...added to my book! That's where I've been lately, working diligently on my book. I finally finished this last draft, and hopefully all that's left is the cosmetics. You see, I write a skeleton, then gradually add the flesh. The first draft of this book was a smidge over 50,000. The second draft weighed in at 73,000. And now...(drumroll, please) 83,700!
Ever since my journalism training in high school/college (which completely ripped off my passion for writing during those years) my writing has been slim. I know that's hard for some people, who shall remain nameless (LOL!) to understand because many writers have gigantic first drafts and trim the fat thereafter. Me, I'm just happy when I can top 80k.
One of the editors at the conference mentioned that when writers need to add to their drafts, it's best to layer in more characterization, as opposed to adding more action. She said sometimes there's so much action it already makes her head spin, so she likes to see more done with character. Does anyone else remember hearing that? My memory is getting fuzzy. Anyway, that's what I did, or at least attempted to do =)
Now for the hard part, the dreaded synopsis.....(insert scary music.)
Sparked by a message on the ACFW loop, I decided to check the readability factor on my WIP. Perhaps I should have saved it for another day, one in which I was fully awake, had already downed my coffee, or had prepared myself to discover I should be writing for fourth graders. Somehow I don't think anyone publishes books about murder and contract killers for children, so I may be out of luck on that front.
I shall console myself with the knowledge that many a great writer strikes the same grade level as I (notice how I'm trying out some new, bigger words here), and I am not alone in my endeavor to sharpen my prose.
This is an informative exercise to try with a sample of your writing, if you dare. Select a passage from your ms. I chose some from the beginning, the middle, and the end, and pasted it into a separate document. Click on TOOLS, then SPELLING & GRAMMAR tab. From there, check the CHECK GRAMMAR WITH SPELLING box and the SHOW READABILITY STATISTICS box. Click OK. Then go back and hit the spell check. Once it's done with spell check and grammar check, it'll display your stats.
Mine range from 4.7-5.3, depending on whether I've selected a passage heavy on dialogue or narrative. It seems like a basic test that counts the number of sentences in a paragraph, words per sentence, and characters per word. The last passage I selected was 3% passive (something to work on!), 79.2 on the reading ease, and 5.3 grade level (that was my highest.)
So, out of curiosity, what's your readability factor?
With all of the goings-on this week (Thanksgiving, sick kid, etc.) this will be my last post until Monday. Did you see my little "subscribe" doohicky on the sidebar? Please subscribe, that way you won't forget about lil' old me during the long weekend =)
That said, let me leave you with a recipe for my famous mashed potatoes, loosely translated.
10 pounds of potatoes, boiled and mashed add 2 sticks of butter, mash some more add tub of sour cream add tub of cream cheese depending on consistency, add some milk and maybe more butter salt /pepper to taste
Remember, everything is better with butter!
I pray each of you have a safe and blessed Thanksgiving. Thank you all for being my friends--you are a joy and a blessing. (Even you, my lovely lurkers!)
It's that time of year again when the normal routine goes out the window (bad, bad cliche!) Depending on your personal circumstances, this could be a good thing for your writing, or completely squash your word count like a bug. I belong to the latter group, but this year I'm making a plan to squeeze in those extra pages between helpings of mashed potatoes and trips to the mall.
*Writing at night. I used to do this when I first began to write, but stopped when I realized my brain turned to oatmeal at sunset. Since it's not reasonable for me to do many of the holiday-ish things at night, I'll have to put on another pot of coffee.
*Instead of relying on time chunks to crank out the pages, keep Word open all day and work in 10 min. spurts. I do some of this already, but I can see where I slack off in the afternoon.
*Reading time may have to go (argh, say it isn't so!) I purposely didn't request CFBA books for the end of November and all of December. I know my limitations, even though reading is one of my favoritest things in the world.
What are you doing to maintain your word count/page count during the holiday season? Or are you one who gets more done because you have time off? Please, I need all the ideas I can get!
