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1. Andrew Crofts Reveals ‘Confessions of a Ghostwriter’ in New Memoir

British ghostwriter Andrew Crofts will lift the veil on his profession in a new memoir called Confessions of a Ghostwriter which is due out next month from HarperCollins Publishers.

In the book, Crofts details his career as a ghostwriter which he got into after his novel got rejected. Crofts has penned more than 80 books including a number of bestsellers.  Here is more from The Guardian:

Ghosts, notes Crofts, lead episodic lives: “It’s a perfect arrangement. You get the commission, have the adventure – anywhere from a palace to a brothel – and return to the security of your own home.”

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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2. Pacing

Get your story moving and keep it moving. 

http://scotteagan.blogspot.com/2014/06/pacing-in-your-book-get-us-moving-and.html

0 Comments on Pacing as of 7/28/2014 8:42:00 PM
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3. SDCC Discusses Blake J. Harris’ “The Console Wars,” with guests.

Author Blake J. Harris surrounded by Sega and Nintendo.

Author Blake J. Harris surrounded by Sega and Nintendo.

By: Nick Eskey

Once upon a time, Nintendo resurrected what remained of the home console market, and thus ruled the gaming world. Almost 95% of the market belonged to them. People didn’t play videogames, they played “Nintendo.” But then, a competitor slowly loomed in sight. Sega’s star was on the rise, threatening the hold that Nintendo held over the industry. And a war was on. It wasn’t fought on any battlefield with guns, but in the retail market.

Blake J. Harris lived in the time where Nintendo and Sega’s war was at its peak. In his adulthood, Blake realized that there wasn’t anything officially written with a deep level of research regarding that time. So he took it upon himself to take three years to write what he later entitled “Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and The Battle that Defined a Generation.” But aside from himself, Blake also collected a few others who actually “fought” in the battle: Bill White and Perrin Kaplan on behalf of Nintendo of America, and Tom Kalinske and Al Nilsen on behalf of Sega of America.

During the high sales of the NES, Sega wanted to create a mascot of their own. Nintendo had Mario after all. Al Nelson was presented with two possible candidates: Something that as Al put it looked a lot like “an egg shaped, weeble-wobble character,” and a spike-haired hedgehog that dated a human girl. “I chose the lesser of two evils.”

Around the same time, president of Sega Japan approached Tom Kalinske and asked him to help place his company in a prime position in the market. Tom had worked with Flinstones Vitamins and Matel (on their franchises such as Barbie, He-man, and Matchbox). The president of Sega had heard of Tom when he was with Matel, and sought him out after he left the company. Tom Kalinske suggested to the board that they take out Altered Beast (the game that originally was bundled with it) and replace it with Sonic. He also wanted a lowered price for the system, aggressive marketing that called out Nintendo, and more games made for adults. The Japanese executives didn’t agree with him, but the president had brought him on to help Sega, so he allowed the moves.

It was Bill White of Nintendo who had to steer the marketing when Sega had started to exert itself. He first came in 1987 when Nintendo was attempting to resurrect the collapsed home console market. Bill tried hard to advertise the titles themselves, which he knew would “drive the hardware.” He also helped to sell the movie rights to Mario, which lead to the box office flop “Mario Bros. 2000.” “I was told to not get anything less than $100,000,” said White. “But at the end of the day, it really was about using it in hopes of further driving the brand.”

When Sega started to gain ground on what use to be Nintendo territory, Perrin Kaplan was brought in as someone who was outside of the industry. “I was a fresh face,” she said. “And I definitely didn’t play games.”

When Tom’s aggressive marketing started, they boasted about their faster processes, and poked fun at how slow Nintendo’s hardware’s was in comparison. The aggressive marketing was paying off. “It was an exciting time where we felt we could get a piece of the pie,” said Al Nelson. Bill White pushed for the Super Nintendo which was in the works to get released sooner. “Our competitor was 16 bit… I felt we needed to match it, but the executives felt that the NES still had legs. That there were still homes that it could still find itself in.” So instead, Bill pushed for large marketing campaigns. They did the Nintendo Championships that toured the malls, “so people could play the game.” Bill continued to use the games as a big focus.

Sega took to another tactic and marketed their system more to teenagers. “Nintendo marketed more for kids,” said Tom Kalinske. “We decided to be unique… We were on college campuses and concerts… it was very grass roots.”

Eventually, Sega had claimed a good slice of what use to be Nintendo’s. This became a wakeup call to Nintendo. “Nintendo was poked, made fun of. And when awakened, it went back to what it was best at.”

Today, we all know how the wars ultimately ended. But for the time, it created competition, and forced videogames into new directions that are still felt today. So even though Sega is no longer in the console industry where Nintendo still is, the war they fought definitely shaped the generation we live in now.

For more on battle between the two, go and pick up Blake J. Harris’ book, “Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and The Battle that Defined a Generation.”

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4. No Fee Short Story Contest

KendraShedenhelm_YouTheMagician_Space

Kendra Shedenhelm sent in this “out-of this world” illustration from an upcoming book she illustrated titled, “You, the Magician.” You can visit her site at http://kendrashedenhelm.com/.

Creative Writing Institute’s

International Short Story Contest Now Open

No Entry Fee

DIRECTIONS: Read all guidelines (rules) carefully.

CASH PRIZES!

First place: $200 USD or a free writing course with a personal tutor, valued at $260, + publication in our anthology and eBook.

Second place: $100 USD or a credit of $150 toward a writing course with a personal tutor, valued at $260, + publication in our anthology and eBook.

Third place: $50 USD or a credit of $100 toward a writing course with a personal tutor, valued at $260, + publication in our anthology and eBook.

Plus: seven additional Judge’s Choice stories will receive publication in our anthology & Ebook, entitledWhat Could Possibly go Wrong?

ONE submission per person

  • When you’re ready to submit, scroll to the bottom of the page at http://CreativeWritingInstitute.Submittable.com/submit and click on SUBMIT. Entries will only be accepted on that form. Fill out your name and address, and follow the prompts to a space where you can copy and paste your document into it.  Do NOT send attachments or emailed entries as these will NOT be accepted.
  • Especially note our requirements for G-rated literature. Please see #1 below for further definition.
  • By entering this contest, you are saying this story has not been previously published, you grant minor editing rights for publication, and Creative Writing Institute has first, non-exclusive, electronic rights and First North American Print Rights to publish the winners and Judge’s Choice stories in our anthology, “What Could Possibly go Wrong?” All Rights return to the author upon publication.

This is a themed contest. Your story must be original and unpublished (except on personal blogs, critique groups, or personal web pages) and must be between 1,000 and 2,000 words.

Your story may be any genre, but these exact sentences must appear together in the story:

I have a list and a map. What could possibly go wrong?

Accepting submissions until midnight, August 9, 2014, USA Eastern Standard Time.

  • Entries will only be accepted through the submission form. As you go through the submission process, there will be a space for you to copy and paste your document into. Do NOT send attachments or emailed entries as these will NOT be accepted.

ENTRIES MUST FOLLOW THESE GUIDELINES OR BE DISQUALIFIED.

1. Any genre: Horror, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Humor, Romance, Children, etc., No erotica, profanity, swearing, or gore. (Swearing includes but is not limited to the following: hell, damn, bitch, taking God’s name in vain, and other similar words.) This is a “G” rated contest. One swear word will disqualify your entry. Good writers can make their point by showing the character’s attitudes. Questions? Query the head judge at cwicontests@gmail.com.

