Monday, June 30, 2014

June Wrap-Up


Tomorrow is July. Wait. What?


Where the heck did June go?! I sound old for saying that, but...Geez! I can't believe it's July. Tomorrow!


But there was so much I wanted to accomplish in June! Like read several books. Revise a bunch of chapters. Write more loglines and blurbs. Start thinking about my query letter.


Honestly, not much.



I wish! Actually, my mouth did hook up with a cake pop (or two) at my nephew's graduation party. And this happened...

Writing

1) Storyboard. I created a Pinterest storyboard for my novella, Wild Highland Hero. To view it, click here.

2) Story Idea. Inspiration struck while I was doing research. So I decided to write a third novella for my Wild Highlands series. 

 
3) Critiqued. I critiqued my CP's revised chapter. And it was...



4) Edits. My CP critiqued my latest chapter. I edited it. Twice.


  Personal

1) Puppy Love. I got a pup-eeeee! Every time I look at her, I squee.

Milla


 How was your month? Did you do anything fun or noteworthy? Do share!
Friday, June 27, 2014

My Friday Love

Things I loved this past week... 

Sunshine. Summer arrived. I basked in the sunshine. So did my Doxies. =)
 
My sweet Milla
Sawyer and Milla love sunbathing together.
 
Poison Study. My nephew's girlfriend recently loaned me some YA books to read. I started Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder this week. I was hooked after the first chapter. I hope to read many more chapters this weekend.
 
Photo source: Tumblr
 
Mistresses. The soapy ABC drama Mistresses is my guilty summer pleasure. It has sizzle and substance. Plus, the cast is terrific. I especially love Alyssa Milano (Savi) and Jes Macallan (Joss).


What are you loving this week?
Wednesday, June 25, 2014

WIP Wednesday

I should be writing. But I'm not.


Hey now...


I've been busy. I got a new puppy, remember? Her name is Milla. She's a Mini Dachshund.


She's adorable and fluffy and fun.
 

Milla wakes me up during the night, sometimes two and three times. She howls and snorts like a pig at the crack of dawn when she wants her food. She also demands I stay on high alert during playtime, because she likes to run wild and bite all the wrong things. Like my other Doxie, Sawyer. Somehow Milla senses when I sit down at the computer, even though she's inside her kennel and can't see me. She makes a lot of noise, which is super distracing.

So you see, I've had a good reason for not being on top of my writing game.


Okay. I need to figure out a new writing schedule and stick with it.


Don't worry. I haven't been completely unproductive since getting my new puppy. I revised one chapter after I got it back from my CP. She loved it, thank God. But she pointed out something I need to watch for in my writing. I'll talk more about that later in my next writing update.
 
For now, rest assured I'm as determined as ever to finish my story.

 

Honestly, I feel more frazzled than freaked out. Not to mention exhausted from the nighttime breaks with puppy. Regardless, I mean to decide on a new writing schedule ASAP and complete my story very soon, even if I have to pull a few all-nighters to do so.

If I don't, my CP may just kick my arse. *hides*

How's your writing coming along. Do share!
Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Word Count

Months ago, I fretted over my story length. I worried my WIP was too long for a novella. So I went online to research story length guidelines. I came across an informative post on The Editor's Blog that I thought was worth sharing.

Photo source: Allisonbetancourt.com
   ________________________________

Turns out, the answer is that every story should be as long as it needs to be. It should satisfy the story setup and problem without overwhelming the reader with more words than are necessary.

Right. But what does that mean?

That means that you don't drag out your resolution. You give each story an ending that balances the length and depth of the narrative that has come before. You don't drag it out.

But you also don't drag out chapters. Or scenes. Or dialogue. Or even sentences. Get the point across in the fewest words possible. Tell the reader what she needs to know and then move on.

Don't belabor any point. Cut off scenes while they're still strong rather than leaching out all their power with too much detail and unnecessary explanation. Make readers want more, in a good way, rather than have them wishing you'd shut up already. If you've made your point, get to the next one.

Cut out repetition. Cut out fluff. Cut out the zillions of unimportant actions between one scene and the next. Cut clich├ęs. Cut out any word, phrase, character, or scene that doesn't contribute to the current story you're writing. That is, write one story without trying to force a half-dozen into the same manuscript.

On the other hand, put in words that flavor your passages. Give readers enough detail that your characters seem real. Their plights believable. Their goals meaningful.

Write scenes, not only summaries. Write dialogue that serves to increase conflict and move the story forward.Write fresh phrases. Write events. Create an interesting story. Give readers no more and no less than is necessary to complete the story. And write with story standards in mind.

