Saturday, January 30, 2010

Contest Reminders

1) The Sisters are giving away an autographed copy of Blood Promise by Richelle Mead (courtesy of Lacey)! Enter by Feb. 4th for your chance to win!

2) You only have until January 31st to enter Mary Kole's Kidlit contest. This contest is for MG/YA writers and is a great opportunity -- plus, Mary's blog is awesome!

Friday, January 29, 2010


This past week, we've received a few blog awards and rather than make a post for each, we've decided to put them all together.

First, we've received the Happiness Award from:
Darina at, a totally cool girl from Bulgaria

Rules: List ten things that make you happy and pass the award along!

Ten things that make Lacey Happy:
Accomplishing a writing goal
Acceptance letters :)
Coffee on cold mornings
Watching movies with Husband
Hanging with friends
Visiting family
Surprises (good ones)

Ten things that make Valerie happy:

Good books.
Filming a project.
My pets.
Going out for breakfast.
When someone likes something I wrote.
Achieving a goal.

Ten things that make Kristi happy:
playing with the kidlets and pups
date nights with hubby
new slow-cooker recipes - I'm wild like that
girls' night out at the movies
Disneyworld - seriously, it's my favorite place
reading on the couch with cheese, crackers, and a glass of vino
a good cup of coffee
hiking in the mountains

We would like to give the happiness award award to:
Author Carrie Harris at
Author Kiersten White at

We also collected the Honest Scrap Award from:
Pamela at She's a fellow YA writer

Rules: List ten honest things about yourself and pass it along!

Ten honest things about Lacey:

I am a big Elvis Presley fan
I grew up on a ranch with 13 horses
I ride a Harley
Sometimes it scares me
I like old things
I love vampires
I would rather stay at home by myself and read, than go out
I have a girl crush on Lorelei Gilmore
My husband tricked me in to eating sea urchin sushi once, and I nearly vomited but I pretended to like it so not to give him satisfaction
I check my email at least 50 times a day

Ten honest things about Valerie:

I'm a dork.
I was a cheerleader and a flag corps/colorguard member.
I would rather read than do most things.
I drink WAY too much coffee.
I can say the alphabet backwards.
I don't like chocolate.
When I was little I wanted to be a magician.
I really really want to go to Amsterdam.
I still can't believe I actually finished writing a book.
I love anything to do with time travel.

Ten honest things about Kristi:
I might have a slight chocolate addiction.
My idea of a perfect date night involves Netflix and wine.
My 5-yo son beats me on every Wii game we play -- I can't ski jump to save my life.
My hubby even beats me in Wii figure skating.
My 5-yo watching daddy sing the National Anthem on the JumboTron at a Colorado. Rockies game was one of my favorite nights ever.
I'm NOT a morning person -- some might even call me 'cranky'.
My kids get up between 5:30-6am every day -- clearly, they didn't get the memo.
One of the many reasons I love hubby is he often leaves me a cup of coffee on the bathroom counter before he leaves each day, knowing I'll need it upon waking.
I'm a major introvert who can present like an extrovert when necessary.
I'd rather be home with my family than anywhere else in the world.

We would like to give the happiness award award to:


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

How to critique your partner's work.

This won't be a how-to post, so much as a what-works-for-me post. And what works for me, may not work for you and your partner, but you never know until you try. The reason behind this post, or really the thought behind it, is that I've seen some pretty poor critiques--NOT FROM THE SISTERS, but on random writer websites--and it made me realize that there are a lot of aspiring writers out there, who mean well but don't know how to give honest feedback.

**insert random thought: this popcorn is ah-may-zing**

First things first, and this is a tough one for me, read through the entire manuscript you are given without making edits. Make notes to yourself if you need to, but leave the text alone until you know the outcome. When you know where you'll end up, you can better decide how to get there.

Next, keep in mind that every writer has a unique voice. You may have the desire to totally change the tone of every sentence to fit your vision. But it's not your vision. It's hers, and you need to respect her voice. That doesn't mean you can't help her reword something so it sounds better, or change the structure of a sentence to make it stronger. It just means that Lauren Kate's Luce, is not Lisa McMann's Janie.

