mind that our readers have no interest in our grandmother's wardrobe. If we do not consider their taste, how will we be successful?

I surmised the general market for my book would be distracted rather than pleased by the jump. (Sometimes they just fail to see the artistry:)

It was a very good lesson for me. Sometimes we get into such a strong flow that it can lead to erosion! But changing the flow of my chapters, my book now has a flow that will be more relaxing. So have your inner-tubes ready...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Everybody is a Winner!

I told you I hate making decisions! Fortunately for me, only six of you had suggestions on names for the characters and the company. (No points for agreeing, sorry.) I've picked one suggestion from each of you, and I like the results...

Carol, Rae and Susan, you gave me Fred and Olivia Bellamy.
When I Am Rich, TC and Anne, you gave me Middletown Innovative Machinery.

Thank you for your suggestions. Now when I am rich and famous, you will be partly responsible!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

New name pick....

I'm loving the comments on the character names. Now I'll have a tough decision to make. But since you're all so good at this... How about giving me a company name? Another main character has his own business. He makes a gizmo that is part of a larger machine. His own invention. Made him wealthy. He started off working in a machine shop. Now business has expanded. I went brain dead when I got to that part, so I just typed in ReMota Corporation. I hate that name! (Hubby would probably love it since he calls the remote his 'precious'.)

So, let's hear what you've got. A good machining company name.