Thursday, December 31, 2009


This post is going to be my personal goals for the new year. There will be a post soon that discusses writing how to books and my thoughts.

For me, writing goals are very important. Some people come up with new years resolutions: I do goals. Now it is true that sometimes I don't make my goals but all I have to do when I fail is adjust the goal. I work better with deadlines. I could do the usual daily word count goal but I never do well with that. However, I am liking the idea behind chapter goals.

These are the goals developed for a writing group on
Yearly Goal: Rewrite ED and have one other novel first draft done at least
Six-Month Goal: Work on F, ED, BP and AAE
Three-Month goal: Work on F, ED, BP and AAE
Weekly Goal: write/rewrite one chapter at least

ED is a teen novel that only has a little over 23,000 words in the first draft. I started it in 2007 during nanowrimo but took many breaks.
F is a novel about an angel and a demon. It is my two main character project, following both as they fall in love.
BP is a more formal style novel that I'm struggling with because it deals with beings that are similar to vampires but I refuse to call them that. It is my only book right now with a female main character.
AAE is my attempt at a mystery. Follows a young, gay detective on his first high profile case.

Aside from this I have other goals like everyone else. Get a job, which has been my goal for the last year. Get into a nursing program. Move out of my mom's house (again) and on my own. Find someone who wants to be with me in hopes of settling down. And lose weight.

So many goals but I am optimistic for the new year. 2010 will be great, because I will make it be!

Monday, December 28, 2009

no kiss blogfest, 1-02-10

This sounds fun and so I'm gonna take part.

"We'll be posting scenes from our WIPs, favorite books, movies, and tv shows that show the almost kiss-- the rising, crushing, excruciating, longing, tension that comes from when two characters get oh-so-close to kissing that you can just feel it....and then...they don't!" - from frankiediane's blog.

Expect my almost kiss to be between two males, because I'm cool like that.

Go to the link and take part!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Too Perfect?

Had a review of the first 6 chapters of my 2008 nanowrimo novel on today. It was a surprise because books don't often get reviews and they read that far even though they aren't a fan of gay erotica. One comment caught my attention. The person said that the dialogue on it was too perfect and that people don't talk like that.

Granted, the first draft does have some problems. I mean, it is a first draft. Most the contractions were kept as separate words because of the goal. Trying to write 50,000 words in one month is tough and every word counts. However, all of those chapters have received a minor edit because they have been critiqued by a writing group. So, they are still too perfect?

I have had a comment on perfect language one other time on a different novel. For Blood Prophesy I am using a more formal language in the writing. One critic actually thought English wasn't my first language because it was too perfect.

It is an odd predicament. I can't imagine it is common that people would find the writing to be too perfect in rough drafts. Yet here I am, with too perfect dialogue and language in two different novels.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Word Count versus Chapters

I was going to do a wonderful blog about the greatness that is National Novel Writing Month but that never happened. Then again, I was going to write 100,000 words in November and that didn't happen either. So, influenced by the word count goals that are common in this month, I am instead going to talk about the difference of having a word count goal or having a chapter goal when writing.

Word Count Goals
This goal is often daily, but can also be a weekly, monthly or even a yearly goal.

The point of this goal is to pick a target number of words that the writer wants to have written in the time frame chosen. The common word count goal is to write 1,000 words a day. During the month of November, those participating in nanowrimo have the goal of 50,000 words in that month and that equates to 1667 words per day.

I have often tried to get a certain number of words per month on projects, but I'm beginning to think I should try a different approach.

Chapter Goals
This goal is similar to word counts in timeframe, but the difference is the number of words written doesn't matter. The goal is to write a certain number of chapters in a given project/book.

I am going to try this starting in December.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

First Real Con Experience

I attended the Sirens Conference in Vail Colorado, October 1st-4th. It was fantastic.

The Keynote Authors were Tamora Pierce, Sherwood Smith and Kristin Cashore. All women writers of the fantasy genre that focus on strong female main characters. Cashore is a newer writer of the three, having her second book published this month. All of the authors gave talks. Tamora Pierce did her talk the first night, Smith the second day during lunch and Cashore the third day during lunch. All were fascinating. During one rountable discussion on the word "feminine", Tamora Pierce sat beside me.

