Friday Fun

Anyone who has ever sent out a query can relate to this clip.

It’s exciting at first. Very few of us can escape the pain of rejection. None of us should ever give up!

Collecting Inspiration

I attended a workshop at a writer’s conference last year in which one of the speakers said something that has stuck with me ever since. When I’m writing and find myself explaining things or trying to interject backstory, this quote always comes to mind. It’s one of many quotes which have helped make me a better writer. Perhaps it will help you, too.

“Don’t tell me how the watch is made when I just want to know the time” — Deborah LeBlanc

What quotes inspire you? Which ones have affected the way you write?

Websites For Writers

As if I don’t already have tons of awesome blogs to follow, Writers Digest came out with a “101 Best Websites for Writers” article in the May/June 2011 issue. I’m already familiar with some of them like,, and, but here are a few new-to-me ones I thought I’d share.

  • Easy Street Prompts for visual or random word inspiration.
  • Pub Rants for helpful insight into a literary agents mind.
  • Writer Gazette for call for submissions, contests, articles, writer services and other resources.
  • Grammar Girl because who doesn’t struggle with this from time to time.
  • Mashable for the latest info on social and digital media, technology, and the Web. I actually had a friend tell me about this one and it also ties into yesterday’s post.
  • Resources for Children’s Writers for links to hundreds of articles on the craft for children’s writers.
  • Critters Workshop for horror, sci-fi, and fantasy writers. Okay, so this one’s not new to me, but this site, founded by Dr. Andrew Burt (former vice president of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America) is awesome.

What websites/blogs would you add to this list?

Finding the Future

They say write what you know, and research what you don’t. Okay the last half of that statement is mine. If you have a Hummer in your story, it needs to be set after 1992 unless it involves the US military circa 1980. Cell phones went public in 1977, but didn’t become commercially accessible in the US until 1988. Paperclips were invented in 1899 and Band-Aids didn’t show up until 1917.

But what if your story takes place in the distant future? How are writers supposed to write about the latest technological advances if they don’t exist? They take current information, bend it, and make it their own. I recently came across the Newsweek This is Your Future article (March 13, 2011). OMG, some of that stuff sounds so crazy. Internet-accessible contact lens?

The article also mentions robots taking over high performance tasks. The movie I, Robot (2004) plays on this concept and takes it to the next level with a murder mystery involving robots and humans.

Do you write futuristic fiction? Where do you find your world building ideas?

Catching Up

Last weekend my writer’s group and I attended the DARA Conference. I really enjoyed hearing keynote speakers Richelle Mead and Allison Brennan talk about their journeys to publication.

There were also a number of workshops. I attended “Tick, Tock, Kill: The Psychology of a Killer Mind” by Margie Lawson, “Money Talks” by Lorraine Heath, an agent panel with Lucienne Diver, Beth Miller, and Suzie Townsend, “Deep Editing Power” by Margie Lawson, “Breaking Rules to Break In or Break Out” by Allison Brennan, and “Writing Body Language Like a Psychologist.

Roni Loren from Fiction Groupie wrote a great post on one of Margie Lawson’s workshops about fresh writing. Although it wasn’t a new concept, the way Margie explained it made something click for me.

Writing about a character’s response to a situation goes beyond ‘a smile’. Yet many writers stop there, he smiled, she grinned, the smile didn’t reach his eyes, held back a smile, flashed a million dollar smile…. And when overused in a story it loses its impact. Roni has great examples of “smiles” that work.

The smile should be an active part of the story, rather than just an action. I searched one of my completed manuscripts and found 53 ‘smiles’. I’m in the process of weeding out the unnecessary ones and digging deeper for the ones that can stay. I have to say, it has improved my story.

Writing is hard work and anyone who thinks otherwise isn’t doing it right.

Do your characters smile/grin too much? Did revising those sentence bring ‘freshness’ to your writing?