Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Master the Art! LDStorymakers 2010 Pt. 6

I attended Nephele Tempest's class, Writing the Dreaded Synopsis.
Nephele is from the Knight Agency.

Here are a few notes I took:
Start with the bare bones of your story:
Theme-hero's real struggle, growth, quest for prize, overcoming obstacles
Conflict (leads to resolution)
Now fill in with a sentence to each of the above.

Nephele used Star Wars as an example:
Theme: Man vs. authority?
Protagonist: Luke Skywalker
Setting: Galaxy far, far away
Conflict: conflict with family-uncle wants him as a farmer, Luke wants to be in the stars. conflict grows with Luke.
Antagonist: Darth Vader

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Pay It Forward Contests

B. Miller is doing a Pay It Forward Giveaway here. She will buy your published book and review it OR $25 GC to Borders, Amazon, etc.

Check out Coming Down the Mountain here. She has a great idea (which she admits she stole from B. Miller) for a contest. She will buy your book and review it OR review and critique your first three chapters and query OR $15 GC to Borders or Amazon.

Mooks in the Movies have offered to name a character in their movie after the winner of B. Miller's blog here.

Next, Daron Fraley is following the the trend as well so check out his blog here. He's giving away FOUR (that's 4) books.

Now, I'm feeling left out. I have TWO books to giveaway to 2 lucky readers:
Method of Madness by Stephanie Black (signed)
Shudder by Jennie Hansen

Tell me about a time you have been on the receiving end of someones kindness.

When I pick the winners on JUNE 1st, I'll tell you my story.
Then pay it forward.

With amazed eyes
They look at you
Wondering how you knew
They needed a lift
How you knew
They needed to give
'Thank you'
They breath
As you lift your hand
And wave
Giving the blessing
Of Paying It Forward

Brick Wall Obliterated

Monday, May 24, 2010

Master the Art! LDStorymakers 2010 Pt 5

I looked forward to Jeff Savage's Character Bible class and it was Awesome! There was so much info that I'll only hit the highlights here:

A character bible tracks minor things like hair and eye color, name and spelling, motivation, growth, background, etc.

The more you elevate a character, the more the reader expects to see them in your book. Anything past a physical description will elevate the character.

Each character will have their own story and character arc.

Jeff had us partner up and interview each other about out protagonist, like age, defining moment, how other characters view your protagonist, etc. The questions help create complexity.

Then we delved into our antagonist with the same questions.

Now, do I have a clear main character and do I like her? Does she have flaws? What will she learn?

My character mist be growing or regressing at all times. We will judge them by their decisions not just their actions.

My homework this weekend is to use Jeff's class notes to deepen my characters.
I don't know if I can wait! It gets me excited!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Map of How A Book is Published

Okay. Didn't know how many of you would want to know THIS much about how a book is made but here's the link just in case.

Published Book

Friday, May 21, 2010

Master the Art! LDStorymakers 2010 Pt 4

I went to Krista Marino's class, The First five Pages.

These are the notes and advice I got from her class:
No typos.
Good writing, think of the readers.
Hook the reader-raise questions, reader should be confused.
Begin in the middle of the action.
Don't answer all the questions-ditch physical description of protagonist unless necessary.
Establish your world-don't neglect setting for dialogue.

Change up your cliches: "Those who do, do. Those who don't, D.J."

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hitting The Brick Wall

Well, I've done it!
I've hit the proverbial brick wall.
I have no desire to write or edit.
My brain feels empty.
I'm distracted by everything and everyone.
Chocolate hasn't helped. Not for lack of trying. ;)

So, I'm taking the weekend off.
I received six (6!) books in the mail this week. I think that is my wall.
I want to read.
And I shall for the next few days.
Watch for my reviews!

And have a great, fantastic, wonderful weekend!

P.S. Oh! What do you do in the summertime when all the kids are home? How do you fit in writing?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Master the Art! LDStorymakers 2010 Pt 3

Today I'm posting my thoughts and a few notes from Jeff Savage's class, Villainous: Creating Characters We Love To Hate.

We compared heroes and villains. Surprisingly, they had similar traits. They are both an everyday man, have flaws, and own special powers but doesn't have to be super powers.

Motives are what separate the hero from the villain. What happened in the villains life that made them the way they are?

The best villains are like the hero if the hero had taken a different path.

Does your villain care about something that is good? That is a weakness that invests the reader.

Trying looking at the characters from different points of view. Try first person of villain, victim, hero, and minion.

