Click here for more information about the Debbie Dougan Scholarship Donation

Follow by Email

Friday, May 30, 2008

Weekly Writing Prompt

Pretty straight forward today : ) I give you a word, you mull it over for a little while, let some characters join in the mulling and then write whatever comes to mind. All you have to do, is keep that word or the sentiment it invokes, in your mind. Easy, right? Okay then! The word is "Thunder".
Got it? Good. Get Writing!

Quote of the Week

"So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray, Go throw your TV set away, And in its place you can install, A lovely bookshelf on the wall."

— Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Monday, May 26, 2008

Don’t forget to read!

This is probably like preaching to the choir but it should be said as a reminder how important reading is to writing. And no, not just books on craft that teach you all sorts of methods, tips, tricks and theories on how to write, but good ol’ novels that take hold of you and don’t let go.

Reading for pleasure is vital to the writing process. How else can we write novels readers will get lost in if we don’t get lost ourselves? The process of falling in love with a book is a valuable tool. Yes, you can examine the methods an author used to write such a gripping novel. You can identify the types of suspense, character development (or lack thereof), use of goal, motivation and conflict an author utilized to snag you as a reader and all of that would be educational—true. However there is another reason to get lost in a good book more vital that learning why it is so good.

Falling in love with a story is the ultimate burst of motivation, the spark that will ignite your imagination to get you to face the page in your own writing. If you are a writer, reading a wonderful book will only make you more determined to write one.

Sometimes I get so buried in writing (along with all the other million of things in life) that I forget to pick up and read a book for pleasure. Then I pick one up, get sucked in, skip meals, won’t answer the phone, make the kids forage for their own food because I don’t want to put the book down. My creativity starts to buzz and wiggle and when I face the page again, I’m ready for my fingers to fly!

Recently I have been doing another reread of the Harry Potter series. I savor each one, laughing—crying—wanting to kill Umbridge. I finish one and can’t start the next one fast enough.

Reading makes you a better writer. So—what good books have you read lately?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Weekly Writing Prompt

You've got two choices this week : )

For those of you "serious" about your writing, doing the query and submit thing, waiting for The Call, make yourself a character... and write your launch party. Invite other characters to join you -- maybe all the characters you've created over the years! Write the joy of the launch party of your first - or next! - book.

For those of you writing for the sheer joy of it with no current business plans, I'm going to give a one word prompt. With that one word in mind, write a short piece or scene (or poem, whatever gets the pen rolling) which features your wip characters or characters created for the purpose of this exercises (or no characters if you're writing a poem, I guess. I don't write poems. I guess it shows *s). All clear? Okay. Your word for this week is picnic.

Got it? Good! Get writing!

Feel free to leave a comment letting us know if this exercise helped get your creativity in motion and/or helped you visualize your success.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Quote of the Week

Writing isn't generally a lucrative source of income; only a few, exceptional writers reach the income levels associated with the best-sellers. Rather, most of us write because we can make a modest living, or even supplement our day jobs, doing something about which we feel passionately. Even at the worst of times, when nothing goes right, when the prose is clumsy and the ideas feel stale, at least we're doing something that we genuinely love. There's no other reason to work this hard, except that love.

- Melissa Scott

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Incentive

Since I just launched my book, Death by Bikini, we decided it would be fun to include a post about the launch at Face the Page. Not a promotional post - I do that stuff over on my own blog - but more of an incentive post. Things like launches make all those solitary moments and struggles to find time and motivation and the muse worth it!

To kick of the launch weekend, I held a blog party and invited several other YA authors to guest blog and celebrate with me. This turned out to be super fun and generated a lot of traffic. The best part about it, though, is that I could completely revel for three days straight that my book had hit the shelves. : ) You can't really do that in real life. Not without your friends getting reeeaaallly tired of you.

On Friday, I hit Upper Arlington for a author visit and signing. They had a huge cake with the bikini logo on it and so even the guys stopped by the signing table. The funniest question I got asked: "How old were you when you wrote this book?" LOL

Friday night, my DH hosted a book launch for our friends and neighbors. We had a great turn out and it was a lot of fun, but it was interesting to me the people who I think truly expected me to be handing out books at the party instead of my DH's gentle suggestion that they go grab a copy or two at the bookstore. "They make great gifts!"

Saturday was a taste of humble pie. I had a signing at Barnes and Noble and... they didn't advertise it. I know, right? Why host a signing if you don't really care if anyone comes. I had to hand sell every copy we sent out the door, and believe me, that is not in my comfort zone. I have now been through the initiatory awkward book signing, so I know what to do and not do next time around. That said, the staff at B&N was great and I got a peek at the inner workings of bookseller brains (more on that in another post) so it wasn't all bad.

Sunday I wrapped up the blog party by announcing winners of all the great book giveaways and prizes and wrote thank you's to the authors who participated and read through all the congratulatory emails that I didn't have time to get to on Thursday or Friday. It was a completely Aaaaawwww feel-good day.

