Tuesday, December 20, 2011

All It Takes Is One Yes

As writers, we've heard this saying many times--at least I have. Those words kept me going, especially during the times that I wanted to hurl my manuscript at the wall, or chuck it entirely, in order to finally start that epic vampire space monkey series. Luckily, we unpublished writers tend to be a persistent bunch. We keep going and persevere despite the brutal work hours, non-existent pay, and lack of a 401(k). Our love of writing and the amazing support from fellow writers power us through the ups and downs of this crazy business.

"All it takes is one yes," is true, and sometimes that yes turns into more than one yes, and your world turns upside down in the span of twenty-four hours, and it feels like it's all happening so fast, when in reality, it wasn't fast at all. It was years--years of blood, sweat, tears, and words. Drafted words. Edited words. Revised words. Deleted words. So remind yourself of this phrase as often as necessary. Keep working, keep writing, and keep revising, and most importantly, "Never give up!" You'll never get that "yes" if you quit.

I will kick off 2012 with my official "How I Got My Agent" story, and my awesome agent will be doing a Q & A on the blog as well. My blog Sisters have some exciting things brewing as well, and I can't wait for them to share with you. We here at Sisters in Scribe will be taking a brief holiday break from now until after the New Year. We wish you all a wonderful holiday season, and an amazing 2012! :) 


Monday, December 19, 2011

Contest Monday featuring an agent-judged contest and book giveaways

Krista V. over at Mother. Write. Repeat. is hosting An Agent's Inbox Contest TODAY (12/19)!. You submit your query and first 250 words which will be evaluated by an agent. That agent will pick the winners (and prizes) the following week. Your manuscript must be complete and polished in order to enter. Accepted genres are listed in the rules, but YA is one of them. Good luck! 

The PageTurners Blog is giving away prizes to 9, yes 9, winners. The prizes feature the "best I've read in 2011" and include City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare and Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, to name just a few. Click here for the details, and enter by Dec. 23.

Happy Monday!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday Book Recommendation: THE NEAR WITCH by Victoria Schwab

Happy Friday! Our book recommendation this week is THE NEAR WITCH by Victoria Schwab:

The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.

And there are no strangers in the town of Near.

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.
But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.
The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.
As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know—about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.
Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab’s debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago, a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won’t soon forget.

Kristi's take: I love a good, creepy ghost story all on its own, but this one also involves witches. Ghosts and witches together? Um, yes please. I personally don't think you could have a more perfect combo, so I was hooked on the premise alone but the author's writing is what brought it all home--it's lyrical, haunting, and gorgeous. This was reminiscent of the stories we used to tell each other in my neighborhood when I was a child (often when trying to out-scare each other). The setting in this book was so richly imagined that it felt like a character in itself, and don't get me started on the wind--let's just say I'll never hear wind the same way again. If you haven't read this one yet, I highly recommend it!    

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


I had the best of intentions, I really did. I started out strong and racked up 17K words in a week. Yeah, it pretty much ended there. However, despite the fact that NaNo was a bust, I'm not considering the month a failure because a) thanks to the magic of Scrivener (yes, I devoted a whole post to this wonder program) I have the entire book outlined and b) I worked really hard the rest of the month on a different ms. I'd say the detour worked out okay in the end, as December was officially the best writing-related month of my life so far. Details are forthcoming, but suffice it to say that I'm still pinching myself.

So for those of you who finished NaNo this year, you rock! 50K in a month is a huge commitment. And for those who tried, but feel bad because you 'only' got 20K or 30K written, you rock too! That's 20,000 more words than you had in October. Goals are fun, but make sure you're having fun in the process.

How many of you did NaNo and finished this year? How many tried but didn't quite hit 50K? How many of you decided that no way in hell would you attempt such craziness?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Friday Book Rec - THE SPACE BETWEEN by Brenna Yovanoff

This week I'm recommending THE SPACE BETWEEN by Brenna Yovanoff. Look at this gorgeous cover. It's reason enough to rec it but what makes this book so awesome is that it's just as gorgeous on the inside as it is out.

The Blurb:
Everything is made of steel, even the flowers. How can you love anything in a place like this?

