Tuesday, July 26, 2011

For Writers - LOVE STORY with Jennifer Echols

Today I'm pleased to bring you a special edition of Tip Tuesday, celebrating the release of LOVE STORY by Jennifer Echols.

We're big fans of Jen in our house. Her ENDLESS SUMMER is a permanent fixture on my daughter's bedside table. Now we're looking forward to diving into LOVE STORY. Jennifer is a former newspaper editor and college writing teacher. We're glad she is now writing books for teens. You can find more about Jennifer on her website, on facebook, and by following her on twitter.

Here's the official blurb on LOVE STORY:


For Erin Blackwell, majoring in creative writing at the New York City college of her dreams is more than a chance to fulfill her ambitions—it’s her ticket away from the tragic memories that shadow her family’s racehorse farm in Kentucky. But when she refuses to major in business and take over the farm herself someday, her grandmother gives Erin’s college tuition and promised inheritance to their maddeningly handsome stable boy, Hunter Allen. Now Erin has to win an internship and work late nights at a local coffee shop to make her own dreams a reality. She should despise Hunter . . . so why does he sneak into her thoughts as the hero of her latest writing assignment?

Then, on the day she’s sharing that assignment with her class, Hunter walks in. He’s joining her class. And after he reads about himself in her story, her private fantasies about him must be painfully clear. She only hopes to persuade him not to reveal her secret to everyone else. But Hunter devises his own creative revenge, writing sexy stories that drive the whole class wild with curiosity and fill Erin’s heart with longing. Now she’s not just imagining what might have been. She’s writing a whole new ending for her romance with Hunter . . . except this story could come true.

And here's Jennifer's tip:

It’s great to get feedback about your writing, but you should only pay attention to revision suggestions that ring true to you. I’ve overheard so many writers talk about making every change their writing groups want them to make, whether they understand those changes or not. Writing a novel may be a collaborative effort--especially after you sell it, and you are under contract to produce something your editor wants to buy--but *you* are still the author.
When I was trying to sell my novel *Going Too Far*, an editor said she was interested in buying it, but only if I made one very significant revision. As it stood, the book was a romantic drama with a happy ending. This editor wanted me to KILL THE HERO at the end of the book. When my agent relayed this message to me, she asked me if I was sitting down first. And when I started to cry, she told me she had expected me to react that way and assured me that she didn’t think it was strange at all.

In my heart, I knew that the revision the editor was suggesting might make the book sell better. Witness the success of the movie *Titanic*, in which Leonardo DiCaprio bites it at the end. Personally, I hated that movie. I did not want to see it because I knew how it ended. I suffered through it because I was trying to get a YA novel published even then, and I felt that for the sake of my writing, I needed to keep up with popular culture for teenagers. But observing that teenagers loved this tragic love story did not make me want to write one. I knew what I wanted to write, and that wasn’t it.

I was afraid that if I didn’t make the change this editor was suggesting, I would not be able to sell *Going Too Far* anywhere at all. But that was a risk I was willing to take. Writing is difficult. Selling writing is even harder, at least for me. If I am not writing the book I want to read, none of this is worth it. I want to produce books that other people want to read, but my most important reader is myself. Luckily, there were two other editors who were willing to buy *Going Too Far* just as it was, and we sold the book to one of them. But if we had not, I would have stood by my decision to stay true to my own artistic vision.

Thank you, Jennifer! I for one am glad you stuck with your original vision!

And now, this week's links:

The Gift Writers Give (Great Thoughts) Inspiration

The Learning Curve (BethRevis) It has its ups and downs...

The "new" Author Platform (TheBookDeal) How's your visibility?

Visual Story Maps (The Creative Penn) Fun... but don't use to procrastinate!!

Embrace Failure (FromTheMixedUpFiles...) From the ashes of disaster grow the roses of success. (First one to tell me where that's from wins a five-page critique.)

Writing vs. Acting (BeyondtheMargins) From scratch or script.

Procrastination (WriterUnboxed) Something I understand much too well...

Write What They Don't Know (TheOtherSideofTheStory) Plot the unexpected.

Writer as Observer (BeyondtheMargins) Enter the trance...

MG/YA Question Roundup (TheOtherSideoftheStory) Good stuff.

Dealing with Critique Feedback (WriterUnboxed) Also, see Jen's tip, above.

When to Show & When to Tell (AdventuresinChildrensPublishing) Bonus: links within the link!

Indie, Small Press, or Big 6? (AnneRAllen) From someone who has published w/all three.

Writing life: Ideal vs Reality (JodyHedlund) "Barking Dog Days of Writing Life"

Preparing for Luck to Strike (AdventuresInChildrensPublishing) Luck is what happens when
opportunity meets preparation.

JK Rowling dishes on how to write and publish (TheAdventurousWriter) "It's LeviOsa, not LevioSA..." (Quick! Which Harry Potter book/movie is this line from?)

The Intern on How Books Work: THE HUNGER GAMES (part 1) (part 2) ***Excellent***

Can your character change? (Genreality) If not, why do we care?

Performing Plot CPR (JulieMusil) Great spreadsheet idea

Performing Scene Open Heart Surgery (James Kilick) (What is up with these emergency medical references this week? Too close to home at the moment!)

Pacing Checklist (TheOtherSideoftheStory) Finding and fixing pacing issues

Voice Tips from the Pros (TheBookshelfMuse) Don't forget this blog as an excellent resource for emotional, setting, character, etc. thesaurus listings. Love!

Testing the Idea (Kristin Lamb) Is it Strong enough to make a novel?

60 Tips on Craft (TheEditor'sBlog) The down and dirty...

45 Flaws that Expose Inexperience (Plot to Punctuation) Scroll down for part I.

10 Rules for Manuscript Evaluation (TheKillZone) Especially for thrillers

8 Steps for More Concise Writing (DailyWritingTips) my favorite remains: Omit needless words.
7 ways to Structure Your Picture Book (Writers' Digest)

7 Steps to Better Villainy (BeyondtheMargins) How to make 'em so bad, they're good.

6 Vital Signs of a Healthy Plot (BeyondtheMargins) Good tips in comments, too.

5 Ways to build coherent scene transitions (HeroNation) "most scenes should build on the preceding scene."

4 Step Strategy for Research (LetTheWordsFlow) Research provides authentic details

Now go. Write!!!