Write what you love

Let me tell you a secret. I want to be Stephen King.

[Warning: This post is animated GIF-free.]

Okay, I don’t actually want to be Stephen King. I don’t want coke-bottle glasses and I don’t want to live in Maine, nice as it is in July. I’m also happy being a few decades younger than King is.

But I’d still like to write like the man writes.

Here’s the thing. I’m not Stephen King. (apologies for the rhyme — it’s not my fault his surname rhymes with ‘thing’)

I’m just me. Christina, Tine, that chick from Somewhere in the American South, or whatever I happen to call myself on Friday evenings.

Take-home message? Sure, I have one. It tastes like “write what you love,” not what you want to/pretend to/hope to love. Read more

The gift of flash

Great things from tiny sparks

I had a few alternate titles in mind for this post:

  • How I got the flash bug and why I’m in no hurry to get over it (gag)
  • I write flash, and you should, too (even worse)
  • A flash a day keeps insanity at bay (true, but way too rhyme-y)

[Attention: This post contains no animated GIFs of celebrities freaking out. It does, however, include an awesome photograph by Morgan Sessions via Unsplash for those who appreciate the beauty of stillness.]

So I went with something shorter, sweeter, and all multiple-entendre-ish. Consider it my gift to you.

Great things from tiny sparks

I got all nostalgic the other day last month here on Le Blog and put up a few links and pics of the short stories I grew up with. You won’t find them on your ten-year-old’s school reading list, which is too bad. If more kids read Shirley Jackson and Stephen King, I think we’d live in a better world. Especially if all of Jackson’s and King’s work was in cursive.

But I digress.

Flash fiction is a gift. Read more

From Dissertation to Novel

Standard Disclaimer: This post contains no mind-numbing, seizure-inducing animated GIFs. It does, however, include profanity worthy of Stephen King.

Alternate titles:

Why Academics Make Great Novelists

If You Can Write 400 Pages About Consonant Weakening Processes in Florentine Italian, You Can Write Anything

What to Do when your Academic Reputation Goes South because You Took that Career-Smashing, (but Lucrative) Job in the Mid-East When You Should Have Stayed on Your Butt in Jolly Old England and Become the Queen of Phonetics

I particularly like that last one. It’s just too damned long.

Fellow academic-and-writer Fred Senese (who I “met” when his ultra-violent flash piece got picked over my wishy-washy flash piece in The Molotov Cocktail’s July Flash Fury Contest – note to self: be more furious) and I had a bit o’ Twitter banter the other day on the topic of how our doctoral studies helped us out on the road to becoming writers of fiction. Read more

The Waiting Game and Staying Sane

Ah, slush piles. They seem to be everywhere.

[WARNING: No animated GIFs appear in this post. There is, however, a sprinkling of profanity.]

You’ll find them in literary agents’ inboxes, acquisition editors’ inboxes, lit magazine editors’ inboxes, contest coordinators’ inboxes. Made it through one slush pile? Fantastic. There’ll be another one waiting around the corner. Made it through all the slush piles? Even better. Now hold your breath and count to eleventy-million while the contractual wrinkles get ironed out. Read more

We have a winner!

The Query/Pitch Critique Contest is now closed (as of 5 PM EDT today, 2 June). Thanks to all who entered and wrote a nice comment about Twitter pitch events. I’m glad to have met (or re-met) each of you!

Just a quick aside here before we get to the heart of the matter:

I decided to offer a free crit when I heard the good news circulating ’round Twitter last week about a fellow writer’s cover reveal. I’m not really gearing up to jump into the freelance editing game–I prefer writing my own stuff and brainstorming/troubleshooting with my lovely critique partner. But Happy Author News seemed a reason to celebrate and to give back a bit to the writing community.

So…no, I’m not planning on barraging y’all with adverts about my writing-related services on offer (because 1, I hate adverts and 2, I have no services on offer). I’ll do more freebie contests in the future–just as soon as another piece of good news hits my inbox or Twitter feed. ‘Kay?

Now for the announcement: The RNG (Random Number Generator) spat out a “6,” so that can only mean one thing: Read more

Free query or pitch critique!

Did I say “free?” Why, yes. Yes I did. But first you’ll have to put up with some pom-pom waving on my part for a fellow authoress. All the excitement over on Twitter today re Brenda Drake’s cover reveal for Library Jumpers made me get my grateful freak on. Why? Because #PitMad, the quarterly Twitter-pitch event organised and hosted by the lovely Brenda Drake (where does that gal find the time?) was:

  • The reason I created a Twitter account
  • Where I met a passel of fantastic writing friends
  • How I learned how to pitch an 85,000-word novel in fewer than 140 characters
  • The first time one of my books got an agent’s attention
  • And…best of all…the event that made me think I could actually succeed in this writing game

Read more

The Poisoned Point of View

“Limit your POVs to two or three,” they say.

They do say a lot of things, don’t they?

I’m not about to argue with the experts–the writers, agents, editors, publishers, marketers, and creative writing instructors who tell us that eight points of view is Just. Too. Damned. Many. They’ve been in the business longer than I have, and they know things I don’t.

What I can do, though, is offer a counter-example (and a defense, which I’ll get to later). One counter-example. That’s an N of 1, in statistician-speak, and not very telling, but the N in question is a really big book. Here, I’ll give you a hint:

Its title rhymes with The Silence of the Lambs. Read more

The Puzzling Prologue Problem

Go ahead, Google something along the lines of prologues in novels. I’ll wait.

Done? If so, you’ll have found links like 7 Deadly Sins of Prologues, The Worst Ways to Begin Your Novel: Advice from Literary Agents, The Dreaded Prologue, Question: the oft-maligned prologue, and so on.

Read these four pages. Did you see the following?

“The problem with the prologue is it has kind of gotten a bad rap over the years, especially with agents. They generally hate them.”
(Kristen Lamb, best-selling author and blogger)

“Most agents hate prologues. Just make the first chapter relevant and well written.”
(Andrea Brown, literary agent) Read more