Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Rural/Suburban Fantasy

Since I mentioned Urban Fantasy, I think it's fitting to also discuss the counter two subgenres that may be a bit smaller but also have the setting as a major part in the definition.

Rural has a special place in my heart because I come from small town Wyoming. Not much for cities in the entire state, so the idea of paranormal//fantasy elements in the country sounds like a win in my book. Werecows anyone? lol

Okay. Maybe not werecows but the Rocky Mountains aren't that far away and wolves aren't uncommon in those mountains. But first let's consider the definition.

Rural Fantasy - a subset of fantasy where the story is located in a rural area, often modern times but doesn't have to be, that has a fantasy/paranormal element(s). So, like urban fantasy but not urban.

Some wonder if Rural Fantasy can be as interesting because there are less people, towns are a lot smaller than cities so less places to hide, but rural has its own problems that don't exist as much in the Urban setting. Rural fantasy allows for supernatural elements that have deeper connections to nature and nature can be an important part of the plot.

Some books thanks to Mark C Newton:
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Neil Gaiman - Stardust
John Connolly - The Book of Lost Things
Barbara Hambly - Dragonsbane
Terri Windling - The Wood Wife

Now, how about Suburban Fantasy? Don't want to leave out the people that may not live in rural but don't quite qualify as the city/urban.

Suburban Fantasy - fantasy subset where the focus location is in a suburban area and has a fantasy/supernatural aspect. The suburbs have their own special flair. While the grittiness of the urban doesn't exist there, instead there is a different element. Working with "the other" would work very well with a suburban setting even more so than the city.  Imagine what a wizard or vampire would have to do to make it in a suburban setting. Could make for an interesting story.

Books (harder to find but I did search a few places:
Julie Kenner - Carpe Demon (The Secret Life of a Demon-hunting Soccer Mom)
Freda Warrington - Elfland
Katica Locke - The Vampire Next Door
Esther Friesner - Strip Mauled

Monday, August 30, 2010

Urban Fantasy

While I'm new to the genre, Urban Fantasy has become very popular over the past several years.

What is Urban Fantasy?
I ended up using wikipedia for this but oh well. The basic definition is a subset in fantasy defined by the location, which is an "urban setting." Often times the story is set in modern times (with some exceptions) and there is a fantasy element that is usually under the category of supernatural. While there are different time periods and fantasy elements used, the setting is what gets the subgenre its label as "urban fantasy."

One place to get information and to meet people in the subgenre is the chat on twitter called #UFchat. Using tweetchat helps and it's a great environment for those who enjoy Urban Fantasy or just want to learn a little more about it.

Ilona Andrews                          Holly Black
Patricia Briggs                         Jim Butcher
Neil Gaiman                             Claudia Gray
Laurell K. Hamilton                 Simon R. Green
Tanya Huff                               Devon Monk
Melissa Marr                            Kat Richardson
to name a few...

As I said above, I'm new to the subgenre. I think I've read maybe one or two books so far but there are a few on my list of books to read.  So, I don't have a lot of information to provide. Here are some websites to consider. Also, check out urban fantasy bloggers because there are plenty out there for sure.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Update and Results

The blogfest was a success. I may not have gotten 30 comments on either of my entries, but I did have over 30 people sign up to participate. There were a couple who didn't remember to post, as happens with almost every blogfest. Yet, so many entered that it's easy to consider this a very successful first hosting of a blogfest. I plan to do more in the future.

I'm trying to comment on every entry and hope to get done with that soon.

Fantasy week is going to continue because I wasn't able to post any subgenres last week. Started a new job and it was exhausting. Need to get used to a new routine and then I'll be posting more. I may do some posts ahead of time now since I have so much else ot do and want to get novels done as well.

September 4-10 is the new Romance topic week.