Third, be respectful, but be honest. It does not help ANYONE to pussyfoot around sensitive comments. You might not want to tell a random writer that you think "this" sucks, but if she's your BFF, you'd be doing her a service. On that note, if you are the one receiving the crit, you have to be open to suggestions and not take it personally. So, be respectful, but be honest and also be sure to point out the things you like and what you'd like to see more of.

Finally, when doing a thorough critique, it is most helpful to your partner to work line by line, leaving comments on how you think it could be better, what isn't clear to you as a reader, where there is a loop-hole, if something is out of character, a misspelled word etc. When working in MS word, you should have a "Review" tab. Click that and select "track changes". This will show any edits you make in the text. There you will also see "add new comment". To use that feature, highlight the text you want to comment on and click "add a new comment" and type out your comment in the bubble.

In closure, write out an "over all" message. Tell the writer what you loved, what you hated, what you think she can add or leave out. And it's always nice to end on a positive note :)

Do you have any successful critiquing tips to add? We'd love to hear 'em!


I don't know if you're familiar with them, but I subscribe to Notes From The Universe. Monday through Friday, The Universe (as in the one we live in) sends me messages of encouragement and hope. They're tailored to my own personal life goals, but since one of those is to be published, I thought I'd share a couple recent ones today.

The trick is learning to maintain an unwavering focus upon your desired end result, your completed dream, the "finish line," without insisting upon, or even contemplating, its means of attainment, no matter how logical, obvious, or tempting it may seem.

I love this. It's so true. As so many have pointed out before me (most recently, Kiersten White had a great post on this) there is no magic formula for the next bestseller. Don't waste your time wondering if you've got the "right" story for the market, or trying to figure out the "next big trend". Just write your book the way you see it. Write the story you want to read. If you let the joy of the process come through in your writing, and you write what you love, others will pick up on that energy and love it too.

I've found that "The Secret" really works. Visualize yourself where you want to be in your career. Don't worry if you can't figure out the details, logic, or any possible way that you'll get there. Just write your book as though it's already sold. Already getting rave reviews.

It's so much more fun to be writing the best book ever(!) than it is to write a worthless piece of crap that will never sell.

People who do all they can, with what they've got, from where they are, no matter how puny their actions, how tiny their steps, or how futile it may seem, simply have more fun. Way.

Of course, to the uninitiated it doesn't appear that way. To them it appears as if only those taking gigantic leaps, who drive cars with fancy wheels, have loads of friends, perfect bodies, and fly around the world in First Class Sleeper Seats, are having fun. But what they don't realize is that we're often talking about the very same folks, just at different points in their journey.

Like Kristi said last week, it's all about baby steps! As long as you're moving forward you're going somewhere. I like this because it reminds me that everyone successful started out clueless and uncertain, but they're successful because they kept going even when it was scary, or difficult, or they were exhausted or discouraged.

A "no" is not the end, it's just another step along your journey to success.

What are some of your favorite inspriational or encouraging messages? What keeps you going?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My First Awards

I was totally intending to post about my experience last week at the 1st Pages Event with Uber-Agents Kristin Nelson and Kate Schafer-Testerman. I promise to do that -- next week. I'm slammed with judging manuscripts for a writing conference and MUST finish by Friday! However, I do have some positive news to share.

1) We've hit over 100 followers!!!! I'd like to thank all the wonderful
readers, writers, etc. out there who are brave enough to admit
following our little blog. You're all made of awesome!

2) My very first award, The Silver Lining Award, has been bestowed upon
me by the lovely Shelli from Market
My Words
. If you haven't checked out her blog yet, it's a must read
for great marketing info/interviews.

I love this award as it was created to acknowledge those who create positive and optimistic posts. Plus, it's pretty (see side bar.) I need to award this to 5 fellow bloggers out there and will put up an extra post this weekend.

3) Two more awards were given to me over the weekend by Valerie Kemp:
The Happy Award and The Honest Scrap award. 3 awards in
one weekend! How lucky is that? I should go buy a lotto ticket. These
rewards require answering actual questions and giving it away to 10
deserving bloggers. As I don't have time to do laundry this week, let
alone answer questions, I'll get to this on my other blog over the weekend.