There were other authors at the convention as well. Anne Osterlund was there, has published a few books, and she signed her book for me as well. I talked a bit with her during the convention. Also, I had many discussions with Valerie Estelle Frankel, who wrote a couple of Harry Potter parodies and is getting a nonfiction book published.

Overall. The whole experience was amazing. I would recommend going to small conventions if the opportunity arises. As a writer, there is always something you can take out of any conventions.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Finding Time to Write

Finding the time to write can be a difficult task for any writer. One of the most common complaints that I've heard when it comes to those who want to write is that they don't have the time to write a book. But the writer always finds at least a little time to write because "writers write".

Think that you are too busy to write?

Try 10 minutes. At some point in the day: morning, lunch break, right before going to bed, whatever works best for you. Take that moment and whatever tools used and write. Do that every day for a month and see how far you get.

If that works really well, maybe try for half an hour.

For me. I have too much time. I could be writing 3-5 hours a day, if I could be dedicated enough. But I get distracted with other things. (another topic for later). Writing often is something that I need to work on, like many of my fellow writers.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Goals for September

When it comes to writing, I like to create goals each year and each month. Sort of like deadlines, but if I don't make one then I just change it for a later date. It gives me a deadline to work with and a goal to work towards. What this gives me is focus, which is a part that I have struggles because I work on too many projects at once.

I was surprised when I discovered that I'm actually doing well with the ones I set up for myself in January. I had to redo the teen book goal a couple of times, but at last I'm going to succeed. Here is an example of goals that I give myself:


BP - 15,000 words

Horror SS - Rewrite Not So Funny

Sci-Fi SS - Write Clone One

Fantasy SS - Write Elves with Technology

Pre-writing on Mom's novel

10 freelance works

I will report progress on here.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Children - Inspiration

This might be surprising for some, but children are a great source of inspiration for me. Not my adult stories, of course, but my enjoyment in creating and telling stories. I started young, not with the writing, but with the making up stories. Even though we had enough toys, we had more fun making up games than using them correctly. Such as skateboards. We didn't know how to skateboard, not one bit, but we sure had fun playing with them. From that experience I came up with a quote and even had someone ask permission to use it, which was neat. The quote is:

"The greatest toy a child can have is an imagination."

And even now I think this is true. With all the toys children have, the electronics and computer stuff along with the other toys, an imagination makes things even better. I noticed this with my cousins.

We write books but they are more than a source of story telling for kids. They can make games with the books, much like they can make games with the box the toy came from. My little cousins were using the books as stepping blocks. The red book was blood and if they stepped on it they would die. The green one was hay (as they were horses and unicorns) and the book with Mickey Mouse and the Giant was where the monster lived.

It's amazing what kids can do with their imagination and I think what helps us writers is that we maintain some of that imagination. Some say it is gone with age, but for those that are "creative" it is still a part of our lives. Maybe some people can "stay gold" after all.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Write Every Day?

(Some ideas for posts will come from "The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Novelists" by Andrew McAleer.)

This is a topic that I struggle with. I can understand the idea behind trying to write every day but sometimes it seems a little more than necessary. Even if we consider writing to be our jobs, most jobs aren't 7 days a week. Having one day off can have a positive affect on a person's writing. However, in McAleer's book, all the authors quoted say to write every single day.

S. J. Rozan
"Write every day. Every day. But not like you're on a diet, where as soon as you goof up, you figure yourself for a miserable failure and give up, and you do this three times a year, with new and useless resolve each time.
No, write every day the way an athlete practices a sport, or a musician an instrument. You're doing the same thing: not just producing pages in your manuscript, but even more important, keeping fit, keeping toned, keeping in practice. Do this for the rest of your life. Or at least, the rest of your writer life."

I do believe in having realistic writing goals, but for me: I am not sure if I'm at a place where I can write on novels every single day. Sometimes I do a poem one day, others work on a story. But there are times when I don't write. Then again, I'm just starting out in this business. Maybe in the near future I'll post saying everyone should write every day.