September 10-12 I'll be gone at the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer conference. Will post a recap at least if not an entire week of topics from it. Depends on how it goes. I'll set aside a week just in case because I'm not doing any pitch sessions so all my time is available to go to different panel discussions. Yay for learning opportunities!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Word Paint Blogfest

The day has come. Yay!  I'm excited to see the outcome for this since it's my first time hosting one. Thank you for everyone who takes part in the blogfest. I'll be getting around to the entries as soon as I can. Depends how this weekend goes since I don't have plans yet but should do something since Saturday is my Bday. :-D

Just a quick reminder of the blogfest explanations. The book is Word Paint: A Guide to Writing More Descriptively by Rebecca McClanahan. According to the book:

"Like painters, writers are the receptors of sensations from the real world and the world of the imagination, and effective description demands we sharpen our instruments of perception."

"Description is an attempt to present as directly as possible the qualities of a person, place, object or event. When we describe, we make impressions, attempting through language to represent reality. Description is, in effect, word painting."


1. sign up in the linky option down below. Sign up on or before August 27th, though it's easier if you sign up before the last few hours of the blogfest day, just saying...
2. post your word painted entry on August 27th(a day before is okay too). It's nice to post if you sign up cause it feels like a trick to get people to visit your blog. Yeah, I said it! *points to "it's" cause it has "it" in umm it... lol.
3. Word count should be less than 500 though a little over isn't so bad. The problem with long entries has to do in part with the formatting of the blogs. With three columns it's even worse than two but both have the smallish width that makes the entry seem even longer.
4. Link back to the blogfest (aka My Blog) so your viewers can read the other entries if they want.

The other entries:

My entry is from a short story I wrote a number of years ago, when I was new to Writing.com. The story hasn't gone much further but it was a fun exercise where I had to focus on the senses and use that within the setting. Yes. I had to focus hard to get this much description (which isn't very much). It's something I have to do in rewrite usually because I don't think about what works with description for first drafts. And it's in First Person *gasp*. It has been edited, critiqued but like I said, it's a few years old with no novel connected to it at this point. Enjoy!

Rough Justice

The air had been muggy that night; a slight fog sent a chill down my spine. Sound seemed to have vanished after they ran away, leaving just me… and a body. Pavement, hard and freezing cold, supported my hands as I remained knelt down for what seemed like hours. The only smell was of the city, its usual mixture of pungent and pleasant odors. The body hadn’t been there long enough to affect its atmosphere. How does a person react to a situation like that? Wrong place, wrong time, someone dead on the sidewalk. Then the noise came, sirens shrieking in the night. They were coming. I felt this burst of panicked energy with the strong desire to run. Should have ran, gotten away from there, but I remained as the police arrived.

I had touched the body. Took me a few weeks to remember that detail. A huge mistake that was. Questions fired at me so fast there was no way of reacting correctly. I didn't stand a chance. To the police it was a simple case; dead body and person standing there. I guess leaving wouldn’t have helped with my fingerprints being there.

That night was like a horrible dream. Took a different route home, having forgotten an engagement with Danny… again. All my focus had been on how I had disappointed him until two thugs, obviously from the EhDonno gang, had pushed past, knocking me aside to the brick wall of an apartment complex. Then after seeing the body, it all spiraled down from there.

A throat was suddenly cleared, shattering my thought process. "Mr. Brooks?”

Snapping back to the present, my focus returned to one of the state attorneys who had been asking questions for the past hour. I seemed to do this a lot lately, let my mind wander into past thoughts, forgetting all that I was doing at the moment. The look on his face made it obvious that he was a bit flustered at my lack of cooperation. “I’m sorry but could you repeat the question, please?” That made him even angrier but, oh well, not much I could do about that now.

“If you were not involved, then who was?” The lawyer thrust the question out with a faked sarcasm. It was obvious to me, and hopefully to anyone else, that he was attempting to use that tone to make it seem like a crazy question to ask.

