Monday, November 30, 2009


So I've been reading a manuscript and the writer constantly repeats the word "and".

Here's what I mean: Sally was tired and hungry and angry.

The writer does this all throughout the manuscript, almost every time they are listing words. As a reader and writer it starts to irk me and I believe writers should try to stick commas in between unless he/she is trying to emphasize the words, by repeating "and". Though emphasis is lost if one constantly and repeatedly uses "and" multiple times in a sentence. Just my two cents.

Remember grammar is important. The writer who says they don't need to know how to spell or use grammar correctly and believes that their agent or editor will handle it, is the one who ends up with an unpublishable manuscript, which no one will want to spend time cleaning up.

So remember edit, edit, edit, and then edit again. Then it'll probably be ready for an agent.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

I just wanted to wish you all a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Enjoy the day and remember to loosen a few notches on those belts, folks!

Nook Demonstrations

According to Publishers Weekly, the demand for the Nook is greater than Barnes & Nobles expected. For those of you on the fence about getting one, B&N is planning to give actual demonstrations of the e-reader in stores in the next 2 to 3 weeks. Why not stop by and check it out. I know I've been thinking about it.

If you want to read the PW article, click the title of this blog post.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

When to Drop a Hint or Introduce a Character

I've been doing some beta reading and editing for a fellow writer and I've noticed that knowing where to drop a hint or introduce a character is crucial. Truly, the world the writer has created is definitely interesting and they write very well, but they just need to see where to drop the hint, which really isn't a big deal. No major revisions required, just tweaking here and there.

Here's a tip or two.

One: Make sure the stakes are high. Don't hold off until the end of the novel to have us gripping the edge of our seat. Give the reader something to chew on early on and please make sure it makes sense. Ex: Someone shouldn't want someone dead just because they kicked over a lawn gnome. Make sure its plausible. Your reason may be plausible but the way you present it may not make it sound like it is. Keep that in mind.

Two: If you have a character who is important to the story, try to introduce them closer to the chapter where he/she becomes important. Don't introduce them in chapter two and expect us to remember much about them in chapter nine. If they don't tie in yet to the main character then try introducing them later.

Hope this is helpful. Happy Writing!

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Nook

According to Publishers Weekly the Nook is out-of-stock. Barnes & Nobles is taking pre-orders but they won't ship out until January 4th. For those of you who wanted to give the e-reader as a Christmas gift they are sending out Nook gift certificates to those who pre-order before Christmas so at least you can stick that in the box or card.

(click the title of this post if you want to read the article)

Puppies? Breaking the Writer-Cat Tradition

Okay seriously who wouldn't want such an adorable puppy!? (It's a maltese!) For those of you that don't know I live in a dorm and probably won't be moving off campus for another year and a half. But I'm counting down the days until I can have a puppy. I know I'm breaking the "writer-cat tradition" but I love dogs!

According to Monica Wood, author of The Pocket Muse, having a cat as a pet is a bit of a writerly tradition, but I say having a pet to well, pet, curl in our laps, or nip our feet while we write sounds like the job of either a cat or dog. Besides, you never know what kind of idea they'll throw your way. With a quick bite to your toe your puppy could probably spawn the idea of that scary mini monster that bites feet in your middle grade novel. Who knows. ;]

Sunday, November 22, 2009


So I have a poem and family recipe published in a cookbook. It was a collaboration of literary works and all kinds of different family recipes from Mexican to Italian to Belgian style dishes by 16 members of Key Publications Network. If you are interested in tasty recipes and great poetry and prose to go along with it-check it out.

**Just click on the title of this blog post and you will be transported to the Amazon link.

The name of the cookbook is:

The Pious Kitchen Lady Presents Vicious Recipes: a literary cookbook

One of the contributors, Nazarea Andrew's debut novel is due out sometime this January. It is a family saga titled Faith's Friendship. I'll definitely let you know more about her novel once the release date approaches. But if you are interested- check her out at:

When an Agent Offers Representation

Since I am waiting to hear from an agent I figured knowing what to say in case she does like my work and wants to represent it would be important. I found a great source on what to do and say after an agent offers you representation. It is on
Click on the title of this post and it will take you to the specific page. Hope this helps :]

Saturday, November 21, 2009

New Moon

So I saw New Moon yesterday. It was good and as many reviewers have said, lots and lots of torso :] Especially Jacob torso... Note I like the actor of Jacob, but I also think **(SPoiler-Maybe?) everyone ended up with who they should' I guess I'm team Jacob & Edward?** If that makes any sense.

