Monday, September 17, 2012

A Polishing Pointer

Hi All! I wanted to share something. Something that has worked well for me in my latest round of polishing the ol' MS.

Earlier this year an agent requested the full of Dark Waters. This submission ended in a rejection, but a very nice rejection. He explained why he was passing on the project and gave advice to fix the issues he found. The main issue he had with my MS was the amount of inconsistencies. Yeah. Ouch.

He also agreed to let me re-query him when I had made the changes. So, after months of work, I'm done. Oh, I revised the tar out of it. But, when I was done, I did something I have never done before. And here's where I share the little something that's changed my writing in a major way.    

I downloaded the MS to my Kindle and read it like a novel. I know writers re-read their MS's on the computer, but I gotta say, it's way different on an e-reader. When I read my work on the computer, even as I would a regular novel, I'm still in edit mode. I'm in story-teller mode. But when I read it on the Kindle, no more story-teller. I am a reader. In the first chapter I had the scoffing, "Why is she asking that when it's already been answered?" reaction. And I've read that piece SO MANY times. But, this time, when I read it as a reader, I had a reader's reaction.

I read the MS in a matter of days. Two or three, I think. And this was great to clear up inconsistencies. When you write the novel, it takes months. And for me, to edit it takes months. So, sometimes I forget I already mentioned something. Reading it on an e-reader in two days kept every fact, hair color, and plot line fresh in the front of my mind.

Here's a picture I took of myself as I was reading my MS. I didn't take it to use in a blog, but to send to my CP. It works, though. I had my laptop nearby, open to the chapter I was reading, so I could make any tiny changes as needed. I had a notebook nearby to note the bigger changes necessary. I went back and fixed the bigger changes later so as to not pull me out of reader mode.

How about you? Have you read your MS on an e-reader? 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

My Bookshelf

*If you're dropping by for the GUTGAA blog hop, the answers to my questions are down below. :)

As I avoided implementing the necessary tweaks my critique partner has suggested, I played on Blogger. And a post caught my eye. About bookshelves. I love bookshelves. She mentioned her own interest in the wooden story-holding slats and posted a picture of one. Of hers.

For me, eyeing the personal bookshelf of another is my way of taking stock of who they are. It's kinda like the way dogs do a meet and greet. No, sniffing the rottweiler's rear won't tell you how much that rottie likes to play ball, but you still get a good sense of who you're dealing with.

Same goes for bookshelves. Or even the lack thereof. And so, I decided to post pictures of my bookshelf. See, up until two months ago, my interests were hidden away in my bedroom. In every house I'd lived in, my books were hidden from prying eyes. But, two months ago when I moved into my current home, I took the plunge and arranged my bookshelves to be the first piece of furniture visitors see. They now live in my front room along with vine pants, and mermaid and fairy art.

If you stare at my choice of books long enough, you'll see that according to culture and society I contradict myself. And I'm pretty much okay with that. :)

I thought about straightening them up before I shot a picture, but I figured I'd show you how messy they are. Books pulled out, with no room to go back. Figurines. Painted rocks from my girls. And all of it lovely. :)

How about you? Will you post a picture of your bookshelf on your blog and let me know where I can fin it? I'd love to stop by and snoop. And if you're not ready for such a leap, tell me if you're drawn to the shelves of others?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Hi! I'm participating in the GUTGAA blog hop, and this week is the meet and greet. I had planned on bowing out of this one, but after reading the answers of others, I had to play too!

Short bio: I've tried my hand at a few different jobs: preschool teacher, sales associate, secretary, and an optician. None fit. When I was pregnant with my second daughter, I decided to learn how to help women have the births they desired. To give the laboring woman the reigns over her own body, the power she deserves in a situation where many professionals would try to take that power away. I went through the training and became a doula. But then, as I attended births, I realized many of the women hadn't been trained properly in what their bodies were doing and so they lacked the information to grab the reigns confidently. So then I went back to training and became a childbirth educator.

I've moved a ton in the last few years and haven't been able to educate folks on birthing much, but I have attended births. :) In June I made my last move for a very long time, so I'm looking forward to helping to empower pregnant women soon. :) And while I haven't yet written a story about birth, each one of my main characters finds the power within herself to take the reigns of her life and decide the direction she chooses to run in.

And...I have a husband, two daughters (ages 7 & 11), and a white fluffy dog. We have made northwestern Washington our home and love it!

Now, on to the questions...

Where do you write? At the roll-top desk in the front room. The front room is my room, with book shelves, vine plants, and fairy/mermaid art.

Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down, and look left. What is the first thing you see? Two very full book shelves standing side-by-side and a futon-type reading chair.

Favorite time to write? Late morning, early afternoon and afternoon. That precious time when the house is quiet, everyone is gone, I've been coffee'd up, and I can slip into the skin of my main character.

Drink of choice while writing? Coffee. And then water because if I'm writing a ton, I drink lots of coffee which makes my fingers fly and my mind reach very much outside the box. But it also makes me super jittery, so at some point I must switch to the jitters flushing of H2O.

When writing do you listen to music or do you need complete silence? I need music, but which songs depends very much on what I'm writing. I use soundtracks like Braveheart, Twilight, New Moon, etc.

What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it? The girl who lived across the street from me when I was in high school.

My house was far out in the country. So much so that my bus ride to get to school in the morning was an hour long. Across the street from my house was a small abandoned home. It had no running water, no electricity, and no windows. It was old. One day, at the bus stop, I met a new girl. Her family had moved into that little house. Soon I made friends with her and learned that her hair was greasy because they only took showers when they could use the paid public showers at the local lake camp grounds. I went into her "home" once too. They'd covered the empty window holes with blankets that did little to keep the chill out.

I didn't know her for long. Soon after we'd met, her and her family were gone, and the shell of a house was left empty. And I don't remember her name. But, I very much remember her.

What's your most valuable writing tip? I have learned so much about writing from reading. Great novels are my text books. So that's my tip. Read tons. Read great books, and study their pace, character depth, and plot points. Then read books in the market and genre your're writing in so that you know what's expected of your book. And then after you've written and polished your manuscript, swap it with another writer's work for critique. It's easier to find the mistakes of others than your own, so after you notice issues within critique partner's manuscript, look for those same mistakes in your own work.

And that's it! It's been great sharing myself with you. Please leave a comment so I can make sure to stop by your blog and read all about you too! :)