Posts Tagged ‘editing’


Character Sketch 102

November 18, 2012

Last blog I provided a character sketch to help you develop your characters. This time, I’m putting a different spin on it. Besides the basics, like what a person is wearing or where they live, most character sketches ask questions about what a character likes, wants, and hopes. In this character sketch, think dark. What would your character never do? Then, think about what would happen if they did it. Right there, you have yourself a scene full of emotion and tension.

Here’s a start…

Where would your character refuse to live?

What would your character never eat?

What would they never wear?

What political party would they not support?

What magazine would they not pick up at the airport?

What kind of doctor would they refuse to see?

What ride at an amusement park would they not get on?

How would they react if they did any of these things? Ready, set, write!


Kill Your Darlings

October 28, 2012

Skeletons. Shriveled pumpkin vines. Grim reaper masks. Halloween has arrived.

Fall is a time for death. As morbid as it might sound, dying represents a powerful part of life’s natural cycle. The reality is that without death, there would be no change, no regrowth, and no fresh beginnings. How is this related to writing, you ask? Kill your darlings! It’s a long-held phrase in the writing world, and one not to take lightly.

All authors write prolific passages, esoteric phrases, lines of wisdom and earnest meanings. But really? Cut them. A reader wants to be led down a path but not told what to think. As valuable as your words may seem to you, they may not be all that valuable for the reader. Once a writer is able to cut their words, the writing gets better. It opens the possibility of new, better ideas. And if you must, cut and paste the perfect passage to a file. You can open it up and see those little darlings anytime your heart desires.


Spiders and Writing

September 25, 2012

Last week a horrible spider bit my daughter. The bite grew large and ugly until I took her to the dermatologist. They put her on antibiotics and ran a culture.


No big bad Charlotte hanging from a web in the rafters bit my girl. She had a staph infection.

Way, way worse.

Fortunately, the antibiotics kicked in, and it’s gone. But when related to writing, it made me wonder. What happens when our writing goes from bad to worse? No magic pill can make it all better. Instead, a writer is faced with the daunting task of a major rewrite.

Editing one’s work is crucial. Asking someone else to revise is wise. And rewriting it for the ninety-ninth time can redefine the piece. However, there are occasions when a small rewrite becomes a giant staff infection. Not only does a character need developing, but also the plot may be weak and subplots non-existent. It happens. And UNLIKE a staff infection, it should. Your writing is your journey.

Rewrite and make the boo boos better.


More Quotes

December 27, 2011

You can’t say, I won’t write today because that excuse will extend into several days, then several months, then… you are not a writer anymore, just someone who dreams about being a writer. –Dorothy C. Fontana



Imagination is more important than knowledge. –Albert Einstein


I believe more in the scissors than I do in the pencil. –Truman Capote



Quotes 2

September 15, 2011

Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail. –Confucius

The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do. –Thomas Jefferson

Writing is 1 percent inspiration, and 99 percent elimination. –Louise Brooks


Agents: how to find one

June 14, 2011

For those of you not familiar to the bizarre world of publishing, there is a process. First, you write a book. Next you edit. And revise. And edit and revise and edit and revise and edit and revise, and well, you get the picture. When it’s as good as it gets, you decide whether you want to self-publish or find a publishing house to deliver your work. Because self-publishing deserves a blog all its own, I’ll concentrate on traditional publishing here.

First, you need to find an agent who will pitch your book to an editor. The editor’s publishing house will transform your words into a book. The entire process takes time. Lots of time. Some say the average number of years it takes to create a book is four. That’s some serious time.

Believe it or not I’ve been blessed and cursed with two agents. They’re not easy to find and for reasons sometimes out of their control, the agent can’t always deliver. My first agent was with ICM. She represented my non-fiction book, and although it made it to a couple of editorial boards at big publishing houses, it never sold.

Agents handle specific genres. Those who represent authors writing adult non-fiction, rarely represent authors who write for kids. So, when I wrote my middle grade novel, I found a different agent. After a year of searching, my agent with Kirchoff/Wohlberg could not find a home for my middle grade novel. During that time, my dad died and life was lost for a bit. When I came back to the page, I decided to find a different agent who specialized in young adult fiction, because my voice had changed. I wanted to write something new.

My current project, The Crystal Cave, is now complete, and I’m beginning the great agent search yet again. Oh joy. And yet, it is exciting. Please wish me luck.

First, the process begins by doing research. I have a list of agents I’ve met at conferences, as well as a list of agents I’ve either read about or have been referred to by other authors. Websites like Agent Query and Publishers Marketplace offer information about agents. Most literary agencies have websites with specific submission guidelines. They must be followed, exactly.

Once an author is ready to submit, he or she writes a query letter (I’ll devote an entire blog to the query later). If the agent wants to see more, hurrah! However, sometimes an

agent does ask to see more of the work and then, says no. Boo hoo! Even worse, the agent may say yes and takes you on, but still doesn’t sell your work, double boo hoo.

In the end, finding an agent is a long and difficult process, but it can be done. The best advice I can give is to persevere. While you’re searching, keep writing. After all, that’s what you do.