Bologna 2017 Book Fair

Right now, the Bologna Book Fair is taking place in Bologna, Italy. What an exciting prospect!

The Bologna Book Fair is an annual event that gives agents, editors, publishers, etc., to find new talent, new trends, and acquire new rights. It sounds fabulous. While reading about it, I found this article that relates what current agents and publishers will be looking for at the Fair in regards to children and young adult books. Which is my area of writing emphasis.

Hands down, the most sought after reads will be from marginalized and diverse authors. Most of the agents in the article mention this as a popular trend, but I hope it’s far more than a trend. It should be here to stay and continue to grow so publishing and readership becomes more well-rounded and culturally diverse. That is the society in America. Diverse. Varying. Ever-changing.

It also looks like YA fantasy will be much harder to break into in the next couple of years. That makes sense, though, given all the break-out hits of the past ten years. The bar is much higher.

However, middle grade fantasy is on the upswing, which is good news for yours truly, and YA contemporary is, as well.

Of course, the current political climate was also mentioned and how this will influence the writing wave of the next few years. I don’t doubt it one iota.

I look forward to seeing what comes about after this Fair! I only wish I could go!

What kinds of books are you hoping to see in the near future? Any genre or age group specifically?

Happy writing!

“Yeah, well, we’re all writers, aren’t we? He’s a writer that hasn’t been published, and I’m a writer who hasn’t written anything.”
Steve Martin, Picasso at the Lapin Agile and Other Plays

“I wrote a book. It sucked. I wrote nine more books. They sucked, too. Meanwhile, I read every single thing I could find on publishing and writing, went to conferences, joined professional organizations, hooked up with fellow writers in critique groups, and didn’t give up. Then I wrote one more book.”
Beth Revis

Hans Zimmer Is My Soundtrack

I’ve said in the past that I don’t listen to music when I write or edit, unless it’s relaxing instrumental music.

Welp…I’ve changed my mind.

The last few days I’ve been listening to my Hans Zimmer channel on Pandora, and it’s epic to say the least!

If you don’t know who Hans Zimmer is, go check him out. He’s easily one of my favorite movie composers ever! It’s a pretty even tie between him and Howard Shore and John Williams.

Since the book I’m working on is fantasy, the music he writes is so inspiring and dramatic. It makes for interesting editing and writing times. And since it’s all instrumental, mostly from movie soundtracks, I don’t get distracted like I do with regular songs. Bonus!

Here’s a selection of some beauteous Hans Zimmer.

What music do you like to listen to when writing/editing? Does it help put you in the right mood? Does it inspire you? Or do you get distracted by music like I often do because it’s just so amazing?

Happy writing!

“What’s the point of getting up in the morning unless you’re gonna have an adventure? As the moments of our life are ticking away you have to be aware that it needs to be an adventure.” ― Hans Zimmer
“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.” ― Victor Hugo

“Those who dance are considered insane by those who cannot hear the music.” ― Anonymous

The 777 Challenge

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Ha! Do you like my joke?

My most humble thanks to Caroline Peckham for nominating me to participate in this challenge. Her blog is awesome-sauce and I comment on there all the time because of her inventive posts and faboo ideas! Go check her out!

The concept behind this challenge is to share a tidbit from a WIP. I think any WIP will do, but since I have so many of them, I thought I’d share from my most worked-on piece that is about ready to be sent to agents.

The Rules:

– Go to page 7 of any WIP

– Scroll down to line 7

– Share the next 7 sentences in a blog post.

– After the excerpt tag 7 other writers to continue the challenge.

(Wouldn’t that make it the 7777 challenge? Meh. What do I know?)

Here’s the excerpt from my MG fantasy novel (first in a series):

Iphigenia opened her mouth, but Wilfrid clamped a hand over it. “Shut up, you two!”

The Colonel’s long-dead heart beat faster and faster. He wanted to rage at them to stop bickering when Ava was in danger!

“Ladies, please,” Gaspar said.

Iphigenia pushed Wilfrid’s hand off her mouth and scowled at Tess. She opened her mouth to speak, but the Colonel flew back down and interrupted.

I’m literally LOLing right now because this excerpt tells you absolutely nothing about the plot of the story. BAHAHA!!! You’re introduced to six characters in seven sentences. Confused yet? Hehe!! It’s much clearer in the book.

