Monday, October 31, 2011

On your mark…get set…go!

NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow :) Are you excited? I am!

I will try my best to get around to everyone’s blog, and I will continue to blog during November. I’ve even written posts ahead of time.

I’m not a fast writer so 50,000 words in a month will be a stretch for me.

Also, It’s Halloween today—Happy Halloween J

I’m going to be a writer for Halloween. My costume:  Pajamas, two day old hair, and the far off look of someone trying to remember dialogue.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Killer Characters: When the whole world is against you!

I had a hard time deciding what Antagonist to write about—there are just so many great ones. But the more I thought about it, the more I narrowed in on the antag that always makes me feel the most hopelessness…

The corrupt society antagonist. This antag shows up in almost every dystopian novel. The reason it’s so chilling is because—EVERYTHING is against the protag: the government, the way people think, the entire culture, usually their families, etc.

The man vs. society dynamic is so daunting. How will the protag beat an entire culture? The conflict is huge! I think this antag resonates because we have all felt like the entire world was against us. Heck, I felt like that just this week :)

Here are some of my favorites:

Matched by Ally Condie—For Cassia to be with the boy she loves, she is must find a way to fight through a corrupt system that won’t let her choose.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins—Katniss can’t protect the people she loves unless she can find a way to take down the Capital.

The Uglies by Scott Westerfeld—Tally must make a choice that in her world will make her an outcast forever.

I wanted to pick more great Antags, but here are a few honorable mentions: Sauron (Lord of the Rings), Professor Umbrage (Harry Potter), the White Witch (Narnia), and Saint Dane (Pendragon).

What about you? Who are your favorite Antagonists?


If you want to check out the other Killer Character entries—click here. Thanks Deana and Emily :) This was so fun.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

2 Cool Contests

The lovely Abby Fowers is having a contest over at her blog—Something to Write About

She needs help coming up with a pen name, and she’s prepared to offer a great prize (signed copy of Possession by Elana Johnson) to the person who comes up with the best name. 

Abby is funny and spunky, and she needs a pen name that fits her. Interested? Go check it out.

Have you heard of inkPageant yet? It's an amazing new site where you can access great writing advice from other bloggers. Sign up and you can add your own amazing posts for others to read :) This is a great way to find new followers and get great writing tips.

They are having a contest in October and giving away 3 Amazon gift cards. Who doesn’t want that?—click here for more details.

Hope you all have a fantastic day :)


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Killer Characters: “Had you behaved in a more gentleman like manner…”

I know…I know, I’m not being super original, but I can’t help it—Elizabeth Bennet is my favorite Protagonist. A great protag is one you can root for, identify with, wish you were—and come on, who doesn’t want a little attention from Mr. Darcy?

What makes Elizabeth so amazing? Don’t worry…I’m going to tell you :)

  • Brave—It’s easy for us to make choices when we can get a job and live however we want. But Elizabeth can’t. She must be brave and trust that following her heart is the right choice.
  • HumbleShe may get love wrong at first but when she finally figures it out she isn't too proud to admit it. I will say that she doesn't start out like this.
  • Witty—I would hate to be in a battle of wits with Elizabeth. I would lose for sure. Don’t you just love smart funny women? There aren’t enough of them in literature. Let’s write some :)
  • Unwavering—Elizabeth may change her opinion about Darcy and Wickham, but she never compromises her morals.
  • Loyal—She stands by her family even though sometimes they are ridiculous. Didn’t you just cringe when Lydia made her sisters walk behind her?
  • Flawed—Perfect protags are boring! Elizabeth is far from perfect. She is judgmental, proud, sometimes oblivious, stubborn, and stuck up. The great thing about flaws it that they balance out a character. 

So what about it? Who are your favorite literary Protagonists? Want to see the other entries—click here.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Confessions of a Cynical Blogger

Okay, I'm just going to come right out and say it. The cynical blogger is ... me. It's true. I have had a resistance ... no, it's more than that -- a defiance to blogs (not unlike my defiance of Facebook, Twitter and the like). I never understood them or why people all over the earth would flock together to scroll through someone's random thoughts or inspirations. Like I said, this is my confession, and I'm laying it all out on the table (you've been warned).

Six months ago when Angie, Amy and I decided to start a critique group as well as a blog, I did so on the recommendation of an agent at the conference we attended. My idea of a blog was to get our three names on a webpage. That's it. Put up a few pictures, a bio, contact info and call it good. I didn't want to fall into that 'self-centered, egotistical, can't-contain-my-greatness-so-I-just-have-to-blog-about-it' category. I didn't want to shine, I didn't want to shake things up - I just wanted to be a fly on the blogging world wall and let success come to us, rather than seek it out ourselves.

