Word count whoopsie

Whoops. So in editing Flora last week, I realized there were more knots left untied than I'd thought. Right before starting, I'd debated whether or not to change the word count from 60K to 70K, but had figured (at 58,500 before starting the editing process) that by the time I filled in the little hole near the end, I'd be right at 60K words.

Yeah. Not so much. I'm now scarily close to the 70,000 mark. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I'm going to have to try and tighten (in a major way) in order to fill in that hole, and still keep it at 70K. And I'm only on page 225 of over three hundred. *gasp* I sure hope that my plan works.

Maybe it would be better to change my count to 75K. Or 80. Heck, I may as well turn it into a series and write all three of them in one book. ;) I'm just kidding. Kind of. But being as this is YA, I'm trying my hardest not to make it too long.

In other news, I read Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver yesterday. Yep. The whole book, in one day. (Sometime in the near future I'm going to attempt reading leisurely. I'm sure I would probably get more out of the book. But it's so hard, I want to know the ending, so I read as fast as I can so I don't have to wait!) Now, technically I'd read about five pages already, but I figure that's close enough to the beginning to where I could count it as reading from the beginning. And... wow. I can honestly say the feeling I was left with wasn't the feeling I thought I would have at all. Not going to say anything else, because I don't want to spoil it for anyone. ;) Now I'm trying to figure out which book to read next, The Sky is Everywhere or Linger. Guess it will depend on my mood.

The reason for me bringing up Before I Fall is because it has quite a long word count, and I am *so* going to do some research and find out how long it took her to write such a lengthy MS.

Which brings me to today's question: How about you, writers? Have you ever been surprised at your lengthy word count? If so, was it hard to decide what to cut? Or are you the opposite, struggling to come up with enough words?

Friday Focus: Figure out what you have to say

Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer. ~ Barbara Kingsolver

I *love* this quote! When you allow yourself the freedom of writing what's truly on your mind, there's so much more to say, isn't there? =)

Happy Friday!

Thursdays with Snip

Uh, whoops! Somehow I/Snip got sucked into editing all day, and a few minutes ago I realized I hadn't published today's post!


Caroline at Carol's prints is having yet *another* ARC giveaway, and this one is in the double digits! Check it out here.

Oh, Hello, CONTEST: Kierstin White's first YA novel, Paranormalcy, comes out next week. To celebrate, Kierstin's having a contest to win a signed copy of Paranormalcy or an ipod, amongst other things. Check out the contest here. It ends September 1oth.

Paranormalcy Party: Natalie Whipple is holding a contest for Kiersten White's book, Paranormalcy, as well. Take a picture of Paranormalcy "in the wild" and enter it to win a full (say it with me, people) manuscript critique. Enter here. Contest ends September 7th.

Holly Cupula has an interview with Beth Kephart, author of Dangerous Neighbors, on her blog, and Beth is giving away a copy of her book. Check out the interview and how to enter the contest here.

Harper Perennial has a few goodreads giveaways going on. Check them out here.

Writerly News

Carolyn Kaufman had a neat post on QueryTracker yesterday about Controlling the Weather in Your Manuscript.

Lydia Sharp at The Sharp Angle blog is posting about *insert nail biting here* queries. Check out yesterday's post, titled On Queries, Part 1.

Nathan Bransford's post on Tuesday discussed The Package of Services Publishers Provide Authors and How This is Changing. Good read.

Happy Thursday to all of you on the west coast, and to you eastern coasters - it's officially Friday already!

Anxiety. Germs. Happy Wednesday?

Coffee. Anxiety. The flu.

What do these all have in common? Honestly, I don't have a clue. Now, I'm fibbing a bit here -- the coffee has to do with me, that's a given, you all know how I am. But the other two? Me = Stumped. I'm still scratching my head.

My youngest (almost ten) has been dealing with anxiety for years now. Luckily for all of us (her especially), it's not one of those on a daily basis kind of things. Change is the biggest problem, hence the issues right now. Changing classes, having new teachers -- it always throws her for a loop.