How does it all end? With destruction or redemption?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Master the Art! LDStorymakers 2010 Pt 2

Notes from Janette Rallison's class: Self-Editing: Making Your Writing Shine (Sparkling Isn't Just For Vampires)
"I can fix a bad page, I can't fix a blank page." Nora Roberts

Tagline Problems:
Use 'said.'
Beware of adverb and adjective especially in taglines. Instead of "he grunted," try "he grunt with disapproval." (Putting emotion in POV will connect more with reader).

Dialogue Problems:
Don't have character tell each other facts they already know. Put it in the plot.
Don't let your characters deliver speeches.
Dialogue isn't real speech: it's better!

Sentence structure problems:
Don't overuse: is, was, were, are, am. Also watch out for: very, really, pretty, a little, just, as, shrugged, rolled eyes, or any of your favorite words or phrases.

Point of View:
First person: "I."
Third person: "She."
Don't head hop. 90% of manuscripts have this problem-be the 10%!
When using one POV, you get more deeply into one person.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A-Page-A-Day Challenge!

Just like the title of my post says, I am committing to one page a day. The challenge runs from today, May 15th through June 15th. I'll update my progress here or on the sidebar, not sure which yet.
Maybe sidebar.
Then I can add the logo and update my daily words or if I wrote a page.
Too tired to think now.

I will update right now, though.
I wrote a page at LUW conference today.
(Not while a presenter was speaking because that would be rude.)

A blurb from Weronika Janczuk, our lovely hostess:

From May 15th to June 15th 2010 forty-some writers will participate in my Page-a-Day challenge. We'll seek to lessen our word count and other goals to a page a day, no more, no less, and we'll strive to make each individual page stronger.

We're using the #padc hashtag.

For a list of blogging participants, check out this page.

Everyone Else
We'll keep track in the comments on this blog post.

Love this Picture! Have a great weekend

Eilean Donan Castle. Scotland.

Image by bluestardrop

Friday, May 14, 2010

Master the Art! LDStorymakers 2010

I'm a little slow to recap my weekend at LDStorymakers. I love the casual, friendly atmosphere of the conference and learning from the best.

Here are my notes from my first class on Friday:
How To avoid The Common Mistakes of a Novice Writer by Heather Moore
Don't start your book with flashbacks or dreams. If you have to, keep them short.
It's hard to keep romantic tension with flashbacks.
Info Dump:
Info dump doesn't need to be long.
Don't start book with info dump.
If your reader skims to next scene it means there is too much info dump.
Set the hook in the first sentence of the first paragraph.
Set hook at the end of the chapter in the middle of action, with the unexpected or with a new question being raised.
Point of View:
Write from point of view of the character with the most to lose.
Don't dumb down.
Avoid them!
Use different senses and unique metaphors or similes.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mormon Mishaps and Mischief by Giles and Beck

Whoever thought sacrament meeting could be so silly? In Mormon Mishaps and Mischief you'll find a unique collection of hilarious short stories from celebrated LDS authors that turn the spotlight on ordinary members to illuminate the lighter side of Mormondom. Whether it's the annual Primary program or a simple Sunday school prayer, you'll soon find that where two or three are gathered together . . . there's bound to be potential for some humor. Cure your family's Sunday afternoon doldrums with a little dose of mishaps and mischief.

There should be a warning that comes with this book. "Do not read while in sacrament meeting or during a funeral. Loud laughter will ensue and disrupt meetings. Not advisable to read to snarling dobermans."

This book is hilarious. I love that I can pick it up , read a few stories, laugh my head off, then put it down for when I need a laugh later.

I didn't realize that so many members had similar stories! As I read I would think, 'Hey! That happened to me too!'. For example: my son called the FHE prayers opening and shutting prayers.
One of my 5 yr old's prayers: “Please bless the computers and XBox so we can play them.” After which he asked, “Mom, if Jesus doesn’t like our prayers does he sell them back?”

Great book to give as a gift as well!
Perfect for Father's Day!
And now! Prizes!

In celebration of Mothers, and all they do for us, Mormon Mishaps authors C.L. Beck and D.N. Giles have put together a giveaway in conjunction with a week-long blog tour. If you aren’t interested in winning a fantastic advertising package valued at $150, you can stop reading now.

Wait, you’re still reading. That must mean you want to hear about our prize package, correct? Well. Okay then.

Let me first tell you a little about our sponsors, and is an online shopping mall which features innovative products and LDS-based services, and great ideas for your home, all without the worries of questionable content. Shopping categories include Clothing, Music, Preparedness, Family Entertainment, Scrapbooking, Books and Art, Health and Food, Travel and Recreation, Weddings and more! Visit today.