Angie, on the other hand, had other ideas. And this is the moment where my cynicism waned dramatically.

I began seeing posts about campaigns and blogfests (what?), not having any clue what Angie was up to. I just stuck my nose back into my manuscript while she plugged away at the blog. Then some of you started leaving awesome comments to Angie's deluxe posts. I began following links to your blogs. And what's worse - I began to read them. I read your bios, the upcoming events surrounding your writing, interviews, tips, ideas, the latest blog award, helpful links, etc.

Imagine the shock I received when, come to find out, you aren't all a bunch of bored, over-inflated, anti-social people who have nothing better to do than surf the internet and make imaginary friends (please don't throw stones, my confession ends well, I promise. I'm a changed woman).

I read one line in Jen Daiker's blog that completely broadsided me. In answer to why she has so many followers on her blog, she replied that aside from her obvious awesomeness, the real, bottom-line answer is: Hard Work. And she's right. Blogging is not for the faint of heart -- I know that now. You have all stepped up to plate, embraced the new face of marketing, putting your name and your talent out there and are networking your fingers to the bone.

I'm new to the game. I HAD NO IDEA THIS WAS SO MUCH WORK!(a lot of fun, but work none the less). Come to find out, you guys aren't bored, twiddling-your-fingers kind of people. You have children, careers, side jobs, second jobs, third jobs, husbands, laundry, pets, wives ... just like me. You have to juggle your time and priorities ... just like me. You are probably functioning on too little sleep ... just like me.

The truth is, you're talented people, with regular lives who know that you have to work for what you want. You're using tools to reach your dream. To be successful writers and teachers and whatever else. You're not entertaining any delusions that your dream will be realized without some sweat, tears and a lot of typing. You're realistic and motivated and hardworking.

So, from a novice blogger, may I just say, thanks for teaching me a few ropes, a few tricks of the trade and above all, for putting yourselves out there every week and giving some of us who thought we knew it all, a good spanking (metaphorically speaking! :))

--Sara Bulla

Monday, October 24, 2011

Killer Characters: “Don’t go where I can’t follow”

I have a soft spot for supporting characters—they never get the praise they deserve. Without the grounding supporting character, our heroes would wander around angsty and aimless.

This was an easy pick for me. My favorite supporting character of all time is Samwise Gamgee. He’s amazing! Sam completely encompasses this idea—the best supporting character’s really a hero in disguise.

Why I love Sam
  • Loyal—Sam defines this word. He never wavers in his loyalty. He would die for Frodo. I’m sure he thought at times he would.
  • Brave—He fights again and again, even when hobbits are not known for their bravery.
  • Supportive—I love Frodo, but without Sam everything would have been lost.
  • Determined—He NEVER gives up. Frodo is getting into the Mount of Doom—even if Sam has to carry him!
  • Funny—Sam makes me laugh, and that’s always a plus.
  • Chief—Sam is always cooking :) I want to travel Middle Earth with someone who will make me dinner. I wonder if my kids would be so picky if Sam cooked them dinner? 

I have another funny reason why I love Sam. The actor Sean Astin looks a little like my husband J  When my hubby was growing up in California people used to think he was Sean Astin. LOL!

Got any favorite supporting characters? If you want to check out the other entries in Deana and Emily’s Killer Characters Blogfest—click here. Come back Wednesday for Killer Characters: Protagonists.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Off the Mark

Just a few "writery" things to make you smile :) Thanks Mark Parisi! Have a great weekend.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Three's a crowd!

Can I just say love triangles are NOT my favorite? Maybe I’m crazy—I must be because they are everywhere! I find them more in YA books than in adult books. In fact it feels like they are in every YA book…okay maybe I’m being dramatic.

Here is my question—Do they really happen in real life? They didn’t happen to me. I had boyfriends, but I was never torn between two boys. I must just be ultra decisive. In fact, I am ultra decisive. I’m a “make a quick decision live with the consequences” kind of girl.