For now, I agree with Mur Lafferty. Do what works best for you.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Publisher Requirements

While the submission process is something that I don't have much experience in, I thought that this would be a good topic. After my last rejection, I found a new magazine to send the story out to only this one isn't an online submission. But what spurred this topic is that the publisher had more than a postal requirement. They wanted the stories to be printed on bond paper (50lb +). I went to an office supply store and even the people working there had never heard of bond paper. People I tell the requirement too have actually asked me why and for that I don't have an answer because the truth is we don't need to know why it is required, just have to find a way to follow the rules. I found linen cover stock (65lb) and printed out the story. It is in the mail now.

Make sure to check what the publisher requires in a submission. A few things to check for:
1. Word Count or Line Count requirements
2. Email submissions allowed or not
3. Do they want a cover letter with it or no
4. Are multiple submission accepted (more than one by the author to the same location)
5. Do they allow simultaneous submissions (meaning same story to different publishers)
6. Are they even accepting submissions at that time. (not all will be)

There are so many reasons a publisher can reject a story. By making sure to follow their requirements that at least gets your story into there hands and gives it a shot. Because if their rules aren't followed there is little chance the story/poems/etc will even be considered. It pays to pay attention.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Writing Podcasts

There are many podcasts available online that deal with writing topics. I have listened to several and have a few to recommend. All can be found on Itunes. All are free.

One of the best podcasts on writing has to be I Should Be Writing.

Mur Lafferty has been doing this podcast for a number of years now. She started as a non-published (novel wise) author but not too long ago she had one of her books published. Mur also has podcasted a few novels as well. The podcast includes lots of writing advice and interviews with other authors. She is also coming out with a pdf version of the podcast.

Everyone I've talked to about the podcast has enjoyed it. Mur is fun, and great to listen to. I look forward to every time I see she has posted another podcast.

Adventures in SciFi Publishing.

This is for those interested in reading and/or writing scifi. The two hosts are very lively, and interesting to listen to. Also, this one has several interviews with authors and a few other people in the industry. Entertaining and informative.

Writing Excuses

Has a number of authors but three or four of them are the main ones that host the podcast. All of them are interesting and have good tips on writing. A few of them studied at BYU, which I find interesting since I live in Utah. But don't worry, the writing is all open to many topics, including violence. Plus, this is a very short podcast, so it won't take long to listen to each one.

For erotica writer's there is a podcast called "Packing Heat".

The creator is not quite as outgoing or crazy as some of the other ones I've mentioned but she has some good advice sometimes. I like to listen to her because she also writes gay male stories, though her focus is on the straight female audience. Aside from talking about erotica, there are topics of computer tools and writing advice.

There are many other writing podcasts, some of which are by writers and others are interviews with writers. Check them out if you get the chance.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Writing Know-It-Alls

In thinking of a topic for this post. There are many things I could write about but considering a few people that I've dealt with online I decided to post on people who give advice. This might seem a little weird since this blog could be seen as writing advice but what I am talking about is the people who have a bad attitude when giving advice.

Example: The topic was publishing word counts. Someone was talking about how many words they had so far and the amount they wanted to add. Another person chimed in with how they wanted 50,000 words as their novel. I added the information I'd heard from "I Should Be Writing" on the desired word count range for first time authors. Someone else came in and started spouting off what they called advice. That would have been fine if they hadn't acted like their word was the only right one and refused to listen to the conversation of anyone else.

That really got me thinking. I like getting writing advice and if someone asks a question that I've come upon in my research then I help them out if I can. I'm not published and don't claim to be an expert but I do have years of research behind me. I don't appreciate people who act like they know it all. The truth is, they are not always right. What they need to consider is their tone of delivery. Even though this is all done over the internet there is a big difference between being helpful and being snobby.

I hope I am helpful and will do my best to remain that way.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Interview - Ransom Noble

Welcome to my first interview. Hopefully it will be the first of many.

The Author - Ransom Noble
The Book - The Art of Science

Now on to the interview.

