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26. Free Fall Friday – What Does It Take?

joan_charles_holiday

This wonderful holiday inspired illustration was sent in by Joan Charles. She is an illustrator, writer, graphic designer. Her work can be found in gallery exhibitions, magazines, and books. She illustrated the award-winning middle grade adventures Lost in Lexicon and The Ice Castle, written by Pendred Noyce. http://www.joancharles.com

In the last few months I have been asked how someone gets on Writing and Illustrating to show off their work, get an interview, and market a book. Here are the things I consider:

1. Do I know you? Have I met you?

2. Do you follow my blog?

3. Do you leave comments?

4. Do you promote Writing and Illustrating on your website, facebook, or blog?

5. Have you tweeted, reblogged, facebooked or shared information posted on Writing and illustrating?

6. Have you ever been featured on Writing and Illustrating?

7. Have you ever written or shared any information on Writing and Illustrating that would help other writers or illustrators?

8. If you haven’t done any of the above, do you have something to share that the readers who be interested in hearing about?

9. Have you published a book? Is there anything interested in how it got published or something you did that would interest readers?

10. Are you willing to do a book give-a-way?

I can’t know everyone by meeting them in person, but I can get to know you by leaving a comments or following my blog. I have many friends that I hope to meet someday. If you are writing or illustrating a book, you should be looking for people like me who have a large amount of followers and start working to make a connection.

I’m happy for everyone who gets something published, wins a contest, gets an agent, or wins an award and will be happy to include you in a Kudos post. But if you fit into the first seven on the list, you are considered family and will always get your successes promoted on Writing and Illustrating.

Tips: You shouldn’t wait until your book is about to come out to start building connections. Start doing that right now. Think about what type of things you could share that would help other writers. Maybe you don’t feel like you have anything to share, but I bet you do if you think about it. Have you attended a workshop or conference? Have you read a book on how to write or illustrate? You may be revising a story and have an epiphany. Did you learn anything useful during a critique? Maybe you run into an agent or editor who shared knowledge that could be shared?  The substance of all these things could be used to write an interesting article. It would be a great way to get your name out there and be noticed.

Just remember when you want to promote yourself, you can’t look like that is all you are interested in doing.

Submissions: Send to Kathy.temean (at) gmail (dot) com. In subject area write, SUBMISSION ARTICLE FOR WRITING AND ILLUSTRATING. Introduce yourself, bio, and send me your article or express you interest in writing an article on…(subject and your idea).

I love when people have a topic they would like to write about that will help other writers and illustrators. If there is not enough meat to the article, I will give you some ideas or suggestions to pump it up. So write something interesting, helpful and start submitting your article to build your list of places and people who will help spread the words when success jumps in your path.

I am sure you have gone to blogs or signed up for newsletters that end up just talking about their book or books. If you haven’t you are lucky. I know I have and it is very disappointing. In fact that tactic could turn someone off and cause them not to buy anything with your name on it. So be careful.

Don’t get buried in only thinking about writing only for your own blog. If you get your article on another blog, you are getting access to a whole new group of people who might end up following your blog. Be smart. Even if you have ten published books, do not turn down someone with a large following saying things like, “I want people to come to my blog, not yours.” This is a statement from someone who doesn’t understand the importance of marketing and someone not savvy enough to see how getting exposure to thousands of new people could be a huge win.

Remember: I am not the only blog with a large following. There are many that could provide opportunities for you.

I am looking to do a Kudos post next week. Any good things happening out there? Let me know.

Call for Christmas Poems or Hanukkah Poems and or illustrations. Will be posting them later this month. Send to Kathy.temean(at)gmail.com Put December Illustration or December Poem in subject area. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

 


Filed under: authors and illustrators, inspiration, Marketing a book, need to know, opportunity, Places to sumit Tagged: Call for Illustrations, Call for Poems, Joan Charles, Pendred Noyce, Submitting your article

0 Comments on Free Fall Friday – What Does It Take? as of 12/5/2014 6:15:00 PM
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27. YA Books for Adults and Adult Books for YA Lovers

As writers and illustrators the holiday season provides an opportunity to support the publishing industry by buying a few books as gifts for friends and family.

Goodreads announced their 2014 Readers Choice Awards. Click the picture below to review the nominees and the winners in all categories.

readerschoicegoodreads

Here are 25 YA books that Epic Reads suggests for Adults. How many have you read?

25books

Out of the books pictured above I have read 7 and have 4 bought and ready to be read.
AdultForYA-EpicReads

Out of the 25 Adult Books for Fans of YA I have read 4 and 3 are waiting to be read.
PopularBooksForTeens-HGLessonsSmall

From the books pictured above, I have read 23 and 12 are bought and waiting.

There are so many more wonderful books I have read this year. How many of these books did you read? Did you have a book that was your favorite? It doesn’t have to be pictured. I’d love you to share.

Oh, don’t forget the picture books: Each time you buy a picture book you support an illustrator and a writer with your purchase and the book you buy might be the book that puts a child on the path to enjoying books for the rest of their life.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: authors and illustrators, Book, inspiration, list, Middle Grade Novels, picture books, Young Adult Novel Tagged: 2014 Goodreads Best Books, Adult Book for YA Lovers, Goodreads, YA Books for Adults

0 Comments on YA Books for Adults and Adult Books for YA Lovers as of 12/4/2014 1:05:00 AM
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28. YA Books for Adults and Adult Books for YA Lovers

As writers and illustrators the holiday season provides an opportunity to support the publishing industry by buying a few books as gifts for friends and family.

Goodreads announced their 2014 Readers Choice Awards. Click the picture below to review the nominees and the winners in all categories.

readerschoicegoodreads

Here are 25 YA books that Epic Reads suggests for Adults. How many have you read?

25books

Out of the books pictured above I have read 7 and have 4 bought and ready to be read.
AdultForYA-EpicReads

Out of the 25 Adult Books for Fans of YA I have read 4 and 3 are waiting to be read.
PopularBooksForTeens-HGLessonsSmall

From the books pictured above, I have read 23 and 12 are bought and waiting.

There are so many more wonderful books I have read this year. How many of these books did you read? Did you have a book that was your favorite? It doesn’t have to be pictured. I’d love you to share.

Oh, don’t forget the picture books: Each time you buy a picture book you support an illustrator and a writer with your purchase and the book you buy might be the book that puts a child on the path to enjoying books for the rest of their life.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: authors and illustrators, Book, inspiration, list, Middle Grade Novels, picture books, Young Adult Novel Tagged: 2014 Goodreads Best Books, Adult Book for YA Lovers, Goodreads, YA Books for Adults

0 Comments on YA Books for Adults and Adult Books for YA Lovers as of 12/5/2014 6:15:00 PM
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29. Alternative Endings… for someone else! by Erika Wassall

erikaphoto-45Erika Wassall, the Jersey Farm Scribe here with…

Alternative Endings… for someone else!

One of the greatest pieces of advice I ever received as a writer was so simple.

Write every day.

Every. Single. Day.

It’s not an easy feat. Even if you don’t count Sundays, because… well honestly, because it’s just a good excuse to have a day off… that’s still a LOT of writing.

Whether I’m freelance writing for a catalog or magazine, polishing up a short story, working on a manuscript or even just writing out a letter to a friend, I make every effort to put the pen to paper every day.

And yup, you read that correctly. I write letters to friends. Like actual on paper letters. Stamp. Mailbox. The whole bit. LOL. And I think it counts. It’s writing! It’s stretching and exercising those creative muscles.

So today I thought I’d tell you about my favorite creative exercise that I go to on those days when I don’t have a deadline. Or maybe I only have 20 minutes, and I need to find something I can dive into quickly and easily that will get the creative goo in my mind bubbling. (I see it as a sort of neon blue slime in a cauldron)

Re-write Someone Else’s Work!!

Have you ever watched a movie or TV show and find yourself devastatingly disappointed? They had such a great idea, a really unique and intriguing concept, but they just didn’t come through like you thought they would. And you had SUCH high hopes.

Here’s your chance to fix it!

There’s no need for an explanation or backstory. All that work has already been done for you. All you need to do is jump in on the “good parts”. Re-write the horrible romantic scene from your favorite chick-flick. Give that psychological thriller a twist that you DIDN’T see coming. Write an ending for a Steven King novel that you thought fell flat.

It opens up a lot of doors and can be a really fun exercise. Plus, when I’m watching something and the end really disappoints me, I can tuck it away to fix later that week.

Anyone else watch the sitcom How I Met Your Mother? The series ended a few months ago. Loved the show. Hated the ending. So I decided to fix it.

For those who know the show: in my ending, Robin and Barney ended up secretly together. Not “dating” so much. But let’s just say more than friends. This gave me a chance to play with elaborate-scheme concepts and their dynamic personalities without what I saw as the show’s weak effort at sudden “deep realizations”.

Lilly and Marshall: Happy ever after. You just don’t mess with some things.

And Ted? Ted and their mother got divorced and he became a very successful architect. Single. And happy. His big character change became realizing that not everyone has to be in love to be happy!!!

And in all honesty, to me… that’s how it happened. So instead of it ending with me rolling my eyes and shaking my head, I was able to get the bad taste out of my mouth and settle into an ending that mades me both laugh and smile.

My favorite thing about this exercise is that my brain starts to automatically do it when I watch TV. I’ll be sitting on the couch, and I’ll say to myself… ech… that scene could have been better! And instead of just criticizing it, I immediately start daydreaming about how I could make it better.

It makes me less lazy!

Instead of being disappointed, I get creative! Here’s some other movies or TV shows that I’ve created alternative scenes or endings to:

LOST

The Cell

Vanilla Sky

The Little Mermaid – (my favorite character was Ursula. So she wins in my version)

Got any endings you think you could do better, or scenes that really left you wanting more? Scribble down some notes when you’re watching. And then give the exercise a try sometime when you’re stuck or looking for something different to do.

Did reading this make you think of an ending that’s always disappointed you? Let us know what it is! It’s always fun to hear what other people are thinking, and helps us spark our own ideas.

The creativity and written word this can inspire can indirectly breathe life into your manuscripts. And you know how strongly I believe that they are worth it!

____________________________________________________________________

Erika Wassall is a writer, a farmer and a liver of life. She is a member of SCBWI and a proud Mad Scientist, bringing science experiments right into children’s classrooms, and hearts. She has a small farm in New Jersey with sheep, chickens, pigs and vegetables. Check out her new website at www.TheJerseyFarmScribe.com where as a first generation farmer, she often takes the long way, learning the tricks of the trade on The Farm. On her website is also The Shop page with tips and a free Q/A from her husband’s mechanic shop, and The Writer page where she shares stories, experiences and characters from the heart. Follow her on Twitter at @NJFarmScribe. She’d love to hear from you!

Thank you Erika for another great post. Lauren Oliver says she did this for many books and it helped her improve her writing skills. It is referred to as Fan Fiction. I know there have been a lot of books I threw down in disgust after reading their unsatisfying ending.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: article, inspiration, revisions, writing Tagged: Erika Wassall, Fan fiction, Re-write, Re-writing a published book

3 Comments on Alternative Endings… for someone else! by Erika Wassall, last added: 12/4/2014
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30. Alternative Endings… for someone else! by Erika Wassall

erikaphoto-45Erika Wassall, the Jersey Farm Scribe here with…

Alternative Endings… for someone else!

One of the greatest pieces of advice I ever received as a writer was so simple.

Write every day.

Every. Single. Day.

It’s not an easy feat. Even if you don’t count Sundays, because… well honestly, because it’s just a good excuse to have a day off… that’s still a LOT of writing.

Whether I’m freelance writing for a catalog or magazine, polishing up a short story, working on a manuscript or even just writing out a letter to a friend, I make every effort to put the pen to paper every day.

And yup, you read that correctly. I write letters to friends. Like actual on paper letters. Stamp. Mailbox. The whole bit. LOL. And I think it counts. It’s writing! It’s stretching and exercising those creative muscles.

So today I thought I’d tell you about my favorite creative exercise that I go to on those days when I don’t have a deadline. Or maybe I only have 20 minutes, and I need to find something I can dive into quickly and easily that will get the creative goo in my mind bubbling. (I see it as a sort of neon blue slime in a cauldron)

Re-write Someone Else’s Work!!

Have you ever watched a movie or TV show and find yourself devastatingly disappointed? They had such a great idea, a really unique and intriguing concept, but they just didn’t come through like you thought they would. And you had SUCH high hopes.

Here’s your chance to fix it!

There’s no need for an explanation or backstory. All that work has already been done for you. All you need to do is jump in on the “good parts”. Re-write the horrible romantic scene from your favorite chick-flick. Give that psychological thriller a twist that you DIDN’T see coming. Write an ending for a Steven King novel that you thought fell flat.

It opens up a lot of doors and can be a really fun exercise. Plus, when I’m watching something and the end really disappoints me, I can tuck it away to fix later that week.

Anyone else watch the sitcom How I Met Your Mother? The series ended a few months ago. Loved the show. Hated the ending. So I decided to fix it.

For those who know the show: in my ending, Robin and Barney ended up secretly together. Not “dating” so much. But let’s just say more than friends. This gave me a chance to play with elaborate-scheme concepts and their dynamic personalities without what I saw as the show’s weak effort at sudden “deep realizations”.

Lilly and Marshall: Happy ever after. You just don’t mess with some things.