Now, I’m supposed to nominate seven others, but I’ve read many people’s WIPs and I know many of my bloggy friends have done this challenge already and I can’t keep straight whose done what, so…

I nominate everybody!!! (I’m such a rule-breaker).

I just love reading tidbits from people’s lovely and amazing creative minds, so if you have WIP with seven pages completed, let’s see a few sentences!

Happy writing, everyone!

“Turning a manuscript into a book is easy; getting the manuscript ready to become a book is hard.”
― A.P. Fuchs

“When you write a manuscript, it feels like being in a relationship with someone. You’ll hate it, get bored with it, be pissed of, like you just want to break up. But, just like any relationship, you will fall in love again and again, like you don’t want to lose it.”
― Alvi Syahrin

“manuscript
meanuscript
moanuscript
manurescript
and so on”
― Katerina Stoykova Klemer

The “Would You Rather” Book Tag

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Caroline over at carolinepeckham tagged me in the “Would You Rather” book tag post! She’s an amazing blogger and writer (hopefully soon-to-be author). She’s been blogging for just the last couple of months, but has put out some AMAZING posts and we’ve been commenting back and forth for weeks. I always learn something fun and new from her, so GO CHECK HER OUT!

Anywho, this post asks a series of questions as writers/readers, and here are my thoughts! Tagged peeps are at the bottom of the post.

1. Would you rather only read trilogies or only read standalones?

Trilogies, without a doubt. Most of my favorite books are series’ books, though there are a few stand-alones in there, too. But I just love to learn more and more about characters and worlds and backstory, so more is always better for me. As Jane Austen says, “But for my own part, if a book is well written, I always find it too short.”

2. Would you rather only read male or female authors?

I enjoy them both, usually in different genres, but I’d probably go with female authors. My favorite author/most influential in my writing/reading life was female (L.M. Montgomery), and most of my favorite authors now are female. I’d definitely miss my Tolkien, Lewis, and Kipling, though.

3. Would you rather shop at Barnes and Noble or Amazon?

I’d rather shop at independent book stores, but since that’s not an option, I’ll go with Barnes and Noble. I’m one of those people that adores bookstores and is dangerous in them. I love to stroll through the aisles browsing, sitting in a chair to read a page or two while I make up my mind to buy, and immersing myself in the book atmosphere. I feel I don’t get that same experience online, though I am an avid Amazon customer. I’d still prefer a physical bookstore to an online one.

4. Would you rather books were made into TV shows or movies?

TV!!! While I usually prefer movies to TV in general, my real love is TV miniseries. I can’t get enough of them. And they’re generally truer to the story than film because they can take more time and put in more of the plot that is so often missing from movies. And most of us book lovers prefer the book to the movie, so anything that will add more detail and be more comprehensive would be a huge bonus!

5. Would you rather read only 5 pages per day or 5 books per week?

Five books per week. And that is actually can be a slow book week for me, depending on how busy I am at work. I’d never get through all the books I want to read with only five pages per day. I’d go batty.

6. Would you rather be a professional author or reviewer?

Author!!! Who would want to be a reviewer over an author? I don’t understand that person. I RARELY do reviews, and I’ve never done one on WP. I also never read others’ reviews because they never change my opinion of the book and everyone has different tastes. Being an author is a lifelong dream that began when I was six. Hopefully it will happen in the next couple of years.

7. Would you rather be a librarian or a bookseller?

Bookseller. There is so much more to being a librarian than just loaning books. My sister has her Masters Degree in Library Science and while some people might poo-poo that kind of degree, there is a great deal to it. It’s not just reading books and shelving books and such. Bookselling would be more personal for me and I could decide what to sell, where to sell, and could decorate my own store and hold my own events. Man, I’m starting to believe I might actually open a bookstore someday! Yowza!

8. Would you rather read only your favorite genre, or every other genre but your favorite?

Favorite genre. I wouldn’t be able to give it up. I’d miss other genres, but not as much as I’d miss my favorite. Which is middle grade fantasy.

9. Would you rather only read ebooks or physical books?

Physical books. I own a Kindle, but I never use it. I’m old school. I just can’t get into the e-reader craze. Have I read e-books? Sure. I have some on my iPhone, but I don’t enjoy it. Although it makes my library of books enormous and it’s hard to pick which to take with me when I travel, I’d rather have to deal with that burden than give up physical books.