2. Entries must be 1,000 to 2,000 words. (This is a strict word count, but don’t count the title or personal information in the word count.) Place the word count at the top of page 1 before submitting.

3. One entry per person, please.

4. By entering this contest, you are stating that the story is your own copyright. You are stating that it has NOT been previously published by a professional or semi-professional publication. You are stating that you grant minor editing rights for publication, and if chosen, Creative Writing Institute has first, non-exclusive, electronic rights and First North American Print Rights to publish the winners and Judge’s Choice stories in our anthology, “What Could Possibly go Wrong?” All Rights return to the author upon publication.

5. Entries will be judged on originality, creativity, style, and technique.

6. Be sure that your entry has been proofread and edited. Points will be deducted for poorly structured sentences, spelling mistakes, and grammatical errors. Your entry should reflect your commitment to writing.

7. Read tips and tricks on how to win a contest on http://www.cwinst.com .

Winners will be notified by email on or before September 12, 2014.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Competition, Contest, opportunity, Places to sumit, writing Tagged: Cash Prizes, Creative Writing, No Entry Fee, Publication in anthology, Publication in ebook, Short Story contest

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5. Four People and a Playwright Looking for a Decent Play

This was a time-waster while developing characters in my play, "Gin..." As the playwright plodded along adding and deleting dialogue, the characters of the play began to show signs of rebellion - at least they thought it was rebellion since they weren't exactly sure what a rebellion was. It's a longer piece but an enjoyable light one. It's cut and pasted from Word so ignore the formatting.


By Eleanor Tylbor
 
 
AT RISE:      
 
Four women are seated on fold-up chairs around a card table, absorbed in adjusting the playing cards in their hands. Bowls of popcorn and soft drink cans litter the surface of the table. On the other side of the stage the playwright (JULIE) is sitting at a computer desk, arms bent at elbows, staring out into space. She works the keyboard as the characters recite their lines
 
BRENDA
In case anyone cares, something is about to happen…very soon now…could even be momentarily…I can feel it…
                         Lays cards down on the table and thrusts remaining card in the
                         air for all to see
 
(Cont’d.) Victory is at hand – or inmy hand, in this case! Oh I’m a winner all right!
CHARLENE
                         Shoving a hand full of popcorn in her mouth
 
Goof fo' you. Paf me de drink, Miffi
 
BRENDA
Didn't your momma teach you it's not nice to eat and talk? Then again for some people, a full mouth is part of a lifestyle. Isn't that right Mitzi, honey?
 
MITZI
Jealousy will get you nowhere, sweetie.  At least I'm not a dried up where it counts!
 
BRENDA
Touchy! I was merely commenting to Charlene that well-bred people don't speak with their mouths full! But then being that you’re a multi-tasker…I mean handling more than one person at a time…
 
MITZI
Breeding comes naturally in your family, doesn't it? Did they forget to give you your cube of sugar today? Clop your hoof once for yes and two for no
 
CHLOE
(to herself)
Bicker, bicker…bicker, … It would be nice to have a quiet game of cards for a change without throwing verbal knives at each other
 
CHARLENE
I think I'm close to calling Gin…
 
BRENDA
I would stay out of this if I were you, Chloe. Is your brother eligible for parole, yet?
 
CHLOE
I'm gonna start calling you Bossy, along with the other "b" word that rhymes with itch, and usually associated with a female dog! I try to be nice to you and what do I get in return?
 
                         CHLOE stares into space for approx. 10 seconds in silence
 
What do I get in return? Does anybody know?
 
CHARLENE
Do we guess?
CHLOE
I don’t think so. My mind is a complete blank. Is that normal?
 
           Pause of 10 seconds while they all stare out into space
 
CHARLENE
I’m waiting

BRENDA
Me too. What are we waiting for?
 
MITZI
Some words and sentences I think

 
BRENDA
(puzzled)
Don't blame me for what comes out of my mouth. I just say the words. I don't create them. By the way, Chloe, what's your brother in for this time? Armed robbery or is it murder? I didn't mean to say that…or maybe I did…I’m not sure
MITZI
I really don't know why but I feel compelled to tell you…
 
                         Stands up and leans over the table towards BRENDA
 
BRENDA
(standing up)
What? Anybody?
 
MITZI
Why am I standing? I mean, what's my motivation? Could somebody tell me, please?
 
CHLOE
So sit down if you’re not sure. My philosophy is when in doubt – don’t
 
MITZI
Don’t what?
 
CHLOE
Um - I dunno. Take my word for it and just don’t. That’s all
 
CHARLENE
(excitedly)
Gin! What’s supposed to happen, now?
 
BRENDA
I’m not sure but I think something important is gonna happen. I can feel it in my bones. Does anybody have any ideas?
 
MITZI
Well…for starters, we’re all holding these hard pieces of paper in our hands
 
CHLOE
I wonder if that’s significant. What do yours look like, Brenda?
 
BRENDA
Let’s see… White background with red and black thingies…
 
MITZI
Thingies?
 
BRENDA
I dunno what you call them but they’re pretty, though. And there are numbers in the corners
 
CHLOE
Same here! Go figure!
 
MITZI AND CHARLENE TOGETHER
Ours too!
 
BRENDA
Okay. We’re making progress here. Hey! These are playing cards
 
 CHARLENE
You think?
 
 BRENDA
I know for a fact! Those words just popped into my head!
 
CHARLENE
So you say. You could’a just make them up on the spur of the moment to impress us
 
BRENDA
Have you ever heard me use them before?
 
CHLOE
I never heard them in my entire life and that’s the truth
 
BRENDA
Then you’re all just gonna hav’ta take my word for it! These things are called playing cards
 
MITZI
Let’s say you’re right. What about them?
 
BRENDA
I dunno…What comes next?
 
CHARLENE
Y’know - I’ve been wondering if I should be eating popcorn or maybe change it for something else like, candy for example or ice cream
 
MITZI
All you think about is food, food, food! There are more important things in life
 
BRENDA
Really? Like?
 
MITZI
Well…there just are. I feel it

 
CHLOE
Sometimes, I get the feeling like I'm a puppet on a string or something, bowing to someone's wishes. Do any of you ever get that feeling?
 
CHARLENE
I said, ‘Gin’! Hello? I'll try again. Gin… Gin… Gin!
 
ALL TOGETHER
So?
 
CHARLENE
Darned if I know. We show up every day and twice on weekends holding these playing cards in our hands. Why I keep asking myself. Why am I here? Why are we all here? Sometimes I yell out,  “Gin!” out loud but nobody answers. Shouldn’t somebody answer me? I’ve been screaming that word for the last six months. Always the same words and lines and then I call out, "Gin!"
                         Stares out in space and babbles to an invisible person
 (Cont’d.) ‘…she tries to make the others understand but they just stare at her blankly…she must determine the reason for her very existence…’
 
BRENDA
Who are you talking to?
 
CHARLENE
I really can’t say. Suddenly a bunch of words came tumbling out of my mouth for no reason. It's not the first time this has happened
 
BRENDA
Ask Mitzi. She knows all about objects in mouths
 
MITZI
I'm so sick of your sexual innuendoes, Brenda
 
CHLOE
Why do you react that way whenever the word “mouth” is mentioned?
 
