Sunday, December 23, 2012
So, the happiest of holidays and warmest wishes of this blessed season to you all. Just for fun, here's a look at our new living room only a couple of weeks ago - now it's filled with boxes. Presents under the "tree!"
Sunday, December 16, 2012
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Monday, December 3, 2012
- how I use checklists
- my favorite workbooks
- dedicated passes
- Find all the "ly" words (i.e., adverbs) by using the Word "find" feature and eliminating most - if not all.
- Search for "it is/was" and "there is/was". It's almost always stronger to use different phrasing. (Or, by example... “Phrases are almost always stronger when they don’t begin with ‘it's’.”)
- Search for places where my character "felt," "saw," "looked," etc. When I'm really inside my character, those soft verbs aren't necessary. Much better to show the event or action without the distancing verbs.
- Search for sentence "flow." In particular, I look sentence by sentence for stronger first and last words. First and last are the most important words in the sentence.
- Search for passive voice and other indicators of "telling" (like, helping verbs, "to be" verbs).
- Try to make sure there's tension on every page.
- Remove dialogue tags wherever possible. Even "said" can get in the way when only two people are talking.
- Make sure gesture substitutes for internal thoughts wherever possible.
- Look for those things that popped up in my subconscious and may be amplified - recurring metaphors or images.
- Watch for unintentional repetition of certain words and phrases.
|my own workbook in the company of the "greats"|
- DonaldMaass, Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook
- DarcyPattison, Novel Metamorphosis
- MarthaAlderson, The Plot Whisperer Workbook
- CherylKlein, Second Sight
- smooth and interesting transitions between chapters
- magnification of character traits
- items of metaphoric significance or resonant setting details or thematic elements that can be amplified
Monday, November 26, 2012
|one of my shrunken manuscripts|
- Shrink your manuscript to 8 point font, single spacing, with no chapter breaks - you'll be able to read it, just enough to know where you are
- Highlight areas for different aspects of the manuscript – character development, description, subplots, moments of tension (or lack thereof), etc., etc.
- Stand back and just look
|my plot board with notes and Martha Alderson plotline|
|plot planner in miniature|
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Monday, November 5, 2012
Now to the business at hand: my launch post! (I'm excited. Did I mention that?)
One of the most evocative scenes in American fiction takes place in a living room in a Long Island mansion and features two girls, Daisy and Jordan, long-limbed and lounging, dressed in white. The scene is in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s THE GREAT GATSBY, set in 1925, the year of its publication. Although not historical fiction in the strictest sense, it is fine fiction in the best sense – and it brings to life the Roaring Twenties in America. Great historical fiction brings the past to life. I can't wait for the movie version due out this summer.
Sunday, November 4, 2012
I'm a native New Yorker. I was born in Manhattan and schooled on the upper west side. At various times in life I've lived way downtown near Wall Street, in Greenwich Village, in midtown on the east side, on 79th and Central Park West, and on 111th and Riverside Drive. I have family and friends all over New York and New Jersey, some who are still without power.
A few who've lost everything.
Some generous kidlit folks have already begun to raise funds for the American Red Cross and other organizations. Kate Messner has founded KidLitCares featuring an astonishing array of terrific auction items - you can benefit the Red Cross and win something to help your writing/illustrating career.
My friend Jeri Smith-Ready has taken an inventive approach: you give a little to relief - she suggests the Red Cross, the Humane Society, and AmeriCares - and she'll give you something awesome for your troubles.
Here in the Wardrobe I'd like to offer something, too. For the rest of the month of November, for anyone who comments on any blog post here I'll make a donation to the American Red Cross.
If you tell me you've donated to any Sandy relief organization at all - and I'm going to take it on faith - I'll send you a handful of bookmarks.
At the end of the month, the names of everyone who has commented and donated will be thrown into the hat and the winner will receive a signed copy of SIRENS, which is set in New York City.
All you have to do is comment. And, if you want, make a donation.
- For your comment, I'll make a donation to the American Red Cross.
