Quote of the Day -5/5/09

"I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity."
— Edgar Allan Poe

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Title Mostly Chosen

So, I gave my editor a long list of possible titles, including the ones you folks came up with and she picked--Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone, or Petronella Saves Everyone. We're trying to see if the longer title will fit on the cover. Thanks for all your good ideas and your efforts. If you want, we could get together for lunch sometime and I'll buy dessert.

Monday, July 28, 2008

No Advance? Retreat!

So what's everyone's opinion on "royalties only" contracts? My sister signed one to do illustrations for a book, slaved for hours creating beautiful paintings, and only earned $100.

Of course she did get in print. She can now put that on her bio.

But what about for us authors? What if it is a respectable, reputable publishing house and not just a vanity press, and they offer you a "royalties only" contract? Is it an automatic "no way?"

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hey Everyone! Link to your Website or Blog!

I know lots of you have your own blog, more of you than have linked your blog to your name on the roll call.

If you click on the little tool icon at the bottom right corner of the Writer Roll Call thing on the side bar you can create a link to your website or blog. You have to "add new list item," type in your name, and click the little green link button by the field. Then a window will pop up asking you what web address you want to link to. Type in your blog or website address, save it, and your linked name will be added to the top of the list! After you've done this, you may go ahead and delete the old, boring, un-linked version of your name on the list.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tor is offering free book downloads right now

Go to the Tor web site and see over 20 of their most popular books available for free download plus some of their most famous cover art.


I've realized that I have a problem. I have a tendency to get so caught up in the fun I'm having creating secondary characters, that I end up with a passive main character, even if that main character has some interesting traits about them. Does anyone have any suggestions about how to fix that?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

To Join or Not to Join?

So what's everyone's opinion on joining SCBWI? Is that $75 worth it? Do we have any members here? Testimonials? Opinions?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Creating A Good Book - Creating A Good Writer

WIFYR brought about a major phase shift in my thinking. For so long I had focused on creating the one perfect book. I thought if I just kept at it long enough, I would get it right. It would be great. It would be publishable.

What I didn't see was that I needed to make myself into a writer. New concept! Instead of struggling and straining over the same tired old idea for years and years, I could toss off a new book in six months or less. So what if it wasn't perfect? I would write another one, and another one! I wouldn't just be writing, I would be creating a writer.

I used to sneer at books that weren't perfectly thought out, that had discrepancies, characters that didn't work, or silly bits that I felt should have been omitted. Okay, I still do, but now I feel more generous towards writers. You have to try a lot of things, and not everything you try will work. I shouldn't sneer at people for trying!

And, once I've created a good writer in myself, then hopefully I can find the good in what I write, preserve it and polish it gently, and make with it a good book.

My new web site and blog

My son Ben (web design) and my daughter Miriam (graphics) put together a web site for their old mom. I'd love for you to check it out and give me some feedback.

I have over in LiveJournal called Author Dene Low. Unfortunately, I've been too busy writing and getting ready for my daughter's wedding in less than 3 weeks (AARGH!) to go out and get friends. I'd love to have any of you check it out.


Great writing advice from Dave Wolverton--free

Every few days, Dave Wolverton/Farland sends out what he calls his Daily Kick in the Pants with great insights about writing as a craft and as a career. I've found it both interesting and informative. The latest is about the power of words, that I thought was especially good. If you want to subscribe, here are the instructions.

Please feel free to share this email with friends. If you would like to be added to this list, just email dwolvert@xmission.com and say, "Kick me!"

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Writing for Charity

Amy and I attended the Writing for Charity event yesterday at the Salt Lake City Library. It was a great event---like a mini WIFYR! Apparently it's going to be a yearly event and I would recommend it to everyone. It's for charity after all!

We got some good advice on writing with children. We also got to hear Amy Jameson (she's Shannon Hale and Jessica Day George's agent) give some advice on dealing with agents. There was also a small workshop session where we read the first pages of people's novels. Amy and I lucked out and ended up in a group with Brandon Mull and his editor, Chris Schoebinger from Shadow Mountain. They had all of us give our pitches for our novels (and, gee, I wish that I hadn't been first and had some forewarning...) and then they critiqued our pitches and told us how to improve them, which was really, really helpful (and really, really stressful to be put on the spot like that). Anyway, Chris Schoebinger said that he loved my title before reading any of the piece and would have read my submission based on that alone, which was great to hear from an editor. He also told Amy and me when we asked him a question afterwards that we should feel free to submit our manuscripts to him. Too bad neither of them are finished yet!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Public or Private?

The RSS feed doesn't work because this blog is set so that only blog authors can read it. I could set it to public, but then everyone in the world wide web can read our posts. Not that any of those hacks out there would steal our ideas and publish them first, but maybe we want to keep things just among ourselves.

What's everyone's opinion?

On another note, I'm delighted to see that Chersti and Ashton have now signed in! Welcome!

RSS Feed Difficulties

I have been unable to access the RSS feed of this blog since the end of the first week which is odd since it used to work just fine. Imagine my surprise to find out the blog has been very active over the past month. The feed requires authentication now, which is puzzling since I'm obviously able to post to the blog, but my username and password are not accepted for the feed. I can't find any setting that affects this issue.

I was wondering if anybody else is having trouble accessing:


I am prompted for a username and password for both the Atom and RSS feed. I am using Safari on OS X 10.5.4. I will test the feed with Flock next, and wonder if others are experiencing the same problem.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I found the blog again!