MITZI
It’s not that I want to but I feel I have to. It’s as if I don’t have any choice in the matter
 MITZI stands up with hands on hips, leans forward until her face  is directly in front of Brenda

BRENDA
Yes?
 
MITZI
And…um…something else…
 
                         Moves away from table, hops up and down and starts
 shadow boxing, fists waving in the air
 
(Cont’d.) I took a self-defense course! My hands are lethal weapons!
 
                         Cuts the air with side of hand
 
CHLOE
And that means…?
 
MITZI
You are so not with it.  It means…it means…
 
BRENDA
Oh pllleeze! She doesn’t know
 
BRENDA
Let's settle this once and for all! C'mon – right here and now
 
MITZI
Fine with me…what are we supposed to do next?
 
BRENDA
Just… keep hitting the air and dancing around I suppose
 
                         BRENDA and MITZI spar, fists jabbing the empty air
 
CHLOE
                         Stands up and places her purse strap over her shoulder
 
That's it! Nobody seems to care that I have yelled “Gin!”…whatever that means, but I'm sure it's important.  I don't know about you all but I'm leaving! Anybody else gonna follow me?
 
 MITZI
                         Attempts to attract the attention of the playwright
 
Hello? You up there? Could you stop staring at that screen for a minute? This isn't working for me at all. I'm sick-and-and tired of being a slut with a one-track mind. This play of yours is a bunch of words with no plot or direction and it breaks every playwriting rule in the book. Where's the protagonist and antagonist?
 
CHARLENE
What are you complaining about? My character is insecure, indecisive and naive, and those are her strong qualities. How'd you like to have those? I'm smart, you know! I am very smart… I think
 
BRENDA
Off the top of my head, I would guess that part of your problem is that you're a minor character, while mine plays a major role and more attention is required to develop Brenda, properly
 
CHARLENE
See what I mean? How come I can't be the smart one for a change?
 
CHLOE         
With all due respect Charlene, honey, I don't think you have the emotional range to assume an analytical role of deep thinker, like we do. Right ladies?
 
                         CHLOE and BRENDA together:  ‘I dunno’
 
CHARLENE
It's just not fair! Every day I hav'ta play the part of a simple minded female when in reality, I got it up here (points to her head) I think this is what makes the words come out
 
CHLOE
You see, Charlene, sweetie, my background lends itself to being a character with class…one of the rich, beautiful people, while you – well dear - let's just say that you have interesting words in your sentences
 
CHARLENE
I'm as good as anyone here! You're all forgetting that we are the sum total of the playwright's vision. Hey – I can talk smart too! Why can't we take turns being each other?
 
MITZI
Let's not forget here that our origins are a computer memory chip. The only rich and famous person we're connected to is Bill Gates. I say…we walk. Are you with me, ladies?
 
VOICE OF PLAYWRIGHT (JULIE)
Is there a problem?
 
BRENDA
 
                         Hands on hips, facing direction of playwright
 
We got your attention, huh? We've had it with these crappy lines! We're bored of being portrayed as vacuous women with blank minds. We're people too! We have feelings and we hurt and…
 
JULIE
May I remind you that you're nothing more than a bunch of words strung together to make a sentence? I make you who and what you are and I can eliminate you all with a push of my forefinger and a delete button. You're only communicating with me now because I'm exploring dialogue choices. You're all a figment of my imagination
 
CHARLENE
No need for threats, here, dear. There's only so much that characters can take and we've reached the end of the line, so to speak. Do you like that, ladies? End-of-the-line?
 
CHLOE
Trés wit-ty, my dear
 
JULIE
What should I say? I've re-written and re-written you all at least two dozen times and no matter what I do, the dialogue sounds… wooden. And don't even ask about the plot, or lack of one, thereof
 
BRENDA      
That's because you really don't really believe in us, do you? Deep down inside you're toying with the idea of deleting the text and starting a whole new play that will move in a new direction. Do you know what it's like living under that threat? I'll tell you – it's very disturbing
 
PLAYWRIGHT JULIE
Did I write that? I don't remember writing those words…
 
CHLOE
Now there's a perfect example of what I'm talking about! We never know where you're gonna take us next, right ladies? It's like…there's giant hands hanging over the stage dangling precariously, ready to strike at a moments notice.  It's the uncertainty of the delete button that gets us down!
 
MITZI
For example, why do you always make me as an over-sexed whore? Maybe it would be good to be an upright female for a change.  Not necessarily a nun or anything but an intelligent woman who has a direction and purpose in life. Not somebody who dresses in clothes three sizes too tight. Let Charlene assume that part for once. Wouldn't you like that, dear?
 
CHARLENE
I'll pass but I know where she's coming from! In spite of all your attempts at re-writes, you still make me out like an empty-headed - duh! I want to be respected like the rest of them, except Mitzi…no insult intended…
 
MITZI
None taken, dear. I'm used to it by now
 
PLAYWRIGHT JULIE
I never realized you all felt this way
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6. Essential Story Ingredients

Make sure your stories contain these five vital ingredients. 

http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/the-5-essential-story-ingredients

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7. Beyond the Page: Writing in the Digital Age

By

These authors talk about technology, and how it's influenced their work.

These authors talk about technology, and how it’s influenced their work.

: Nick Eskey

Ever since the creation of the printing press, authors finally had an avenue to get their works out into the world. But it wasn’t until the creation of moving pictures that authors had another venue for their work aside from their printed forms. A book had the chance to find itself on the big screen, creating new revenues and reaching audiences that may have never read their work. It changed the possibilities again.

The advent of the digital age has yet again added possibilities, as these authors discussed during Beyond the Page panel this year at Comic-Con. James Frey (Endgame), Chris Weitz (The Young World), James Dashner (Maze Runner & The Rule of Thoughts), Andrew Kaplan (Homeland), Fred Van Lente (Make Comics Like Pros), James Silvani (Draw-a-sauras), and Melissa De La Cruz (Ring and the Crown) all shared how technology had affected their work. James Frey remembered when the first iPad was introduced. “I was awed. Thought it would great to have this thing that allowed people to watch movies and surf the web on the go.” Since then, he wanted to use everything he could to promote his work. “Now we have twitter feeds, youtube feeds… All these tools for the toolbox let’s me reach and tell more to readers.”

Not too long ago, industries that dealt with physical mediums like books or comics had “thoughts of doom and gloom,” as James Dashner said. “They thought technology would replace them. But now the book industry has more readers than ever.” He also pointed out that with ebooks, readers have the option to get enhanced experiences that never have been available to them before.

In regards to ebooks, Melissa De La Cruz did agree that she’s seen printed books affected. But other things like social media has offered a surprising support to the printed realm. “I’ve seen websites like Tumblr have helped to spark paper book groups… There’s even groups out there that share recipes based on their favorite books.”

Technology can even work hand-in-hand with books to create a larger, more immersive experience. James Frey himself said how he’s currently working on a series that will span 3 books, 35 novellas, and a video game that will be made by Google. “The books themselves will be the core,” he said. “And in each book there will be puzzles that will lead to real world prizes.” But if you’re not interested in the extras, they are not necessary to understand the books. “They will be just another option.”