So being the *awesome* parental unit that I am, I've pretty must lost it over the past twenty four hours. Because while she's been exhibiting anxious tendencies since last week, this morning she also came down with the flu. (Enter parents feeling totally and absolutely terrible, here.)

Not that we believed her. Oh no. She was going to school gosh darnit, and she was going to be sick there too, if she had to. We've had to get tough about it. Put our feet down. Give her an inch, she'll take 5,280 feet.

Even when I got the call that she'd been sick, I thought it was the anxiety. And I should have, shouldn't I? She'd been complaining of stomach issues, begging not to go to school, since last week. Telling us everything she could think of (most of which didn't seem anxious-worthy, and I'm not saying this as a spineless mother, but as someone who knows what usually upsets her, kind of) to get out of going.

And now, I owe the school office and her classroom a bazillion bottles of Lysol, and at least that much hand sanitizer, too. Because the kid. Has. The flu. And boy did I feel guilty. Not only because I sent her to school like that (with no fever, I'd like to point out), but because who knows where she laid her germy little fingers for the three hours before I brought her home. Germs are my nemesis, people. I live on sanitizer. I even pour it into my coffee. (No, not really.)

The reason for this post? Uh, mainly, I guess it's because I feel a bit out of control. And dumb. Yes dumb too, for sure. And frustrated. Because it's hard, you know, to try to do what's best for your kid, when they're crying for days, and you're ready to cry for days, and no one really knows what to do. And you have this deadline you've set, and your house is a mess, and your kids are tired of hearing their sister cry, and the homework, and the dishes, and your dog has three tumors the size of tangerines and you still can't take her to the vet...

Well. Thanks for that. I feel a little bit better. Happy (ish) Wednesday. Oh and Thursdays with Snip is tomorrow. Prepare to be informed.

Editing in full swing

“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”
– Elmore Leonard (b. 1925)

Last week was crazy. The kids started school again, and I plunged into editing Flora. I also entered two writing contests, and was able to get two separate critiques on the same WiP. (Which was a very big deal, as they were Flora's first two critiques.) I'm sure you writers out there will agree - that's quite a bit to cram into seven days! (Or maybe that's just me.)

This week I'll continue with the editing process, and hope to be finished by Friday. (Big aspirations I know, but I've learned that the sky won't fall if I'm not able to reach my goal. It doesn't help that I have fifth, sixth and seventh graders now. I'm talking three to four hours, of homework, people. On a nightly basis.) So I probably won't end up finishing this week, but that's okay.

I liked the above quote because I'm doing a lot of cutting to make things sound more realistic, so it sounds like a letter written to a friend, rather than pages upon pages of descriptive words.

Anyway. That's where I'm at, writerly speaking. Just wanted to share.

How about you guys? Have you reached any milestones, or accomplished anything you're proud of the past few days?

Happy Monday!

Friday Focus: Don't trim yourself to suit everyone

He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away. ~Raymond Hull

Rejection is at every turn of the writing journey. Sometimes it's hard to stay true to ourselves and write from our hearts when we're given advice, rules and suggestions all the time.

Sometimes those little offerings are good, and sometimes they're bad. Once in a while they may even be great - the idea is perfect, and you think, now why didn't I think of that? Except there's one small problem: It just doesn't work, personally, for you.

That's why I like this quote. If we try to make everyone happy, try not to offend anyone, to follow each and every rule, we'll end up being nothing. And nothing can't write, now can it?

Thursdays with Snip - This week's contests and writing tips

I've been informed by Snippy (my alter ego) that she would like to take on the responsibility of the Thursday blog posts. At first I was going to argue about it, but then I realized what a wonderful idea it was. I mean wow! Talk about a lot less pressure! No more worrying about typos, no stressing not finding enough interesting info. And if somehow I forget to do a post one week, it won't be my problem. No one will think *I* let the ball drop, they'll just blame Snip! (I can't believe how smart I am. It's amazing. Really it is.)

So here we go. Hope you enjoy Snippy Snuffulapakins' new column, Thursdays with Snip. (In which Snip shares contests going on in the blogosphere, and interesting writerly tidbits.)

Shannon Whitney Messenger is holding a contest to give away 5 ARCs. It ends Sunday, August 22nd. Check it out here.

