Writers Unite!

My photo

Passionate writer and avid reader. I am writing my first Young Adult novel and working to get it published.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Short Story Sunday

I want to try something a little different for today’s post. As a way to share my writing with you, my awesome followers, I am going to start posting my short stories here. But I am not going to post the whole story at once, because to be honest I won’t have the whole story written yet. This will force me to work on something besides my novel I’ve been reediting. It will also keep me from going insane from working on my novel.

How it works

Here’s how Short Story Sunday is going to work. Every Sunday I will post a little more of my short story. Today I am going to make it easy and start with the opening paragraph I’ve written. Hopefully it will entice you to want to read more. Because I want to be a Young Adult/Children’s writer each story will deal with this genre.

I encourage you to share your ideas with me. I might make some of these suggestions for the next part of the story. Without further ado, this week’s story:

I’ve always wondered what makes a person go mad. Now I know the answer and I wish to God I didn’t. After watching my momma drink her life away every night after my daddy left us, I told myself that could never happen to me. If I only knew one day I would eat those words. So what makes a person go insane; love does or rather the loss of love. At only eighteen years old, the loss of my first love turned me into a mad woman.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Exciting news!

Chuck Sambuchino, one of Writer’s Digest’s editors held a contest in celebration of his new book coming out, Red Dog/ Blue Dog. All you had to do is comment on his post. He would pick three commenters at random to win one of his books and a free query critique. Also, if you tweeted about his contest, you can send him the first 10 pages of your manuscript and he will edit it. I jumped at the chance for a query critique because as you know I have been struggling with mine.

Yesterday I opened my email and saw a message from Chuck letting me know that I’m one of the lucky winners! I couldn’t believe it! The best part is there is no time limit on the query critique. I can send it to him a month or a year from now.

I also decided I want to attempt writing short stories. It will be a challenge. This may sound strange, but I’ve never actually written one before. I played with my own writing prompt the other day and realized I didn’t have to write a novel every time to express myself. I can then post my stories on my blog or somewhere online for free to see how the public views my writing. I will still write in the Young adult genre, maybe dabble in MG because that’s the type of professional writer I want to be. Literary magazines publish short stories all the time. It would be a great way to get my name out there.

Have you written any short stories? If so, do you find them more or less challenging than writing a novel?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Writing prompt: Write with your emotions

Writing is joy and sorrow, happiness and misery, excitement and depression all rolled into one nice little package. These are the feelings that constantly run through me when I write. As you can see it’s an up-hill, down-hill loopy roller coaster.

My emotions are never in one place when I write. But I love that aspect about writing too. I am free to express my feelings and thoughts in whatever way I want. Sometimes my character gets attacked when I’m feeling scared about something. Other times she will fall in love when I’m happy about something. It’s kind of like interpreting your dreams. You have a dream about flying or falling, but it’s really your subconscious trying to tell you something. This is only valid if you believe your dreams have meanings.

For a writing prompt you should think about what you are feeling right now. Then write a situation that could make your character feel the way you are feeling. Or you can make a list for reasons your character would feel this way. When you’re writing later you can look at that list and decide which one fits with your story.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Writing, waiting, and reading

I haven’t written in a few days because I haven’t had anything to say. I’m still editing, which is slowly coming. But at least I am making progress. I have deleted a total of 3,000 words or more. I’m also making progress on my hooks. I have a couple I like. My querying is still on hold until I finish this edit.

In other news:

Cassandra’s Clare’s City of Lost Souls book trailer is out! I can’t wait for the book. May 8, I will be locked in my room with this book in my hands. Actually, May is going to be a busy reading month for me. With Insurgent, Destined, Endure, and Last Rite, all coming out. I may just go on a hiatus the month of May.

Are there any books you’re excited to read next month?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Revising and hooking

I’ve been going through a major revision, which is coming along very slowly. I’m only on page 30 of 300, but hopefully this one will be better. Less passive voice. People are right when they say changing passive voice to active voice tightens your writing. I already erased close to a 1,000 words.

At Barnes and Noble today I walked around reading the backs of a bunch of books to see what catches my eye. I wrote down ones that I liked. Later I will analyze what I found so intriguing about them. Then I will try to create my own hook. This query letter writing process is frustrating, but I hold onto the hope that I will eventually create one good enough to catch a literary agent’s eye.

What are your ideas for a hook?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Praise of modern technology for writers

I am a fan of real books, but I also love my nook. I put my novel on my nook the other day because I just got one of the Simple touch ones, which allows you to add your own PDFs. It was like reading my story with fresh eyes. While reading through my story on my nook, I came to the decision to hold back the reigns a little bit on querying agents.

I am still going to work on my query letter, but I’m not going to send any of them until the manuscript has been changed. I found myself using a lot of passive voice, which is a no no in the publishing world. Also, I thought of a few ways to make my story stronger.