There you have my happy writing news of the week! Also, I made progress concerning the eternal revision process of my YA ms, which doesn't feel like happy news in the moment, but feels great after. So what happy writing news have you had this week?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


TO ENTER: You MUST be a follower of this blog and fill out the entry form at the bottom of this post!!!!!!!

In honor of the New Year, and to show our appreciation to all of our followers for making our blog the awesomeness that it is, we are giving away one hardcover copy of

Vampire Academy book 4
Blood Promise!

This book is new, never been opened past the title page and...drum roll...It is AUTOGRAPHED!
That thing at the top of the middle pic is a shadow. Don't worry--book is mint. To read an excerpt from the book go to and a quick post about the signing can be found on Lacey's blog.

Product Description

How far will Rose go to keep her promise?

The recent Strigoi attack at St. Vladimir’s Academy was the deadliest ever in the school’s history, claiming the lives of Moroi students, teachers, and guardians alike. Even worse, the Strigoi took some of their victims with them. . . including Dimitri.

He’d rather die than be one of them, and now Rose must abandon her best friend, Lissa—the one she has sworn to protect no matter what—and keep the promise Dimitri begged her to make long ago. But with everything at stake, how can she possibly destroy the person she loves most?

About the Author

Richelle Mead lives in Seattle and is the author of the VAMPIRE ACADEMY series. When not writing, she can be found watching bad movies, inventing recipes, and buying far too many dresses.

TO ENTER: You MUST be a follower of this blog and fill out the entry form at the bottom of this post!!!!!!! New followers welcome.
CONTEST CLOSES on FEBRUARY 4TH 2010, winners announced.

Entries will go as follows:

+1 for following (mandatory)

+1 for a tweet about the contest

+1 for a facebook post about the contest

+2 for blogging about the contest

+1 for following Sisters in Scribe on Twitter

+1 for following Sisters in Scribe on Facebook

Now here is where the big entries come in:

+1 for EACH follow on our personal twitter, facebook and blogs. That's a chance for 10 extra entries:




NOTE: If you do not see all the boxes and the submit button, use your tab or arrow key to move down the form.

Contest is open internationally. Thank you!

--The Sisters in Scribe

Fear of Success and Self-Sabotage

Now that I've moved from writing my first draft to revising it, I'm getting reacquainted with an old friend. You know the one. He reminds you that you really should get on organizing your Netflix queue (there's got to be something in there that would be great for research!) Insists you absolutely cannot do anything else until you remember the name of that book you liked when you were 12 (it's totally something that your MC would've loved too!) Begs you to join him in just a few hours of video games (because you know, teens play them a lot, it's good research!) Hints that the idea you had but didn't write is actually the better one (you don't want to be wasting your precious time on the wrong idea!) Tells you if you don't spend more time on Twitter and Facebook your friends will forget you and then no one will buy your book - wait, your what? Oh right, that thing you were supposed to be working on until your old friend Fear of Success stopped by to distract you with a little Self-Sabotage.

What is Fear of Success? It's that nagging fear that if you actually finish your book, you'll have to send it out and people will want to read it, and they'll expect it to be good! What if you can't live up to that? Plus, think of all the work you'll have to do if an agent likes it or an editor decides to buy it! What if you do everything right, and someone actually agrees to publish it, and then everyone reads it and discovers your secret - that you are a no-talent hack. Or worse, it's a success and now everyone expects you to write another book! And it will have to be great too!

Whoa! Getting a little ahead of yourself aren't you? That's usually where the self-sabotage comes in. We come up with another, better idea and abandon our current project. We take time off for "research" or to get some "perspective". We reward ourselves for 5 minutes of work with 2 days of relaxation. We rationalize.