300's contest: While Lydia King is away on vacation, she's holding a contest. Enter to win a set of French-milled soaps, a unique New York City style coffee cup (being from California, I'm just going to take her word for it), or $15 Barnes and Noble gift card. (I'm thinking she needs to go on vacation more often!) Check out the 300's contest here.

A giveaway that's French-ish: *Snip is saying the following announcement in a French accent. She is also eating french fries and french toast*

In honour of BEDISHOA, Steph-y is geeving away zee ver-y last ARC of her debut YA novel, Anna and the French Kiss. (Okay forget the accent. She's terrible at this.) This book doesn't come out until December, so head on over to her blog and take a look at the contest.

Hearts on a String: Darlene at Peeking Between the Pages is giving away Hearts on a String by Kris Radish. Read her review and contest info here.

Saradise ARC Extravaganza - Sara at Babbling Flow is giving away nine ARCs on her blog. Check back with her on Monday to see extra ways to enter.

Free money: No seriously. Tahareh has gone marbles, and I am celebrating (is that wrong?). She's offering $100 on her blog. Have you already thought of the books you could buy with your winnings? I know I have. Check out the contest here. Start thinking of your favorite fictional character - you have until Sunday to enter.

And now for Snip's favorite writerly tidbits:

How to Write a Novel, by Nathan Bransford, has tons of helpful information. Definitely one of those you're going to want to bookmark for referencing later.

The Big 10 issue by Writer's Digest was great. My favorite issue so far. You can download it here. I really enjoyed the 10 Expert's Take on the Writer's Rulebook article. Good points of view on whether or not to follow the "rules".

100 top YA novels for 2010: I came across Persnikety Snark, an Australian blog, last night (or this morning, I guess I should say), and after feeling a little dejected that I hadn't gotten to vote (voting took place in April and May), I propped Henry on my pillow and had a nice time reading the list. Also, my Borders wish list just grew a little longer, which is obviously a wonderful thing. And, if I happen to win Tahareh's contest... *stares into space*

Creating queries couldn't be easier (*laughs at her own joke*) after you read this actually very detailed and helpful article, How to Write a Query Letter, by Ann C. Crispin from Writer Beware.

Happy Thursday, everybody!

**This just in - Nathan Bransford's post for today is How to Write a Query Letter! So between the two insightful posts I mentioned today, and the many other agent/writer/editor blogs out there chalk full of helpful hints, we should all have agents within the next few days or so! *yay*

A writing question for you, my lovely circle of friends!

Last Wednesday the lovely Johanna at Once Upon a Novelist was kind enough to pass along the Circle of Friends Award. Thanks Johanna! Blog friends are the best, aren't they? (And you never have to worry about your appearance when you converse with them! For example, for all you know I could be sitting here right now in Lovemuffin's tattered old t-shirt with a huge coffee stain down the front of it, and my hair could be a complete mess! Not that I am. Or anything. But I could be.)

So in keeping with the tradition, I will make sure the circle continues by sharing the award with five more bloggers =) But, you'll have to wait a few more days, as I am working on a few things right now, and haven't figured out who they are, just yet;)

In other news, I took the plunge and entered a contest, in which you post the first 250 words of your MS. I've gotten some very helpful comments so far (and have already figured out how to address some issues), and really appreciate people taking the time to explain how those words made them feel.

That being said, I have a question for my circle of writing friends out there. (Like how I tied the award to this second topic? I try to be entertaining, people, just for you.)

Here goes:

How much should you be explaining in those first 250 words?

I've received many questions as to why this has happened, why that is important, and so on, and I may be naive in saying this, but isn't that the point of the whole thing? To make them turn the page, then the next one, to find the answers?

I realize there's a fine line between leading readers along and explaining specifics. What I'm not sure about, though, is how to walk that fine line.

How about you? Are there any tricks/tools you use in determining what to tell your readers up front, and what to hold onto for another page or two? If so, I'd love to hear them in the comments.

Happy Wednesday, people!

When people are bored by your writing

Has this ever happened to you?

*ring ring*


"Hey! How's it going?"

