Archive for the 'Writing a Novel in a Year' Category


Regurgitating Grammar Sites

Over the years, people have asked where do I brush up on my grammar? What really is passive voice, show not tell and where or where do you put the comma? Really does it matter?

Yes, it does. You really want an active voice, honesty pick up your favorite fiction books most of them if not all of the books are written in active voice, because let’s face it active voice is just so much more interesting.

Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.  ~Anton Chekhov

Showing is just better than telling , because let’s face it we don’t want the author to tell us how the characters are felling. We want to see it on the page.


Should we put it a comma before the “and” in a series or not… this is style. Each publisher has a different outlook on commas just as each author does. If all else fails… keep it consistent.  If you add a comma in a series before the “and” then make sure all series commas in your manuscript match.

But please oh please, make sure you place the commas in their proper grammatical location because as the picture dictates above, using a comma can save a life. 🙂

When you fall into questionable areas, here are my go-to, must have grammar sites:

We are all human, just trying to understand our language enough to share a fictional story with the world. Keep it consistent, follow your targeted publisher’s submission requirements and follow your gut. Stay tune for the next regurgitation thought of the day. Happy typing.


2012 Here I come

Long time, no write. Wow, what a year 2011 was, it had up and dooowwnnns. But now the tides of time have washed 2011 and brought 2012 in, a new year and a new day. Since I had to put many things on hold this past fall, I finally got out of my funk and attended a Writer’s Meeting. I attended a CNYRW meeting on the nudging of my good friend. The meeting added to my resolve that it was time to get writing again. So a new year, a new me and a new book., that ‘s right a new WIP.

So my resolution this year is an easy one. I resolve to write more, to take better care of myself and family, and to remember to live life day by day.

How am I going to achieve this, you may ask?
For writing more, I joined a book in a week on-line group through my local RWA chapter. Once a month we focus on writing goals for a whole week, this should get my gluteus maximus in a chair and my phalanges to the keyboard. I’m here writing! 😉 My goal for January is a blog a week, just to get back in the swing of things.

For being better to my body, I’m back at the gym. When I was active at the gym, my favorite class was Spinning. I loved cycle class! The great music and the workout always helped me hone in on my novels, putting scenes in my head and getting the adrenaline pumping. I’m taking it slow, working up to my spinning class by cardio, and more cardio. This week will be cardio and weight training, maybe I’ll put on Spinning class in the mix. And to remind me eating isn’t just about whatever is on the counter should go in my mouth, I joined Weight Watchers because I’m worth it.

For living life day by day. I’m working toward enjoying my family more. Trying to get all my projects and activities done by the time the door swings open.  All things are possible and if I focus on all of us together, the memories will inspire me to put one foot in front of the other. It’s the little moments, sitting down together at the dinner table or listening to my pre-teen ramble on about the trial and tribulations of her daily life.

It’s time to let the snow fall and the inspiration sing. Here’s to a new year and a new me.


Dig a little deeper

This month I decided to take a on-line class The Essentials of Character, by Bob Mayer, and I’m loving it.  The course is making me “dig a little deeper” into my characters, and let me tell you, it’s not for the weak at heart. I’ve heard similar ideas over the years, but at this stage in my writing journey, what Bob stated is sinking in at a whole new level.

Goals and Motivations. What does it mean to your characters and do they follow their motivations to the goals of the plot the right way?  Do you as the author really know what your character wants and needs? Well, three little sentences have danced through my consciousness and sub-conscious  for the last few days.  I’ve racked my brain over them, trying to dig a little deeper and I’m conflicted on the last  question.

  1. What does your character want?
  2. What does your character really want?
  3. No, what does your character REALLY need?

My darling daughter watched this movie this weekend, and at her age typically, I try to block out the movies. Last week was Miss Congeniality and this week it was Princess and the Frog. As a side note, a few weeks ago, I was at CNYRW listening to Jenni Holbrook speak about a similar topic, internal and external conflict and making it work.  She used  Miss Congeniality as examples of how it works.  It was brilliant.  On some cosmic level, my daughter’s movie choices had me focusing on writing more than entertainment.

So I was in front of my laptop, struggling to get my head around what does my protagonist really really need. Then this song came on, I ran to watch the movie, grabbed the remote (much to my daughter’s complaints) and played the part again.

It doesn’t show you how to write your character’s motivation or goals, but it helped me shine a light on how to find what my characters really really need. So I’m asking myself, Miss Froggy, do ya understand what you need now? I believe I do and now I need to put my fingers to the keyboard and get it typed before I forget it. 🙂

Happy typing.


Reguritating Show not Tell

Ever stumble over showing and not telling, then you’re not the only one.  Each fiction writer has at one point or another stumbled.  At one point my critique partners and I struggled to  wrap our brains around this.  We searched the internet, googled show not tell and listened to multiple lectures stressing show and not tell. You can find hundreds of examples.  But here I’ll break it down short and sweet.  Ever watch an awesome movie, can’t pull yourself away from the plot, the characters… their mannerisms?

Well, make your story that way. Don’t tell your audience what your characters are doing or feeling. Show them. Make them feel and discovery the story with you. They read for the joy, the illusion, to enter the Wonderland of imagination. We all strive to get back to imagination, so give it to them. 

 Don’t just tell your audience:  Joe Smoe walked across the road in a fit of rage.

