Friday, March 29, 2013

Celebrate the small things...

Man! Time goes by so fast! I can't believe it's Friday already!

Today, I celebrate one small thing.

I am happy I have a warm, dry house.

Which, if you think about it, it's not a small thing. So, I love my home and my family and I am thankful for that.

What about you?

Thanks Vikki for hosting:)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Pixar's Blog Challenge #3

I know. I'm late today. But smile now, because #3 is here! What does it say? See the original list here:

Story Sketches

#3: Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.

Theme. Do you always start a story with a theme? I must admit my goal has always been: What message do I want to portray in my story?

Now, I'll admit the hard hitting truth. My theme usually changes, evolves or CHANGES as I write. Why? Because when I first start on a story, I don't know my characters very well. As I write, I learn more about why they do the things they do and as I grow closer to them, I learn secret things about them.

These things often change my theme because when I thought "he" was a forgiving person, my theme was forgiveness. I soon discovered "he" held grudges and found it impossible to forgive, so my theme changed from forgiveness to redemption.

My point? I agree 100% with point #3 because by the time you finish a story, everything changes, from plot, to characters, to theme. Now that you know what your story is about, it's time to revise and fix that theme!

Don't forget to visit:

Kate

Mary

Regina

Alex

It's a short post today, beautiful guys and dolls, but it's been one of them days...



Wednesday, March 27, 2013

WIP'ed Ink Wednesday

Blogging Challenge: Pixars Story Basics #2

I have signed up to blog along with a few other bloggers (their links are at the bottom of this post. PLEASE visit them if you get  chance!) and I thought it would be a wonderful addition and help for writing advice. There are 22 sketches, so it will take several days to get through them all. I hope you enjoy!

The original list can be found here: Story Shots

I missed yesterday's Day #1, which was admiring a character because he tried more than because he was successful. I will try and make that one up later. IF not, Well, then I guess I missed #1. Oops!

So today, day #2, the point is: Keep in mind that what's interesting to you as a writer may not be as interesting to the audience.

This may be a hard one to grasp, initially. What? You mean everyone may not think my idea is fantastic? They won't all flock to buy my book by the hundreds, no thousands? Really?

It's true. Grin and bear it, dear writer. While your writing may be sensational and your plot line out of this world, but it may not be everyone's cup of tea. Let's face it. Not everyone is interested in reading paranormal, or fantasy, or historical. Not everyone is into romance novels. Tastes and preferences are so individual, just like writing talents.

So what does this mean? Does this mean if you don't follow trends and the Top Ten Bestsellers that you'll never be a successful author? Does it mean you are doomed to failure because you can't write vampire stories?

NO!

It means there is an intended audience out there for YOU and it's important that you know who that audience is. When you write for a specific niche, readers will love what you write because they love that genre and category.

To be success as a writer, an auhthor, it's important to know who your intended audience is and what they have come to expct in your genre. This strengthens your craft and your creativity.

You wouldn't pitch a horror story to the kindergarten teacher, would you?

Know your audience and watch your writing bloom into awesomeness!

Happy WIP'ed Ink, you beautiful guys and dolls!

Be sure and visit the others who are participating! They have amazing things to say...!!

Kate
Mary
Regina
Alex


Friday, March 22, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things...

It's Friday again and time to talk about the little things I appreciate. What could make for a better weekend then to start it off with a thankful heart?

1. I've gotten a partial request from an agent as a result of WriteOnCon!

You can see my entry here...

WriteOnCon

2. I received an R&R from another agent.

3. Tonight is movie night, so that means I get to relax with hubby and enjoy some family time. I can't wait!

4. My son made a A+ on one of his phonics tests. The first one ever!!!!

5. I've joined the A to Z Challenge, inspired by Alex J Cavanaugh (that is, I was inspired by Alex to join) and Blog Blitz. DL Hammons (of Write Club fabulousness) I think it's going to be a fantastic way of making some new friends! My Big Welcome posts for each of these next week!


What about you? What brought a smile to your face this week?


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

WIP'ed Ink Wednesday: Prophecy Girl Review

I chose to do a book review today for WIP'ed Ink because I can not stress enough the importance of reading to help improve your writing. I actually read a book that was outside my favorite genres, and I am so glad I did! Here's what I had to say about it:

PROPHECY GIRL, by Cecily White

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Paranormal is usually not my cup of tea. I love ghost stories, though, and stories dealing with angels.

So, when I got the awesome opportunity to review Prophecy Girl by Cecily White for Pam, I jumped at the chance. Why? Because I wanted to see what this genre was all about, I love YA books, and I wanted to stretch my horizons, go out on a limb, and go for the gold. I’m certainly glad I did!

