Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Writer's Wish

Christmas was 
Merry and Bright! 
Looking forward to a 
New Year filled with many 
wonderful stories. Good luck
writing a pitch 
perfect MS &
finding it a
good home.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Write, Edit, Pitch, Edit . . .

. . . summarizes the cycle of my writing life over 2012

Calvin takes a break from chewing on rope toy & listening to my pitch.
What have I learned?
A strong Pitch has four parts:
* Main character (MC)
* Initial conflict 
* Obstacle
* MC's desired goal

Good pitch includes
* Hook - An intro to your pitch that latches the read and creates interest.
* Describes plot, not theme 
* With voice in 3rd person POV

Types of pitches
Pitching sounds straight forward, but each online pitch contest has a twist.
Twitter Pitch - 140 character count 
includes the hashtag
Blog Pitch - specific word count
2 or 3 Sentence Pitch - word max

My MG novel: TRIPLE B
Main character - 13-year-old Samantha 
Initial conflict - home not safe with alcoholic father & mom as bystander
Obstacle - school no longer safe place with verbal and cyberbullying
MC's desired goal -Breaking the circle of bullying, so Samantha feels safe at home, school and community.

TRIPLE B Twitter Pitch   
13yo Samantha’s Triple B List: Bullied-Samantha, Bully-dad & Bystander-mom. Now lies & texts at school turn friends into bystanders. #tag

TRIPLE B Blog Pitch
Thirteen-year-old Samantha sums up her family in a Triple B list: Bullied- Samantha, Bully- father and Bystander- mom. But when Samantha’s verbal fights with the popular girl at school cross the line into bullying, her BFFs also turn into bystanders. Now all cell carrying eighth graders are passing mean word and picture texts about Samantha. With her safety at risk, Samantha must break the circle of bullying in her family and school.

For the over 500 of us who didn't make it into Pitch Wars, there will be a twitter pitch party on the hashtag #PitMad on January 25. Details will be announced on: Brenda Drake Writing . . . under the influence of coffee So get your twitter pitches ready and make sure to include the hashtag in your 140 character count.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Beginnings and Middles . . .

No Real Endings

Yes, I wrote a middle grade novel from beginning to end. Well not exactly in that order. But until TRIPLE B finds a warm publishing house to call its home, my manuscript is not complete.

Recently, I submitted my work to an awesome group of author/mentors in a writing contest called PitchWars. The goal is prove your writing worthy of a mentors time. The submission window closes Wednesday, December 5th at 8 p.m. EST.

How do you WOW other authors, agents and publishers? Believe me, I've been working on that answer through numerous edits, cuts and rewritten sections.

TRIPLE B's opening sentence appears to be a cliche, which would WOW no one. Then in the next sentence I surprise the reader by showing the unexpected. By twisting a cliche, I'm hinting to the reader not to jump to conclusions about my thirteen-year-old main character. An eighth grader's life can change quickly. Be ready!

While I wait PATIENTLY for the Pitch Wars mentors to chose the lucky writers they will guide in the coming weeks, I will keep writing. After all, that's what writers do.

Thanks to the Picture Book Idea Month Challenge, I created a list of 32 ideas for future young children's stories. I could write about bringing our puppy home almost three years ago. Or let my mind explore other ideas that may one day find there way to a publisher's desk. 

And one day soon, I'm determined to find a real ending for TRIPLE B.

Good luck and keep writing! 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Grab ALL ideas as they Fall

Taking the Picture Book Idea Month Challenge has been just that - a challenge. For me the simple part is jotting down a topic each November day. The real trick is coming up with 30 original story ideas. 

At the beginning of November, I researched every idea on my list using Amazon's website. For instance: "Fall." After all how many books in print do readers really want about the Fall season? Currently, 475 books on Fall have been published for ages 3 to 5. Then I typed in - Fall leaves: 225 picture books, Fall animals: 135 picture books, Fall colors: 97 picture books. This process may be informative but it's not creative.

What have I learned as November draws to an end? I needed to stop editing my thoughts during the brainstorming stage. By allowing one idea to lead to another organically, creative ones emerge.

Now I'm scanning picture albums of my boys' preschool years to remember what interested them. And I'm keeping my eyes open during my daily activities and interactions. The result is a growing list of ideas that stem from my world not statistics.

Visit Author Tara Lazar's blog Writing for Kids (While Raising Them) for daily posts to inspire your writing.