And Ted? Ted and their mother got divorced and he became a very successful architect. Single. And happy. His big character change became realizing that not everyone has to be in love to be happy!!!

And in all honesty, to me… that’s how it happened. So instead of it ending with me rolling my eyes and shaking my head, I was able to get the bad taste out of my mouth and settle into an ending that mades me both laugh and smile.

My favorite thing about this exercise is that my brain starts to automatically do it when I watch TV. I’ll be sitting on the couch, and I’ll say to myself… ech… that scene could have been better! And instead of just criticizing it, I immediately start daydreaming about how I could make it better.

It makes me less lazy!

Instead of being disappointed, I get creative! Here’s some other movies or TV shows that I’ve created alternative scenes or endings to:

LOST

The Cell

Vanilla Sky

The Little Mermaid – (my favorite character was Ursula. So she wins in my version)

Got any endings you think you could do better, or scenes that really left you wanting more? Scribble down some notes when you’re watching. And then give the exercise a try sometime when you’re stuck or looking for something different to do.

Did reading this make you think of an ending that’s always disappointed you? Let us know what it is! It’s always fun to hear what other people are thinking, and helps us spark our own ideas.

The creativity and written word this can inspire can indirectly breathe life into your manuscripts. And you know how strongly I believe that they are worth it!

____________________________________________________________________

Erika Wassall is a writer, a farmer and a liver of life. She is a member of SCBWI and a proud Mad Scientist, bringing science experiments right into children’s classrooms, and hearts. She has a small farm in New Jersey with sheep, chickens, pigs and vegetables. Check out her new website at www.TheJerseyFarmScribe.com where as a first generation farmer, she often takes the long way, learning the tricks of the trade on The Farm. On her website is also The Shop page with tips and a free Q/A from her husband’s mechanic shop, and The Writer page where she shares stories, experiences and characters from the heart. Follow her on Twitter at @NJFarmScribe. She’d love to hear from you!

Thank you Erika for another great post. Lauren Oliver says she did this for many books and it helped her improve her writing skills. It is referred to as Fan Fiction. I know there have been a lot of books I threw down in disgust after reading their unsatisfying ending.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: article, inspiration, revisions, writing Tagged: Erika Wassall, Fan fiction, Re-write, Re-writing a published book

0 Comments on Alternative Endings… for someone else! by Erika Wassall as of 12/5/2014 6:15:00 PM
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31. 7 Point Story Structure System

Seven Point System

To build a story you must have a story in mind. Plot – characters – conflict. Before you start to layout your plan for that book Dan Wells tells us, don’t start at the beginning, but start at the end. This is not the last chapter. It is the climax. Figure out the external conflict and internal conflict.

Once that is done then go to the other end, the beginning and start. Normally a good book will take a weak or flawed character on a journey that ends with them growing in some way. By the end, they are a better or stronger person because of their journey.  I’ve heard Richard Peck tell writer that he always rewrites the first chapter after he is finished the first draft. He says you can’t know where to start until you figure out how the story ends. He is doing the same things as what Dan is suggesting, except Dan is trying to save you from having to rewrite the first chapter.

This system can be applied to almost any writing, including short stories and novellas.

Here are the notes I wrote while watching the videos below:

The Seven Points:

Hook – Starting state loser – weak – flawed.

Plot Turn 1: Introduces conflict. Just as the midpoint moves you from the beginning to end, Plot Turn 1 moves you from the beginning to midpoint. Call to adventure. Introduces the conflict. The character’s world changes: Meets new people – discovers new secrets – follows the White Rabbit.

Pinch 1: Applies pressure – something goes wrong – bad guys attack and the MC is forced to go forward – often used to introduce the villain.

Midpoint: Learns the truth. This is wear the MC changes from reaction to action.

Pinch 2: Applies more pressure until the situation seems hopeless. A plan fails – a mentor dies, leaves the hero alone – the bad guys seem to win. These are the jaws of defeat from which your hero will be snatching victory. Make sure the teeth are sharp.

Plot Turn 2: Moves the story from the midpoint to the end. At the midpoint your MC is determined to do something, and finds the resolution you do it, so Plot Turn 2 is where the MC obtains the final thing they need to make it happen. “The power is in you!” Grasping victory from the jaws of defeat. MC has the piece they need even if they don’t realize it. The piece that gives the character something they decide to do in the climax.

Resolution – What is the climax? MC succeeds, and is now a changed person.

The story is not complete. It is just a skeleton, and needs flesh to fill it out: Rounded characters – Rich environments – Prologue? – Try/Fail cycles – Subplots.

If you haven’t watched Dan Wells videos, you might want to take a few minutes to do so. At least bookmark this page, so when you have a half hour you can watch without wasting time to find it.

First Video

Second Video

Third Video

Forth video

Fifth video

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Advice, demystify, How to, Process, Tips, video, Writing Tips Tagged: Dan Wells, Free Writing Videos, Seven Step Story Structure

6 Comments on 7 Point Story Structure System, last added: 12/5/2014
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32. 7 Point Story Structure System

Seven Point System

To build a story you must have a story in mind. Plot – characters – conflict. Before you start to layout your plan for that book Dan Wells tells us, don’t start at the beginning, but start at the end. This is not the last chapter. It is the climax. Figure out the external conflict and internal conflict.

Once that is done then go to the other end, the beginning and start. Normally a good book will take a weak or flawed character on a journey that ends with them growing in some way. By the end, they are a better or stronger person because of their journey.  I’ve heard Richard Peck tell writer that he always rewrites the first chapter after he is finished the first draft. He says you can’t know where to start until you figure out how the story ends. He is doing the same things as what Dan is suggesting, except Dan is trying to save you from having to rewrite the first chapter.

This system can be applied to almost any writing, including short stories and novellas.

Here are the notes I wrote while watching the videos below:

The Seven Points:

Hook – Starting state loser – weak – flawed.

Plot Turn 1: Introduces conflict. Just as the midpoint moves you from the beginning to end, Plot Turn 1 moves you from the beginning to midpoint. Call to adventure. Introduces the conflict. The character’s world changes: Meets new people – discovers new secrets – follows the White Rabbit.

Pinch 1: Applies pressure – something goes wrong – bad guys attack and the MC is forced to go forward – often used to introduce the villain.

Midpoint: Learns the truth. This is wear the MC changes from reaction to action.

Pinch 2: Applies more pressure until the situation seems hopeless. A plan fails – a mentor dies, leaves the hero alone – the bad guys seem to win. These are the jaws of defeat from which your hero will be snatching victory. Make sure the teeth are sharp.

Plot Turn 2: Moves the story from the midpoint to the end. At the midpoint your MC is determined to do something, and finds the resolution you do it, so Plot Turn 2 is where the MC obtains the final thing they need to make it happen. “The power is in you!” Grasping victory from the jaws of defeat. MC has the piece they need even if they don’t realize it. The piece that gives the character something they decide to do in the climax.

Resolution – What is the climax? MC succeeds, and is now a changed person.

The story is not complete. It is just a skeleton, and needs flesh to fill it out: Rounded characters – Rich environments – Prologue? – Try/Fail cycles – Subplots.

If you haven’t watched Dan Wells videos, you might want to take a few minutes to do so. At least bookmark this page, so when you have a half hour you can watch without wasting time to find it.

First Video

Second Video

Third Video

Forth video

Fifth video

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Advice, demystify, How to, Process, Tips, video, Writing Tips Tagged: Dan Wells, Free Writing Videos, Seven Step Story Structure

0 Comments on 7 Point Story Structure System as of 12/5/2014 6:15:00 PM
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33. 8 Best Selling Novels Written During NaNoWriMo

Congratulations to everyone who participated in NaNoWriMo this year. I thought you might like to hear about some of the novels in previous years that were written during NaNoWriMo and found great success.  I found this on Paul Jenny’s blog and thought it was very interesting.

Paul Jenny8 Best Selling Novels Written During NaNoWriMo

by Paul Jenny

The Lunar Chronicles

Some novelists struggle to write ONE first draft during WriMo.

YA fiction writer Marissa Meyer wrote THREE: Cinder, Scarlet and Cress.

These futuristic re-tellings of famous fairy tales with a sci-fi twist were all written during a 2008 NaNoWriMo. As a self-professed geek and chronic over-achiever, Meyer says she participated in WriMo that year because she was trying to win a contest where the Seattle based writer with the most words written during the month would get to play a walk-on role on a future episode of Star Trek. She came in third with a word count of 150,011 and didn’t get the role, but she ended up with 70,000 words for Cinder, 50,000 words for Scarlet and about 30,000 words for Cress. 

Before she published the novels, all three had to be completely scrapped and re-written. Meyer said, “I may not produce anything of quality during NaNoWriMo, but I always come away with a great roadmap.” It was two years to the day she started Cinder during WriMo that she got her first offer from a publisher.

Meyer says she’s a neurotic plotter who spends weeks, months even, on brainstorming, plotting, re-arranging notecards and making character arc charts. She also uses the Scrivener color-coding feature to help keep track of what’s going on in her stories. Her revision process is extensive. For these best sellers she did two entire rewrites, six or seven rounds of revisions, had eight beta readers, and did countless polishing and editing after WriMo was over. All that hard work paid off for Meyer and her Lunar Chronicles series is a huge success.

Darwin Elevator

Jason Hough (pronounced “Huff”) is still in denial about his success with his WriMo novel, Darwin Elevator. He did a WriMo in 2007 and said his story, Tact or Fiction, basically fell apart after the first chapter because he tried to pants it and just jumped into it with no planning. He did finish with 50,280 words, however. Although the story was a bust, he had a sense of accomplishment and a new found respect for the hard work it takes to write a novel.

In 2008 he tried again, but this time he had a highly detailed outline, lots of character sketches and maps, and an idea of what he was getting himself into. He completed the first 50,000 words of Darwin Elevator, then after stepping back for awhile and doing a first revision pass himself, he hired a freelance editor.

He recommends using writing software like Scrivener to get the job done because it makes the revision process so much easier. He also advises everyone to do their research when they are querying an agent. He says, “At least 75% of queries are discarded almost immediately by agents for simple mistakes. Lesson: It doesn’t take much to increase your chances significantly.”

For more inspiration from Hough check out his post: Doing NaNoWriMo: some tips for success.

Wool

Hugh Howey has been a supporter and participant in WriMo for several years. His breakout dystopian sci-fi novella series, Wool, thrust self-publishing into the national media spotlight. After selling tens of thousands of books directly to readers, he was picked up for a six-figure deal by a major publisher. Howey wrote three of the five novellas of the Wool series in 2011 and published one of them.

Check out Howey’s post NaNoWriMo is Almost Here for some great inspiration and what to look for if this your first time participating.

Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell says she did “some of the bravest writing” she’s ever done during her 2011 WriMo stint. She was already an accomplished author with two published books, Attachments and Eleanor and Parkand thought that WriMo was something amateur writers did.

She was reluctant to participate because it seemed like something writers who needed to trick themselves into writing did to just pile up words. But then she thought it might be wonderful to have a nice big pile of 50,000 words to play around with.

Her pile of words written in 2011 wasn’t a mess at all and became the first 50,000 words of a best-selling novel called Fangirl

Rowell credits WriMo with changing how she wrote. Usually she would start writing by rewriting what she had written in the last session, but for WriMo she had given herself three goals: to write every day, to write at least 2,000 words a day, and to keep moving forward.

She was surprised to find that she could easily pick up where she left off and felt like the momentum she generated by staying in the world of the story contributed to its success. She didn’t finish the novel during WriMo, but after a heavy rewrite that Spring to finish the story, she was shocked to realize she kept almost all the words she created during WriMo.

Rowell said, “NaNoWriMo helped me push past so many of my doubts and insecurities and bad habits. And I think that’s partly why I love Fangirl so much now—because I remember how swept away I felt when I was writing it.”

The Night Circus

Although Erin Morgenstern‘s novel, The Night Circus, has had rapturous reviews, strong sales and the movie rights bought by the producers of the Harry Potter films, it started out as a much different story during NaNoWriMo.

Morgenstern said, “I was working on a different story altogether, one that was becoming progressively more and more boring because nothing was happening. I needed something exciting to happen and I couldn’t figure out how to do it with the locations I had so I sent the characters to the circus. That circus was immediately much more interesting and eventually I abandoned that other story and its characters entirely and focused on the circus instead. What eventually became The Night Circus started from exploring that spontaneously-created location, figuring out who created it and who performed in it and what its story was.”

She calls herself a binge writer and prefers to write in long sessions rather than every day. She attributes this to getting her start as a serious writer by participating in NaNoWriMo.

Water for Elephants

The transplanted Canadian, Sara Gruen, (now a U.S. citizen as well) moved to the U.S. for a job as a technical writer in 1999. When she got laid off in 2001, she decided to gamble on writing fiction instead of looking for another job. Her novel, Water for Elephants, started as a WriMo novel and has been on best-seller lists for over a year, read and discussed by book clubs around the country and turned into a film starring Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattison. (60% on RottenTomatoes.com)

In her pep talk for NaNoWriMo participants Gruen says was having trouble with her own word counts when she realized she wasn’t heeding her own advice. She was ignoring her own rules: no editing, it’s okay to write a really bad first draft, and move around the story as much as you want. When she realized this for herself, she tossed all that aside and started focusing on writing the fun parts of the story that she wanted to write.