I didn't want this book to end! Author Cindy Woodsmall knows how to keep her readers turning pages, and I'm already anxious for the third book. When the Morning Comes is a perfect sequel to When the Heart Cries. (One note: you really should read Book 1 first!) This time we follow Hannah Lapp as she adjusts to life among the Englischers, and reaches out to love and trust again. Another wonderful aspect of this book is the strength of the subplots. Cindy Woodsmall has truly made a special place for herself in the world of Amish fiction.
Here's the backcover blurb:
Can Hannah find refuge, redemption, and a fresh beginning after her world has shattered?
Her relationship with fiance Paul Waddell in tatters, Hannah Lapp has fled her secluded Old Order Amish community in hopes of finding a new home in Ohio with her shunned aunt. Hampered by limited education and hiding her true identity, Hannah struggles to navigate the confusing world of the Englischers.
Back in Owl's Perch, Pennsylvania, Paul is wracked with regret over his treatment of Hannah. Fearing for her safety, he tries to convince Hannah's remaining allies--brother Luke, best friend Mary, and loyal Matthew Esh--to help search for his love. Hannah's father, however, remains steadfastly convinced of her sinful behavior. His blindness to his family's pain extends to ehr sister, Sarah, who shows signs of increasing instability.
Convinced her former life is irreparably destroyed, Hannah finds purpose and solace in life with her aunt and in a growing friendship with Martin Palmer. Will the countless opportunities in her new life persuade Hannah that her place is amongst the Englischers--or will she give in to her heart's call to return home and face her past?
the reader wants to know what's going to happen on three different fronts:
(1) to the characters, (2) to the situation in which these characters
happen to find themselves, and (3) to the plot.
~Elizabeth George, Write Away~
We all know what keeps us awake late into the night, turning pages. Great stories peopled with characters we can identify with on a human level. Well, that's one reason. As writers, we strive to create stories that will make readers hang out the DO NOT DISTURB sign, forget the laundry pile, and, if it's really good, stand in line all night for the $27 hard cover.
But lately I've started reading stories that didn't hold my attention so well, and instead of forging ahead I've chosen to set those books aside. After all, my TBR pile groweth, and there is much good reading to be done. I think the most common reason certain books have been booted out of my pile lately is slow pacing. If a story is bogged down with backstory, big ol' honkin' paragraphs, or just doesn't seem to be getting to a point, I have to kick it off the island.
No one sets out to write a book that moves to the bottom of the TBR pile, and for that reason I'm not going to share examples, even though many of them are ABA ;) My point is this: I don't want to be a bottom-piled author someday, so I'm curious as to the number one reason you chuck a book.
A strange thing happened this weekend shortly after we put the tots to bed. I went to my room to turn on the baby monitor, and when I flipped the switch I heard random, incoherent noise. I leaned in and concentrated, trying to match the sounds in the monitor to what was in the baby bedroom.
It sounded like a television, with unrecognizable voices speaking over the top. I peered into the living room--no, not our TV.
"Huh?" I said to myself. Then, "Honey, come here!"
Soon, I was joined by the hubby and our teen. To our surprise, we realized we were listening to the neighbors. In the three years we've had the baby monitor, we've never heard a peep from inside the home next door. But there we were, privvy to all the personal noise of the "X" family. Naturally I switched it off, as I didn't want to be the big-eared neighbor. But OH the story ideas that began to flow. The scenarios, the possibilites....WAIT....
If we could hear them, then.....have they heard us? I was creeped out, and began to comb through all the things I may have said while in the toddler room over the last few years. Had they heard? Did they hear me singing made-up songs off key? Did they hear me blather on in baby talk?
Did they hear the day I yelled at my husband? (Come now, I know I'm not the only one who's done this!)
As far as I know, the neighbors aren't believers. If they'd heard me, would my words have brought them closer to the saving knowledge of Jesus, or cast a negative light on Christians? This drills home the Scripture: Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. (Col. 4:6)
Yes, we should always speak as though others are listening, because there is One who IS always listening. Check this out:
But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment
for ever careless word they have spoken.
