Tuesday, February 07, 2012

For Writers - Lemonade! with Jen McAndrews

Remember how we were talking last week about things out of an author's control, and making the best of what we can control? Thanks to my friend and crit/workshop* partner Jen McAndrews, we've got a prime example this week.

Jen's book, DEADLY FARCE, was to make its debut yesterday. At least, that's what she was told. Celebrations were planned, calendars were cleared. (She took the day off work. I fully intended to spend the afternoon curled up with DEADLY FARCE, as Amazon projected yesterday would be the delivery day for my anxiously-awaited copy. Who knows the extended world impact?) Alas, launch day came and went with no books. Distribution was delayed.

As you can imagine, the road to publication is long, so for an author, the wait for her baby to hit the shelves can be agonizing. Now imagine being told your wait will be even longer. It's enough to turn a Writers' Butt devotee to sugar!

But check out Jen's new blog, explaining the incubation of her bouncing baby book. The publishers gave her lemons, and not only did she make lemonade, she's having fun with it. (And for the record, this is the kind of wit and humor you'll find in DEADLY FARCE. Seriously, you want to read this book.) You can preorder on Amazon or B&N.

This week's tip is:
Have fun! Be creative! And don't let the lemons get you down!

Here's the official blurb for DEADLY FARCE:

When Hollywood heavyweight Shepard Brown fears someone is trying to kill him, he asks newly licensed private investigator Lorraine Keys to keep him safe. Friends with Shepard since elementary school, Lorraine knows he can be more than a little melodramatic. Though she agrees to meet him on location in Atlantic City, New Jersey, to review the situation, the last thing she expects is to find truth in his claims. After all, a poisoned pizza? But after getting caught in the center of yet another attempt on Shepard’s life, Lorraine is forced to admit he’s right about the danger—and determined to find a way to protect him while searching for the culprit.

With her meddling friend Barb along for the ride and her boss anxiously tracking her every move, Lorraine must juggle the chaos of a film set, the lure of the casinos, the mutual attraction of a hunky co-star, and a minefield of Shepard’s ex-girlfriends all while keeping Shepard safe and uncovering the identity of the killer … before she becomes the next target.

You can find Jen online on her blog, on facebook, and by following her on twitter.

*We will be presenting the following workshops this spring/summer if you'd like to join us!
April: The Hero's Journey in YA RWA YA chapter
May: How to Really Make a Scene Carolina Romance Writers
July: The Hero's Journey in YA RWA National Conference

This week's links:

25 Things You Should Know About Story Structure (Not Enough Words) Excellent

20 Questions to Ask to Know if Your Manuscript is Done (Blood Red Pencil) Checklist

7 Things I Learned from Stephen King (Victoria Mixon) Stephen King is the master.

6 Important Tips for Opening Chapters (The Kill Zone)

5 Questions You Should Ask Your Characters (Time to Write)

5 Attitudes About Publishing You Should Avoid (Writer Unboxed) Timely

4 Steps to Writing Meaningful Metaphors (Write it Sideways) Think backwards

4 Writing Routines You Can Live With (Write it Sideways)

Expanding the World of your Novel (Nathan Bransford) Ideas about extras

A New Approach to the Traditional Group (Kristin Lamb) The Concept Critique

Don't Even Think About Using First Person Unless... (Wordplay) POV

Writing Lessons from The Hunger Games (Children's Publishing) Stakes and Characterization

Avoiding The End (YA Muses) Juxtapose your first and last chapters.

Teen Roundtable (YA Confidential) What have adults forgotten?

Character Trait Entry: Disorganized (Bookshelf Muse) Look! They're describing me!

We All Get Them: Sagging Middles (YA Highway) Trimming the flab.

Game Changer: Inner Dialog w/ Hero and Villain (Story Fix)

DNA of a Beginning (YA Muses) What makes great beginnings great?

Fundamental Check: Scenes (The Other Side of the Story) Do they have what they need?

Outlining Your Novel (Magical Words) One Writer's Method

Now go make some lemonade and WRITE!

Thursday, February 02, 2012

For Writers - Groundhog Day

Yes, I'm about to get deep about a Bill Murray movie.

For anyone who may not have seen it, Groundhog Day is about a dour, unhappy-with-his-life weatherman who is sent to Punxsutawney, PA to cover, what else, Groundhog Day. Not only that, but he has to keep repeating the day over and over again until he gets it right. Though he fights against this curse at first (refusal of the call...), eventually, he uses his do-overs to avoid pitfalls, ice sculpt, learn to speak French and play the piano, and of course, get the girl.

So here' s where our writer's tip comes in. In the movie, Bill Murray comes to realize that he can either hate being stuck on replay, or he can use each day to avoid past mistakes and to build on the things he learned the previous day. The happy ending happens because he adjusts his attitude and goes after each day, uses it up, and works hard for what he can get out of it.

As writers, there is a lot out of our control. Editors or agents might not connect with our work, publishers might not support it as much as we'd like, placement might not be great, proposals might not be accepted, publishing as we know it may die. Sometimes we may feel like we're stuck on replay, banging our head against the wall, submitting the same thing over and over again. It's easy to slip into a sour frame of mind.

Or, we could use all the days we're given to write another book that our publisher might really get behind, submit to more editors and agents until we find the one who 'gets' us, learn about e-pubbing, study the craft. In short, we can choose to seize each day, to learn from the failures and to build on the successes.

Do this and I guarantee that by next Groundhog's Day, we'll all be happier, more successful writers.

This Week's Links:

Speaking of being happier and more successful writers, here's this week's Writer's Butt post and challenge: (Ginger Calem) If you haven't jumped in yet, it's never too late to join out beta group!

Why Vision is More Important that Strategy (Michael Hyatt) Envision what you want to achieve.

11 FAQ about Royalties, Advances, and Making Money (Writer Unboxed)

10 Ways to Harness Fear and Fuel Your Writing (Writers' Digest)

8 Ways to Harness Creativity (The Creativity Post)

7 Erroneous Reasons Writers Avoid Using Editors (Sticking to the Story)

6 Ways to Reboot Your Writing Routine (Writers' Digest)

6 Reasons to Write a Fast First Draft (W.I.P. It)

4 Ways to Recycle Dusty Manuscripts (Julie Musil)

The Significance of Settings (Between the Margins) Bee Mindful

Research vs. Observation (Writer Unboxed) By THE Donald (Maass)

Hippocratic Oath for Revisions (Rebecca Behrens) First do no harm

Query Writing as a Plotting Tool (The Other Side of the Story)

Q & A with Judy Blum (Smithsonian Magazine) Writer must identify with her characters

The 1st Thing You Do When You Sit Down at a Computer (Seth Godin) Lay tracks to accomplish goals

A Peek Behind the Publishing Curtain (Veronica Roth)

Excellent Roundup of Book Marketing Tips from the Web (Book Marketing Experts)

Coincidence in Fiction (The Editor's Blog) Destroys the suspension of disbelief

Connecting Opposite Turning Points p. 1 (The Sharp Angle) Structure - excellent post

Connecting Opposite Turning Points p. 2 (The Sharp Angle)

How Should Writers Research? (Jody Hedlund) All at once, or as needed?

Some Truths About Publishing That Aren't True Anymore (The Passive Voice)

First or Third POV? (How to Plan, Write, and Develop a Book)

How "Literary" and "Entrepreneur" are Becoming Entwined (Jane Friedman)

A Singularly Unpopular View of Adverbs (Writer Unboxed)

Your Dialog Can Do More (TalkToYoUniverse)

Now go make the most of your day and write!