Friday, July 29, 2011

Mark Your Calendar August 16th-18th

It's almost August!

Know what that means for all us writers across the blogosphere? The world's best, webbiest, and free-est writing conference is on its way!

You can register for this online amazing-ness right here at Registration will get you set for participating in the forums, which you will definitely want to do. Feedback from other writers, and lurking agents? Yeah, that's the place for that.

Just like last year, the conference is free (which is incredible and all kinds of happymaking). But you can and totally should donate what you can in the bottom right corner of their website.

If you're thinking of skipping it this year, read this first.

Below you can read about last year's inaugural WriteOnCon conference from the perspective of each organizer-unit-thingy (mostly individuals, except for LiLa).

  1. Author Elana Johnson of POSSESSION, about WriteOnCon
  2. Creator of the famous Agent Spotlight, Casey McCormick, about WriteOnCon
  3. Bookanista Shannon Messenger, also of WriteOnCon
  4. Web genius and writer Jen Stayrook of WriteOnCon
  5. Bookanista Jamie Harrington of the pink hair avatar, and WriteOnCon
  6. Authors Lisa and Laura Roecker of THE LIAR SOCIETY, about WriteOnCon

Okay, words from Elana Johnson about this year's conference:
Trust me when I say you’re going to want to have your best behavior on, your query letter polished, and your schedule from Tuesday, August 16 – Thursday, August 18 cleared.
You heard the woman!

p.s. August 1st will see a Mystery Agent contest at Operation Awesome. Standard rules apply (one-sentence pitch, completed novels only, first fifty to comment make it in). See the official August 1st post for details, but the range of genres is pretty wide and varied, so just polish that pitch and plan on entering if you're feeling ready. Can't wait to see what you've got!!  

(I reposted this from my personal blog yesterday. It's that epic!)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Reminder: The August Mystery Agent Contest Is Almost Here...

I just wanted to remind everyone that our next Mystery Agent contest is coming up on August 1st.


So get those one-sentence pitches ready. More details to follow. 

Until then... Want some help with your pitches? Check out these linkies: 

Elana Johnson talks about the High Concept Hook

Our own Michelle McLean talks about Writing a Loglines/The One-Sentence Pitch

Nathan Bransford tells how to write the One-Sentence Pitch

Any hints/tips you want to share? Feel free to leave them in the comments. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Opening Lines--The YA Paranormal Romance Edition

So. It's official. Today I'm kicking off an Opening Lines series!! 


And I've decided to start with a genre that is near and dear to my heart: YA paranormal romance.

Below you will find a few opening lines from a few YA paranormal romance novels. With this exercise, I aim to see which types of openings characterize the genre (and why I think they work). 

Le opening lines:

"If there's a Hell on Earth, it's high school"--Lisa Desrochers, Personal Demons.

"I'd always welcomed war, but in battle my passion rose unbidden"--Andrea Cremer, Nightshade.

"Around midnight, her eyes at last took shape"--Lauren Kate, Fallen.

"There were only two kinds of people in our town"--Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, Beautiful Creatures.

"Violet Ambrose wandered away from the safety of her father as she listened to the harmony of sounds weaving delicately around her"--Kimberly Derting, The Body Finder.

"I walked into biology and my jaw fell open"--Becca Fitzpatrick, Hush, Hush (this is from the first chapter, since the prologue is in another POV).

"I remember lying in the snow, a small red spot of warm going cold, surrounded by wolves"--Maggie Stiefvater, Shiver.

"I'd never given much thought to how I would die--though I'd had reason enough in the last few months--but even if I had, I would not have imagined it like this"--Stephenie Meyer, Twilight.

Okay. What do we see here? 

Some opening lines are all about Character + Voice (Personal Demons, Fallen, The Body Finder, Beautiful Creatures). This is one of the hardest openings to pull off, but oh so awesome when done correctly (as in the above examples).  