In other news:
I have almost 100 followers on Twitter. This may not seem like a big deal to you, but to me it feels like a milestone. If you would like to help me get to my 100th follower you can click on the Follow me button or go to your own twitter page and add @BrandiDaniels

Thank you for all of the support!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Websites with the best query letter advice

I am doing what I said I would not do anymore: stressing over query letters. For the past two days I find myself reading article after article on query letters, which only makes my head spin. I understand the format of a query letter, it’s my summary I’m having problems with. All the advice says keep it short, but all the examples I’ve seen pretty much contradict that advice. They all say the point of the query letter is to entice the reader. I have linked to some of the websites I felt offered the best advice below:

Agentquery has some good advice. It says there are three parts to any query letter:
  1. The hook
  2. The mini-synopsis
  3. Your credentials as a writer
Nathan Bransford’s Query mad lib is also helpful for writing a basic query letter. This is from back in 2008, but I still feel the information is relevant.

There are also websites where you can read other people’s query letters and how they were critiqued.
Query shark by Janet Reid
Slush pile tales by Lauren Ruth
Pubrants by Kristen Nelson

These are some of the most popular websites, so I’m sure most of you have already heard of these. If not you need to check them out immediately. They give you an inside look on how real literary agents view query letters. I have been trying to dissect these suckers and crossing my fingers that this query letter will be better.

There are tons of other sites that offer helpful information. Which ones do you live by?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Don't lose yourself as a writer

I am back in my groove of writing and listening to music. I must say it’s about time. Yesterday I wrote the beginning and ending for the second book in the series. I am starting to feel like myself again. For a moment there I was so caught up in writing the perfect query letter that I lost sight of my actual writing.

I am still working on my querying, but I am no longer letting it get in the way of my writing. I write because I love to write and while I would love to see my work published, if it doesn’t happen I am not going to stop writing. I wrote for me before I started this publishing road and I will continue to write for me whether I fail or succeed. Writing keeps me sane; besides reading it is the only way I can check out into another world. At least when I write I control the outcome and the lives of my characters. I can’t do that when I read.

So to all my fellow writers. I wish you the best with all your writing, whether you want to see it published or it’s a way to keep you sane like me. I hope you always keep writing and never lose sight of yourself as a writer. If you do then I hope you find your way back like I did. I’m sure I will lose myself many more times as the self doubt and fear kick in again, but as long as I fight I know I will always find my way back.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

How writing has become my therapy

I figured out my problem and why I have only wanted to read recently. I have been shying away from writing my sequel. Every time I tried I would write a few words and then stop to go read something that’s already been published by someone else. I couldn’t figure out what my problem was, but last night as I was lying in bed I came to a conclusion. Fear and stupidity are holding me back.

As you know I am working on getting my first novel published. But I don’t know who or when my book will be picked up, so I have been struggling with writing the sequel not knowing if this book will ever be published. I don’t know what will change in the first book that will affect the second one. So I have been procrastinating writing it. However, I realized last night that was stupid. I started writing the first book as proof that I could. Yes, I would love to see it published and I will work hard to make that happen, but that’s not the main reason I wrote the story.

I also realized this book is in a way a healing process for me. It’s a way for me to come to terms with some of my deep emotions that I haven’t known how to deal with, so every emotional situation in that book reflects one of mine. I’m not saying the situations reflect what happened to me, but if I want you feel fear or pain or even love, it is because that is what I felt at one time in my life. Since this book is a healing process I came to the conclusion that I have to finish this trilogy. I have to finish resolving my emotional issues. Putting them down on paper and letting my character go through these issues gives me a chance to think about some things that I have tried to suppress or forget. Writing has become my therapy.

It is also hard for me to mention this because if my book gets published you will know that I am laying myself bare. It’s very scary to put yourself out there on the chance that people will reject you. At this point part of me also doesn’t care. I feel like writing this trilogy is good for my soul and therefore I will persevere whether my book ever sees the light of day.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Reading instead of writing

I’m back in that reading mood. All I want to do is read. I read Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi.

For those who don’t know it’s a dystopian novel about a girl, Aria who grows up in a world that is cut off from the outside, known as pods. Everything she wants or needs is provided by the eye piece that lets her live in an alternate reality. But when something goes wrong she is exiled and left for dead in the outside world. All Aria wants to do is find her mother who was working on another pod.

Enter Perry, an outsider whose nephew was kidnapped by Aria’s people. He thinks he can use Aria to get his nephew back. They soon find out that they will need each other, so they make a pact to help each other. Does Aria find her mother? Does Perry get his nephew back? You will have to read the book to find out.

This book was an interesting read. I love reading books from different times and places. It’s so exciting to see the worlds other people create. Whenever I read a book, I wonder what was their journey to publishing like? How many rejections did they get before someone took a chance on them? How many times along this bumpy road did they think about giving up or start to doubt everything? Now I am just rambling. I can only relate to my own feelings and thoughts, so it would be nice to know that I am not alone. That struggling is a rite of passage. How do you feel?