“I don’t know.” As the words came out of my mouth, my mind was saying something different. I couldn’t just tell them who it was, that would mean death for sure. If they had killed this guy I am sure the gang wouldn’t have a problem getting rid of someone like me. It would have been easy to tell the truth, I would have stood a chance with the jury if I had. Yet I kept silent.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Word Paint Blogfest Tomorrow

Yep. It's here and this is a quick reminder for everyone. Also, there is still time to sign up for those that haven't already but are interested. Click the image on the sidebar or the link posted here and it should take you to the sign up post. I'll add the list to tomorrow's posting along with one of two entries from me.

That's right... 2. Since I have two blogs and my other blog is the one where I usually post my writing sections I decided to use both for this blogfest.

I look forward to everyone's entries and hope to get to them all when I can, but if I take a couple of days it's because Saturday is my birthday and I might have found something to do that day. ;-)

Link for contest details and signup widget: http://dawnembers.blogspot.com/2010/07/announcements.html

Monday, August 23, 2010

Fantasy Subgenres

There are so many different subgenres found within Fantasy. I could probably do two weeks or more depending on what we're going to consider as a subgenre but I'm sticking with the single week format. So, I had to make some decisions on what subgenres to list here. First is just to talk about Fantasy overall. Then we'll get to potential subgenres.

What is Fantasy?

This answer isn't as easy as one would think because different people define it in a different way. Some think that any fiction is fantasy because it's not real. But we'll go with a different side of the fantasy definition. Another term for fantasy is speculative fiction, which is where science fiction and fantasy are connected. This might be why they are often put together in books stores. However, there is a big difference between sci-fi and fantasy.

Fantasy tends to have "magickal" elements. Even when modern/urban/real world, the readers are still brought into a different world, able to get away when they read. By the magickal nature, this doesn't have to mean spells persay, because fantasy has few limits. It includes but is not limited to: witches, dragons, mages, elves, dwarves, slayers, vampires, werewolves, orcs, humans, phoenix, and whatever else people can come up with. That's what makes fantasy so great. But it's really the subgenres that attract different people to the genre and in the next few days I'll cover some from the list.

Potential Genres the next few days:

Epic          High          Sword and Sorcery

Urban       Rural          Suburban

Fairytale          Mythology          Modern

Realism          Heroic/Superhero          Arthurian

Dark          Humor          Alternative/Parallel

Steampunk          Paranormal

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Giving Meadow Winners

Thanks to Steph and her wonderful prizes she offered we have some winners to announce.

The winners of the autographed postcards are:
LK Hunsaker

Winner of the mousepad:
Rebecca J Vickery

These winners need to email Steph with mailing addresses at botrina_buchanan(at)yahoo.com or sgcardin1(at)yahoo.com

(at) = @

Since there were only 4 entries for a 3 prize giveaway, I am also giving a prize. I've always hated in contests on writing.com and other giveaways when one would have two entries and only one winner. Sucks when you're the one person in the pool that didn't get anything (I've been there myself too).

Beth Reinke - Email me at DawnEmbers(at)ymail.com with your mailing address and let me know if you'd prefer a copy of Steph's book, the book Life As We Knew It, or some candy. ;-)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Steph Burkhart Interview on The Giving Meadow

Welcome to my post in Steph Burkhart's blog tour for her book, The Giving Meadow. It's so cute looking! I haven't read the book, but just by the cover and the main character, it's bound to be a good children's book. (Note: At the end is information for a special giveaway. On Saturday only, the 21st, commenters will have a chance to win a prize. So, comment fast.)

Steph: I just want to thank Dawn for having me today on my blog tour for my children's book, "The Giving Meadow." (Me: awww... how nice. I'm glad to have you!)

About Steph:
 I was born in Manchester, NH but live in Castaic, California with my husband, Brent, and two sons, Andrew and Joseph.  I have fond memories of Manchester, but have made California my home. I earned a BS in political science from California Baptist University in 1995.