Dawn: I don't have too many questions so this shouldn't take too long

Ransom Noble: :-)

Dawn: The first question is a general one about writing.

Ransom Noble: ok

Dawn: Have you always wanted to write a book?

Ransom Noble: Yes. I always thought I'd be an author if I could. I love to write.

Dawn: Nice. How long have you been writing?

Ransom Noble: I started making up stories before I could write. I remember getting picked to be in a collection in 5th grade. I don't remember what it was. In high school I wrote poetry, then in college I switched back to stories.

Dawn: What inspired you to write The Art of Science?

Ransom Noble: It started with a class through the Institute of Children's Literature. I worked hard with my mentor to figure out something sale-able and also that I had enough interest to keep writing to the end. This was the result.

Dawn: How long did it take you from starting to reach a submittable draft?

Ransom Noble: I'm not exactly sure. I had the rough draft completed in about 9 months. Then I put it away for 5 years and didn't look at it again. When Vivian talked about her contest with 4RV Publishing, I took it out and sent it to a friend to look over to help me make it ready. That took another month or so, but it was with really fresh eyes.

Dawn: Okay, back to general. Do you find that you focus more on character or plot when writing?

Ransom Noble: I'm not sure that I focus more on one or the other. Probably plot.

Dawn: Was there anything about the publication process that surprised you?

Ransom Noble: I think there were just a lot of things I didn't know. Getting to the contract seems like the first step now, where before I thought that was most of it. Now there's promotion!

Dawn: One last question. What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a writer?

Ransom Noble: It isn't about wanting to be a writer. Anyone can be a writer- writers write. There isn't a bad reason to do it - for publication or just fun, but if you don't write, you can't call yourself a writer.

Ransom Noble: Just my opinion, of course. If you want to be published, keep trying.

Ransom Noble also has a great blog:

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Good Rejection

I am still setting up the interview with Ransom. But I received an email and wanted to give the update on that.

I received a great rejection letter on my first sci-fi story. The reason that it is a good rejection is the letter did two things. First it mentioned that I was free to send it to other places, which doesn't seem all that great but to me I'm reading it as the piece has merit even though the first place won't be publishing it. The second good thing is that they wrote that I could send other writing to them. That's a very good and exciting thing. Yay for a good rejection.

Types of rejections:
No Response - this is where no answer is given back. It is the worst form of rejection because you never know if they even really read you piece or if they did they didn't have the desire to even reject it.
Form Rejection - this is another not very good one. There is a pre-formatted document with a few fill in the blanks. This type has no personal input of any sort.
Not For Us But Send More - This is the type of rejection that I received. The letter says that the one piece isn't for them but to send more work their way.
Ways To Improve and Send Back - This is the other good type of rejection. It says that they liked the story but there are some pointers to make it better. Once the story has been edited the author can resubmit it to the place and there is a larger chance of getting accepted.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Art of Science - Book Review

Book Review for Barnes & Noble:
The Art of Science is a good book to read that fits well within its age range. Adults can enjoy the book as well because they can connect to the main characters through their personal past experiences. The book follows Janie Hunter, a seventh grade student trying to find her place in school while dealing with the dramas of friends and family. Janies experiences show that there isn't always an easy solution. The best part of this book is the characters that are introduced. Each character stands out in its own way and gives the reader another connection. It's a good read and a great gift for anyone.
Now for my entire opinion on the book.
This was a different read for me. It's one of the first books where I have known the author, even though I've never met Ransom in person. She runs a writing meeting that I take part in. I sent her clothing and bibs for her baby. Winning the book from her blog tour was super exciting.
The genre is one that I don't read in, anymore. I used to read teen/ya when I was in that range but by the end of high school I was in the genre sections of fantasy and such that is geared towards adults and all ages in general. But my favorite books of all time include several teen books.
During reading, I noticed that I had the more critical reading outlook that I usually have towards her writing because I do most my reading for the critique group. Like most of her writing it was well written with only a couple of minor errors. Which, considering some published books can be marked to death with a red pen due to all their errors, it is a good thing to have so few.
I liked the main character. Even though I sometimes couldn't relate as I was the fat, lonely girl in junior high. For the most part I could really relate to different levels that the main character had to deal with. The side characters added well to the story. Each had a good role that they played well.
Coming soon will be an interview with the author. Looking forward to that.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My really, tenderly, quietly opinion on adverbs

When it comes to critique groups, I have been in part of a couple online. When it is my turn to state my notes on the person's chapter section or short story, there is one that I tend to say very often. I always seem to be the one to point out the amount of adverbs people use in their writing.

