Thursday, December 30, 2010

12/30/10: 'Sup?

Reading: Wuthering Heights
Writing: DED
Re-writing: London Towne (zillionth draft)
Watching: Community (TV series. Very funny)
Eating: Christmas leftovers
Looking forward to: 100-word sentence contest thing at Elena's blog!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

12 Days

The first day of the Twelve Days of Christmas begins on Christmas Day and then continues on until the fifth of January:

12 Drummers drumming (Jan 5)
11 Lords a-leaping (Jan. 4)
10 Pipers piping (Jan. 3)
9 Ladies waiting/dancing (Jan. 2)
8 Maids a-milking (Jan. 1)
7 Swans a-swimming (Dec. 31)
6 Geese a-laying (Dec. 30)
5 Golden rings (Dec. 29)
4 Calling birds (Dec. 28)
3 French hens (Dec. 27)
2 Turtle doves (Dec. 26)
1 A partridge in a pear tree (Dec. 25)

I wonder if anyone has written the story from the True Love's perspective. "On the first day of Christmas… I spent over ninety bucks on a stupid bird that pooped all over my car. Bah, humbug!" Or how about from the people in the song? "On the eighth day of Christmas… somebody cow-napped me and Bessie. I am now with seven other maids and we've been ordered to milk it for all it's worth. And don't get me started on those twelve drummers drumming. My skull's vibrating!"

Hey, if Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer gets his own song AND a TV special, so should the Twelve Days folks. It's only fair.

So, I guess I'm handing out an exercise:

Write a Christmas carol, any Christmas carol, from a different point of view. That Little Drummer Boy song? How did that lamb and ox keep time? Or the Grinch song. What about the poor dog with the horn tied to its head?


Have a ball.

Happy Birthday!

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

AWC: Part VII

Right before the pile of rejected manuscripts crushed him, Stooge awoke. He was alive and well in his bed. "Yipee!" he cried. "Oh! The muses did it all in one night—of course they could if they wanted to, bless them. I'm as giddy as a schoolboy!"

He stumbled into the computer table. "I'm as—as merry as a drunk!"

The door banged open and in walked Bob Muse. "I forgot my hat, sir, might I—"

"Bob! You wonderful man. Come, work with me this morning. I will double your pages!"

"Sir!"

And Stooge was as good as his words. His prose grew on to be stronger and stronger, and though he received his share of rejections, in the end, Stooge kept the spirit of Dedication in his heart.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

AWC: Part VI

The clock struck a third, and Stooge sat straight up in bed.

A muse draped in black cloth stood in the corner of the room, glowering at him.

"Muse," said Stooge, "it is you I fear most of all. Are you the spirit that has been foretold?"

The muse nodded once.

"Oh, dear. You are the Muse of Drafts Yet to Come, aren't you?"

Again the muse nodded.

Stooge gulped. "Very well, Muse; I shall watch what you have to show me." He took the spirit's hem, and they plunged into darkness. "I don't understand. What is this place?"

A light spread slowly over the scene, and Stooge realized he was standing on a giant manuscript, with his name and contact information typed upon it. "I finished in time?" Stooge asked. "I can't believe it. What a miracle!"

"Well, this another load for the rejection pile," said the voice of an slushpile reader.

Stooge looked for the pile… and realized he was standing on it. "Spirit! Please tell me I am not doomed for the rejection pile! I can change. I will be a better writer. I will live with Dedication in my heart. Please, don't send this manuscript to an early grave." Stooge got to his knees and wept. "Please! Please!"

"Add it to the bin," said an agent.

"Nooooo!"

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

AWC: Part V

The clock struck two, and the room was filled with a blinding light… and much laughter. Stooge awoke with a start. "Bah! Who is it?"

"Come, Under-Achiever, and know me better, man."

Stooge stumbled out of bed and approached this strange new Muse. "Spirit, who are you?"

"I am the Muse of Drafts Present, a balance of fun and hard work. I come to show you scenes of writers everywhere. Take the hem of my robe."

"No," said Stooge. "You're much too bright and merry, not unlike my present muse Bob."

"Under-Achiever Stooge," the muse said in a warning tone. "Here take a sip from my cup."

After one sip, Stooge was giddy as a schoolboy. "I feel so giddy!" he said. "Like I could write for hours upon hours. What was in that cup? Inspiration? I want some more."

"This is the drink of Dedication. With or without Inspiration, Dedication is the thing which keeps a writer coming to the page. Now, do as I say and take my hem."

Stooge obliged and they were pitched into a scene of wonder. Writers were writing everywhere! There wasn't an inner editor in sight. "What is this place?" Stooge asked.