Granted, the first movie had a wayyyyy better soundtrack, but in this movie the special effects were better I was just a bit disappointed with a certain fight scene. Oh, well. Not bad. Though the second book was my least favorite of the four. If you haven't seen it and if you are one of the reluctant few then just give it a shot. Who knows you may like it and if not-aren't hot torsos enough? ;]

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Where Does Inspiration Strike?

I know I usually get randomly inspired just about anywhere and from just about anything; from a word, phrase, picture, place, person etc.

But where is the place you go when you really need to think? A place where thoughts just cascade out? Is it your office, the bathroom, your backyard, the local coffee shop?

For me it's the shower. I know random, but when I'm in the nice, hot shower thoughts flow out and while I'm shampooing my hair I start thinking about my plot and what I need to write next and how to improve it. Anyone have an interesting place where ideas are molded and shaped to work with the plot?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Writers and Scams

Okay. I'm trying to do all I can to help a fellow writer of mine understand what it takes to be published. Unfortunately, she fell for a scam agency back in March-Children's Literary-avoid them! I have even shown here Preditors and Editors-a site that'll usually help you figure out if an agent or publisher is legit or not.-

Yet, I get an email from her stating that Publisher America is interested in her picture book which I think is great! But when I look them up, I find out that they are nothing more than a vanity press that POD's (prints on demand)-Guess what, Borders will not place your book on its shelves. Instead the book won't be printed unless someone orders it and even then who says they will know of its existence.
I wish I could help her further, but she just hasn't taken the advice about finding an agent or at least using Writers Market or checking the Association of Author's Representatives database that I've given her. I know she is far from computer savvy, but I don't know what else to tell her...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Nervous? So Am I

So an agent has my full manuscript right now. It hasn't even been two weeks and yet I'm still getting nervous. I know I can't do anything about it now that I've sent it out. Honestly, I feel like I missed something, like maybe I should've done more with my plot etc. Then again a fellow writer and I were working on corrections and tension in the plot for almost two months before I sent it, so perhaps I am overreacting. Though the manuscript waiting feels a bit overwhelming. Anyone else in the same boat?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Co-Writing Adventure!

So last week I talked about co-writing projects (writing a story with another writer-switching off with every paragraph) and stated that I was interested in giving it a shot. Well, I did and let me tell you it was fun! After 2 chapters my friend and I are adding another writer who should be introducing her character in chapter 3. All in all it's fun.

It may prove to be a fun exercise to hone your writing skills. You never know what your partner will throw at you, but it also helps if you have similar writing styles and an interest in the same genre you are working with.

All you have to do is write a paragraph or so and then your partner writes another and so on. See where your imaginations paired together take you. And don't worry if you don't like where the story is going, you can always throw in a random evil twin or something and take the story in a new direction. It'll broaden your horizons. :]

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Life and Our Characters

Sometimes we hurt, sometimes we feel anger, sadness, guilt. These emotions collide within us sometimes all at once or one at a time. But we all feel these emotions. We know why. The emotions that bring us to our knees and force us to reexamine our lives; the emotions that seek our understanding are useful.

How will anyone care about your characters if they don't come alive. Let's face it. We use what we know to breathe life into our characters. No one cares about a two dimensional character. Yes, she has anger issues so what. Give her a past. Every guy she has ever loved has betrayed her in one way or another. Of course she's always angry, especially when the class A jerk comes sniffing around her. Turns out he's not exactly a jerk, just has his own broken heart to deal with. Give your characters depth. Take from experience.

The anger you felt clawing at you when you found out your best friend hurt you-use it to your advantage. Remember it and apply it to your character. How does it feel to have anger build up within you? You know. So put it on paper; make us care about the character. Make us give a damn. It's up to you. You have the tools and the understanding of what creates a memorable person; one readers can truly care about. So use your experience and just do it.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Collaborative Writing?

So a friend on my online critique group suggested a co-writing project where about 3 people or so each write a paragraph and continue a story. I'm curious to see how it pans out and I may even have a go at it myself. But something I've always wondered about is how writers collaborate on an entire story.

Take for example The House of Night Series by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast. It is co-written by a mother and daughter. I can't really tell where they switch off but occasionally you can tell who is writing what. I read about two of the books and they weren't bad, but they weren't amazing either. Sometimes it felt like they were trying to make it so teenish. What with the language and all I kinda ended up losing interest. And I swear I thought their was a motherly lesson nestled somewhere in there. Perhaps, I'll re-read them and give an actual review. Then again they do have plenty of books out and so I'm sure they've learned one another's style more so as they've progressed with their stories.