But with all the options now at authors disposal, it can become confusing on how to use them properly. “With social media and tech, you have to be careful to not make them a gimmick,” said Fred Van Lente. “It’s a fine line. If you enjoy doing it, I think it’s what [would] keep it from being a gimmick. If you are told to, or feel like you have to, then it becomes one.” And as James Frey added, “Books are entirely self contained. The extras are optional, and for you to enjoy if you want to.”

Ultimately, books are what they are. Authors can take their books and morph them into more using today’s tech. But there’s still a balance that should be kept when using them. Because after all, as one panelist said, “It’s a book, and ultimately you have to live and die as a book.”

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8. What have you got lined up in the coming weeks and months?

Where is Jon - compressed


I had a great time at the Kateri Day Camp in Morganville, NJ, earlier this month. I did two creative writing sessions. The first was for a group of 9-yr-old girls, in which we worked together to make up a rather fun sequel idea for Disney's Frozen.

The following week, I did a similar workshop for the boys, most of whom were twelve or older. They had a hard time agreeing on which movie sequel to work on (we ended up doing a zombie apocalypse set in a big city), but we managed to put something together.

I'm popping back there on Monday to pick up the entries for a story contest I set up. I've already read a couple of them. They're very good.

As for upcoming events, I've a few things booked and several more in the pipeline, but what with one thing and another, I've eased back a lot this year:

2014 AUGUST 9th (Sat) MONMOUTH WRITERS 10am-noon
Critique group, run by my friend Rick Kelsten


2014 SEPTEMBER 20th (Sat) MEET THE AUTHORS 4pm-6pm
Barnes & Noble, 2134 Highway 35, Holmdel, NJ 07733


2014 OCTOBER 15th (Weds) NOVEL WRITING: The First Draft 6:30pm-8:30pm
Ocean County Library (Tom's River)101 Washington St, Toms River, NJ 08753



How about you?

What have you got lined up in the coming weeks and months?

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9. Interesting blog posts about writing – w/e July 25th, 2014



Here’s my selection of interesting (and sometimes amusing) posts about writing from the last week:

A Better Way to Open Your Novel (Larry Brooks)
http://storyfix.com/better-way-open-novel

The Art of Microfiction (Gayle Towell)
http://litreactor.com/columns/the-art-of-microfiction

Prologue and Epilogue (Diana Hurwitz)
http://bloodredpencil.blogspot.com/2014/07/prologue-and-epilogue.html

Warning: Green Shore Publishing (Victoria Strauss)
http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2014/07/warning-green-shore-publishing.html

Why I Left My Mighty Agency and New York Publishers (for now) (Claire Cook)
http://janefriedman.com/2014/07/21/i-left-my-agent/

11 Grammar Mistakes That Label You “Amateur” (Janet Kobobel Grant)
www.booksandsuch.com/blog/11-grammar-mistakes-label-amateur/

One Way to Connect DIRECTLY To Your Fans? *Yawn* Email. Boring Old Email. (Dan Blank)
http://writerunboxed.com/2014/07/25/one-way-to-connect-directly-to-your-biggest-fans-yawn-email-boring-old-email/


Watch out for writing ruts (Rachel Kent)
www.booksandsuch.com/blog/watch-writing-ruts/

Resources for Writers—Industry News (Elizabeth Spann Craig)
http://elizabethspanncraig.com/2311/resources-writers-industry-news/

If you found these useful, you may also like my personal selection of the most interesting blog posts from 2013, and last week’s list.

If you have a particular favorite among these, please let the author know (and me too, if you have time).  Also, if you've a link to a great post that isn't here, feel free to share.

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10. Colloquialisms


Colloquialisms are words or phrases that we use in conversation or informal situations. 

An example would be the different ways people refer to carbonated beverages: cola, soda, soda pop, and pop.

Another example is cooked batter: pancake, griddle cake, flap jack, Johnny cake, and short stack.

They can be words (gonna), phrases (hang on), or aphorisms (when the going gets tough, the tough get going).

A few examples of colloquialisms include: 

  • bat out of hell 
  • beating a dead horse 
  • bigger than a barn 
  • bump on a log 
  • couldn't care less 
  • crazy as a loon 
  • deader than a doornail 
  • dumb as stump 
  • drunk as a monkey 
  • happy as a pig in shit 
  • hell for leather 
  • hotter than hell 
  • knocked into next week 
  • like flies on shit 
  • like white on rice 
  • meaner than a snake 
  • neat as a pin 
  • not the brightest crayon 
  • older than dirt 
  • one fry short of a happy meal 
  • piece of cake 
  • shut your pie hole 
  • slow as molasses 
  • tighter than a banjo string 
Colloquialism, clichés, and slang are close cousins and hard to differentiate. In general, colloquialisms are limited to a specific geographic location (the southern states) and slang is more widespread (America).

It isn't important for the sake of revision to worry about the finer points of distinction. We aren't in English class anymore. The important point is to use them wisely.

Both colloquialisms and slang can be used as a dialogue plant and payoff: a phrase repeated two or three times at critical points in the story between two characters.


Creating unique colloquialisms and slang for your fantasy world can add a dash of spice. Don't over do it.

Getting the historical slang wrong will earn you e-mails pointing out that the phrase was not used until _____. Nitpickers love this stuff.

Both can add color to your prose and dialogue. Sprinkled throughout a manuscript, they are fine. A few sprinkled in a paragraph is considered overdoing it.



Revision Tips
? Turn on the Clichés, Colloquialisms, and Jargon option in the toolbox in Word. These items will be marked for you. As you read through your draft, decide which to keep and which to kill. Have you used the cliché intentionally?
? Can you twist it or make it fresh?
? Have you committed colloquialism abuse? Should you trim them?
? Does the languge fit the time and place?
? Does the languge fit the background and personality of the character uttering it?

For all of the revision tips on colloquialisms and other revision layers, pick up a copy of: 

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11. Life with Jesse Daniels - Upcoming YA Fiction Release



I am very excited to announce that my debut novel, Life with Jesse Daniels is in the hands of my editor and will be released in the coming weeks!!!!!!!! (Is that enough exclamation points?)

When people say something sucked the life right out of them, they're usually exaggerating. Believe me, this is no exaggeration! I spent the last eight years (on and off) working on this book. I first wrote it in 2006. I say "I first wrote it" because it certainly wasn't the last.

I rewrote it.

And rewrote it.

And rewrote it.

And this year, I completely rewrote it. It has come far from what it originally was. Light years.

Okay, just years....

I'm a perfectionist. It had to be perfect. So I edited it about a million times. No exaggeration. And it's finally with my editor! That means (for once) no more changes! Yes, I said for once, because for someone who is not a fan of change, I change the hell out of things! lol

More to follow!

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12. Driftwood music?




This summer is all about 
gathering what we find
and making music
out of it.
 
Sometimes it doesn't quite fly,
like our xylophone
constructed of driftwood
and rubber bands.

Scavenged from a sunny beach walk,
and a hoot to make,
it only makes one sound:
plunk.

And yet... sometimes we need to plunk
to figure out what the rhythm is.

Our new rhythm :
Winnie's had her surgery,
and after a long wait,
she can run!
the pain is almost gone!

Oh, the delight!

And here we are
in the crazy whirl.

