Archive for the ‘beta readers’ Category

spotlight: aq connect

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

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Agent Query Connect is a website billed as “the internet’s most interactive social networking community for the publishing industry”.  I don’t know for a fact that it’s the MOST interactive blah blah…but it is very helpful indeed.  And best of all, IT’S FREE.

My favorite groups:

AQ Connect – Query Critique Corner- when you put your query up here people from all over will swoop in to give you advice.  Some of it is very helpful and some of it requires a thick skin.  But if you didn’t have a thick skin you wouldn’t be putting your writing out for all to see…right?  Take it with a grain of salt.  Use what sounds right for you and matches what the helpful literary agents say they want in a query.  Remember, some of the people commenting are just as novice as you, so don’t take everything to heart.  (Oh, and paste your query into the body of your discussion.  Many people don’t want to open attachments for obvious reasons.)

First Page Critique – Put your first page up and see how many people would like to keep reading.

First Chapter(s) Critique - Same as above, only you have slightly longer to hook a reader.

The five most popular groups:

AQ Connect – Query Critique Corner

First Page Critique

AQ Connect – Agent Updates

First Chapter(s) Critique

AQ Connect – New Member Shout-Out!

I spent quite a bit of time last week on AQ Connect polishing my query which was so covered in soot, it was really hard to know it was a query at all.  In other words, I learned a whole heckuva lot about query writing.  This is not to say that I’m an expert or that I can’t learn any more.  I’ve lived long enough to know that you never know everything about even one subject.  More on queries later this week…

fifteen for friday

Friday, September 4th, 2009

flu-like symptoms and super tweet edition

1. Ah, fever…chills how I hate thee.

2. What Ann Curry tweeted earlier: Here we go. Last week of August flu cases rose sharply. H1N1 is believed to be most of those cases. Wash your hands.”

3. Been working on my query all day for  this contest…

4. Another embarrassing video.  I love to humiliate myself…why?

5. Thanks to Jolyn Palliata for letting me beta read her awesome novel, Amber Eyes…watch out for this one.

6. Um, Danae (pronounced Dani) Ayusso is one of the most interesting people I have ever “met”.  She can write 10,000 words, send out 75 query letters–twitter and email all in ONE day…not kidding.  And she just got a request for a full!  Way to go Danae!

7. @johannaharness wants everyone to take a pic of their workspaces and tweet to #amwriting, she was so nice to say something positive about mine.

8. Am I trying to be the queen of links?  No, but you can call me the princess if you want.

9. OMK (kittens) I haven’t read a published book all week…weird.

10. Gonna remedy that with my 40% off coupon to Borders!

11. Not adding pics today…so sorry.

12. My oldest caught the video bug and started filming a 6 min. video for each of our pets.  They are surprisingly funny.

13. The animals aren’t as funny as my son’s comments.

14. What I want to read ASAP: The Hunger Games

15. Comment people–I get lonely. :)

fifteen for friday 8/28/09

Friday, August 28th, 2009

Here it is!  The much awaited return of fifteen for friday!

first day of school09 0021.  School is in.

first day of school09 0042.  Yesterday I noticed three blooms on my flower.  Normally it only has two, and when I see another about to bloom I know that one flower will fall off before it gets a chance to open.  This is the first time there have been three blooms all at once actually attached to the plant.  I was pondering the reason why this made me so happy.  It has to be that it was unexpected and it involved a pretty lilac colored flower that has a perfect yellow circle in the middle.

3.  A BIG thank you to Jodi, Coy and Amy this week for reading and giving me invaluable feedback.  You guys are great!!!

4. Fun site of the week - www.mentalfloss.com

5.  As You Wish came out this week.  Don’t forget to pick up a copy.

6.  Finally read Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen.  I’m noticing that I like her books almost in copyright date order, favorites being the newest.  In other words, I really didn’t like Keeping the Moon so much.  But I’m looking forward to Along for the Ride, the only one I haven’t read yet and her newest.

first day of school09 0067.  The forget-me-nots have grown, but why aren’t they flowering?

8.  I feel like I’m forgetting something.

9.  Good Girls by Laura Ruby –Wow, very modern.  I guess kids these days are having to deal with the issues covered in this book–everything you do can be photographed and sent to everyone you know–yikes.

10.  the sweet, terrible, glorious year i truly, completely lost it by Lisa Shanahan–I really liked this book especially following the heaviness of Good Girls…not that the sweet… isn’t heavy in its own way.  But it has a lot of very funny moments and some outrageous ones.  Gemma’s older sister is getting married and decides her theme will be animals who mate for life.  Sis dresses Gemma up as a SWAN for her flower girl outfit.  The story is set in Australia and has a few quirky words and phrases, but it’s all very followable.  I was a little confused about “the tip” which I could only surmise was a piece of undesirable land that smelled awful.

11.  Girl in Development by Jordan Roter made me realize that the way I tend to write (casual writing, mind you) in “valley girl” may not be the best idea.  Yeah, it’s cute for a little while, but it’s looking more and more immature when I read it from someone else.  I was excited about this book and picked it up because of the blurbs on the back.  It was an okay read.