I'm no theologian, but it sounds serious to me. God cares about what comes out of our mouths, because after all, out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. There are dozens of Scriptures to point out how careful we should be with our words.
Erica tagged me last week with the TWO TAG--it's a fun one!
Two names you go by: Georgiana and Mom (Honey is a close third)
Two things you are wearing right now: a red tee shirt and socks
Two of your favorite things to do: write and sleep (I have tons of favorites, so I won't mention playing with the kids, hanging with the fam, and of course, reading!)
Two things you want very badly at the moment: More time to write!!! To lose 20 more pounds, but since exercise is NOT on my favorite list above the chances are "slim" to none.
Two favorite pets you have/had: I'm SO not an animal person (ducking!) At least animals that are mine. That said, I've had my share of pets I adored, even though they pooped (sorry for the naughty word.) Little Man was the coolest cat ever, and Pepper the Dog. Of course, there was Poppy the Fish, but I sent him to a better home.
Two people who will fill this out: Betsy and Kaye. Pleeeeeeease!!! Don't make a liar out of me.
Two people you last talked to: My hubby and my teen. We're a close group, so it was bound to be a family member.
Two longesttrips you've been on: Alaska and St. Lucia (which was the world's best honeymoon!)
Two favorite holidays: Christmas and my birthday. "WAIT," you say, "your birthday is not a holiday!" Let me just say that yes, some years it is =)
Two favorite beverages: Coffee and Diet Coke. IS there anything else?
DEADFALL EEK! I'm falling behind! I'm only on CH 48 of Deadfall, and all I can say is I NEED MORE TIME TO READ. This is a fast-paced thriller that keeps me flipping pages into the night. This book has me tense, nervous, and worried for the heros in the story, and so angry at the villains. Here's the blurb:
Deep in the isolated Northwest Territories, four friends are on the trip of a lifetime. Dropped by helicopter into the Canadian wilderness, Hutch, Terry, Phil, and David are looking to escape the events of a tumultuous year for two weeks of hunting, fishing, and camping.
Armes with only a bow and arrow and the basics for survival, they've chosen a place far from civilization, a retreat from their turbulent lives. But they quickly discover that another group has targeted the remote region and the secluded hamlet of Fiddler Falls for a more menacing purpose: to field test the ultimate weapon.
With more than a week before the helicopter rendezvous and no satellite phone, Hutch, a skilled bow-hunter and outdoor-survivalist must help his friend elude their seemingly inescapable foes, as well as decide whether to run for their lives...or risk everything to help the townspeople who are being held hostage and terrorized.
An intense novel of character forged in the midst of struggle, survival, and sacrifice. Deadfall is highly-aclaimed author Robert Liparulo's latest rivetingly smart thriller.
"What if Mad Max, Rambo, and the Wild Bunch showed up-all packing Star Wars type weapons? You'd have Robert Liparulo's thrilling new adventure Deadfall." -Katherine Neville, best selling author of The Eight
"A brilliantly crafted thriller with flawless execution. I loved it!" -Michael Palmer, best selling author of The Fifth Vial
"In Deadfall, Robert Liparulo gives us a fresh fast paced novel that instills a well founded fear of the villians and an admiration for the people who refuse to be victims. It truly deserves the name thriller." -Thomas Perry, best selling author of The Butcher's Boy and Silence
"Another brilliantly conceived premise from Robert Liparulo. Deadfall will leave you looking over your shoulder and begging for more." -Dave Dun, best selling author of The Black Silent
Robert is an award-winning author of over a thousand published articles and short stories. He is currently a contributing editor for New Man magazine. His work has appeared in Reader's Digest, Travel & Leisure, Modern Bride, Consumers Digest, Chief Executive, and The Arizona Daily Star, among other publications. In addition, he previously worked as a celebrity journalist, interviewing Stephen King, Tom Clancy, Charlton Heston, and others for magazines such as Rocky Road, Preview, and L.A. Weekly.