As her last bit of advice, Gruen said, “However far behind you are, take comfort in knowing that there is somebody else out there in the same boat, and look for that next fun scene. And then the next. And if that doesn’t work, set someone on fire. In your book, of course.”

http://pauljennynyc.com/2014/10/19/8-best-selling-novels-written-during-nanowrimo/

Paul Jenny is a writer, actor and adventurer in NYC and around the world. His blog, Stories are the Wildest Things, was created to help everyone tell their stories in the most powerful, creative and wide-reaching way they can. Paul considers himself an expert at picking himself up and dusting himself off. Sometimes, he sleeps.

His wife, Heidi Eklund, is a casting director/actress/amazing woman who also happens to be his best friend in the world. She runs Hudson Valley Casting in upstate New York.

Paul is the father of a 26-week preemie who is now a healthy and exuberant five-year-old. He also has two teenage sons from a previous marriage who like to travel with him on his adventures.

His current work-in-progress is a steampunk fantasy novel based on the short story My Strength Will Ease Your Sorrow from the anthology Beyond the Gate: Stories from the World of the Dream Engine. He is the recipient of the Juliet Gibson Memorial Award in Fiction.

You can engage with Paul on his blog or on Twitter @pauljennynyc

Thank you Paul for sharing this with us.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: article, inspiration, success Tagged: Fangirl, Lunar Chronicles, NaNoWriMo, Novels written during NaNoWriMo, Paul Jenny, Water for Elephants, WOOL

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34. 8 Best Selling Novels Written During NaNoWriMo

8 Best Selling Novels Written During NaNoWriMo

The Lunar Chronicles

Some novelists struggle to write ONE first draft during WriMo.

YA fiction writer Marissa Meyer wrote THREE: Cinder, Scarlet and Cress.

These futuristic re-tellings of famous fairy tales with a sci-fi twist were all written during a 2008 NaNoWriMo. As a self-professed geek and chronic over-achiever, Meyer says she participated in WriMo that year because she was trying to win a contest where the Seattle based writer with the most words written during the month would get to play a walk-on role on a future episode of Star Trek. She came in third with a word count of 150,011 and didn’t get the role, but she ended up with 70,000 words for Cinder, 50,000 words for Scarlet and about 30,000 words for Cress. 

Before she published the novels, all three had to be completely scrapped and re-written. Meyer said, “I may not produce anything of quality during NaNoWriMo, but I always come away with a great roadmap.” It was two years to the day she started Cinder during WriMo that she got her first offer from a publisher.

Meyer says she’s a neurotic plotter who spends weeks, months even, on brainstorming, plotting, re-arranging notecards and making character arc charts. She also uses the Scrivener color-coding feature to help keep track of what’s going on in her stories. Her revision process is extensive. For these best sellers she did two entire rewrites, six or seven rounds of revisions, had eight beta readers, and did countless polishing and editing after WriMo was over. All that hard work paid off for Meyer and her Lunar Chronicles series is a huge success.

Darwin Elevator

Jason Hough (pronounced “Huff”) is still in denial about his success with his WriMo novel, Darwin Elevator. He did a WriMo in 2007 and said his story, Tact or Fiction, basically fell apart after the first chapter because he tried to pants it and just jumped into it with no planning. He did finish with 50,280 words, however. Although the story was a bust, he had a sense of accomplishment and a new found respect for the hard work it takes to write a novel.

In 2008 he tried again, but this time he had a highly detailed outline, lots of character sketches and maps, and an idea of what he was getting himself into. He completed the first 50,000 words of Darwin Elevator, then after stepping back for awhile and doing a first revision pass himself, he hired a freelance editor.

He recommends using writing software like Scrivener to get the job done because it makes the revision process so much easier. He also advises everyone to do their research when they are querying an agent. He says, “At least 75% of queries are discarded almost immediately by agents for simple mistakes. Lesson: It doesn’t take much to increase your chances significantly.”

For more inspiration from Hough check out his post: Doing NaNoWriMo: some tips for success.

Wool

Hugh Howey has been a supporter and participant in WriMo for several years. His breakout dystopian sci-fi novella series, Wool, thrust self-publishing into the national media spotlight. After selling tens of thousands of books directly to readers, he was picked up for a six-figure deal by a major publisher. Howey wrote three of the five novellas of the Wool series in 2011 and published one of them.

Check out Howey’s post NaNoWriMo is Almost Here for some great inspiration and what to look for if this your first time participating.

Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell says she did “some of the bravest writing” she’s ever done during her 2011 WriMo stint. She was already an accomplished author with two published books, Attachments and Eleanor and Parkand thought that WriMo was something amateur writers did.

She was reluctant to participate because it seemed like something writers who needed to trick themselves into writing did to just pile up words. But then she thought it might be wonderful to have a nice big pile of 50,000 words to play around with.

Her pile of words written in 2011 wasn’t a mess at all and became the first 50,000 words of a best-selling novel called Fangirl

Rowell credits WriMo with changing how she wrote. Usually she would start writing by rewriting what she had written in the last session, but for WriMo she had given herself three goals: to write every day, to write at least 2,000 words a day, and to keep moving forward.

She was surprised to find that she could easily pick up where she left off and felt like the momentum she generated by staying in the world of the story contributed to its success. She didn’t finish the novel during WriMo, but after a heavy rewrite that Spring to finish the story, she was shocked to realize she kept almost all the words she created during WriMo.

Rowell said, “NaNoWriMo helped me push past so many of my doubts and insecurities and bad habits. And I think that’s partly why I love Fangirl so much now—because I remember how swept away I felt when I was writing it.”

The Night Circus

Although Erin Morgenstern‘s novel, The Night Circus, has had rapturous reviews, strong sales and the movie rights bought by the producers of the Harry Potter films, it started out as a much different story during NaNoWriMo.

Morgenstern said, “I was working on a different story altogether, one that was becoming progressively more and more boring because nothing was happening. I needed something exciting to happen and I couldn’t figure out how to do it with the locations I had so I sent the characters to the circus. That circus was immediately much more interesting and eventually I abandoned that other story and its characters entirely and focused on the circus instead. What eventually became The Night Circus started from exploring that spontaneously-created location, figuring out who created it and who performed in it and what its story was.”

She calls herself a binge writer and prefers to write in long sessions rather than every day. She attributes this to getting her start as a serious writer by participating in NaNoWriMo.

Water for Elephants

The transplanted Canadian, Sara Gruen, (now a U.S. citizen as well) moved to the U.S. for a job as a technical writer in 1999. When she got laid off in 2001, she decided to gamble on writing fiction instead of looking for another job. Her novel, Water for Elephants, started as a WriMo novel and has been on best-seller lists for over a year, read and discussed by book clubs around the country and turned into a film starring Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattison. (60% on RottenTomatoes.com)

In her pep talk for NaNoWriMo participants Gruen says was having trouble with her own word counts when she realized she wasn’t heeding her own advice. She was ignoring her own rules: no editing, it’s okay to write a really bad first draft, and move around the story as much as you want. When she realized this for herself, she tossed all that aside and started focusing on writing the fun parts of the story that she wanted to write.

As her last bit of advice, Gruen said, “However far behind you are, take comfort in knowing that there is somebody else out there in the same boat, and look for that next fun scene. And then the next. And if that doesn’t work, set someone on fire. In your book, of course.”

http://pauljennynyc.com/2014/10/19/8-best-selling-novels-written-during-nanowrimo/


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35. Austin Chronicle Short Story Contest

The 23rd Annual Austin Chronicle Short Story Contest Now Open For Submissions

The Austin Chronicle Short Story Contest

Submit Your Manuscript To:

Short Story Contest, PO Box 49066, Austin, TX 78765

Deadline for Submissions

Submissions must be postmarked by December 12, 2014.

Prize Money

$1,500 to be divided among the five winners. Manuscript to be published in early winter in The Austin Chronicle.

Rules

1. Your work must be unpublished, typewritten, and must be no more than 2,500 words.
2. Include the title of the story on the first page of the manuscript. All entries must also be accompanied by a separate cover letter, which contains the name, address, email address, and phone number of the author, as well as the title of the story.
3. The author’s name must not appear anywhere in the manuscript.
4. Only one entry per person.

Regulations

Manuscripts must be the original work of the contestant, unpublished (and not under consideration of being published), typed, and double-spaced on one side of 8.5-by-11-inch paper, and no longer than 2,500 words.

Contestants must submit one copy of the manuscript and a cover sheet containing the name, address, email address, and phone number of the author and the title of the work. Names and copyright markings must be omitted from the manuscript, which will go to screeners and judges anonymously. Do not send originals – no entries will be returned. Staff members of The Austin Chronicle, freelancers who have contributed more than one article since October 2013, and first- through fifth-place winners from the 2013 Short Story Contest are not eligible to enter. Copyright remains in the name of the author, but The Austin Chronicle reserves the right to publish the winning entries and any honorable mentions in The Austin Chronicle and to reproduce them electronically on our online edition.

All entries must be postmarked to The Austin Chronicle by December 12, 2014. NO ELECTRONIC SUBMISSIONS. Finalists will be notified in late January, 2015. Questions should be directed to books@austinchronicle.com. No phone calls, please. Please read all rules and regulations thoroughly.

Contest is open to Texans and non-Texans alike.

Need inspiration? Last year’s winners can be read here.

Good Luck!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Contest, inspiration, opportunity, Places to Submit, writing Tagged: No fee Writing Contest, No state restrictions, Short Story contest, The Austin Chronicle

2 Comments on Austin Chronicle Short Story Contest, last added: 11/30/2014
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36. Austin Chronicle Short Story Contest

The 23rd Annual Austin Chronicle Short Story Contest Now Open For Submissions

The Austin Chronicle Short Story Contest

Submit Your Manuscript To:

Short Story Contest, PO Box 49066, Austin, TX 78765

Deadline for Submissions

Submissions must be postmarked by December 12, 2014.

Prize Money

$1,500 to be divided among the five winners. Manuscript to be published in early winter in The Austin Chronicle.

Rules

1. Your work must be unpublished, typewritten, and must be no more than 2,500 words.
2. Include the title of the story on the first page of the manuscript. All entries must also be accompanied by a separate cover letter, which contains the name, address, email address, and phone number of the author, as well as the title of the story.
3. The author’s name must not appear anywhere in the manuscript.
4. Only one entry per person.

Regulations

Manuscripts must be the original work of the contestant, unpublished (and not under consideration of being published), typed, and double-spaced on one side of 8.5-by-11-inch paper, and no longer than 2,500 words.

Contestants must submit one copy of the manuscript and a cover sheet containing the name, address, email address, and phone number of the author and the title of the work. Names and copyright markings must be omitted from the manuscript, which will go to screeners and judges anonymously. Do not send originals – no entries will be returned. Staff members of The Austin Chronicle, freelancers who have contributed more than one article since October 2013, and first- through fifth-place winners from the 2013 Short Story Contest are not eligible to enter. Copyright remains in the name of the author, but The Austin Chronicle reserves the right to publish the winning entries and any honorable mentions in The Austin Chronicle and to reproduce them electronically on our online edition.

All entries must be postmarked to The Austin Chronicle by December 12, 2014. NO ELECTRONIC SUBMISSIONS. Finalists will be notified in late January, 2015. Questions should be directed to books@austinchronicle.com. No phone calls, please. Please read all rules and regulations thoroughly.

Contest is open to Texans and non-Texans alike.

Need inspiration? Last year’s winners can be read here.

Good Luck!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Contest, inspiration, opportunity, Places to Submit, writing Tagged: No fee Writing Contest, No state restrictions, Short Story contest, The Austin Chronicle

0 Comments on Austin Chronicle Short Story Contest as of 11/30/2014 10:44:00 AM
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37. Illustrator Saturday – Gregory Manchess

I have been trying to share Gregory Manchess’s art for most of this year. He is a very talented artist, but a very busy artist. He exhibits all over the world, teaches workshops, lectures at universities, plus everyone is trying to bang down his door for a little piece of his genius talent. I gave up on getting the answers to my too many interview questions and showing him off without the interview. But there is a lot of meat to this post with a lot of tips for illustrators, so take a look and don’t miss the link to his two hour “How to” video.

manchesspicture

Creating a moment that communicates emotionally with the viewer is the essence of Gregory Manchess’ artwork. A native of Kentucky, he spent two years as a studio illustrator with Hellman Design Associates before striking out on his own in 1979.

He combined his love for fine art and science fiction and began his freelance career painting for OMNI magazine. His versatility and broad range of interests allowed him to crossover to mainstream illustration. There he was able to expand his client work to include covers for Time, Atlantic Monthly, spreads for Playboy, Omni, Newsweek, and Smithsonian, and numerous book covers.

Manchess’ interest in history and his excellent figure work has made his paintings a favorite choice of the National Geographic Society on many occasions, including an expedition down the Fond du Lac river in Canada for the 1996 article David Thomson: The Man Who Measured Canada.

Widely awarded within the industry, Manchess exhibits frequently at the Society of Illustrators in New York. His peers at the Society presented him with their highest honor, the coveted Hamilton King Award in 1999, and a year later, the Stephan Dohanos Award.

