Monday, October 31, 2011

Busy Busy Busy

Sorry I got caught up in writing and life and stuff.  Nothing deep and intellectual or this week.  Instead it's a week full of cool pictures.


Happy Halloween 
Zoey pictures to come soon.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

fail- fart cloud


They are socially awkward, sometimes painful and often smelly.

Sometimes they are quick.

Sometimes they linger.

I was at an event recently and I felt the rumble coming.  I did my best to keep it dammed up. 

I was standing in the kitchen with two other girls.

A few minutes later one girl declared she was leaving.  She helped in the clean up process by putting her plate in the sink and left the kitchen.

But she left something behind.

I offered to clean up and walked directly into her fart cloud.

Now I was stuck in a moral dilemma, do I keep cleaning up, standing in this girl toxic gas or do I run out and stop in the clean up process.

Either way the other girl in the kitchen will assume I farted.

There really was no way of getting out of it.

If I denied it, I clearly was the one who supplied it.

If I left, I'd be the one who stank up the kitchen AND didn't help clean up.

So I stood in the fart cloud, cleaning up and avoiding eye contact with the other girl.

Tell me readers, what would you do?

Dear readers, I am ashamed of this post, even my husband shocked by immaturity.  But let's be honest, who's really suprised that I sunk to this low denominator

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Save your Money- DIALOGUE


It’s a skill you work on for your entire career.

Some people try make it sounds natural, “Hi Jane how are you?” 
“I’m fine.”
Blah blah blah

Get into the head of your characters

Read loud your scenes. –

Easy beats:

Dropping in a little information.  Give the reader a more concrete information.  It’s one or two sentences, that sets the setting.   A shortcut way  to get information to the reader.  Physical action.  Motion

Not every  line has to be crisp and bouncy, sometimes it’s just trying to give the reader information.

Be careful sometimes dialogue becomes a form of telling.
Don’t tell that something is going to happen then show it happening.

You can use incomplete sentences IF it serves a purpose.  Good for high emotions, chase scenes.

Natural Speech:

During an emotional scene, people often talk AROUND what they  want to say. 
Saying it in a around about way, they don’t come right out and say stuff.

  Your reader will know more then the characters. Play games with the reader.

Cut out the stuff no one will read.
Look for repletion --- cut it
Don’t repeat the same words in dialogue.
AVOID using the character’s name. 
USE said or says.  It becomes almost invisible.   The TAG is not important, it’ the dialogue.

Dialect- Less is better
You don’t want your reader to have to translate the words.  You can use it sparingly.   Get the flavor without creating a new language.  Be consistant.  STAY WITH IT.  Don’t change it or forget about it.
Just say, “She had a strong southern draw  but it only came out when she was upset.”  Then show it from time to time.

Interior Monologue:
It doesn’t make sense for characters to talk aloud all the time.

Limit to 1 or 2 sentence.  Sounds inane if its too long or forced.

1st job grab the reader’s attention. 


Choose any dialogue scene in your story. Isolate it. Do you need all the tags you have? Can you remove any?  Use said.  What beats might you add to create a fuller scnen that guves you more info.  Check your punticuation. 

Self Editing for Fiction Writers--- THIS WERE THE BEST 3 CHAPTERS EVER!  Everything was extremely concrete and it showed you WHY dialogue didn't work and WHY it was bad writing.  The book was worth the cost for these chapters alone:  Read chapters 5,7, 8.

First five page-  These chapters show you really bad dialogue and it's not really was effective because you sit and think to yourself, "my writing isn't THAT bad. Clearly I don't have a problem at all." 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Mothering and Writing- sort of the same.

In my three and half years of being a mom and my fifteen years (give or take) of being a writer I've noticed one huge similarity.


As a mom, I could do a thousand things right.  My kid is a smart, funny kid, she's creative, caring and happy.  I keep her healthy, well feed, I read to her every night.  I'm doing all the stuff I'm supposed to.  But the only thing I can see is mistakes. 