Your LDS Neighborhood Newsletter is a free online newsletter that comes three times a week right to your email inbox. It provides topical stories and insights that set the tone for your day. The newsletter brings you articles, products, services, resources, and interviews from around the world, all with an LDS focus. Sign up today by clicking here! commits to bringing you the best in LDS Music – all day, every day and it is totally FREE to listen! Make them your web-surfing companion. It's free and easy to use and makes for the perfect online companion. Listen for yourself at!

Okay, and now for the prize!

Your LDS Neighborhood has offered a YEAR LONG advertising package which includes space on the Neighborhood website as well as tiles in the newsletter. Were you to purchase advertising with them, this package would cost $150.

Here’s the best part. You don’t have to be LDS to advertise with the Neighborhood. As long as the business, blog, or product you’re promoting is family friendly, this advertising package will benefit you. Neighborhood ads are viewed daily around the globe, and by thousands of people.

So how do you win?

Entries will be accepted between May 4th and midnight, MST, May 16th. On May 17th, (or as close there about as possible) the winners will be chosen and announced on the LDS Humor blog. Although it's not required for entry, please take a minute to read the Mormon Mishaps and Mischief review/interview I've posted. Then, you must do the following four things to enter (but don't worry, they aren't hard):

1. Follow my blog, here.
2. Leave a comment here, at this blog.
3. Follow the LDS Humor blog.
4. Follow the Your LDS Neighborhood Newsletter blog.

Extra entries:

1. Blog about this contest, then come back and leave either a url address or a link in a comment.
2. Follow me on Twitter. (Bloggers, you can hyperlink this to your twitter page if you’d like, or include your twitter username.) And then tweet the contest. (Make sure to mention this in a comment.)
3. Facebook the contest. If your Facebook page is private, and I’m not your friend, I can’t see that you’ve done this, so you’ll need to friend me.(Same goes here.) Be sure to leave the link to where you've FB'd the contest in a comment.

All of these options can be mentioned in a single comment, and you can enter at all the participating blogs, as long as you follow and leave a comment for those bloggers so they know you love them.

You may enter this contest here, as well as on any of the tour posts at the following blogs:

May 4th Rachelle Christensen
May 4th Shirley Bahlmann
May 5th Karlene Browning
May 5th Heather Gardener, Fire and Ice Book Reviews
May 6th Kellie Buckner
May 6th Rachel Rager
May 7th Shauna Chambers
May 7th Heather Justesen
May 10th LDS Humor Blog
May 10th Keith Fisher
May 11th Tristi Pinkston
May 11th Rebecca Talley
May 12th Taffy Lovell
May 12th Kimberly Job
May 13th Connie Hall
May 13th Ali Cross

To purchase Mormon Mishaps and Mischief click here.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Catch Me, I'm Falling

Update: Wrote over 1000 words today.

It's been almost two weeks since my critique met and I still haven't even glanced at my story. Well, I glanced and then put it down.
Don't get me wrong!
I love my critique group! They're all talented, amazing writers. Which leaves me the feeling insecure.
Don't get me wrong!
My group is very supportive and kind. And talented. Did I mention talented? Their stories rock and when they're published I'll have the honor of saying we were in a critique group together.
Don't get me wrong!
I plan on being published...someday. And I will.
But for now, I feel stupid, lowly, frustrated and a little scared.
Am I on the right path?
Am I wasting my time?
My heart screams this is where I'm suppose to be.

So, today:
I am going over my critiques armed with chocolate.
This week:
I'm going to edit the last three chapters of my book.

How about you?
Do you ever feel like you want to give up? What do you do to keep going?
Do you ever throw your pen/paper/laptop down in disgust? Quit for the day or week?

Finally, what were the best words of advice that kept you going?

Thanks everyone! It's nice to have a net, like my readers, to catch me.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Linger Contest

I forgot one other contest, hosted by Maggie Stiefvater herself! She is giving away TONS of stuff for her new book release of Linger, sequel to Shiver. Go to her blog Words on Words and check it out.
In the meantime, here's the book trailer:">" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385">

If that doesn't work, here's the Youtube link: Linger Book Trailer

Contests & Giveaways

Over on Inksplasher, Karlene is doing a fun giveaway through May 15! It's called Luau Lovin' Extravaganza. Sway your hips on over to her blog and comment for a chance to win.

