Monthly Archives: February 2013

Do You Have a Type?

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No I’m not talking about 6’2″, dark hair, green eyes, body of an Adonis. I’m talking about the type of character you typically craft.  Is it the lonely nerdy girl with a surprisingly sarcastic wit? The stoic studly male who just wants someone to love? The all around bad ass? Do you find they always crop up in your writing somewhere, even if they’re not the main character? Do you consciously try to write someone other than your type?

Personally I seem to have a thing for snarky underestimated girls and good looking misunderstood guys. I  try to break out of the box , but the character always seems to sneak in there somewhere, maybe as the best friend or the person in need of rescue. I always feel like there has to be a little comedy relief in there somewhere too and it normally comes from a specific character.

I do think it’s important to make characters distinct and it should be more than a different hair color/style or height.  Obviously people share a lot of similar traits so it may be hard to make your characters the compete opposite of a previous persona, but you should be able to compare the two and see distinctive differences.

Do you know any writers who write the same character into every book? Does it annoy you and turn you off from reading their work?

What’s your typically type of character to pen?

 

Also, I have a poll going on over at my Facebook page about short story and cost.  Please stop by and put in your two cents!

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One Time Through or Repeat Reader?

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I’ve met people who tell me they never watch repeats. That if they’ve seen a movie once, they never want to watch it again. Even if they’ve enjoyed it! Doesn’t seem to work that way with music (maybe because most songs are short and you don’t take up a lot of your time?) but sadly (to me anyway) it seems that there are folks out there who read a book once and never want to revisit that world or characters.

I could understand if you didn’t enjoy the story and had to read it for a class, forcing your way through it, but what if you really enjoyed it? What if it was book one in a series and the next book came out a year later? Do these people just have better memories than me and don’t need to re-read the book to remember all the little details that could be important in the next book?  Perhaps.

People sometimes are envious of my speed reading but, in truth, I often miss little details.  It’s one of the reasons I enjoy re-reading, to catch those small things I might have missed the first time around. Not to mention I read well over one hundred books a year so after the fact, stories can get jumbled in my head and I forget exactly what happened in which story. By the time the next book in a series comes over a year or more later, I’m ready to re-read that story so I can jump into the new one remembering all the important bits and pieces of the last one(s).

I certainly can’t deny that I love a good story and if I love something, why wouldn’t I want to revisit it? Even if I know how it ends, I can’t possibly remember all the beautiful turns of phrases an author might have used or the powerful dialog between two characters that literally leaves a pain in my chest.  Sometimes re-reading a book can be even more painful for me if I know who the main character ends up with and I see how the other person in the triangle is putting themselves out there  all for naught.  Knowing the ending can have me going in with a different perspective which will have me focusing on different parts of the story that I may not have found as important the first time around.

Lives are busy and I get that some people rarely have time to get through a book once, let alone multiple times, but should you find yourself itching to read something, don’t be scared to pick up something you’ve already read and enjoyed. I bet you find you enjoy it just as much, if not more, the second time around.

I can only hope that people enjoy my books enough to want to read them a second or third time. To me, that’s an amazing compliment.

What are some of your favorite books to re-read?

Coming in 2013…

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I have a love/hate relationship with book series. I love that the story continues on and I learn more about characters I enjoy. I *HATE* that I have to wait a year+ for a new book to come out! I get it, they take time to write, edit, etc. but when you read as much as I do, you end up losing track of things you’re waiting for.  I totally didn’t realize the last book in Holly Black‘s Curse Workers had come out and now I just see that the sequel to The Girl of Fire and Thorns has come out and I missed that. I’ll have to catch up.

There are a lot of great books due out this year. Here are a couple I’m looking forward to:

Scarlet – Marissa Meyer.  It’s the follow up to Cinder, her awesome take on a very familiar story.

Unravel Me – Tahereh Mafi. I only recently read Shatter Me (which had been on my list for a while) and I loved it. So happy to see the sequel is already out!

Clockwork PrincessCassandra Clare. Final book in the prequel series. I’m excited to see it end even if I am annoyed it seemed to push back the last book in the Mortal Instruments series to next year.

Requiem – Lauren Oliver. I’m not sure if this is the last book in the series but I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in the Wilds!

Divergent #3 (untitled) – Veronica Roth. They only have eight more months to decide on a title! Get on with it people!

The Madness UnderneathMaureen Johnson.  This is the sequel to The Name of the Star. Unlike her other contemporary YA romances, this one has an element of history to it and the awesome topic of Jack the Ripper.