- For your comment plus your assurance you've made any donation to any relief organization, you get swag plus I make my donation (contact info please so I can get your snail mail addy; US addresses only.)
- All commenters/donators will be eligible to win a copy of SIRENS.
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Years ago, when I was starting out, I met several authors who were beyond kind to me. They offered advice and support and never made me feel anything but accepted. One was Kelly Bennett, whom I featured recently, and another was today's guest, Sherry Garland.
Sherry moved to College Station, Texas, from Houston just about the time I was getting started with my writing. She was a real role model - highly successful, having written beautiful books that I continue to admire. And her career continues, through thick and thin, with gorgeous books of all stripes. I'm really pleased to welcome her to my blog. Here's Sherry:
|interior spread from Voices of Pearl Harbor|
Thursday, October 25, 2012
So, thank you, thank you, a million times thank you! to:
Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf
The Compulsive Reader
Emily's Reading Room
The Mod Podge Bookshelf
In Bed With Books
The Story Siren
Check out the links - some of the contests are still open! I'll have more thank-you's very soon.
And don't miss the Crossroads Blog Tour on now. A bunch of fabulous authors, spearheaded by my friend Judith Graves, are on board that train, including me. Look for lots of paranormals. The grand prize for coming by this tour is a Kindle, preloaded with our books - wow!
We'll all be together for a Twitter chat, hosted by the awesome Mundie Moms, on Monday, October 29 - check it out.
And since this second baby is now out in the world, here's teaser number 2 for SIRENS, with a shout-out to my talented son, Kevin Fox, who makes all my trailers:
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Monday, October 8, 2012
- Perfect by Natasha Friend, teens with eating disorders.
- James Cross Giblin’s The Boy Who Saved Cleveland, a survival story all about corn.
- Joan Bauer’s Close to Famous and Sprinkles and Secrets by Lisa Schroeder both center on cupcakes.
- In Ruby Lu, Brave and True by Lenore Look, this description of the new girl says it all: “When the ice-cream truck came down the street, Christina was always the first in line.”
- Tracing the Stars by Erin Moulton, stars Indie Lee Chicory who loves chowder almost as much as she does her golden cola drinking lobster.
- The Chocolate Touch, John Midas is a nice boy with “one bad fault: he was a pig about candy.”
- Who’s coming to dinner? Meals are an excuse to bring all manner of characters together.
- What’s for dinner? Mealtime fare reveals economic situations and informs readers about other times, places & cultures.
- Where’s dinner? The place and table establish setting
- Sid Fleischman describes the prince’s face as “lobster-red from running” in The Whipping Boy. Readers unfamiliar with lobsters will visualize a reddish face and read on. Those familiar with lobsters will round out the image by picturing the prince’s face as hard and crusty like a lobster shell, and a whiff of sea salt.
- Richard Best calls a classmate’s legs “Slim Jim pretzels” (The Candy Corn Contest by Patricia Reilly Giff) –long, thin, pretzel salt, bumpy, too.
- Ruby Lu’s ink “as lumpy as tempura batter” (Ruby Lu, Brave and True by Lenore Look)—Look is a master of food imagery. Here’s more:
- “At night the rain was a lullaby of a billion grains of rice falling on the roof”
- Ruby likens her father’s fast knitting to “a starving man’s chopsticks at a feast
- Her brother was “wrapped up like a burrito”
- The island of “Tangerina” and port of “Cranberry” (My Father’s Dragon, Ruth Stiles Gannett)
- Dogs “Fudge-Fudge” and “Marshmallow” (The New Animal by Emily Jenkins)
|One of Kelly's inventive Halloween costumes...|
- When disappointed in her brother, Ruby “felt all her love for him drying up like spilled soda on a hot sidewalk.”
- When Ruby’s mad she feels “hotter than microwave popcorn.”
- Lowji, Candace Fleming’s Indian character in Lowji Discovers America gets mad, too, he turns “hot, hotter than Bape’s curry sauce.”
Warning: Food references are like wine and chocolate: as much as we’d like to think otherwise, for best results they should be used in moderation.