Manchess’ work has also been recognized in the children’s book market. His latest children’s book illustrations narrate the story Cheyenne Medicine Hat about wild mustangs. A lavishly illustrated limited edition of Robt. E. Howard CONAN stories with over 60 paintings, is due out in 2010. He has recently finished 10 murals for a traveling exhibition on the Pirate ship, Whydah, for the Nat’l Geographic Society. His painting of the Oregon coast was used for the 2009 Oregon Statehood Stamp by the USPS.

Gregory is included in Walt Reed’s latest edition of “The Illustrator in America, 1860-2000.” He lectures frequently at universities and colleges nationwide and gives workshops in painting at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA, and the Illustration Master Class in Amherst, MA.

Here are a few pictures showing Gregory’s process:

manchessLordofChaos thb164

Thumbnail sketch for layout.

manchessLordChaos figs 074

Character sketches

manchessLordChaos wolves  075

Sketches for the wolves

manchessLordChaos fin outln 1  079

Cleaned up sketch

manchessLordChaos outln 2 082
Sketching in more detail.

manchessLordChaos fin pncl 2    078
Adding Shadows

manchessLordChaos fin pncl 1    077
Adding foreground characters

manchessLordofChaos thb163
Continuing to develop sketch.

manchessLordofChaos thb 243
Final Sketch

manchessLordChaos_lo
Final Painting done in oil.

manchessWOT_Chaos_150

This is the final cover for LORD OF CHAOS published by Tor.

manchessGregory-Manchess-218-SF-Star-Bridge-cover-4cropped

Gregory’s artist rep is Richard Solomon located in NYC. http://www.richardsolomon.com/

manchesscaptaincover

You can view a two hour video of Gregory’s painting process available as a download from http://Conceptart.org

manchessGregory-Manchess-bannercomp-copy

One of Gregory’s many murals. Must have been fun to see it on the top of a NYC building.

manchessNubianParade

ABOVE and BELOW: Gregory’s illustrations have been in National Geographic Magazine.

manchessGregory-Manchess-078-NG-History-02cropped

manchessGregory_Manchess__Mark_Twain_Forever_Stamp1

Gregory also was chosen to do a few postal stamps.

gregory-manchessbasketball
The Society of Illustrators exhibited 50 of Gregory’s illustrations in 2013.

manchess500
manchessGregory_Manchess_01
manchessbasketcropped

ELEVEN GREGORY TIPS:

Value range.
I start with darks first, to get the deep shadows laid in. Obvious places: nostrils, eyelids and eyebrows, mouth line. Next, I’ll put in broader, but slightly lighter shadow shapes like under the nose, under the eye sockets, under the bottom lip, chin, deep cheek bones, hair. I place the boldest shapes to establish deeper values, then work my way up through the darker values of color to the lighter values placed on top.

manchesscanyon5cropped

3_36_3C

Avoid highlights.
Until the last bits of painting, I avoid the highlights as long as I can. Two reasons. One, I need to work my way up, so putting them in too soon will defeat that effort. Two, I leave something fun for the last. I delay gratification as long as I can. The best part of painting in oils occurs within the last few layers and strokes.

manchesshorsescropped

manchess480

manchess14cropped

Vary forms.
Hair is a bold shape, not individual hairs. I study folds and constantly vary them. Repeating the same folds will kill a painting as dead as an assassin’s shot through a pillow. I don’t think about the object I’m painting. I separate myself from the subject and only paint the form. I won’t ‘follow’ the form either. I cut my strokes across the surface of the forms. This adds dimension and lets objects feel sculptured.

manchessGregory_Manchess_09cropped

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

manchesspirates

New painters: Avoid primary colors.
Ultramarine Blue. It’s deadly. It’ll make mud faster than 35 school kids running for the bus. And no, Cadmium Yellow Light is not a miracle color. Get over it. Using it straight from the tube does not show how brilliant one is at mixing paint. Same is true for Ultramarine. New painters seem to think they are phenomenal because they used Ultramarine Blue straight from the dang tube. They step back and declare, ‘look at me, The Genius. I have explained the essence of pure painting by opening a paint tube and using yellow next to blue. Admire me.’

Using primary colors as a statement of painting brilliance screams ‘AMATEUR.’

Manchess_CSSAlabama

manchessDOOM

4_44_1C

Amount of pigment.
I trained to know just how much pigment is on the end of my brush. No matter how large or small, my awareness of the amount is paramount to good layers, good coverage, good overall effect in any painting.

I studied calligraphy. It taught me how to make letterforms with a brush or pen. Knowing the amount of ink held on an instrument for calligraphy is critical to achieve a skilled work.

4_45_1D

Manchess_Maglln-Straitcropped

manchessGregory-Manchess-Ice-Fullcropped

Brush angle.
Calligraphy also taught me how to angle a pen or brush. Making letterforms is a key factor in learning to paint. I know many great painters who also started by copying letter shapes, making signs, copying comics (bang! zoom! pow!). They learned to handle the brush and at what angle AT ALL TIMES.

The angle of the brush helps lay down the right amount of pigment, at the right angle, in the right direction, with the right pressure to achieve a free and confident stroke.

Manchess_Pursuit To Arctic copy

manchesswild500

ManchessOil-Painting-Illustrations-by-Gregory-Manchess-4

Brush angle.
Calligraphy also taught me how to angle a pen or brush. Making letterforms is a key factor in learning to paint. I know many great painters who also started by copying letter shapes, making signs, copying comics (bang! zoom! pow!). They learned to handle the brush and at what angle AT ALL TIMES.

The angle of the brush helps lay down the right amount of pigment, at the right angle, in the right direction, with the right pressure to achieve a free and confident stroke.

manchesslastriver

3_36_3A

manchessgregory-manchess

Brush size.
I start with the largest brush for as long as I can and work my way down to the smaller brushes. Many times, as I near the end of a painting, or even slightly before, I switch back and forth. It’s a good, general idea to keep things from getting too focused too early.

manchessOil-Painting-Illustrations-by-Gregory-Manchess-7

manchessarchers

Manchessmedevil

Stroke speed.
Painting fast and loose comes the same way as anything else: with time. I painted very slowly in the beginning, placing my strokes deliberately, to look as if they were painted fast. Once down, it’s usually hard to tell the speed the stroke was laid. Over the years, I built up speed through confidence. It’s just plain ol’ experience. And LOADS of training.

manchesssnowvillage

manchesswwII

manchessGregory-Manchess-Astronaut-Space-Station-Repair-1925

Manchess_Stubby

Patient strokes.
I don’t judge my strokes too quickly. I lay it down, and press on. I come back to that area after a bit to judge whether it was the correct feeling, size, color, etc. I don’t lay one down, hate it, and take it off. Or worse, try to keep changing it.

At this point in my career, I lay strokes down that don’t make sense, but I let them sit. I find that they are just fine once I come back to judge them in context, against other strokes that are adding to the whole piece. Judging too early destroys spontaneity.

manchesshockey3cropped

manchesssunbathing

manchessbroadwalk9cropped500

Scale.
I decide how I want the paint to feel once a piece is finished. I scale the brush size to fit the scale of the painting. If it’s a small painting in a magazine, I have to decide how clearly the strokes will be seen and what feeling they project to a reader.

If it’s a large painting and I want it to feel loose, I have to decide on the size that feels best. Paint it too large with small brushes, and when it comes down in reproduction, it can look too detailed. Too small with large brushes, and the piece can look too loose, too unfocused.

New painters can make the mistake of painting too small with too large of a brush and vice versa.

manchess9_11GregoryManchess

manchesspledge17cropped

Below is Gregory explaining his thought processes for Jake and the Other Girl.

Manchess_JakeAndOtherGirl

There’s another way to make successful thumbnails that can lead to a final sketch.

Get right to the research first. Instead of exploring small thumbnails on the page, searching for the right image design, there are times where I know that the assignment demands a clearer knowledge of the setting before an idea takes hold.

I read this short story for Tor.com, a follow-up for a previous story, “Dress Your Marines in White,” by Emmy Laybourne. I toyed with a short-lived idea that might connect with my illustration for the first story, based on a set of men’s arms.

Manchess_Jake & Girl thbcropped

But I had a clearer idea that I needed to know & show the environment for the piece. The mood needed to be established instantly. The story is post-apocalyptic. I quickly rejected that early approach after researching, at length, war-torn cities, destroyed cities, hurricane, tornado, and earthquake damaged city streets. There is only a brief scene where the main character is outdoors, but it gives the tale a sense of place and I wanted the reader to feel that.

I gathered abandoned cars, some parked, some wrecked, some neglected. I used the status of the cars to reflect the status of the story. I researched shots of broken buildings, street scenes, and abandoned towns. I put all of these images up on my computer and freehanded a large scale thumbnail as the main sketch.

With that much information, I only needed to hit it one time. Most times, you have to create your own luck.

Manchess_Jake+Girl 1st thb

But the challenge after getting the idea was to pull it off. It must read fast and it must feel factual. Rendering cars is not so fun, but discovering and simplifying their shapes to read quickly was very gratifying. But I had to show more than just shiny cars parked. I wanted some to feel like they had just been abandoned, while others had been there for some time.Again, getting the value correct meant the difference here. Capturing that feeling meant I had to forget what it felt like, and pay more attention to exactly what it looked like. By doing that, I managed to capture the feeling of a dust covered car.

Not so intuitive. I had to study and mix the difference in value range to get shiny vs dusty. I wasn’t surprised to find out how much I learned from this painting about simplifying detail.

Manchess_Jake&theOtherGirl FIN detail

As painters, we must sometimes compartmentalize our feelings to actually capture those same feelings in the image. We start with the impression of feeling, reverse-engineer it methodically through observation and application that then re-communicates the feeling we were after originally. Using contrast was another way of projecting that feeling. I decided to have someone leave a cryptic message on the windshield, like a “wash me” note. The difference between the soft values of the dusty windshield and the crisp, hand drawn letters brought this across. To get that affect, I had to pay attention to exactly what value would be revealed if someone had haphazardly wiped away some dirt.

Manchess_JakeAndOtherGirl car thb

I could’ve added that passage after the oil was dry, but instead, I painted it digitally. This allowed me to give the art director, Irene Gallo, the choice to keep it or not.

This is yet another way in which digital is informing my analog painting development.

Click this link to read Gregory’s Ten Things About Painting in Oils: http://muddycolors.blogspot.com/2013/03/10-things-about-painting-in-oils.html

You can find Gregory Manchess on his website http://www.manchess.com and his facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gregory-Manchess-Art/180916225410035

I would love to hear what you think about Gregory’s illustrations. Maybe you have taken a class with him or got to see his illustrations when he exhibited in NYC or for that matter in one of the many places he has exhibited around the world.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

 


Filed under: Advice, How to, illustrating, Illustrator Sites, Illustrator's Saturday Tagged: Gregory Manchess, Illustrated USPS Stamps, NYC MURAL, Smithsonian, Time Magazine

0 Comments on Illustrator Saturday – Gregory Manchess as of 11/29/2014 12:39:00 AM
Add a Comment
38. Illustrator Saturday – Gregory Manchess

I have been trying to share Gregory Manchess’s art for most of this year. He is a very talented artist, but a very busy artist. He exhibits all over the world, teaches workshops, lectures at universities, plus everyone is trying to bang down his door for a little piece of his genius talent. I gave up on getting the answers to my too many interview questions and showing him off without the interview. But there is a lot of meat to this post with a lot of tips for illustrators, so take a look and don’t miss the link to his two hour “How to” video.

manchesspicture

Creating a moment that communicates emotionally with the viewer is the essence of Gregory Manchess’ artwork. A native of Kentucky, he spent two years as a studio illustrator with Hellman Design Associates before striking out on his own in 1979.

He combined his love for fine art and science fiction and began his freelance career painting for OMNI magazine. His versatility and broad range of interests allowed him to crossover to mainstream illustration. There he was able to expand his client work to include covers for Time, Atlantic Monthly, spreads for Playboy, Omni, Newsweek, and Smithsonian, and numerous book covers.

Manchess’ interest in history and his excellent figure work has made his paintings a favorite choice of the National Geographic Society on many occasions, including an expedition down the Fond du Lac river in Canada for the 1996 article David Thomson: The Man Who Measured Canada.

Widely awarded within the industry, Manchess exhibits frequently at the Society of Illustrators in New York. His peers at the Society presented him with their highest honor, the coveted Hamilton King Award in 1999, and a year later, the Stephan Dohanos Award.

Manchess’ work has also been recognized in the children’s book market. His latest children’s book illustrations narrate the story Cheyenne Medicine Hat about wild mustangs. A lavishly illustrated limited edition of Robt. E. Howard CONAN stories with over 60 paintings, is due out in 2010. He has recently finished 10 murals for a traveling exhibition on the Pirate ship, Whydah, for the Nat’l Geographic Society. His painting of the Oregon coast was used for the 2009 Oregon Statehood Stamp by the USPS.

Gregory is included in Walt Reed’s latest edition of “The Illustrator in America, 1860-2000.” He lectures frequently at universities and colleges nationwide and gives workshops in painting at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA, and the Illustration Master Class in Amherst, MA.

Here are a few pictures showing Gregory’s process:

manchessLordofChaos thb164

Thumbnail sketch for layout.

manchessLordChaos figs 074

Character sketches

manchessLordChaos wolves  075

Sketches for the wolves

manchessLordChaos fin outln 1  079

Cleaned up sketch

manchessLordChaos outln 2 082
Sketching in more detail.

manchessLordChaos fin pncl 2    078
Adding Shadows

manchessLordChaos fin pncl 1    077
Adding foreground characters

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Continuing to develop sketch.