There you are! I hope you learned something or asked yourself some of these questions. In fact, why don’t you, and post some of your answers in the comments? I’d love to hear from you!

Here are the bloggers I’m tagging:

John Guillen

Emily Bates

Rachel Carrera

Herminia Chow

I look forward to your posts!

Happy writing!

“Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.”
― Winston S. Churchill

“Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void but out of chaos.”
― Mary Shelley

“Be ruthless about protecting writing days, i.e., do not cave in to endless requests to have “essential” and “long overdue” meetings on those days. The funny thing is that, although writing has been my actual job for several years now, I still seem to have to fight for time in which to do it. Some people do not seem to grasp that I still have to sit down in peace and write the books, apparently believing that they pop up like mushrooms without my connivance. I must therefore guard the time allotted to writing as a Hungarian Horntail guards its firstborn egg.”
― J.K. Rowling

Another Draft Down!

Ahhh…

I just finished rewriting and editing yet another draft of my first book. I cannot tell you how amazing that feels. Primarily because it’s the best thing I’ve written up until this point.

Have I neglected my blog and bloggy friends to get it done?

Yes.

Have I done little else but write and edit?

Yes.

Do I regret those actions?

Not a bit.

I have a love-hate relationship with my writing at times, but I’m proud of this draft, and this time I’ll have two different writers/editors give feedback before I resubmit it to agencies and publishers. I’m so excited (and terrified!) to receive their feedback so I can make my book even better!

My latest draft ended up being 126,000 words, which is FAR too long for a middle grade book. I whittled it down to 108,000, which is three thousand words MORE than my last draft! HA! I’d hoped to shorten it with the rewrite, but so much changed I just couldn’t. Once I get feedback, I’m hoping to cut that to less than 100,000, but I have no idea where else to cut.

I’m sure some of the cuts will break my heart, but them’s the breaks when you’re a writer striving for publication.

So, tell me… what have you been working on since I’ve been shamefully absent? I can’t wait to hear about your projects! Hopefully now I can get back to blogging regularly since this monkey is finally off my back.

Now… on to outlining the rest of the series! Woot! And continuing my work on the second book.

Happy writing!

“I do three drafts handwritten and then it’s typed up… They are different from each other, they are hopefully improvements in the sense you’re going back over something. The first time you write it, it’s the first thing that you can think. The second time you’re trying to shape the dialogue, helping the characters. The third time you’re doing it because you want the words to sound nice, hopefully making the prose better, making it more fun to read, making the jokes funnier and the scary bits scarier.”
― Clive Barker

“Your first draft is a petulant teenager, sure it knows best, adamant that its Mother is wrong. Your third draft has emerged from puberty, realising that its Mother was right about everything.”
― Angeline Trevena

“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.”
― Dr. Seuss

Style Tells A Story

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Don’t freak out. I’m not going to talk about fashion, except that which belongs in my book.

In this case, my reference to style means the clothing of my characters. While others may disagree, I believe clothing is a crucial element in any writing, but most especially genre writing.

Would you dress an undertaker in bright pastels and clown shoes? Unless you’re writing about an undertaker with an identity crisis or some kind of comedy, the answer is no.

Clothing needs to match the essence of the story, as well as the setting, dialogue, and character background.

For example, my MC starts out incredibly poor, so, of course, she’s clothed in ratty jeans and hole-y sweaters. Even when she’s plunged into a different world of fancy clothes followed by clothes required for boot camp, she maintains the persona of one who came from poverty. Just because the clothes change, doesn’t mean the person will.

While at boot camp, the kids have to wear a uniform every day that consists of pliable leathers and cotton – formed in ways to make it easy to move, run, jump, and hide when its required. They’re even given specially crafted boots. If you’re new to my blog or don’t remember, I’m a physical therapist. Therefore, I just had to give my characters well-fitting and tailored shoes. Our feet are probably one of the most important parts of our body concerning mobility and healthy movement, but we so often neglect them with crap shoes that don’t fit, all in the name of fashion. I couldn’t do that to my poor characters.

Let’s think of other books and the style that accompanies them.

Lord of the Rings, written by my all-time favorite author, consists of clothing and style consistent with ancient tales and epic stories. If Tolkien had had his characters wearing jeans and sweatshirts, his book would have gone nowhere.