Daphne is the half-demon, half-fallen angel daughter of Lucifer and Lilith. Life for her is an endless expanse of time, until her brother Obie is kidnapped - and Daphne realizes she may be partially responsible. Determined to find him, Daphne travels from her home in Pandemonium to the vast streets of Earth, where everything is colder and more terrifying. With the help of the human boy she believes was the last person to see her brother alive, Daphne glimpses into his dreams, discovering clues to Obie's whereabouts. As she delves deeper into her demonic powers, she must navigate the jealousies and alliances of the violent archangels who stand in her way. But she also discovers, unexpectedly, what it means to love and be human in a world where human is the hardest thing to be.

This second novel by rising star Brenna Yovanoff is a story of identity, discovery, and a troubled love between two people struggling to find their place both in our world and theirs.

Why you should read this book: This book is gorgeous. Every part of it. From the cover, to the prose, to the world it's set in. (Seriously, as odd as it sounds, this book made me want to visit hell, well, Pandemonium, maybe not the rest.) Brenna has a way of making the fantastical so real that after reading the book you're sure you've been there and seen those things for yourself.

Daphne and the world she comes from are fascinating. Both she and Truman (the boy in the blurb) are relatable, and realistic despite all the ways they maybe shouldn't be. This is a story about love and hope and loss and finding yourself and so many other things.

Even if you're not into paranormal I think you will still love this book. It's one of those that will stick with me for a long time. Add it to your Christmas list while there's still time!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Nonfiction in Fiction

Most of the time, though not always, people tend to write either non-fiction or fiction. Every week in my local paper, there are "top ten" lists separating books by these two categories. However, I'm always amazed at how much research goes into writing fiction. Have you ever read a really great historical fiction novel and been in awe of how much they had to learn about the time period before they wrote the book? I've read author interviews where they spent years--years--researching before the actual writing part took place.

As a total research and science nerd who geeks out over NatGeo and the Discovery channel, I loved doing research for my book. I had some great conversations with professors at a respected astrophysics department and learned a ton. One of them told me I inspired him to write a new question on his graduate student exam. The great part about using non-fiction in fiction is that you can get creative in how you implement it. You have more leeway than you do with non-fiction, plus the obvious--you can't have vampire space monkeys in non-fiction and they're plain fun.

What about you? Did you enjoy the research part of your book? Anyone who has written non-fiction and fiction?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday Book Recommendation: WITHER by Lauren DeStefano

I've been lucky to read some great books lately. I'm currently in the midst of another great read that I'll recommend shortly, but my recommendation for this week is: WITHER by Lauren DeStefano. It's the first in the Chemical Garden trilogy and I can't wait to read the next one.

From Goodreads:
Obviously, something went terribly wrong. Genetic mutations have festered, reducing human longevity to twenty-five, even less for most women. To prevent extinction, young girls are kidnapped, mated in polygamous marriages with men eager to procreate. Sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery, a recent victim of this breeding farm mentality, has vowed to break loose from its fetters; but finding allies and a safe way out is a challenge she can only hope she will survive. 

Kristi's take: If you love dystopian and strong female MC's as much as I do, you'll love this book. I don't want to give anything else away, but seriously--it's a must read.   

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Building Secondary Characters

Valerie had a great post yesterday about people and their many layers. It got me thinking (see how awesome it is to have great crit partners?) about my secondary characters. Do they really have all those layers? In my head, sure, but am I showing that on paper? **See Kristi's post on Being a Visual Writer** 

My protagonist and her love interest, even her parents have all these layers. They see themselves one way, but are perceived differently by others, they have different mannerism, great motivation for their actions, even though the reader doesn't fully see it right away. But what about the best friend? The boy who wants the girl, but surely won't get her? Why does the cop do what he does? I mean, what's in it for him?

Every character is important. If they aren't, they probably shouldn't be in your story. Even if your reader never reads about why this minor character finally decided to come forward and admit that he's a cyborg, they need to feel that motivation. See it in his actions, even if your protag doesn't. Truck loads of backstory don't belong in your manuscript, but you should know every detail. Some authors even suggest that you sit down and interview every character. Ask them questions both big and small and see what they say. It'll give you a better understanding of who they are, why they do what they do, and that will reflect in your writing. If you don't know these people, they'll feel like paper to your readers. But you already knew that because you're awesome. ;)

Now. Back to adding those layers.

On a side note, I want to wish my agency sister Miranda Kenneally a very happy book birthday! Her debut novel CATCHING JORDAN hits shelves today! *confetti*
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