Robert is an avid scuba diver, swimmer, reader, traveler, and a law enforcement and military enthusiast. He lives in Colorado with his wife and four children.
Robert's first novel painted a scenario so frighteningly real that six Hollywood producers were bidding on movie rights before the novel was completed. His acclaimed debut novel, Comes A Horseman, is being made into a major motion picture by producer Mace Neufeld and his short story "Kill Zone" was featured in the anthology Thriller, edited by James Patterson.
Bob has sold the film rights to his second book, GERM. And he is writing the screenplay for a yet-to-be-written political thriller, which sold to Phoenix Pictures, for Andrew Davis (The Fugitive, The Guardian) to direct!He is currently working on his fourth novel.
A NOTE from Bob: I’d like to give away five signed copies of Deadfall to readers of CFBA blogs during my tour. All they have to do is sign up for my e-mailing list (they won’t be inundated!) by going to my website (www.robertliparulo.com) and going to the “Mailing List” page. Or email me with “CFBA giveaway” in the subject line.
And a second NOTE from Bob: I wanted to let you know that I’m holding a contest on my site:
**one winner a week till the end of the year for a signed Deadfall **one winner a week till the end of the year for an unabridged audio MP3-CD of Deadfall ***and on Dec. 31, I’m giving away an iPod Nano, pre-loaded with an unabridged audio recording of Deadfall
Winners are selected from my e-mailing list—sign up at my site. If a winner has already purchased what he/she wins, I will reimburse them for the purchase price (or give them another—whichever they choose), so they don’t need to wait to see if they win before buying Deadfall.
Today I have the privilege of presenting Tricia Goyer's newest book in the Chronicles of the Spanish Civil War series, A Shadow of Treason. Sadly, I just received the book yesterday, and we all know how slow I read! But I love Tricia's books, and I'm excited to dig into this one! Without further ado, here's the blurb:
Sophie discovers that nothing is as she first imagined. When Walt, the reporter who helped her over the border, shows up again after Guernica is bombed, Sophie is given an impossible mission. She must leave behind the man she's fallen in love with and return to the person who betrayed her. Another layer of the war in Spain is revealed as Sophie is drawn into the international espionage schemes that could turn the tide of the war and help protect the soldiers from the International Brigade ... she must find a way to get a critical piece of information to Walt in time.
Tricia Goyer has published over 300 articles for national publications such as Today's Christian Woman, Guideposts for Kids, and Focus on the Family, and is the co-author of Meal Time Moments (Focus on the Family). She has led numerous Bible Studies, and her study notes appear in the Women of Faith Study Bible (Zondervan).
She has written seven novels for Moody Publishing: From Dust and Ashes (2003) Night Song (2004) Dawn of a Thousand Nights (2005); Arms of Deliverance (2006) A Valley of Betrayal (2007) A Shadow of Treason (Fall 2007) A Whisper of Freedom (February 2008) Night Song was awarded American Christian Fiction Writer's 2005 Book of the Year for Best Long Historical. Dawn of a Thousand Nights won the same award in 2006.
Tricia has also written Life Interrupted: The Scoop on Being a Young Mom (Zondervan, 2004), 10 Minutes to Showtime (Thomas Nelson, 2004), and Generation NeXt Parenting (Multnomah, 2006). Life Interrupted was a 2005 Gold Medallion finalist in the Youth Category.
Also, coming out in the next year are: My Life, Unscripted (Thomas Nelson, 2007), Generation NeXt Marriage (Multnomah, Spring 2008), and 3:16-the teen version of the a book by Max Lucado (Thomas Nelson, Spring 2008).
Tricia and her husband John live with their three children in Kalispell, Montana. Tricia's grandmother also lives with them, and Tricia volunteers mentoring teen moms and leading children's church. Although Tricia doesn't live on a farm, she can hit one with a rock by standing on her back porch and giving it a good throw.
AND HERE'S THE INTERVIEW!
Q: A Shadow of Treason follows A Valley of Betrayal. This is the first time you've written books as a series instead of stand alone. Which way do you like better?
