Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I'm Back, and This Time I Mean It

"No TV and no beer make Homer something something."

Although in my case, it would be no TV and no internet. The hurricane didn't come within a hundred miles of here, but the winds were strong enough to knock out the freaking power! No wonder New Jersey is such a mess. I hope everyone down there is okay.

For me, two days with no television, computer or internet was soooooo boring. I couldn't even write (long hand is not my friend)! I read four books, though. That's good and all, but I missed having two thousand people read my every thought in less than one hundred and forty characters. Plus, you know, writing.

Fair warning: it's going to take me a few days to catch up with the rest of you. The yard is still a mess of leaves and the gutters are packed with dirt. So...yeah. Not exactly fun, but it has to be done. As for right now, I'll get to work visiting your blogs and such. I'm sure Friday's post will be more witty. Maybe a book review? Whatever I have in the pre-written section of my files.

Later, all! Hope you're safe!

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Although I was never really gone, my pretties. I am, however, officially twenty five years old. As I age, I solace myself by knowing that no matter how old I get…I’ll always be five and a half years younger than my sister.

It’s important to keep things in perspective.

Anyway, in writing news: I completed the first draft of my newest WIP, a YA/Dystopian with a sci-fi bent titled GLITCH. It took a lot longer than I planned, over four months. Not the book’s fault. Crappy life stuff got in the way and there were some days I sat down in front of the computer and couldn’t hammer out gibberish. It’s tough sometimes.

But draft one is done. Now it’s time to sit back, take a writing break, and plan how I’m going to edit this thing. During previous down time, I actually made a list of things to do:

---Perfunctory read through, grammar check.
---Outline, include continuity check.
---Read aloud.
---Highlight adverbs and –ing words.
---Color partition. Check for not enough action, too much information/backstory.
---Words: there, though, although, before, after, once, at least, then, while, almost, even, what, pretty, how, just, only, probably, that, since, as, like, so, some, when, seem, been, could, would, should, I, we, ’re, n’t, ’s, ’d, ’ve, be, is, are, am, I’m, was, were, we’re, keep, kept, got, get, had, has, felt, feel, think, thought, try, tried, tries, may, might, grew, grow, look, found, find, knew, know, become, became, smell, sense, hear, come, came, go, goes, went, taste, see, saw, watch, believe
---In depth grammar check.
---Beta reads.

If there’s one thing I enjoy, it’s making lists and organizing. There’s obviously going to be more rounds of editing after the beta reads, but that’s going to depend on what I hear. It’s probably going to be a while before to those anyway : ).

Now I’m going to throw it back to you guys: how do you edit? Am I missing anything important?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Guest Post: Crystal Cheverie

I’m taking the week off from blogging (although I’ll probably still lurk around your blogs). To keep the awesomeness at full, guest bloggers are taking over my blog on Sunday, Tuesday and Friday. And now, on with the show…

Please welcome Crystal Cheverie.

Hello to all you lovely people! *waves* I want to thank Jeanne for letting me take over her blog for a day and giving me the opportunity to get to meet some new faces. Thank you, Jeanne, and happy birthday! Now, on with the show…

So, did you know the Chinese use the same word for crisis as they do for opportunity? Neither did I until I watched The Simpsons (according to Homer, the word is “crisitunity.” Somehow, I’m not too sure about that…). At any rate, it’s a very positive way of thinking about the little (and big) setbacks that Life can throw our way. Setbacks like getting a flash fiction piece I’d submitted back in June rejected last week.

We writers have to put up with rejection a lot. No, let’s make that A LOT. Not gonna front – it doesn’t feel good. It hurts. It can even make people opt out of the scribe gig altogether.

The thing is, though, rejection is a natural part of life. You get dumped for another man (or woman) when your significant other fails to realize your innate awesomeness. Your stellar job interview didn’t land you that dream job.  A promotion that should’ve gone to you… well, you get what I’m saying.