Nightshade's opening line is a mix between Character + Voice + Action. We get the feeling the MC is in the middle of a fight, and if not, he/she is bracing themselves for it. Either way, I want to know which one it is. 

In Hush, Hush, Shiver, and Twilight, we get Character + Cliffhanger = Tension. In all honesty, this is the one that always hooks me. I am a sucker for that OMG WHAT IS HAPPENING kind of opening, but I need to "feel" the character as well. I want to get a taste of their personality while their worlds are being thrown out of balance. Whether it's a surprised student, a victim of unfriendly wolves, or someone who knew their tragic fate and faced it anyway, these openings show that despair readers can relate to. You're rooting for these people, mainly because their circumstances leave you no choice but to sympathize with them. 

So. If you're working on a YA paranormal romance, consider these types of openings. And makes yours even better :)

Now tell me: which one of these openings works for you as a reader/writer? Are there any other types of openings you've noticed in YA paranormal romance books?

Friday, July 22, 2011

3 Days 11 Hours 59 Minutes until SUPERNATURALLY!!

I'm a bit of a fangirl when it comes to Kiersten White and her debut novel, PARANORMALCY.
Contest Pic of another fan playing cards with Evie, from the author's blog

So naturally, I was overwhelmed with joy when I found out (a long time ago) it was to be a trilogy. Now that all the books are written, it's a waiting game for fans. (Just like knowing all the Harry Potter or Twilight movies were made and you just. had. to. wait.) But for Book 2 in the trilogy, SUPERNATURALLY...

...the time is almost here!

If you haven't read PARANORMALCY yet, it's a good time to pick up the series. It's YA that's also appropriate for MG-ers, with a hilarious teenage voice that's both vulnerable and wry. And it has one of the best developed, most healthy examples of a teen romance I've ever read. Anywhere. As such, it's one of those few books which I loved both as a teen-at-heart and as a mom scouting books for her someday teens.

Here's the catchy blurb:
Weird as it is working for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, Evie’s always thought of herself as normal. Sure, her best friend is mermaid, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she's falling for a shape-shifter, and she's the only person who can see through paranormals' glamours, but still. Normal. 
Only now paranormals are dying, and Evie's dreams are filled with haunting voices and mysterious prophecies. She soon realizes that there may be a link between her abilities and the sudden rash of deaths. Not only that, but she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.  
So much for normal.
I don't want to spoil the first book for you if you haven't read it, so I'll just link to the sequel on goodreads for the initiated among you to read the blurb. :)

And two fabulous free online gifts from the publishers:

Enjoy! I hope you love Evie, Lend, and Reth as much as I do.

P.S. Please keep the comments spoiler free, but tell me: Reth or Lend?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Picture Book Party Winner :)

And the winner of a copy of A Magical World and its accompanying tote bag, chosen by the ever handy, is....

Angelica R. Jackson!!

Congrats Angelica! Just shoot me an email at authormichellemclean (at) yahoo (dot) com and I'll get your prizes out to you :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

WritOnCon Contest Of Awesome!

WriteOnCon is coming soon, but did you know there is an awesomesauce contest happening RIGHT NOW? 

No, not our August M.A. contest (although I will say you should get your pitches polished for August 1st *grins*), but the WriteOnCon gang are doing this:  

WriteOnCon has teamed up with to bring you a VERY special contest to kick off the 2011 Conference. 

A first 500 MG/YA words contest. 
Grand Prize is $1000 AND a chance to have your work considered for representation from literary agent, Catherine Drayton. I AM NOT KIDDING.
When? Contest opens today, and submissions close August 18th. Winner will be announced Thursday, September 8th during a special LIVE WriteOnCon Chat.
So here's how it works.
1. Starting today, email the first 500 words of your completed MG/YA manuscript to
2. After the conference, a team of individuals will vote on all entries and narrow the submissions down to the 
TOP 5.
3. The 
TOP 5 submissions will be posted on where EVERYONE can vote.
4. Requirements? You must be a member of The Reading Room to enter. 
Click here to take care of that.