A few people don't get why I even mention it. I had one in particular answer that he didn't see the problem at all.

I don't mind adverbs. They have their purpose in writing. My point is not to get rid of all adverbs in stories, but to limit them. When a paragraph has 4 or more that might be two many. Two or three in a row in one sentence is overkill. There are better ways to put together the sentence compared to having a bunch of adverbs.

There is a time and place for an adverb in writing. I like to use them, just like I use a little bit of passive voice, -ing words, "he said", and many other of the writing rules.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Another look at first person.

This is a topic I have already covered but I found the word that I was looking for.

First Person = Experiential

What I like about first person is that it can make the reader feel like they are the protagonist, they are experiencing the story. It does have many limits, but as a way to write a novel it also has many positive aspects.

Something I found interesting was the reactions that children have when reading a first person story.  I used to work at an elementary school as a reading tutor. My students were from first grade up through third. I even had a first grader who tested into his grading level, which made me feel so proud. During tests they would have to read a story, timed, and then tell me what they read in order to test how much they retain. 

What I found very surprising is the gender of the main character that the students would guess. I would have thought that they would guess their own gender, but the truth is it varies with each story. There was no noticeable pattern to their versions of the story.

I think that it's great to have such openness when reading a story.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Such an evil part of the writing process. In general, criticism is tough to handle but it is nothing compared to rejection.

I have started trying to write articles for the freelance projects that I am a part of. I submitted two different articles and then when asked to edit them I did. However, after the edit I got an email that both were rejected. One of them I understood, still getting used to the new requirements compared to when I worked at the newspaper. But the other was rejected based on one sentence that I apparently hadn't edited enough. One sentence. 

I'll admit - I was really disappointed when I got those rejections. It is frustrating to do work, spend the time and then have nothing to show for it but the experience.

Rejection is a common factor when submitting writing. It takes lots of no's to get that one yes... But knowing this doesn't make it much easier to take.

Even so, time to work on another article to submit. I will get one through; I will.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

First Person

I have been reading Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint by Nancy Kress. It is an interesting book. However, I don't quite agree with the chapter on First Person Viewpoint.

Now, I've never been very fond of first person. Even though I have some stories/novels in the first person it tends to be a very frustrating point of view. But at the same time I don't think the book did the viewpoint justice.

The book considers first person to be an artificial viewpoint. That people don't tell whole stories that way.

What I think that it misses on the topic of first person is that what it does best is draw the reader into one character. They get to see the action through the character's eyes, and in some ways experience the adventure vicariously through them.

I choose first person for the stories that I do for a reason. Like in my dreams it is one thing to watch someone else with mutated dna have fire come out of their palms. It is a very different experience to have it come out of my own palms as well as ice while the character I'm interacting with copies the actions. It is a different reading experience. Some stories work best in first person and that's why they should be written that way.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Dream

I was in a chat room when some asked a question that got me thinking. This person wanted to actually talk about writing on a writing web site (shocker) and asked why we wrote? What made us have that desire?

I wasn't sure how to answer that question. Why do I write?

Sure I have that dream where I would like to see my books in print but even if that never happens I would be okay. I enjoy taking stories from my imagination. I love writing about my characters and the things that they go through.

In some ways I live through my characters. There is so much they can do that I can't.

Part of it is also a crazy need to get the stories out of my head. So many characters talking and wanting to be heard. It feels like my job to be their outlet. Maybe I'm just crazy.

What is your motivation?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Writing Leads

This is kind of exciting news and it shows that putting in hours of searching online can indeed pay off.

I have received three responses to freelance jobs. 

Don't have much on the how to of this site yet. Filled out a portfolio but need to do their writing sample.