Not her mistakes, but mine.

I forgot to floss her teeth, disinfect her stinky shoes, brush her hair. 
 (clearly hygiene isn't a high priority)

Writing is the same way.

I can write a funny scene, interesting characters and fun plot, but all I see is, my characters are one dimensional, I used too many adverbs and I hate that I can't spell.

Sometime mistakes aren't obvious to the world, like when my daughter puts her underwear on wrong, like her leg through the hip hole in a way that can't possibly be comfortable and yet not once did she ever stop to question it or ask for help.

A writing example would be naming all my minor  character Mike, or those plot holes that no one else seems to catch.

Then there's BIG stuff.

I forgot my kid's lunch on the kitchen table and I can't go home to pick it up.  What makes it a billion times worse was she was the one who decorated her bag and picked out the food.  Which means when I dropped her off at pre-school she's a sobbing messing and I'm getting dirty looks from her teachers.

For writing it's unclear plot choices and slow pacing. 

There are things you just don't want people to see.

When you focus on the mistakes, its easy to forget all the amazing things.

My daughter is incredible. Every day I look at her and think, "you made me a better person." She can put me in a great mood in the matter of seconds. She makes me laugh and cry. 

Writing is the same thing.  The simple fact is, writing itself is incredible. Your characters (much like your child) didn't and couldn't exist without you.  It can make you laugh and cry.  Make you feel like the smartest person on the planet and make you feel worthless.  Writing gives you the oppertuinty to FEEL and to CREATE.

Don't focus on the mistakes. 

You'll miss all the incredible.

Zoey dressed up as her imangary meta!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

And the Winner IS

Happy Birthday BLOG winner is....

Ghenet Myrthil

Thanks to everyone who entered.  Ghenet please email me fussymonkey2 at gmail dot com so we can set something up. 


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Save your money- week 2 of Revision

Day 2
Characterization and Exposition

Characters are what draw the readers in, not the plot. Readers care about the characters. 
Kick characters out, not everyone is needed.

Too many characters drag down the story.

Avoid all good and all bad characters. Characters should be flawed.
Bad guy who is relatable and understandable, is way more scary.  The guy you don’t noticed or recogize is more scary.

But they should also be sympathetic 

Dialogue- let them talk to each other.  It helps the come alive.

Put them in the worst case sinerios.  Make life really hard on them.

Give them a name… early on. (Page 1 or 2)

Let them do their job.  If they are a doctor, show them being a doctor.
Readers LOVE to read about careers they don’t have.

Who’s story is this about?   Who is THE character you want your reader to identify with.  Keep them in most of the scenes.  Don’t kick them out for four chapters.

Stay as close to the character as you can. Put yourself in  that characters body. 
Have then fully defined- two characters can’t react the same way.
How will your character react to the experience.

Insider Tip:
Interview your character.  Get to know your character better.

Do I have too many characters in the scene?  Do I have not enough characters?
Combine characters if need be.
No roll call.

Exposition can tell background info.  Family history or past events—it’s ok to use when you need too.

Look for Author to Reader lectures…. Authors don’t talk to the reader, characters do. 

Suggested Reading: 

My addition: Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook -chapters 1- 3,7,9,12

Read  Lola and the Boy Next Door for the perfect example of well define characters.   (That was my plug for a book, not from the teacher)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Music Monday- Jack's Mannequin

Jack's Mannequin has a new album out and simply out, it's amazing.

People and Things debuted at #9 on the Billboard top 200 list.

Just a little side note, 9 through 15 are pretty freaking awesome:

9) Jack's Mannequin-  People and Things
10) Blink 182- Neightborhoods
11Wilco- The Whole Love
12) Mayday Parade- Mayday Parade
13) Kanye West (who cares)
14) Foster the People - Torches.

Anyway People and Things is by FAR the best Jack's Mannequin CD.  It's perfect.  Seriously. It's perfect.

