Hey, kids!!

I’ve been a little MIA from the Internet since our trip to New Jersey last weekend, but I’m back and ready to get back to work.

Too. Much. Turkey.

Thanksgiving was fantabulous.  My family visited for the week, and we got the drywall up in the new bathroom and new walk-in closet in the master bathroom (and by “we,” I mean my husband and dad).  Operation House Demo, in full swing!

My daddy - in the new bathroom!

Other than that, I did a lot of resting and got the tree up.  YAY!

I’ve got about 5-10K more words to go on my NaNo WIP, so I’ll be hard at work, especially the next two days, wrapping it up. Very happy.

So . . . how was your Thanksgiving?

An Abby, in front of the fireplace!

In the Blogosphere: 11/15-11/19

“In the Blogosphere” is a series, which lists links to writing-related blogs I’ve stumbled upon throughout a given week (usually).

I’m admittedly behind with my Blogosphere posts—I have about 50 links saved, dating all the way back to the summer (oh noes!)—but they are all still worth a look.  I’m getting there!


At, über fantastic Andrea Brown agent Mary Kole talks about “prime real estate”—and the three places she considers that to be in your manuscript.  Um—sold!

Here, Kole says, if your characters shoot glances, you should be shot!*

In her guest post on Writer Unboxed, the ZOMG-awesome Laura Espinosa (a Write-Brainiac!) tells how getting in touch with your inner actor can help you iron out those pesky, hard-to-write scenes.


This question has come up with some international Write-Brained Network folks—yes, we are global, people!!  Here, Mary Kole (yes, again—she’s on fire!!) discusses how to handle your manuscript if you are an international writer and/or writing international settings.

Paranormalcy author, the adorable Kiersten White answers reader questions and dishes on how/when to query as well as how to make blog follower friends.


Here, the now-former agent extraordinaire, author Nathan Bransford, debunks the top 10 myths about the future of e-publishing.

In the yeeeeeeear two thousaaaaaaaaaaaaand!


Many folks have tackled this subject, but here is the Suzie-Townsend-repped Kristin Miller of YA Highway’s take on how to revise and resubmit.

Here, on See Heather Write, Heather Trese outlines some of her incredible takeaways from a session on revising with Gennifer Choldenko. (Really really faboo post!)

The fabulous duo at Adventures in Children’s Publishing (Martina Boone and Marissa Graff) details the seven basic plot types in this equally as fabulous post.  Where does yours fit?

If you’re looking for some awesome Web resources for writers, the good folks of have compiled 50 of the best in terms of reference; fiction, nonfiction, and freelance writng; and writing in general.


Here, author Jody Hedlund suggests how to attract readers to your bloggity blog. (<—Well, she doesn’t actually call it that!)

In her guest post over at Writer Unboxed, Writer’s Digest and the University of Cincinnati’s own Jane Friedman says specificity sets apart the professionals from the amateurs.

Over at the Huffington Post , Denise Brodey gives a five-point plan on how to sell books. Having a Twitter account won’t do it alone.


Write Anything’s Annie Evett did a neat little four-part series on dialogue.  Check it out: part one, part two, part three, & part four.

Over at Inky Fresh Press, the OMGiDONTknowWHATi’dDOwithoutHER Write-Brainiac Bridgid Gallagher offers five tips on how to improve that elusive thing everyone wants to grab hold of: voice.

On her blog, freelancer and YA writer Heather Trese does it again, relaying valuable info she learned about voice during a workshop with Rachel Vail.


Here, the inimitable T.H. Mafi (Tahereh), delivers the best writerly pep talk evarrr.  Bookmark it, folks.  Fo’ realz.

Feeling a little bipolar about your manuscript?  Jody Hedlund says that’s normal, and she offers suggestions on how to deal.


At Querypolitan, the fabulous Kate Hart *just may* be on to something: Edward Cullen and Vanilla Ice—one and the same?


Please check out my new Web site.🙂

Happy weekend!!!

*OK—she doesn’t quite put it *that* way!

Whaddup Wednesday–Resetting My Brain

Some of the folks in the Write-Brained Network are starting to hit the middle-of-the-month blues, in terms of NaNoWriMo, NaNoWraMo, and just their monthly writing goals in general.  I was all peppy about it two days ago (NO!!!!!!!!  Just get to the computer when you can.  Adjust your goals if you want.  Keep on going!), but my brain is a bit fried at the moment.

This is a product of having too much to do (knocking work off my plate in anticipation for a weekend away, getting the house ready for company, and putting too many things on my list each day).  How can you feel good if you don’t have a chance of tackling everything you’ve set out to accomplish in a day?

But I digress.

Although I missed my 8000-word goal for Week 2 by a mere 20 words—wrote 7980 during Week 2 (for all you math majors out there)—I’m okay with it.  I could have written 20 words of crap just to make the goal, but with doing NaNoWraMo and not WriMo, I am trying to make these words count (no pun intended).

Up until this week, I was still over my overall goal, having gone over my countage for Week 1.  This week has been a big fat ZERO so far, however. That said, I need to rethink all this so as not to go crazy and stop altogether.


The way I see it, I’ve got about 12,500 words to go with this manuscript (give or take).  I technically have 15 days left to finish; however, looking at my schedule and obligations, it seems far more likely that I’ll only be able to write on about nine of those.

So . . .

Let’s just say I’ll write 1400 words a day on each of those nine days I’ve deemed days I can write . . . and if I happen to sneak in more either on those days or on the six remaining days, EVEN BETTER!

