Thursday, March 31, 2011

A is for Attitude & Altitude

During the month of April I'll be taking up the A to Z Blogging Challenge. You can still join in the fun, right now there are over 900 blogs taking part so click on over, sign up and blog with us.   Let's get started...

“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude”
Zig Ziglar

I've been hanging around the blog-o-sphere for quite a while now and one thing I hear over and over again is how hard it is to get published. How unfair the system is, how agents or editors or publishers take advantage of the writer and yadda, yadda, yadda.  There's a never ending list of things writer's whine about.  Just this week, one writer blew up about what she thought was an unfair review. 

I don't know about you, but I really don't want to be around people like that.  They are having such a wonderful time being miserable, they make everyone having a wonderful time miserable.  Or something like that.  Anyway, all that to say, they aren't fun to be around.

I've always heard you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.  And it's true.  Ask politely and you'll get a totally different response than if you'd whined and complained.   Even if the answer is still no, it'll be given in a different attitude.

But, back to the publishing business.  Yes, it's hard.  Yes, it may seem unfair when celebrities who can't put three words together so they make sense get a huge advance for a children's book. 

You have the choice as to how you will react though.  You have the choice in your attitude.  You can either whine and complain or suck it up and keep up the good fight.

I'm getting my boxing gloves on...what about you?


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Change is a Good Thing

I've been mentioning Kristen Lamb quite often the last week or so and there's a good reason.  First, she's giving away critiques to folks who comment at her blog, link to her blog and mention her book, We Are Not Alone - The Writer's Guide to Social Media.   While I have to admit I really want that critique but that's not the only reason I've been mentioning Kristen so much. 

The main reason I keep sending you to her blog is that she knows a couple things about social media.  Well, lots more than a couple actually but you get the idea. :-)  For example, her Twitter Tuesday series.  If you're on Twitter or just considering Twitter, check these posts out. 

Today, she started a new series on blogging.  Right off the bat, she hit the proverbial nail on its head.  I've already made one change she suggested and will be making others as we go along. 

So, now I'm going to send y'all over to her blog again.   

Also, don't forget to check out the BreakOut Prompts from Donald Maass on Twitter.  If you don't have an account, you'll have to sign up, then follow him @DonMaass.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Confession Time

Years ago, when I was just beginning to get serious about writing for publication I knew I wanted to pursue the traditional "get an agent, big NY publisher" route.   I don't remember how I found him, but I was head over heels.  He was (and still is) smart, one of the top agents around and knew more than I'd ever learn.  I knew with "Mr. Wonderful Agent" I'd be on the best seller list in no time at all.

Thankfully I have one of those obsessive personalities that requires I research as many details as possible  before acting so I didn't do anything stupid.  And, while I've grown from know nothing beginner to a novice with some short stories published along with some non-fiction, I'm still very much in like with Donald Maass.

I bought his "how to write" books, studied them like crazy and while I still haven't learned enough to query him, I am making progress. 

Not long ago, Donald Maass joined Twitter.   One of the almost first things he's started to do is a month long series of "BreakOut Prompts" to get us thinking.   Monday's prompt was "What’s the worst thing your MC does? Whom and how does that hurt? Now work backwards, set it up to hurt even more." 

As I pondered this, I realized I need to dig beneath the surface of my character and bring out her flaws more.  I'm looking forward to the process. :-)

So, all that to say, if you want to improve your novel, check out Donald Maass.  You'll find him on Twitter at @DonMaass and you'll be glad you did.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Bonus Monday

Happy Monday y'all! It's the start of another writing week since I take the weekends off and spend them with the family. Which leads to the question, do you take time off from writing ever so often, just to let your batteries recharge?  Do you even need to recharge?

This is going to be a busy week for me and I'm looking forward to getting some words on the page.  What about you, working on anything special this week?

I'm still doing the weekly columns for the Long Ridge Writer's Group newsletter.  You can see the latest colum here. You'll need to scroll down about halfway but it's there. I promise. :-)

I mentioned the Bald Eagle Nest Cams a while back and while not much is happening yet and it seems like the Pelican Harbor nest has been abandoned. But the other two nests have eggs in them.  I'm looking forward to seeing the chicks when they hatch and watching them grow.

And here's something for all of you getting ready to pitch your novel.  Pitch University is doing a week long pitching workshop with Jennifer Wilkov.  Today is "day two" but you can easily catch up.

So, let us know what you're working on this week, enquiring trolls want to know.:-)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The "B" Word

One of the things I do first every morning after hubby leaves is check my Facebook and Twitter pages.  And sometimes one of the next things I do is blog.  And that's what's happening today.  As I scrolled down my Twitter feed, I found this from "Fuel Your Writing".

[NEW POST] Don't Let the 'B' Word Ruin Your Writing

First, I thought the 'B' word might be bitch.  I used to breed and show dogs so don't consider that a "bad" word.  It does sound strange coming from a 4 year old but when used in the appropriate context, well, hey...

Then, I decided the 'B' word must be bad.  I mean, if you could see some of my first drafts, you'd say they were beyond bad. :-)

While both my guesses were wrong, I'm not going to tell you what the 'B' word she's talking about is. You have to go read for yourself.  However, she said something that I've noticed in my own writing life. Here it is...

"I have a theory: the more you’re talking about your book, the less you’re writing it. Blabbing to everyone about it, outlining the story, the structure, the essence of it, isn’t writing it.

It’s seeking approval. It’s getting your jollies on the content without doing the work. It’s robbing your book of its chance to come into the world and have an impact.

So hush about it. Keep it to yourself or talk to your coach or writing peers to help you stay on track. Sit down and write."

Now, she's not talking about brainstorming plot and such with another writing buddy.  We often need to air out our idea with another who understands plot, structure and character motivations.  But many times we, myself included, tell our story to any and everyone who'll listen, we talk about our characters and before you know it, the urge to write the story isn't there.

Anyone else notice this?  How do you keep the fire to write your story alive?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Social Networking

Not so long ago all a writer was responsible for was the writing.  Now, we must take a bigger role in the promotion part of being a writer.  And while I'm no expert, I've found some great links and websites from folks who are.  So today, it's another link fest.

First, Kristen Lamb's WarriorWriters blog.  I love the "Twitter Tuesday" posts.  I'm actually planning on starting at the beginning and reading through all the posts. Kristen is the author of "We Are Not Alone: The Writer's Guide to Social Media" which is on order.  Hopefully it'll be here soon.  I've heard very good things about this book. 

Get a free Book Marketing Tips e-book from The Savvy Book Marketer.   Here's a blog post with Ten Twitter Tips for book promotion.  And another on running a Twitter Contest.

Need a FaceBook Fan page?  Then check out this step by step "how to" article.  This is something I've got to do.  *sigh*

And while I don't believe anyone other than the books author should ever do the querying (I think you'll find most agents/editors believe this too.), the folks over at Novel Publicity have some good promotion tips.

Since this post is all about promotion, how about leaving your twitter or facebook info in the comments.