Thursday, November 25, 2010

3 Degree's Of Separation - RIP Pike River Miners.

It has been a tragic week here in New Zealand. 

Last Friday news came of a huge explosion in the Pike River Mine with 29 miners trapped. Yesterday, another huge explosion ripped through the mine just before a rescue attempt was about to start. There are no survivors.

People around the world talk about ‘6 degrees of separation,’ the layers of connectivity between you and the rest of the world. In New Zealand, (small Island nation of 4 million) it is about 3 degrees. Everybody knows someone, who knows someone, on the West Coast of the South Island. Everyone on the Coast will know someone connected to that mine.

Through twitter and facebook we were able to keep up to date with latest news from the mine and while I was scanning the boards I came across this article about using social network for writers.

I abandoned my attempts at writing because I couldn’t concentrate and instead found some good articles on plot, 6 signs of a healthy plot and a great collection of helpful articles on editing.

A friend has been looking at the brainstorming process while beginning to plot a new book and so I have been reading up on structure and came across this great article on how do you know your idea is strong enough for a book...and is it Mid Grade or Young Adult and while you are writing should you post any of it on your blog?

Over On Craicerplus (My Amplify Page) I have articles on

Exoplanet found in another Galaxy...(geeking, no apologies)

The Publishing Borg Are Here, Lead, Follow Or Get The Hell Out Of The Way. (Great Article By the 
Brilliant Bob Mayer)

4 Agent Pet Peeves...(read and don’t make the same mistakes...)

You Are Not Like MIlli Vanilli (shaking off the imposter syndrome)

How Do Authors Make Money-Thinking Beyond The Book.

Canceling A Project- Reality Check...(it’s a tough world out there, don’t think you’re home until the book is printed...)

After feeling completely depressed by events here in New Zealand, it was nice to read an article in Publishers Weekly about mid list authors who are having success after moving to a smaller press...and making the smaller press successful. Win Win.

My Thoughts and Prayers are with the people on ‘The Coast.’

RIP Pike River Miners (29 dead, aged between 17 and 62)


Friday, November 19, 2010

Making Like A Professional...

Tonight I had the privilege of being in a room full of children’s authors at a function hosted by The Children’s Book Shop and the Wellington Children’s Book Association. 
Christmas Book Buying Night, where the authors are on hand to talk about their books and sign them along with wine and nibbles and a 10% discount. 
A glass of wine helps any author to stand up and talk about their books and, for those of us there, the questions were really interesting. We talked about the publication process, the waiting for acceptance, the make or breaks for a book, and our current projects. 
One author showed off her book which has been made into an iPad application. For some guests it was the first time they had seen an iPad let alone a children’s book that could be played with, coloured in,  record your own voice reading the story.....

With new technology there are so many ways to get your message across.

Joel Friedlander of The Book Designer blog has listed 17 ways for writers to publish content. The comments on this article list a few more to think about especially repackaging content.

The writing blogosphere has been up in arms this week over a publisher who has been targeting MFA programmes to find young and hungry writers who know nothing about the industry and signing them up to punishing contracts which take away all their future earnings....  
John Scalzi has published an open letter to MFA programmes urging them to make available classes in publishing business practice and telling them they have a duty after taking all that money to make sure that their students don’t get caught in some very bad situations like this one...because students who think that having an MFA from a respected institution will protect them because they 'know all about the industry'...are being sucked in... 
If you haven’t heard about this (scam) Please take the time to read John's Letter and tell others to read it as well. We should all be aware that if it looks to good to be true...Read and Understand the Fine Print... (It is part of being professional!)

If you are thinking about reading some more industry blogs (in the spirit of being a professional) pop over to Writetodone. Leo Babauta, one of the top bloggers in the entire blogosphere, is hosting the 5th annual top ten blogs for writers contest. Already nominated are many of the blogs I refer to or have referenced in my blog over the last two years. But don’t take my word for it, go and have a look at what other bloggers are saying about the best blogs out there for writers.

Among the best blogs for writers out there is Angela Ackerman’s fabulous Bookshelf Muse. Angela’s project to compile thesaurus for writers on Emotions, Settings, Symbolism etc. Debbie Maxwell Allen has given a quick run down of Angela’s site...if you can’t take it all in at once, it is such a huge project! 
Congratulations Angela on making 300.000 hits to the site. Yes it really is worth a look! (I first referenced Angela back in May and look where the blog is now-talk about growth!)

Over on Craicerplus (My Amplify Page) I have links to Articles on

What Happened To Down Time- The Extinction Of Deep Thinking And Sacred Space. (This is one of those thought provoking articles that change your life)

Should I Tweet?- An Agents Perspective On Marketing...(This article has made best of the week lists all over 
the writing blogosphere.)

Kristin Lambs 3rd structure article- (Really good stuff!)

Is Contemporary YA A Difficult Market?...(comments on facebook and twitter about this one...)

A New Imprint Is Launched -YaYa- teen authors writing for teens.....

Deescribe has a great guest post on marketing by Aussie Tania McCartney. Tania has self published a series of popular books and she shares tips on how to market. This is comprehensive and full of good advice. After all that is what tonight was all about we were marketing....and we were having a great time doing it too.