"You knew it once," said the muse; "back in that scene from your childhood. This a writer's workspace… a space where writers work."

"Yes, yes, I know what a workspace is, and I want to go home now."

"Under-Achiever! Here, take another sip." So Stooge did, and again felt the wonders of writing.

"Look at him! He's missing the delete button. And him; he's thrown out his eraser. They're all getting it down on the page."

"You've forgotten that, my good man, the joys of writing. You've been caught up in the business of it all."

"Edits aren't bad."

"Yes, but they are when you're creating. It's time to return, I fear. Again, take the hem of my robe."

Monday, December 20, 2010

AWC: Part IV

Stooge beheld himself in his later teen years, studying a thesaurus. He was quite alone, and looked quite pensive. "I must find the perfect word," he muttered.

The Idea, love of his life, walked into the room. "Under-Achiever," she said, her voice shaking. "I have come to say good-bye."

"You're leaving for the day, are you?" young Stooge said, without looking up.

"No, I have come to say good-bye for good. Next to Publication, I weigh very little."

She dropped a handful of gold coins onto one side of the scale, then dropped a pen into the other. She then turned around and left.

Present Stooge cried out. "No! Write her, you fool! Don't just sit there: Write her."

"He cannot hear you."

"Muse, take me away from this place; I wish to see no more." His wish was granted. Stooge found himself in bed again, his eyes wet with tears.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Writer's Blah

Dashing through my prose
Is a horror a minute. Say,
Please don't tell me "No"
Or go laughing on your way.
Hell's to pay for me,
If I can't get this right.
Won't you come and write with me
A writing song tonight? OH!

Blah blah blah, blah blah blah
Blather, rinse repeat
I am not very good at writing on my feet
Toes are froze
So's my prose
It might as well be dead
I just hope that my good muse will strike me in the head.
___
Written once upon a December...

AWC: Part III

The clock struck once. "Under-Achiever Stooge, I am the muse that was foretold," a woman said. "I am the Muse of Drafts Past."

Stooge awoke to a bright light, opened his eyes and beheld the first spirit foretold. "Muse, tell me, why have you come? I was just settling down for a long winter's nap."

"There will be plenty of time for napping later. Now we must go. Time is of the essence."

He rose out of bed and approached the spirit.

"Take the hem of my robe," she said, "and I will guide you to a Novel many drafts ago…"

As Stooge took her hem, the world fell out from beneath him and he was transported to a small computer room, where sat a little boy. "Why—that's me as a little boy!" he said. "Little boy, what are you writing?" Stooge looked over his shoulder and beheld a manuscript full of so many errors that he cringed away in horror. "Spirit, why did you have to show me this depravity?"

"You were happy then," said the spirit. "You were happy writing until you discovered the snares of over-editing."

Tears formed in Stooge's eyes as he spied his old favorite characters on the screen. "That's Annabelle! And look! There are all the schoolboys. Oh, what fun I had in those days."

"Something you would be wise to remember. Come, to another scene."

Saturday, December 18, 2010

AWC: Part II

"Stooge," said Novel, thrashing his heavy chains of red tape.

"Gah!" cried Stooge.

"Novel! It's you! No it can't be. It must be part of my imagination, or a bit of indigestion. I thought those last nine lattes tasted a bit funny. That's it. That's what you are: You are an old cappuccino!"

"Under-Achiever Stooge! Hear me: You will be visited by three muses tonight."

Clutching his heart, Stooge stumbled to his feet. "Three muses, you say? But why, Novel, old friend?"

"The first muse will visit you on the stroke of one. The second will visit you on the stroke of two. The third one, on the stroke of three. Heed their words, Under-Achiever Stooge, or you may be doomed to a life of edits."

With that, the visage was gone. Stooge looked around, but saw no traces of an intruder. "Bah. Humbug."

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Writer's Carol: Part I

Some seasonal writerly fun... in seven parts. Kind of like Voldemort, only with less evil and more hair.
___

The Novel was dead as a doornail ten edits ago. Under-Achiever Stooge, the late novel's author, was a mean miser of words, a killer of Craft, an abuser of adjectives.

Late Deadline's Eve found him penned up in his office, dawdling, while his assistant, Bob Muse, attempted to stoke the fire of Inspiration. "Leave it," said Stooge. "Do you think books grow on trees?"

"No, sir," Mr. Muse said. "It's just that your prose is so cold, and the deadline's tomorrow."

"I suppose you think I shouldn't take the day off, am I right? Be gone with you."