When you find yourself doing these things, remind yourself that writers write. And every single successful writer has probably dealt with the same thing. Remind yourself that you deserve to have your dreams come true. The quickest way out is always through. Put your butt in that chair and write through the fear. It will look so silly from the other side.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Baby Steps

We tend to hear about the "big events" or achievements in the lives of others, but we often aren't privy to the multitude of baby steps taken along the way. Whether it be an Olympic athlete, a famous actor, writer, singer, etc., more coverage is devoted to their big event (winning an Oscar, Grammy, Gold Medal, NYT bestseller) than about the hours of practice, sweat, tears and unsatisfying day jobs it took to get there. As most of you reading this are writers, you know that writing involves lots and lots o' baby steps. Hundreds. Maybe thousands. When the media labels someone an overnight sensation, it often isn't really the case (unless you write about sparkly vampires and your name rhymes with Bethany Plier).

What are the big events in writing? You probably have your own list but my list of big writing events includes:
* finishing a novel (CHECK)
* revising said novel to perfection
* getting an agent
* agent selling novel to publisher
* finishing second novel and repeat the whole selling thing (bonus
for foreign/film rights)
* full-time career as writer.

I reached my first achievement of finishing a novel (YA), which was huge for me. I did it using baby steps -- I wrote 2,000 words/night. NOTE: There were plenty of nights when 2,000 words didn't feel like a baby step -- it felt colossal. However, eventually these baby steps added up to one whole novel which felt amazing!

I'm now revising my ms, a process involving thousands of tedious, torturous baby steps. The term baby steps is somewhat misleading as it makes it sound easy. I've learned that at times, baby steps = pain. As I'm nearing the finish line with this part, I'll move on to the whole agent thing. This step is the one that terrifies me -- however, even this is slightly less stressful when broken down into baby steps (e.g. perfect the query letter, write a great synopsis, research agents/read every blog known to man involving agents) I've been addressing those baby steps while simultaneously doing revisions.

Being the best writer you can be is ultimately how you will reach your writing goals. Having basic knowledge of the publishing world and rudimentary social networking skills is also crucial in today's world. These are my baby steps addressing these areas:
* join several writing organizations (SCBWI, PPW)
* join a critique group (or two)
* attend writing conferences
* follow agent/editor/author blogs for info on everything from
publishing to marketing
* build your own fabulous blog along w/ wonderful writer friends
* join Facebook, Jacketflap or other social media site. (Note: I'm
still resisting Twitter -- we'll see what happens with that)

Most non-writers out there don't realize the vast number of baby steps involved in getting a book out into the world. Honestly, they don't care. They just want to read a great book.

So remember this when you land on the bestseller list and are asked about becoming an overnight sensation -- the world will see the "big event" of a bestseller. Only you and your peeps will know all the baby steps you took to get there.

What baby steps on your list that aren't on mine? What "big events" have you already reached in your writing career?

My First Ever Guest Post: Today on Literary Rambles

Hop on over to the awesomeness that is Casey McCormick's blog, Literary Rambles, and check out my first ever guest post!

Richelle Mead in NYC tonight!

Tonight only, author Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy series) will be signing autographs at Barnes and Noble Booksellers in Tribeca, NY. I am a HUGE VA fan and I am lucky enough to be able to attend, so please check back here later in the week for a follow-up post!!!

97 Warren St.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Outlining--Dun! Dun! Dun!

*Cue horror movie music*

If you're like me, the mere word reminds you of grueling High School English classes, Roman numerals and ABC's. Ugh.

Thanks to Becca Fitzpatrick, author of Hush, Hush, I no longer fear the outline! And it even makes sense. Becca joined us for a chat at and gave us poor newbie writers some invaluable info. What really stuck with me, was outlining.

I'm a plot pointer. I sit down with a pen and a notebook and I write down the important things I want to happen in my novel. I'll jot down a little note for each event and then I jump right in to the first draft and let my fingers fly. It works for me, but eventually I run into problems and I'm back to the notebook. Organization is a big help in writing a lengthy manuscript, and with the proper use of an outline, you can save yourself a lot of pen-dents on your fingers.

Becca's Outline Tips:

1.) The Bang! --An enticing moment that starts the story.

2.) The Turn Around--A turning point. Where the plot changes directions.

3.) Pitch Point--Key point that usually has something to do with subplot.
Ex. If your subplot is a love triangle/romance introduce the second guy/girl.