Driftwood:
Winnie's surgery.  Swim lessons. Backyard soccer.
Cousins. Library storytime. 

Scissor mishaps.


{That's right. Preschool cutting practice.
Both of them. Missing chunks of hair.
Where was their mama, you ask?
Ten yards away, scribbling in my notebook. }


   

This has been such a year and more 
of wind and weathering.
and here is what I remember -

beautiful things come after turbulence.

sticks become pale as silver when they have tumbled through waves.
spiny stones become round and ripe across the sand,
fruit of sea and storm,
borne through time
and tides.

Is that art? music?
The transformation of rough things

into smooth beauties?

These tides might not be fruitful
in all the artsy, writerly ways I've been wanting.

but they might just be fruitful in the ways that I need.

humbling. compassion. grace. gratefulness.



To my friends going through rough waters right now,
my wish and prayer

is that Love will weather its way
through each of us
that Love will transform the rough places into smooth,
will fill the hollow places with sweet, clear water,
will turn our broken sticks into music,

and somehow
find us 
more of Love itself.


Thank you for your words and prayers,
books and courage
that have helped us march through this summer!
We are all so grateful.

Some of our brave reads:

Brother Hugo and the Bear - Katy Beebe, S.D. Schindler
Have You Seen My Dragon? - Steve Light
Soccer Fence - Phil Bildner, Jesse Joshua Watson
A Tangle of Knots - Lisa Graff
Word After Word After Word - Patricia MacLachlan
The Mysterious Benedict Society - Trenton Lee Stewart
A Wrinkle in Time - Madeleine L'Engle
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13. A comic for those who think it's easy to write children's books

Originally posted for PiBoIdMo.

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14. The Laziest Writer Ever? A Vent and a Lesson

Last spring a writer (let’s call her Jill) emailed me that she was pitching a profile of me to a UK writing magazine — and would I be available for an interview?

Here’s how the conversation went:

*****
Jill:

I’m interested in interviewing you for [magazine]. If you are agreeable, I’d need to ask you a few questions in order to prepare my pitch.

Me:

Hi, Jill! Did you want to ask your questions via email or phone?

Jill:

I live in Australia, Linda, and find email is simplest because of the different time zones.

Will just ask a few questions to start with. If my editor at [magazine] likes the proposal, I’ll be in touch again. If he’s already accepted something similar, I’d like to pitch the interview to [two other magazines] if you’re happy with that.

Here goes -

* You list Redbook, Woman’s Day, Family Circle and Writers’ Digest as magazines you’ve sold to. I’m wondering how many you’ve sold to each. What’s the most number of commissions you’ve had from any one magazine that you’ve broken into by initially breaking rules?
* Are there any rules you definitely wouldn’t break?
* What’s the most daring way you’ve broken a rule and gained a commission?
How many magazines have you broken into by breaking rules?

Me:

[I answer all the questions, which takes about 300 words.]

Jill:

My editor at [Magazine] is interested in the interview. I’ll need to slant it to UK writers subbing internationally, and also point out if any of the advice is wrong for the UK market. [Following are 11 questions, many of which are actually composed of two or three separate questions.]

Me:

Hi, Jill! That’s good news!

This is a LOT of writing. Can we do a phone interview? I’m available outside of business hours since we’re in opposite time zones.

Jill:

I’ve been thinking what the best way to proceed might be, Linda. I didn’t mean to swamp you with questions.

One thing I’m wondering is whether you’ve already written pieces that I could read and draw on, that might cover some of this.

Then perhaps we could Skype?

What are your thoughts?

Me:

I’m sorry, but I don’t have the time to write or research for you on this project. I think you will be better off finding someone else to profile.

*****

Okay, so what went wrong in this process?

Let me start off by saying that unless you are just looking for bare facts — data mining, basically — email interviews are less than ideal. I do them for a column where I’m asking for dates, prices, and workshop names for events, but in all other cases I rely on the phone.

But to be fair, I did give Jill the option, thinking there would be just a few questions. Instead she slammed me with 15+ questions (which actually ended up being more like 20 questions). I spent 300 words on the first set, and estimate it would have taken me another 1,200 words at the very least to answer the second set.

Hmm, does that sound to you like I’m writing an entire article?

Then, when I offered to make myself available at some weird time of the day to make it easy for this writer to do a phone interview, she responded by asking if I had ever written anything she could basically lift for her article. Because God forbid a writer should have to do an interview outside the 9-5, right? Much better to ask your source to spend a couple hours writing and researching your article for you.

It reminds me of the writer who interviewed me, and when I asked her to send me a link to the article when it went online, replied, “Oh, just Google your name and the name of the magazine and it should come up.” Um, no. I just took half an hour out of my workday talking to you for no benefit to myself so YOU can earn a few hundred bucks — you can spend 10 seconds emailing me a freaking link.

As a freelance writer, I have done interviews after my normal bedtime and before my usual wake time with people in opposite time zones. I have paid for a Skype phone number and added funds to be able to call overseas to people who don’t have Skype. And I ALWAYS let my sources know when an article I interviewed them for has been published, and try to get them a copy if it’s not available on the newsstands.

In short, I never put the onus on my sources to make it easier for me to do my job.

Too many would-be writers have the impression that freelance writing is a cakewalk — and when they find out to their horror that they have to do actual work, and that it (gasp!) may not be 100% convenient for them, they look for shortcuts.

I’ve earned up to $85,000 per year writing (and yes, this was before I started earning income from my classes) because, well, I worked my ass off. Freelance writing is a job. It’s not all sitting at cafes with a laptop and a cup of joe, typing away as the muse strikes. I really can’t fathom why any person would think that this is the world’s only job where you can put in little effort and reap great returns.

As a freelance writer, you need to put in the hours and shoe leather to get gigs, do great work, keep your clients happy, and deal with sources in a way that they’ll want to help you again in the future. In other words, it’s work.

Enough of the vent. How about you: Can you tell us about a time you went above and beyond in your freelance writing career? Or how about describing a time you dealt with a lazy writer? Let us know in the Comments below! [lf]

photo by:

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15. Writing Dialogue

Remember that written dialogue is different than real speech. 

http://cynthialeitichsmith.blogspot.com/2014/06/guest-post-giveaway-kristen-tracy-on.html

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16. Invisible Man: My Sketching People Book in Progress


Things are going pretty well on the new book, although the garden studio is officially closed now (sigh). I would SO much rather be outside in all this glorious weather than sat at my computer, with the blinds drawn against the sunshine. Hey ho.






The sample spreads I am producing ready for the Frankfurt presentation are going to be:

Sketching on trains (2 spreads)
How to sketch with colour first, then line (2 spreads)
Drawing eyes (1 spread)

These were decided on by the publisher. They know what the US co-edition publishers will be looking for. My art director has done sample designs for me to approve (which I'm afraid I don't think I can show you yet) and I have written all the text. 

I have chosen all the sketches for these sections too. Unfortunately, all my sketches are scanned at low-res for general sharing, so the ones for the book all have to be re-scanned at 300ppi. I have set John onto that task and he has done the lion's share now.


One of the train sketches had to be redone, because I tinted it digitally, originally at low res (duh). I was experimenting with digital tinting in 2010. Above is the original pencil drawing, done in a 3B: my tool of choice back then. I used a very basic drawing tool in Photoshop and a limited palette to re-created the coloured version I did at the time. Below is the final tinted version.


