Monday, September 30, 2013

How To Procrastinate Writing A Synopsis

Writing novels is fun, a little agonizing at times, but mostly fun. Writing a synopsis is mostly agonizing. Here's how to procrastinate. I'm not saying it's based on my life or anything...

1. Order yourself a box of chocolates. You deserve to celebrate--you finished your novel!



2. Can sweaters be celebratory too? Summer kind of disappeared and fall appeared while you revised that now finished--yay--novel. Click on all those links in your junk file and do some virtual window-shopping. Just a few minutes or so...

3. Realize that you get way too much junk mail. Take some time to Unsubscribe. Real quick before you open that really, really blank future synopsis document.

4. Cleaning up junk mail feels great. Cleaning up workspace is even better! The synopsis can wait. After all, you do work better with a clean desk.

5. Under a pile of clutter, you'll find that book you've been meaning to read. Maybe it will help you brainstorm ideas for your next novel. Take a nice long reading break & snuggle with your cat.

6. Just one more chapter. Okay, now just one more... it's super short. So is the next one...

7. Reading has given you some cool ideas for your next story. Maybe you should write then down. After you go to the store and buy a cool new notebook.

8. The mailman is here! He's got your chocolates--and a pile of intriguing catalogues. Hey, maybe you'll get ideas for some of new characters. Ooh! These models are wearing really nice sweaters... The trip to the mailbox was chilly.

9. Go online and peruse several sweaters.



10. Okay, you have to write at least the first line of the synopsis. Done. Name the document. Done. Hmm? Is the first page of your novel as good as it really could be? What if you changed that fourth word in the second paragraph?

So, yeah, I'm literally sitting on my sofa eating bonbons and reading books. I'll work on my synopsis tomorrow. I promise!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Advice & Giveaway with Debbie Rigaud


Another fun short story collection! Here's contributor Debbie Rigaud's writing advice. Leave a comment to win a copy of Open Mic.

What’s your best advice for fellow writers?

I’m still learning the ropes myself, but I’d advise fellow writers to not only continue developing their creative side, but to sharpen their business sense as well. What we do is creative, yes, but it’s also profession. Even though it may not come naturally to some of us (*raising my hand*), we have to learn to use both sides of our brains and have a healthy understanding about things like publishing contracts, e-book vs. print royalties, agent fees, and other small print information in the book of industry dealings.

What popular writing advice do you never follow?
I’ve heard of many writers who write reams and reams of very detailed back stories and character profiles before they start working on their manuscripts. Writers say it adds more layers to their writing and gives characters more depth. I can definitely see how developing back story can achieve all this, but it’s not something I incorporate in my writing process. Instead, I write a detailed plot summary and I work through the back stories while I’m working on my manuscript.
Where do you do most of your writing?
Over the past five-plus years while living in Bermuda, I did most of my writing on my dining room table. I regularly got together with Sylvia May, another author on the island and we’d host writing sessions at each other’s homes. I miss those days now that I’ve just moved back to the States, but I’m glad here I can work at local coffee shops. I’m at my most productive in these public settings.

What is the best book you’ve read lately on the craft of writing?
I always go back to the same popular writer’s guide, Anne Lamott’s “Bird by Bird.” It’s like Anne knows all of my creative struggles and understands what kind of tough love I need to stop procrastinating and start writing.
About OPEN MIC
Listen in as ten YA authors use their own brand of humor to share their stories about growing up between cultures. Edited by acclaimed author and speaker Mitali Perkins, this collection of fiction and nonfiction embraces a mix of styles as diverse as their authors, from laugh-out-loud funny to wry, ironic, or poignant, in prose, poetry and comic form.

About “Voila”
Thanks to overprotective parenting, Simone’s elderly great aunt Ma Tante has more of a social life than she does. But one afternoon, Ma Tante’s social scene awkwardly intersects with Simone’s in the unlikeliest of places.

About Debbie Rigaud
Debbie Rigaud began her writing career covering news and entertainment for popular magazines. Her YA fiction debut, HALLWAY DIARIES/Kimani Tru was followed by the fish-out-of-water romantic comedy PERFECT SHOT/Simon Pulse. Since then, Debbie’s non-fiction essays have been published in anthologies IT’S ALL LOVE/Broadway Books and DEAR BULLY/HarperTeen. Her short story “Voila!” is featured in OPEN MIC/Candlewick Press, and TURFQUAKE, her first YA e-book will be released late 2013. 
 www.debbierigaud.com

Leave a comment to win a copy! 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Advice & Giveaway with Diana Rodriguez Wallach


I've been reading a lot of short stories lately, so I'm excited to host Diana Rodriguez Wallach author of a collection of stories based on mythology. Leave a comment to win a copy!

What's your best advice for fellow writers?
The road to publication is a long one. If you want to be an author—I mean, really want it—then you need to be prepared to settle in for the long haul. Everyone gets rejected—some spend years trying to find an agent, others years trying to find an editor, other years trying to create a fan base. Love the acting of writing so much that it makes everything worth it.
 
What popular writing advice do you never follow?
Not to write sentence fragments. See what I did there? I love sentence fragments, and I use them often.
 
Where do you do most of your writing? 
I live in a new construction development in Center City, Philadelphia, and the community has a shared space with books, TVs, a pool table, etc. It’s usually empty, and quiet, on weekdays, so that’s where I work. I’ve attached a photo. Incidentally, I also hosted my daughter’s first birthday party there. It’s a very versatile “office.”
However, I wrote Reflecting Emmy, the first short story in the Mirror, Mirror trilogyin less than two hours while sitting in a coffee shop in Philly listening to ‘80s music. So, you never know. Inspiration can hit anywhere.
 