4.) Midpoint--Big moment that shifts the story to drive toward the climax. After the midpoint, you should be moving swiftly toward your climax.
Ex. from Hush, Hush: Nora and Patch are in a hotel room and Nora touches his scars.

5.) Pitch Point II--Again with the subplot, usually mirrors pitch point 1
Ex. if your MC thinks she can trust the second guy, she finds out she can't.

6.) Turn Around II--Final push that sends you in to your climax!

And then of course, be sure to have a nice closure. I hope my notes here will be of some use to you the next time you begin a fresh project.

If you have any outlining or plotting tips to share, we would LOVE to hear them!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Revision Hell Revisited -- The Light at the End of the Tunnel

As I've mentioned before, I'm in the midst of revising my YA ms and it's been an interesting process -- read what you will into the word interesting. So last week, I came across an amazing checklist for each phase of the revision process on Natalie Whipple's blog. On one hand, it was great to recognize that I'm in that final, third phase -- what I call the "tweaking" stage. On the other hand, I was under the assumption that this last stage would be a piece of cake. I thought if major things like plot, story arc, and characterization were good to go, how long could it possibly take to tweak? Right. Can you tell this is my first YA ms? Now I know why something that takes 6 weeks to write can take 6 months to revise.

Here's what I've learned thus far about the revision process:

1) Revisions are like rabbits. You think you take care of one -- then you
turn around and there are 20 more staring at you, and not in a cute bunny
kind of way.
2) Don't use chocolate as a revision reward. Or if you do reward yourself
with chocolate, such as after revising each chapter, write fewer chapters.
Your waistline will thank you. NOTE: I'm totally kidding -- I sometimes
reward myself after each page! Chocolate rocks.
3) It's better to mark revisions on your manuscript with a purple pen.
Some red pen purists out there will disagree here, but corrections don't
seem quite so harsh when written in pretty colors.
4) Tweaking takes FOREVER. I'm at the stage of agonizing over every word
choice, verb, sentence structure, etc. and my eyes are crossing. I flew
through the first few revisions and this one is killing me -- I'm lucky if I
get through 10 pages a night. Please tell me this part gets easier/faster
with each completed novel. Even if it's not true, somebody please lie to me.
5) Revisions make your book better. Okay, this seems obvious. Like
when the NFL announcer says the key to winning the game is scoring the
most points. However, this last one if the reason I don't hate this process.
Yes, it's painful at times. Yes, there are nights I want to pull my hair out.
However, now I can see the light at the end of the tunnel -- just barely,
mind you -- it's still dim and looks like it's miles away. Yet, just knowing
it's there gives me the rush I need to get to the finish line.

What stage of the revision process do you find most challenging? How do you reward yourself? Note: if your answer to this one is that the process itself is its own reward, I don't want to hear from you.

Agent Mary Kole also has some fabulous revision posts such as this one. They can all be found on her Kidlit blog. Any other great revision posts you'd like to share?

Becca Fitzpatrick, tonight!!

Becca Fitzpatrick, author of HUSH, HUSH, will be making an appearance at Hush, Hush fan-site, tonight to speak about the writing and publishing process with fans and aspiring authors!

Get your questions ready! Discussion starts at 9:00pm, EST

Friday, January 8, 2010

Happy Birthday, Elvis Presley!

As some of you know, I am a huge Elvis fan. I don't keep his toenail clippings in a jar or anything like that, but I am fairly convinced I was his past-life lover.

I won't clutter up this blog with random Elvis photos for your oogling pleasure (you can drop by my personal blog for that), but what kind of past-life lover would I be if I didn't publicly wish him a HAPPY 75th BIRTHDAY!!!!

Elvis Aaron Presley
Jan. 8 1935- Aug. 16 1977

see ^ proof!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Homo Fictus

Characters are the soul of your novel. You can't have a good novel without darn good people to play the parts. I'm no expert on characterization, really no expert on anything, but I read a lot. Any anyone who reads can tell you that fictional characters are a whole lot more interesting than real people.