This week I have two more school visits and I will consider myself successfully and completely launched.

All the above was exhausting and exciting and exactly what I used to dream about when I first started writing. I guess the message of this whole thing is that by facing the page every day, great things can happen.

Write on!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Quote of the Week

In honor of the today's release of the wonderful YA novel, Death By Bikini by our very own talented Linda Gerber...

It is the writer who might catch the imagination of young people, and plant a seed that will flower and come to fruition.
- Isaac Asimov


***Note: Death By Bikini is a book for all ages! Go get it! Read it! Savor and love it! Buy another for a friend! It's FAB!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

When Writing is Your Second (or Third) Job

So, in addition to being a writer, I'm an actress. I also work part-time as an assistant. Not to mention taking care of my husband and the household. So in between all of those things, when do I find time to write?

Well, I just said it. In between all of those things.

It's hard when you want to write full-time, but you can't because it doesn't pay the bills. But you're still a committed writer, so you've got to find the time and space around your other commitments to find the time to write.

This is where my lists come in. I have a daily planner - an actual book, not a Blackberry or iPhone - with one page for each day. Every Sunday or Monday, I make a daily list for the coming week. I look at each day. If I have to work from 9-6, and then have rehearsal from 7-10, chances are I'm not going to get any writing done. So I don't even put it on the list. That way, at the end of the day if I haven't written, I don't beat myself up about it.

But on a day when I don't work, or I have rehearsal from 10-2 and the rest of the day free, I put writing on the list. And boy it feels good to check it off when I've done it!

It IS frustrating when I want to be writing eight hours a day, not working as someone else's assistant. That's why I try to make the most of the time when I CAN write.

It takes a commitment, and it takes persistance. It would be a lot easier to go home and flick on the TV instead of facing the page. But when I choose to face the page instead, I'm choosing to get myself that much closer to the day when I WILL be able to write full-time, and someone else will be MY assistant!

Monday, May 12, 2008

weekly writing prompt - under the weather

Did you ever notice that when you read a book, most of the time the main characters are in great health? No one is struggling to breathe through a cold or think through a migraine. Sure, you get the idiotic heroine who runs in high heels and twists her ankle, but you know as soon as she goes down either the monster is going to devour her or the romantic hero is going to rescue her. Either way, she's not dealing with pain.
But writing a character who's trying to overcome some health issue can add a very enriching layer to a scene. So for this week's exercise, write a scene in which your focal charater has to overcome or work through some temporary physical handicap in order to accomplish his/her scene goal. A headache at a charity funding meeting, broken toes at a dance competition final... be creative : )
Got it? Good! Get writing!!
p.s. No need for you to write a heroine who tries to post to her blog during a bout of stomach virus. I can tell you from first hand experience, it's just not possible and won't make for enjoyable fiction ; )

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Quote of the Week

If your characters take off without you...run after them as fast as you can. Follow them, keep up with their antics. Keep up the chase and if you're lucky, you won't catch them until the end.

~Anonymous

Monday, May 05, 2008

Happy, happy, joy, joy

It's finally spring in the Pacific Northwet...the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the air temperature is over 45 degrees. Just barely. And while summer is beckoning to us all, we still have six weeks of the school year left in these here parts. That means projects. At my house, we're presently involved in writing a Civil War journal, and writing and organizing a HUGE poetry project, both for the 8th grade. Yet my cherub detests writing. It's shocking how much he hates it. It's a white-hot-burning kind of loathing and it baffles me. I start by being a cheerleader: 'It's only words, my darling boy! You can do it!' Then I segue into the coach: 'Say it out loud and I'll type it. If you can talk, you can write.' After that, it just gets ugly: 'AAAAGGGGHHHH!!!! Just type some @#$% words on the *&^% page!!'

Ahem.

So as I struggle to control my blood pressure, I wonder about fun writing. You know, the kind when your timer goes off and you think, 'An hour already?'. When you laugh out loud at the joy of making the words do exactly what you want. When the light bulb goes on and you connect some plot points and simply can't type fast enough. Let's remember why we face the page in the first place. Share with us a moment when your writing gave you joy.

Oh, and my teen angel wrote three paragraphs last night. Alert the media.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Friday Writing Prompt - dialogue

Okay. In keeping with the idea of sharpening your saw... or maybe not. Maybe just because having fun with a writing exercise is it's own reward... This week's exercise involves a single line of dialogue. Use characters from your wip or characters you create just for this exercise. You can start your scene with this line of dialogue, end it with the line, or use the line somewhere in the middle but you must use the line and you must use it verbatim. Got it? The dialogue is:
"What do you plan to do with that?"
Feel free to post a response and let us know if you were able to get something written using this prompt.
Good luck and get writing!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Query Shark!!!

Heads up, query-ers! Janet Reid's got a fun new blog critiquing queries called Query Shark. You have to be a registered Blogger or OpenID member to comment, but anyone can read. Love Janet's wit. : ) Enjoy!