Mr. Muse shuddered and took a step back from the word processor. "If I am to leave early, then, might I have my pages?"

Stooge waved him away with an ink-stained hand.

"To some it's acceptable behavior, I suppose, picking a man's brain, whatever the weather. Very well. Here are six sentences. Be gone, and be even later upon the next!"

Mr. Muse accepted the sentences with gratitude and ran home to his other authors, none of which Stooge knew about or cared.

"Bah, humbug!" Stooge said, shutting down his screen.

"Stoooooge!" said an empty voice. With a jump, Stooge looked around, but nobody was there.

"Hello? Who's there?" "Under-Achiever Stooooooooge." A visage of a book, ten edits dead, appeared before him. It was The Novel.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Jane

Parodied and parroted. That's what I've done to dear Jane.

Austen, Jane Austen.

Happy 235th birthday, Jane!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dear Santa Claus

We've read your manuscript "Holiday Season" and decided to pass on it for the following reasons:

- Present tense, no matter how you wrap it, is not our style
- Whoever/whatever you're using that whip on, we don't support animal cruelty and we don't publish x-rated erotica
- The title is too ambiguous. In future, perhaps clarify by using the name of the holiday around which the season is based
- "Ho," no matter how many times it is said in immediate succession, is a derogatory term that we strive to avoid

Thank you for submitting to Hope Publications. We look forward to reading more from you in the future.

Sincerely,

Chris T. Mas

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dear Ms. Cliche...

We didn't find your novel "breath-taking" or full of "edge-of-your-seat action." The heroine wasn't "to die for," nor was the hero "the spitting image of" any famous hero from any "trove of literary treasures" we've ever read.

There were no "thrills and chills," nothing to "knock our socks off," and absolutely no "crystal clear" anything.

In short, your novel is as "dead as a doornail."

Thanks for not submitting a sequel. We appreciate it.

Sincerely,

Ruth Less

Friday, December 10, 2010

Emily and Me

Emily Dickinson and I have a handful of things in common. Besides having put words on paper, we both share the following things:

Shyness
Reclusiveness
A December birthday

Happy 180th birthday, Emily!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Excuses, Excuses...

For not blogging:

- I'm writing
- I'm stranded on a desert island and the Professor can't get the coconut computer running (I am currently on an adjoining island with very fussy Web)
- My minions stole all my Internet passwords
- Ninjas did it
- No ninja PIRATES did it

Um...

For not writing:

- I'm blogging
- The cat thought my keyboard was a litter box and, well, you get the not-so-pretty picture
- Aliens have taken over the earth and are using my manuscripts as fuel for their rocket ship
- I'm conserving every nanobyte or giga-whatever-a-jig
- Agents hacked into my computer and stole all my shiny ideas. Oh noes!

Yes, those are my excuses and I'm sticking with them. What's YOUR excuse, slacker?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful

As a writer, I am thankful for...

- An understanding mother who puts up with all my writing

- My friend Nayuleska who has read my writing and encourages me

- YOU! My blog followers, who listen to my chatter

- Everyone who has ever read or critiqued my work

- Bob, my computer... when he's working properly

And finally:

The ability and the freedom to write whenever and whatever I want.

Thank you, God, Giver of all good things!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I'd Like...

One tall, hot, skinny, no-nonsense MC with a triple shot of motivation, no whipped farmboy.

A tall, white FMC with three shots of dimension and extra charm on top.

One grande main plot, hot, with a sprinkling of sub-plots and a shot of genius.

That's it.

To go, please.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Dear Ms. Winter:

We regret to inform you that we will not be able to accept your work at this time.

Here are some notes from our esteemed reviewers:

"Dark and dreary, Ms. Winter's work leaves us feeling cold."

"The only good thing we found about her piece was Christmas."

"This whole 'snow' thing... I don't get it. Cut that out along with the bit of 'negative degrees Farenheit,' and we might have a future deal. For right now, though, I'll pass."

"A mockery of Ms. Spring's masterpiece "Intro to Summer," Ms. Winter's work fails to address the real life concerns of chapped lips and frostbite."

Thank you for your submission. Please feel free to try again next submission period, which will open in another thirteen months.

Sincerely,

The Staff at The Ohio Weatherman Journal

Sunday, October 31, 2010

NaNoWriMo

National Novel Writing Month begins tomorrow! Good luck to my friend Amy Laurens and everyone else participating!

I will not be participating this year for sanity reasons.

Ciao!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Writing Fiends

We've talked about Super Writers. But what about the villainous side in each of us? You know it. We all have a dark side. Some hold their work up against others far more often than what is healthy. Some limit themselves by refusing to try anything new. Some start sentences with conjunctions... kidding.