Overall, I’ve been pretty happy with the wordage I’ve put up so far—in number and quality.  Which isn’t to say I won’t have to do any editing, but I’ve been doing some as I go—don’t tell the NaNo gods!

Okay, well, I feel better.  How about you?  How are you doing with your NaNo (or other monthly writing) goals?  Would a little brain reset help?  GO FOR IT!

Pointers from the Pros: Author Jonathan Rabb on “Place as Character”

Pointers from the Pros” gives tips from authors and publishing industry professionals on everything from craft to querying to their experiences on the road to publication.  This post is by guest columnist and Write-Brainiac J.M. Lacey.

The August 2010 Scribblers’ Retreat Writers’ Conference in St. Simons Island, Ga., featured a stellar set of professional speakers.

Author Jonathan Rabb spoke on the Friday of the retreat.

Rabb is the author of the critically acclaimed historical novels Rosa and Shadow and Light, the first two books in a trilogy set in Europe between the wars. The final installment, The Second Son, will be published by Farrar Straus & Giroux early in 2011.

Prior to the trilogy, the Yale and Columbia graduate wrote The Overseer and The Book of Q and contributed essays and reviews to Opera News and the collection I Wish I’d Been There (Doubleday). He won the international Dashiell Hammett prize at the Spanish Semana Negra Festival in 2006 for Rosa, and he teaches creative writing at both NYU and SCAD.


Here are some key points from Jonathan’s program on “Place as Character in Historical Fiction”:

On Research—

  • In historical fiction, you have to feel you “own” what you are writing. The author must have strict authority over that world. You only have about 20 pages to capture the reader’s certainty and confidence in your knowledge. Creating this kind of authority requires a lot of research.
  • Don’t trust the Internet for your research. Reach out to academics. Read their books and ask for their help.
  • Read novels written during the time period your novel is set in (if possible). Find material written in the voice of that time.
  • Once you’ve done the research, you must let it go. You are telling a story, and the story has to have its own life.
  • In historical fiction, everyone knows the end. The writers and readers share an intimacy by knowing more than the characters.

Place as Character—

  • Make Place a character. The only way characters can be compelling is if the space surrounding them is a character. Space defines the relationship with a character.
  • Inject something of the characters in the place. Have tension and conflict exist between the person and the space.
  • While we’re careful not to write a character doing something out of character, the same rule works for place. Don’t write something out of character for the place. Don’t invent a left turn for a real street if, in reality, you can’t make that left turn.


J.M. Lacey is a freelance writer and marketing and PR consultant. She is working on a place-as-character-driven novel. Visit her Web site and blog.

In the Blogosphere: 10/18-11/12

“In the Blogosphere” is a series, which lists links to writing-related blogs I’ve stumbled upon throughout a given week (usually).

I’m admittedly behind with my Blogosphere posts—I have tons of links saved, dating all the way back to the summer (oh noes!)—but they are all still worth a look.  I’ll catch up eventually, right?


Here, author and D4EO literary agent Mandy Hubbard gives some spillage on some holes in the market as well as subgenres all editors want (hint: middle grade!).

Writer’s Relief talks lit agents—and how to find the best one for you.

Other than announcing he’s leaving the agenting world (!), Nathan Bransford has more bad news: the rejection letter of the future will be silence.

Here, FinePrint Literary’s Suzie Townsend chats about the waiting game.

We all know it’s important to build platform, but do unpubbed writers need to blog? Andrea Brown agent Mary Kole of weighs in.


Over on her blog, YA author Michelle Hodkin gives an ironic example of what your first pages should look like.* (Hint: if this is what your first pages actually look like, get that delete button ready!) *She also gives links to fabulous resources for fixing up those first pages.

Thinking of planning a trilogy?  Please don’t get started until you read this post by YA author (and my pal—hee!) Jodi Meadows.

Over at the Guide to Literary Agents blog, Chuck Sambuchino shares five screenwriting tips [from Neil Landau and Matt Frederick‘s 101 Things I Learned in Film School] *all* writers can use.


Ever wonder what full-time writers do all day?  Over at Writing it Out, Across the Universe author Beth Revis live-blogged a day in her busy writer life.

While we’re living vicariously through others, middle-grade author Stephanie Blake shares how she got plucked from the slush pile over at Adventures in Children’s Publishing.


As you know, I’m a huge enthusiast of writers’ conferences.  Well, so is the University of Cincinnati and Writer’s Digest’s Jane FriedmanHere, she talks about the benefits of attending these functions.

Having trouble formatting your synopsis? Here’s a checklist of the essentials, from WD.

Going along with that, Write Anything’s Annie Evett talks about the importance of building a writer portfolio—how to, what to include, etc.

Worried you’ll lose your blog content? Guest blogger Peta Jenneth Andersen explains how, over at Guide to Literary Agents blog.


Over at Self Editing Blog, author John Robert Marlow talks about jumping the gun.


You may be participating in this writing marathon, but you can still be healthy about it. Write Anything’s Annie Evett tells us how.

Here, YA author of awesome Maureen Johnson answers a slew of NaNo questions.

Here are some NaNo DOs and DON’Ts, courtesy of TerribleMinds.

And over at Write Anything, Andrea Allison offers some Web site aids to help you stick with it.


I heart Meg CabotHere’s an interview L.A. Times’s Carolyn Kellogg of Jacket Copy did with the author extraordinaire this summer.

Um, coolest thing ever?  Make your Twitter feed into a daily newspaper!