Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

Ever since I started studying writing I have lost my passion for reading. It is just so confusing trying not to critique a book the entire time I am reading it. And it isn't like I am some amazing writer, it just somehow affected the way I read. I hate it.

That being said, I have been reading a book that I seriously can't put down. I was up until midnight, way late for me, reading it. I love the story- it has such believable inherent conflict.

And the characters, I'm telling you, every last one of them feels like a friend. I want to spend more time with them, I'm dreading the book being over, but can't stop reading it.

My one complaint, as usual, it could use just a tiny bit more romance. It is there, and it is good, but it has sentences like "He kissed me." I'm like, and.... How was it? Tell me more!!!!

Anyway, I am definitely recommending the book Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen. I'm also thrilled to learn she has published eight books and hope they are just as good.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Crtique Groups

I am really starting to hate them. A lot of published authors I follow go on and on about how they couldn't have done it without them. I have no doubt they are useful, it is always useful to have someone else read your story, particuluarly a writer - but what if you can't find one.

I have been searching for one for about a year. I talked to people in the writing associations I belong to, not interested or already have one. I went to a conference specifically looking for one, everyone pushed me off. I even went on-line to a few websites that were recommended to me to find one. I left messages for other people. No response.

I am starting to think if I wait around for a critique group- I will never send out my manuscript. I am toying with the option of paying a local company to do a content edit-exactly what a critque partner would do (only free). I am just tired of waiting, but I guess I should get my mind right. Writing is nothing, if not a waiting game.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cut to the chase

My dad has said this all my life. It is when someone is telling a story and giving you all of these unimportant and usually irrelevant pieces of information. You just want to scream, "Cut to the chase!" You know the chase, like the exciting part of a movie. The part where things are actually happening, the interesting part everyone wants to skim to reach.

I find myself yelling this at books all the time. I know how hard it is to start a story. I have rewritten my first chapter at least 5 times and I'm still not sure it is right, I mean you have to have some background in order to make things interesting.

I read a book recently that had a good idea of how to cut to the chase. Make sure every scene is somehow pushing the book forward. Make sure there is a specific reason for it to be there, that it has something to do with the ending. Don't write things just because you think it is a cute, cool, or fun scene. It is tempting, we all do it, but it slows down the story, even takes the reader out, and then sometimes (if they are like me) you don't get them back.

This is something I have been working on and I think it is worth a thought.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


You know what they are, even if you don't know you know. I don't know if it is the correct termonology but it is the word I am going to use for it.

My kids and I were watching Goonies and my oldest son asked a question about the kids with the asthma inhaler. He didn't know his name, but he knew his tagline. It is a great tool to identify each of your characters, make them memorable, and in this case give the hero a weakness. Steven Spielberg also used things like, data- the smart kid with the all the gadgets, or chunk for the chubby kid. It is brilliant when you have so many characerters.

In the book I am currently reading, Crashed by Robin Wasserman, she keeps referring to a minor character as 'just call me Ben'. It is perfect because he is important but hardly there, so it helps you remember him.

I took a class and we were told to give each of our characters some kind of quirk or physical defect. I love this tool for writing. It gives an interesting tidbit along with a identifiable characteristic. I recommend it to all writers, and challenge readers to find them when they are reading, or watching movies.