Let's look a the darker side of The Writer.


The Riddler - "Riddle me this...

You're somewhat on track
If you can digest:
Take me out somewhat, I'm oft over-used,
But take me out whole, and you won't live."

You're too obscure with your writing. You aim for poetic, but no one knows what the heck you're talking about. (If anyone can discern what the riddle is talking about, I'll write you a bad limerick.)

Magneto - You're very prejudiced. Anyone who doesn't write in your genre is against you... and must be eliminated or brought to subordination (or converted to your genre. You're not too picky.)

Darth Vader - *heavy breathing* Your main focus is to join with the best of the best publishers and together rule the literary galaxy! Hmm. Maybe stop focusing so big and start looking at home. At your children: Your stories/novels/plays/whatever. The writing comes first. Then, together, you can rule the galaxy... NY Bestseller List... whatever.

___
Some of my favorite villains. What villain do you relate to most and why?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Super Writers!

Mom or dad or waitstaff by day, but by night--and any other precious minutes you can squeeze in--you are a writer.

I think writers are heroes in their own write... right. We might not wear capes--some might. Hey, I don't judge--but we meet deadlines head on; write when we're worn to the bone, ready to cry, ready to burn our manuscripts to pieces (but we don't.) We're an unusually resilient lot. Time and time again we get rejected, yet we send out again. "Please, sir, I want some more" might be our masochistic creed.

Anyway, without further ado I present the Big Three of Writers, the best of the best, the cream of the crop, the elite, the... Well, you get it.


Superman – You are a natural. Writing faster than a speeding bullet, your words are more powerful than a locomotive. It's a nerd, it's insane, it's Super Writer! Frankly, we read your words and wonder if you're human. Stay away from that green thing. What? No, not Kryptonite. Envy! Though your writing's da bomb, you may suffer from ILLS: I Love Lois Syndrome. Read: Wanting What You Can't Have-itis.

Batman – You are all about the gadgets. Spell-check is your Robin. A new computer program or book on writing comes out and you snap it right up. It's a dark night in Gotham—Writers Workshop, that is—when Google docs won't open. Who's the joker who stole your copy of A Thousand Faces? The two-faced son of a typewriter!

Spider-Man – Your writing strength came to you all of a sudden. You weren't writing before, now you're churning out bestsellers. It's like you've got a bug… the writing bug, that is. Not some radioactive spider that bit you and, like, gave you super-mad writing skillz that we all envy or anything.

___
I hit The Big Three. What Super Writer are you and why?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Why?

Here's a question for you all:

Why do you write?

Ask me that question and I'll tell you: I don't know.

I guess I get ideas, they excite me and I want to do something with them. I've always been a day-dreamer. I've always been semi-creative. But why does it have to be on paper?

Do I write for money? Clearly not, since this is not a lucrative biz.

Do I write for fame? Fame would be nice some day, but it is a very SLIM possibility. Which brings me to the next question:

Would I be all right in, say thirty years from now, still being a literary "nobody"?

I don't know. I've already made it twenty years writing without much success. It's only been laltely that I've been questioning my motives.

Do I write for pleasure? It pleases me when I'm writing for me and only me. But when I start thinking "Would anyone else like this?" that is when I stumble.

Finally, do I write because that's all I've ever known? Am I scared of facing the unknown?

Honestly, I don't know. I'm just in the dark about my own motives as you are about my motives.

I've been taking a "sabatical" from writing. It might continue for a day, a minute, a month, a year... But something tells me I will come back for more (even if eventually.)

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Answer-ish Thing-os

Here are the answers to my scramble game. Note that you need to say some of these out loud.

1. What you do after fishing IRNCALE

ANSWER: Clarinet. Clear a net? Ah, say it fast

2. Singing beetle BMGHUU

ANSWER: Humbug

3. Surprise a criminal COCHASKN

ANSWER: Shockacon. *dies laughing*

4. Snatch a male bovine BLEARGB

ANSWER: Grabble. Grab Bull. Yeah, you get it.

5. Take furniture to court BAITULSE

ANSWER: Suitable. Sue Table ;-)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

What am I Saying?

I went through one of my old notebooks in these wee hours and discovered an interesting page. The following are riddles that might be of my own creation... or not. I honestly don't remember.

For your enjoyment--or time-killing pleasure--I present:

The Scrambler Riddler Game (Because I'm fresh out of titles tonight)!