So, yes, rejection is normal, especially in the literary world. There’s no way to escape it. So what’s a writer to do? After last week’s nasty surprise, I have made a decision. I am not going to cower in fear of rejection anymore. I’m going to do my best to stand tall and meet that bugger head-on by continuing to submit, submit and submit. After all, as Michelle Pfeiffer’s character said in the movie Dangerous Minds, “sometimes it takes a lot of wrong answers to get to the right one.” It helps, too, that I’ve come to believe each “thanks but no thanks” can be helpful if you allow it to be. Each time you get rejected is a chance to build up that thick skin every writer needs. It can remind you just how badly you want to see your work in print and therefore spur you on to work harder to reach that goal. A rejection can even help you improve your story (especially true if you’re lucky enough to get feedback from the editor) or simply improve your story’s odds by finding a publication that would be a better fit.

Rejection, in other words, is a fantastic opportunity for growth and strength.

Which is good to know, because I’m going to need to remind myself of all of the above quite a bit over the next couple of years.

Thanks for reading!

Over to you, my fellow writers – how do you deal with rejection?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Guest Post: Angela Kulig

I’m taking the week off from blogging (although I’ll probably still lurk around your blogs). To keep the awesomeness at full, guest bloggers are taking over my blog on Sunday, Tuesday and Friday. And now, on with the show…

Please welcome Angela Kulig.

Angela Kulig Gives You an Attitude Adjustment

I don’t have any hard numbers, but something like 90% of being a writer is in the attitude. Then 5% for actual word construction and the remaining 5% is divided between oral addiction and the need to be on Twitter. Again don’t quote me.

So why is attitude everything?

Easy, without attitude you are nothing. You will accomplish nothing; you will be no one, unless you have the right sort of attitude. Now there are a lot of stereotypes involving writers. People who aren’t in the know might think that we are moody and antisocial; but if you have been around us for any amount of time, you know that those stereotypes are absolutely—almost always true and we don’t need to rehash them here.

But that’s not what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about the attitude you take with writing, and yourself. Being a writer means telling yourself you are going to write—then doing it. Being a writer means taking yourself serious enough to get your work done—be it revision or marketing—and not so serious that others find recourse to mock you.

And rest assured, I will mock you.

When it’s time to start a new project, do check your attitude at the door. Then make sure it’s hat is on right so people don’t laugh at you behind your back. Just don’t leave it!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Guest Post: Charity Bradford

I’m taking the week off from blogging (although I’ll probably still lurk around your blogs). To keep the awesomeness at full, guest bloggers are taking over my blog on Sunday, Tuesday and Friday. And now, on with the show… 

Everyone, welcome Charity Bradford.

Title: Patience, Predators and Publishing

Thanks Jeanne for the opportunity to guest post. At first I wasn't sure what I wanted to write about, but then an event earlier in the month made up my mind for me. Since then, there has been one thing heavy on my mind lately.


As writers we need so much of it. It seems like the life of a writer is one big round of waiting.

  • We wait for stolen moments to type or scribble away at our novels.

  • We wait for comments from critique groups.

  • We sludge through revisions waiting for the day our novel is polished and ready to send into the world.

  • We wait for replies from agents.

  • And I don't know from experience, but I've heard that after you get an agent is just more waiting.

  • We all hope this waiting will get us somewhere, but sometimes its hard to be patient. And that's when we become susceptible to predators.

    Let me share a story with you. I have a younger brother who started writing a book this year. This is his first story, a fantasy. I've read the first three chapters and he has a lot of potential. A lot, and I'm happy for him. But he hasn't learned about patience yet.

    The first week of August he submitted his first three chapters (read only three he had) to a publisher (I don't know where he found this publisher) and two days later he received a sample contract in the mail to look over. This publisher was thrilled with his rough draft and said they would love to publish it if he could finish it by November 1st of this year and get it to them.


    I've been slaving over my baby for three solid years! Revision after revision. Round after round of critiques. Patiently taking each comment, mulling it over and then changing (or not) based on my vision for the story. And now my little bro is getting published before me a few short months after he starts writing?!!

