YA Review: IGNITE ME by Tahereh Mafi

Eventually I’ll get back to middle grade, but there have been a string of YA books in series I’m already reading that have come out in the last few weeks, and I have another one today. I originally picked up SHATTER ME by Tahereh Mafi because of Twitter buzz. Although I didn’t fall in love…

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How I Tackle Revisions: An Evolving Process

It’s been two months since I blogged about the first two steps in my revision process. Usually I would be at step four or five by now, but life has forced me to slooow down with this work-in-progress, and also to take another look at my process. Patience and flexibility are both a struggle for…

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Making Our Characters’ Crazy Actions Believable

Have you ever received the following critique? “I just don’t believe [character] would do that.” I know I have! (Actually, just this week on my WIP :)). And I’ve said it myself, too. It’s not about a character doing a crazy thing. I’m fine with that–as long as the writer makes me believe they would…

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Querying Is Not A Science

I never really liked science in school, but I still did well in it because it follows rules. If you use the right ingredients and follow the steps exactly, you get the expected outcome. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a set formula for landing an agent? Actually, strike that. There is a formula:…

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How I Tackle Revisions, Steps 1 & 2

It’s been over a month since my last writing post and for very good reason–I’ve been taking the first step toward revising my work-in-progress: letting it sit. I’ve learned to set a first draft aside for at least a month. Often that’s hard to do, but with the holiday season, it was much easier. I…

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Subjectivity and Why You Should Get Multiple Opinions

When I first started writing seriously, I didn’t understand the importance of getting multiple opinions on my work. I wrote a draft, sent it out to one person, incorporated that person’s thoughts, revised, sent to another person, and so on. Can you see the issue here? I was relying too heavily on one person’s opinion….

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It’s Just a First Draft, Part 3

I finished my first draft! It ended up at approximately 68,000 words. I always let a first draft sit for a few weeks before I look at it again, although I already have a number of ideas about what I need to do with it when I start revising. In any case, here are my…

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Missouri SCBWI 2013 Conference Recap

On Saturday, I attended the Missouri Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators conference. I would categorize this as more of an inspirational than a working conference. It consists of a series of keynote addresses with one breakout session. There was the option to attend an additional breakout session on Sunday morning, but as I…

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Patience: A Work in Progress

I am always in a hurry. Whether it’s getting the kids dressed and out the door, doing a freelance project, reading a book, critiquing, drafting, revising, or querying, I want it done now or possibly yesterday. This was a perfect fit for my first career choice. I worked for a public relations agency for seven…

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If You Have to Explain It, Something’s Not Working

The other day, Writer’s Digest tweeted the following: “If it needs explanation, it’s not working. #writetip” It’s such a simple statement, and so true. If your query or sample pages bring up the kind of questions that confuse readers instead of intriguing them, something’s not right. I’d also reverse it and say that if someone…

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It’s Just a First Draft, Part 2

Yesterday I passed 40,000 words on my work-in-progress! Yay! And yet this means I am in the dreaded middle of the story, where I’m slogging through to get to the climax. In any case, I have more thoughts on first drafts now that I’m more than halfway to my goal. My thoughts after 15,000 words…

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