Clues/puns ______________________ Scrambles

1. What you do after fishing IRNCALE

2. Singing beetle BMGHUU

3. Surprise a criminal COCHASKNO

4. Snatch a male bovine BLEARGB

5. Take furniture to court BAITULSE

___

Good luck. Seriously. You'll need it.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Underground + Kindness

My submission is almost ready to send to the Literary Lab's "Notes From the Underground" anthology :) Thanks to the glamorous Michelle Davidson Argyle (author of "Cinders"), I am no longer panicking about having to fill the full ten pages.

Totally random...

I found an AWESOME site. No, I do not normally promote all caps, but this is worth shouting about. Check out: Help Others.org. It's a site that gives you ideas for acts of kindness, 'cause let's face it: the world is seriously lacking in the smiles department.

It also gives one a chance to--le gasp--write. Non-fiction. Anyway, check it out.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

News

I do so like news... especially of the good variety.

There is a very good chance that a horror--yes, HORROR--flash fiction of mine will be published in an anthology. Yay! I found out about a month ago, but there's still a chance it might not happen. I'll give y'all more details when I know for certain.

Anyway, sorry I've been MIA. Things have been... different lately.

Ciao!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Yes, I'm Alive...

... So don't bury me yet!

I'm checking in to apologize for being a bum of a blogger, having not blogged in weeks. *blush* However, this bum is going to be a bit of a bum a bit longer.

Will try to update when I have news/something witty to say. I may have news very soon. News of the publishing variety! No, nothing as big as a novel.

Anyway, with that teaser, I'm off.

Ciao!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Bookshelves!

We've nearly reached the final quarter of the year. *insert your groan here* School's started, Halloween's around the corner, then Thanksgiving and... I will stop there (I don't want to freak anyone out.) The question begs... It's 9/3/10: What have YOU been reading?

I'm a slow reader. I like to take in every word, and I set most books down for awhile before picking them back up again. So far this year, I've read:

1. Little Women (well, finished reading it, is more like it)
2. Sense and Sensibility
3. The Invisible Man
4. Cinders
5. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
6. PJ&tO: The Sea of Monsters
7. PJ&tO: The Titan's Curse
8. PJ&tO: The Battle of the Labyrinth
9. PJ&tO: The Last Olympain
10. The Picture of Dorian Grey
11. Soulless
12. Changeless
13. The Maltese Falcon
14. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (re-read)
15. HP and the Chamber of Secrets (re-read)
16. HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban (re-read)
17. HP and the Goblet of Fire (re-read)
18. An Assembly Such as This
19. Nightlight: A Parody

What I am currently reading:

- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (re-reading)
- The Time Machine

Then there are several others that I haven't picked up for weeks or months. The Advenutres of Sherlock Holmes and some book about Dewey, the library cat.
__

What's on your nightstand?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Multiple Projects

Here's me going through some pros and cons of working on more than WiP (Work-in-Progress) at a time:

Pro: If you get stuck on one project, you can move on to the next for a little while, and so forth and so on.

Con: You might confuse elements, characters, etc. of one story with another.

Pro: Diversity keeps things interesting.

Con: Jumping from project to project doesn't encourage self-discipline.

In the end, I think it comes down to personal preference. A body's got to chose what works for them, not necessarily what works for someone else.
__
I'm curious as to what others do and what they think on the matter. Feel free to share and discuss!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

When Queries Attack! Take Five

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a literary agent such as yourself must want to be in possession of my book, "Coercion."

If you like it, esteem it and think very highly of it, then write to me in a manner that promises me many particulars of an engagement--of the novel kind. If not, you are too hasty, sir. Do not say "After reading your novel for little under an hour, I could say with full certainty that you are the last author in the world whom I could ever be put upon to sign."

I shall wait for your letter. Your response should enter my mailbox this evening or never.

I have always been and always shall be... yours.

Author

Friday, August 20, 2010

You Had Me at Hello: Solutions

- "Edwin wasn't dead."

Umm... that's mine. It's from the first draft of "Shift," a paranormal romance. Yeah, it's probably going bye-bye in the edits since it's not true to the tone of the book. I would be promising one thing and delivering another. Not cool.

- "Sir Walter Elliot, of Kellynch Hall, in Somersetshire, was a man who, for his own amusement, never took up any book but the Baronetage; there he found occupation for an idle hour, and consolation in a distressed one; there his faculties were roused into admiration and respect by contemplating the limited remnant of the earliest patents; there any unwelcome sensations arising from domestic affairs changed naturally into pity and contempt as he turned over the almost endless creations of the last century; and there, if every other leaf was powerless, he could read his own history with an interest which never failed."

One word: Exhausting.