The Lunar Chronicles, including the books Cinder, Cress, and Scarlet, have a large variety of styles, but it’s consistent with the futuristic premise. There are mechanical and geometrical aspects to their clothing that fits with the time. Again, if Marissa Meyer had put her characters in jeans and a sweatshirt, we’d have known right away they didn’t fit the futuristic setting.

This seems like such a basic concept, but it’s amazing to me how many authors miss the all-important clothing concern. Just a word here or there about clothing in a book is enough to get an idea of style. I’ve read dozens of books that had me shaking my head with their lack of continuity with era, setting, and class. The way a person dresses tells us so much about their personality and life perception, but it’s so often disregarded. That should never be the case. No matter the genre.

A little imagination and a bit of research, and all this could be avoided.

And not only should it be accurate, but it can convey emotion. The colors associated with fashion tell a story. Some people wear blue to stay calm. Others wear red to feel powerful and in passionate. Black renders formality and importance. Gray is somber and bland. Green makes us think of health and wealth. Brown is earthy and casual. Each color evokes emotion and, when paired with certain items of clothing, can convey a great deal. Be astute to what you use to tell your story.

What about you? When did you consider clothing or style when writing? When you started the story? Finished?

Clothing and colors count, people! Keep it real. Literally. 🙂

Happy writing!

“As she always did on any really important day, Penelope Hayes wore red.”
― Anna GodbersenThe Luxe

“Fashion is a language that creates itself in clothes to interpret reality.”
― Karl Lagerfeld

“What I really love about them… is the fact that they contain someone’s personal history…I find myself wondering about their lives. I can never look at a garment… without thinking about the woman who owned it. How old was she? Did she work? Was she married? Was she happy?… I look at these exquisite shoes, and I imagine the woman who owned them rising out of them or kissing someone…I look at a little hat like this, I lift up the veil, and I try to imagine the face beneath it… When you buy a piece of vintage clothing you’re not just buying the fabric and thread – you’re buying a piece of someone’s past.”
― Isabel WolffA Vintage Affair

Breaking the Rule of Three

Three is a big deal. The number, that is. Have you ever noticed? Especially in literary undertakings.

The Rule of Three is actually a writing principle, did you know that? Not just for characters, but also in phrases. E.G. “Go, Team, Go!” It’s also a memorization rule. Research shows people tend to remember things better if they come in groups of three. It’s also true in syntax, or sentence structure.

The Rule of Three is well documented. Let’s take a peek at some famous examples of the power of three in literature, recent and long past.

1. Harry Potter. Obvious for today’s society. Three main characters. Harry, Ron, and Hermione. It just works. And there are numerous secondary character threesomes.

2. The Hunger Games. Katniss, Peeta, and Gale. At times, Gale flickers out and other people replace him to complete the triad, but it’s still valid.

3. Twilight (blech). I despise Twilight, but it still follows the Rule of Three. Bella, Edward, and Jacob.

4. A Christmas Carol. Scrooge is visited by three spirits. Just enough. Not too many, not too few.

5. The Three Little Pigs. It’s all in the name.

6. Macbeth. There are three witches. They meet three times. They say things in three. (See what I did there? The Rule of Three in repetitive sentences).

7. The Three Musketeers. I know, I know. Technically, there are four, but the for the purposes of this list, it reinforces my point.

Well, what happens if you break that rule? Are you banned to the literary rubbish bin for all eternity? Are you black-listed from agents and publishers?

I sure hope not. Because I’ve done it.

I’m breaking the Rule of Three.

You heard me. In my MG fantasy books, there is one main character and three other secondary main characters, if that makes sense. Which means, for me, it’s the Rule of Four.

Although there is something inherently pleasing about the number three, it just isn’t always possible. Believe me, I tried to find ways around the four characters, but there wasn’t one. I’d have to completely gut the book to make it work. And honestly, I like the group of four characters. They’re all so different and bring unique traits to the story that it’d be like cutting off one of my limbs. Of which I have FOUR! Ha!

What do you all think of the Rule of Three? Is it a hard and fast rule for you? Can you think of any other examples? Do you follow the Rule of Three, or are you a rebel, like me?

Happy writing!

“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” W. Somerset Maugham