The grand prize winner will receive 
$1000 cold, hard cash in the form of a gigantic check in the form of a regular-sized check AND a chance for Catherine Drayton to consider your work for representation. 

What are you waiting for? Head on over now. I'll race you.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

R.I.P. Borders

In case you hadn't heard yet, Borders is going to officially close their remaining stores.

So what does that mean for writers? How does it affect publishers? Is this another step toward the end of print publications? Another sign that ebooks are plowing to the future?  Tell us your thoughts....

RIP Borders. I will miss you.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Story You Want vs. The Story You Need

Confession: I love writing funny scenes. The funnier, the better. And more often than not, they end up being my favorite scenes in my WIPs, as well as in published books. 

We all have our favorite scenes to read/write. Personally, I think this is super healthy. You either discover (and exploit) your strengths when writing, or buy books in the genre you enjoy the most. 

But not every scene you love is worth keeping.

You see, I believe there are two types of stories out there. They are:

1) The story you want

2) The story you need

#1 is easiest to spot. At the drafting stage, here's what this story will look like for me:

1) Witty banter 
(or an overload of sarcasm) (or both)

2) Lots of awkward internalization 
(Example: "I am a shy person. Parties make me anxious. Therefore, I stay home every Friday night and play Scrabble with my cat. It makes me very happy. Parties? Not so much. Because I am a shy person.")

3) Fast-paced action sequences 
(with lots of blood) (yes, I'm that girl...)

4) Zero backstory

Guess what? 99.9% of all that goes kaput during revisions. 

But they pave the way for Story #2, which should include three primordial things:

1) Your MC's goal

2) Your MC's conflict

3) How your MC resolves that conflict 
(or not)

To me, any scene is better when those three things are present. If your MC's goal is to defeat her nemesis, I'm pretty sure she won't do it with witty banter. Anything you find yourself loving to the point of obsession, cut it. You don't need something cute or witty or funny for the sake of something cute or witty or funny. You need something that makes sense for your story. 

And trust me, you'll end up loving the scene even more when it makes sense for the story.

Now tell me, blogging buddies: which scenes do you love writing/reading the most??

Friday, July 15, 2011

July Mystery Agent Revealed: Kathleen Rushall

Thank you, Kathleen Rushall!! 

Follow her on twitter
Kathleen Rushall is the newest member of the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. She started as an intern at the Sandra Dijkstra Agency, and then spent almost two years at Waterside Productions. Kathleen graduated from Seattle University with her bachelor’s degree in English and minor in fine arts. She moved back to her hometown of San Diego to earn her master’s degree in English, specializing in children’s literature, from San Diego State University. When she is not at her desk, Kathleen enjoys exploring new restaurants, dreaming of Ireland, and walking her Australian Shepherd, Finn.

Note to Participants:

There were a lot of amazing pitches here. This was a difficult decision. Please keep in mind how subjective this is – a lot of this has to do with my personal taste and what kind of projects I’m currently looking for (or already have in the works), and doesn’t mean that your pitch wasn’t fabulous. Please feel free to query me if you participated but didn’t make it to the final three.

Winners of Operation Awesome/ Kathleen Edition

First Place (and winner of the full manuscript request)
45) K. Turley (Clutzattack) said...
Genre: YA Fantasy

When Gracie Heart finds threatening notes hidden in her circus costume, she doesn’t realize she’s the one trying to warn herself: she’s next.

Reasoning: I have a soft spot for dual personalities, time travel, and mystery – the fact that Gracie is leaving notes for herself and doesn’t know it makes me think one of these elements is here. The mention of the circus intrigues me too – this sounds unique, and could also be historical fiction, which I love.


2) Becky Mahoney said...
Genre: YA Fantasy/Horror

When the population of a nearby city vanishes overnight, aspiring detective Kalinda joins the search party - but the city isn't empty.