Persuasion by Jane Austen, however, is one of my favorite books. It took me several tries just to get through the first chapter, though. It's run-on/wordy, it's full of punctuation errors, it's trivial... In defense of it being trivial: Sir Walter is a very trivial character. It suits him well. And it sets the stage nicely for his practical daughter Anne to enter... later.

The only reason I kept reading was because it is a classic. Any other book, it would have gone back on the shelf.

- "'Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents,' grumbled Jo, lying on the rug."

As a writer who has had rules drilled into her head from writing books screams "They opened the book with dialogue. Ahhhhh!" 'Hem. Truth be told, this sentence from Little Women by Lousia May Alcott wouldn't hook me alone. When the other sisters chime in, however, with their own desires, I see a promise of sisterly bonding that is delivered in the rest of the book. This entices me a little.

They're a tight-knit bunch, but the first sentence does not make me glue my nose to the book. Yes, I am a fussy reader. It took me a year to get through this classic, and I like it... not as much as the next book, though.

- "The Opera ghost really existed."

Hooked. It's short, sweet and it sets the tone for the rest of the book, a close account of the mysterious Opera ghost and his doings. Gaston Leroux delivers in his horror novel "The Phantom of the Opera."

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

You Had Me at Hello: Take One

Is it just me or has this blog turned into a bunch of spoof/spam query letters? What? You think I'm probably procrastinating, putting off something I ought to be doing. Why, not at all O:)

On a side note, look out for random lightning strikes.

I want to play a little game. It's called "You Had Me at Hello." You get the first sentence of a book. That's it. Would these entice you to keep reading? Be honest. Some/one are/is mine, some are not. All are Public Domain (or mine) so we don't have to worry about pesky copyright infringement nastiness and figuring out Fair Use stuff.

Here we go: "You Had Me at Hello"...

- "Edwin wasn't Dead."

- "Sir Walter Elliot, of Kellynch Hall, in Somersetshire, was a man who, for his own amusement, never took up any book but the Baronetage; there he found occupation for an idle hour, and consolation in a distressed one; there his faculties were roused into admiration and respect by contemplating the limited remnant of the earliest patents; there any unwelcome sensations arising from domestic affairs changed naturally into pity and contempt as he turned over the almost endless creations of the last century; and there, if every other leaf was powerless, he could read his own history with an interest which never failed."

- "'Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents,' grumbled Jo, lying on the rug."

- "The Opera ghost really existed."

___

I'll share my own thoughts later in another post. Bonus points to those who can name the story and the author without Googling.

Friday, August 13, 2010

When Query Letters Attack! Take Four

Once upon a midnight query,
I was writing, weak and leery,
For a WiP that I had left to rot inside my drawer.
Suddenly there came a blinking,
And I felt my heart to sinking,
Sinking as it had never sunk before.
'Twas an ad and nothing more.

The blinking then kept to persisting,
And I looked down the long, long listing,
Picked out your name from twenty score.
Your pic looked like a wrinkled raven,
And I thought you'd give my novel haven,
Haven from the world of those sans agent.
So at once I sent out to you my query,
You said that it was weak and weary(some)
And that you had seen 12 dozen of this sort before.
Only this and nothing more.

So here attached is my last query,
And I'm sorry if it makes you weary,
Wearisome as much as you have said before.
Here it is. I offer nothing more:

Attachment____

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

When Query Letters Attack! Take Three

Hello, Agent, sir or miss,
Please do take a look at this:

Would you like to read my book?
Would you read it in a nook?
Would you read it in a chair?
Would you read it anywhere?

It's full of twisty turny plots
I use commas--and full stops!
I am the Queen of Literasity
Oh, please, oh, please won't you read me?

If you don't read, I think I'll cry!
If you don't read, I think I'll die!

If you read it in a nook,
I'll sign each and every book!
If you read it in a chair,
I'll sign it in my underwear!

I conclude, dear sir or miss,
Thanks for your brief look at this:

*Files attached Virus Scanner2.0___No viruses detected___WARNING: STUPIDITY DETECTED! Open and read at your own risk.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

I Before E, Except After... I Forget

Misspelling just got dangerous: Look

"We had Grandpa for dinner." - Poor grammar. Poor Grandpa!

"A panda eats, shoots and leaves." - Faulty punctuation. Deadly consequences.

