Thursday, April 29, 2010

WIBIJ - Prizes this time!

Heather, Jon, and Tina at Where in the Blogosphere is Jon are at it again. And this time, they're offering Prizes. Cue the movie music.

I've played a couple of times and have discovered a few great new writer's resources and cool writer-ly types in the process. Not to mention the fact that the Trio are very cool. And hip. And they all have cool blogs of their own.


So, May 5. WIBIJ. Be there. Or be...not cool.
Unless you have to work. Or take a child to the dentist for another filling. Then, come late.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Conference Prep

I’m attending the New England SCBWI conference in a couple of weeks and I’m getting really excited. I’ve scheduled a manuscript critique, and a quick-query review. I’ve also signed up for some awesome workshops. I’m meeting a few friends for the first time, and get to hang out “in person” with my incredible critique group.

In the spirit of preparing for the conference, I put together some tips. Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments!

1. Plan to meet blogging friends and/or critique partners while you’re there. It’s not just about networking with industry pros – it’s also a great opportunity to connect with colleagues.
2. Research the faculty who will be presenting and critiquing. Have a sense of who will be there.
3. Be ready with pages and a pitch (but only when asked!) Memorize your pitch sentence in case someone asks you over lunch!
4. Bring Business Cards – in my experience, you won’t give these to agents or editors, but you might want to share them with fellow attendees. Easier than grabbing pen and paper and jotting down your email address!
5. Keep writing samples in your bag- if you have a finished manuscript, bring your first chapter and synopsis.
6. Volunteer, if you can. It’s a great opportunity to get involved and you’ll meet cool people.
7. Take a notebook with you everywhere. You’ll get helpful tips in the workshop sessions, but you might also learn something at the buffet table.
8. Meet at least two new people. This is hard if you’re an introvert. But, you’re in a hotel full of writer types, you never know where you’ll meet a new critique partner or beta reader.

Thanks to the following sources for some inspiration on putting together this list.
Janet Reid
Resources for Writers
Marian Merritt

If you're going to be at NESCBWI, give a shout -- I'll see you there!

** Update 4/29/10 - The QueryTracker blog has a great post today that goes into much greater detail than mine! Check it out!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Guide to Literary Agents - Be (Slightly) Afraid of Posting Your Work Online

Chuck Sambuchino advises against posting any part of your fiction WIP in the April 25 edition of Guide to Literary Agents blog. Guide to Literary Agents - Be (Slightly) Afraid of Posting Your Work Online

I've had two versions of the synopsis of my WIP posted for a few weeks. As soon as one of my critique partners shared this link with me, I immediately took them down. I had never considered the possibility of theft. The article scared me.

I'm curious now. How many of you post excerpts of your work? Have you considered the possibility that someone might pilfer your work? Or is it all worry about nothing?

A Letter to the Tooth Fairy

Dear Tooth Fairy,

I have two questions. What is your real name? What do you do with the teeth?

Love, [K]

p.s. Please write back.

If the tooth fairy who visits my house wasn't a writer, she might have panicked last night. Even so, I'm pretty sure she wiped a bead of sweat off her brow answering such personal questions. To the delight of the child, here's the reply:

Dear [K],

Thank you for your nice note.
I love answering questions. My real name is Delphinia (isn't that a pretty name?)
I recycle the teeth. I was going to leave you How to Train Your Dragon with the coin, but I noticed you already have it. I hope you like it. It's my favorite new book (I like the dragons).

Love, T.F. (Delphina) XOXO :)

for some reason T.F. always leaves a new book along with a coin when she takes a tooth. Too bad Mom had just purchased the first two How to Train Your Dragon books on the same day the tooth finally fell out. ;)

Friday, April 23, 2010

The EB White Read Aloud Awards

I'm not always good at predicting award winners. Usually, I like what I like, and it's not what the "critics" necessarily like. However, yesterday afternoon I mentioned to my children's librarian that I thought The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. by Kate Messner would win a book award this year. I actually walked upstairs just to tell her that.

