Need a laugh? I've got one for you.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008
My husband and my 6 yr old were wrestling around on the floor. Dad has 6 yr old pinned. 6 yr old heaves with all his might, "throwing" his father flat on the floor.

"Just stay there, Dad," he says. "I'm bigger and I have the Force (Star Wars) with me!"

Dad starts laughing as he flexes his biceps. "Bigger? What crack are you smoking?"

6 year old levels his most steely of gazes. "Butt crack."

Updates on The Priestess Prophecy

Monday, December 29, 2008
I haven't posted any updates for a while. So for those of you just dying to know, Albert Longden, my agent, has submitted my MS to 10 publishing houses. I'm not at liberty to give any names here. Not until they've official made a decision either way, but I will say that they are all well known.

A lot of people ask me if I'm nervous or excited about this. I think I've been around the business long enough to know better. In the publishing industry, it's hurry up and wait. And Wait. And wait. I'm planning about six months, and it was submitted sometime in Oct. Even then, I don't want to get too excited. I've had too many severe disappointments. I don't mean to sound pessimistic, but experience has taught me to wait to break out the expensive chocolate until after I've signed something. I've simply come to a place where I've accepted where I am and hope for something better.

One automatic strike against my MS is that a lot of "experts" in the publishing industry think classic fantasy (the kind with Elves and Dwarves) has been overdone. My opinion strays from this belief. First of all, I write YA, and that markets hasn't glutted themselves on it yet. Also, good writing and a solid story are always in demand. Look at Christopher Paolini's books. Mega hits, and they have Elves and Dwarves.

There's always room for fabulous books. Rules are secondary.

Or at least that's what I would tell any curious editors.

I have an announcement . . .

Sunday, December 28, 2008
I haven't said anything, because I didn't want my agent to change how he dealt with my MS based on my medical condition, but I think I can safely say that he doesn't read my blog (nor do the publishing houses). And I doubt any of you will tell on me.

So, here's goes. My husband and I are expecting baby # 3. I'm 28 weeks along with a little girl. Our emotions are a complicated mixture of excitement and trepidation.

As far as the writing goes, this pregnancy has taken a lot out of me. I'm often too tired or sick to do much. But it won't last forever. Hopefully in another six months, I'll be over my c-section and the baby will be on some sort of schedule. After all, I began writing The Priestess Prophecy when colicky # 2 was born, and I finished the whole trilogy in a little under a year (not edited though--I'm not superwoman).

Plus, I now have a fancy chair to write with. No more folding chair for me!

Christmas truly is a season for miracles.

Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 23, 2008
I'm finally well enough to catch up on my blog. But, alas, Christmas is in two days and I'm behind. I have a house to clean, presents to wrap, and food to cook.

I'll see you all on the other side (probably some time next week).


I think we're cousins. . .

Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Sometimes some pretty amazing things happen on your blogs. For instance, I read Nathan Bradsford's blog, and he recently had a competition for the first paragraph of your MS. I entered and failed to win, but one of my favorite paragraphs did. So I chimed in to congratulate all the winners, and guess what? One of them actually got in touch with me. Turns out we're both related. Both Argyles. Pretty nifty.

Anyway, check out her blog at Her paragraph is amazing.

Second, I asked a question on another agents blog. She actually responded. If any of you are looking for a good Christian agent, check her out. If not, she has some fabulous tips on her blog.

And now it's back to my massive doses of Sudafed and Tylenol.

I'm done with my X-mas shopping!

Monday, December 15, 2008
I finished shopping today! Now I can leave the crazy traffic and hordes of people to their stores and just enjoy the rest of the season.

Next comes the planning and shopping for our Christmas feasts. For Christmas Eve, we make homemade corn dogs. It's a leftover tradition from my husband's family. At first, I thought it was weird, but our boys love it. Christmas morning is a breakfast quiche with sausage. Christmas dinner is ham, rolls, funeral potatoes (horrible name, but it's yummy), broccoli salad, and cheesecake.

Then all I have to do is wrap the presents and visit our families. And get over yet another cold. What is the deal this winter?

The agony of writing.

Thursday, December 11, 2008
For those of you that don't know the story, I was offered a publishing contract by a small house. I struggled over whether to "settle," because I felt like my work might never see book form if I didn't. I had conceded that I had to start somewhere, and was in the process of renegotiating the contract when I hit a brick wall. I did a lot of research into publishing contracts, and their's was AWFUL. Basically, I was giving them the copyright for the term of the copyright (some 150 years). Plus they'd wormed in some wording that assured I didn't get paid much of anything (we're talking 5% of the sale price).