Nobody wants to read about a plain Jane. Jane needs to be so pretty, the sunset looks like a macaroni sculpture. Or so ugly, a hairless dog is cute. Jane needs to be more cunning, more resourceful, or less if that's how you want her. She needs to love more, hate more fight more.

In The Art of Dramatic Writing by Lajos Egri (1946), Egri describes characters as being three-dimensional. The first dimension being physiological--height, weight, age, race, physical appearance--all these factors will shape the characters life experiences and it is important that you know them all. The second sociological -- what is her social class, what neighborhood does she come from, who were her parents, what's her view on religion, money, sex etc. And third, psychological--temperament, fears, phobias, talents, habits, fantasies and the like.

As writers we often run in to the dreaded "writers block" and many times, it could just be that you don't know your characters well enough. If you don't know them, you can't make them do what you want them to do. Or better yet, you don't know what they want to do in the potentially horrible situation you've stuck them in. And if you haven't stuck them in a potentially horrible situation, you don't have a story.

Your character might be a shy girl, a wallflower with a nose like Tom Cruise, but when she's faced with a dilemma she should woman-up! But whatever she does, it needs to be in character. And at the same time, your characters need to change and grow throughout the course of your novel. Hey, if it was easy everyone would do it.

Think about a memorable character in a book you've read. I'll go with Rose Hathaway from Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy. Rose was more or less abandoned by her mother, a Guardian, and raised by the academy. She has anger issues toward her mom, but she has a strong sense of her duty as a Guardian because of it. She is willing to put Lissa before her because it's what she was taught. It's so ingrained in her, that she can't not do it. Lissa comes first. Period. Rose never even stops to consider why.
Rose falls in love with Dimitri but she knows he is her mentor, and he will also be Lissa's Guardian. If they love each other, Dimitri and Rose both know they'd protect one another over Lissa, and Rose, because of who she is, can't let that happen.
Sure she feels like it isn't fair, and as the series progresses, you'll see Rose pulling away from that mind set little by little, but that is her character changing and growing and still being Rose Hathaway.

So, how do you get to know your Homo Fictus?
There are a number of different approaches. You need to find which one works best for you. Some people, myself included, write out a biography for each main character. It is information that won't be in your book, but stuff you have to know for yourself in order to create a fully fleshed-out pretend person. How to Write a Damn Good Novel by James N. Frey gives some really great examples on this.
Some people, like my lovely friend A.J. Spindle, create an index card for each character, even the ones she hasn't written yet.
You can interview your characters. "Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia." ~E.L. Doctorow. Sit down with pen and paper and pluck one of your characters from your head, and ask him or her a few questions.

Author: Jane, I still don't understand why you hang out with Megan. She's rude to you. She trash talks you behind your back. She stole the guy you liked before he even knew it!

Jane: *sighing* I dunno. I guess I feel like I owe her. We were friends when we were both in the group home and Megan stood up for me a lot when we were little. She's really not a bad person.

I know that's crap and you can do a lot better, but you get the idea. You get a sense of who Jane is as well as Megan just from that one little answer. I didn't even know Jane or Megan ten seconds ago, but now I know the Megan has some serious inner conflicts and Jane, a pushover she may be, is understanding and forgiving. So let's say Megan finally pushes Jane to the edge and a stiff wedge is shoved between them. Something terrible happens to Megan, and she needs Jane. Do you think Jane will walk away? Or will she be there for her former friend?

Character building can be fun, but it can also be tiring. It is work, after all.
What has worked for you when created well-rounded three-dimensional characters?
What didn't work?
What have you read about but haven't tried?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Ways to Up Your Productivity

One of my favorite writing quotes is "Writers WRITE." I know for me, the simplest part, can be the hardest. I actually have some writing time and yet I can find so many ways to distract myself from actually writing.

Here are a few of the things I've found helpful in keeping my focus on writing.

LeechBlock - This may be one of the best things on the internet! LeechBlock is a Firefox add-on that allows you to block certain sites during the days and times you choose. I set mine to block me from the sites that suck away the most of my time, (Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter) starting at 10:30am Monday - Friday. What's great is that even if I'm on Twitter at 10:29am, when the clock hits 10:30, LeechBlock shuts it down and tells me to come back later when I'm allowed. I can't tell you how much random surfing it's stopped.

