Monday, September 21, 2015

Writing Tips

Just read two great articles from author Hilari Bell. Check them out:

Twisted Plots: the necessary change of direction A snippet: "... a good plot twist isn’t just a story event that the reader didn’t see coming, or something that surprises the protagonist.  In order to change the story’s direction, a plot twist must be something that forces your protagonist to change his plan."

Don’t Skin the Cat: better ways to solve a story problem Another snippet: "...sooner or later you’ll be told that something in your story isn’t working and you should probably cut it. But should you? The answer to that is a solid, definite, maybe. Sometimes you can follow Tim Gunn’s famous advice and Make it work!"

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Exciting News


Somehow it's been two years since I last posted on this blog, which is crazy. I figured it was time I posted an update for anyone who stumbles upon this blog or might be curious what I've been up to.

Since the last time I posted, I sent out a bunch of queries, got engaged, received a revise-and-resubmit from an agent, planned my wedding, quit my day job, got married and went on my honeymoon, packed up everything I own and put it in storage temporarily, started freelancing, traveled across the country and back again, helped my sister plan her wedding, repacked everything and drove it (and our cat) to our new apartment in California, unpacked everything, completed the revisions, resubmitted to the agent, and received an offer of representation!

Of course, all of these exciting changes in my life happened at once, which meant the revisions took much longer to complete than I would've liked. Luckily, the agent hadn't forgotten about my book, and I signed with her at the beginning of June, just three weeks after resubmitting.

For those who wonder what happens next after signing with an agent: more revisions! :) Which is awesome because I'm super-happy to have an editorial agent who is committed to helping me make the book as strong as possible before we go on submission.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

For Writers

Be Your Own Book Doctor--Great revision checklist from Janice Hardy.

Strange Chemistry Unagented Submissions--All YA genres. Deadline is October 31.

30 Writing Tips from Famous Authors

Ernest Hemingway

Friday, September 6, 2013

Write Tight

One of the most effective ways to tighten your writing is to eliminate thought verbs and sense verbs--the little filter words that provide an extra layer between your character and the reader. Sometimes these words are necessary, but most of the time cutting them will strengthen your writing, making it less wordy and less passive, without changing the meaning.

Here's a list of some of the culprits: felt, think, know, understand, realize, believe, want, remember, imagine, desire, wonder, watch, look, see, hear, listen, notice, spot, figure, seem.

Also watch out for these empty words: start to, begin to, that, just, really, well.

Quick example:
Change: I watched the girl start to walk across the room.
To: The girl walked across the room.
Or even better: The girl crossed the room.

If you can cut a word/phrase without changing the meaning, you should cut it. Check out this great post by Cheryl Klein for more examples.

And if you can't simply cut the thought verb because it's the only verb in the sentence (something like, "I felt happy"), the sentence should probably be revised anyway. Writers are always told to show instead of tell, and unpacking the sentence as Chuck Palahniuk describes in this post is a great way to do that.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

For Book Lovers

17 problems only book lovers will understand. Click here.

17 Problems Only Book Lovers Will Understand

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Another Nice Surprise

Click here to see the winners of the August Mystery Agent contest on Operation Awesome. :)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Contest Update

Check out the winners of the Teen Eyes Editorial contest. Here, here and here. A nice surprise for a Monday. :)