___
Challenge: How many typos did YOU find in this blog post?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Answers to Book Title Challenge

Master of the Bling - Lord of the Rings

The Ghost of the Musical Drama - The Phantom of the Opera

Dusk - Twilight

Tom and Dick's Brother Clay-Worker and the Warlock's Pebble - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Haughtiness and Discrimination - Pride and Prejudice

Scarlet Pimpernel's Christian Name Stone Wall's Surname and the Medalist Contenders in Global Sport Dating Back to Ancient Greece - Percy Jackson and the Olympians

The Continuance Apparatus - The Time Machine

The Unseen Male - The Invisible Man

The Small Rodent-Catcher - The Moustrap

A Yuletide Song - A Christmas Carol

Small Adult Females - Little Women

Fight and Serenity - War and Peace

___
I hope you enjoyed!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

What's in a Name?

A book by any other name would read as well, but would anyone want to pick it up?


-Master of the Bling

-The Ghost of the Musical Drama

-Dusk

-Tom and Dick's Brother Clay-Worker and the Warlock's Pebble

-Haughtiness and Discrimination

-Scarlet Pimpernel's Christian Name Stone Wall's Surname and Medalist Contenders in Global Sport Dating Back to Ancient Greece

-The Continuance Apparatus

-The Unseen Male

-The Rodent-Catcher

-A Yuletide Song

-Small Adult Females

-Fight and Serenity

__
I'll post the answers in a few days.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The 12 Drafts of the Novel

Happy Christmas in July! To celebrate the season--and the fact I am almost through with this round of edits--I present this pitiful parody.



(To the tune of "The Twelve Days of Christmas")



On the first draft of my novel my muse did say to me:

Let's just write the darn thing!


On the second draft of my novel my IE* said to me:

Set it aside

And let's just write the darn thing!



On the third draft of my novel my IE said to me:

Let's add a subplot

Set it aside

And let's just write the darn thing!



On the fourth draft of my novel my IE said to me

Kill off the filler

Let's add a subplot

Set it aside

And let's just write the darn thing!



On the fifth draft of my novel my IE said to me

Rewrite the whole thing!

Kill off the filler

Let's add a subplot

Set it aside

And let's just write the darn thing!



On the sixth draft of my novel my IE said to me

You're under word count

Rewrite the whole thing!

Kill off the filler

Let's add a subplot

Set it aside

And let's just write the darn thing



On the seventh draft of my novel my IE said to me

Look at all the adverbs!

You're under word count

Rewrite the whole thing!

Kill off the filler

Let's add a subplot

Set it aside

And let's just write the darn thing!



On the eighth draft of my novel my IE said to me

More character development

Look at all the adverbs!

You're under word count

Rewrite the whole thing!

Kill off the filler

Let's add a subplot

Set it aside

And let's just write the darn thing!



On the ninth draft of my novel my IE said to me

Run off a spell check

More character development

Look at all the adverbs!

You're under word count

Rewrite the whole thing!

Kill off the filler

Let's add a subplot

Set it aside

And let's just write the darn thing!



On the tenth draft of my novel my IE said to me

You call that formatting?

Run off a spell check

More character development

Look at all the adverbs

You're under word count

Rewrite the whole thing!

Kill off the filler

Let's add a subplot

Set it aside

And let's just write the darn thing!



On the eleventh draft of my novel my IE said to me:

Cut the Oxford commas

You call that formatting?

Run off a spell check

More character development

Look at all the adverbs

You're under word count

Rewrite the whole thing!

Kill off the filler

Let's add a subplot

Set it aside

And let's just write the darn thing!

On the twelfth draft of my novel I said to my IE:

Shut up! I'm tired.

Cut the Oxford commas

You call that formatting?

Run off a spell check

More character development

Look at all the adverbs

You're under word count

Rewrite the whole thing!

Kill off the filler

Let's add a subplot

Set it aside

And let's just write the darn thing!

__

*IE=Inner Editor

Yes, I am too lazy to write the 12th draft. Deal with it! :-P

Friday, July 23, 2010

Fantasy Fudge: The Recipe

Ingredients:


1 Hero (Farmboys are opt.), slightly beaten__1 and 1/2 Quests

1 Dark Lord, divided into 7__25 weird names (i.e. Hrothode, Anwenium)

4 1/2-people__A dash of Dwarves

1 Magical Artifact__A sprinkling of Elves

1 Common Tongue or Common Language



Instructions:

Pre-plot storyline to nth degree.



In Word document, combine slighly beaten hero and 1 part Dark Lord. Add two 1/2-people, and two more if the draft is sticky. Set aside. In separate scene, mention the Magical Artifact with a Common Tongue. Weave into main plot and gently fold in the quests. Name all future story characters weird names. Blend carefully. Add a few dwarves and elves for good measure. Pour all this and the forgotten six parts of the Dark Lord into the final chapter. Serve up to your betas and hope they don't eat you!