Reasoning: I’m scared already. In one sentence, the author has set up many questions. Zombies? Ghosts? Aliens? I don’t even know who is posing the threat here, but I want to find out! I also like assertive protagonists and the ‘aspiring detective’ sounds interesting.

36) Sophia the Writer said...
Genre: YA Fantasy

Ambrosia Wyne: half-nymph, all-nerd…destroyer of Mount Olympus. It was a Really. Bad. Day.

Reasoning: I like how simple and effective that last sentence is, although untraditional. This is a creative pitch that accomplishes a lot – I know what the main character is, that she’s in big trouble, that it has to do with Greek mythology. I also see a good use of humor.

Yay! Congrats to the winners! 
And now let's get to know Kathleen with an awesome interview:

Katrina:  What's the most important thing you've learned as a literary agent about writing?

Kathleen: First, thank you so much for letting me participate in the Operation Awesome pitch contest! This was so much fun, and an amazing opportunity to see some truly creative work.

Since becoming an agent, I would say that I’ve learned how to properly explain writing I like, and what I’m looking for in a manuscript. I want to be as clear and helpful as I can with my clients and prospective authors, and learning how to clearly define things like “voice”, “high concept”, “interior dialogue”, “dramatic irony”, and “commercial vs. literary” became very important.

I think if you’re an avid reader, you have an innate sense of what makes good writing. But it’s the ability to clarify and decipher what elements make it that way that helps you to create it. A big part of being an agent is being able to give effective and helpful feedback. It’s like an art class I took as a kid where the teacher kept telling the students “do not say that it is a good painting because ‘I like it’!”. It’s about being able to interpret and articulate the details of what make it good.

Another tip is the importance of having someone completely outside of the realm of writing read your work. Critique partners and beta readers are essential, but good writing is something a reader won’t notice. Meaning, if there are no grammar mistakes and it flows well, etc. a reader won’t have to stop the story to ponder the writing quality. And sometimes it’s nice to have someone unlike us writers and agents (who are constantly examining writing elements) to give it a looksie. Especially during revisions, I go through many of these points with authors. The interesting thing about it is that it’s quite different from the academic way of “close reading” or evaluating writing. I’ve learned things as an agent that never came up in my English MA program, which I love.

Katrina:   Do you have any query pet peeves? How can someone really catch your eye in the old inbox? 

Kathleen: I think this is probably everyone’s pet peeve that receives queries, but please don’t send a mass query with no personalization. Or one that is outside of my scope of genres that I represent (no poetry, no adult novels, etc.). You can catch my eye in the inbox by showing that you’ve done a bit of research in your querying process. If you already know that I like psychological thrillers or Southern gothic novels, and that’s what you’re submitting – boom! Eye catch. If you’re a fan of this blog and frequently reading agent interviews, you are already ahead of the game of personalization and research!

Katrina:  What are your absolute favorite movies/TV shows? 

Kathleen: This is a terrific question! I often think that people’s movie and TV taste can reflect their literary hot spots. Lately, I have been absolutely loving HBO’s Game of Thrones series. This is based on a series of books that I read years ago and I was thrilled to hear they were making a show. I also love Dexter (gotta watch those psychological thrillers), True Blood, Arrested Development (my favorite comedy show I’ve seen), Gilmore Girls, and Rome (a phenomenal historical bromance). For movies I’d say Elizabeth, Bridget Jones Diary, The Skeleton Key, Parenthood, Bridesmaids, The Craft, How to Train Your Dragon, and Kiki’s Delivery Service.

Katrina:   Apparently, your client, Angie Sandro, nearly ran her bike into a tree when she got THE CALL. I loved reading her how-I-got-my-agent story because it showed the great symbiosis that happens when a literary agent and author share the same vision for a novel. What is it about JUJU'S CHILD that made you think, I just have to represent this?