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Final Sketch

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Final Painting done in oil.

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This is the final cover for LORD OF CHAOS published by Tor.

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Gregory’s artist rep is Richard Solomon located in NYC. http://www.richardsolomon.com/

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You can view a two hour video of Gregory’s painting process available as a download from http://Conceptart.org

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One of Gregory’s many murals. Must have been fun to see it on the top of a NYC building.

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ABOVE and BELOW: Gregory’s illustrations have been in National Geographic Magazine.

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Gregory also was chosen to do a few postal stamps.

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The Society of Illustrators exhibited 50 of Gregory’s illustrations in 2013.

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ELEVEN GREGORY TIPS:

Value range.
I start with darks first, to get the deep shadows laid in. Obvious places: nostrils, eyelids and eyebrows, mouth line. Next, I’ll put in broader, but slightly lighter shadow shapes like under the nose, under the eye sockets, under the bottom lip, chin, deep cheek bones, hair. I place the boldest shapes to establish deeper values, then work my way up through the darker values of color to the lighter values placed on top.

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Avoid highlights.
Until the last bits of painting, I avoid the highlights as long as I can. Two reasons. One, I need to work my way up, so putting them in too soon will defeat that effort. Two, I leave something fun for the last. I delay gratification as long as I can. The best part of painting in oils occurs within the last few layers and strokes.

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Vary forms.
Hair is a bold shape, not individual hairs. I study folds and constantly vary them. Repeating the same folds will kill a painting as dead as an assassin’s shot through a pillow. I don’t think about the object I’m painting. I separate myself from the subject and only paint the form. I won’t ‘follow’ the form either. I cut my strokes across the surface of the forms. This adds dimension and lets objects feel sculptured.

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New painters: Avoid primary colors.
Ultramarine Blue. It’s deadly. It’ll make mud faster than 35 school kids running for the bus. And no, Cadmium Yellow Light is not a miracle color. Get over it. Using it straight from the tube does not show how brilliant one is at mixing paint. Same is true for Ultramarine. New painters seem to think they are phenomenal because they used Ultramarine Blue straight from the dang tube. They step back and declare, ‘look at me, The Genius. I have explained the essence of pure painting by opening a paint tube and using yellow next to blue. Admire me.’

Using primary colors as a statement of painting brilliance screams ‘AMATEUR.’

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Amount of pigment.
I trained to know just how much pigment is on the end of my brush. No matter how large or small, my awareness of the amount is paramount to good layers, good coverage, good overall effect in any painting.

I studied calligraphy. It taught me how to make letterforms with a brush or pen. Knowing the amount of ink held on an instrument for calligraphy is critical to achieve a skilled work.

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Brush angle.
Calligraphy also taught me how to angle a pen or brush. Making letterforms is a key factor in learning to paint. I know many great painters who also started by copying letter shapes, making signs, copying comics (bang! zoom! pow!). They learned to handle the brush and at what angle AT ALL TIMES.

The angle of the brush helps lay down the right amount of pigment, at the right angle, in the right direction, with the right pressure to achieve a free and confident stroke.

Manchess_Pursuit To Arctic copy

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Brush angle.
Calligraphy also taught me how to angle a pen or brush. Making letterforms is a key factor in learning to paint. I know many great painters who also started by copying letter shapes, making signs, copying comics (bang! zoom! pow!). They learned to handle the brush and at what angle AT ALL TIMES.

The angle of the brush helps lay down the right amount of pigment, at the right angle, in the right direction, with the right pressure to achieve a free and confident stroke.

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Brush size.
I start with the largest brush for as long as I can and work my way down to the smaller brushes. Many times, as I near the end of a painting, or even slightly before, I switch back and forth. It’s a good, general idea to keep things from getting too focused too early.

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Stroke speed.
Painting fast and loose comes the same way as anything else: with time. I painted very slowly in the beginning, placing my strokes deliberately, to look as if they were painted fast. Once down, it’s usually hard to tell the speed the stroke was laid. Over the years, I built up speed through confidence. It’s just plain ol’ experience. And LOADS of training.

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Patient strokes.
I don’t judge my strokes too quickly. I lay it down, and press on. I come back to that area after a bit to judge whether it was the correct feeling, size, color, etc. I don’t lay one down, hate it, and take it off. Or worse, try to keep changing it.

At this point in my career, I lay strokes down that don’t make sense, but I let them sit. I find that they are just fine once I come back to judge them in context, against other strokes that are adding to the whole piece. Judging too early destroys spontaneity.

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Scale.
I decide how I want the paint to feel once a piece is finished. I scale the brush size to fit the scale of the painting. If it’s a small painting in a magazine, I have to decide how clearly the strokes will be seen and what feeling they project to a reader.

If it’s a large painting and I want it to feel loose, I have to decide on the size that feels best. Paint it too large with small brushes, and when it comes down in reproduction, it can look too detailed. Too small with large brushes, and the piece can look too loose, too unfocused.

New painters can make the mistake of painting too small with too large of a brush and vice versa.

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Below is Gregory explaining his thought processes for Jake and the Other Girl.

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There’s another way to make successful thumbnails that can lead to a final sketch.

Get right to the research first. Instead of exploring small thumbnails on the page, searching for the right image design, there are times where I know that the assignment demands a clearer knowledge of the setting before an idea takes hold.

I read this short story for Tor.com, a follow-up for a previous story, “Dress Your Marines in White,” by Emmy Laybourne. I toyed with a short-lived idea that might connect with my illustration for the first story, based on a set of men’s arms.

Manchess_Jake & Girl thbcropped

But I had a clearer idea that I needed to know & show the environment for the piece. The mood needed to be established instantly. The story is post-apocalyptic. I quickly rejected that early approach after researching, at length, war-torn cities, destroyed cities, hurricane, tornado, and earthquake damaged city streets. There is only a brief scene where the main character is outdoors, but it gives the tale a sense of place and I wanted the reader to feel that.

I gathered abandoned cars, some parked, some wrecked, some neglected. I used the status of the cars to reflect the status of the story. I researched shots of broken buildings, street scenes, and abandoned towns. I put all of these images up on my computer and freehanded a large scale thumbnail as the main sketch.

With that much information, I only needed to hit it one time. Most times, you have to create your own luck.

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But the challenge after getting the idea was to pull it off. It must read fast and it must feel factual. Rendering cars is not so fun, but discovering and simplifying their shapes to read quickly was very gratifying. But I had to show more than just shiny cars parked. I wanted some to feel like they had just been abandoned, while others had been there for some time.Again, getting the value correct meant the difference here. Capturing that feeling meant I had to forget what it felt like, and pay more attention to exactly what it looked like. By doing that, I managed to capture the feeling of a dust covered car.

Not so intuitive. I had to study and mix the difference in value range to get shiny vs dusty. I wasn’t surprised to find out how much I learned from this painting about simplifying detail.

Manchess_Jake&theOtherGirl FIN detail

As painters, we must sometimes compartmentalize our feelings to actually capture those same feelings in the image. We start with the impression of feeling, reverse-engineer it methodically through observation and application that then re-communicates the feeling we were after originally. Using contrast was another way of projecting that feeling. I decided to have someone leave a cryptic message on the windshield, like a “wash me” note. The difference between the soft values of the dusty windshield and the crisp, hand drawn letters brought this across. To get that affect, I had to pay attention to exactly what value would be revealed if someone had haphazardly wiped away some dirt.

Manchess_JakeAndOtherGirl car thb

I could’ve added that passage after the oil was dry, but instead, I painted it digitally. This allowed me to give the art director, Irene Gallo, the choice to keep it or not.

This is yet another way in which digital is informing my analog painting development.

Click this link to read Gregory’s Ten Things About Painting in Oils: http://muddycolors.blogspot.com/2013/03/10-things-about-painting-in-oils.html

You can find Gregory Manchess on his website http://www.manchess.com and his facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gregory-Manchess-Art/180916225410035

I would love to hear what you think about Gregory’s illustrations. Maybe you have taken a class with him or got to see his illustrations when he exhibited in NYC or for that matter in one of the many places he has exhibited around the world.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

 


Filed under: Advice, How to, illustrating, Illustrator Sites, Illustrator's Saturday Tagged: Gregory Manchess, Illustrated USPS Stamps, NYC MURAL, Smithsonian, Time Magazine

0 Comments on Illustrator Saturday – Gregory Manchess as of 11/30/2014 10:44:00 AM
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39. Illustrator Saturday – Gregory Manchess

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40. Free Fall Friday – Results

Alexander SlaterI want to thank Alexander Slater from the Trident Media Group for agreeing to be November’s First Page Critiquer. All the agents and editors who have been Guest Critiquers are doing this for free because they want to help writers improve their writing. So please realize what a big deal this is to have an industry professional take their valuable time and share their expertise with all of us.

I also want to thank everyone who submits their work for the chance of review. It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there, but it is the fearless who end up making it to the published book goal line.

This is the last First Page Critique session for 2014. I will announce January’s guest in December.

Here are November’s winners and Alex’s thoughts:

 

TILENIKA, LEGEND OF DEO by Richard Bisbee – YA

Darkness surrounds me as I float, lost, on the wild sea…

“Ghemmi, you must take rest and come to bed this day,” Kiyami said. “Our Tilenika is away now three days. She is young; she cannot swim forever. Even you, stronger than most, would find difficulty swimming in these wild and powerful seas we now have. You also know,” she swallowed hard, “that the giant bullwah fish rise from their depths seeking prey in waters so restless.”

“I know Kiyami, but I will not leave this spot until she returns. I smell Tilenika on the wind and taste her on the sea spray. The waves whisper that she yet swims. Her heart throbs with life as surely as mine. I feel she has not parted from our world.”

Kiyami lowered her head as the wind whipped through her long black hair and blew the tears from her eyes. “I too wish to believe as you, my husband, but…I will pass by later.” She turned and slowly walked away.

Ghemmi’s deep blue eyes continued scanning the water as his floating samong community moved with the waves and currents of the sea. He thought, ‘Tilenika, your spirit is strong, but I feel you are weakening. Take care not to distance yourself from life. I sense you are close, so please come to the signal float I tend. Death only offers change of life…with understanding and wisdom too late to use.’ He closed his eyes as he rocked upon one of the bulbous seaweed kiila floats of the samong. His mind reached out to hers, rippling, spreading, reaching out, like circular rings expanding when a shell is dropped in still water…rippling…reaching out…reaching out.

Suddenly, he felt a strong tug on the line. He sprang to his feet and began pulling length after length of dripping line. “Kiyami!” he yelled, “Sound the alarm! We have a fight ahead!”

Here’s Alex:

TILENIKA, LEGEND OF DEO

The dialogue here has the old-fashioned feel of a 1930’s Hollywood film, with its grandiosity, detail, and heightened exposition. I see this style utilized in many high fantasy projects, as the ornate and otherworldly setting tends to mirror itself in the language. My problem is that I often have a tough time connecting to this lofty speak, as it might simply feel unnatural and overexposed, as in this sample with descriptions like, “stronger than most,” and, “rise from their depths seeking prey.” These are examples of dialogue that tell, rather than show, and in so doing, the voice feels forced, rather than organic. I would say be careful with such a high style, as it leads to easy traps where characters blend into the narrative, rather than stand out. Also, I think it would be for the readers benefit if Tilenika is given just a bit more description – I cannot tell from this first page if this name is that of a character, or a pet, or what, and therefore, it is difficult to get hooked immediately without that knowledge.

 

Fool’s Mate by Chris Friden – YA

Constance Yearly lashed out across the chessboard and stabbed an ice pick into the table beside her opponent’s king. She let it thrum. This pre-match ritual intimidated most foes, but Alastair “The Bellman” Brown didn’t flinch. He kept his focus on the black and white universe at their fingertips.

Constance sat back, concealing her pleasure in his brave resistance. Like so many boys, he was sure of his impending victory. Sure that everything in reach was his to take. Sure of his invulnerability, and that left him entirely vulnerable.

Constance watched him scan the playing pieces again while he tried to ignore the damnable space she’d left empty in the back row. She let that missing matriarch vex him and simmer his impatience as she waited for a sign of weakness.

And as reliably as a Caro-Kann defense, it came. Alastair’s left eye twitched.

Constance lowered her red-gloved hand into a Styrofoam cooler at her feet. She searched for her prize and an apropos expression. Revenge is best served cold? That expression didn’t do this justice.

“I’ll have the match before my Ice Queen melts,” she promised in a tone as chilled as the frozen figurine she dangled from the pinch of her fingers. She clinked her lady––clear except for the small drop of suspended red where a tiny heart might have been––onto the place beside her widower king. “Let’s begin.”

Here’s Alex: 

FOOL’S MATE

This opening sentence contains great action and violence. It’s captivating, original, and memorable. However, by introducing a universally known game like chess, prepare yourself for the reader’s intuitions. Sentences like, “missing matriarch,” confused me until I realized they were still setting up the game. Let that be clearer. Also, I am still left perplexed that Constance is able to stab the ice pick, “beside her opponent’s king,” leaving me wondering where Alastair’s queen is? The great reveal of her piece makes sense, but I’m still unsure of Alastair’s pieces. Overall, an interesting opening, with clear characters and mini-plot set to reveal itself. I like openings that feel they can stand on their own, as this does.