I have been writing since I was 5, first making homemade comic books. Now, I work on creating short stories and novels. I spent 11 years in the US Army and over 7 years in Germany. Writing is a passion that still challenges me. The Giving Meadow is my first children's book and my first book with 4RV Publishing.

The Interview:

DAWN: What book from your childhood remains an inspiration? What is it about the book that keeps inspiring?

STEPH:  For me, I would say that book is "Are You There God, it's me, Margaret," by Judy Blume. For one, I loved Blume's voice. It really spoke to me as a pre-teen. I felt like I was in the same place Margaret was. I loved how the book dealt with a lot of issues and anxieties. I guess that's why it still inspires – because it doesn't matter what time the book was written – issues young girls faced then when it was written are still issues faced today.

DAWN: How long have you been writing?

STEPH: Since I was five. I used to make homemade Spiderman comics. As I got older, I wrote poetry (and even had one published in my High School Literary magazine) short stories, but it wasn't until 1988 when I went to Berlin, did I get the urge to tackle novel writing.

Now, I grew up reading gothic romance in the vein of Victoria Holt so as I started writing longer pieces of fiction, I gravitated toward writing romances.

DAWN: Wow. You've been writing a long time. Would you prefer to write in silence or have music/noise?

STEPH: I would prefer silence, but I find I usually have to tolerate some background noise. The background noise just makes me lose concentration quicker.

DAWN: Noise can be distracting. Your publishing story is unique. Do you mind sharing how this children's story came to be?

STEPH: Until now, I've published romance. My first novel, "Destination: Berlin" is a "sweet" military romance. Children's writing is new to me, but rewarding. I got into children's writing through my church. I help to teach our Sunday preschool program and last year one of my fellow teachers suggested I write the Easter play. I came up with "The Giving Meadow." I showed Vivian (Gilbert Zabel) a fellow moderator at Writing.com and she offered it a contract. It was a pleasant, unexpected surprise. I'm still feeling my way around the genre, but it's been a wonderful learning experience for me.

DAWN: Thank you for sharing that. I love writing.com and met Viv there as well. Did you have any specific source of inspiration for having a caterpillar the main character?

STEPH: -grin- Jesus. "The Giving Meadow" is about sharing, but I wanted to use a caterpillar because a caterpillar changes into a butterfly. Young children can understand that change. In His own way, Jesus goes through change similar to a caterpillar at Easter. A caterpillar's change helps young people relate to the mysteries of Easter.

DAWN: Interesting. I never would have thought about the link, but it makes sense. What message would you like other (children and adults that may read it) take from this book?

STEPH: For the children, sometimes you may not want to share, but when you do it's a wonderful feeling.

DAWN: Sharing is an important lesson. What's your favorite genre to read?

STEPH: I love reading romantic historicals and being swept away to another time and place.

DAWN: Being swept away is one joy of reading. Who are your favorite authors:

STEPH:  Victoria Holt, Jean Plaidy, Anne Rice, and JK Rowling.

DAWN: Nice. I've never read from any of those authors but have heard good things. What books do you like to recommend to others?

STEPH: Depends on what they want to read. I love Beth Bence Reinke's books with 4RV Publishing, "In my Bath," and "A Wish and a Prayer." Crystalee Calderwood's "Angeline Jellybean" is very cute. NA Sharpe's "If Fishes were Wishes," is also a charming story about being misunderstood.

DAWN: There are many great books out there. I still need to read Angeline Jellybean. Is there a genre you wouldn't write in?

STEPH:  -grins- No. I want to write every genre! One day…

DAWN: Cool. As a multi-genre writer it's good to hear others don't want to be limited. Do you have a project you are working on now?

STEPH:  Yes, it's a romance in the steampunk vein.  Steampunk is relativity new and is growing in popularity. It takes place in the Victorian Age and involves near-futuristic elements or paranormal elements. In my story, in an alternate time line, modern day royals, Alice and Edmund, travel back to 1851 where Alice has to prevent her cousin, Edmund, from building a dirigible for the Great Exhibition.

