Friday, April 29, 2011


Sorry I'm late with this one today, but I didn't write it up last night, and this morning when I meant to be writing it, I got sucked into watching the Royal Wedding.

I qualified it as research-- a couple of my WIP's involve royalty and weddings (albeit in a fantasy world), so watching the wedding gave me an insight into the moarchy.  But, in reality, I got sucked in by the romance.  And it was so nice to see something so lovely after all the destruction and sadness in the news of late.

What have you qualified as research when it wasn't completely for research?

Hope you all have a wonderful (dry-- fingers crossed we can get the deck stained this weekend!) weekend!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Hodge Podge

Thanks for all the suggestions and encouragement for my agent search.  I really appreciate it!

I think I have my query where it needs to be, and am working on a Synopsis (not as difficult as I thought it would be!)-- I hope to share more on this with you later this week or early next week.  And my agent to query list is growing.

We've been having thunderstorms roll through at night, and the ones two nights ago reminded me of my childhood, where the thunder echoed around the valley.  The lightning was bright and vivid, lighting up the sky with quick flashes.  Last night, as another storm rolled in, I started thinking this was the perfect thing I needed for a WIP I am outlining in my thoughts (before putting it on paper).

So, today I ask--what weather have you seen that you've said, "Oh, that would be perfect for here!"?

Monday, April 25, 2011


I am at that stage where I am starting to look for agents to query.  The MS is sitting, waiting for some final feedback, before I read through again searching for those typos and grammar errors (I never seem to find them all!) and I am formulating my list.

A CP asked me who was on my list, and made some suggestions to me for people to add, and it got me thinking--how do others create their agent wish list?

I've been looking at Publisher's Marketplace and then checking out the sites the agents work at (or their own sites in some cases), learning what I can about their likes/dislikes to see if my story is one that will interest them.  If I like what I read, and they show an interest in my genre, they go on my list.

What about you?  How do you create your agent wish list?

Friday, April 22, 2011


In honor of my 200th post, I would like to list the 200 things I've learned from my writing experiences.

Just kidding!  I do thank all of you for stopping by, reading, commenting, and encouraging me as I make my way through the process of writing, revising, and querying.  The writing community on line is a wonderful place to find encouragement at the time you need it most.  So, thank you to all of you for being there!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and Happy Easter!!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ready or not?

Last night one of my CP's asked me when I was going to send out my MS for querying.  I replied, I want to look through it again to make sure I haven't missed something--there is something off with the ending, but I don't know what (Note:  I figured out what just before bed last night, now have to fix it).  She laughed and reminded me that I could keep going over it and tweaking it forever.

And she's right.  I could.  I try to read through and make only the necessary changes, and find myself line editing instead of reading for flow and only stopping when I get pulled out of the story.

So, how do you know when it's time to put down the editing (and the track changes) and polish up that query letter and send it out into the world?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Short, sweet, and to the point

I'm giving a big shout out to Tammy from TC McKee to say THANKS for the wonderful words on her post Friday.  If you've never read her blog, check it out-- she always seems to put a smile on my face.

Friday, while waiting to hear back from my CP's, I decided to start working on my query.  I forgot how difficult these things are to write.  Wanting to use just the right words in just the right way to get your story across without telling too much or making the person reading it go "What???"

It's getting it to be short, sweet, and to the point that was evading me.  By Saturday morning I had thirteen versions, and while each was an improvement over the previous version, something was still missing.  I decided to let it rest (send it to a trusted friend to look over and comment on) and come back to it later.  That was the best thing I could have done.  That second (and third) set of eyes helped me find what was missing, and clarify those murky spots.

Have you written your query yet?  Did you find any secrets you care to share that made writing it easier?  I know Elana Johnson has a great book on it here that was very helpful for me.  What resources have you found?

Friday, April 15, 2011

We have new patio furniture! Well, almost

At the end of last summer we built a deck off the back of our house (well, actually we paid someone to build it for us :-) ).  Since then we've been looking at patio furniture, wanting just the right set for the new space.  We found two tables we loved, but didn't like the chairs that came with them, and you couldn't swap them around (note to all stores--customers should be able to mix and match tables and chairs).

Finally, we found a set that we liked both the table and chairs on.  It arrived Wednesday (during the pouring rain) and last night dear hubby and our neighbor started opening it up to put it together.  The chair parts were all fine, but the table was another story.  It has four stone pieces that set into the rectangular frame.  Unfortunately for us, three of the four pieces were broken.  The store we ordered from was very nice about the problem and will be sending replacement pieces, but it will take time.

So, we're on our way there.  Now to get the deck stained, but first we need more sunny days like today.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

After you reach the end, where do you go?

First, I want to say, you all had such wonderful comments in Wednesday's post.  I do agree that while being honest, we should always be kind with our comments.  And it is good to point out what was liked and done well- that positive reinforcement thing works quite well!

Now, on to today's post.  Currently I am in a waiting pattern- waiting for my CP's to get back to me on my second round of revisions (Yea! I finished them Sunday!) to see there thoughts on where I went.  (I know I have some doubts about my ending, so I'm curious about their responses.)