"Great, actually. I've been really engrossed in my writing."


"Yeah," you continue, "I'm so proud. I'm pretty close to being done with editing."


"So did you watch Big Brother last night?"


Or, you run into someone you haven't talked to in a while...

"So how's that book coming?"

Which one? You think.

"It's going well. I'm knee deep in the next one already, and working on queries."

*dead stare*

*you clear your throat*

"That's nice." They finally say. "We'll I'll see you around, then!"

And you're left standing there, feeling like you said something bad.

How do you, as a writer, respond to situations like this? I realize that for the most part, people don't really care about the answer anyway. But I find myself wondering, what was the point in asking in the first place?

I had a friend once tell me that she didn't ask about my writing progress because she didn't understand it anyway. Understandable, right? I mean, to an unwriterly person, what kinds of words are editing, drafts, and queries? Boring ones, most likely. About as exciting as cardboard, stale bread, and dust bunnies.

In fact, I hardly ever bring my whole writing conquest up to anyone for that very reason. The whole process *is* boring. (How long have you been working on that one book again? Over a year? And nothing has come out of it, but you're already writing another one? Uh, okay...) Unless you're the one working on it, day after day, hour after hour, minute after minute, that is. Then it practically consumes you.

I guess I'm just trying to say that once in a while, it would be nice to get an actual, interested reaction. Someone who, for even just three minutes, would listen, absorb, and truly care to hear what it's all about.

And then again, what would I do, if someone started explaining the intricate details of heart surgery?

"So. Have I told you about my writing?"

~This post was written by Snip. All names have been deleted to protect the innocent. (Especially the dust bunnies. Not looking for a mud bath at the moment, thank you very much.)

In which I bore you with a few things I learned on our vacation...

What's a family vacation without a few lessons learned? Here are ten, in no particular order.

1.) Seagulls love to destroy sandcastles. At least, the one standing in front of us on Wednesday afternoon did. He spent a good ten minutes or more tearing down each and every one that some family had left there earlier that afternoon. It was the craziest thing to watch.

2.) Bluejays are creepy. On the last morning of our vacation, Lovemuffin and I were sitting outside on the balcony and one landed maybe three feet away from me on the railing. When I said (in a nice, high pitched voice) "hello birdie", he looked me right in the eye, turned his little head, and squawked so loud it scared the heck out of me! I can't tell you how fast I hopped out of that chair!

3.) The only time your kid is going to get a migraine is when you plan something big. We decided to go to Morro Bay, which was about half an hour from where we were staying. The plan was for it to be an "all afternoon" trip. We'd eat, shop, and pick up the cinnamon rolls everyone had been drooling about for days, then possibly check out Morro Rock.

Of course, on the way there, one of the girls complained about having a headache. Lunch didn't help, and within half an hour, the poor thing was hanging her head out the open car door and tossing chunks across the street from the restaurant.

Ten minutes later we were at the car wash, then finally headed back to the hotel. For some reason I made a comment about her wallet, which was when she realized she'd left it on the floor of the restaurant. By then, we were already back on the freeway. I cannot tell you how bad I felt for the person who parked where we'd been a few minutes earlier. (It is possible that they overstepped and missed it her "lunch", but considering the fact that it was directly under the driver's side door, I highly doubt it.) So sorry, random stranger, for that! Really we are!

4.) If you have a klutzy kid, multiply that clumsiness by a thousand when you're on vacation. The poor thing must have hurt herself ten times a day. It got to the point where we would just shake our heads, because there really wasn't anything else to say!

5.) After three days of walking to the beach, and walking up and down the beach, at least three times a day, walking, in general, is overrated. Those last three days of vacation were pure torture. My legs are still complaining, and it's been a few days since I've walked in the sand.

6.) Housekeeping is awesome. Now that I'm home, each time there's a knock on the door my heart sinks as I realize it's not someone about to give me clean towels, pick up the kitchen, or change the sheets on the bed.

7.) Coastal towns love to overprice things. And guess what? We just keep on buying them anyway.

8.) It doesn't matter how much room you think you're going to have, your car can never hold everything you want it to hold. No need to explain that one. 'Nuff said.