DAWN: Sweet. I'm also worldbuilding a Steampunk novel. Thank you, Steph, for such a wonderful interview.

Where readers can find Steph:






Stephen's Web Presence: Illustrator for the book, The Giving Meadow.




Giveaway:Leave a comment here on this blog post. If you can add your email address, that would be helpful so Steph will know who to contact but I'll also announce the winners on here.

2 winners will receive an authographed postcard of the cover
1 winner will get a mousepad of the cover

Winners will be drawn out of a hat (cause old school approaches are awesome!), and announced on August 22nd, Sunday.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

In the Spotlight

Welcome to my first posting of In The Spotlight. These posts will focus on spotlighting people and companies in the publishing industry. And up for the inaugral posting is... 4RV Publishing.
Link: http://4rvpublishingllc.com/

I chose this publisher for a few reasons as my first In the Spotlight.  Most won't remember this, because it's back when I first started blogging and had very few followers, but one of their books and authors captured two other firsts for this blog. The Art of Science is the first book (and only at this point) that I've reviewed on this blog. Book Review Here After that, I had my first author interview with none other than the author of The Art of Science, Ransome Noble. Interview Here  

Also, on August 21st (Saturday) this blog will host an interview with another 4RV author, Stephanie Burkhart, and her book, The Giving Meadow. Check back for that interview because those who comment on the day of the post will be in a giveaway for some fun prizes.

4RV also links to my theme because they do publish children's books. Yay for theme week. Okay, now that I've ranted enough lets get into the real information that you all want. The data can be found on the publisher's web site.

About 4RV

4RV is a small publishing company that works one on one with authors. The staff includes authors, editors, illustrators and designers. They print both hardcover and paperback books.
President: Vivian Zabel
Editing Department Head: Daniel Hay
And these are just two members of many. Check out the website for the full lists.

Submission Preferences

Juvenile, Children's, Young Adult, Mystery, Suspence, Romance, Mainstream, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Non-fiction, Christian, and Action Adventure. They will accept almost any genre but have a few things they don't want to see.

Graphic sex, erotica and violence/language that is inappropriate to the book's content is not desired.

Submission Guidelines

The web site has very specific guidelines that should be followed. Children's book submissions are limited to one week periods during announced time.

Email submissions are preferred. Each email should include a short introduction message. Unlike many, they actually prefer to have attachments (cover letter, synopsis and a manuscript of 3 chapter or full story depending on the type of story). Attachments need to be labeled as recommended by the publisher.

Mail submission can be sent as well, though they do not return material.

Contact Information


4RV Publishing LLC
PO Box 6482
Edmond, OK 73083-6482

Twitter: 4RV

Many of the authors and others from the company also have links to their own web pages and blogs.

Check them out!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Children's Book Week

(News: This is post 90, which means I'll soon have 100 posts on this blog. I have 122 followers, and might do a special prize giveaway for 150.)

Welcome to the very first Theme Week!

Yay, books! lol.

Okay, I'll admit it. I haven't read many children's books myself lately. The only times I read children's books are when my little cousins want me to read to them. That, and I used to be a reading tutor for an elementary school. I worked with kids from 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade. I would help them pick out books that would be close enough to their current reading level but also help them develop the reading skills to one day be at their grade desired reading level. They would read to me. It was the best job ever, I have to say. My first grader boy who was shy at first not only opened up but after Christmas break he tested into the desired grade reading level. I was happy for him. Now I'm an intern with a small publishing company that publishes children books.

Let's look at the different types and levels of books for this weeks topic. It's good to have this information to begin with when considering writing for children. The information comes from Lesley Bolton's book, The Everything Guide to Writing Children's Books.

There are standard categories: Fiction and Nonfiction. (Here we'll talk about fiction but the following groups can be found in non-fiction too.)