What's the best book you've read lately on the craft of writing? 
I’m a fan of Steven King’s On Writing. It’s an oldie, but a goodie, and it helped me a lot when I was writing my first novel.

About The Book
Diana Rodriguez Wallach, author of the award-winning YA series Amor and Summer Secrets, has created a modern take on the myths of Narcissus and Nemesis in a contemporary teen setting.

Her Mirror, Mirror trilogy debuts September 3rd with “Reflecting Emmy,” followed by “Nara Gazing” in October, and “Shattering GiGi” in November. Each title will be a $0.99 short story sold in digital ebook format for Kindle, nook, and kobo. The titles will be combined to create the complete Mirror, Mirror trilogy, along with bonus materials and a prequel short story, in December 2013.

In early 2014, Diana’s Mirror, Mirror trilogy will be combined with the works of YA authors Jammie Kern and Magda Knight to create the Mythology High anthology, available in ebook and paperback through Buzz Books.

Cover Copy
Eighteen-year-old Emmy is in the family business-trapping vapid narcissistic souls into her silver compact mirror for all eternity. It’s what the Rhamnusia family has been doing for thousands of years, all under the direction of Great Grandmother. Only Emmy’s latest assignment, Nara, is about to prove more challenging than she ever expected.

Gorgeous and self-absorbed, Nara is unflinchingly cruel to her classmates. Even her boyfriend, Luke, can no longer tolerate her actions–much to Emmy’s relief since she finds Luke a little more than intriguing. But when Emmy tricks Nara into gazing into her mystical mirror, what she finds there is not what she’s expecting.


About The Author
Diana Rodriguez Wallach is the author of Mirror, Mirror, a short-story collection based on the Narcissus myth, that includes Reflecting Emmy, Nara Gazing, and Shattering GiGi (Buzz Books 2013). She is also the author of three award-winning YA novels: Amor and Summer Secrets, Amigas and School Scandals, and Adios to All The Drama (Kensington Books).

In 2011, she published a highly regarded essay in Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories (HarperCollins), and in 2013, she will be featured in the anthology Latina Authors and Their Muses (Twilight Times Books). In 2010 Diana was named one of the Top Ten New Latino Authors to Watch by LatinoStories.com, and she placed second in the International Latino Book Awards. She hold a B.S. in Journalism from Boston University, and currently lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter. Website: www.dianarodriguezwallach.com

Please leave a comment to win a copy! 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Advice & Giveaway with Amanda Ashby


Please welcome Amanda Ashby & leave a comment to win a copy of her new book, Demonosity.

What's your best advice for fellow writers?

My best advice is to not listen to me. I don’t have a clue what I’m doing it and just make it up as I go along! Plus, everyone’s publishing experience is so different that the best thing they can do is trust their own instincts.
 
What popular writing advice do you never follow?
 
I think if you ask my copyeditor they will assure that I don’t follow any writing advice, especially when it comes to grammar! I also adore prologues (I have one in Demonosity) and am absolutely, completely in love with adjectives. In fact, the only advice that I ever follow is that I try and write a great story and I would rather break a hundred rules than something that bores me.
 
Where do you do most of your writing? 
 
I have a study! I say that with glee because for years I spent all of my time at the kitchen table or chasing the sun around the house like a cat. However, I can now leave things in the knowledge that they will be there when I come back the following day!
 
What's the best book you've read lately on the craft of writing? 
 
Given my lack of rule following it’s probably no surprise that my favorite craft books are by screenwriters because their advice is normally about the story rather than what words we use to create the story! I love The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler and Screenwriting Tricks for Authors by Alexandra Sokoloff (which is a very reasonably priced Kindle book) and my all time favorite is Save the Cat by Blake Snyder because he used language that made total sense to me.


About The Book


The Black Rose–a powerful ancient force–has been let loose and has taken up residence in Celeste Gibson, popular girl at Cassidy Carter-Lewis’ high school. Thomas Delacroix is the spirit of a fourteenth-century knight who is devoted to protecting the Black Rose, but he needs a contemporary living being to take on the challenge. That’s where Cassidy comes in.
She’s a quirky high school junior who just wants to dress in her vintage clothes, hang out with her best friend, and take care of her father, who is recovering from surgery. She’s the last person who would ever volunteer for such a task, but no one actually asked her.  Now, like it or not, she finds herself training before dawn and battling demons at parties, the mall, and even at school. But hey, no one ever said high school was going to be easy.

About The Author


Amanda Ashby was born in Australia and after spending the last sixteen years dividing her time between England and New Zealand, she’s finally returned home for some sunshine. When she’s not moving country, she likes to write books (okay, she also likes to eat chocolate, watch television and sit around doing not much, but let’s just keep that amongst ourselves, shall we?)

She has a degree in English and Journalism from the University of Queensland and is married with two children. Her debut book, You Had Me at Halo was nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice award. Zombie Queen of Newbury High was listed by the New York Public Library’s Stuff for the Teen Age 2010. Fairy Bad Day was selected by Voya as one of their Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers 2012 and was a SCBWI Crystal Kite Award finalist for the Australia/NZ region.

Please leave a comment to win a copy of the book! 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Back from Breaking!

As you may or may not have noticed, I took a bit, maybe more than a bit, of a break from blogging and writing. I wrote about it in my latest post at YA Outside The Lines. (It was all good and fun--I got to visit my brother & his family who live in Japan.)

When school started, I took a few weeks to whip my WIP into shape.

Today I have to write a synopsis, probably my least favorite kind of writing. So I decided to stop ignoring my blog and start ignoring my synopsis instead.

Before I took my break, I forgot to pick a winner for Unremembered by Jessica Brody. Denise Z is the lucky person who gets a copy!

Now that I've had enjoyed a nice break, I'm ready to get back to work. Even on that synopsis. Ugh.







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