As for the Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson-I couldn't tell where one's writing began and ended. Their styles are so similar that together they create a great story. I think that for collaborative works to work out writers must really have an understanding of one another's styles and preferences when writing and try to bring those to light when working together.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Vampire Diary Cover vs. Wicked Lovely

Okay, I'm curious. Everyone keeps talking about Vampire Diaries and to be honest I always avoided it just because the lettering on the covers seemed cheesy and kiddish. I know I know, great decision making skills, but hey covers do it for me. Take for example the cover of Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr. The moment I saw it I picked up the book. It sounded interesting so read it and of course loved it. But I still have no idea what the Vampire Diaries is about. The covers just never did it for me. Only now am I actually interested because it has become a t.v. series and my friend keeps recommending it. So guys. Should I go for it or not even bother with it?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Upper Middle Grade vs. Middle Grade

So I've started a middle grade novel. I'm only 8k in though, but hey its a start. Anyway, I was curious about what you could get away with in a middle grade. -Like kissing etc. Apparently a kiss scene I wrote seemed too steamy for some readers on the Writers Digest Community..go figure?

I also wanted to know the difference between middle grade and upper middle grade. So I emailed Mary Kole, an associate agent at Andrea Brown Literary. Her blog: has proven itself a great read.

Her response was that as long as their is no boob touching or below the belt stuff it should be fine but to wait to see what an agent says.

Now about Upper Middle Grade vs. Middle Grade: Basically, she said that the main character can even go up to the age of fifteen depending on the type of story and the character's maturity. She said this was because kids like to read characters older than them. So if the main character is 15 most likely the kids reading would be 12-13.

Hopefully, this'll help some of you middle grade writers out there :]

Monday, November 9, 2009

Critique Groups & SCBWI

Have any of you writers found your own critique groups? Critique groups can be great or they can suck. It just depends on which one you join. :] I have been a part of an online critique group and let me tell you with their advice my writing has definitely improved. I understand plot more, POV, tension, etc. A writer is always going to need someone to read their book and a fellow writer can point out something that you yourself probably don't realize because you've been working on this one manuscript for so long that you may miss something or not understand how someone reading it for the first time would feel.

Even online you can find a critique partner who is willing to edit your entire book. If any of you are interested I'm head of the YAWR (Young Adult Writers Rock) group at The site has a multitude of other genre groups as well-horror, fantasy, sci-fi, & romance to name a few.

I also understand some people are weary about joining an online group and having your baby posted online or sent in an email. That's fine. You can always try to search for a critique groups near you. Chances are a google search with the words "writers critique group" and your location may bring up some possible groups that you would be interested in.

For those interested in all things kids books, well I looked up the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and turns out they have dozens of critique groups in the state of Florida. Chances are they'll have some in your area as well. :]

I'm not sure if you have to be a member, but I've decided to go to a local meeting here in the next few weeks. I'll see how it goes.

Good luck!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

MG and YA Word Counts

I was just browsing through the archives of the Guide to Literary Agents blog and discovered this post on Word Counts for all sorts of novels and seeing how Word Counts can be an issue when it comes to YA and MG and I figured you all may enjoy a peek. Even those of you who don't write YA or MG...he has a list of different genres and word counts. I'll just give you the gist of what he said.

First off for Middle Grade(ages 8-12): 20,000-40,000- BUT if your novel is geared toward say 12 year olds and you have a 13 or 14 year old protagonist then the book should be between 32,000-40,000 instead of the low 20k.

Now YA: 55,000-69,000 he says is a great range. I know there are many writers that pull out the Harry Potter card, stating that it was over this word count. Well yes, but the first book wasn't all that long and by the time the others came out Rowling made her publisher A LOT of money.

Here is the exception. Fantasy. I can just see you fantasy writers jumping for joy. Fantasy can be longer because it involves world-building etc. But not much longer-

Be careful because extremely long novels make an agent think that a writer does not know how to edit themselves. We wouldn't want that now would we?

Also, for YA try not to go lower than 47K...and yes WAKE was 32,000k but it was an exception.

You can try to be the exception, but if you follow these rules for your first novel-you give yourself a better shot at breaking into the business. Check out his post if you want more, but I'm pretty sure I summarized the gist of it.,category,Word%20Count.aspx

Good luck fellow writers!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Why Do We Write?

So why do we write?

Is there some driving force in our minds that just snaps on at a specific time in our lives and makes us fall in love with the written word? Why do you write for your particular genre?

