Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Why You Should Copy Others by Joe Bunting

As well as 15 Habits of Great Writers, I've been practicing my writing with a group of people on Joe Bunting's blog The Write Practice. Today we learned about copying the style of other writers to enhance our own by actually copying text from authors we like.

I love this exercise. Firstly, I learned I need to cut my nails because I made so many typos. But that's beside the point. I wrote an excerpt from Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver. Maggie has a beautifully simple and poetic voice. I noticed in her dialogue she uses basic text like, she said, he asked...instead of something more elaborate like, she sighed or he groaned. I think I do that a lot in my writing and I've heard AEs don't really care for that too much. Any thoughts?

Another participant suggested using sentences from other authors and rewriting them in the same structure but with different words. Sounds interesting. Good practice.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Day 7 of 15 Habits of Great Writers - Start UGLY

What a relief - This was so good to hear. When I started my novel it was anything but pretty. I scrawled notes on post-its and strips of receipt tape; had a notebook full of notes (because that's what notebooks are for...notes). When I thought I was done, I had a 68 page manuscript. Uh...that's not even a novella.

I vomited scattered scenes on the page and figured out the spongy connection stuff to encompass the cream filling...also known as spooge. (Hope that's not a nasty word on Urban Dictionary.)

Culling the craft - I went to conferences, read lots of books, researched and learned as much as I could about writing, grammar, sentence structure; and then the perfect pitch, query letter and synopsis. (Most of which I had no clue what they were previously.)

Eventually, my 68 pages turned into almost 97k words. I spit and polished it a zillion times.

Not alone in the world - It's so nice to know that I'm not the only writer out here who makes a big mess to begin with, then makes it all pretty later. I just thought I was weird.

But, hey! That's nothing new!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Day 6 of 15 Habits of Great Writers is to steal.

I kinda prefer borrow. But the gist is to borrow a quote from someone who inspires you and use it as a jumping off point for your own writing. My friend, Bryan Davis, who has written several YA Christian SF/Fan novels, used a statement in one of his books (Eternity’s Edge) that inspired me to meld his thought with my writing. Though I don’t believe he ever intended it to be this dark, it does work well with what my ideas were.

My protagonist, Emari, battles with depression after the circumstances of life leave her desolate and broken.

    I knew to take care not to stir darkened pools when you know neither the depth of the water nor the creatures that lurk beneath the surface. The violent thrashing of my thoughts could churn up the murky, caustic silt from the pits of my soul and call to the monsters that lay hidden in the miasma within me. Lurid desires to purge the blackness of grief from my own veins throbbed in my marrow. A simple cut could decant the grief that settled within me like arsenic in the depths of the sea.
    Like a shark in the surf, my night terrors stalked me; the subtle bump of a predator testing what it may devour. Nightmares that eked into my wakefulness left me cringing and immobile; living in fear of the jaws ripping me asunder and dragging my soul back to the blackest living grave.
    But for one thing, I’d have succumbed to the seduction of death. One thing that tethered me to the light and life. The raven’s wing glow of the eyes of a stranger. Eyes that beheld me as something more than the chimera that haunted me. Eyes that held the key to salvation: hope.

Original quote by author Bryan Davis in Eternity’s Edge - Take care not to stir darkened pools when you know neither the depth of the water nor the creatures that lurk beneath the surface.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

OK, so I'm a day late and a dollar short. I had a busy day yesterday, what can I say. But I'm still plugging along, determined to do this challenge.

So, Jeff's message today (technically, yesterday) was about having faith in yourself. He actually quoted a bible scripture. It reminded me of another. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen." Sometimes, believing in ourselves is like believing in God. We see things and experience things that make us doubt in the existence of God, but deep down inside ourselves, we still believe, even if we don't understand. It's the same with believing in ourselves. We may get rejections from agents we've queried, or someone we love doesn't believe in us as writers, but we still know with that deep, undeniable faith that we are writers.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Day 1 of 15 Habits of Great Writers is to make a declaration. I AM A WRITER. I always have been, as long as I can remember. I was always coming up with little poems for Mother's and Father's day, birthdays, just because days. I wrote short stories for school journals, and a little blurb thing on the funny page of the Chronicle. But mostly, I just wrote because I loved the feel of putting words together in a beautiful way, the feel of saying something poetic and profound that I knew my shy lips would never utter, but my pen could.

But I let someone discourage me. Someone I thought very highly of, and I spent many years doing nothing with my art. But I AM A WRITER, and the need to write was so innate within me. Even during these years I worked on Sunday School curriculum, but other than that I resigned myself to be a 'reader' not a writer.

As I confessed before, in Confessions of a Closet Vampire, I read the Twilight series. When I was done, I said, "I can do that." So I did. I created my immortals, my characters, my world. My author/friend, Bryan Davis suggested I get connected to the literary community by attending a writer's conference. So I did that too. Now, I'm going to my third conference. I've learned so much from them and the various outlets online and from books. I'm working my way through an agent query list, and between conferences and slush piles I've garnered four partial and one full manuscript requests. (So far no offers, but I remain hopeful.)

So now, I'm making my declaration...I AM A the community at large. Because people in general are who intimidate me. And it doesn't matter what those people think, or if I ever really get doesn't change the inherit fact...I AM A WRITER!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Learning To Follow

This is one of the writing blogs/writing communities I've been getting involved with.
Jeff Goins, Writer..."15 Habits of Great Writers"
Sounds fun!15 Habits of Great Writers

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