Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Fact in the Fiction

Much of one of my manuscripts takes place around an abandoned silver mine. Giant, gnawing holes so deep you can't see the bottom, stipple the ground where the earth has collapsed in on the mine shafts. Fact: I played at this mine as a teenager, snooping through the brush and ponderosa pines to find these sunken-in mine shafts. My cousin used to write stories about what came out of those shafts. I write about what's been dumped inside.

I have a neighbor. He's in his mid-twenties, braids his goatee, is as rough and hard as asphalt--the type of guy you make sure not to make eye-contact with if you see him on the street. He heard I wrote books and asked what they were about. I told him I had written a book called "The Hunted," about Skinwalkers. His lips thinned. He told me a story. A story that made his voice shake. A story he could not tell while looking at my eyes. He stared at his hands all the while, probably clasping them to keep them from trembling.

"I was chased by a Skinwalker. I was driving along a dirt road in the middle of the night. When I saw it, I pushed on the gas as hard as I could. It ran as fast as my car. It looked mostly human, but not quite. I have never been more scared of anything in my life. I've never told anyone." Fact: "The Hunted" part two is about Skinwalkers that look mostly human... but not quite.

An old family friend of mine worked as a security guard at a youth mental hospital. While doing rounds one night, he witnessed a teenage girl committing suicide--she had tied a shoelace around her neck and was twisting it tighter and tighter with the pencil she'd looped through it. He turned to the hallway and screamed for help. When he turned back, she was gone. While searching the records of the hospital, he found the report of a teenage girl who had committed suicide by shoelace and pencil--more than half a century before. Now there's the premise for a story. Fact: I don't write ghost stories. I don't dare.

So, tell me, how much of the fiction you write is based on fact?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

An Award - For YOU!

Hey friends, let's party! I'm going to do something a bit unorthodox here, so hang on to your hats and get ready to win an award.

First, I'd like to thank the following for giving our blog an award:

Danni at Romantic Harbor
Angie Lofthouse at Notes from the Writing Chair
Michelle McLean at Writer's Ramblings
Andrea Cremer at A Blurred History
Pamela MacLean at From Barbies to Words

If you have given me an award but don't see your name here, please let me know!

And now for the unorthodox part. I have the hardest time singling out blogs for awards, and then worry that I've missed someone. So here's the deal - if you leave a comment on this post, you get an award. You can choose one of the awards from below. Leave a comment letting me know which one you've nabbed and I will put a link to your blog in the post. Voila! We're all happy.

And now for the awards:

A Light in the Night Award

The Lemonade Award
Judith Mercado at Pilgrim Soul

The Splish-Splash Award
Wendy at All in a Day's Thoughts
Diana Paz at Writing Roller Coasters
Crystal and Pamela at Two to Write

The Zombie Chicken Award
Stephanie Thornton at Hatsheput: The Writing of a Novel
Danyelle Leafty at Myth-takes
Angie Lofthouse at Notes from the Writing Chair
JM Diaz at An Ulterior Motive

The Kreativ Blogger Award

Wishing you all a fantastic week,


P.S. Special thanks to The Book Bundle blog for a special package I got in the mail today - from Ireland, no less! I won their first contest and am looking forward to reading Crossed Wires by Rosy Thornton.

Friday, September 11, 2009

From the Query to the Call

So you've finished your work in progress. Not only have you finished, but you know that it is going to be the next big thing--like Stephen King big. Awesome! Time to celebrate! Now all you have to do is write the query. Right? Because without a magnificent query letter, not a single agent will even look at your manuscript, no matter how good it is. Well, if you're like me, you'll sit down at the computer to write a nice little query that conveys the extreme awesomeness of your manuscript... and hit a wall worse than writers block.

Why is it so hard to write a few short paragraphs about your work? Well, let's get the opinion of an expert. Christine Fonseca interviewed Elana Johnson, query expert extraordinaire, and here is her (Elana's) opinion....

Elana Johnson (EJ): In my experience, writers have a hard time getting to the main conflict of their novel. They want to spend so much time setting everything up, from character details to the fancy world they’ve created to the relationships. And books are about conflict. Along with that is the fallout of the conflict. Most of the queries I’ve seen are missing the consequence if the MC can’t solve their problem. And if I don’t know what the stakes are, why do I care?

For the whole interview and a review of From the Query to the Call, click here.

Oh, how I wish I had this ebook in my hands five years ago when I wrote my very first, horribly long-winded query! The time I would have save! I'm not saying that it'll be easy to come up with that perfect query, even with this wealth of knowledge at your fingertips. But it'll make it a heck of a lot easier.

Congratulations to our friend and fellow writer, Elana Johnson, who is releasing the ebook From the Query to the Call this Monday, September 14th.

So, here is the question of the day. Why do you think writing a query is so stinkin' hard?

Also, check out the Querytracker Blog for the the Publishing Pulse and a fascinating article on plagiarism.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Hollow

CONGRATS to our friend Jessica Verday on the publication of her book The Hollow! It is now in bookstores everywhere.