I did have to get past the vampires and demons. I’m just being honest here, okay? But… beyond that, this book has a treat in store for you!

The action is non-stop. The plot lines just flows, then pops, then sizzles, then flows again. I was never lost, never wished for things to speed up or slow down, and felt like the pacing was right on track.

The MC was snappy and smart and a little snarky, which makes for a good YA character, and she also had her faults, which made her believable.

The writing was tight, dialogue witty and believable and flowed well.

Each scene was carefully crafted and built around a world so vivid I felt like the characters were right here beside, sharing in on all the action, humor and romance.

Speaking of romantic entanglements, you should be prepared to swoon and cry with love sickness. You may not be prepared for the intensity of feelings and emotions, but you’ll love it, I’m sure!

I promise, while reading this book, you’ll be going, “oooo!” and “Aaaawwww” and “Wow!” the whole time.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars only because I am not a fan of vamps and such, but I give the writing, world building, romance, and character creation 5 of 5 stars!!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Lose Until You Win


   

       So I’m going to get a little philosophical for my post this week. I think as writers in the query trenches, whether you’re querying something new or taking a break to write something you plan on querying, that we place too much weight on the end goal of being published.
            But wait! Don’t get me wrong. Just like every other writer out there, I dream of being published one day. Not only is it a dream for me, it’s a goal. It’s the boon at the end of my journey. It’s the thing I want most in this wacky world I call home. And I want it not just for me, but for someone else as well. Someone who no longer can achieve our shared goal.
                So please, hear me out.
Last year around this time, I heard about a local writers conference. I spent the next week prepping my novel for it, thinking I had this great shot at landing an agent. I spent an entire week doing nothing but that, and when I got to the conference, I found I was grossly underprepared. I then spent the entire summer after that rewriting the novel and querying again, but I was missing the essential pieces. When I kept getting rejection after rejection, I gave up. I stopped writing daily and got sucked into the weekly grind of working retail until I reached the point that I hadn’t written for months.
            When NaNoWriMo 2012 came, it was like the floodgates unleashed. I was completely swallowed up by writing GYRE because I hadn’t written anything for so long. I was writing until the early hours of the morning, during classes, and between orders at work. I was writing every chance I got, because I had forgotten how much fun writing for myself was, how therapeutic it was.
            Am I saying that querying this time last year was time wasted? Of course not! I learned so much about the road to landing an agent and trying to get published, and I also took the path that led me here today to write this to you all. If I hadn’t spent months trying to query CHRISTINE VENOM and pitch it at every contest I could get my hands on, if I hadn’t done WriteOnCon or attempted Pitch Wars or talked about Cupid’s Quiver/WanWc on Twitter, I wouldn’t even be here today.
            I guess what I’m trying to get at is this: yes, publication is the dream, it is the goal we all have. But isn’t it worth it to enjoy the journey as much as the prize at the end? Query if you’re ready to query, but roll with the rejections and keep writing. And I know, I know—easier said than done. Believe me, I know. But we’re all in this for the same simple thing: storytelling. It’s what we’re all born to do. It’s what we’re all good at. A subjective business shouldn’t stand in the way of us telling stories—so don’t let it.
            Just write. And write and write and write until all of the words are out. Until all the heroes finish their quests. Until even the bad guys get a happy ending.
            Do it because it’s what you were meant to do, because it’s fun.
            And don’t give up on publishing if the going gets tough. Why?
            Because if it were easy, it wouldn’t be worth it.

--Jess/WriteEye

Friday, March 15, 2013

Celebrating the Small Things and Final Show Off Day

Vikki, you've been such a doll during this blog hop. I want to start the celebrations by saying thank you for being so kind and sweet! I now look forward to Friday and often find myself thinking about the "small things" during the week and being more thankful:)

Today, I have so much to mention, let's just get started!

1. I'm thankful for Vikki, who started this whole thing anyway.

2. I'm thankful to everyone who takes time out of their busy life to visit Ink in the Book!

3. Guess what? I am now a Writer's Assistant for the awesome Kate Brauning! You can read all about her introductions here. She made me blush:)

4. Aaannnddd.... I'd like to announce my new job as Editorial Intern for Entranced Publishing! For which I am completely excited to be part of Entranced!!


Last, but certainly not least, today is the day for those involved in the SHOW OFF workshop to post their new, edited show off piece of writing.

Rules: it must be the same piece you posted earlier in the week, only I want to see you show off your improved writing where you removed the telling and added the showing.