Okay, so I didn't look all that hard for a while, but then Jeni from the writing group mentioned it several times and I knew I need to get back to it.

So, I've finally started a new story. Mid-grade Sci Fi. And I'm not just writing it because several editors mentioned they'd like to find a good mid-grade sci fi (though I must admit, that was a deciding factor of the age group I picked).

I've actually written 3 chapters! I'm at about 7000 words so far. That's a good chunk of a mid-grade book! Though I hope I've not made my idea too large for one book. I'm hoping it would be a good series, but definitely need it to stand alone so I can sell it.

So.. enough rambling from me. I'll post snippets here and there when I need help, or want to amaze you all with my writing ability. ;)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Contest--Need a new title ASAP

I have good news and bad news. Good news--My editor at Houghton Mifflin has OK'd my series as a series, so the sequel that you folks read part of is really the second in the series. That means that the book you read the chapters of will most likely make it to print. Bad news: However, she does not like the title of my first book and it really does not go with the cover art, which is wickedly subtle. It looks like something sweet from Edwardian days until you see all the creepy crawlies hidden in the foliage. Go to Jen Corace's web site and you'll see the style. Anyway, I need a new title. The first book is about how Petronella and Uncle Augustus rescue a theatrical Dame, a Panamanian Generalissimo, and all of Petronella's relatives from a mad Colombian aristocrat who threatens to dump huge vats of mosquito larvae carrying yellow fever into the River Thames. It is also the book where Uncle Augustus accidentally swallows the Tou-eh-mah-mah beetle and is transformed into an insectivore. If anyone comes up with the title that ends up on the cover, I'll send you a gift card or take you out for ice cream or something.

Friday, July 11, 2008


So I was at my job, Thinking. (yes with a capital) I realize why I do better with characters than with setting. It's because I'm in theater. When I do a play, I deal almost exclusively with characters and plot, and almost never with setting. The stage crew takes care of that, while I take what a character does and says and create a past that makes her personality. I've noticed my characters are distinct, while I barely mention the setting. I just assume you can see it like I can. Stupid me. I thought it was interesting though. I suppose and artist would have a better time with setting.
I've also been thinking about style. This is my opinion and tell me if you agree. I think that in order to develop a really solid style, you have to study different types of writing and copy them in your own way. I think you need to write in all genres: fantasy, mystery, romance, comedy, drama, horror, and suspense for a few suggestions, before a style really comes together. I know you have to do it in music and theater too. I suppose dance, but all the arts really. I once read a short story by Roald Dahl about a wife killing her husband that was fantastic, but nothing at all like what he normally writes. He's now immortal! I figure he must have done a lot of different writing. What do you think? I know I do a lot of different types of writing (except romance, I know I will never master that) but I think it's essential to becoming a good writer.

Random Moments

Since most people are unable to come to the writer's group that we formed out of our class, I thought that we could share "special" moments from that group so that everyone could be part of it. Last night at our meeting, we were brainstorming about terrible things that could happen to a high school student. I told the story about how the guy I liked told me he'd come visit me that night at work (I worked at a small flower shop where I was the only person there most of the time). I was, needless to say, rather excited when Bob showed up . . . until he said he wanted to buy a dozen red roses for another girl. Argh! Anyway, the last time I saw Bob was at BYU when he chased me down in a snowstorm to tell me how great it was to see me. I told him I was engaged.

We all had a nice laugh about that and then went back to critiquing. A few minutes later, the doorbell rang. Kevin was surprised, saying that they rarely had visitors. He opened the door and Bob's father stood there (he's running for public office and was making door-to-door visits). I guess that's the nearest thing to Bob that fate could come up with for us to have a very random moment.

I hope you've enjoyed a little glimpse into our writer's group!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Query Letters

I came across this site for writing query letters that I thought was very useful. Not that we want to follow a formula, but . . .


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Get the news of the industry

The web site listed below is where you can get some interesting information about the publishing industry. Getting in the know is very helpful to your career and makes you more savvy when negotiating with agents and publishers and also knowing who to send your stuff to. This site is for free, however, for a fairly cheap price you can subscribe to the more in-depth stuff. Many of the authors I know subscribe to the more expanded version.


Monday, July 7, 2008

Chapter 2 Done!

I love the quotes! Great job everyone! Hooray! I'm keeping an archive of all the quotes, by the way, and some day I'll post a top ten list.

Chapter two is now complete! I now have 6000 words written, which means I am 10% - 12% finished! Maybe I shouldn't be counting, but it is something to "keep my editor distracted" as Jeanette Ingold said in her workshop presentation on when to write and when to edit.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Stupid Hollywood!

Okay, I need advice. What do you do when you come up with a really great story and you get really excited about it and then you watch or read something that happens to be really similar? Drive me nuts, it's happened three times. Once with a detective story, once with a romance and just recently with this really cute idea about a cyborg in high school. Then I went over to a friends house and we watched a movie about a android in high school!!!!! It even had some of my original jokes. Okay, they weren't exactly alike, but what do I do? I'll look dorky if someone connects them, and I really did think it was original. I don't want to make it too off course and have the cyborg going to school with aliens on a forbidden planet where all they eat is lima beans and lima beans happen to upset his hardware. (hey, that's not bad...)
So what do I do?