These are my problems with love triangles:
  1. The girl (or boy) trapped in the middle, almost always comes across as weak. Just make a choice and get on with it already!
  2. To make it work the reader needs to like both romantic choices, and that means the MC hurts someone you like.
  3. If you don’t make one choice likeable the triangle falls apart, and your MC looks silly for being so wishy washy.
  4. It feels like a female fantasy. Like this is what every girl wants—two guys after her. But I wouldn’t want that. Have you ever read a triangle with two girls and one guy? No? I can’t think of one. Can you?
  5. Triangles almost always leave me disliking the MC. That is harsh I know, but the longer she drags it out the less I like her.
  6. Triangles can leave me disliking the guys who would put up with this nonsense. I can get behind a little patience on the side of a guy. It is sweet letting the girl make a decision, but at a certain point it kind of turns pathetic. I want him to say, “Look if you like me great, but if you don’t I’m going to find someone who does, because this isn’t fair to me.” I would NEVER wait around for someone who didn’t like me enough to pick me.

Sorry, I feel like I am being really harsh. I don’t mean to be. In fact some of my favorite books have triangles, but at least for me they are my favorites despite the triangle. Am I nuts? I think I must be, because everyone is reading and writing love triangles. If you love them can you help me understand why, because I just don’t get it.

Personally I’m a fan of unrequited love. I say let’s bring back that trend. What do you say?


It's been a crazy week, so I'm a little late with this, but--you can hear me rambling about writing over at Something to Write About. The awesome Abby Fowers was so sweet and asked the BEST questions :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Please Pass The Tissues

Tonight I'm staring at my computer screen through the narrow slits of my swollen eyes. I just finished a movie where I had no choice but to completely surrender myself and cry my eyes out. My hands were tied! It was heart-wrenching, difficult, lovely, romantic, real, and poignant.

Without the swell of background orchestra music, or beautiful panoramic camera sweeps, can our writing invoke the same reactions? How? What do you do to connect to your readers? To drill inside of them and hit a nerve?

Here are some things that were present in this movie as well as other movies/books that I've delved into:

1. Dire circumstances where either the best or the worst in the MC comes to the surface (or sometimes both).

2. Truth. Truth resonates with people. I don't need to travel in the belly of a slave ship to know of injustice and I don't have to be the first person to set foot on a new land to feel the excitement of discovery. I am human and if I can't relate to it completely, I can still be swept away by a well crafted story and empathize with the situation -- drawing on my own life experiences to back me up.

3. Humor. In this movie, humor was welcomed like a cool breeze. It's refreshing and sometimes helps us make it to the next painful plot point. Just as in life, I think humor reminds us of who we are ... giving us just enough motivation to move forward, remembering when things weren't so bad, or so hard or so blurry. Just feeling ourselves smile rejuvenates us and connects us to the story(or character).

4. Rock Solid Characters. This is a no brainer. I can honestly say that I have liked nearly every movie/book that I've seen or read where there's a character that I can actually back up and stand behind. As long there is some redeeming quality, something that assures me that there is a goodness or strength about him/her, I can usually stick it out. On the flip side, I can walk away from any movie/book where the characters aren't believable, likable or at the very least, have some shred of common decency. The plot can be out of this world, but if I can't stand in the character's corner, I'm out.

5. Weakness. In writing good characters and plots, I stand by the old saying, Weaknesses are often our Strengths. Every Superman must have his Kryptonite, right? Giving our characters weaknesses adds depth, compassion, risk, and pain to our stories. It also provides the perfect catalyst for change, growth, fighting, and hard earned triumph. I love it when a good read actually brings me to my feet, cheering for the unlikely, but much hoped for triumph of one who was weak, vulnerable and whose situation was utterly hopeless. Does it get better than that?

There are a dozen more ways to bring tears of joy or heartache to the eyes of our readers; Or at the very least, get them biting their nails, hugging a pillow to their tummy or doing some other equally nervous tick as they lend an hour or so of their time to our stories.

I say bag the background music! If we do it right, we can deliver a gut-wrenching, breath-snatching story that will knock our readers socks off! Do any of you have a secret weapon that you use in writing? What do you do to pull the readers in? What gives your stories more authenticity and depth? ???

--Sara Bulla

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

On the beach...

          He is kissing me like he always does, but there is no spark—no life on my lips.
          My mind wanders through fabricated words, searching for the perfect one to describe this moment—synbatec… wastopanner…tacise?
          None of these words is right.
          Nothing is right.
          I close my eyes tighter and command myself to sink further into him, but all I notice is rough sand between my toes. The feelings he once stirred are gone, and I can’t bring them back.
          I taste my cherry chap stick on his lips, and I think about changing to strawberry. Maybe that would help—probably not.
          As he pulls away slowly, the sunrise is reflected in his muddy eyes—the once bright colors muted and sad.
          The odor of sun-ripened fish reaches from behind me, but he doesn’t seem to notice the smell as he strokes my cheek.
          He is speaking to me. I know he is, because I can see his lips moving, but the sound of salty waves crash around me, drowning out his words.
          But it doesn’t matter. I understand what he is asking me.
          “Yes,” I say forcing a smile. “I will marry you.”