Write or Die - Write or Die is this awesome little application that allows you to set a time and word goal, and then MAKES you keep it! Depending on your settings, if you pause for too long while typing Write or Die will make annoying noises, or ERASE YOUR TEXT until you start typing again. I had been using this online for a while (it's free!) but during NaNoWriMo I sprang for the desktop edition ($10 - works on Mac and PC) which lets you choose your noises, and things like the color of your background and text. I usually set mine at 1000 words in 40 minutes and because of the way it blinks red at me before the sounds start, I usually finish my 1000 words about 10-15 minutes early! It's a really great tool for getting out that first draft because it forces you to stop overthinking and just keep writing.

There are also a couple of great organizers that allow you to keep all the parts of your novel (notes, images, scenes that don't have a place yet) together in one place. These can be a great timesaver because you don't have to go searching for things, or move into another program for something. This can be especially helpful during revisions.

Their websites can do a much better job telling you about them than I can, so check them out! I have Liquid Story Binder XE but haven't had a chance to play around with it. I'm planning to really dive into it when I start revising next week.

For Mac

For PC
Liquid Story Binder XE

What are your favorite time-savers?

Monday, January 4, 2010

My No-Resolutions Resolution

Happy 2010 to all and I hope your holidays were filled with magic -- and chocolate. Also, I need to give a shout-out to my fellow Sister, Lacey, for the new, cool pic that adorns our blog. I love it!

I've read a lot of blogs lately about resolutions and goals for the new year. I love the start of each year -- for me, it's symbolic of a fresh start and gives me an extra boost of motivation. What I don't love are resolutions. They don't work for me. Never have. One year, I made a resolution that involved exercising 3X per week. I thought I'd start small so I'd succeed. Right. I lasted maybe 3 weeks and it was pure torture for me -- worse than doing dishes -- so I gave up. Later, I discovered yoga which I love and guess how often I do it? Yep, at least 3 times a week but because I want to, not because I should do it. I've learned that I rebel against goals, even self-created ones, if I'm not really invested. No more resolutions for me!

So instead of giving myself resolutions, I give myself suggestions. Yes, I realize it's mainly a matter of semantics but it works for me. The term suggestions gives me more breathing room. Years ago, I decided to get my Ph.D. in Psychology and it was never a struggle -- well, except for the dissertation which reached the doing dishes torture level at times. However, I didn't need to set actual goals along the way because it never crossed my mind that I wouldn't finish. No resolutions were needed.

In terms of writing, mid-way through 2009 I decided to write a novel. I had several picture books and a short middle-grade fantasy finished but I was really drawn to writing YA. I started the novel in Sept. and followed Stephen King's SUGGESTION to write 2,000 words/day. I finished the novel in Oct. I'm still revising it but even that process is rewarding -- most of the time. I haven't reached my doing dishes torture level yet, which is how I know I'm not finished. So for 2010, I've decided on several suggestions for my writing.

Here are my 2010 SUGGESTIONS for myself:
1. Finish revising YA novel #1.
2. Perfect query letter.
3. Send out query letter to agents.
4. Attend major conference. (I'm already attending a small SCBWI event in
Jan. and have my major conference picked out for the Spring. BONUS: I'm
helping to judge the writing contest for the Spring conference and it's been
a wonderful experience.)
5. Finish YA novel #2. (20,000 words so far)
6. Continue expanding this blog w/ my Sisters: Lacey, Valerie, and Lisa. In
December, we decided to get serious with the blog and although it's only a
few weeks later, we've been having a blast with it!

That's it. Those are my suggestions for myself for this year and I'm off to a great start even though it's only 4 days into 2010. What about you? What are your writing suggestions/goals/resolutions/whatever you want to call them for this year?

Awesome Contest over at Shooting Stars

Possible prizes include Query Critiques, 1st 5 Pages Critiques, and an inscribed copy of THE DARK DIVINE. Check out Suzette and Bethany's blog here for details. Good luck!
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