Show them: Joe slung his pillow across the room “4:00 in the damn morning.” Yanking his pj bottoms up, he stalk out of the front door.  This is the last time. He thought. People milled about the yards, shouting, and vomiting in the hedges.  “Damn noise, People are trying to sleep. I’m trying to sleep,” He muttered.  A car skidded to a stop, horn blazing as he stepped into the road never taking his eyes off the prize. That damn stereo system. He stomped up the steps, grabbed the baseball bat from the porch, weaved through the people who laughed and party. No one stopped him as he strolled through the open front door, and took the baseball bat to the speakers that pounded out a beat from hell.

Sometimes, showing is just a gesture, arched brow, description of what the character’s face is doing.  Their actions, movements.  Bring your story alive, make them feel the emotions.  That’s what showing is.  Look at your scenes, in editing, if they seem flat, bring them to life.  Always think, how can I make this scene breath. And show it, dramatize it, don’t simply tell, because I don’t know about you, but I don’t read books if I don’t feel them.


Harlequin Who?

As I have mentioned before I submitted to Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write, along with hundreds if not thousands of other hopefuls.  Who won’t submit with the promise of “we’ll get back to you in a little over a month.” Ok, I was a little nervous. Who won’t be, this was my first submit to a major player in the publishing business. I worked on my Query, my synopsis and my first chapter, revised, reread, revised. All my critique partners did the SYTYCW as a goal of sorts and we each helped with content and line edits.  It’s a learning experience to no end. 

I wish I could say I was one of the few hopefuls who received a revision request or the golden ticket per say, but I was just like the majority of hopefuls, and received the rejection letter. It didn’t hurt, it stung but the letter pointed out a problem with my story, one I had a feeling about,  and one that I can fix.  One day, my MSS is going to be strong enough and the right publishing house and editor is going to love it.  Positive Outcomes only. 

The one bright spark out of this whole adventure is my dear Hubby.  I told him about my rejection and the conversation with like this:

“What did you do this week?” My Hubby said.

“Wrote, Carted the kids around. Got rejected by Harlequin.” Shrugged my shoulders.
With brows pinched together he said, “Who’s Harlequin?”

It took me  a moment, shook my head. “A major Publishing house specializes in Romance Novels. The little books in all the stores, gas stations… been around for decades.”


“Really.” I shrugged.

“Nice.” Then he patted me on the back and said, “You aren’t doing something right unless you’ve been rejected a 1,000 times.”

And he’s right. So to all my fellow comrades in the SYTYCW, pull out your MSS, look at it, read it… fix it or more on, because Rejection is a learning experience one we all must live through at least a 1,000 times in a lifetime before we do it right.  Besides Practice makes perfect. Fingers to a keyboard, head in the creative space and write on my friend… write on.



New Year, New Month…and new Resolution…What?

It’s not a new resolution, it’s an awaking of the writers life. Ten months from the conference with Bob Mayer on getting my writing butt in gear to be a Warrior Writer. To focus! And how am I doing?!?

Let’s see in the past ten months I finished a rough Draft on a novel and submitted it to SYTYCW Harlequin contest. I went to a Conference and pitched short story, submitted it, and a got a revision request. On those terms… I’m doing 100% more progressed in my writing life then I was ten months ago.

But let’s ask how are my writing habits… they are lost in cyberland. I made a goal… 5000 words a week for 2011. But at this moment I’m looking at 347 words to date from January 2011. So back to basics, I need to focus on the goal. I need to write, read, and edit.

I have started reading for enjoyment about two weeks ago, I’m almost back to my four books a week habit. The amazing thing about writing is, you need to write, read and feel reality all at the same time… but there is hardly any time to achieve all three in one day unless you really plan.

I have a friend,  who does all three really well. Sometimes, in the car she records her ideas for later. Once she told me, on a nine-hour drive she got most of a book spoken, but when she got home she realized half of it was worth anything. But its the same for writing. We have to write until our subconscious works out the kinks in order for the story to really take a breath of its own. Then we need to edit the begeeze out of the story to polish its hardware, and finally hand it over to someone who will hopefully love it.

So I’m ready to start the process all over again, here we go. Editing, writing, outlining and reading. Let’s go 5,000 words a week. Resolution… let’s call it a life change for the better.


Where does the time go?

In the mad rush of summer, realizing the time is slipping away is always a disappointment.  Here we are in mid-august, school will be starting soon and for some of us lucky the Write On Rochester! Conference is right around the corner. 
Jessica Andersen is scheduled to give two workshops for LCRW on Sept 17&18 and I’m thrilled.  The workshops are on World Building and Pumping up your writing.  As a paranormal fiction writer these topical are right up my avenue.  But this could be for any genre in any style from children’s to YA to Adult to… the spectrum is broad. 
If you think it’s not worth it, think again. This conference isn’t about an all day workshop; it’s about networking. There will be editors, writers, readers and such.  Support, information on what to do and what’s going on.  At one conference I went to in the past, they were saying it’s about the elevator time.  Normally you run into editors, publishers and the like at Conferences and it’s the elevator time, that is important. You have 25 words to get your point across. 25 words, commercial to say what you need to say for that one person to remember your book.
Conferences are more than just the speakers, it’s the experience, the knowledge you gain from going.  So if you are in the Rochester area,and are a writer come out for the weekend. Find out how Jessica Andersen went from a PHD in genetics to an award winning Author and her secrets. Find out what it’s like to have elevator time, to network, to pitch your ideas. Come have an experience you’ll remember always.
Check out for more information.

July 2018
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