The weird image at the top of this post is the coloured layer, separated out, which I thought looked rather fun and funky, but also helped you to see how the digital version was created.

Right - enough chatting to you guys: it's back to work for me!

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17. Show Don't Tell

We've all heard this advice, but how do you write it? 

http://www.adventuresinyapublishing.com/2014/06/the-real-meaning-of-show-dont-tell-and.html

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18. All our books are now on Kindle Unlimited

beecover

Just announced today Amazon has a new subscription service for e-books called Kindle Unlimited.  For a flat monthly fee of $9.99 you can enroll and download up to ten e-books at one time.  When you are done, just return them and then you can download more.  We know young children can be voracious readers and we are excited about the opportunity to reach new readers with this program.  Now parents can download books for themselves and load up on some quality children’s books too for one low price.  There are over 600,000 titles currently available and they can be loaded onto any device.  What a bargain!

 

Try the new Kindle Unlimited FREE for 30 days HERE

 

MonstersHaveMommies


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19. Those gremlins we call typos

We all make them. And, too often, we discover them after they’re out there, either on the Internet or in print. I came across a fun article that lets us know we’re not alone—“History’s Most Heinous Typos” is a quick and fun read.

Here's  one of biblical proportions:

"Let the Children first be killed" (rather than "filled," Mark 7:27, from a 1795 edition known as the "Murderer's Bible")

For a chuckle,

Ray

© 2014 Ray Rhamey

Design-NobodyKnows

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20. The CIA has a Style Manual

The Major League Baseball All-Star Game is in town and traffic is terrible. My bus home this evening was over half an hour late. The game is tomorrow night and I expect I will be waiting a long time for my bus tomorrow too. Ugh.

So, having gotten home late and a little grumpy, I just have two fun linky things for you.

Ever wonder what it would look like if you average together everyone’s handwriting to create a font? What? You mean you have never thought about it? Well I haven’t either. The Smithsonian has an article about the project. The project is basically a big advertisement for BIC pens, but it is still kinda weirdly cool. The font is produced by an algorithm and continues to evolve as more people submit their writing. You can take a look at the font through different filters of age, gender, country, etc., as well as submit your own handwriting. Because it averages out everyone’s writing, the font is rather plain, but interesting nonetheless.

From handwriting to the CIA’s style manual (via Above the Fold). Obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by the nonprofit National Security Counselors, the CIA style manual has a surprising Elements of Style feeling to it. Strunk and White would be proud. Maybe. Mental Floss also has an article on it with much more humor than the first article I linked to. And reader comments that include suggestions of phrases to add to the list of hackneyed phrases and redundant phrases. One of the things I’d like to know is whether there are CIA copyeditors who go through documents to make sure they meet style standards. Also, if there are CIA copyeditors, they must have pretty high security clearance. I’m not sure if that would be a fascinating job or a terrifying job.


Filed under: Links, Writing

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21. Writer Wednesday: Switching Age Levels


When I first started writing, I was convinced middle grade was the age level for me. I wrote two MG (middle grade) books and loved it. Then I went to a conference and listened to a panel of authors who primarily wrote picture books and thought maybe I should give that a try since I was constantly reading them to my daughter at the time. After that a YA (young adult) idea came to me. And years later, I got an idea that was clearly NA (new adult). 

As you can see, I love all age groups. Writing across age groups has allowed me to branch out with my creativity, which I love. But it's also tricky. I'm revising one of my MG novels right now and my brain is stuck in YA mode. For a little while I wondered why, but I realized it's because I was reading two YA novels while revising my MG. There was my problem. In order to revise my MG, I need to be reading MG. That grounds me in the voice I need for that age level.

So, I'm scouring my MG books and diving into one this week while I revise. Am I the only one who does this, or do you read the age level you are currently writing?

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22. Interesting blog posts about writing – w/e July 18th, 2014



Here’s my selection of interesting (and sometimes amusing) posts about writing from the last week:

Practice, Persistence, Professionalism (Nancy J. Cohen)
http://killzoneauthors.blogspot.com/2014/07/practice-persistence-professionalism.html

How to Find an Agent (Rachelle Gardner)
www.booksandsuch.com/blog/how-to-find-an-agent/

6 Ways Writers of Any Genre Can Benefit from Science Fiction Conventions (J. Thomas Ross)
http://authorchronicles.wordpress.com/2014/07/15/6-ways-writers-of-any-genre-can-benefit-from-science-fiction-conventions/

The real solution to Amazon vs. Hachette (Nathan Bransford) http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2014/07/the-real-solution-to-amazon-vs-hachette.html

Picture Book Wisdom From Without vs. Within (Mary Kole)
http://kidlit.com/2014/07/14/picture-book-wisdom-from-without-vs-within/

When the Happily-Ever-After Ends… (Stina Lindenblatt)
http://querytracker.blogspot.com/2014/07/when-happily-ever-after-ends.html

12 Tips for Writing Blog Posts That Get Noticed (Jodie Renner)
http://killzoneauthors.blogspot.com/2014/07/12-tips-for-writing-blog-posts-that-get.html

Writing Doesn't Make You a Better Writer (James Scott Bell)
http://killzoneauthors.blogspot.com/2014/07/writing-doesnt-make-you-better-writer.html

Twitter Etiquette 101 (AnnieNeugebauer)
http://writerunboxed.com/2014/07/12/twitter-etiquette-101/

If you found these useful, you may also like my personal selection of the most interesting blog posts from 2013, and last week’s list.

If you have a particular favorite among these, please let the author know (and me too, if you have time).  Also, if you've a link to a great post that isn't here, feel free to share.

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23. Logistics

Writing Life Banner

By

Biljana Likic

biljana new picStories often begin with a lone kernel of an idea. Mine tend to begin when a few characters appear in my mind and don’t want to leave me alone. A single interaction between them can cause an entire book to be built around it. Generally, that’s how I plot, too. My process is basically just me figuring out how to construct a story around scenes that must happen.

But when I first started writing seriously, it would trip me up. I’d be writing the scene I’d been waiting a year to write, and all would be great. I’d create a setting in which the interaction would take place and go nuts pounding out the words that had been living in my head for so long. It’d be done before I knew it and after a night of sleep and letting it rest I would come back to it and realize I’d made a grave, grave error.

My characters would be so influenced by my neurotic imaginings of their interaction that they wouldn’t at all be influenced by the actual environment in which they were. Outside the sky would be heavy with clouds but they would still squint against the sun to see things better. Loud music would be playing but soft conversations from across the room would still be overheard. The room would be so dark only silhouettes should’ve been clear but for some reason the colour of the wallpaper would be discernable.

It was a result of the scene not evolving in my mind along with the rest of the story. I would have strong plot reasons for it to be a very cloudy day, but because the scene in my mind had always been an arbitrarily sunny one, I would subconsciously impose a completely different kind of weather. It was an issue of continuity.

Since becoming aware of the issue, I came up with a way to resolve it. It’s juvenile in its simplicity.

Keep a list of logistics. These can include light quality, temperature, weather, sound, and architecture.

Here’s an example. First, the wrong way to do it.

