January 29, 2011

Contest is Ending January 31st!

Don't forget to enter into my Celebrating 50 Followers giveaway. It ends January 31st! Enter for your chance to win Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones, Wendy's Writer Digest Guide to Query Letters or a $20 Amazon gift card.

Enter here!

January 24, 2011

Open Range

February is the time when I send out my second novel to my final BETA readers. Yep, the MS has been torn apart, put back together and edited within an inch of it's life.

So what now?

Really my only goal this year was to get ALL BECAUSE OF YOU ready and submitted to agents. So in February, while my BETAs are reading, I am open to critiques.

Need a critique of your first chapter, your synopsis, query or your entire MS? February is the time to send it to me! I don't charge, but I am really detailed. So I hope you're willing to hate me after you receive the final read through.

How to submit to me: First, read my Services page so you understand my guarantee. Second, email me (on the Contact page) with whatever you need help with. It's that simple!

I am taking a break from writing (but not school) in the month of February - so give me about two days for your single chapters to be reviewed and week-week and a half for your entire MS.

If you submit to me between the dates of February 1 and February 28 your project WILL BE CRITIQUED, even if March comes and I have to get back to work :)

January 19, 2011

Celebrating 50 Followers!

You guys are amazing! 50 followers - that's a lot for me. I'm impressed you've all stuck around and in return, the winner of this giveaway shall be granted a gift :) Spread the word!

All you have to do is leave a comment with which item you want from these by January 31st:

The Lovely Bones by Alive Sebold
The Writer's Digest Guide to Query Letters by Wendy Burt-Thomas

OR if you're not the book type

$20 Amazon.com Gift Card

Thanks for following me on this journey! You guys ROCK!

January 17, 2011

Get with THAT Program

Of course, joining professional organizations offers a lot of benefits. But why should you, there, sitting at your computer, reading this blog post, write that check every year?

First and foremost "You will be revitalized by interacting with your peers. You can brainstorm, learn, and grow as a professional and writers can really benefit from teaming up with each other, " says author and platform guru Cristina Katz in her book Get Known Before the Book Deal.

And not only will you get the help and support you need throughout your writing career, but you can take advantage of writing classes and will start to accrue credentials. Being a part of an official writing organization such as Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, and others, gives you the ability to learn more about your specific genre and leads that agent or editor you've been working so hard for to take you a bit more seriously.

Organizations like these count as experience!

I'm not saying go out and join these two groups because I say so. You have your own genre to write. Whether its romance, mystery, suspense, paranormal, fantasy/sci-fi, or steampunk - any organization you join and stick to a meeting schedule with will help you with those pesky novel elements (plotting, GMC, etc) and keep you updated on what the market is looking for.

It seems this industry is changing faster than any of us can keep up with, but honing your craft and showing an agent you have a bit more experience than the other 1,000 submissions she gets every month is going to give you that chance to make it out of the slushpile.

What organizations do you belong to in order to hone your craft and grab that credential? If you aren't part of a writers group, would you ever be interested in joining?

January 13, 2011

How much is too much?

I found a comment by my awesome BETA reader, Sara, very interesting. In my suspense, ALL BECAUSE OF YOU, most of my chapters are between 30 and 35 pages. This is double-spaced of course. Times New Roman 12 pt. font. She suggested cutting them in half. So instead of having 13 chapters between 30 and 35 pages, I would have 26 chapters between 15-17 pages.

For some reason, when I was constructing my chapters, I kept the idea in my mind that when (or if) my book is published, the pages would be printed differently. It's not like they just shrink the pages down, right? So I'm thinking when in print, the chapters will actually be shorter physically. Not only are the pages double-sided, but the print is smaller. Do you get what I'm saying?

What do you think? Is 30-35 pages too much for one chapter?

January 9, 2011

Blasted GMC

Goal, motivation and conflict. As writer's we've all heard it, but what does it really mean?

If you're a fiction writer and you haven't checked out Debra Dixon's book Goal, Motivation and Conflict, go do it. Now. This book completely changed my MS, making it stronger, clearer and believable.

Isn't that what we all want in our work?

So what is GMC? Well, the simplest way to explain is to show you first.
Having a GMC chart for each character, no matter if they are your main or secondary characters, is a MUST. This screen shot is for my secondary characters in my novel ALL BECAUSE OF YOU. Understanding every character's GMC will save you time, frustration and bring your plot across clearly.

Your character's goal is what they are working toward. What do each of your characters want emotionally and physically (internally and externally)?

Next, is motivation. Why do they want to achieve their goal? You should be able to answer this question with "Because...". What drives them toward their goal internally and externally?

And finally, conflict. Why can't they achieve their goals? What is holding them back? Emotionally, your own character is holding themselves back in some way. But why? Physically is simple. For your protagonist, what is your antagonist doing to thwart their goals?

It seems simple, but in my experience, I had more trouble deciphering my character's GMC than plotting my novel!

One last element of my GMC chart is the Dominant Tag (highlighted in pink). Debra Dixon suggests using this to keep your GMC simple. Using an adjective + an adverb will keep your character in focus. For example, my main character is Adelaide. Her brother, Taigen, only wants the best for her, no matter what he has to do. He constantly worries over her and therefore, the tag "Overprotective brother" fits him nicely. 

I really recommend finding a copy of Goal, Motivation and Conflict. Not only will it help you get a better reign on your characters, it stresses the importance of each element in order to make your story believable and enjoyable to your reader.

January 1, 2011

A Little Late...But Amazing

Some good new first...the article I wrote, "5 Steps to a Perfect Submisson", was submitted and accepted by the editor of my Romance Writer's of America chapter here in Las Vegas. And in turn, was posted on EditorLink and accepted by the Wisconsin Romance Writer's of America chapter for use in their newletter!

Yes, this is just something small, but also an accomplishment for me. So I'm pretty happy right now.

You may have noticed a change in the web address above. I changed it so my name isn't included in the address. I have problems using my real name on the Internet sometimes. So until I come up with a psuedo, I'm just The Las Vegas Writer. :) Thinking of using my grandmother's married name with my first ititial, but haven't decided.

Now, onto the meat of the post!

Last year, I only had two goals. They were small and manageable and I completed both.

1. Read 50 new books (ones that I've never read before).
2. Finish a short story.

Done and done. Yep, it's time to make a new list.

1. Pass my classes (that's what takes up most of my time now days).
2. Submit/query my second novel, ALL BECAUSE OF YOU.

I'm keeping the list short. With school, it's hard to tell how much reading I'll be able to accomplish or how much writing I'll be able to tackle. I know I want to try to revise and edit my third novel, ALL OR NOTHING, but it's not going on the list just yet.

What are your goals this year? Are they more writing-related than mine?