The music breaks my heart but makes me happy at the same time.

"My Racing Thoughts" is one of the best singles I've heard. It totally embraces the Jack's Mannequin sound but still stays fresh.  It's like running into a old friend on the street, there's a split second you've forgotten all about them and as soon as he or she opens his or her mouth, it's like your home again and you don't know how you could ever forget them.

If you don't know about their back story, read it here: because it's amazing.

When so few CD are worth the $9.99, this one will pay for itself in the first listen.

Oh Andrew you're such a cutie (and by confessing that I"ve made my entire review null in void)  check out My Racing Thoughts video here.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Five for Friday

My good friends at the paper hangover are discussing this question.
What are my Top FIVE favorite books from Childhood.

1) Only One Woof by James Harriet - Its a story about a dog who only barks one time, (as the title suggests) Even as an adult I cry thinking about it.  It was a perfect story.

2) There's a Boy in the Girl's Bathroom-  This is the first book I found symbolism in and it's the first book I openly cried reading - IN CLASS IN FRONT OF MY PEERS.  It's a book about a new kid who accidentally ends up in the girls bathroom and the bully he has to face.   It's one of those books that stayed with me for a long time.

3) Where the Sidewalk Ends- 'nuff said. -- To this day I still watching for the end point of sidewalks, knowing that the cover is clearly a lie, but I still don't want to take that chance.

4) The Vampire Diaries- L.J Smith is the reason WHY I started writing.  I have not gone back to reread them because I'm terrified they won't be as good as I remember.  Sometimes memories should be persevered has holy and untouched my dreaded reality. 

Note I'm even kicking it old school with the covers

5) The Day Jim's Boa Ate the Wash.  A great book about the unpredictable.  It's a wonderful story about a girl describing her day at the farm.  I loved it as a kid and my daughter loves it now.  It's like the circle of life. 

What's cool is most of these books are timeless.  What's your top five books from childhood?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Immaturity fail

So here we go, I saw this and my brain was playing tricks on me.

I saw this at the Renaissance Festival and I didn't see the long sliver part,  I saw something else. And me being the mature person I am, nearly choked on my turkey leg on a stick.   Because what my brain focused on was this:

Now keep in mind, I couldn't see it very well and I didn't see the outline of the heart from a distance.

Can anyone else see what I see?  Do you have the maturity level of 13 year old boy even though you are a 30ish year old mom? 

Leave comments below.

By the way TODAY is the LAST day to enter my contest!  Go harass your friends on twitter and spread the word. 


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Save yourself the money- Revsion class


I started taking a revision class and it's amazing.  I know title of the article makes it seem like you're learning from my mistake but that's not true.

This class is incredible and because of that, I wanted to share the knowledge I have learned.

Class 1

The teacher has published over 40 books and she knows her stuff.  It's not a NYT best seller but she's made a career of being mid list.   She's an example of you do it because you love it and if your smart about it, you can make a living at it.

The class started out with everyone sharing about their writing experience, which while interesting isn't why YOU came to this blog.  So I will by pass all the greetings and get into the MEAT of the course. 

Now if you are a regular reader of blogs, lots of this is stuff you already know.  But it's good to hear it from someone else. 

The course focuses on Content editing
And this week the topics are  Showing and POV.

Showing= more dialogue and action.

First sentence= important

The teacher's favorite opening sentence is:  “The last camel died at noon.”  BAM it hits you with the  tension, setting, conflict.

Never start with the weather.


Show instead of describing – why so the reader can participate. Allows the reader to escape. Participate.

Character’s have to talk
Flip through and look at how much dialogue.
Develop the scenes.

Narrative distance- dialogue = closeness.  Summary = pulling back .
Think about how many characters you have in the story.
Think about 1 character you want your character to identify with.  They should be in a lot of scenes.

Omi POV  distances the reader from the story.