Late yesterday afternoon, I was scrolling through twitter updates, and noticed an agent that I follow had tweeted about Kate Messner's wonderful story being shortlisted for The EB White Read Aloud Awards. Did I call it or what? Not that I'd ever heard of the EB White Read Aloud Awards before. By the way, Grace Lin's Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is also on the list. I'm not taking credit for calling that one...I think Grace's book might have already earned some accolades (*cough* Newbery Honor Book *cough*).

I don't know Kate, but she lives in my region. So, I feel like I know her. Okay, that sounds slightly stupid. But her book is so good, if you haven't read it, you should. I'll link to Kate's blog so you can read her good news in her own words.

Congratulations to both Kate and Grace and the other shortlisted authors!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Honesty vs. Victory

Because my novel is about golf (well, a girl who plays golf), I’ve been paying more attention than usual to golf news.

This story, about Brian Davis, is awesome. Brian is a professional golfer who has never won a major tournament. Over the weekend, he was in a final showdown with Jim Furyk when he called himself on a penalty that no one else saw. It underscores the reputation that golf used to have as the sport of gentlemen (or gentle-people - is that a word?). Regardless of recent news of golfers doing bad things, Brian Davis took the honest route. He knew he’d earned the penalty, and he faced it. Took responsibility.

And Jay Busbee, the writer of the news article I read, gives a great quote: “In golf, honesty is more important than victory.” If only more people felt that way about life in general. It's sort of a twist on the theme of my book - that victory is not the most important thing in the end.

Would you do it? If no one would know? If a million dollars were at stake, would you own your mistake? Brian Davis did - and he's sleeping better tonight because of it.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Agent Search

My critique group has been discussing agents and queries a lot lately. We're all gearing up for the agent-hunt. I've got a list of about ten prospects so far. There are so many great resources for the search, but it can take serious time away from writing, revising, and critiquing.

I've been using:

1. Literary Rambles (Casey McCormick) - Casey has great list of agent profiles, as well as questions to ask when you "get the call."
2. Query Tracker - great way to organize your lists as well as basic information about agents.
3. Various agent blogs - if you're not aware of it, many agents blog and tweet. It's a great way to get a feel for who you might want to query.

The most important tip I've seen lately is this: Follow the guidelines. FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES. And every agent has a slightly different version. Make sure you read the fine print. Don't get yourself booted 'cause you didn't follow the rules.

But first, finish the book!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Writer's Contest w/ Sarah Wylie

Sarah Wylie is celebrating her new book contract.

"When I found out that All These Lives was going to be published, I promised we'd do something fun and celebratory. I've made some incredible friends within the blogosphere, and I wanted to find a way we could celebrate together."

Congratulations to Sarah and good luck to the contestants!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wii Fit Workout

I've been trying to get up early and exercise. Wii Fit is my current exercise of choice - it's fun, simple, and I can choose how long my workout is and what areas to focus on. I'm frustrated because when I do the body test, I keep getting told "that's overweight." I'm not mad at the Wii - I understand that I need to lose a few pounds - I'm frustrated at myself because I can't get down to the next level. I'm right at the line. What does will it say when I'm not overweight? You're perfect? Just right? Send me your full manuscript? No, wait. That last one isn't right.

Don't you wish you had a handy-dandy workout tool for your manuscript? My ms is clocking it at right around 60K words. I know I have a few scenes yet to add. Suddenly, I'm pushing the higher end of my genre. How did that happen? (Then again, how did I gain 10 pounds since my daughter was born?) But, is it overweight in other areas? Does it need a few sit ups? Or to cut some unneeded words?

Do you need to put your manuscript on a healthy diet?

Monday, April 12, 2010

National Hug Your Critique Partners Day

OK, I made it up. It's true in my world, though.

I've been with my group just under a year. The three of them are part cheerleaders, part drill Sargents, part wordsmiths, part editors. There's probably more parts, too.