Cold rain came down in sheets, gathering on the leaves above and falling in big fat splotches onto his head. He was soaked in seconds. He fled, deafened by the sound of the storm around him and blinded by the darkness. He tripped and tumbled to the ground with a grunt of surprise. He heard her approach quietly behind him.

“Are you alright?” she whispered. She was probably afraid they’d hear her. “Are you hurt?”

“I’m fine,” he said.

She hurried to him and helped him up before he could stop her. Prompted by an ingrained memory of his strict mother, he automatically brushed dirt off his knees.

“Leave,” he said.

He went to keep going but was stopped by her tugging on his sleeve. His breath caught at her beauty. Tears streaked down her flushed cheeks, and her dark hair billowed and flowed in the breeze. Before he could change his mind, he shook off her grip, and ran.

There are a number of problems here. Taking the first paragraph where I describe the environment, these are our logistics: it’s a dark forest, it’s wet, and the pouring rain is loud and cold. So how does he hear her approach quietly? How does he hear her whisper when she’s nowhere near close enough to be heard through the storm? How can he brush dirt off his knees when he was soaked in seconds? It’d be mud and it would seep into his clothing. When he sees her beauty, how can he see? He’s blinded by darkness. On that note, how does she even see him fall? And why is her hair billowing and flowing when it should be slick against her head? How does he know those are tears on her face when it could just be rain?

These are the kinds of continuity errors that come up very often in first drafts, but they’re easily avoidable. All you have to do is keep in mind the main aspects of the environment. It’s a dark forest, it’s wet, and the pouring rain is loud and cold. Add occasional lightning to the storm and suddenly you have a source of light. It does nothing to change your actual story; the weather’s already bad. If she approaches him quietly, have her surprise him with a hand on his shoulder while he’s still on the ground. Now she’s close to him, which means he’d be able to hear her even if her voice isn’t very loud. When she helps him up, have him wipe his muddy hands on his pants and cringe at his mother’s memory instead of trying to respect it.

Cold rain came down in sheets, gathering on the leaves above and falling in big fat splotches onto his head. He was soaked in seconds. He fled, deafened by the sound of the storm around him and blinded by the darkness. He tripped and tumbled to the ground with a grunt of surprise. Lightning flashed weakly and the forest floor glowed, tangles of vines and roots glistening.

He felt a hand on his shoulder and jerked away. He stilled at the familiar voice by his ear.

“Are you alright?” she whispered, voice carrying over the din of the rain, her warm breath puffing against his skin. She was probably afraid they’d hear her. “Are you hurt?”

“I’m fine,” he said.

She hooked an arm under his and helped him up before he could stop her. He wiped his muddy hands on his wet pants with a grimace and a silent apology to his mother.

“Leave,” he said, raising his voice to make sure she could hear.

He went to keep going but was stopped by her tugging on his sleeve. Lightning forked across the sky and his breath caught. Even with her hair plastered to her head, cheeks wet with what he told himself was only rain, she was beautiful. Before he could change his mind, he shook off her grip, and ran.

Fundamentally, the scene hasn’t changed. All I did was tweak a few actions to make it plausible. But another thing you’ll notice is that the scene was actually made more intimate. He heard her whisper above the rain because she was so close to him, which wouldn’t have had to be true if it hadn’t been raining or if, as in the first attempt, I hadn’t followed the rules of the logistics I’d set. What I’m left with is a scene that not only takes into account the environment so it can play out naturally, but also gave me an opportunity to flesh out a more meaningful interaction.

And it doesn’t stop there. This scene could be even more tellingly intimate. Again, it comes down to logistics.

The rain is cold. She puts a hand on his shoulder. Her hand is warm. Instant awareness. Even if he jerks away, maybe the warmth could be familiar. Of course, warmth in and of itself isn’t only applicable to humans, but having him think of a certain someone in the moment of that warmth tells quite a bit about his psychological state of mind. When she’s that close to him, does he really want to run? What is he remembering when her breath is puffing into his ear? When she hooks an arm under his to help him, that human contact in a time of desperation would maybe be comforting. When she tugs at his sleeve, do her fingers graze the skin of his wrist?

We know how the environment affects him. How does she affect him? How do her actions impact his state of mind?

Cold rain came down in sheets, gathering on the leaves above and falling in big fat splotches onto his head. He was soaked in seconds. He fled, deafened by the sound of the storm around him and blinded by the darkness. He tripped and tumbled to the ground with a grunt of surprise. Lightning flashed weakly and the forest floor glowed, tangles of vines and roots glistening.

He felt a hand on his shoulder. It was nearly hot in contrast to the rain. In the split second before he instinctively jerked away, he thought of her. He froze when she spoke into his ear.

“Are you alright?” she whispered, voice carrying over the din of the rain, her warm breath puffing against his skin. She was probably afraid they’d hear her. She’d always been afraid they would hear. He shivered when she spoke again and blamed it on the wind. “Are you hurt?”

“I’m fine,” he said and quickly bowed his head away from her.

She hooked an arm under his and helped him up before he could stop her. The contact made his knees weak with longing. He needed comfort, wanted heat, and at that moment he felt she was the only thing that could banish the damp from his bones. He stepped away and wiped his muddy hands on his wet pants with a grimace and a silent, desperately out-of-place apology to his mother for dirtying his clothes.

“Leave,” he said, raising his voice to make sure she could hear. He hoped she hadn’t heard it crack, too.

He went to keep going but was stopped by her tugging on his sleeve. Lightning forked across the sky and his breath caught. Even with her hair plastered to her head, cheeks wet with what he told himself was only rain, she was beautiful.

The night succumbed to darkness once more and his only awareness of her became the brands that were her fingers brushing against the skin of his wrist. Before he could change his mind, he shook off her grip, and ran.

The people around your main character are also part of the environment. So now, your new logistics are: it’s a dark forest, it’s wet, and the pouring rain is loud and cold. He is greatly in love with the woman, and she keeps touching him.

Keeping all this in mind is how you go from point A to point B. What was at first a rough draft passage, a bare-bones scene, has turned into a psychologically important event necessary for the growth of the main character. All just by considering where things are, why they’re there, what the weather’s like, and how he feels about it.

Biljana Likic is working on her fantasy WIPs and just completed her BA, soon to be starting her MA in September, where she can’t wait till she’s done so she’ll finally have all the time in the world to write. You can follow her on Twitter.

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24. Purple Prose



Purple prose consists of passages so cloying, over the top, or dramatic that they create speed bumps for the reader. It employs an abundance of adjectives and dense descriptive detail. 

Purple prose should be weeded out when found, unless that is your preferred writing style. In which case, you may deter some readers and agents. 

The worst offenders are romantic scenes, because writers try to avoid clinical terms for the acts of love and body parts. A lot of slang words are too crude and don't fit the mood of the piece. 

Purple prose can be a product of weak description writing. Some writers stuff so many descriptions in a paragraph the reader forgets the topic.

1) Avoid using annoying phrases:

  • bated breath (not baited!)
  • cupid lips,
  • framed by
  • heart-shaped face
  • limped pools
  • manly chin
  • revealed
  • set off by
  • steely eyes
  • heaving or swelling bosom,
  • tumescent member
  • twirling lock of hair
  • wriggling eyebrows

2) Avoid melodramatic descriptions:

Her ample bosom heaved as he slowly untied her frilled, satin night dress. His caress made her tremble like a delicate blossom in the breeze as he nibbled on the petals of her ears.