I have pasted a piece of my writing that I re-wrote after submitting to Carrie Pestrito of the Prospect Agency and her feedback. Let me say, this is not endorsed by Carrie and I have not resubmitted to Carrie, but after taking her advice, I have revised my entire book. This is what I've learned:


When the courier heralded the message this morning at our front door, it broke my mother’s heart. She hid me in the attic for months in hope I would be safe, free to live a normal life. The snag in her silky scheme ripped apart at the seams when I told her about my secret desire to be chosen.

  
Yes, I wanted to be included with the chosen girls. I wanted to be known as his. Even if I weren’t chosen as his wife, I’d be forever bound to the King’s harem, and strange as that sounded, I wanted that.


My younger sister couldn’t be sent in my place, although my mother tried. My sister, Salmae, didn’t qualify because she wasn’t a virgin. I suppose when the King’s councilors found out about Salmae’s chastity status, they came for me instead.  

Post your new piece below and Carrie will be announcing her choice and the winner gets a one page critique from Carrie!! 


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wednesday's WIP: Fanfiction & Showing, Not Telling



           Hey guys! It's Jess, and I'm here to talk about what I learned from writing fanfiction, specifically in the areas of showing and not telling. But before I do, I want to remind everyone that you can still post your 250 words or any question you have on today's post and tomorrow's! Then, on Friday, post your revised 250 words for a chance to win a first page critique from Carrie Pestritto of Prospect Agency! Are you the biggest SHOW OFF?

           Now, about fanfiction and this week's workshop... as my writing skills are always a work in progress.
            I know what you’re thinking. “No, not another fanfiction post!” But hear me out!
            I started writing fanfiction before I ever started writing anything original. Of course, back then, I didn’t know what fanfiction was or even what to do with it. Since then, I’ve alternated with writing original fiction and fanfiction for a single purpose: it helps me learn how to write better.
            “What!” you say. “How can playing with someone else’s characters, setting and basic plot structures make you a better writer? Why don’t you just write your own stuff?”
            Well, here’s why: you get feedback (for the most part) on your writing, and nothing else. When I write my seaQuest stories, my readers already love the characters, the submarine, and the basic relationships that are already set up. So when they comment and leave reviews, it is all about how well I can carry out an original plot and all of the intricacies involved with that. Additionally, they’ll comment on grammar as well as—and here is the tie-in to this week’s workshop—showing rather than telling.
            I remember the first story I posted to FanFiction.net. It was a first season seaQuest story. I got a review for it that said, “Great job! You really know how to show and not tell!” When I read that, I didn’t really know what they meant. I read and reread the story, figuring it was just the way I wrote something—and I was right.
            But then I made the transition back to writing my original fiction, and I realized that whatever I did in that fanfiction story, I wasn’t doing in my original work.
            Basically, I’d learned from writing fanfiction.
            Below is an excerpt from that story, and maybe you can see what that reviewer meant (because I honestly still always don’t!):

---              ---           ---           ---       ---         ---       ---          ---          ---           ---          ---            -

Lucas watched, but couldn't hear, the conversation that played out between his father and Captain Bridger. He'd hacked into the sub's security cameras fifteen minutes ago so that he could watch this precise moment play out. A small pit of regret was beginning to form in his stomach for not being there to welcome his father, but he ignored it as best he could.

He saw his father mouth what appeared to be a question about where Lucas was, followed by Bridger going off about something that ended in his father shaking his head.

So the Captain hadn't told him where his quarters were located after all. Lucas made a mental note to thank the Captain for it at a later date.

He shut his computer off and lay on his bed, looking up at the ceiling. "What am I doing?" he asked himself aloud.

"Sleeping?" The question came from the aquatube to Lucas's left. He turned his head to see his dolphin friend looking at him from the other side of the glass.

"No, Darwin, I'm not sleeping."

"Lucas okay?" Darwin asked.

"Not really," he answered. He took a deep breath to calm the frustration that was beginning to build up within him. It was aimed at himself, and didn't feel like it was going to go away anytime soon. "Darwin, do you think it's stupid of me for not going to see my father when he came on board?"

Darwin seemed to pause for a moment to think about it before answering him with a question. "Lucas mad at him?"

He laughed once, though it was one with a frustrated undertone. "Yes, Darwin, I'm mad at him."

"Don't be."

Lucas turned all the way onto his side when the dolphin said that. "Why not?" he countered. "He nearly abandoned me here, stuck me on the seaQuest because there was nowhere else to send me."
"Lucas hates seaQuest?"

"No! No, Darwin, I…" The frustration at his own feelings got the better of him, and Lucas stood up and paced quickly the small space between his door and bed. "I think I… hate him, Darwin. I don't know what else to feel but anger and like I was a complete disappointment to him despite doing everything he asked of me."