 

Mad Cow Science Club by Jennifer Swanson – Middle Grade

Nick Newton stepped on his shovel and pushed it deep into the dirt. Today was the day. He could feel it. He was going to find something amazing.

“Hey over, here!” Nick’s best friend Rudi Patel shouted excitedly. “Look at this.”

Nick’ heart beat fast as he raced to Rudi’s side. A treaure!

“Omph!” Nick tipped sideways as their other friend and fellow treasure hunter, Rebecca Raintree, elbowed him out of the way. “Take it easy, Beccs, this isn’t the lacrosse field.”

She snorted. “As if you could handle that.” Her dancing eyes and swift grin took the edge off the words. Nick flushed. Rebecca was right. He wasn’t good at sports. Especially lacrosse. Holding the stick while running, throwing, and catching a ball, required way more skill than his

awkward arms and legs could manage. Now science he could do. Nick was awesome at science.

“A skull!” Nick shouted. Yes, today was a good day.

“I thought we were supposed to be looking for dinosaur bones,” said Rebecca. “That doesn’t look like a dinosaur to me. It looks like a cow skull. What’s so special about finding that? This place used to be a farm.”

Nick thrust out his chin. “I think it’s great.” He wasn’t about to let Rebecca take the wind out of his sails. This was the first big discovery for their new science club. And it was going to have a place of honor in their garage clubhouse

“ This would make a great drawing.” Rudi pushed his glasses up on his nose, his brown eyes gleaming, and studied the rock intently.

“Who cares about a dumb ol’ skull, let’s go down to the river and see if we can clean up the shore. That’s what a real science club would do,” said Rebecca.

Nick sighed. Maybe Rebecca was right. This field was a bust. Nick was about to toss the skull aside when he stopped suddenly. His hand froze. Had the sightless skull just winked at him?

Here’s Alex: 

MAD COW SCIENCE CLUB

This first page sets up a fun premise that will seem to blend some fantasy and adventure elements, told with a light touch. I like Rebecca’s strong will, and especially Rudi’s contribution that the skull would make a “great drawing.” This subtle detail speaks volumes about Rudi’s character, and it works to allow the reader to discover Rudi on their own. I feel like more subtlety could be employed for Nick, rather than stopping the action with sentences like, “He wasn’t good at sports. Especially lacrosse.” I know these are essential lines to painting Nick’s character early on, but they stall the action for me in these important first paragraphs. I don’t care that Nick is more inclined towards science class right now – I already kind of understand that with the tension between he and Becca. What I care about is discovering, along with the characters, what they’ve dug up, so avoid characterization when your narrative is in the middle of plot-building.

 

Winter Hare By Laurie J. Edwards – MG

The wolves bared their teeth and slunk closer. Achen scrabbled for a foothold on a huge oak. Splinters bit into her hands and bare feet. Blood pounded in her head and made her ears throb.

A wolf lunged.

Achen yanked her foot upward, scraping it raw. The wolf’s teeth snapped shut, just shy of her foot. The damp breath from its nostrils heated her toes and sent tremors through her body.

Terror propelled her higher. Inch by inch, she dragged her shaking limbs above slavering tongues. Below her, the beasts fanned in a semicircle. Fangs glinted. Yellow eyes glowed, feral in the gloom of winter dusk.

Achen trembled. They waited only for her to tire and lose her grip.

A snarl pierced the air, followed by a high-pitched scream. Then a slab of meat, splattering blood as it flew, arced over the wolves’ heads. The beasts turned, growling, to fight over this chunk of flesh.

While they were occupied, a black-cloaked figure stepped from the trees, drew a bow, and with deadly accuracy sent arrows quivering into the wolves, one by one. When the last carcass lay twitching, the shrouded figure threw back its hood, revealing a mass of coppery curls.

“Mama!” Achen slid down the trunk, not caring that splinters embedded themselves in her palms. She flung herself into her mother’s outstretched arms. Drawing in a shuddery breath, she begged, “Please don’t leave me again, Mama.”

Her mother’s eyes shimmered with tears. “I must, dear heart. You know that.”

Here’s Alex: 

WINTER HARE

This is an action-filled opening that grabs the reader by the throat. I can see the scene, thanks to details like, “heated her toes,” “winter dusk,” and, “quivering into.” The use of fresh language, and spare details allows the reader to fill in the missing details, and that’s a rewarding experience. Trusting the reader always pays off. After re-reading, the only think I am concerned about is Achen’s age, or size. The feral request of not being left along feels rather young, while the ability to climb such a tree is difficult. I think providing the age in this opening would be a detail best kept for later, but again, a word about her size or ability might paint her clearer in my mind. Overall, compelling.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Advice, Agent, Editor & Agent Info, inspiration, revisions, writing Tagged: Agent Alex Slater, First Page Critiques, Improve Writing Skills, Trident Media Group

0 Comments on Free Fall Friday – Results as of 11/28/2014 12:12:00 AM
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41. Free Fall Friday – Results

Alexander SlaterI want to thank Alexander Slater from the Trident Media Group for agreeing to be November’s First Page Critiquer. All the agents and editors who have been Guest Critiquers are doing this for free because they want to help writers improve their writing. So please realize what a big deal this is to have an industry professional take their valuable time and share their expertise with all of us.

I also want to thank everyone who submits their work for the chance of review. It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there, but it is the fearless who end up making it to the published book goal line.

This is the last First Page Critique session for 2014. I will announce January’s guest in December.

Here are November’s winners and Alex’s thoughts:

 

TILENIKA, LEGEND OF DEO by Richard Bisbee – YA

Darkness surrounds me as I float, lost, on the wild sea…

“Ghemmi, you must take rest and come to bed this day,” Kiyami said. “Our Tilenika is away now three days. She is young; she cannot swim forever. Even you, stronger than most, would find difficulty swimming in these wild and powerful seas we now have. You also know,” she swallowed hard, “that the giant bullwah fish rise from their depths seeking prey in waters so restless.”

“I know Kiyami, but I will not leave this spot until she returns. I smell Tilenika on the wind and taste her on the sea spray. The waves whisper that she yet swims. Her heart throbs with life as surely as mine. I feel she has not parted from our world.”

Kiyami lowered her head as the wind whipped through her long black hair and blew the tears from her eyes. “I too wish to believe as you, my husband, but…I will pass by later.” She turned and slowly walked away.

Ghemmi’s deep blue eyes continued scanning the water as his floating samong community moved with the waves and currents of the sea. He thought, ‘Tilenika, your spirit is strong, but I feel you are weakening. Take care not to distance yourself from life. I sense you are close, so please come to the signal float I tend. Death only offers change of life…with understanding and wisdom too late to use.’ He closed his eyes as he rocked upon one of the bulbous seaweed kiila floats of the samong. His mind reached out to hers, rippling, spreading, reaching out, like circular rings expanding when a shell is dropped in still water…rippling…reaching out…reaching out.

Suddenly, he felt a strong tug on the line. He sprang to his feet and began pulling length after length of dripping line. “Kiyami!” he yelled, “Sound the alarm! We have a fight ahead!”

Here’s Alex:

TILENIKA, LEGEND OF DEO

The dialogue here has the old-fashioned feel of a 1930’s Hollywood film, with its grandiosity, detail, and heightened exposition. I see this style utilized in many high fantasy projects, as the ornate and otherworldly setting tends to mirror itself in the language. My problem is that I often have a tough time connecting to this lofty speak, as it might simply feel unnatural and overexposed, as in this sample with descriptions like, “stronger than most,” and, “rise from their depths seeking prey.” These are examples of dialogue that tell, rather than show, and in so doing, the voice feels forced, rather than organic. I would say be careful with such a high style, as it leads to easy traps where characters blend into the narrative, rather than stand out. Also, I think it would be for the readers benefit if Tilenika is given just a bit more description – I cannot tell from this first page if this name is that of a character, or a pet, or what, and therefore, it is difficult to get hooked immediately without that knowledge.

 

Fool’s Mate by Chris Friden – YA

Constance Yearly lashed out across the chessboard and stabbed an ice pick into the table beside her opponent’s king. She let it thrum. This pre-match ritual intimidated most foes, but Alastair “The Bellman” Brown didn’t flinch. He kept his focus on the black and white universe at their fingertips.

Constance sat back, concealing her pleasure in his brave resistance. Like so many boys, he was sure of his impending victory. Sure that everything in reach was his to take. Sure of his invulnerability, and that left him entirely vulnerable.

Constance watched him scan the playing pieces again while he tried to ignore the damnable space she’d left empty in the back row. She let that missing matriarch vex him and simmer his impatience as she waited for a sign of weakness.

And as reliably as a Caro-Kann defense, it came. Alastair’s left eye twitched.

Constance lowered her red-gloved hand into a Styrofoam cooler at her feet. She searched for her prize and an apropos expression. Revenge is best served cold? That expression didn’t do this justice.

“I’ll have the match before my Ice Queen melts,” she promised in a tone as chilled as the frozen figurine she dangled from the pinch of her fingers. She clinked her lady––clear except for the small drop of suspended red where a tiny heart might have been––onto the place beside her widower king. “Let’s begin.”

Here’s Alex: 

FOOL’S MATE

This opening sentence contains great action and violence. It’s captivating, original, and memorable. However, by introducing a universally known game like chess, prepare yourself for the reader’s intuitions. Sentences like, “missing matriarch,” confused me until I realized they were still setting up the game. Let that be clearer. Also, I am still left perplexed that Constance is able to stab the ice pick, “beside her opponent’s king,” leaving me wondering where Alastair’s queen is? The great reveal of her piece makes sense, but I’m still unsure of Alastair’s pieces. Overall, an interesting opening, with clear characters and mini-plot set to reveal itself. I like openings that feel they can stand on their own, as this does.

 

Mad Cow Science Club by Jennifer Swanson – Middle Grade

Nick Newton stepped on his shovel and pushed it deep into the dirt. Today was the day. He could feel it. He was going to find something amazing.

“Hey over, here!” Nick’s best friend Rudi Patel shouted excitedly. “Look at this.”

Nick’ heart beat fast as he raced to Rudi’s side. A treaure!

“Omph!” Nick tipped sideways as their other friend and fellow treasure hunter, Rebecca Raintree, elbowed him out of the way. “Take it easy, Beccs, this isn’t the lacrosse field.”

She snorted. “As if you could handle that.” Her dancing eyes and swift grin took the edge off the words. Nick flushed. Rebecca was right. He wasn’t good at sports. Especially lacrosse. Holding the stick while running, throwing, and catching a ball, required way more skill than his

awkward arms and legs could manage. Now science he could do. Nick was awesome at science.

“A skull!” Nick shouted. Yes, today was a good day.

“I thought we were supposed to be looking for dinosaur bones,” said Rebecca. “That doesn’t look like a dinosaur to me. It looks like a cow skull. What’s so special about finding that? This place used to be a farm.”

Nick thrust out his chin. “I think it’s great.” He wasn’t about to let Rebecca take the wind out of his sails. This was the first big discovery for their new science club. And it was going to have a place of honor in their garage clubhouse

“ This would make a great drawing.” Rudi pushed his glasses up on his nose, his brown eyes gleaming, and studied the rock intently.

“Who cares about a dumb ol’ skull, let’s go down to the river and see if we can clean up the shore. That’s what a real science club would do,” said Rebecca.

Nick sighed. Maybe Rebecca was right. This field was a bust. Nick was about to toss the skull aside when he stopped suddenly. His hand froze. Had the sightless skull just winked at him?

Here’s Alex: 

MAD COW SCIENCE CLUB

This first page sets up a fun premise that will seem to blend some fantasy and adventure elements, told with a light touch. I like Rebecca’s strong will, and especially Rudi’s contribution that the skull would make a “great drawing.” This subtle detail speaks volumes about Rudi’s character, and it works to allow the reader to discover Rudi on their own. I feel like more subtlety could be employed for Nick, rather than stopping the action with sentences like, “He wasn’t good at sports. Especially lacrosse.” I know these are essential lines to painting Nick’s character early on, but they stall the action for me in these important first paragraphs. I don’t care that Nick is more inclined towards science class right now – I already kind of understand that with the tension between he and Becca. What I care about is discovering, along with the characters, what they’ve dug up, so avoid characterization when your narrative is in the middle of plot-building.

 

Winter Hare By Laurie J. Edwards – MG

The wolves bared their teeth and slunk closer. Achen scrabbled for a foothold on a huge oak. Splinters bit into her hands and bare feet. Blood pounded in her head and made her ears throb.

A wolf lunged.

Achen yanked her foot upward, scraping it raw. The wolf’s teeth snapped shut, just shy of her foot. The damp breath from its nostrils heated her toes and sent tremors through her body.

Terror propelled her higher. Inch by inch, she dragged her shaking limbs above slavering tongues. Below her, the beasts fanned in a semicircle. Fangs glinted. Yellow eyes glowed, feral in the gloom of winter dusk.

Achen trembled. They waited only for her to tire and lose her grip.

A snarl pierced the air, followed by a high-pitched scream. Then a slab of meat, splattering blood as it flew, arced over the wolves’ heads. The beasts turned, growling, to fight over this chunk of flesh.

While they were occupied, a black-cloaked figure stepped from the trees, drew a bow, and with deadly accuracy sent arrows quivering into the wolves, one by one. When the last carcass lay twitching, the shrouded figure threw back its hood, revealing a mass of coppery curls.