Picture Books: Probably one of the most known types of children's books, this is where the books have a combination of text and pictures. There is some variance in age groups, though the younger groups often are limited to picture books while some of the older ones can have a different number of pictures per book.  Picture books have a limited number of pages preferred with a structured design that not many books stray from.  Word count range is from 200-1500 with exceptions.
        Types (include): Baby or Board, Wordless, Novelty, and Concept.
        Examples: Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, and The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.

Early Readers: Early readers help bridge from the picture books to the chapter books. Designed to help children with the skill of reading, these books are important to include in the topic. These books have some similarities to picture books in that they are often illustrated and have similar word count ranges, though they often shoot for the larger end. Another difference is that picture books are often read to kids by adults, whereas Early Readers are meant to be read by the children, which affects how the wording is done in order to provide easiness mixed with the right amount of challenges to aid in developing the readers abilities.
      Examples: The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss, Frog and Toad series by Arnold Lobel and Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik

Chapter Books: Next stage in the development of reading skills. The big differences are there tend to be less pictures and there are chapter breaks in the longer story. Sometimes the chapters are individual stories while other times they are one story broken up in sections. Words used here also provide some simplicity while giving challenges too. Closer to the older book range, the different chapters and less white space gives it a "grown up" feel.
     Examples: Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren, Goosebumps series by R.L. Stein, and Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan.

Middle Grade: The big step here, is these books are also known as independent readers. At this stage, though some are picked out by teachers and other adults, the readers often pick their own books when in the store. Preferences develop here, friends influence and series become popular. The word counts vary with a possible range of 12,000-30,000 and also is usually separated into chapters. Less illustrations found here.
     Examples: Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, A wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau.

The book also counts Young Adult, but I'm going to separate them here and leave YA in a different week.

What are(were) your favorite Children's Books?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Book Review Options

The poll is done. There were 7 votes with 6 of them going to "yes, have the book reviews on this blog." And the other vote was to start a new blog. Here is the issue: I have too much going on with this specific blog in order to have a review on every novel I read. However, I do think that I could review books on writing and the industry itself and keep to the nature of this blog.

I am considering having the fiction book reviews in two different places. I could move it to the itsinthebookde blog because there isn't as much on there except rants about my writing and blogfest entries. If the blogfests taper off I won't have much to post that people might be interested in reading. So, it can be there or the one I'm leaning towards is to start a new blog. I think it would be fun and I may do a group blog.

Right now I am just talking with someone about a potential book review blog. So, no decisions are made yet.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

New Schedule

New Week Schedules

Yep. I'm going to try out a week to week topic schedule. I will have some weeks empty for random posting but I have a few theme week ideas already.

August 16th-22nd
Children's Book Week
--- I have a blog tour interview on the 21st for the book, The Giving Meadow. So, it makes sense to talk about books for children that week.

August 23rd-29th
Fantasy Subgenres
--- My favorite genre is fantasy and there are so many different subgenres available, not even counting YA, which is a beast of it's own color. ;-) I'm thinking of subgenres like Urban, Steampunk, Epic/High, etc.

August 30th-September 5th
--- I write romance and romance subplots, so this makes sense. And I've wanted to write about my disinterest in the love triangle that seems popular recently. So, one day will be on triangles, at least.

That is all for now but there are plenty of options for the future. The dates may be subject to change, but probably won't. Now to find images for each special week.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Change Happens

Things Change in this Industry

Yep. Things change in the publishing industry and sometimes those changes can happen very fast. There are a number of different changes that can and will occur. People don't always stay in the same job with the same company. Publishers don't always keep their offers the same or publish using the same type of medium. New people join the industry on a regular basis.

This is why it's important to keep up with the industry and double check facts before submitting to anyone. That person may switch companies, they may switch positions, and there is no way of guessing. It's best to pay attention and double check when at the submitting stage.