"But father is member of Lucas pod?"

Lucas stopped pacing and turned his attention once again to the dolphin. "Well, yeah. He's my father, a part of my family whether I like it or not."

"Can't hate member of own pod," Darwin told him. "Not possible."

Lucas grabbed his PAL, stuck it in his pocket, and reached for the door handle. Before leaving, he mumbled, "It is when you're human."

 ---              ---           ---           ---       ---         ---       ---          ---          ---           ---          ---            ---          ---            ---       --- 

I think showing and not telling is one of those skills that comes easiest when either you’re nothing directly thinking about it or when you’re doing it strictly during the revision/editing process. For me, whenever I directly try to do it, it never happens. Maybe I just need practice.

But that is what this workshop week is for, no?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tuesday's Tinted Ink SHOW OFF!

I hope you enjoyed yesterday's workshop. I'm going to get right into today's class! But just to remind you, you can still post today (or in yesterday's post) for a chance to enter the first page critique from

Carrie Pestritto of Prospect Agency.

The point of the workshop is for you to take a piece of your writing - up to 250 words - and after the workshop, take what you have learned and and apply to it your writing. On Friday, post your revised version and the the biggest SHOW OFF wins!!

For today, here's what we've got:

We are talking about emotions:)

When writing, it's so easy to describe your character's emotions with words that YOU as the author may be feeling. Or you may want to express feelings and write in a way that YOU want the reader to grasp or feel. But showing feelings is just like showing details. Let me explain. Your character may have been traumatized, and you write, using words that express the feelings you want to portray. You may use words, like hurt, angry, withdrawn, paranoid, terrified, ashamed, and so on. Now, all those emotions may apply to your character, but one of the easiest ways to draw your readwr into your MC's world is to let THEM decide what to feel. Let's do some exercises like yesterday to show you what I mean.

I'll never forget how I felt when my mom died. I was devastated.

In those sentences, all I did was tell you what my MC felt after she experienced a death in her family. By writing it this way, I didn't give my reader any opportunity to feel anything. So, I'll add some details and try again.

Even if I live a thousand lives, I'll never forget how completely alone I felt after my mother died. Days turned to weeks and weeks turned to months and still, it seemed every time I turned around, something reminded me of her. I don't think I'll ever be able to move on.

With these details, all I've done was add to the telling. I haven't given the reader a reason to love the MC or her mother, nor I have given the reader a way to suffer with the MC.

Whenever work distracted me during my visits with mom, her soft hand patted my arm and she smiled at me. She always forgave me. As her sight faded, the smell of fresh flowers on the table helped mom relax, even though she couldn't go outside anymore. At the sound of my voice, she clapped her hands and weakly patted the edge of her edge of her, inviting me to sit a spell. This morning, I filled her coffee cup to the brim, the way she liked it- before I remembered.

In this version, because I didn't come right out and tell you my MC loved her mother and still can't believe she's gone, I gave my reader the chance to make that connection on their own. This means, the reader must engage with my details and as a result, the reader has an opportunity to be emotionally connected and engaged with my MC.

So, what about you? Do you have something you need to work on and SHOW OFF?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Monday's Mixed Ink Show off

I've really, really been looking forward to this week! I'm so happy to see YOU here!

Flickr link
This week is all about being a show off. I know we've all heard that phrase, "Stop being a show off!" right? Well, in writing, you've got to be a show off. Yes, there are times when tell is better or more appropriate, but I've heard it over and over again, SHOW, DON"T TELL.

I'll be honest. At first, I just didn't want to listen. After all, writing a story was TELLING a story and how do you tell a story if you don't "tell" huh? Even after I studied article after article and book after book about what showing is, I still don't have it completely down, but I'm working on it.

After receiving FIVE different critiques, with two of them from agents, and all of them saying "You have too much telling in your writing" I decided it was time to learn what that meant:)

So, I'm hosting a SHOW OFF workshop and guess what, guys? The lovely and talented

Carrie Pestritto of the Prospect Agency

will be giving a one page critique to the writer who is the biggest show off! That's right! It's time to pull out a 250 word selection from your manuscript and post it in the comments today and tomorrow. On Friday, I'll ask you to post your new, revised selection that best shows the places you have removed telling and replaced it with showing.

Carries has graciously agreed to critique the most improved!!

So, lets' get started, shall we?

First class: Show off your details

What does that mean? Let she show by example:

The little boy was sleepy.

That sentence is telling. It simply says a boring detail that doesn't excite me or give any details. At all. So, let me add some detail and see what happens.