If you don't have critique partners, beta readers, writing colleagues or whatever you choose to call the people who read your work first -- Go. Get. Some. And, you can't have mine.

Here's to you Laura, Natasha, and Jen. Happy Hug Your Critique Partners Day! I love you guys!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Query Tracker Contest

I almost titled this post "OMG OMG" but that didn't look professional...

I can barely type right now my hands are shaking so badly...I was one of five winners at the Query Tracker pitch contest with Jason Yarn. Honestly, I'm hyperventilating. I've got to go and read what to do next... Congrats to the other winners as well! And everyone who entered...


I read someone's blog about multi-tasking this week. I can't remember who...

I've been furiously working on revisions for my YA WIP -- I'm up to Chapter 5 (not very fast I know). And then, suddenly (though not unexpected), the editor I'm working with on a freelance project returned it with revision notes. Screeching halt on the WIP - because paying work comes before unpaid work!

Complete brain twist! Non-fiction fourth grade level very different than "cuspy" YA novel. (Don't know cuspy? Think tween.)

But I'm a writer...and I can multi-task...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Strength in Numbers

It's been so nice to notice my new "followers" this week as a result of Kelly's blog fest. *waves to new followers* Thanks for stopping by!

Kelly did a wonderful thing in bringing a group of unconnected writer's together for support and sharing. Sometimes, it's nice to know that you're not the only one out there. On the other hand, it brings into perspective that there are a lot of us writers out there! Not really competition so much as colleagues.

I've been trying to read all the blogs and all the first pages, but just can't manage everything. What a great opportunity to learn from experienced and not-so-experienced writers and authors. Everyone has something to share!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

First Page Blogfest ala Kelly

I'm joining the party a little late, but I wanted to join Kelly's first page blogfest. For more information and to read the others, see Kelly's Compositions.

Here goes first page:

“A girl has never won.” He winked. “Yet.”

Her father's words rang in her head as Kate Anderson inhaled her favorite smells. The scent of freshly mowed grass was the strongest, but with a deep breath she could pick out a hint of the rose hips that grew wild at the property line. She walked to the edge of the tee box and bent to pluck a handful of crab grass. It was easy to pretend it was lush and green, not brown and dry. Coming back to the patch of dirt where the ball sat on wooden tee, she threw the grass into the air. The blades fluttered down gently to her left side. She'd have to adjust her swing to account for the breeze.

No problem.

The wind would be the least of her worries if she wanted to qualify make the cut. No matter what her dad said, there was no chance she could win.
Kate swung the club back and forth a few times to loosen up. The graphite shaft of the driver glinted in the early morning sun. This club was the beauty her dad saved for the best customers, hoping they would plunk down $600 for the privilege of owning one just like it.

She glanced up at the flag waving from the green, teasing her. She looked down at the ball as she brought the club back. In one smooth motion, her body twisted to follow the trajectory of the ball. Her heel came off the ground as the shiny club connected. Kate loved the deep metallic thwang it made. No wonder her dad saved it for the big spenders. The ball soared out across the brook, over the hill that sloped down toward the first green, and landed out of sight.

“And the crowd goes wild!” Kate bowed to her imaginary fans. She couldn’t help smiling as she rested the club on the ground and leaned on it. Maybe, she could qualify for the Championship. “Stupid,” she said a second later, smashing the club on the ground. For a moment she had forgotten she’d have to hit like that in front of people if she didn’t want to go down in flames.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Organizing my notes

Sometimes it feels good to just get organized.

I printed out critiques today, noted the critter on top, and punched holes. Putting paper in a three-ring-binder feels like progress...even better to stick colored post-its in carefully positioned locations. It looks like progress anyway...

Now, I'm ready to start going through the WIP in orderly fashion, with my super-star critique group's notes.

My goal is to have a penultimate draft by the New England SCBWI in May...

Don't you just love the word penultimate...??