Welcome to Rachel Harries Third Campaigner Challenge—Show notTell. How fun! Here are the rules:

Write a blog post in 300 words or less, excluding the title. The post can be in any format, whether flash fiction, non-fiction, humorous blog musings, poem, etc. The blog post should show:
·                     that it’s morning, 
·                     that a man or a woman (or both) is at the beach
·                     that the MC (main character) is bored
·                     that something stinks behind where he/she is sitting
·                     that something surprising happens.
Just for fun, see if you can involve all five senses AND include these random words: "synbatec," "wastopaneer," and "tacise."   (NB. these words are completely made up and are not intended to have any meaning other than the one you give them).

Thanks for stopping by. I'm number 24 :)


Monday, October 17, 2011

Agent Advice

Because I’m ready to query I’ve been trolling the web, brushing up my list of agents.

I’ve found a lot of great advice, and because I don’t want to make you search for it (I’m nice like that. You’re welcome :) I’ve assembled it here. None of it is paraphrased or made up. It all comes from agents sites or WriteOnCon forums. 

Sorry this post is long. I recommend looking through for topics that interest you :)


On Writing Problems:

Reliance on dialogue tags is a common prose issue I find. Reliance on them to reveal emotion where characterization should be doing the trick.

On Opening Scenes:

Can't stand anyone who opens with waking from a dream or any discussion of the weather. Or, actually, waking up period.

I heard another agent say that he had to be hooked at sentence one and every sentence after that needed to hold onto him.

I love when the opening of a story catches me by surprise with an unexpected voice or moment or scene. I know that's not helpful since it isn't specific, but in those instances I *definitely* keep reading. And I always stop if it's obviously offensive.

I think signs of an inexperienced writer are too common openings -- looking in a mirror to describe your main character, waking up, etc. Or plots that feel like they've been done a billion times.

Sure, any masterful writer can grab any of these “openings” and do them justice but for us mere mortals, they tend to be groan worthy:
  • Characters inexplicably getting sucked into a portal for no apparent reason
  • A person gathering herbs in the forest (Honestly, it can’t happen as frequent as I seem to see it in opening chapters).
  • A battle scene. (Goodness, let me get attached to some characters before you start whacking them).
  • A prologue.
  • A distant third person narrative to start (ie. The boy, the old man, the healer)
  • Clumsy incorporating of back story in your dialogue.
  • Launching your narrative via a dream sequence.
  • Heroine waking up alone with a man in her room.
  • Tired SF or Fantasy staples: i.e.: quest for a magical artifact, typical characters (dwarf, elf, the warrioress who doesn’t know she has magical powers), a modern woman who is really the savior on an alternate world.
  • Man sitting on steed in pouring rain.
  • Woman standing on high wall looking out into the distance at something
  • Starting your cover letter for your sample pages with: this is a 250,000 word manuscript… (Guaranteed to send me running while screaming). 

On Clichés

Not every cheerleader needs to be a b%*#!. But also, you don't have to spend a whole novel showing us how UNlike stereotypes your characters are.

devil's advocate: NOT ALL CLICHES SHOULD BE AVOIDED! THEY CAN PROVIDE A RELATABLE SHORTHAND FOR HUMAN EXPERIENCE. CLICHES ARE FAMILIAR AND OH SO COMFORTING FOR A REASON! I guess this is my last word.  If you can spoon feed me a cliché and then turn it on its head and subvert all my expectations without me feeling cheated, you're gold.

On Queries:

I love when a query is professional and tells me enough about the story to want to keep reading. I hate when an author talks more about themselves than the story (or sometimes ONLY about themselves...this seriously happens more than you would think)

I love it when they get my name right. :)

I really like something that's got the voice of the character. It gives me a better idea of whether I will enjoy reading the manuscript. And anyone who can give a query letter voice is awesome--it's really hard--so that is a big plus for me because it's a sign the manuscript might be really awesome

I'm different from a lot of agents in that I tend to like gimmicky stuff. I've taken on (and sold) several clients who wrote their query letters in the voice of their heroines, for example. I also tend to like it if you can start your query letter with a "what if" question, although those can be hard to pull off.