Kathleen: I love Angie’s bike ride story too – and am so glad she didn’t actually get hurt! She did have to call me right back, as I recall. J Well, for starters, Angie had a kick ass query letter. Angie did a guest post called The Anatomy of a Query Letter on one of her critique partner’s blogs, Reads, Reviews, Recommends where you can see her tips as well as her original letter. But there was a personalized part not included in that post that she also sent to me. She quoted something I had said in an interview:

Topics of particular interest to me include reincarnation, the occult, the supernatural (not in a zombie or vampire context, more psychic, or witchy, or fey), ghosts (a scary ghost story? yes, please), and psychology”

and pointed out the elements in her book that were a match. Actually, things I listed in that single interview matched elements in all of Angie’s manuscripts. This is fantastic because I like to view it as signing a writer, not just one book.

But matchmaking elements aside, it was the voice in JUJU’S CHILD that sealed the deal for me. You can even see a hint of it in Angie’s query letter – she’s incorporating some Louisiana slang in there, and her characters are larger than life. They jumped off the pages at me, and the first person narrative is so crisp. It made me want to turn on The Black Keys and eat some jambalaya! I was sold. 

Other fabulous interviews with Kathleen Rushall:

The official literary agency website:

Submission guidelines

A special thanks to our Mystery Agent and to all the amazing writers who participated! The July pitches rocked. You all continue to amaze me. 

Next Mystery Agent contest: August 1st. Get ready.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Picture Book Party!

Well, taking a trip over to the younger side of things, I am very thrilled to announce that my picture book, A Magical World, has finally gone live on several sites. You can now purchase the e-version for the Nook at Barnes and Noble, for all Apple products at iBooks, the epub version for just about any ereader on Smashwords, and it will be available in the next week or so on Amazon, Borders, Sony, Diesel, and Scrollmotion. The print version is available at Lulu, and should be up everywhere else by the end of the summer.

 Alex and his sister Izzy are stuck inside during one stormy, rainy week. But, they still manage to have the most spectacular adventures. They sail the seven seas on a pirate ship, swing on jungle vines, swim through the ocean, roam with the dinosaurs, and visit many other fantastic places! Just how, they never tell a soul. They simply smile and wink and zip their lips, and then disappear into their room. Into a wonderful, magical world.

To celebrate, I'm giving away a free coupon for a copy of the ebook along with an adorable little tote bag :D

To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment telling me where you would go, and who, or what, would you be, if you could close your eyes and get whisked away into a magical world of your own :)

For those who don't have ereaders, no worries! The coupon will get you a digital copy that can be read on any ereader or computer, so if you can leave a comment, you can get the book :D

Oh! And for those of you anxiously awaiting the results of our July Mystery Agent contest, we just want to assure you that they will be posted TOMORROW! And we will be hosting another awesome agent on August 1st, so stay tuned for details!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Darkness In YA: It All Comes Down To A Choice (Part 2)

So far this week we've had two awesome viewpoints on the "darkness in YA debate." Now it's my turn. 
Like Amparo said, "dark" is a very subjective term. There has been so much talk about '"dark" books, but I wanted to look back to a "dark" book from 1950, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis: 
"At the time it was fashionable for children’s stories to be realistic: fantasy and fairy tales were seen as indulgent, appropriate only for very young readers, and potentially harmful to older children, even hindering their ability to relate to everyday life. Some reviewers thought the tale overtly moralistic, or the Christian elements over-stated — attempts to indoctrinate children. Others were concerned that the many violent incidents might frighten children." Gene Veith (2008)
I can imagine many reacted in the same way to this book in 1950 as they may with one of the modern "dark" books. Today this book is a classic. I don't hear many people debating its so-called 'moralistic' tone. As a child, I wasn't told by my parents not to read it. It wasn't as much of an issue. And I never heard about anyone knocking themselves unconscious trying to walk through their wardrobe into Narnia either. Things change. Times change. The line moves all the time. 
"We used to believe the Sun revolved around the Earth. We don't anymore. Let's look at each book. Let's look at each kid, each situation, and see where the line should be." Lauren Myracle 