Awkward Questions #1 and #2

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

When Query Letters Attack! (Take Two)

Dear Agent whose name I forget:
Will you represent it?
I'm meaning my book,
On which you should look.
Sincerely, The Next Dashiell Hammett

A
A
B
B
A

Ah, the art of Limerick-ing. The strict AABBA-ness of it all... If you change your mind, my book is on the line. Honey, it's still free, how 'bout representing me? If you want it, let me know, I'll send it 'round. I've got no place to go other than down...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Fortune in Writing

A few issues ago, Writer's Digest had a color-coded alert system called "Anxiety Levels for Writers." In that spirit I bring you:


Fortune Cookies for Writers



"Know what you write, don't write what you know."

"It is nver 2 late 2 leern 2 spel."

"In order to edit, you must first write."

"There is no such thing as just one draft." (There's no such thing as one rabbit.)

"Don't let adjectives overshadow your talents." (Don't let your limitations overshadow your abilities.)

"Today you will meet a tall, dark Someone. His name is Webster."

"Don't confuse there with they're or their." (Don't confuse recklessness with confidence.)

"Every (good) writer asks many questions." (Every wise man started out asking many questions.)

"Don't just act, think!" (Don't just think, act!)

"Long shelf-life is in store for you." (Long life is in store for you.)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Things I Should Do

Sometimes when things get overwhelming for me it's because there's too much in my head and not enough down on paper. On paper (or computer screen) I don't have to worry about forgetting things.

Where was I going with all this? Ah, yes... What I, As a Writer, Should Be Doing. My virtual list.

  • Write
  • Revise
  • Read fiction of different genres and lengths to keep abreast of trends, keep my mind sharp, learn from others' craft, etc.
  • Support my field: Read 'zines and mags of fiction. Donate where I can. Encourage the author when a story moves me, entertains me, rocks me
  • Keep abreast of the market: Read agents' blogs, follow them on twitter, read articles in writing magazines, internet, etc.
  • Track my submissions (Duotrope has a nifty feature for this)
  • Research

That's not everything, but these are definitely things I need to do.

__
What would you add?

Friday, July 16, 2010

When Query Letters Attack! (Take One)

Dear Mr./Mrs./Ms./It Agentious 1:

My novel "Da Bomb" is complete at 700,000 characters and is eagerly, anxiously, desirously awaiting your approval and pats on the head, cookies, sprinkles and cherries, etc.

"Bomb" is It's a Wonderful Life meets Lethal Weapon meets Napolean Dynomite meets The Muppets Take Manhattan meets Home Alone. When a man named George Bailey witnesses his wife's murder, he decides to move to France with his beloved Tater Tot (TM.) There he must make it in show business or be forced to live alone—at home—for the rest of his life... with BURGLARS!!

Bio: I am teh bestest author EVA!

Love,
The Bestest Author EVA!

P.S. Enclosed is a $100 bill and coupons to Olive Garden.
P.M.S. The enclosed $100 and Olive Garden coupons are for when we get together to discuss my book!
P.P.P.S. I like Olive Garden. I hope you do!!!!1
P.P.P.P.S. I also like crisp $100 bills and hope you do as well!!!1!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Music to My Ears

In my CD player right now: (Steve) Falling Down

When I'm editing, I need silence. When I'm creating, however, I like to play a good CD or listen to my playlist on YouTube.

For my novella Engineered Intuition, I listened to many different things. Here are some songs that inspired me:

- (Thom Yorke) Hearing Damage
Quirky, intense rhythm, muted singing, this song was characterstic of my faves to listen to while writing action scenes:

"I kicked again and again, yet he kept coming, like I hadn't struck him at all."


- (Sherlock Holmes soundtrack) Discombobulate
This one gets my heart pumping. It starts off softly and then BOOM! Good for suspense scenes.

"For the first and, unfortunately, not the last time, I thought I was going to
die."


- (Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog) Soundtrack
I love the whole CD. Great music. Easy-listening yet hilarious, this soundtrack got me through many, many scenes.

"Welcome to 'ell. The devil is 'ome. Whom might I say is calling?"

- (The Verve) Bittersweet Symphony
I love the strings! Very melancholy yet beautiful. Good for bittersweet or downer scenes ;)


"One day I'm going to grow tired of your questions--which are always the wrong
ones, I might add. One day, Miss Chase… one day you'll drive me to the edge."


__

... And that's just a small sampling of what I listen to while writing.

Confession: My biggest sources of musical inspiration were the first two Twlight soundtracks.