There are common word counts for not only different genres, but for different categories of fiction. If you're looking to go the traditional publication route, writing to industry standards is a wise choice. No, not every piece of fiction fits neatly into a typical word count, but most do. And if you're a new author, you'll want to use every advantage to get your fiction accepted. You wouldn't want a story to be rejected solely based on word count, would you?

Guidelines for Story Length


Single Title Full-Length Novel..........over 50,000
Category Romance...............................55, 000
Novella....................................................20,00 - 50,000 (some say 40,000)
Novelette.................................................7,500 - 20,000
Shorty Story...........................................up to 7, 500

Keep in mind that these are guidelines, not absolutes. There are exceptions and allowances at both ends of these ranges. There are also sub-categories that could further refine these counts. Also keep in mind audience and publisher needs. Novels that are too short might not appeal or might not fit a publisher's needs, and novels that are too long may be rejected simply for length.

Publishers typically won't consider a writer's first novel if it's too long. The maximum standard word count for a romance novel is about 110,000 words. Anything from 80,000 to 110,000 is common, with many novels falling in the 90,000 to 100,000 count range.

The reality is that new writers have to prove themselves before publishers can take a chance on a long novel from them. So prove you can write a killer novel -- or two or three -- that comes in at 95,000 words. Then when you make millions for the publisher, offer them that 180,000 word masterpiece.

And yes, before you say it, there are exceptions. But one exception out of thousands and thousands of manuscripts isn't great odds. Don't handicap your chances at being published for the sake of word count.

Pick up any novel, especially those written in a different era, and you may well find a wildly different word count. Yet you are writing today, so your options depend on today's gatekeepers and marketplace.

Note: There are different rules for self-publishing. If someone else isn't layout out the money and their reputation for your work, you can write longer stories. Keep in mind, however, that you still have to please readers. No matter what the length, make it a great story.

Both stories that are too short and too long are hard to sell. Try to keep yours within the standard ranges. Give yourself an edge by fitting in. Yes, you do want your writing to stand out, but there are some ares where standards rule. Let your characters and plot be wild and adventurous. Let your writing be bold. But let industry rules give boundaries to your creativity. Think of industry standards as the frame for your writing.

Write creatively. But do so in a way that will give others the opportunity to read your work. Know when to following rules and standards is to your benefit.

 ________________________________

As for me, I realized once I started revising my WIP that my story length was right on track. =)

~ Courtesy of Beth Hill, The Editor's Blog ~
Friday, June 6, 2014

My Friday Love

Things I loved this past week... 

Library Books. That perfect moment when you're deciding what to read next and your library hold becomes available. 


So now I'm reading The Traitor's Wife by Allison Pataki. =)

TURN. I'm a wee bit obsessed with TURN, the Revolutionary War drama on AMC. The show is chock-full of action, romance, spies, puffy shirts, and powdered wigs. Oh, and Jamie Bell -- with a frock coat, cravat, and queue, no less. *swoon*  




Road Trip. Yep, I'm going on a road trip. Today, as a matter of fact.

 

My trip to the Oregon coast will be short. Nevertheless, I'm excited. Not only will I be attending my nephew's high school graduation, I'll also be picking up my new puppy while I'm in Oregon. I can't wait!!


What are you loving this week?
Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday: Swimming To Tokyo

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine, and is a way to show off the books you can't wait to be released.  This week I choose...

  NEW ADULT
 
SWIMMING TO TOKYO
Brenda St. John Brown
July 28, 2014

The rules for swimming are simple:
Rule #1: There is no lifeguard on duty.


Since her mom died three years ago, nineteen-year-old Zosia Easton’s been treading water. Living at home. Community college. Same old Saturday nights. So when her father breaks the news he’s taken a job transfer—and by the way, it means renting out the house that’s been her refuge—a summer in Tokyo feels like it just might be a chance to start swimming again.

Rule #2: Beware of unexpected currents.


Finn O’Leary has spent God knows how many years trying to drown out his past. Juvenile detention. Bad decisions. Worse choices. He’s managed to turn it around – MIT, Dean’s List, a sexier-than-thou body with a smile to match – at least on the surface. When his mom asks him to spend the summer with her, Tokyo seems as good a place as any to float through the summer.


Rule #3: Swim at your own risk.

I'm marking my calendar for this one. I love Tokyo!

~ Book blurb courtesy of author's website ~
Sunday, June 1, 2014

June Releases

Surprisingly there aren't many books on my June must-read list. Just one. Yes, you read that right. One book. How sad. I'm fine with that, though, considering my NTR pile is plenty big. I need to read faster, apparently. #toomanybooks #solittletime
 

  NEW ADULT 
 

No Apologies
by Sybil Bartel 
June 23
 
I love a good New Adult novel. This e-book debut about a hard-edged rocker who falls for a sweet girl with a crushing secret sounds like a nice summer read.

What's on your must-read list this month?