A: I love writing in series. It was great to continue with the same characters. In my stand-alone books I fell in love with these people and then I had to say good-bye after one book. It was wonderful to be able to continue on.
Q: In A Shadow of Treason Sophie must return to the person who betrayed her in an effort to help the Spanish people. It makes the book hard to put down because the reader has to know how Sophie's heart will deal with it. Why did you decide to make this an element of the book?
A: There are very few of us who go through life without giving away a part of our hearts to someone who didn't deserve it. Even though Sophie had the best intentions, she gave away her heart and she was hurt-not only that she must revisit those emotions.
I wanted to include this element-to delve into the topic that emotions are sometimes as big of a trap as any physical cage. Emotions are real and they guide us -- even when we don't want to admit it. Poor Sophie, not only does she have to deal with a war around her -- she also has to deal with a war within herself. It's something I've battled, and mostly likely others have too.
Q: There is an interesting element that arises in this book and that is Spanish gold. I know you can't tell us what happens in this book, but can you give us a brief history of this gold?
A: Sure. When I was researching I came upon something interesting. The Spaniards, as we know, had taken much Aztec and Inca gold during the time of the conquistadors. Well, at the start of The Spanish Civil War much of this gold was still held in Madrid. In fact Spain had the fourth largest gold reserves in the world at that time. The Republican government was afraid Franco would take the city and the gold. They had to get it out of Madrid and this included transporting priceless artifacts. The element of gold does make its way into my story. It was great to include this little-known (and true!) element into my story.
Q: Another historical fact I learned about was the Nazi involvement during this time. Not only were the Germans active in Spain, but they had spy networks busy around the world. How did you find out about this?
A: I love reading tons of research books. Usually I find one little element that I dig out and turn into a plot line. This is what happened with my plot-line for the Nazi pilot, Ritter. I dug up this bit of research of Nazi involvement in Spain -- and the United States -- because a lot of people aren't aware of the Nazi involvement prior to WWII. The truth is they were busy at work getting the land, information, and resources they needed far before they threatened the nations around them. The Germans knew what they wanted and how to get it. And most of the time they succeeded!
Q: A Shadow of Treason is Book Two. When will Book Three be out? Can you give us a hint of how the story continues?
A: Book Three is A Whisper of Freedom. It will be out February 2008. The characters that we love are all still in the midst of danger at the end of Book Two. Book Three continues their stories as we follow their journeys in -- and (for a few) out -- of Spain. It's an exciting conclusion to the series!
Q: Wow, so we have a least one more fiction book to look forward to in the near future. Are you working on any non-fiction?
A: Yes, I have two non-fiction books that will be out the early part of 2008. Generation NeXt Marriage is a marriage book for today's couples. It talks about our marriage role models, our struggles, and what we're doing right as a generation. It also gives advice for holding it together.
I've also been privileged to work on the teen edition of Max Lucado's book 3:16. It was a great project to work on. What an honor!
Me here again. I am so amazed at how prolific Tricia is, and how God works through her writing. To order the book, click here! And remember to stop by her blog here.
Now how come we only had two players yesterday???? A-hem, full participation blog, my friends =) OK, just kidding. No pressure. Some of the answers Erica and Betsy gave yesterday were mighty close--and I think they both got one dead on. Here we go:
BIBLIOBIBULI: those who read too much. (Hey, that's us!!!)
CINEMATARD: one who is completely lacking movie knowledge. (uh-oh, that's me.)
CLOOP: the sound made when a cork is pulled from a bottle. (But I love the answers given yesterday!)
DOTCOMRADE: an internet acquaintance; someone you chat with but have never actually met. (Many of you were my dotcomrades before the ACFW conference.)
FOOTLE: to talk or act foolishly; to waste time
FRISSON: an emotional thrill; a shudder of emotion (Evidently my WIP is packed with frissons! HAHA!)
GOUND: the gunk that collects in the corners of the eye during sleep. (Although fruit and misspelling sound logical too!)