12.  The three books I picked up at the library all had a copyright date of 2006.  Is that weird or what?

13.  When will I wise up and make it FIVE for Friday?

14.  Random thought (I told you this might happen…no, I did…back in the beginning) is dim sum the same thing as dumplings and pot stickers?  I could look that up, I know…just killing numbers here.

15.  Could someone please please publish me please?! Thanks.

so many words

Monday, August 10th, 2009

thislullaby-thumbThis weekend I read This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen – I hate to say it but I didn’t enjoy this book.  I kept waiting for something to happen and it just never did.  It won’t put me off Dessen forever or anything…here’s my ranking so far of Dessen novels in order of enjoyment: 1. Lock and Key 2. Someone Like You 3. The Truth About Forever 4. This Lullaby.  I expect that This Lullaby will remain at the end of the list however long it gets.

Another, much more enjoyable read this weekend was Boone’s Lick by Larry McMurtry.  Funny, I just realized that I kept waiting for something big to happen in that onebooneslick too.  There was definitely more action than in the Dessen novel (did I just compare YA fic with a western?) but it wasn’t up to McMurtry’s normal heart-pounding and gut-wrenching abilities.  It wasn’t nearly as serious as the Lonesome Dove series but not as comedic as Sin Killer either.  I get the feeling it was written for fun–as an easy-going western.  That said, it was still superbly written with McMurtry’s trademark realistic almost lyrical back woodsy prose.

I don’t know if it’s a great idea to jump from reading a pulitzer-prize winning novelist’s book to editing my own un-published work, but that’s exactly what I did.  Then again, maybe it was good, since it made me realize that my manuscript needs a massive overhaul.  It wasn’t my first hint.

oleander aka sea rose

oleander aka sea rose

After an excellent tell-it-like-it-is reader told me like it was, I recognized there were some serious issues.  1st massively major edit: Switching from omniscient point of view to first person.  This will not be the first time I have done this…just the first time I’ve had to do it with 65,000 words.  It means that scenes will have to be cut…the scenes that my protagonist, Cate wouldn’t have seen.

Which leads to 2nd massively major edit: I will have to shimmy the information in somewhere else.  Thus creating the major overhaul.  Another good thing…I hadn’t written really much of anything for years and years when I started Sea Rose.  It’s safe to say that I have a lot more written words under my belt at this point so re-writing is a positive.

Some might say, why not scrap the whole thing and start over if you have to change so much?  I think the main story is good and I really think there is still a lot of good writing that I could make great.  So wish me luck, folks!

fifteen for friday 8/7/09

Friday, August 7th, 2009

someonelikeyou-thumb1.  Finally found a crit partner (actually three).  Already found about five ways to improve my manuscript.

2.  Oh!  Good news!  I finally finished my short story!  To celebrate I lopped off about 1,500 words while editing.

3.  Anyone know any good places to send a short story that runs about 8,200 words?

4.  Read another Sarah Dessen, Someone Like You.  Surprise!  I liked it.

booneslick5.  Currently reading Boone’s Lick by Larry McMurtry.  It’s a nice change of pace from YA fiction.  I wonder if Mr. McMurtry hangs out at his bookstore every day (does that sound stalkery)?

6.  I think I’m getting used to Splenda Diet Coke.

7.  Just won AMIGOLAND by Oscar Casares from Little, Brown for twittering about it!  I love #freebiefriday!amigoland

8.  Lately I’ve been spending about 90% of my “free” time networking socially and only 10% writing (or reading).  Maybe it’s time for a priority check.

9.  Still getting a huge kick out of visiting Jackson’s site.  Check out her haiku…

10.  I don’t really get the bubbl thing…but if it can help someone else (planners in particular) I’m happy to pass the link along.

11.  17 days until school starts.  I’m looking forward to it and dreading it at the same time.  It will be nice to have quiet days to work…but then there’s homework and lunches and uniforms and supplies, oh and money for this, that and the other thing.

12. Crit Partner Match is a site that helps hook you up with a crit partner.  Not super user-friendly, but it does give you a small pool of people to choose from.

13.  Excited to check out Dollhouse.

14.  If your maiden name was Weadon would you write under that name hoping to receive some kind of noteriety from Joss Whedon’s success?  Would it be wrong, right or neither?

15. How Fail Went From Verb to Interjection http://bit.ly/HJ8VK

first rejection!

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Yesterday I received my first rejection letter from a literary agent. Surprisingly, it didn’t bother me all that much. Of course it was a very kind form letter (actually an email), didn’t say anything like “you suck…don’t ever write anything again”, but it was a rejection nonetheless. It felt like a right of passage. For goodness sakes, who gets an acceptance on their first try in the publishing world? If you can name one, let me know!

I was a little triumphant because I’d moved on something big (at least I think it’s big). I’ve taken many steps, written the darn thing, wrote queries, etc… and that feels good.

Before I send out anymore queries I think I’ll get some beta readers. I need some more feedback on how to make this thing great. Any takers??? ;)