And I despise queries that start with rhetorical questions!

On Characters:

If the characters really hook me, I can forgive plot holes because I can help fix those, but if I don't feel engaged at any point, I'll stop reading. Unfortunately, I just have too much to read.

Characters who are active about trying to better their situation, even if they're scared, rather than allowing things to happen to them, are my favorite kinds of characters.

On social media:

I'd say one of the biggest mistakes I see PEOPLE making with today's online social media craze is forgetting that your online persona is just that, a PERSONA. You don't have to reveal all your deepest darkest thoughts to everyone on the internet. I also think PEOPLE get too angry on the internet sometimes. I've seen lots of twitter fights and amazon review fights and blogger fights, and sure people read and talk about them, but sometimes it's hard to respect the people involved. Think before you react.

Use the query letter to pitch your project. Be using social media (in the background) to pitch yourself.

First of all, I state publicly that before a writer submits a query to me, that writer should have a website live. I think an active and professional website is like a business card. When I request sample pages from a writer, if I get to page 10 and really like the writing, I stop. I go immediately to google and I cyber stalk that writer. I am impressed if I see something there that looks professional. Is it a deal breaker? no. But, I will repeat - I am impressed when I see something there.

Martha Mihalick: (Martha is an editor but I still loved what she had to say)
As soon as I know I like the manuscript, I google the author. A strong online presence is a plus, but the deciding factor is always the person's writing.

I don't do too much digging for the author online unless I know I already love the full manuscript. Before that, a bad or ill-used online presence can turn me off an author, but a good one doesn't mean much. Once I know I love a manuscript, though, I do want to see how they comport themselves online, and how comfortable they are doing so. (next)

Martha Mihalick: (Martha is an editor but I still loved what she had to say)
I like when writers have the (short) pitch and a (short) sample on their websites.

On Middle Grade

I often get asked by writers what the biggest difference is between Middle Grade and Young Adult. There are a number of answers to this that I would agree with, but to me personally, the biggest different is the “heart.” I’m not talking about romance or highly emotional scenes (all genres can have that). I’m talking about that feeling that you can have only when you’re too young to have experienced adulthood yet. When you think, no–you know–that you can make a difference. You can change the world (and when I say world, it can be the world at-large, or the world in a more insular way…whatever “the world” is to the character).

On offering representation

I know I want to offer representation when I (a) tell my husband about the manuscript, and (b) start thinking about editors I'd want to send it to.

Martha Mihalick: (Martha is an editor but I still loved what she had to say)
I know I definitely want to publish it when I start thinking about the selling points I'm going to put in our tip sheet even before I finished!

For me, it's a feeling I have that I've learned to recognize over years of doing this. When I start thinking about who will want to buy this and which of my friends must read this book, then I can't ignore it.

It's always different with knowing when I want to offer representation, but I do look at all of a writer's stuff and get second reads. I also look at the author's online presence--website, blog posts, tweets, interviews, etc. to get a fuller picture of who they are and whether we would be a good fit.

On Self Publishing

Here's what I'll say: I'm surprised at the number of blogs and posts I read about self-pubbing that don't mention the tremendous amount of work done by editors, copy editors, designers, etc. it takes a village to make one book.

If you self-pubbed, JUST to eventually get traditionally pubbed, you risk shooting yourself in the foot

Friday, October 14, 2011

Guy on a Buffalo

I’ve learned something VERY important. You DO NOT need a plot or characterization if—you have a unique idea and a song J

Seriously, I laughed so hard I got a headache!!! That is just Episode One. There are three more. Enjoy! Have a great weekend :)


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Don’t be a ZUNE!

I had an epiphany last week when I heard Steve Jobs passed away. He was such an amazing pioneer—a trail blazer in his field.

Does anyone remember when the Microsoft Zune came out? Are they still even around? I remember thinking that the Zune was too late. They were playing catch up. There was no way they would be as successful at the ipod.

Do you ever feel like you are playing catch up to the publishing world? What Stephenie Meyer did for vampires won’t be duplicated. I’ve even heard agents recently say, “NO MORE VAMPIRE BOOKS!” Which sucks if you love vampires and it’s your passion to write about them.

So how do you know if you have written a Zune—an idea that has already been done better? I think you have to be really honest with yourself. And if you aren’t getting any intrest from agents maybe you need to shelve it and try something new.