HIRPLE: to hobble or walk lamely
KLEPTOGRAPH: device for photographing people without their knowledge (eek!)
NEOLOGIST: one who makes up new words (just ask my crit buds about "caterpillared.")
POKE WAR: a back and forth battle utilizing Facebook's poking mechanism (two correct answers yesterday!)
RACONTEUR: one skilled in telling stories. (We all hope to be raconteurs.)
SPILTH: refuse or rubbish (I almost died laughing at yesterday's responses.)
WENIS: the skin on your elbow. (My daughter loves to work this one into conversation for shock value.)
Most of the definitions came from the Urban Dictionary, and I can't remember where I dug up the rest. I so love words! Thank you Betsy and Erica for playing=) That was fun, fun, fun!!!
Happy Monday! Today seems like a great day to play a word game. Some of these words are new (not in the official dictionary) and some of them have been around for a long time, but are rarely used. You get bonus points for each word you use in a sentence in addition to providing the definition. Making things up is perfectly acceptible. And who knows, you might be right!
I know you're online right now, but no cheating=P We're on the honor system around these parts. Come back tomorrow for the answers.
When Sam's estranged step-father dies, she inherits his ocean-front cottage in Nantucket--not because he kindly bequeathed it to her, but because he neglected to ever create a will. Sam returns to the island she left 11 years ago with her daughter Caden to fix up the house and sell it, but she isn't counting on is the fact that Landon Reed still lives two doors down from her childhood home.
As their long-dormant romance begins to bud again, Sam must face the fact that Landon still doesn't know why she really left the island. Will the secrets she's hidden all these years tear them apart? Or is Landon's love really as unconditional as he claims?
"I've always thought Denise Hunter was an amazing writer but this wonderful story sets her firmly at the forefront of compelling love stories. How Landon breaks down Samantha's determination that she is unworthy of love kept me glued to the pages. An amazing story!" --Colleen Coble, author of Fire Dancer (Smoke Jumper Series)
Denise lives in Indiana with her husband Kevin and their three sons. In 1996, Denise began her first book, a Christian romance novel, writing while her children napped.
Two years later it was published, and she's been writing ever since. Her books often contain a strong romantic element, and her husband Kevin says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!
In addition to Surrender Bay, the second Nantucket book releases in April 2008. The title is The Convenient Groom and features Kate Lawrence, a relationship advice columnist, whose groom dumps her on her wedding day. Denise is currently at work on the third Nantucket book (Oct 2008) which is untitled so far.
And I'm not talking politics =) We all know the major characteristics of left-brained people vs. right-brained, and can usually identify ourselves as one or the other. Here's a quick rundown of some of the traits:
Left-brain dominant: RATIONAL Responds to verbal instructions Problem solves by logically and sequentially looking at the parts of things Looks at differences Is planned and structured Prefers established, certain information Prefers talking and writing Prefers multiple choice tests Controls feelings Prefers ranked authority structures SEQUENTIAL Is a splitter: distinction important Is logical, sees cause and effect
Right-brain dominant: INTUITIVE Responds to demonstrated instructions Problem solves with hunches, looking for patterns and configurations Looks at similarities Is fluid and spontaneous Prefers elusive, uncertain information Prefers drawing and manipulating objects Prefers open ended questions Free with feelings Prefers collegial authority structures SIMULTANEOUS Is a lumper: connectedness important Is analogic, sees correspondences, resemblances (*This list was taken from an Intelegen Inc. site*)
I always assumed because I like to make things up and have a whole different world going on in my head that I'm a righty. But that's not really the case. I seem to use both sides of my brain equally--and I really should have guessed that since I like order instead of chaos and I love making lists. Today, it would seem that I'm a lefty.
Georgiana Daniels resides in the beautiful mountains of Arizona with her
super-generous husband and three talented daughters. She graduated from
Northern Arizona University with a bachelor's degree in public
relations, and now has the privilege of homeschooling by day and
wrestling with the keyboard by night. She enjoys sharing God's love
through fiction, and is exceedingly thankful for her own happily ever