“Mama!” Achen slid down the trunk, not caring that splinters embedded themselves in her palms. She flung herself into her mother’s outstretched arms. Drawing in a shuddery breath, she begged, “Please don’t leave me again, Mama.”

Her mother’s eyes shimmered with tears. “I must, dear heart. You know that.”

Here’s Alex: 

WINTER HARE

This is an action-filled opening that grabs the reader by the throat. I can see the scene, thanks to details like, “heated her toes,” “winter dusk,” and, “quivering into.” The use of fresh language, and spare details allows the reader to fill in the missing details, and that’s a rewarding experience. Trusting the reader always pays off. After re-reading, the only think I am concerned about is Achen’s age, or size. The feral request of not being left along feels rather young, while the ability to climb such a tree is difficult. I think providing the age in this opening would be a detail best kept for later, but again, a word about her size or ability might paint her clearer in my mind. Overall, compelling.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Advice, Agent, Editor & Agent Info, inspiration, revisions, writing Tagged: Agent Alex Slater, First Page Critiques, Improve Writing Skills, Trident Media Group

0 Comments on Free Fall Friday – Results as of 11/30/2014 10:44:00 AM
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42. Happy Thanksgiving – Inspiration & Winners

thanksgiving2
Michelle Henninger sent this illustration in to help us celebrate Thanksgiving. Michelle prefers a traditional approach of pen/ink, and watercolor: with a touch of digital thrown in for good measure. She is a member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, she was a New England SCBWI Ann Barrows Illustration Scholarship recipient. She was the first 2014 featured illustrator on Illustrator Saturday. She is represented by Christina Tugeau at CATugeau.

THANKSGIVING PRAYER
by Eileen Spinelli

Thank you for the world–still sweet.

Thank you for the food we eat.

Thank you for the honeyed sun

that spoons its light on everyone.

Thank you for the leaves that fall

in glowing piles near the wall,

for kindness in a stranger’s face

and every unexpected grace.

Thank you for the starry dark,

for children laughing in the park,

for cozy towns and sleepy farms,

for dreamers, dancers, babes in arms.

Than you for all hearts that sing

of hope in spite of everything.

Fall Favorites
by Carol Murray

Pumpkins, round, upon the ground,

and children playing ball,

Scarecrow tips his tattered hat,

and waves to one and all.

Sleek black cats on fuzzy mats,

reclining, large and small,

and every size has starlit eyes,

like diamonds at The Mall.

Wine is chilled, and home is filled

with friends, both short and tall.

Hooray! Hooray! Thanksgiving Day.

Favorite things of Fall.
by Carol Murray

A Thanksgiving Toast

Here’s to years of happiness

and months of sunny skies,

To weeks of reaching mountain peaks,

and days of caring eyes,

To hours of hope and tenderness,

and minutes of delight,

On second thought, we wish you love,

We’re giving thanks tonight.

Thank you to Michelle, Eileen, and Carol for sharing their work to help us celebrate Thanksgiving. Hope everyone enjoys the day.

Winners:

Darlene Beck-Jacobson won Gayle Aanensen’s book BETTER THAN GOLD.

Joanne Roberts won SPAGHETTI SMILES by Margo Sorenson.

Congratulations! Winner please send me your addresses so they can be sent out.

You may wonder why I did not post the poems for the Thanksgiving Poem Contest yesterday. That is because Carol Murray was the only one to send in a poem for the contest and the default winner. Thank you Carol.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: authors and illustrators, Contest, Holiday, inspiration, Poems Tagged: Better Than Gold, Carol Murray, Eileen Spinelli, Happy Thanksgiving, Spaghetti Smiles, Thanksgiving Poem Contest

5 Comments on Happy Thanksgiving – Inspiration & Winners, last added: 11/27/2014
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43. Happy Thanksgiving – Inspiration & Winners

thanksgiving2
Michelle Henninger sent this illustration in to help us celebrate Thanksgiving. Michelle prefers a traditional approach of pen/ink, and watercolor: with a touch of digital thrown in for good measure. She is a member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, she was a New England SCBWI Ann Barrows Illustration Scholarship recipient. She was the first 2014 featured illustrator on Illustrator Saturday. She is represented by Christina Tugeau at CATugeau.

THANKSGIVING PRAYER
by Eileen Spinelli

Thank you for the world–still sweet.

Thank you for the food we eat.

Thank you for the honeyed sun

that spoons its light on everyone.

Thank you for the leaves that fall

in glowing piles near the wall,

for kindness in a stranger’s face

and every unexpected grace.

Thank you for the starry dark,

for children laughing in the park,

for cozy towns and sleepy farms,

for dreamers, dancers, babes in arms.

Than you for all hearts that sing

of hope in spite of everything.

Fall Favorites
by Carol Murray

Pumpkins, round, upon the ground,

and children playing ball,

Scarecrow tips his tattered hat,

and waves to one and all.

Sleek black cats on fuzzy mats,

reclining, large and small,

and every size has starlit eyes,

like diamonds at The Mall.

Wine is chilled, and home is filled

with friends, both short and tall.

Hooray! Hooray! Thanksgiving Day.

Favorite things of Fall.
by Carol Murray

A Thanksgiving Toast

Here’s to years of happiness

and months of sunny skies,

To weeks of reaching mountain peaks,

and days of caring eyes,

To hours of hope and tenderness,

and minutes of delight,

On second thought, we wish you love,

We’re giving thanks tonight.

Thank you to Michelle, Eileen, and Carol for sharing their work to help us celebrate Thanksgiving. Hope everyone enjoys the day.

Winners:

Darlene Beck-Jacobson won Gayle Aanensen’s book BETTER THAN GOLD.

Joanne Roberts won SPAGHETTI SMILES by Margo Sorenson.

Congratulations! Winner please send me your addresses so they can be sent out.

You may wonder why I did not post the poems for the Thanksgiving Poem Contest yesterday. That is because Carol Murray was the only one to send in a poem for the contest and the default winner. Thank you Carol.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: authors and illustrators, Contest, Holiday, inspiration, Poems Tagged: Better Than Gold, Carol Murray, Eileen Spinelli, Happy Thanksgiving, Spaghetti Smiles, Thanksgiving Poem Contest

0 Comments on Happy Thanksgiving – Inspiration & Winners as of 11/30/2014 10:44:00 AM
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44. 2015 Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America Best First Novel Competition

Welcome to the 2015 Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America Best First Novel Competition!

minatour

Please read all of the rules and guidelines before submitting your entry. You can find the complete rules and guidelines at us.macmillan.com/minotaurbooks/writing-competitions.
To enter, you must complete this form and upload an electronic file of your Manuscript.

Only electronic submissions, uploaded through this entry form, will be considered; do not mail or e-mail
manuscript submissions to Minotaur Books.

  • Before uploading, please ensure that your Manuscript is formatted as follows:
  • 1) The Manuscript must be either a Microsoft Word document or a PDF
  • 2) Text must be double spaced
  • 3) Pages must be numbered consecutively from beginning to end
  • 4) The Manuscript must be saved as “Manuscript Title_Entrant Name”

Because of the great volume of submissions we receive and the fact that judges are volunteers with full-time responsibilities elsewhere, it is important that you submit your Manuscript as early as possible. Submissions will get a more careful reading if the judge does not have to contend with a flood of last-minute entries.

To be considered for the 2015 competition, all submissions must be received by 11:59pm on December 15,
2014.

If you have questions or need further clarification regarding the rules and guidelines of this competition, you may contact us at MB-MWAFirstCrimeNovelCompetition@StMartins.com.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Competition, opportunity, Places to Submit Tagged: Best First Novel Competition, MacMillian, Minotaur Books, Mystery Writers of America, St. Martins

0 Comments on 2015 Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America Best First Novel Competition as of 11/23/2014 1:08:00 AM
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45. Before the Sale – Book Appeal

Have you ever thought about how you decide to buy a book? In my case, unless it is written by a friend or someone has told me I must read a book, I first look at the cover. If the cover has a good title and the cover art grabs me, then I look inside. If the flap jacket pitch sounds interesting, then I flip through the pages.

I look to see if the book has good margins, short paragraphs, and good amount of white space. Long blocky paragraphs exposition, narrative, and description make me think… SKIP!

Studies show that using white space is important because it helps make a book look friendly. And, it is dialogue that provides the eye candy for a reader. As a potential buyer flips through your book, rapid back-and-forth dialogue will make your book more appealing before the reader even reads a word.

So paying attention to dialogue when you revise it is worth the time and effort. I would start by flipping through the manuscript for places that look dense and circle them. Later go back to read and analyze. Ask yourself, “Can I use dialogue to breakup this long paragraph? Would dialogue work better here than what I have now?”

Here are ten things that dialogue can do to help keep your reader reading.

  1. Dialogue draws a reader into your story.
  2. Dialogue adds immediacy, picks up the pace, and makes your text easier and more fun to read.
  3. Dialogue can give the writer a more effective way to provide information about emotional states and inner thoughts.
  4. Dialogue can reveal motive, insight into a character without overt telling.
  5. Dialogue can help set the mood of the scene. Example: “This doesn’t feel right… It’s too quiet.”
  6. Dialogue can intensify the conflict. A confrontation conversation between adversaries can ramp up the tension and remind readers what’s at stake.
  7. Good Dialogue moves the story forward.
  8. Dialogue is a useful tool to provide information the reader must know without slowing down the pacing.
  9. Dialogue is good to use to get out critical bits of information, back-story, and background.
  10. Dialogue can even be use to suggest a theme.

Of course, dialogue is only one thing to work on while you revise, but the above list can help you can see the many things it can help improve in your novel.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Advice, article, inspiration, Marketing a book, revisions, Writing Tips Tagged: Book Appeal, Getting readers to buy your book

2 Comments on Before the Sale – Book Appeal, last added: 11/24/2014
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46. Publisher Call For Submissions

hp_follow

ANNOUNCING NEW INSPIRATIONAL/FAMILY LINE!

HIGHLAND PRESS PUBLISHING
Actively seeking Inspirational and/or Sweet themed manuscripts. Think Hallmark Hall of Fame, Janette Oke, Little House on the Prairie, etc. Accepting full manuscripts for adults or young adult lines.

Submission Guidelines

If you are interested in submitting your manuscript to Highland Press Publishing, please take a few minutes to review the following and acquaint yourself with our guidelines:

Highland Press is at the present particularly interested in expanding our Christian/Inspirational/family line—both historical and contemporary stories.

We’re looking for outstanding manuscripts of all genres and timeframes—with the exception of erotica. (Absolutely no graphic sex scenes, please!) We want love and romance. A HEA. Emotion. Not just sex.

While some swearing is understood, it is preferable that you use swear words as little as possible. One thing we are firm on is not using the Lord’s name in vain.

We want historicals similar to what many of us grew up with and fell in love with. This does NOT mean we want manuscripts with history dumps! Please ensure the history is sprinkled throughout your manuscript. Also, it is imperative that your historical facts are accurate. Please research your facts at multiple sites, not just one.

While we have predominantly focused on historical novels to date, this doesn’t mean we’re not willing to consider well written stories of every time period. We look forward to receiving them. We have released several Young Adult books, including our first Young Adult inspirational. We have a few non-fiction books, including a reference book we believe every author will want to have. Use it to help your creativity come to life.

Each manuscript e-query packet must include the following:

~ Cover letter with total word count, brief synopsis, and information about yourself (publishing credits, writing memberships, etc.)

~ Make your cover letter interesting; tell us why we’ll love your manuscript

~ Be sure to let us know what marketing strategy you plan for your book

~ First three chapters of your manuscript (in standard manuscript format)

~ Do NOT staple chapters; use standard binder clips

Each full e-manuscript submission packet (when requested) must include the following items:

~Cover letter with total word count, brief synopsis, and applicable publishing credits

~Include a one to two page outline of your specific marketing strategy

~One e-copy of the full manuscript in Word – in standard format

~ Since we write notes and see how much editing will be required while we’re using the e-copy, the version you send us will not be returned if the story is not accepted.

Do not send your full manuscript if we have not requested it.

Standard Manuscript Format:

~8 1/2 x 11 document

~Times New Roman 12pt font/black ink

~1-inch margin on all sides

~25 lines per page

~Align text left, do not justify

~Header containing author name, manuscript title, word count, and page number

Capital letters at the beginning of sentences and proper nouns

~Show new paragraphs by indenting first line of new paragraph to .3 (not .5)

~Do not add blank line between paragraphs

~Show scene breaks with ~ * ~ centered in the appropriate line between paragraphs

All correspondence must include:

~Name (and pseudonym if applicable)

~Mailing address

~Phone number

~E-mail address

~Web address (if available)

Due to overwhelming number of submissions, response time for manuscript submissions cannot be guaranteed at this time. We will do our best to get to your manuscript as expeditiously as possible.

Please note: We do not accept email submissions without prior arrangement. We must request the full document from you before you send it. Unsolicited submissions sent via email will not be considered.

Please direct all email queries in the body of an email (no unsolicited attachments) to: Submissions.hp@gmail.com

General questions about Highland Press Publishing should be addressed to: The.Highland.Press@gmail.com

If you wish to send a partial query via regular mail, please send the necessary cover letter, brief synopsis, marketing plan, and the first three chapters to:

Highland Press Publishing
Submissions Department
PO Box 2292
High Springs, FL 32655

Full submissions of your print document, when requested, should be sent to the same address.