The blue-eyed toddler boy wore a helmet of silver and traces of sticky candy circled his mouth. His dress up army outfit fell off his shoulders and the pants leg wrinkled under his feet and he looked so tired. He was strong-willed and I knew he would rather play army man then take a nap. It would be a struggle.

This version has some details, but how are they relevant to the story? They are nice, but they don't add to the story. They're random and out of place. Plus, there's still some telling going on. Let's try again...

His tired eyes squinted into red-rimmed cracks. He pushed his army helmet down over his brows, his eyes barely showing from the over-sized hat. One hand clinched a half eaten candy bar, the other waved a plastic pistol. "You mean enemy! I'll never surrender to a nap!"

Now, what does this selection show you? There's a tired little boy who doesn't want to sleep, but he is stubborn! But writing this, this way, I leave a few options for you, the reader. You may have a completely different thought. You may think, " Man, that boy needs a spanking!" or maybe "He's so creative, I hope he never loses his great imagination!"

By showing off, I left some things open for the reader to decide. I built on the details in an engaging way, and I kept it interesting rather than boring!

Now, beautiful guys and dolls, if you want to participate in the workshop, feel free to comment and leave your sample. At the end of the week, you'll be given the chance to show off you improvements and win a critique from Carrie!






Friday, March 8, 2013

Celebrate The Small Things

Hey guys! I'm posting on my phone today so I'll be short and sweet:)

Remember last weekend when I said my son and his fiancé were in staying with me, planning their wedding? Well this weekend, my OTHER son and his fiancé are staying with us, planning their wedding!!

Busy year for me! Two weddings and a new grand baby! WooHoo!!

Have a great weekend beautiful guys and dolls. I promise to visit everyone's blog later. As soon as I have stable Internet:)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

WIP'ed Ink on Thursday

Hey all you beautiful guys and dolls!

I know. I missed yesterday. So sorry, guys! We had a fantastic "How I Got My Agent" blog post. Plus, I forgot it was the first Wednesday of the the month, which means ISWG day! I didn't want to post too much stuff at one time.

Thank goodness you guys are so understanding and patient:)

I'm so excited to announce the Show Off Workshop!

Showing vs. Telling. I thought I had this all figured out, but after a couple of critiques from agents and they all saying the same thing, I decided it was time to learn to be a show off instead of everyone telling on me:)

So, here's the details: There will be 5 mini classes. Each class will discuss a separate aspect for showing off. Here's the list!

1. Show off Your Details
2. Get All Emotional
3. Helping Your Reader Be a Show off
4. Understanding a Show off
5. Show off Specifically Good

This workshop is running all next week, Monday thru Friday. And everyone who participates  will have a chance to show off their improvements with an agent contest! That's right! Thee will ba an agent judged contest for the most improved show off!

Who's ready to show off! I won't tell on you. I promise!!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

How I Got My Agent




Good morning from the Investigator, aka Naomi Hughes! Last week I was honored to join Team Fury, headed by the amazing Louise Fury of the L. Perkins Agency. Here's how it happened.

I’ve always been a lover of stories, especially young adult books “with a twist.” Something about them is addictive: the humor, the unexpected poignancy, the impossible romances. They’ve been my staple for over a decade now, even when I felt guilty for reading about werewolves and angels while my college friends were reading *insert stuffy voice* “important literature.”

I’ve always loved making my own stories, too. Writing is my passion, but after a while I kind of stopped dreaming. It was too hard, and I wasn’t good enough—or so the little voice in my head kept saying. I wrote a few for-fun books in junior high and high school, but things dried up in the cynicism of college and, later, during my attempts to find a “real” job. I tried journalism, photography, secretarial work, and librarianship, and all of it was okay, but none of it was fulfilling.

Then one random day last September, I had a daydream about this really cool scene and started writing what turned out to be a book. When I finished (three weeks later), I sent out about forty query letters to agents, and was very depressed when most of them were rejected. Then I got determined. Writing was my DREAM. Was I really just going to give it a half-hearted shot for a month and then give up?

So I started writing another manuscript called “The Shadowed Flame,” about a goofy, brave, cocky-but-vulnerable Unicorn Rider named Jackson. This time, I tracked down beta readers (and a few hapless family members, including my wonderful husband) to tell me what was wrong with it before I started querying. Being able to swallow critique graciously and use it to make your work better is without question the hardest part of being a mature author. But darn it, I LOVED writing, I was going to be GOOD, I was going to get PUBLISHED, and for that I had to improve. So I did.

I read every post on craft I could find. I read books on outlining, on hooking readers, on the parts of a story. I spent about six hours a day writing, revising, re-reading and re-revising. I got better, and I loved every second of it.