9.) Vacations are supposed to be relaxing. But with kids, they just... aren't.

10.) It's always nice to get away from the hassles of ordinary life for a while. But... no matter how long I've looked forward to leaving, it's always a great feeling to be back home.

Writing and rules-it is possible to have one without the other?

Stephen King (perhaps you've heard of him?), my new BFF, has a few opinions on the matter of writing. (If you haven't read On Writing yet, I highly recommend it. And I'm not just offering up that recommendation to the writers out there, but even to non-writers, as well.) I'm not particularly drawn to memoirs, but I was totally down to reading about his life and what made him who he is. Plus, he's my Uncle Stevie, as any of you who are avid Entertainment Weekly readers like me, will know. So we're close like that.

Of course, I took away a lot of great advice from On Writing; enough, in fact, to where I'm going to have to read it again, not as a form of entertainment this time, but as a learning instrument only, whereby I'll have a pencil in hand and underline all the pertinent stuff. But a few things stayed implanted in my brain even after the first read, and I thought I'd share.

1) Against what I've always done, Mr. King says you should add an 's after a plural noun.

2) He feels the plot shouldn't be as stressed as just telling the story, as in, outlines and whatnot aren't necessarily necessary.

3) Like most writers/agents/ect. have also commented, adverbs are like a bad disease - it doesn't take long for them to spread all over the place.

There are many other points I appreciated as well, but I'll leave those to a possible later post.

How about you? Are there any "rules" you've learned that have bettered your writing skills? Ones you don't particularly agree with?

Friday Focus: Fall out of the plane first

This week's quote reminded me of my difficulty with writing the beginning of ILYU vs. how simple it was to write the beginning of Flora. Not that anything super dramatic happens right away in Flora, but early on in the writing process I was able to get to a point where I'd imagined what happened a few minutes before, and then *boom* - stuck the MC right there in the first chapter.

Anyway. This week's quote. Simply put, lead your readers along - they'll like it. And even if they don't, they'll keep reading to find out why the heck you started out that way in the first place.;)

Make everybody fall out of the plane first, and then explain who they were and why they were in the plane to begin with.
- Nancy Ann Dibble

This week's contests (and other interesting info)

Hey! This is the second week in a row I've posted contests and blog-worthy news! What! (Is some sort of tradition a' brewin'? Probably not. I get really excited about stuff, then get lazy about it. I know, I need help.)

I would *love* to be consistent enough each week to have some sort of an interesting info summary. <--- with a way more interesting title than that... Can we say - caffeine please!?!?

And it wouldn't be, specifically, a "summarize the past week in writerly news" sort of thing, because I'm not good at keeping track of much helpful news throughout the week, plus a few other people actually are (including THE Sierra Godfrey, who just happens to do hers on FRIDAYS). But. If I keep up with this whole habit, maybe I'll have a name for this newsy thing by next week. (Or maybe I'll move on to talking more about coffee.)

ANYWHO. Here are some contests I came across, along with a tidbit or two of possibly helpful info, again in no particular order. Enjoy.

* Debut Author Amy Holder is celebrating her web launch with a giveaway - Amazon gift cards or a copy of her new YA book, The Lipstick Laws. Check out her blog and contest info here.

* Darlene at Peeking Between the Pages is giving away one free copy of Holly's Inbox: Scandal in the City. I can't wait to read it - I devoured the first one, completely loving the entire email format of the book. It's hard to believe a man, Bill Surie, is the author. He does a great job at giving you Holly's point of view, all composed as emails, no less. Check out the contest rules here, and the amusing Holly's Inbox site (all emails as well), here.

* Shannon at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe posted a How to Make a Character Collage video by YA author Tara Lynn Childs on her blog here. It's a great tool to use if you're wanting to give your character more depth. (Shannon also posted a video by literary agent Kate Testerman on the do's and don'ts of querying. You can check it out here.)

* Don't forget!!! The Literary Lab's 2nd annual contest, Notes from the Underground, (mentioned on Monday's blog post, What? No rules? I quit!) ends Monday, August 15th.