Remember it takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.   Eleanor Roosevelt 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thanksgiving Blog Hop

I'm grateful for my villages - family, friends and writers                   
As one of the women in my writer's group likes to say, "Life has its seasons." This means that each of us has possibilities and limits at every stage. As a young mother, staying awake and sane enough to write a coherent story was out of my reach. I only had the energy and time to write down snippets of conversations, story ideas and very short essays.                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
I am thankful that during my current season of life, I have more time to think, read and write. With a tea cup in hand and puppy at my side, I capture the characters talking in my head. Throw a load of t-shirts and jeans in the washer, then jot down more thoughts. It's amazing how writing two hours every day, adds up.

Last August, with a polished middle grade manuscript and several picture book manuscripts filed on my laptop, I reached out to writers and agents online. The blogging community of children and young adult writers share their experiences and information on writing. Although writing is a solo act, I appreciate being part of a village. I'm inspired by others passion for the written word.

For all writers with a polished Middle Grade, Young Adult, New Adult or Adult manuscript, check out Brenda Drake Writing . . . under the influence of coffee She is hosting #PitchWars.

Over 30 agented writers will act as coaches to polish and pitch an unagented writer's novel.

On November 26th, the coaches will post on their blogs which genre they wish to coach.

#PitchWars continues to trend. Join the fun!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Auction to benefit Red Cross

Writers, join the auction at Jen Malone’s blog 
to benefit those harmed by Hurricane Sandy.

Please join the effort!
The auction closes on Wednesday, November 7th at 5 pm EST.
Bid on critiques from agents, editors, & authors, signed books, writing tools like Scrivener, and writing workshops.

  • Query Critique From Agent Sarah Jane Freymann
  • Three Chapter Critique From Agent Jessica Sinsheimer
  • BIG Box Of Signed YA Books, Rare ARCs, And Swag
  • Query Critique from CODA Author Emma Trevayne
  • Rhyming Picture Book Critique From Author Janet Lawler
  • Three Chapter Critique From Agent Victoria Marini
  • Query Critique and Signed Hardcover of Bestseller STARTERS by Author LIssa Price
  • Giant Book/DVD Swag Bag from Walden Media
  • Query and First Five Pages Critique From Agent Kathleen Rushall
  • Free Scrivener Upload For Your PC
  • First Chapter of Your Middle Grade Novel Critique From NYT Bestselling Author Adam Gidwitz 
  • Three Chapter Critique From Agent Julia Alexandra Weber
  • Thirty-Minute Ask Anything Phone Call With Agent Holly Root
  • Ten Page Critique From Author Jenny Lundquist
  • Copyedit From Publishing Professional Dahlia Adler
  • Query And First 50 pages Critique From Author Alison Cherry
  • Query Plus First Two Pages Critique From Agent Marisa Corvisiero
  • Query Critique from Publishing House & Lit Agency Intern
  • PB Manuscript Critique, Signed Copy of BOY + BOT and Swag Pack From Author Ame Dyckman
  • Registration To Any Upcoming LitPow Workshop
  • First Five Pages Critique of MG or YA Manuscript From Editor
  • Query Plus 20 Pages Critique and Phone Call From Agent Susan Hawk
  • Query Plus 10 Pages Critique, Signed Book & Swag From Author Diana Renn
  • First Chapter Critique PLUS Two Signed Hardcovers From Author Veronica Rossi
  • Copyedit of First Three Chapters or PB Text From Industry Professional
  • Twenty Minute Phone Call With Author Catherine Masciola
  • Query Critique and E-Copy of Query Handbook from CJ Redwine
  • Full Manuscript Critique From Writer  Marieke Nijkamp
  • First 20 Pages Critiques Plus Queries From Up-And-Coming Authors
  • Tuesday, October 30, 2012

    "Happy Glowing Pumpkin Day!"

    Journal your World

    I forgot my pen and notebook. Yes, there's an AP for that. But the act of turning on my smart phone, clicking on the AP and facing a screen with lines kills my creativity. My cell is great for making lists and remembering appointments. But writing? I need the the tactile pleasure of holding a pen in my hand and allowing the ideas to flow out.

    As families gather for holidays, I jot down sights, scents, tastes and sounds. Keeping a writer's journal is an essential tool for my writing. Also, snippets of my children's conversations through the years along with pictures keep their stories from being lost.

    "Happy Candy Day!"