Then in December, I found out about an online contest called Pitch Wars (God bless you, Brenda Drake). I was chosen as an alternate, and my awesome mentor Danielle Ellison was kind enough to read my manuscript and tell me the truth: it was a good concept, but it wasn’t ready. The first and second half felt completely different, there were several unnecessary characters, and the pacing was off.

I was discouraged. I would have to start from scratch if I wanted to go on. After a lot of angst, I decided that I loved Jackson too much to let him go. When the agent round of the contest rolled around, I was a few chapters into my brand-new rewrite. One of the agent judges, the incomparable Louise Fury, loved my pitch and first page and wanted my full manuscript. After I explained the situation, she was gracious enough to agree to wait a few weeks for me to finish the new version.

I kicked it into high gear: I woke up before dawn, wrote for two hours before going to work, came home early in the afternoon and wrote until dark. And it was good. I could feel the difference in the story, in the voice. This one might have a shot, I thought.

When I finished, I sent the manuscript to Louise. The next day, she emailed me to tell me that she was only a quarter of the way through so far, but she wanted to know if I had it out with any other agents (I did, about twenty). The following morning, I got an email saying she’d finished it and wanted to call to offer me representation. She adored my book. She loved my writing. I was sure I must be dreaming.

She was AMAZING. She laid everything out—edits it needed, why she loved it (I may have squealed a little to myself at that point), where she thought it might find a home. Everything she said was exactly on track with my vision for the book, and I was even especially excited about the edits, because they made SO MUCH SENSE and would make the book so much better. We set a deadline and I got to work nudging the agents I felt could compete with her (it was a very short list) and respectfully withdrawing the rest of my queries.

I got about a 50% interest rate from the agents I nudged, but all five of them ended up stepping aside with congratulations and praise for my quirky manuscript, which they all liked but just didn't fall in love with. Honestly, I’m glad none of them offered, because it would’ve been a gut-wrenching decision and Louise SO would’ve won anyway! I accepted her offer the day before our deadline. She’s an enthusiastic, amazing, efficient juggernaut of an agent (with a cool accent to boot), and I’m absolutely thrilled to be the newest member of Team Fury. I can’t wait to see what the next few months will hold.

What did I learn from all of this? Do what you love. Do whatever it takes to be the best you can at it. If you ever hear that little voice that says “It’s too hard, you’re not good enough,” don’t listen. And never stop dreaming.

ISWG March Post

You can click here, at Alex's blog, for a list of other participants, and visit an AWESOME blog.

This month has been a roller coaster of emotions for me as a writer. I joined and few contest and won. In one contest, I advanced to the 2nd round, but did not win the agent round. In another, I won up to the agent round, but didn't get an agent comment.

So, I feel in between the lines. Yay, for advancing some. Boo for not making it to the top. And by top, I mean at least getting an agent request.

But I am really not depressed about this. The reason is I learned something very, VERY valuable that has improved my writing immensely! Yes, I still need to improve. I am a firm believer that you never stop learning.

As for insecurities this month, I honestly don't know what to say. I want to stay positive. Smile. Nod with that reassuring peace that it will happen one day.

And it will. I know it will. The process may take a while and the road may be lond and hard, but the end of the journey will be so worth it.

What's there to complain about????

I'm taking al the sunshine I can get right now, Next month, it may be a whole different story I share!

So, what about you? Are you smiling and laughing this month, or do you need a shoulder to cry on? I'm here for whichever you need. Let me know:)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

And the Winners Are...


Hey everyone, Write Eye here. I hope everyone's week is going well! I'm here to announce the winners of our Ink Party Giveaways! I won't babble on for long, so don't worry. I know you all want to know who won :)


AMAZON GIFTCARD

Winner: Acadia Otlowski




THE INVESTIGATOR'S QUERY LETTER CRITIQUE
Connie Michael




THE CURATOR's Query + First 250 WORDS
Krystal Marquis




PATCHWORK PRINCESS' FIRST PAGE CRITIQUE
Aldrea Alien




WRITE EYE'S PITCH CRITIQUES
1. Prerna Pickett
2. Katie Teller
3. Nancy LaRonda Johnson




CONTEMP GIRL'S STARBUCKS GIFT CARD
T.J.




INK GIRL'S INSPIRATION PDF
Amy Cantor Pine

All of the winners should have received an email by their respective giveaway's host yesterday (Monday). If for some reason you didn't, please leave a comment down below.

We thank everyone again for entering. All of us here at Bound By Ink are so excited to start this journey with all of you, and I for one cannot wait to meet all of you here in this lovely virtual space next week after my first post.