Examples of Change

New to Industry: Me! hehehe... Okay, sillyness aside, I do mean it. I am a new intern for a small publishing company. No, that doesn't mean sending me anything will help in any way, cause it won't. I only evaluate those assigned to me by the company and nothing more. But it has been an odd change for me. In my own writing I'm getting ready to submit hopefully in 2011. It feels weird that I have to make notes and evaluations on whether someone else's work is publishable. Interns are common in the industry and they may be the first obstacle the must be overcome in the submission process. It's hard to imagine someone new to the industry having such influence but I can promise, it's hard for the new intern too.

Company Makes Change: While some are considering the e-book verses print book debate, there are a few companies making some changes. Dorchester Publishing Inc., is one company that has made a move recently. News article on it Here and if you haven't read about it yet, it's something to check out. There are still plenty of publishers doing print books but this is one type of change that can occur in the publishing industry.

People Change Jobs/Companies: People don't always stay in the same position or even company in the publishing industry. Some move up, such as interns who later become agents and editors. Some move from one company to another and others change from positions like agenting to other types of positions. Then there are mixes of all types of changes mentioned here.  Weronika Janczuk is one great example. She made an exciting post not long ago on her blog about her move to a certain agency. She has been an agent there for a few days and has made a few offers of representation already. Another example is Colleen Lindsay, who has moved from being an agent to a new position with a well-known publishing company. Both are excellent examples and amazing people that are well deserving their new, wonderful positions. I was exceited for them both when I heard their big news.

But these changes do affect us writers and we should be aware of their existence. Weronika is an example of a new possible agent for those that have manuscripts that might fit within what she is looking to represent. Colleen will do amazing work, but will no longer be accepting clients as an agent so those that had her on top of their possible agent list will have to make some adjustments. And while most interns are unknown, and the information of who views the writing isn't usually available, it's good to acknowledge their/our existence.

Change Happens
Don't be Afraid

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Is This Advice

 Note: Word Paint blogfest is coming soon. August 27th is the date and there is still time to sign up for it. http://dawnembers.blogspot.com/2010/07/announcements.html

This is something I've been thinking about for a few weeks now. Someone on their blog talked about how they didn't feel qualified to give writing advice and even though I don't remember who it was, I started to wonder. I talk about writing topics on here.

Am I giving people advice?

I didn't plan to give advice. Really.

I'm not published. The posts usually come from personal opinion and research. I do have background in research and presenting evidence. One of the few good uses I have from competing for several years in speech and debate. Most my college years I was a memeber of the Weber State policy debate team, and even though I wasn't very good, I spent long hours, weekends and such doing research. Topics varied, including: China's one-child policy, prostitution and crime rings, bus segregation, masochism (for real), abjection, guerrila warfare, and secret societies. Just to name a few. So, I do know how to research and use that information.

I talk about writing because that's what I'm doing. I love to write and hope to some day submit for publication. So, for me it made sense to have this blog be about writing. The fact that people even follow it is such a treat and the occasional blog comments always make me very happy. If people come here for advice, I'd be surprised and a little bit honored.

Point of this post. Remember, I'm not expert. I might be wrong in some of my posts and more often then not, I'm writing what I think or what I find. And I hope the end result is enjoyable but this isn't a "do what I say" type of blog. It's meant to open conversation, not give direction. And I hope to improve it in my journey in this wonderful industry.

Random fun picture...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

My Thoughts on Present Tense

Recently on Twitter I've noticed agents, editors and writers talking about (or retweeting other people's comments) present tense, and it hasn't been good news for those that like to write it.

Mini Tense Lesson
Info from http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/grammar/tenses.html

Past Tense: "Past tense expresses an action or situation that was started and finished in the past. Most past tense verbs end in -ed. The irregular verbs have special past tense forms which must be memorized." This is the preferred tense in fiction, from what I've studied.

Example - Clara looked up at him, at last, but didn't speak. She stared with her typical disinterested gaze, the pencil halted in the air above the paper. (Old draft that needs rewritten.)