* Roni at Fiction Groupie posted the "totally epic winners" of the contest I mentioned last week. And guess what? I won! *squee* I didn't actually win the main contest, but I did win the "Best Pimp" award (uh, hello... glad somebody finally realized my awesome pimpness) - a five page critique from Roni or Julie. Yay! I'm excited, to say the least, and will post a bit about that whole process when it happens. (Now excuse me while I go back to nervously biting my nails... oh wait... there aren't any nails to bite anymore... Whew.)

* To celebrate her short story, The Blade of Tears, winning a contest, Lydia Sharp at The Sharp Angle is giving away two free Flesh & Bone anthologies here.

* If you haven't yet totally and absolutely fallen for Tahereh's online writerly magazine, QUERYPOLITAN, head on over there and check it out. August's cover has just been posted. Keep checking back to see the articles in the right column, which she will be posting soon. In the meantime, go ahead and read June and July's issues. Great stuff. (Including July's Math HATES Writers. Oh, so true.) In fact, you may as well follow her personal blog as well. Just click on her name to do so.

Last but not least...

* Check out the 7 ARC contest at Carol's Prints (click on blog name to enter) - you just might win one of the following (the below info has been copied and pasted directly from Carolina's blog):

*Signed ARC of MATCHED by Ally Condie

*ARC of PERSONAL DEMONS by Lisa Desrochers

*ARC of FIRELIGHT by Sophie Jordan

(My Review of FIRELIGHT)

*ARC of TORMENT (sequel to FALLEN) by Lauren Kate

*ARC of EXTRAORDINARY by Nancy Werlin

*ARC of HALO by Alexandra Adornetto

*ARC of DUFF by Kody Keplinger

**PLEASE feel free to add your contests to the comments if I haven't mentioned it! Happy Thursday!

What? No rules? I quit!

The deadline is fast approaching. I've been toying with the idea for two months now. Do I bother? Send something in just to, well, send it in?

But what if they're like "Pshhh... who does she think she is? It's elementary, my dear *insert whomever's name here*, this is *so* beyond her comprehension!" (I envision them all sitting around a long, rectangular table, holding my page in one hand and sipping coffee with the other, laughing their asses off.)

Did I mention the worst part is THERE ARE NO RULES? None! It's a "free form" application! I mean, what the? I've lost already, and I haven't even tried yet! Normally I hate boundaries but PLEASE, I'm begging for some this time!

Let me know if any of you enter. You can check out the full contest description here.

UPDATE: Here's Wednesday's (August 11th) post from The Literary Lab regarding the contest - My Final Plea. Check it out!

This book is about me, no not really, but maybe a little

So in keeping with my epiphany theme (since I seem to have them quite often, lately), I thought I'd share the latest thoughts from yours truly.

The other day while I was getting my hair cut, my lovely hair lady and I were yapping about life (as per our normal routine). Being as I'm a mother of three girls (about to start 5th, 6th and 7th grade - eek!), we tend to discuss our children and life as mothers quite a bit, whether it's stressing what the chitlins are doing, discussing how well they're (kind of) getting along, or sharing the interactions we have with our husbands regarding decision making for the kids.

I was telling my story for the billionth time (not billionth time to her, but to people in general), just a little part of the overall picture that lead Lovemuffin and I to be where we are now. Didn't think anything of it at the time really either, I was just making conversation.

Then a while later when I came home, I was on blogger (of course), commenting to a bloggy friend who's around the age I was when Lovemuffin and I started going out, and for some reason, this idea popped into my head...

What if I used *my* life as a sort of loose example for another YA story?

As I'm typing this, I think I know where the epiphany came from - I've been reading Stephen King's On Writing and am at the part where he's said some of the books that he wrote really had a lot to do with his life at the time.

Now, I'd like to point out this may never even come to fruition because

1) I'm in the process of working on two other projects at the moment anyway


2) The idea that anyone would even follow a story like that might be completely ridiculous.

But still. It got me thinking. My high school years weren't that crazy or anything, but there were definitely ups and downs that could be embellished enough for entertainment.

