Friday, April 30, 2010

Brenda Novak's Annual Online Auction to Benefit Diabetes Research

My agent wanted her clients to get the word out about this wonderful fundraiser -Brenda Novak's Annual Online Auction to Benefit Diabetes Research. Please visit Brenda's website for all the details:

A ton of items are being auctioned - books, art, tickets, gifts, critiques, meetings, meals, conference fees, etc..  In addition, numerous industry pros have donated critiques and manuscript evaluations to help the cause.

My agent donated a critique/evaluation of a partial (synopsis and first three chapters) and a follow up phone call w/in 1 week.

One lucky winner will get a manuscript evaluation (pubbed or unpubbed) from Hollywood actor/writer/
director Doug McKeon with a follow up phone call (or meeting in L.A.).

So head on over to Brenda's site and help raise money for a great cause while earning a chance at a bunch of cool prizes.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Finding Your Inner Voice

As an editor, I am very aware of my authors' voices. When doing a line or content edit, I try very hard not to change their words into my words. When I meet with authors, I tell them up-front, "I won't change your voice." Sometimes they look at me like I'm crazy. I'm used to that. But other times, more often, they thank me and we get on with our meeting.

Recently, I had a conversation with my agent. I was feeling unsure of the genre that I've decided to concentrate my time and effort into now. My instinct, before at least, was to write stories that dealt with adult women and their issues - something I know a lot about! But when she poised the question - or request - of writing in a new genre because the women's fiction market was flat, I decided to try middle grade. I didn't think it would be that hard; I've got two youngish boys in my house and a husband who is a big kid himself (sorry, honey, but you know it's the truth.) I wrote a full manuscript (book one in a series) and then a partial for a completely different series. I felt pretty good about the stories, or the potential for each story.

Since those two manuscripts, along with a women's fiction mss, are floating out in editorville, it's easy to doubt my new found MG voice. Is it authentic? Will readers gravitate toward it? Will they realize that an "old" lady wrote it and not some young, hippy chick?

I certainly believe that my women's fiction voice is not the same as my middle grade voice. In MG, my characters say "crap". In my women's fiction, my characters say "shit" or something much stronger since shit is not my favorite swear word. : )

I'm so much more aware of how my boys talk now. Whether it's talking to each other, to my husband or me, or to their friends, their lingo is becoming my MG voice. It's still my voice, but at a much younger age. And who wouldn't want to be younger these days?

Music also helps me find my voice, especially if it's for someone much younger. I listen to Linkin Park, Black Eyed Peas, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Pink, Train...just to name a few.

When my characters seem like real people, my voice comes so naturally. I've created these "people", so I get to live out their adventures. It's way cool.

In whatever genre, author voice is distinct to each writer. Do not try to write like someone else. When you do that, the writing is not authentic. I learned early on that copying (not plagiarizing), but copying someone else doesn't make me sound real.

Do you notice your voice? How do you feel when others (editors or critique partners) try to change your voice?

Oh, and that conversation with my agent, yeah, she told me I had a younger voice. I tend to agree.

Monday, April 19, 2010

When Characters Pop In My Head

So...I'm supposed to be working on finishing up the partial my agent submitted a few weeks ago. It's a story that I really like, with characters that I can see having fun and growing. It's the first of a series, so I feel like there are a lot of opportunities.

But I've got this nagging character from another story chirping in my ear. I'm pretty sure she's the same one that's hanging around in a women's fiction manuscript I started, but haven't finished. She's been bothering me big time lately. So much so that I sat down and wrote a page for her. She's quieted now for the moment, but I know she'll be back.

They always come back.

I know this sounds like I'm crazy. But if you're a writer, I'm sure this doesn't sound any different than what goes on in your head - at least I hope it doesn't sound any different! If it is, someone call the white-jacketed men so they can take me away!!

What do you do to calm those pesky characters who want to be heard now, who don't want to wait? Do you write a bit? Do you outline their story? Do you take notes and then get back to your current wip? Or do you ignore them all together?

I know this chick is not going to leave. I've been thinking about her story off and on, knowing that I needed to return to it at some point. I've put about 25k down in words for that story, and I don't want the time I spent on it to go to waste.

What do I tell her? I've given her a new beginning, and she's happy for now. But that won't last long. Sooner or later, I know I'll cave and get back to her, even though I've told my agent that I want to write MG now. Guess I can't help my women's fiction roots.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Writing Inspiration

As a creative person, inspiration for me comes in many muses. One day it could be the dark and foreboding clouds, the anticipation of them bursting into rain. Another day it could be the silly ramblings of my boys, as they play or even fight with each other.

There are seasons which are more inspirational for me, like Spring and Fall. I love to sit and write in front of our big picture window while the flowers bloom and the hummingbirds dance on the feeder or at the swaying bee balm. Fall brings the changing of the season in bright, bold colors, usually ending in a shower of leaves which end up in brown piles against the green carpet of grass.

People are sometimes my inspiration. More so than not, only pieces of people I know, and don't know, trigger something which usually becomes a character trait (or flaw) in my work. But sometimes, a person makes such a difference in my life that they truly become my muse.

What inspires you to write? What doesn't?

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Long and Endless Wait

Are you like me, on submission?

I'm past the excitement stage of being on submission. Don't get me wrong; deep down, I'm ecstatic that several editors have three of my manuscripts - well, two fulls and one partial. But it has been so long that they've been out there, that I'm losing steam.

Really, what I'm losing is confidence. Confidence in my writing ability, especially since two of the stories are a new genre for me. I know I shouldn't feel this way; just because I'm on submission does not guarantee a sale. I know this. I'm not stupid. But as my agent has said several times to me, as well as in other areas on the internet, it is hard to wait for "green" authors.

So, what do I do? Start a new story? Finish the partial that's out on submission? Yes to both, I imagine.

But I can't seem to find my writing mojo. Probably not a good thing to put out there in the public since I am on submission. So, if you're an editor who has any one of the three manuscripts, thank you for stopping by, but there's nothing here for you to read. Carry on with your day/night.

For you writers, who like me are in the endless waiting game, can you give me some help?

What do you do when you feel like you're losing your writing confidence? What helps?

I'd love to hear your comments.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Holidays!

I've been so busy with work that I haven't had time to blog (or write, but don't tell my agent, 'kay?) I'm hoping with a less stressful week ahead (both with work and having the kids home), I'll be able to get back into the groove of writing.

I can tell it's been awhile because I'm actually itching to sit down and write. Something is definitely missing in my world, and I know it's writing.

Bad, bad, bad-I know-but I have to do the day job in order to help pay those darn bills.

One place that I have been hanging out a bit is . It's a new site for writers - and not just for MG or YA writers, but Adult as well. Check it out when you get a chance. It's just starting up and there are a lot of great people and resources there.

Happy Holidays All!