Prodigy – Marie Lu. Ooh ooh! This one is out already! Second book in the Legend series. I have to pick this one up!

Untitled (Nevermore #3) – Kelly Creagh. Oops! I missed the second one (see how that happens?) Now I can pick up book two and book three will be out sometime this year. Yay!

Requiem Maggie Stiefvater. WOAH. Book of Faerie #3! I enjoy most of Maggie’s work but Ballad and Lament are two of my favorites and I’m super excited to see there will be a third book. They are more like companion novels but maybe this book will bring the first two together more. So.Excited! (oooh ooh. I see this might not be out till NEXT year. *sad panda*)

The Dream Thieves – Maggie Stiefvater. Well at least the Raven Boys sequel will be out this year so I can get my Maggie fix!

Walking Disaster –  JaimeMcGuire. I can’t wait for this since we’ve been waiting for the Beautiful Disaster follow up for a long time now.

 

Gah. So many books! I could keep this up all day. These are just a few I’m excited to pick up this year.

What are you looking forward to reading this year?

 

Beating Your Best

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As I’m still working on Heavyweight edits and getting feedback from readers and writers about how much they enjoy it, I’m starting to look at other things I’m working on and thinking “Gah! This is garbage compared to Heavyweight!”  I had a similar experience when I finished Tears of a Clown but then the idea for Heavyweight came to me and I was so excited by it that I didn’t let it get to me.

I am a bit panicked that others things I write won’t stack up.  That’s not to say I don’t like what I’m working on now, but the whole feel of it is different.  It’s a good story but I’m not sure it’ll appeal to people in the same way Heavyweight will. Is that a bad thing? It shouldn’t be because I write for people to enjoy the story, not necessarily take something away from it (that’s an extra added bonus), but I admit, it’s got me concerned.

Did Margaret Mitchell never write another novel because she knew she couldn’t top Gone With the Wind? I’m sure she’s not the only “one hit wonder” with an amazing debut novel and then nothing to really speak of after the fact.

You’d think I would have the mentality of “Hey! I wrote this great book once, I bet I can do it again!” but then the ideas just aren’t flowing and you get sad and panicky and there goes all that confidence you had over the good work.

Creating art of any sort takes talent and heart. Some things will be a hit, others a miss. I think you have to look at each piece separately and try not to compare it to other works (whether they’re yours or someone else’s). To do otherwise will just bring you down and drive you crazy: “I’ll never be as good as whom/whatever”

Perhaps I just need the next idea to hit me, but I’ve got all these other stories that I loved at one point to finish. Maybe I just need to get excited about them again. Maybe I need to remember that they are still rough drafts and the magic comes in the editing. Maybe I just need to smack myself and say “get over it and write!”

How do you deal with confidence issues when it comes to your writing? Do you worry you won’t be able to beat your best?

Querying Agents: Do Your Homework

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2013 c&iMNo flowery romance/Valentine’s day post for me this year. Instead I want to have a little chat with you all about querying agents.  As more rounds of edits are being done on Heavyweight,  I’ve been looking through my 2013 copy of Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market book. In the back  is a section of agents and art reps.  They list the agency’s information, what they do and don’t represent, recent sales, terms and how to contact them.

Being that it’s the 2013 edition, you’d think it would be totally up to date, right? Guess again.  I’m in the process of making a spreadsheet so I know who I send queries to, when I send them, when I get a response, etc. While setting all of this up, I’m taking the time to go to each agency’s site to find the correct agent to query, how they prefer their submissions and what they are currently looking for. I’ve already come to several agents in the book who are no longer representing Young Adult works.  Also, several have changed from snail mail requests to email only. Others have changed specific kinds of YA they are looking for (no more paranormal, strong female characters only, etc.)

If you just pick people out of the book and don’t follow up, you’re going to end up with a lot of unanswered queries which will leave you scratching your head, trying to figure out if they never received your request or wondering what you did wrong. Save yourself the time and worry by doing the homework up front.

In a field where things are constantly changing, you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t research ahead of time. In a field where there are thousands of people competing for attention, you best get the submission guidelines right otherwise your work will never been seen, no matter how good it is.

Although you still need to do your own following up, the purchase of the Market book is a good one. It’s got a lot of great info, insight from other authors, resources, etc.  It’s a good starting point and personally I like that I can circle and mark off things as I go.

Any other suggestions on how to research the right agent for your work?