    Wait, sorry, this isn't about me.

    *cough* Um, where was I? Oh, yeah...

    Red flags were flying around all over the place when he told me this. I've never heard of any publisher who accepts unfinished FICTION. My brother also sent me the contract to look over. Now, to my untrained eye, the ten page contract made little sense (another reason I want to catch an agent). There were a few things that rubbed me wrong, such as the royalties. They were considerably lower than some other midsize publishers that I have had contact with, but mostly it looked fine. I guess. *shrugs*

    Since I don't know everything, I started some research.A simple Google search of the company brought up all kinds of rants about their dishonesty. Then some of my other writer friends responded to my questions to them and all said the same thing about said company, "Run away!" This particular company received an F from the Better Business Bureau.

    With all this new knowledge under my belt, I had to inform my brother that he should walk away. I felt like a dream crusher. For his part, my brother handled it quite well. He has now finished three more chapters of the book and is hopefully starting to read and learn about the publishing world.

    How do you remind yourself to be patient?
    How do you research publishers or agents?
    Please share in the comments.

    Whatever it is that you do, don't give up! And don't give in. Be true to yourself and the dream that you have for your book. Whether it be traditional, mid to small publisher, or vanity publishing is up to you. In this day and age its all good! Just take your time. Do your research and make sure you understand what you're getting into.

    Wouldn't it be awful to find that you've lost all rights to the story you bled over for years?

    Here are some helpful links that I've used quite often:

    • The Better Business Bureau--clickable for US or Canada. Simply type the name of the publisher in the search engine. Click Here for the publisher talked about above.

    • How a Book Gets Published by Nathan Bransford--This is from 2009, but not THAT much has changed about the industry. While we are with Nathan, here are some other great links.

    • Publishing Glossary, for all those terms you might not be sure about.

    • Writer Beware Blog--new to me, but look who's headlining August 18th. The very same publisher my brother almost fell prey to.

    • Talk to others and see what their experience has been over at Absolute Write Water Cooler.

    • There's Chuck Sambuchino's Guide to Literary Agents

    • Publishers Marketplace Track Deals, Sales, Reviews, Agents, Editors, News

    • And of course good old Predators and Editors

    • Don't underestimate a Google search as well. What comes up can be quite revealing. 

    • Charity Blogs at My Writing Journey and is in the query process for her first Science Fantasy book Sendek. She also co-blogs at Unicorn Bell, a free blog striving to help writers get critiques and move forward in their journey to publication.


      Friday, August 19, 2011

      The Language of Confusion: Left Behind

      I did the right side, it seems only fair to do left, too.

      Left always gets a bad rap. Being left handed was thought to be either a fake or evil—a friend once told me how her left-hand using mother was forced to write right handed by her teachers. It probably doesn’t help matters that a Latin word for left is "sinister". Then in English, right is a homograph for a word meaning correct, while left is one for remainder. 

      This prejudice goes back a long way. Left comes from the Old English word lyft, which means weak or foolish. In the thirteenth century, people starting using it as the term for the opposite of right, and they chose that particular word because of the “evil” associated with that side. Really.

      These days it seems silly, but left-prejudice has existed since long before the word existed. At least part of it is due to the belief that the devil is left handed, but I think most of it comes from the oldest prejudice in the book: majority versus minority. It’s different from most everything else, so it’s weird. Which explains why lefty prejudice was common across different cultures and religions.

      As for the leave sense of the word, it’s actually coincidence, not left handed prejudice. It’s from the Old English laefan, and because it sounds funny to say “levt” or “leaved,” (which is actually a word with yet another meaning), it became left.

      Sometimes a homograph is just a homograph.

      Thanks to
      Molly Kalafut’s paper on left-handedness
      Time Magazine’s article on left-handedness

      Tuesday, August 16, 2011

      The Campaign Begins

      EDIT: It has begun. Go now!