Do I believe YA fiction is too dark? No. I believe there are a wealth of stories out there, dark or not, that are waiting to be read/told. We all know there are teens who don't drink, do drugs, have sex etc. Some teens don't want/feel the need to read "dark/issue" related books. What the WSJ article seemed to forget is that there are books out there for them. Authors like Sarah Dessen, Ally CarterMandy Hubbard, Maureen JohnsonSara ShephardLisi Harrison, and Louise Rennison have written/write books that aren't "dark." 
But we can't forget there are those who don't have an easy time. There needs to be books that address the issues they face. Even just books that show teens a different side of life to theirs. Because, even if they aren't going through cutting/sex/abuse/eating disorders etc., someone they know may be. And the book can serve as an education, warning, create empathy... the list goes on. 
So where does it leave us? It all comes down to choice. Not every YA will reads/wants to read the happy, light-hearted books anymore than they will the "dark," issue-driven ones. But to say all YA books are too "dark" is ignoring the rich world of YA fiction. In the end there should always be a choice to read the books we want to read. To write the books we want to write. Times change. But, in the end, the freedom to choose is forever.
Links: npr interview with Meghan Cox Gurdon and author Lauren MyracleScott Westerfield wrote a fantastic post on the subject, Think About The has an post talking the subject:Seeing Teenagers As We Wish They Were

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Darkness in YA: A Different Perspective

Now, before I go on much further, I want to state that our little OA group is quite diverse in our beliefs. Two of us are Mormons. One is Catholic. One is very liberal in her world views. A couple of the others are pretty moderately centered. I am a Christian. I think it is a great mix of viewpoints and thoughts. And because of this, I though it might be useful to represent my views on the topic shared yesterday on the blog about the article in Wall Street Journal.

I remember the day it came out. I'm not an avid Twitter user, but I couldn't help but notice the uproar in the writing community. All the tweets about #YAsaves. So, out of curiosity, I checked it out myself. Now being a Christian, I wasn't too surprised to find that I agreed with a good portion of the article. I have an almost 13 year old daughter and can understand the writer's concern.

Now, before everyone jumps down my throat, I don't think that Dark YA books should be banned or anything. But it is a growing trend to be "edgy".  And to the traditional publishing market, they label edgy as "real".

But the problem is... that type of writing is NOT real to my daughter. So where are the books for her? 

My daughter isn't dating.
My daughter isn't having sex.
My daughter doesn't cut herself or do drugs. Neither do her friends.
My daughter doesn't cuss. (And no, not even behind my back.)
She is a straight A student.
Gives no problems in class.
Well adjusted. Well liked by classmates. Wonderful relationship with her parents and siblings.
She has a well-defined moral grounding of what is right and wrong.
We talk openly, about ALL topics. She is not sheltered to what is going on in the world.

So why should my daughter's head be filled with dark images and topics? Especially when SHE HAS NO DESIRE TO DO SO.

Now, before you tell her to just go read Christian fiction, the Christian market for that age is small to non-existent. So why shouldn't YA have options that are relevant to gals, like her. At this point, she is still reading MG, because she is not given a lot of other choices.

We read Twilight together. I really appreciated the abstinence until marriage aspect of those books.

So I was wondering if you readers had any good suggestions of YA books with good moral undertones, and without all the dark and graphic topics so prevalent in the YA market.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Darkness In YA, Part I: The Voldemort Effect

You may or may not have heard about Meghan Cox Gurdon's article in the Wall Street Journal, "Darkness Too Visible". You may or may not have heard Meghan defend her argument in an interview with YA authors Maureen Johnson and Cheryl Rainfeld

You may or may not have read countless blog posts, Tweets, or Facebook statuses rallying against Meghan's article. Or maybe you read responses from sources like Publisher's Weekly, YA authors Laurie Halse Anderson, Jackie Morse Kessler, Sherman Alexie, and YA author/psychologist/blogger extraordinaire Sarah Fine

But you haven't heard from us here at Operation Awesome.