FaBo is winding to a triumphant conclusion. The team has had a ball. The kids writing into us have stretched us and challenged us and astounded us with their brilliance. It has been a fabulous ride. Go over and check out the penultimate chapter....


pic is the cover of the movie.....yup that's us... children's writers....maybe the Fabo team....hehehehehehe

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Transition or....

This week I have been thinking about transition, the movement from one state to another. 
In our busy home there have been a few moments of transition. Some big. Some small. One child finished her school life. After exams the big wide scary world beckons...of course the parents are feeling it as well. How did she grow up so fast? 

Because of the older sisters transition, a younger one has to step up and do more for themselves. No one else is going to do the lunch, make sure you catch the bus in time etc. 

Last weekend I was on camp with the Youth Group. Here the transition was marked with half of the Youth coming from refugee camps. Learning English is hard enough, but what do you do with a sleeping bag...a kayak...a BBQ experiences all this is being a Kiwi?

In the writing blogosphere transition seems to be a dominant theme this week as well.

Kristen Lamb has a great series running over on her blog on structure and plot problems. This is one of the best articles I have read on looking at the 3 act structure and where writers can fail. You will be looking for the purple dragons in your manuscript.

Victoria Mixon has four rules that should be up over your desk...If you fail at any one of these the purple dragon will appear...

Writer’s Alley looks at storyboarding software (freebees) and there are some great programmes out there. Take a look at the screenshots. They give you are good feel for what the programme can do and if you love MS Word there are a few tips in there as well. It helps you to step back from your writing.

Jackee Aiston has a good set of rules for writing...where are your time wasters? How do you use your time? If you need to transition from staring at the screen to actually getting some work done these may be a good help.

What can be negotiated in a contract...what should be in there. Rachelle Gardner has a must read post on always I urge you to read the comments. Rachelle is a prominent member of the agent blogging community and is widely followed.

Over on Craicerplus (My Amplify Page) I have links to articles on

How Writers Can Use Twitter

How To Write Fights Games Races and Chases...

What Makes A Great Blog Tour

The Big List Of RPG Plots....(this is seriously good!!!)

To finish  Bob Mayer has a great article up on his blog Write It Forward....'Resistance is Futile' about the future of publishing as he sees it.  Bob is an excellent teacher and multi published best selling writer...Go take a look...

Transition or Die....


Thursday, November 4, 2010

First Impressions....

Ah Facebook...such a time waster sometimes, and sometimes not.

This week Facebook friend, Sarah Billington, posted on her blog what it is like being an intern at Black Dog Books (Aus.) Sarah is a writer herself and as part of her Uni course got to look at life on the other side of the desk. Sarah has written a small series of posts about being an intern at Black of the takeaways this week was her comment ‘that if you say you are a published author, they will google you.’

I am sometimes told by writers here in NZ that we don’t need websites. Sarah’s comments in her blog and facebook are timely. Yes, writers down under, you need a web presence! (And remember to spend some time making your web presence interesting.)
‘Send them to my Blog, Maureen,’ she said...So I am sending you....

You have slaved over the query letter and now you send it in...You are hoping to make a good impression... Rachelle Gardner commented this week about receiving a query letter that starts thusly...

“To my knowledge, nothing like this has ever been written. Ever. It is utterly fresh, mine and complete."

This is a good list to look at...and check your work against, before you craft that important query letter.

Before the query you need to make sure your manuscript is as good as it can get. This post by Douglas Van Bell is a must read. The most Comprehensive and Totally Universal Listing Of Every Problem A Story Has Ever Had...(warning strong content...heheheheh I did warn you...)

And if you are feeling worn out with fixing all those little mistakes here is an inspirational post on keeping the momentum going...The secret is all in the first thing you do each day...

Mike Shatzkin is looking at the serious money being put into enhanced digital books for children. Companies are scrambling to be first in the new wave of publishing that is going to transform children’s books....Will they be called 'books' in the future?

Pimpmynovel has also been looking at the future and what it will mean to publishers very soon....He predicts the rise of the Indie bookstore...check out what he says about agents...

Greg Pincus interviewed Holly Cupala about all the innovative ways she is using to market her books. Holly has kept the audio rights and is making her own audio versions using her own narrators, etc. This, and making episodes available as podcasts, has generated huge interest in her print books. A must read if you are interested in podcasting and retaining your rights.

Over on Craicerplus ( My Amplify Page) I have links to articles on,

What do Self Publishing Success Stories Have In Common (marketing)

ePublishing All You Ever Wanted To Know.

Anatomy of A Best Selling Novel -Structure Matters (very very good)

5 Things Every Writer Should Know About Rights-(the great Jane so a must read.)

The Great Semi Colon Debate...(do you use them )

And back we go to the first place I mentioned in this post, Facebook. Allison Winn has a very good post on what writers should be thinking when they are on Facebook Personal Vs Professional.

I’ll leave you now, senses reeling from all that valuable information....with the first in a great YouTube series by the Plot Whisperer...If you are looking for novel help (NaNoWriMo people) check this out. From this video I realised I have a plot hole in my Mars Project...crater sized...back to work!


pic is from a website looking at neural first iimpressions
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