The only problem is, since Lovemuffin and I *are* raising three girls, and we're way over there on the *strict* side of the parenting spectrum, would this kind of story (made fictional, of course) be something I would want my kids to read, if it were YA? Or any other kids, for that matter?

And if not, is there a place out there in the literary world for an adult book starting out with a seventeen year old girl as the MC?

I don't know. And I'm not going to think that far ahead at the moment anyway. I think I'll just entertain the whole idea for a while and see if anything comes out of it. Maybe nothing ever will. But here's the cold hard truth to the craft of writing - often times, it's easiest to write what you know.

Friday Focus: The inescapable form of a plot

Today's Friday Focus is all about the plot (which is uh, kind of the most important part of a story). This formula may seem simple and oh-so-obvious, but sometimes it's harder than it really looks! Take it away, Mr. Gardner!

In nearly all good fiction, the basic - all but inescapable - plot form is this: A central character wants something, goes after it despite opposition (perhaps including his own doubts), and so arrives at a win, lose, or draw.
- John Gardner

Summer contests and other informative stuff

I've come across a few things worth sharing, and decided to post them all in one blog. Feel free to pass the info along.

Here they are, in no particular order...

* Pure Imagination's Summer Celebration Giveaway

* Roni & Julie's contest - According to their blogs, here are the prizes up for grabs:

  • Hannah Moskowitz's Break
  • Lisa Desrocher's Personal Demons (ARC)
  • A query or first five pages critique from Fine Print Lit's intern, Gemma Cooper
  • A query or first five pages critique from Janet Reid's assistant, Meredith Barnes
  • A query or first five pages critique from agent Suzie Townsend
  • A query or first five pages critique from editor Brendan Deneen

  • * Win a copy of Mandy Hubbard's new book, You Wish (also author of Prada & Prejudice, and other books) at C.A. Marshall's blog. To read more about Mandy Hubbard, check out her interview at the Lisa and Laura Write blog here.

    * Julie P., author of Booking Mama blog, is giving away a copy of Fragile by Lisa Unger, here.

    * Noah Lukeman of the Ask a Literary Agent blog has just combined all of his wonderful advice and knowledge into a free ebook for us lovely writers, here.

    There are tons more contests going on around the blogosphere as we speak, but I've run out of time. If anyone would like to share a contest they are currently holding, feel free to mention it in the comments.

    Happy Thursday!

    Where would Spongebob be without Patrick?

    Secondary characters add a touch to your story, be it comedy, raw emotion, conflict, or whatever else.  Take TV shows, for example.  Sometimes the characters we enjoy most aren't even the main one, yet their personality shines through almost more than the main character's does.  

    Being as my three girls watch a lot of Nick, I've clocked in many hours of listening time on the old tube.  I say listening instead of watching because, for the most part, the shows they watch are background noise while I'm working, cleaning, ect.  

    But there's one particular character on the show iCarly that will pull me in front of the TV almost every time.  He's not one of the main characters, who are two girls, but actually the Carly character's older brother,  Spencer.  (If you aren't a parent like me who is "lucky" enough have this show practically playing 24-7 in your home or on your computer, feel free to view the link in order to get an idea of the Spencer character's personality, who is played by Jerry Trainor.) 

    Jerry Trainor makes the show, in my opinion.  Those two girls' lives would be boring without him.

    Some books have characters you don't pay much attention to - your sole interest is invested in what happens to the MC, and that's about it.  Maybe you skim through that part of the book, in order to get back to whatever got you sucked in to begin with, or maybe you even find them a distraction.  

    Others, however, are unforgettable.  They may make you laugh, shake your head and wonder why they do the things they do, or even think they're just plain weird.  (A lot of times the MC wouldn't be who they are without them.)  And they stay with you, long after you've stopped reading, sometimes longer than the actual story replays from memory.

    Not too long ago I made myself laugh out lout at something an MC's father had said.  He wasn't in the book a whole lot, but it was enough to where even quite a while after reading it, the line came back to me again.  

    I would love to be able to write like that.  I try to write like that.  

    Do any of you have a favorite secondary character in a book?  And if so, who are they in relation to the MC, and why did you like them?