Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Rejection Before One Word Is Read

That is my biggest fear.

My manuscript will be thrown right on top of the slush pile, without the agent (or, most likely, his assistant) ever having read one word of what took me over two years to write.

Yet that is what is most likely to happen to me - and most of us who are "amateurs" and unknown.

Is there anything we can do to avoid that?  Who really knows!

But we must certainly try.

Below is a list of questions to ask and points to consider in getting your book stand out (thank you Writer's Digest).  Most of these are obvious and dead on - but sometimes those are the first ones to slip our minds (at least mine, as I get lost in crafting each sentence or thinking about the theme).

- Why does the publisher have to read it? (If you are not sure, how can they be?)
- Why do you believe in what you are doing?
- What is it about this book that warrants the attention of the reading public?
- Start thinking like a marketer - condense the story into just two sharp, attention-grabbing sentences.
- Target your book - which market are you aiming for?  How is your book different from others targeting the same audience?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Grammar Hang Ups And The Like...

I returned from a family vacation a couple of weeks ago, but since the office was eager to have me back, I am still catching up on my "writing" emails, including the weekly emails from Writer's Digest.  Always looking to improve my grammar and avoid uncommon pitfalls, the article "The 13 Trickiest Grammar Hang-Ups" caught my eye.  Most of the so-called hang-ups were fairly basic and I am sure most of us are comfortable using the terms correctly or using suitable replacements.  Some of the hang-ups were interesting, albeit for different reasons.

Take "until," which the author said was ambiguous.  I absoutely agree and have thought about this not just when writing fiction but when doing work (legal writing).  If you have until April 15 to file your tax returns, does it mean you have to file it no later than the end of the day on April 14 or do you have until the end of the day on April 15? As you all know I am sure, we are all happy that the tax authorities are more specific and specify that the due date is April 15. Certainly an easy hang-up or pitfall to avoid in your writing.

"Next" also made the author's list of ambiguous words. It is Monday morning and you are making plans with your friends for lunch next Thursday.  Does next Thursday mean this upcoming Thursday or Thursday of next week?  Again, this is an easy pitfall to avoid.

And then the article got interesting... discussing the use of the word "American" to refer to persons who are US citizens or other persons who are considered "US persons."  The author opined that using the term American to refer to US persons is fine (although technically incorrect) because there is no other single word we can use to refer to a US citizen and because most people in the US and Europe will assume that an American is a US person, as opposed to a Brazilian or Mexican person. Maybe this usage is commonplace and, as such, is becoming acceptable, but you should see the responses given to the article by Americans who are not US citizens...

Writing, like everything else, cannot escape politics.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Thank You - and the Award Goes To...

Thank you Shannon for the Kreativ Blogger Award :-)

I am going to break the "rules" a bit but here we go:

The Answers

1.  I don't really have a favorite song (more of a classical music lover) but I do like Enter Sandman by Metallica and With You in My Head by Unkle.
2.  Favorite dessert?  Too many to name...but must be organic or at least all natural.
3.  What ticks me off? People who are mean, rude, ignorant, and always "entitled."
4.  When I am upset I'll take a few deep breaths and close my eyes for a minute.
5.  I don't have a favorite pet (no pets, actually) but I did have a dog when I was a child - Caesar.
6.  I always wear black.
7.  I am an eternal optimist but the realist in me is always watching and on stand-by.

The Random Facts

1.  I used to run miles every day, sometimes twice a day (morning and night...)
2.  I speak three languages fluently, still working on perfecting the fourth.
3.  I am a total neat freak.
4.  I love to travel.
5.  I am passionate about clean, healthy, non-toxic living and products and all that relates (eating local & organic, recycling and so forth).
6.  I keep another blog which relates to #5 above - SmartMommyHealthyBaby.
7.  I am a natural gray :-) at least by now.

And The Award Passes to:

1.  The Desert Rocks

2.  Kelly Hashway

3.  Motivation for Creation

4.  One Word at a Time

5.  Margo Kelly

6.  Will Write For Cookies

7.  The 20th Century Man