Thank you for your interest in Highland Press Publishing. We look forward to hearing from you.

Submissions that do not adhere to these guidelines will be discarded.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: opportunity, Places to Submit, publishers, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Call of Submissions, Christian Stories, Highland Press Publishing, historical and contemporary stories, Inspirational Novels, New Inspirational Family Line of Books

2 Comments on Publisher Call For Submissions, last added: 11/25/2014
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47. Outlining Your Novel

outlining your novelI am a big believer in creating an outline of your story and keep telling other writers how much it will help them with writing their novel. They nod their head, when they really want to pat me on the head and say, “Thanks, but no thanks.” So tonight read the beginning of K.M. Weiland’s “how to write book” titled, OUTLINING YOUR NOVEL, hoping to find someone else who could help persuade others to realize how much it will help them with their manuscripts. After reading the excerpt below, I bought the book and I hope you will check it out. She lays out some good reasons to outline.

Here it is:

Benefits of Outlining Your Story

 

  1. Ensures Balance and Cohesion

In an outline, you can see at a glance if the inciting even take place too late in the sotry, if the middle sags, or if the climax doesn’t resonate. Instead of having to diagnose and remedy these problems after the first draft, you can fix problems in the outline in only a few keystrokes.

  1. Prevents Dead-End Ideas

How many times have you started writing an exciting new plot twist, only to realize – 5,000 words later – that it’s led you to a cul-de-sac? You either have to spend valuable time bactracking and trying to write your way around the roadblock – or you have to cut the subplot altogether and start afresh. Outlines allow you to follow plot twists and subplots to their logical end (or lack thereof) in much less time. You can identify the dead-end ideas and cull them before they become annoying and embarrassing ploy holes.

  1. Provides Foreshadowing

It’s nearly impossible for an author to foreshadow and event of which he has no idea. As a pantser, when a startling plot twist occurs late in the book, you’ll have to go back and sow your foreshadowing into earlier scenes. Not only is this extra work, it can often be difficult to make the new hints of what’s yet to come flow effortlessly with your already constructed scenes. Because an outline give you inside knowledge about what’s going to happen in subsequent scenes, it provides you the opportunity to plant some organic foreshadowing.

  1. Smoothes Pacing

Like foreshadowing, pacing often requires inside knowledge. If the author doesn’t know the protagonist is about to be shot in the back, he can hardly adjust the pacing to introduce this shocking new event in the right manner. An outline shows you the places where your story is running too fast and the places where it is lagging and sagging.

  1. Indicates Preferable POVs

When working with multiple points of view it can often be challenging to know which scene should be written from which POV. Too often, we write a scene from one character’s POV, only to realize a different character’s narrative perspective would probably have offered a better experience for the reader. As a result, we’re forced to go back and rewrite the entire scene. Outlines allow us to make educated decisions about POV, thanks to insights regarding plot and character. Just as importantly, outlines permit us to look at the balance of you POVs over the course of the entire novel, so we can ensure each character is getting an appropriate amount of time at the mic.

  1. Maintains Consistent Character Voice

When writing without an outline, we’re often discovering the characters right along with the readers, and because our perception and understanding of our character often evolve over the course of the story, the result can be an uneven presentation of the character’s voice.

  1. Offers Motivation and Assurance

Writing a novel can be overwhelming. Typing thousands of words is an undertaking in itself – but when those words all have to hang together in a way that is sensible, entertaining, and resonant, that’s enough to make our knees start shaking beneath our desks. Outlines give us the assurance that we can craft a complete story; all we have to do now is fill in the blanks. And because those blanks are ones that fascinate us, outlines also motivate us to keep on writing through the tough spots, so we can get to the good stuff.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Advice, How to, inspiration, reference, revisions, Writing Tips Tagged: Benefits of outlining Your Story, K.M. Weiland, Outlining your novel, Reason to outline

1 Comments on Outlining Your Novel, last added: 11/25/2014
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48. Publisher Call For Submissions

hp_follow

ANNOUNCING NEW INSPIRATIONAL/FAMILY LINE!

HIGHLAND PRESS PUBLISHING
Actively seeking Inspirational and/or Sweet themed manuscripts. Think Hallmark Hall of Fame, Janette Oke, Little House on the Prairie, etc. Accepting full manuscripts for adults or young adult lines.

Submission Guidelines

If you are interested in submitting your manuscript to Highland Press Publishing, please take a few minutes to review the following and acquaint yourself with our guidelines:

Highland Press is at the present particularly interested in expanding our Christian/Inspirational/family line—both historical and contemporary stories.

We’re looking for outstanding manuscripts of all genres and timeframes—with the exception of erotica. (Absolutely no graphic sex scenes, please!) We want love and romance. A HEA. Emotion. Not just sex.

While some swearing is understood, it is preferable that you use swear words as little as possible. One thing we are firm on is not using the Lord’s name in vain.

We want historicals similar to what many of us grew up with and fell in love with. This does NOT mean we want manuscripts with history dumps! Please ensure the history is sprinkled throughout your manuscript. Also, it is imperative that your historical facts are accurate. Please research your facts at multiple sites, not just one.

While we have predominantly focused on historical novels to date, this doesn’t mean we’re not willing to consider well written stories of every time period. We look forward to receiving them. We have released several Young Adult books, including our first Young Adult inspirational. We have a few non-fiction books, including a reference book we believe every author will want to have. Use it to help your creativity come to life.

Each manuscript e-query packet must include the following:

~ Cover letter with total word count, brief synopsis, and information about yourself (publishing credits, writing memberships, etc.)

~ Make your cover letter interesting; tell us why we’ll love your manuscript

~ Be sure to let us know what marketing strategy you plan for your book

~ First three chapters of your manuscript (in standard manuscript format)

~ Do NOT staple chapters; use standard binder clips

Each full e-manuscript submission packet (when requested) must include the following items:

~Cover letter with total word count, brief synopsis, and applicable publishing credits

~Include a one to two page outline of your specific marketing strategy

~One e-copy of the full manuscript in Word – in standard format

~ Since we write notes and see how much editing will be required while we’re using the e-copy, the version you send us will not be returned if the story is not accepted.

Do not send your full manuscript if we have not requested it.

Standard Manuscript Format:

~8 1/2 x 11 document

~Times New Roman 12pt font/black ink

~1-inch margin on all sides

~25 lines per page

~Align text left, do not justify

~Header containing author name, manuscript title, word count, and page number

Capital letters at the beginning of sentences and proper nouns

~Show new paragraphs by indenting first line of new paragraph to .3 (not .5)

~Do not add blank line between paragraphs

~Show scene breaks with ~ * ~ centered in the appropriate line between paragraphs

All correspondence must include:

~Name (and pseudonym if applicable)

~Mailing address

~Phone number

~E-mail address

~Web address (if available)

Due to overwhelming number of submissions, response time for manuscript submissions cannot be guaranteed at this time. We will do our best to get to your manuscript as expeditiously as possible.

Please note: We do not accept email submissions without prior arrangement. We must request the full document from you before you send it. Unsolicited submissions sent via email will not be considered.

Please direct all email queries in the body of an email (no unsolicited attachments) to: Submissions.hp@gmail.com

General questions about Highland Press Publishing should be addressed to: The.Highland.Press@gmail.com

If you wish to send a partial query via regular mail, please send the necessary cover letter, brief synopsis, marketing plan, and the first three chapters to:

Highland Press Publishing
Submissions Department
PO Box 2292
High Springs, FL 32655

Full submissions of your print document, when requested, should be sent to the same address.

Thank you for your interest in Highland Press Publishing. We look forward to hearing from you.

Submissions that do not adhere to these guidelines will be discarded.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: opportunity, Places to Submit, publishers, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Call of Submissions, Christian Stories, Highland Press Publishing, historical and contemporary stories, Inspirational Novels, New Inspirational Family Line of Books

0 Comments on Publisher Call For Submissions as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
49. Outlining Your Novel

outlining your novelI am a big believer in creating an outline of your story and keep telling other writers how much it will help them with writing their novel. They nod their head, when they really want to pat me on the head and say, “Thanks, but no thanks.” So tonight read the beginning of K.M. Weiland’s “how to write book” titled, OUTLINING YOUR NOVEL, hoping to find someone else who could help persuade others to realize how much it will help them with their manuscripts. After reading the excerpt below, I bought the book and I hope you will check it out. She lays out some good reasons to outline.

Here it is:

Benefits of Outlining Your Story

 

  1. Ensures Balance and Cohesion

In an outline, you can see at a glance if the inciting even take place too late in the sotry, if the middle sags, or if the climax doesn’t resonate. Instead of having to diagnose and remedy these problems after the first draft, you can fix problems in the outline in only a few keystrokes.

  1. Prevents Dead-End Ideas

How many times have you started writing an exciting new plot twist, only to realize – 5,000 words later – that it’s led you to a cul-de-sac? You either have to spend valuable time bactracking and trying to write your way around the roadblock – or you have to cut the subplot altogether and start afresh. Outlines allow you to follow plot twists and subplots to their logical end (or lack thereof) in much less time. You can identify the dead-end ideas and cull them before they become annoying and embarrassing ploy holes.

  1. Provides Foreshadowing

It’s nearly impossible for an author to foreshadow and event of which he has no idea. As a pantser, when a startling plot twist occurs late in the book, you’ll have to go back and sow your foreshadowing into earlier scenes. Not only is this extra work, it can often be difficult to make the new hints of what’s yet to come flow effortlessly with your already constructed scenes. Because an outline give you inside knowledge about what’s going to happen in subsequent scenes, it provides you the opportunity to plant some organic foreshadowing.

  1. Smoothes Pacing

Like foreshadowing, pacing often requires inside knowledge. If the author doesn’t know the protagonist is about to be shot in the back, he can hardly adjust the pacing to introduce this shocking new event in the right manner. An outline shows you the places where your story is running too fast and the places where it is lagging and sagging.

  1. Indicates Preferable POVs

When working with multiple points of view it can often be challenging to know which scene should be written from which POV. Too often, we write a scene from one character’s POV, only to realize a different character’s narrative perspective would probably have offered a better experience for the reader. As a result, we’re forced to go back and rewrite the entire scene. Outlines allow us to make educated decisions about POV, thanks to insights regarding plot and character. Just as importantly, outlines permit us to look at the balance of you POVs over the course of the entire novel, so we can ensure each character is getting an appropriate amount of time at the mic.

  1. Maintains Consistent Character Voice

When writing without an outline, we’re often discovering the characters right along with the readers, and because our perception and understanding of our character often evolve over the course of the story, the result can be an uneven presentation of the character’s voice.

  1. Offers Motivation and Assurance

Writing a novel can be overwhelming. Typing thousands of words is an undertaking in itself – but when those words all have to hang together in a way that is sensible, entertaining, and resonant, that’s enough to make our knees start shaking beneath our desks. Outlines give us the assurance that we can craft a complete story; all we have to do now is fill in the blanks. And because those blanks are ones that fascinate us, outlines also motivate us to keep on writing through the tough spots, so we can get to the good stuff.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Advice, How to, inspiration, reference, revisions, Writing Tips Tagged: Benefits of outlining Your Story, K.M. Weiland, Outlining your novel, Reason to outline

0 Comments on Outlining Your Novel as of 1/1/1900
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50. Before the Sale – Book Appeal

Have you ever thought about how you decide to buy a book? In my case, unless it is written by a friend or someone has told me I must read a book, I first look at the cover. If the cover has a good title and the cover art grabs me, then I look inside. If the flap jacket pitch sounds interesting, then I flip through the pages.

I look to see if the book has good margins, short paragraphs, and good amount of white space. Long blocky paragraphs exposition, narrative, and description make me think… SKIP!

Studies show that using white space is important because it helps make a book look friendly. And, it is dialogue that provides the eye candy for a reader. As a potential buyer flips through your book, rapid back-and-forth dialogue will make your book more appealing before the reader even reads a word.

So paying attention to dialogue when you revise it is worth the time and effort. I would start by flipping through the manuscript for places that look dense and circle them. Later go back to read and analyze. Ask yourself, “Can I use dialogue to breakup this long paragraph? Would dialogue work better here than what I have now?”

Here are ten things that dialogue can do to help keep your reader reading.

  1. Dialogue draws a reader into your story.
  2. Dialogue adds immediacy, picks up the pace, and makes your text easier and more fun to read.
  3. Dialogue can give the writer a more effective way to provide information about emotional states and inner thoughts.
  4. Dialogue can reveal motive, insight into a character without overt telling.
  5. Dialogue can help set the mood of the scene. Example: “This doesn’t feel right… It’s too quiet.”
  6. Dialogue can intensify the conflict. A confrontation conversation between adversaries can ramp up the tension and remind readers what’s at stake.
  7. Good Dialogue moves the story forward.
  8. Dialogue is a useful tool to provide information the reader must know without slowing down the pacing.
  9. Dialogue is good to use to get out critical bits of information, back-story, and background.
  10. Dialogue can even be use to suggest a theme.

Of course, dialogue is only one thing to work on while you revise, but the above list can help you can see the many things it can help improve in your novel.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Advice, article, inspiration, Marketing a book, revisions, Writing Tips Tagged: Book Appeal, Getting readers to buy your book

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