      Well, almost. About six months ago, I joined up the Writer’s Platform Building Crusade. It was a lot of fun, what with the flash-fiction competitions and meeting new bloggers. Rachel Harrie, our wonderful host, changed the name this time around for reasons I completely understand. Some words just get a negative connotation.

      So now it’s the Writers’ Platform Building Campaign, and I’m sure it’s going to be just as fun as the one in February. Signups start next Monday, the twenty second and end on the thirty first. Mark the dates in your calendars, because of course that’s the week I’m taking off from blogging and I’d hate for you to forget.

      The purpose of the whole thing is to connect with new bloggers. During the last go-round, I made a lot of new bloggy friends, wrote some actual flash fiction, and just had a good time. I’m betting this Campaign will be the biggest yet and I think Rachel is, too, because you no longer have to follow each and every Campaigner, just the ones in your group. Although I guess you can if you want to : ). 

      Excited yet? 

      Sunday, August 14, 2011


      We, as human beings, are the sum of a variety of internal and external factors, and a great universal truth is that the sum is different for each person. This means, try as we might, we can never truly see the world through someone else’s eyes. We can come close—you might say that all writing is an attempt—but we are limited by our selves in the same way we are expanded by them. No one else will be truly like us. But we will never truly be like someone else. We are us.

      This is not a terrible thing! In fact, it is wonderful. With constant change, there is constant possibilities. And to keep us from being isolated in are uniqueness, we are given several tools to allow us to bond with other humans. We can sympathize, love, and, perhaps the most important, communicate.

      Because we all see things so differently, we can’t always predict how someone will react. Some might love a gift of flowers. Others might call it a waste of money. Still others will take offense at receiving a gift that is going to wither and die in front of them. But if you do not communicate your preference, you will continue to receive your weekly bouquet. It might be easy to expect someone to “just know” what you like. Easy and wrong.

      Writing, indeed all communication, is a gift we must utilize. Engage in dialogue, discuss, question and debate, either in person or online. Remember it must be two sided, no talking over or dismissing, otherwise it is not true communication. It is merely yelling.

      Without communication, we will be trapped within ourselves—within our selves—forever alone.

      Friday, August 12, 2011

      The Language of Confusion: Under Surveillance

      I come up with the titles for these before I write the posts. If I have a title, I’ll find some way to use it.

      Anyway, I like the word surveillance. It fascinates me. First, it has the word veil in it, but it’s not a physical thing, it’s an act. Next, it’s related to the word survey, which is related to convey and conveyance—no l in that one. And despite sounding similar, purvey isn’t really related (more like an in-law). The way certain words evolve in different ways is amazing. Then again, I’m a huge nerd.

      First, let’s look at the con- words. Convey came first, in the early fourteenth century, meaning “go along with” before becoming a euphemism for theft and finally taking on the transport definition we have today. The word can be traced back through Anglo French and Old French to the Vulgar Latin conviare, to accompany. Con- comes from com-, the Classical Latin prefix meaning with or together, while -viare comes from via—road. So it’s literally, “together with on the road.” Adding -ance, a noun-making suffix, came in the mid fifteenth century, changing it from a verb to a synonym for a transport.

      Survey came after convey, sometime in the late fourteenth century. It’s original meaning was “consider, contemplate,” as one might survey his/her land. When it’s noun version came about, it didn’t have the -ance ending, it was just survey, like “I’m taking a survey.” Surveillance didn’t show up until the nineteenth century and was directly taken from a French word meaning “oversee, watch.” Appropriate since the sur- prefix means over and veil comes from veiller, which means watch. As to where the -ance came from in that word, I have no idea, but -ance evolved in Old French to replace a Latin suffix, so it makes sense they would stick it on there.

      Despite having similar origins, survey and surveillance are not the same word. They’re more like cousins, one from a France, the other from the United States, but with French ancestry. They’re not completely dissimilar, but they have some striking differences. Survey relates to evaluation while surveillance is straight observation.

      And that solves that mystery.

      Thanks to:
      Southwestern University’s page on Vulgar Latin.
      1066 And All That—A page on the evolution of Modern English from Old French.