Author Janice Hardy wrote about this on her blog (read her full post here): My first novel was doomed because it was just another fantasy novel with a prophecy and a chosen one. Even the best-written novel can't be saved by an idea that's been done to death. Fresh ideas can get you a long way. Lots of people can write well, but not everyone can come up with awesome ideas.

So the next big thing has to be fresh! A trail blazing idea! It is out there. Maybe you’ve written it already! I hope so.


During WriteOnCon a lot of agents asked for ghost stories especially in MG. Just a thought.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

2 Goals and a Dream

While I'm querying and pursuing my dream of publication, I’ve got to do something to keep my mind occupied. So, I thought I would set two goals.

1)I will be doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November. I’ve never done it before and I think it will be good practice for me to try and hit a goal. I usually write or don’t write based on how I feel. Wow—50,000 words! I’m an over achiever but even that is a high goal for me.

2)My other goal is to read 12 books in October. I feel like my reading has been slipping lately. I miss it so much :( I have 19 days to reach my goal and I already have 4 books done. Here is my list:

  1. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs– Read October 1, 2011
  2. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova – Read October 3, 2011
  3. Possession by Elana Johnson – Read October 9, 2011
  4. When the Tripods Came by John Christopher – Read October 11, 2011
  5. Illusions by Aprilynn Pike – Currently Reading
  6. The Golden Spiral by Lisa Mangun – TBR
  7. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith - TBR
  8. Veiled by S.B. Niccum - TBR
  9. The Bride Collector by Ted Dekker – TBR
  10. The Maze Runner – James Dashner – TBR
  11. River Secrets – Shannon Hale – TBR
  12. Seven Miracles That Saved America – Chris Stewart - TBR

My To Be Read list may change depending on the library, and maybe if I am fast I can throw in a few more.

What are the most books you ever read in one month? Or the most words you wrote?


Tuesday, October 11, 2011


I'm no Art History buff by any means, but I do remember one thing from my 10th grade teacher, Tony Taylor. Relief Sculpture.

'Relief' comes from the latin word for 'raise' (you can all thank Wikipedia for this), but in actuality, artists don't add to or raise the subject, but rather carve out the background.

At 15 years old, this fascinated me. Sometimes little or no chiseling was done on the actual subject and yet, somehow, a face, a figure or a scene emerged. As the background is dug out of the granite or sandstone or whatever, the characters stand out. They come to life.

I've been working on my synopsis and sent it to a friend who knew nothing of my book, it's premise, characters, etc. I just wanted to see if my synopsis made any sense to her at all. It didn't. She was lost. There was nothing to ground her and nothing that held my string of facts together.

I asked her for suggestions. All she said was "background". She wanted me to carve out the setting. She wanted me to anchor my characters to a place or history. She didn't need much, just something to help her visualize an environment where my characters could come off the page and 'rise up'.

She had a great point. I added only two or three phrases indicating place, time, and circumstance, but that provided enough of a backdrop to support my characters and the series of events in my story.

Often sculptors use 'relief' sculpting because it provides strength and stability - especially at weak points in their sculpture, like the ankles, wrists, or neck. I think carving out a solid background, whether spacial or circumstantial, for our characters will strengthen those weak spots that we may find throughout our manuscripts.

So rather than trying to chisel out the details of our MC's, perhaps sculpting a deeper background might inspire them to rise to the surface all on their own. ???? Good luck fellow artists!

--Sara Bulla

Monday, October 10, 2011

Taking the plunge!

Here I stand with my toes curled over the edge of the diving board (they aren't that hairy in real life). I feel the anti-slip adhesive gripping the soles of my feet, but I’m pretty sure it can’t save me once I decide to jump. I can think of no reason to postpone but—FEAR!

It took me four years to write my MS. One year to edit it. Six months to research agents. And another six months to write a query and a synopsis. (Some of that time overlaps—so it is 5 years total. Holy Cow!)

But it is time! I can think of no reason to postpone querying but—FEAR! So today I’m hitting the first send button. I know it will be painful and hopefully rewarding, but if I don’t succeed yet at least I will learn something :)

This is how I wish I looked while querying.

This is more how I actually look :)

I hope I don’t do this.

I wish I felt like this.

But I feel more like this.

If I could execute like this…I would be a happy diver!

Please say a pray for me—whether you believe in that kind of thing or not :)


Friday, October 7, 2011

Lesser-Known Editing Marks

Just in case any of these marks show up in edits from your alpha or beta readers, I thought you might want a key :)


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