Who’s head am I in?
Stay in 1 character’s head for 1 scene- it’s the strongest way to tell the story

Look for:
POV-  in every scene. Have you kept it the same?  Does that character know thing he or she shouldn’t.

Uses the sense and only describe what that character knows.

We protect our characters-  we want to put the characters in stressful situations and challenge them.
Scenes that are important to the story needs to be played out.

Industry insider tip, if your goal is to be published:


Required Reading: 
The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman, Chapters  11, Showing Vs Telling and Chapter 12 View point and narration. 

Self-editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King - Chapter 1

 Homework Assignment
Find three places in my MS where I have summarized action and I needed to SHOW the action. Make them places that COUNT.

The required reading books are the MOST AMAZING BOOKS I've read on writer's craft so far.   I am completely in love with The First Five Pages.  It's perfect and concrete.  GO BUY THIS BOOK

Only ONE DAY LEFT to enter my blog contest!

Monday, October 10, 2011


It's official. 

My book No System At All is dead.

It's not a teary goodbye. 

It's not a soul crushing burial. I saw the warning signing, and I knew the end was near.

I did 16 drafts, I made it the very best it could be. 

I sent out queries and I beat the average when it comes to agents requests.

I don't look at as a failure.  I look at it as, this just wasn't the book.

Here's the thing, I LEARNED  A LOT!

Looking back I know exactly where the flaws were.  More so, I know it shouldn't take me 16 drafts to write another book.

So it's time to move on to the next book.

And then the one after that.

Interestingly with the death of my manuscript something has happened.

I have a lot of free time.

I'm not cyber stalking agents.

I'm not checking query tracker.

I'm not even researching new agents.

And suddenly I have all this FREE TIME.

I know it's weird right?

So what am I going to do with this free time?

Get back to blogging for a little while.

Read more



Cool huh?  It's like a hugely stressful weight has been lifted.

And you know what? I can't WAIT to start querying my next book. 

Oh the life of an unpublished author... NO PRESSURE.

It's pretty sweet huh.

Blog News:

I'm going to be starting a feature called, "Save yourself the Money." This is where I'm going to post the notes I took from my revision class and any other cool writing stuff I find along the way.

I'm going to return to Music Monday's because I just got a TON of new music and I want to share.

Don't forget to enter my contest  it ends on 10-12 Best of all you get to pick the prize.  Again pretty sweet.

Monday, October 03, 2011

The fallback plan

Every writer has those words or phrases that he or she tends to use a lot.

Obviously, this is a weak point in writing and easily fixed. 

It's catching it that can be a problem, that goes without saying.

So here's my crutch list broken down by book and why I picked those words

No System At All:
every minor male character was named Mike.
Because my best friend in middle school was named Mike.  I had a crush on him, there were times he had a crush on me. But it never worked out... at the end of high school he came out of the closet I figured out why we were never meant to be. And Mike is an easy name to spell.

New York Karma:
The f bomb was dropped over 500 times in a 236 page book... (during the first draft-- it was cut down considerably.)
NYK was an adult book and it was set in New York and New Jersey.  These are my people and we curse a lot.  The f word is a noun, verb, adverb, adjective and just a filler in conversation.  It's a pretty f*cking important word. 
Sensiblity won and I cut it back down to 50 words I think, maybe less.

Penny and Hank.
They get pancakes, CONSTANTLY.  Seriously every time these characters need to sit down and eat, it's pancakes. 
I love pancakes and never get to eat them.  They take too much time to make and eat.  For me pancakes are a special occasion.  Penny and Hank have a lot of time to kill, so why not sit around and eat pancakes...

So obviously we all have fall back words, that goes without saying.  Find them and fix them.  Your writing will be stronger for it.

Can you tell which words are my fall back words for my blog?   What's your crutch words or phrases?  Leave them in the comments.

Don't forget to enter my blog's Two Year old Birthday Contest

You could win a mystery box filled with whatever YOU WANT!