3) Avoid descriptions that go on ... and on ... and on. 

She stood there, like a pale lilly, swaying in the wind, her corn silk hair floating around her heart-shaped face like golden cloud, obscuring her sky-blue eyes. The flyaway strands parted as her rosebud lips pursed and blew them aside. Her gauzy white gown clung to her voluptuous curves. She was the absolute embodiment of a seductive angel.

An effective cumulative sentence (base clause plus two or three descriptive phrases) is a master craft. Stuffing as many fluffy descriptions as you can think of into a sentence is not masterful.

REVISION TIPS


?  Have you used melodrama intentionally, such as in dialogue or poking fun of a situation?
? Can you tone it down?
? Have you committed purple prose abuse?
? Does the language fit the background and personality of the character uttering it?

For all of the revision tips on purple prose and other revision layers, pick up a copy of: 

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25. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: July 18

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include authors, book lists, the Cybils, common core, aging, ebooks, apps, growing bookworms, kidlitcon, reading, writing, play, schools, libraries, and summer reading.

Books and Authors

Stories from authors about school visits "gone terribly wrong" at Wild Things blog http://ow.ly/zcwJO  @SevenImp @FuseEight

75 Years Old, Still Showing off her Scar, fun details about Madeline from @SevenImp + @FuseEight at Wild Things blog http://ow.ly/z94Jk 

Book Lists and Awards

Amazon-backed Booktrust Best Book Awards‘ Lifetime Achievement Award turned down by Allan Ahlberg | @TheBookseller http://ow.ly/z3OLT 

The Wildest (bold + unique) Children’s Books of 2014 as picked by @100scopenotes http://ow.ly/zcxat  #kidlit

Teen blogger Summer from @miss_fictional looks back on Favorite Books from her Childhood http://ow.ly/z5flg  #kidlit

Who knew that there could be a list of Top 5 Picture Books about Ninjas? @rosemondcates could! http://ow.ly/z3KJl  #kidlit

Thanks! RT @145lewis: #CYBILS are an amazing resource Looking for summer reading ideas? http://dadtalk.typepad.com/cybils/finalists/ … #kidlit #edchat #elemed

Common Core and STEM

#CommonCore Becomes Touchy Subject for Governors Group, reports @WSJ, as both parties are internally split on CC http://ow.ly/z5fA0 

Tap the STEM Resources in Your Community! | ALSC Blog post for librarians by @amyeileenk http://ow.ly/z3KzZ 

Diversity

RT @tashrow 5 Stereotypes Positive Aging Picture Books Avoid | Lindsey McDivitt http://buff.ly/1zmZLk9  #kidlit

eBooks and Apps

RT @TWhitford: Great Apps To Introduce Coding to Young Kids http://goo.gl/uUdGX0  via @mattBgomez

Malorie Blackman: ‘I love gadgets, but e-reading has to be carefully handled’ | @GuardianBooks http://ow.ly/z3P8z  via @PWKidsBookshelf

Growing Bookworms

What Do Phonics, Phonemic Awareness and Decoding Mean? @CoffeeandCrayon has the scoop http://ow.ly/zeLEb  #literacy

How #Comics Create Life-Long Readers -- @MaryAnnScheuer interview with @jenniholm http://ow.ly/zeLPW  #kidlit #literacy

Teaching My Daughters to Read -- Part III, Phonics from @ReadingShahahan http://ow.ly/zcvyn  #literacy

RT @LiteracySpeaks: 5 Simple Ways to Improve Reading Comprehension from This Reading Mama! http://fb.me/6BtWnEOln 

Fun times @everead | How I Stopped My Children's Whining with Story Club http://ow.ly/z5eUD  #literacy

KidLitCon

KidlitCon2014_cubeBOOM: And we are LIVE! Why you should attend this year's KidLitCon, from co-organizer Tanita Davis, FindingWonderland http://ow.ly/zcvbM 

The registration form for #KidLitCon14 Oct. 10-11 in Sacramento is now live: http://ow.ly/zc0lr  A great way to see friends + talk books

October will be here soon, soon, soon — @bkshelvesofdoom is coming to #KidLitCon14 Are you? http://ow.ly/z3GYs 

RT @CBethM: The 8th Annual @KidLitCon - Spending Time Face-to-Face with Kindred Spirits by @JensBookPage #nerdybookclub http://wp.me/p21t9O-1zS 

On Reading, Writing, and Publishing

On having (and integrating) multiple Reading Lives by Kristin McIlhagga @TeachChildLit @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/z94kV 

Cultivating Curiosity, on love of stories vs. love of words at So Obsessed With blog http://ow.ly/z94SO  via @catagator

Food for thought at Stacked: Growing Up, Leaving Some Books (Narnia) Behind by @kimberlymarief http://ow.ly/zi3Ac  #kidlit

Why Book Reviewers Would Make Awesome Authors, by @Miss_Fictional http://ow.ly/zcvDd 

A proposal from @100scopenotes | All Middle Grade Novels Should Be 192 Pages. No Exceptions. Thoughts? http://ow.ly/zcvYJ 

Here's what @medinger thinks about @100scopenotes idea for Putting a Stop to Middle Grade Novel’s Increasing Girth http://ow.ly/zcwej 

Confessions Of A Binge Reader (Or, How I Read So Much) | Ryan Holiday at Thought Catalog http://ow.ly/z3LKY  via @tashrow

Why Readers, Scientifically, Are The Best People To Fall In Love With @EliteDaily http://ow.ly/z3NZQ  via @librareanne

On Kids

How Much Activity Do Our Students Need? asks @katsok How do you help kids who can't sit still, in era of less recess? http://ow.ly/z92pA 

Did What You Played as a Kid Influence Who You Became as an Adult? asks @FreeRangeKids http://ow.ly/z933H 

Powerful post @KirbyLarson by Michelle Houts on adults looking back and regretting childhood acts of bullying http://ow.ly/z3K36 

Schools and Libraries

Bridging the Gap: Making #Libraries More Accessible for a Diverse Autistic Population | @sljournal http://ow.ly/z3Omk 

Corporal Punishment in Schools: Can it be Justified? @TrevorHCairney thinks it's not the right approach http://ow.ly/zi3el 

Top 10 Ways to Turn Classroom into a Hotbed of Enthusiastic Readers by @megangreads + @muellerholly @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/z5eFi 

Summer Reading

This could keep us busy for the rest of the summer! 50 Fabulous Movies based on Children's Books from @rosemondcates http://ow.ly/zcvGP 

#SummerReading Tip20 @aliposner Set up your vacation accommodations in ways that make literacy more likely to occur http://ow.ly/z3LbF 

#SummerReading Tip21 @aliposner Encourage your kids to author “vacation books” when you are traveling this summer http://ow.ly/z5eOF 

#SummerReading Tip25 @aliposner | Read the SAME BOOK that your child is reading independently + discuss it together http://ow.ly/zeM9u 

#SummerReading Tip26 @aliposner | Try to connect reading to your kids’ summer activities http://ow.ly/zi3mT #literacy

Reading Is Fundamental Study Says Summer Reading Is Not Priority | reports Lauren Barack @sljournal http://ow.ly/z3OeW  @RIFWEB

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

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