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Archive for March, 2010

Wouldn’t life be great if it was easy to make the “right” choices? If you had everything you needed and everyone was always happy? If crime was non-existent and the streets litter-free?

That’s life in the town of Candor, from the book CANDOR by first-time novelist Pam Bachorz.

The catch? Your thoughts aren’t your own. They are sent to you via messages broadcast non-stop at a frequency only your sub-conscious can detect. (more…)

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Heather and I recently travelled to Monterey, California to attend the Big Sur Writer’s workshop, sponsored by Andrea Brown Literary and The Henry Miller Foundation. It was an action-packed weekend of revision, critiquing and networking. As a testament to the experience, I went there thinking my latest manuscript was near done. I left with ideas for ways to make it stronger, a clearer vision of my story’s purpose and new writer friends to bounce ideas off of.

Different from a conference, the Big Sur’s workshop was  much more informal. Throughout the weekend we had four sessions of in-depth critiquing in small groups and one-on-one time with an agent or editor to go over a query letter, synopsis or the opening pages of a manuscript. I was impressed by the depth and breadth of critique from both the professionals as well as fellow writers. It’s amazing how feedback on three pages can be applied to an entire manuscript.

Some of the highlights for me were… (more…)

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A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth Bunce

Years ago, I read with great interest author Elizabeth Bunce‘s posts on the SCBWI discussion boards about selling A Curse Dark as Gold to Arthur A. Levine Books. When her book was published in 2008, I put it on my “to read” list…where it kept company with the dozens already there. See where this is going yet?

Most months I’m able to chisel out enough free hours* from my other responsibilities to read at least five books. Some months I even make it to that reading nirvana of ten or more. (You can check out my reading list if you’re curious.) Even with all that reading time, though,  A Curse Dark as Gold never made the leap from list to lap. Silly, stupid me, right?

Then last month at Springmingle, editor Cheryl Klein talked about how she came to acquire the manuscript (more…)

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Steampunk meets imac -

Has Scott Westerfeld seen this? What a great way to finish writing the Leviathan trilogy.

Want one yourself? Check out Old Time Computer to get the lowdown on these handcrafted covers and antique keyboards.

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Used with permission from Inkygirl.com

Writers often use plot outlines when planning a story, but this week I discovered how they can help in revising an existing manuscript.

My YA novel is currently in its third draft. With each version, I had gone through the manuscript cutting and reworking scenes to make significant plot and character changes. The changes were good, so the outcome would be good, right?

Wrong. I ended up with an inconsistent plot, based on a conglomerate of old and new ideas.

So this time I tried something new. (more…)

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I’ve spent hours at my favorite coffee shop this week, working hard to finish my post-critique revisions. As much as I try to block out the distractions, words still flicker in through my earplugs or over the ambient music.

And I love it.

Really, as a writer, there’s not much better than those unexpected gems gleaned from overheard conversation. So when the words “there’s no shame in that” drifted my way from one of the guys behind the counter, I stopped writing and started listening. Though the hiss of milk being steamed kept me from hearing what he and his customer were discussing, his words got me thinking. (more…)

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With Heather and Laura away on an extra-cool writerly trip (the lucky ducks!) and my fingers seriously stuck to the keyboard as I finish post-Springmingle-critique revisions, today seems like an excellent day to peek at another writing blog.

I highly suggest Ward Six, online home of two of my favorite writer friends, Rhian Ellis and J. Robert Lennon. JRL, brilliant novelist and Cornell writing prof that he is, recently offered up some advice on the errors beginning writers often make.

Turns out I’m a huge offender of (more…)

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