Until then, have a great week. Stay safe. And don't fight the winds, they'll lead you where you need to go.

Monday, March 4, 2013

How I Found My Agent


Happy Monday, everyone! We hope you all had fun meeting the team during our blog party. The winners of our giveaways have been chosen and will be revealed on the blog tomorrow!

And now, here’s my “How I Found My Agent” story (I hope you like it!):  

“How I Found My Agent” stories hold a special place in my heart. They sustained me through some of the more difficult moments, when the rejections felt like they were piling up, when I wondered if I was really meant to do this whole writing thing or if I should have just gone to law school like my dad wanted. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE writing. If I go a day without writing, I get extremely cranky and my husband knows to steer clear. But we all have those moments full of self-doubt, when we just need to be reminded that it WILL happen for us, we just don’t know when.

I started writing seriously (with the intention of getting published) three years ago, during Spring Quarter of my senior year in college. My first two manuscripts were a paranormal romance followed by an urban fantasy. I queried, got a couple full requests, but ultimately didn’t get very far with them. After the second MS went through the query ringer, I realized what my problem was: I still hadn’t found my voice. My reading habits in high school consisted mostly of three authors: Sherrilyn Kenyon, Karen Marie Moning, and Nora Roberts [I didn’t actually discover YA (aside from Harry Potter) until my first year in college. Sounds weird, I know, but the only “bookstore” in my town at the time was Kmart, and they pretty much only sold paperback romances]. Needless to say, I loved all things paranormal/supernatural/fantastical, but instead of finding my own way to express those ideas, I was emulating these other amazing writers. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. All writing is practice, and practice makes perfect, but still, I knew if I was ever going to get published, I needed to take some time off, read WIDELY, and discover my voice.

Next I wrote a YA historical mystery set in the 1950s. It was better. It was closer to my voice. But it still wasn’t me. I realized this early on and the MS didn’t make it past the second draft. During this time, I discovered steampunk, and it was like a whole new world of possibilities opened up to me. I’ve always felt like I was born in the wrong era (though I am thankful for modern medicine, not going to lie), and I felt like steampunk as a genre was right up my alley.

So I decided to try my hand at a YA steampunk romance.

I wrote the first, very sloppy draft during NaNoWriMo 2011. After going through one major rewrite and several revisions, I started querying at the end of May. After my first couple rounds of querying, I ended up with 5 full requests and 12 rejections. Not too shabby. But then the full rejections started coming in. I felt a little deflated (as all writers do when this happens), but I kept querying.

Then the most amazing thing happened at the end of the summer: a REVISE-AND-RESUBMIT REQUEST!!! I was over-the-moon excited about this, I can’t even tell you. I’d never gotten an R&R before, and I felt like I was finally moving up the ladder toward landing an agent (even if it was just one, tiny rung). So I buckled down, dove into the revision cave, and didn’t resurface for a couple months.

It just so happened that I finished revisions at the same time as the call for submissions went out for MSFV's Baker’s Dozen contest. I figured it didn’t hurt to try, so I sent in my submission. And guys? I GOT IN. I was riding high again.

Then Brenda Drake announced her new contest, Pitch Wars, and it seemed like another great opportunity to get my manuscript out there, but also to meet some amazing writers and really join the online writing community (as opposed to just standing idly in the corner. Pitch Wars was my Patrick “Nobody puts Baby in a corner” Swayze, with less hip movement). I was floored when Sarah Nicolas chose me to be on her team. With Sarah’s advice, I revised again, sent in my pitch and first 250, and reminded myself not to get too excited. I felt like I’d already “won” by getting to meet so many talented writers, even if I didn’t get any requests.

In total, I received 5 requests from Baker’s Dozen and 8 from Pitch Wars. I sent my full requests from Pitch Wars on a Thursday, then told myself to stop thinking about it and focus on a new WIP (the best way to deal with anxiety). On Saturday, I got the Best. Email. Ever.

Peter Knapp loved my MS and wanted to talk.

!!!!! *hyperventilating* !!!!!

I was a bundle of nerves (literally shaking) in the hours leading up to The Call, but it turned out I had no reason to be nervous. Pete put me entirely at ease from the moment I answered the phone. We talked about what he really loved about my MS, what needed work, and he was SPOT ON. I felt like he really understood my voice and my manuscript, and as soon as I hung up the phone, I broke into a dance that had my dog running for the next room.

I contacted all of the other agents with requested material and gave them a deadline of one week to get back to me. I ended up with three offers (and a lot of congratulations, agents are seriously the nicest people I’ve ever met), but by then, the answer was kind of a no-brainer for me. Pete and I just clicked.