Still, I would have signed the thing, had an agent not offered to represent me. I did as much research as I could--checked him out on Agent Verification, Predators and Editors, Writer's Beware, etc. He checked out as legit in every case.

So I signed.

And I waited. And waited. He sent it out in Sept., and I'm wondering how long it takes for publishers to get with it. I don't want to be that "pushy author." So I've tried to let it lie, but oh it's so hard! Especially when I'm such a worrier by nature.

I should have been a stripper. Much more straightforward.

That's it! I'm done!

Friday, December 5, 2008
This is one of those days that you want to throw you computer across the driveway, and then run it over again and again, swearing the entire time that you will never write again.

But it won't happen.

I will write again.

Just let me scream a few times first.

New story, Tentative title: Blood Oath

Wednesday, December 3, 2008
This story has been drumming around my head for well over a year. In fact, I wrote 100 pages of it before deciding it wasn't strong enough.

Well, now I've changed much of what I didn't like while keeping the elements I love. Here's the first 14 lines!

Hot, sticky peach juice dribbled down Arel’s chin, soaking the front of her shirt and making it stick to her breasts. Her gaze darted around the orchard in frantic sweeps. Plopping the pit in her mouth, she sucked at the remnants while rising from her crouch to reach for another fruit.

“Hey, you! What are you doing there?”

No! Not now! She was too close to the border. Abandoning her half hidden position, she snatched three of the fuzzy orbs and hugged them to her as she ran, heedless of the rocks and sticks that bruised and cut her already mangled feet.

“Thief! Stop!"

She risked a glance back to see a man drop from one of the trees, a short apron that bulged with peaches at his waist. She increased her speed, her fear adding lengths to her stride. The last time a man had chased her, he had caught her.

And taken everything.


Chapter length

Monday, December 1, 2008
How was your Thanksgiving? Mine was great. My husband makes a mean turkey. I was in charge of the celery and cheese whiz . . . Do you think they're trying to tell me something?

I did end up going to the Black Friday sales at 4:30 am. Holy early! We saved a ton of money. Over $250 at Staples alone, plus I won a $100 gift cert at Shoe Carnival! Waa*freakin'*hoo! (Like all women everywhere, I love shoes. You can never have enough.)

Fate threw a case of stomach flu in the midst, but I shook it off.

And, back to business. Let's talk about chapter length. I've seen lots of different styles. From 20 + pages, to one word.

Your chapter length varies slightly by genre. Literary fiction can go lots longer than YA. I write YA, and I feel that around 10 pages, plus or minus 2-3, is about perfect. I like my chapters to vary a bit--keeps the book interesting. Just imagine a teenager picking up a wheel block book, flipping through tightly packed words, enormous paragraphs, and 4 chapters in the entire book.

Some people will say that teenagers aren't patient enough to read that much. I'm going to digress and say that teenagers aren't patient enough to put up with the drivel. THEY WANT THE STORY, DANGIT! I'm the same way. I hate stories that go on and on and on and on and on and . . . do you get the point?

Orson Scott Card has said that he starts off with smaller chapters and gradually increases the length as the reader becomes inebriated with the story (I'm paraphrasing here. I couldn't help it. Inebriated was just such a great word!).

So how do you know when to make a chapter break? This is one of the artsy parts of writing. You start developing a feel for it as you continue. The more you write, the more your writing fits into chapters. Plotting has a lot to do with this. Each chapter should contain a mini plot, one piece of the larger picture. A writing buddy of mine, Jeff Savage, gave me an awesome tip a few years ago: Enter that chapter late and leave it early.

That one statement stuck with me. Think how powerful that is! And how versatile! How do you know where to start your book?

Start late!

The example Jeff gave was a chapter that ended with his character hitting someone with a car on a dark night. He started the next chapter with the character looking down at the lifeless body. Can you see how powerful that is? He could have written about the man wrenching the car door open, his thudding footfalls as he ran up the embankment. But he skipped all of that. He began and ended his chapter with the most powerful parts.

I could go on and on. I love getting my hands dirt with writing. But this post is getting plenty long. If you have any tips that work for you, post them on comments. If they strike a light bulb for me, I'll include them in the main post.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...