Myth-Takes asks of her readers, What is empowerment? And she is giving away a 10 page critique to a lucky winner.

Check back later this week when I review "Mormon Mishaps" and you can enter to win a $150 advertising package! Check it out now at Random-ish.

Want to win vampire books? Signed ones? Babbling Flow is giving away quite a few!

Sisters in Scribe blog is giving away books and more books! Go! There!

Now for food! Anne Bradshaw is giving away a jar of topical peanut butter!

Creativity Is Everywhere!

Friday, May 7, 2010

My Storymakers Update

I'm taking a page from Dashner's book and making a numbered update of my weekend @ LDStorymakers Conference:

1. Seeing friends from last year (Brent and Sallie), making new friends (most of whom are on my blog roll now) and hanging out with A.I.ers (parrtttee!).

2. Talking, eating and laughing with the best-est authors ever. I will not name drop so I won't tell you how I talked to Rachel Anne Anderson and told I kept thinking she was my cousin because their names are similar or how Janette Rallison and I refrained from comparing stretch marks.

3. Learning that I can still learn more. The presentations I attended were amazing. I'll post my personal notes over the next few weeks.

4. I can make a living writing.

5. Sneaking in snacks is a good idea. Luckily, the snack police were busy.

6. I LOVE chocolate truffles.

7. The LDStorymakers committee ROCKS! All of them. Jaime and Crystal did a fantasticwonderfulepic job.

8. My book will get nominated for a Whitney. Someday.

9. Set no expectations-I entered the first chapter contest with the idea I was paying for critiques. That's what I got. Next year, I'll win :)

10. I finally bought my favorite book and didn't get it signed.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Sapphire Flute by Karen Hoover

It has been 3,000 years since a white mage has been seen upon Rasann. In the midst of a volcanic eruption miles outside of her village, Ember discovers she can see magic and change the appearance of things at will. Against her mother's wishes, she leaves for the mage trials only to be kidnapped before arriving. In trying to escape, she discovers she has inherited her father's secret--a secret that places her in direct conflict with her father's greatest enemy. At the same time, Kayla is given guardianship of the sapphire flute and told not to play it. The evil mage C'Tan has been searching for it for decades and the sound alone is enough to call her. For the flute to be truly safe, Kayla must find its birthplace in the mountains high above Javak. The girls' paths are set on a collision course...a course that C'Tan is determined to prevent at all costs.

I won this book in a contest and was anxious to read and review it for Karen, especially after I met her!
I was intrigued by the flute part of the book. I wondered what kind of justice an author can do with a musical instrument. Anyone can write about putting a piece of metal/wood/crystal to their lips and blowing, but can they portray the essence of the music?
That was my first thought, well, subconsciously. You see, I'm a Band Fag. Yup. That's the name any member of our marching band was called.
So was Karen.
I played the flute.
So did Karen.
We will soon be BFF (she doesn't know that part yet so let's keep it on the DL, ok?).

Anyway, the book follows two different girls from two unique worlds.
They both have magic, families, a destiny.
Karen wove this tale well from the description of the world to the people who inhabit it. I could picture each person through their unique personality and voice (well, not one character since he didn't talk but he had personality).
I became invested in story right away and found myself rooting for the good guys (or girls) and hoping the bad ones are defeated. Or at the very least, frustrated.
The girls, Ember and Kayla, are not aware of each other except maybe in dreams. But when they both decide to take fate into their own hands, they are set on the same path, and hopefully, will meet soon.
The writing is clean and flows well. The characters are well developed and keep growing. Obstacles and trials are constantly standing in the way of the goals, which change when faced with the possibility of the bad guys winning. The descriptions are bright and thorough. I had no problem entering the world Karen created.
There are many characters and a few times I had to remember which ones belonged to which girl but the problem resolved as I read more.

I await the second book, Karen, and would love to review it for you! hinthintwinkwinknudgenudge

Rating G
S: None
L: None
V: Some fighting

Monday, May 3, 2010

Awesome Blogfest via Elana Johnson

Do you have a favorite book you'd give 10 stars?
Tell me what it is!
I need to pile on more great books!

Ready to add more books to your growing reading list?
How about 60 more books?

That's what Elana's doin' to ya.
And it's Awesome!

Click here for the link.

You will be distracted all day reading reviews!

You've been warned.

Oh yeah!
Many of the blogs are giving the book they're reviewing!

A few of my favorite things I'm doing

I'm reading: Fiction: The Light After the War by Anita Abriel  It is 1946 when Vera Frankel and her best friend Edith Ban ...