I know why I write for the YA and MG genres. Usually, you write what you love to read. I love reading YA books and MG as well. Why? Because there is something different about them, something secretive. Innocent perhaps? Children are more willing to take in the story. Writing about tweens and teenagers and their struggles just feels most comfortable. When we were young these books (YA MG etc) created a whole other world for us to be a part of. I loved reading the Baby Sitters Club, Animal Ark, The Shadow Children Series, Harry Potter, and the Lioness Quartet.

Somewhere, buried beneath these intricate, funny, sad, dangerous, and loving stories was always a lesson. But these were never told in a preachy way. They were underlying themes within the book. You either got them or you didn't, but if you did, it felt as though the novel had opened your eyes just a bit more to the world.

Parents and adults complain about how violent shows, movies, and video games can be and believe children will grow up without regard for most values and human life.

Books teach us values; love, ideals, courage. As children our minds are impressionable, but when we read about characters who we can identify with and learn to understand their struggles, faults and beliefs-we learn.

You ask why I write for the the YA and MG genres. Well, its because books can save children. That's it. Simple as that.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Love Plots 2

I think I'm going to take a fellow writer's advice and stop fighting my characters on who I want to end up with whom. In her words she said to let the characters tell the story, because let's face it they are the driving force. They are why readers even care. So I guess when one declares his love for my witch girl, I'd better listen...

Thing is...who loves her the most?

Love Plots

Have any of you had trouble deciding who a character should end up with? I'm not sure whether my witch girl should end up with the mortal boy or her best friend and ex-vampire boyfriend. It's so frustrating...How do you decide?

Helpful Sites for Writers

Hello all!

I figured I'd put together a list today of some great and helpful sites. Along with an explanation of them.

Great database of agents: Although this requires buying a subscription.

Great information on how to write Queries: I personally love this site because it has TONS of links for query writing and will even show you winning samples of romance queries.

She also has a great one for a Synopsis:

Seriously, just browse her site and you'll be sure to find something for you, even though most queries and such are for the romance genre you can easily apply them to your own work.

~Wonderful Writing Communities Online~ I'm head of the YAWR(Young Adult Writers Rock) group there. It is an amazing online critique group for writers. Check it out you won't be disappointed. This is the writer's digest community

Great E-zine ---> soon to be renamed.

Check em' out. If I'm missing any feel free to post some other helpful sites :]

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Dreams, Nickelback, and Writing Ideas

Hello lovelies!

As I write this I'm listening to S.E.X. by Nickelback...such a hot song.

Anyway, I woke up this morning struggling for breath with the comforter pressing against my nose. That would explain my weird dream. It was as if I was in a video game (thinks Mario 64), but with wayyyyy better graphics. Anyway, I was following my Dad and brother down a really long dock that stretched out toward the middle of the ocean. I don't know why, but I kinda jumped on a giant fish in my way like Mario would and the thing turned into those awesome gold coins! Haha, so random.

I continued on and there was a part where the dock was broken so my Dad and brother told me to jump in after them. Note, I've got this slight fear of the water...that and I could've sworn there was a shark! Yet, somehow, I jumped in and promptly wondered why I couldn't breathe and why my arms wouldn't paddle. Don't you hate those dreams that don't let you move? So I just kept sinking, desperately trying to breathe and then I woke up and threw those blasted covers off of me! It was 6 am too...I still had 3 hours of sleep left...(the beauty of college).

So here's what I'm wondering. Do your dreams ever give you any writing ideas? I know I've written two short stories to do with two dreams I've had. Do they help? Doesn't it feel like you're cheating because the idea came so easily? Don't worry about that feeling..your subconscious just gave you a gift-use it.

If you have any cool dreams turned writing ideas. Let me know! Or even just a really interesting dream that has potential to become an idea. Quickly, write it down!



Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Hello All!

Well, this is my first blog post. I suppose I should probably tell you about myself. Well, my name is Elizabeth and I am an aspiring writer. I am also a freshman in college and a Creative Writing Major. I have completed a YA fantasy novel, which I just sent off to an agent today! *SQUEAL* I'm giddy! I'm also working on a YA romance, a YA urban fantasy, and am trying my hand at a Middle Grade (MG) fantasy. :]

I'm also an artist, hence the picture at the top of my blog :] Sadly, I couldn't seem to get the format right, but I'll keep trying.

Basically, this blog will be about writing, especially for young adults (YA), anything to do with the YA genre (as in book reviews, interviews and more), and anything that pops into my head really. Comments are always appreciated. Feel free to stop by read, comment, or just chat. I'm always interested in meeting fellow writers. :]

Happy Writing!