2. Demand Studios
A freelance web site where authors first fill out an application then set up a profile. The jobs are selected by the author, then they have a certain timeline to write it. Many of the articles are how to's and such.

3. EmpowHer
A female health website which sent me an email in response to an author request. Authors write 2-5 articles a month (flash fiction size). 

I might actually make a little bit of money from writing. That is going to feel great.

Monday, May 11, 2009


This is a topic that has interested me in the past. Because of the economy and current family financial situations it is something that I am considering again. I started to look for freelance writing jobs so that maybe I could get paid to write.

First thought - this is very confusing.

Where does one start?
How does freelance work?
Is there tax stuff involved?

I found a web site that had links to many options for viewing, both bidding and emailing requests.

I bid on a couple of jobs for writing articles and even a few ghost writing jobs.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

When to write...

Some people are morning lovers. They enjoy waking up at the crack of dawn, watch the sun go up with a cup of coffee (or juice). I am not one of those people.

I don't write in the morning because I have a hard time functioning in the morning. My body likes to be asleep in morning more so than at night.

For my, the most productive writing time is 8pm to midnight. I can write during the day as well, but have a harder time not getting too distracted by the internet. I could close down the wireless connection but am not strong enough to do that. Like to have my internet available all the time.

The best time to write depends on the individual, but this works for me. Of course, if I get a job and have to work grave yard (which is possible) then that might change.

Today's picture book - The Princess' Purple Pants

Monday, May 4, 2009

topic choice

Today's topic  is how to choose a topic. 

I haven't written today's picture book yet because I'm not sure what to write. I have a list of ideas for children's books so it would seem that I wouldn't have this problem. However, when there are options it can sometimes be hard to make a decision.

This can happen often in writing, at least for those of us that have many ideas and only a certain amounts of time. With 40+ book/story ideas there are times when it is difficult to choose what to work on next.

Is there a solution?

Other than consider the options and choose, I'm really not sure. Decisions have to be made at some point and so that's how this goes.

Today's Book will be - I Want to be a Princess

Sunday, May 3, 2009


When it comes to writing, some stories require research and others do not.

For example: Yesterday's picture book about a girl and her imaginary friend did not require research. I wrote from my thoughts and that is it.

Today's picture book required research. I could have done without it but then I might have had an inaccurate character. The story is about a penguin and my friend who loves penguins will know if I write something that is not correct. So, I have done research as to type, location, diet, etc.

Research isn't easy and sometimes it isn't very fun. It depends on the writer, the subject and whether the writer really is interested in the subject. Some people even like research too much. There should be enough time spent on research to have a good, correct story but there is the risk of spending too much time researching. There has to be a limit so that the story can get written.

Today's picture book - Penny the Penguin

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Vocab Question

The first day of picture book writing week went well. I wrote "Flowers For Mom" yesterday. While writing it I came across an interesting issue. Towards the beginning of the story I had an issue of a word. I wanted to use the word "bouquet" but wasn't sure if it would be too difficult of a word.

Vocabulary is a good question when writing for children.

I asked a friend on about the word. She has a children's book published which is why I figured she would know the answer. And the verdict was; okay. It is a good idea to put in a couple of new words for children, especially if it might be a story that is read aloud. Just don't go overboard with the difficult words.

Today I am writing Hazel & Lilly. It's a story about a girl and her new imaginary friend.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Every Day

I have been trying to find the right way to start of this blog. Instead of doing an introductory post I have decided to get right down to business.  The goal of this blog is to talk about writing and that's what I'm going to do.

Write Every Day

Okay. This is a very difficult task and one that I rarely succeed at. The closest to writing every day for one month that I have accomplished is last month. I wrote a poem every day, except for one day that I didn't have Internet access, so I wrote two on the next day. I never write fiction every single day. Not even during National Novel Writing Month.

So this first week of May I am doing something unprecedented for one week. I am going to write a children's picture book, one a day, for the whole week. This is known as National Picture Book Writing Week.

I have written one children's story in the past. This is going to be a challenge.

May 1st
Flowers For Mom