In the meantime, I've picked back up a WIP that was supposed to be a sequel, but is now looking like it will be the first book in a series I am working on.  I looked over my outline, and started editing what I had written when it hit me like a brick what was wrong.  I was telling my readers what I wanted them to know instead of showing it.  As I worked my way through, trying to find a way to show and not tell, I realized I had more wrong than that-- namely some plot holes that the telling was covering up.  A new outline (and quite a bit of thinking later) I think I am on the right track with my WIP.  The story line is changing a bit, but I think in the end it will be for the better.  If not, I'll go back and pull out the older version and brush it up!

So, what do you do when you finished a project and are waiting for feedback?  Do you start another one?  Take a break?  Devour all the books in your To Be Read pile? Share below!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Honesty's the Best Policy

When I ask people to read for me, I expect them to be honest with how they feel about what they are reading.  I may not like  what they have to say, or agree with them but if they can't tell me they got bored reading a chapter, who will?

In return, I am honest with the people I read for.  They have asked me to take time to read for them, and I assume they truly want to know my opinion. And I tell them what it is, always letting them know it is just that.  My opinion.

So, how honest are you for your readers?  Do you hold back because you're afraid you'll hurt their feelings, or do you put it all out there, hoping your words can help them be the best author they can be?

Friday, April 8, 2011

To change or not to change

This week one of my critique partners (CP) told me I seemed too willing to make changes offered to me on my WIP.  I thought about the comment, then shared how I decide whether to change or not.

If the change is grammar or word usage, quite often it's changed.  I am not the best with grammar, and easily over use words (that and then come to mind.)

In the case of bigger changes, it takes more thought.  Last week a CP told me they had a hard time keeping two of my characters straight. Their names (even though very dissimilar in my mind) were similar to her.  She suggested I change the name.  My mind said no, this is ridiculous.  One name begins with a K, the other with a V-- they are nothing alike.  The next day, as I looked over my WIP, I saw what my CP hadn't said.  It wasn't the names that were similar about my characters, it was everything else.  I had two people where I only needed one.  It meant making major changed throughout the rest of my WIP, but it was worth it.

As I spoke with my CP about my process, I told her two things I always keep in mind.  I only want to make changes that will improve my story, and seeing I save all my versions with a new name, I can cut scenes and make all the changes I want without losing anything, except time.

What is your process?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Plot Summaries

I am by no means an expert on plots summaries, I am still stumbling my way through them, but I thought I'd share my process with you.

I don't always write with a plot summary, but I have found that there are times when it has come in quite helpful.  The basics are this:  a plots summary is a more detailed outline of your story (from start to finish) that you follow as you write your story chapter by chapter.  It can be as simple or in depth as you want it to be.  This is not the same as the summary that agents may want you to submit to them.  That is a much more detailed summary.

My process.  I begin a Plot Summary by spending a few days thinking through the story from start to finish.  Then I write down my thoughts, from start to finish to frame out the story all the way to the end.  Here is part of my Plot Summary for The Lost Princess.

Prince Trevor has been researching the disappearance of his betrothed for years. Princess Elsbeth had disappeared at sea when she was 10, and he 14. She had been on a voyage from Delphine to Palindore, a voyage to see him. Now, six years later, he needed to find her, and time was running out. If he didn't find her before her 18th birthday, their marriage contract would be void. Part of him wanted the date to come and go without her being found, as he was discovering there might be more than a passing attraction between him and Elle, his kingdom's best guide.

Elle, with her red hair and green eyes, was a beautiful woman. She also reminded him of Elsbeth. He knew it was the eyes, as Elsbeth's hair had been more of a strawberry blond, not the fiery red that crowned Elle's head.

No trace of Elsbeth, or the ship, had ever been found. The only connection he had was that Elle had washed ashore in Faldeira around the time that Elsbeth had one missing. Recently he had discovered that a ship resembling one from Delphine had been seen in harbor in Faldeira around the same time.

He convinces Elle to accompany him to a meeting with a source who may know what happened to Elsbeth. At the meeting, the source tells Trevor that the princess and her friend were thrown overboard during a storm never to be seen again. He doesn't know the name of the person who threw them overboard but would recognize him if he saw him. When Elle walks over to the pair, the source is shocked to see how much she resembles Queen Lisette, Elsbeth's mother.

Trevor convinces Elle to travel to Delphine with him so they can learn the truth of her identity and find the person responsible for Elsbeth's disappearance.

As yo can see, this is not complete, but it gives me an idea where to start.  From this, I will craft my scenes, sometimes changing things from this outline.  How about you?  Do you work with a plot summary or something else?  Share below.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Happy April!  Thankfully we didn't get the snow they were calling for on April Fool's Day.

I spent some time over the weekend making changes to the blog layout.  Hope you like them.  Special thanks to Nancy for telling me how to get the tabs!

My muse has been quite busy this week.  I've made great progress on my WIP and Saturday night, my muse forced me to think about an old WIP I've had sitting on the shelf for a while now as I couldn't figure out the plot.  I had awesome characters, and a cool magic item (hmmm- I'm sensing a theme here-- that sounds like how my current WIP started!!!) but no story line to go with.  I've written probably 3-4 hodge podged stories, but there was always something missing.  The plot.  Well, my muse tossed one to me, and I found myself scribbling it down so I didn't forget it.  I will play with it in my mind the next few days to see where it takes me.  If I get a road map from it, I'll write up a quick plot summary for it.

Check back later this week for more on plot summaries, and some thoughts on Beta reading.