Present Tense: "Present tense expresses an unchanging, repeated, or reoccurring action or situation that exists only now. It can also represent a widespread truth." Happens sometimes but not recommended for most writers except in dialogue and such.

 Example - The pressure of something pushing against my should causes me to lose all focus on my red Spells & Potions textbook. Just what I don't need right now, another distractions, but I can't ignore the repeated poking. (Made up, maybe from something and maybe not. hehehe)

Future Tense: "Future tense expresses an action or situation that will occur in the future. This tense is formed by using will/shall with the simple form of the verb." Used in dialogue but rarely ever, as in probably almost never, used for the whole story.

Example - Tiffany will say yes. The dinner is going to be the best of my life and one that will change everything. (Okay I just made that up and umm yeah, it's special.)

My Own Thoughts

Reading - I will admit I haven't read very many present tense novels, published or not. The few that I have, the tense wasn't the good part of the stories. The first time I remember noticing present tense was in a critique group, someone was writing their novel in third person present. At first, I didn't even notice it and that made it odder because all of a sudden, chapters into reading the story I had this question: "Were the past chapters in present?" Every chapter after that,  the present tense stood out for me. The other book I've read that I remember having present tense is Wake. It was okay but the writing was different and affected my reading of it a little bit.

Writing - At first, I would write only past. And then came the YA mutant series in its not so great first person draft. The first 9 chapters were in past tense until I tried it in present. I liked the sound of it, so I went back and changed the tense of what had already been written. It seemed to work but first person didn't, so now I'm rewriting in third. The adult mutant novel was then written in third yet I tried to keep the present tense because I wasn't sure how it would go and I want all the mutant books to have consistency with each other even when there are different main characters. I don't love present tense but somehow, I'm finding myself attached to the idea and that may serve to be a problem in the near future.

I'll admit it. I feel a little bit of disappointment when I see people in the industry saying present tense is not recommended. Nothing against them at all. I'm sure they're actually correct as I haven't cared for the tense as a reader, though I haven't come across it much to really pass full judgement. But it's hard to fight this desire to write in present tense. I don't know where it comes from or why, but I swear... it's more annoying than the Shiny New Ideas and plot bunnies.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Shiny New Idea

Shiny. NewShine. SNI. It has many names and another one is... Temptation. That's right. The Shiny New Idea is a temptation that many writers face. For those that work on one project at a time it can be hard to resist abandoning WIP for an SNI. Even those of us that write 4-5 novels at a time can become distracted by yet another new idea.

I have a Shiny and a NewShine. hehehe. Yep, that is actually 2 shiny new ideas on top of the 4-5 novels that I was working on. And the new ideas are so tempting.

What can you do if you are faced with this challenge?

There are a few options:

1. Give in. If the WIP isn't working at all and the shiny has more story, can garner more excitement that can be maintained throughout the whole draft, then go ahead. But be careful. This should be done rarely because if done all the time then nothing gets finished.

2. Note and Ignore. While it is possible to ignore the idea all together, there is no telling when an idea would be needed and if it's a really good shiny, you don't want to forget it. So, make a note somewhere (try to have somewhere that isn't easily lost, so napkins and back of receipts work for temporary but ill advised for long term). Then go back to WIP with the knowledge that the next idea is there, waiting. Plus, when done with one draft it's advisable to wait awhile, so work on something else like the Shiny.

3. Do both. If there aren't already 5 or so projects going and you think you can manage to do one more, then work on it. This works best for those that can write on more than one novel at a time. Those that can't may be better of taking notes and waiting till finished with current WIP draft.

Those are the top 3 but I'm sure there are other options of how to deal with a Shiny. Do sparkles get distracted by other sparkles? If shiny enough maybe keep in pocket to toss out if a zombie is around and getting in the way. But don't let your guard down.

Shiny New Ideas are out there, everywhere, just waiting to cause distractions.

You have been warned. (lol)