Which leads me to...

Harry Potter.

You see, according to Meghan Cox Gurdon, contemporary YA fiction is too dark. Bookstores are swamped with books about the bad stuff in life. With books about the brutal, ugly side of reality. 

So, in that sense, dark YA books are a bit like this dude:

"I am so evil I DON'T HAVE A PROPER NOSE!"--Dark YA Books/Voldemort

And this is what dark YA books look like when they're purchased:

"What's this? A teenager? LET ME TOUCH YOU AND SCAR YOU FOR LIFE!!!"--Dark YA Books/Voldemort

And this is what a dark YA book author looks like when they spread the darkness:

"ROFL!"--Dark YA Book Authors/Voldemort's Death Eaters



Folks, the Voldemort Effect has been ascribed to YA fiction. Dark books are The Big Bad. It-Which-Must-Not-Be-Read. They are ruining teenagers' lives, filling their heads with thoughts of suicide, homicide, eating disorders, and sex. These dark books glamorize dangerous behaviors and threaten the emotional/psychological well-being of teens. (SPOILER: in Meghan's interview with the aforementioned YA authors, Meghan failed to provide a single shred of evidence that supports her argument). 

Honestly? That's all bullpoopy to me, but what I have trouble with is this: what is dark? I just think it's a subjective term, as is every other term ever invented. So that's why I'm leaving it up to you, folks. What is dark in YA to you? If you read contemporary YA, do you think Voldemort's Death Eaters contemporary YA authors should cut back on the realistic topics? Or do you enjoy their work regardless? Leave your (awesome) opinions in the comments! :)

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Importance of Being Word-Choicey

To demonstrate the importance of word choice in writing, I've made up a little mad-lib for you guys to do in the comments. Best one gets a hearty laugh from me!

Ready? Begin.

There were way too many (plural noun) in the (noun), even for Henry. He couldn't figure out how to (verb) them, and he was running out of (noun). When his (noun) got back, there'd be (noun) to (verb). Even with the (plural noun) growing in (abstract noun) and (abstract noun), the chances of him achieving his (adjective) goal weren't very (adjective). (Adverb), he (verb-ed) the (noun) before he left this morning. That should win him some points with his (noun)

But what would he do with all those (plural noun)?

Be silly, be genius. Show me all the difference word choice makes to a story!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Just Do It!

So the conversation is the same. You mention you are writing, write, have written a novel to a friend, colleague etc., then the words come... "I could write a novel, but I don't have the time."

My reply: 


Okay, I really say that neither do most people who write. 

I'd love to say most of my time is spent being goofy:

Or dancing:


But it isn't. So I say a writer works, goes to school, has families, cleans, babysits, shops, and goes to the gym. We do the million other things everyone else does, but we also write. The difference? We make the time. 

We shut out the real world for our fictional one:

We sacrifice the family meals, friend time, our evenings and weekends off to write. We record our favourite shows instead of watching them (I counted 5 episodes of True Blood, 6 Vampire Diaries, and 3 Glee episodes waiting for me to watch because I was writing/editing). We steal five or ten minutes in the day to get a few words down. We take notebooks everywhere just in case inspiration strikes.

We don't always have the time, but we make it.

So I say to anyone who tells me they want to write--just do it. If you're waiting for the perfect time to start, I promise, it won't come. Be bold. Be brave. Write now.


*Okay, some of my "writer time" is spent being goofy. Some dancing. Some procrastinating is done looking for fun things to post on blogs/Tumblr, but there is writing in there somewhere.... Most of the time.... After cookies. Promise ;)