So, that’s the story of how I found my agent, Peter Knapp of The Park Literary Group.

If I had one piece of advice to give all writers out there, whether you’re just sitting down to write “Chapter One”, or thinking about writing “Chapter One”, or starting the querying process for the first time, or starting the querying process for what feels like the billionth time, it would be this: Don’t give up. I know it’s probably a cliché by now, but it’s true. Don’t stop writing if it’s what you really love. Don’t go to law school because that’s what your parents want if you don’t want it, too. My dream is to be published someday, but I also feel like just being able to write every day is a dream come true on its own. If you feel that way too, then you are a real writer, and don’t let anyone tell you differently.

Monday's Mixed Ink

Hey you beautiful Guys and Dolls!

I'm so excited about the new writing group Bound By Ink! There's a nice variety of genres represented by each writer and we all have our own individual talents and strengths. I have great dreams for my new team!!

Today, we'll be featuring an awesomely wonderful post on HOW I GOT MY AGENT. Not me, guys. I'm still in the query trenches! But THE CURATOR will be telling us all the juicy details about how she got her great agent. You don't want to miss it! She's posting early this afternoon. I'm so excited!

Since mixed ink posts are about a variety of subjects, today, I thought I'd share a few links about agents since Chelsea will be posting agent stuff. Enjoy these interviews and links!

YA Misfits

Adventures in YA Writing

The Writers Lens

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Meet the Bound By Ink Writers Group!

Hey everyone! Welcome to the big reveal of a wonderful writers group,  and we call ourselves

 Bound by Ink!





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JESS HARVEY aka WRITE EYE

Hi! I’m WriteEye, aka Jess Harvey. WriteEye is the punny name I used for our old group, but I kind of became attached to it so it stuck. I write YA & NA Fantasy and Science Fiction, so I guess the pirates theme wraps it all together: pirates existed in real life, fantasy and in sci-fi! My current WIP is seaQuest DSV meets The Guardians of Time. It centers on the descendant of Atlantean rebels who would rather run a show with her rock band in Boston than fight an age-old war, and the engineering intern on a top-secret submarine who has enough secrets of his own to drown them all.

I came to Bound By Ink from our previous incarnation of a WanWc (Write a Novel With Cupid) team. I will be heading up giveaways and some of our Twitter work.

For our Blog Party I am giving away THREE pitch critiques. The pitches must be 35 words or less, OR Twitter-length pitches, with one critique per person, making for three winners. To enter, just fill out this Rafflecopter form, follow me on Twitter (easy entry if you already do!) and I’ll select three winners at the end of the INK PARTY!

Twitter: @xomiragexo24





a Rafflecopter giveaway




TALYNN LYNN aka INK GIRL

Hey everyone! I'm Ink Girl. I chose this avatar because I love writing with ink, anything inspirational, and I love all things girly. If I can inspire writers (myself included!) it puts a smile on my face. My current WIP is something I'd liken to The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and the Princess Diaries. All girl, all fun:) It's in the earliest stages, but the main characters are girls from different cultural backgrounds  who met through a writing group. The girls become best friends while writing a story together that becomes all too real for the ink to stay inside the pages of their story.

For my give away, I'm donating a PDF sample full of Inspiration and creativity I wrote for my Agent Ink Workshop. To enter, just fill out this Rafflecopter form:

Twitter: @TalynnL

Friday, March 1, 2013

Celebrate The Small Things AND Bound by Ink!

Today is HUGE! Thank you, Vikki, for hosting such an awesome blog hop.

I'm sorry I forgot last week to post. By the time I remembered it was Friday, it was too late to post. Oh, the joys of getting old...hehe!

What am I celebrating today?

1. My son's fiance came down for the weekend and we are talking weddings stuff all weekend!

2. I had a fabulous birthday on Tuesday!

3. Today, I am celebrating the the blog launch of Writers Unite, Bound By Ink! There are 6 of us who are members and we will each be posting THREE times every week, sometimes more when there are special occasions of extra things, such as interviews, reviews, and such!

The big kick off is tomorrow, but I wanted to let everyone know today, kinda celebrate with a party! So, here's some party supplies:






And tomorrow, you will find a brand new link page at the top of the blog. And tomorrow, you will be able to click on the link and I can introduce you to the team! We have cool avatars and everything! Plus, we'll be giving away some awesome gifts with our very own raffle copter!!

It's party time, you beautiful guys and dolls! I hope you stop by and say hello, grab some cake and come back for a gift and meet Bound By Ink Writers Group

Go ahead and get signed up below to get the party started!


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