Monday, August 29, 2011

Change is Good Right?



While I'm waiting for the synopsis and query's to roll in I thought I'd post about something  that have been on my mind lately.  Change.

Change can be exciting and scary.  Why?  For me it is the unknown.  How can you possible know what is lurking around the next corner?  Even if it is something that you have strived for, how can you know it is going to be better or worse?  Maybe it's neither?  Maybe it's just different.

Different is what is happening in my life right now.  It's not good, it's not bad, it's just different.  You see my Dad is in the process of rebuilding his home.  Now what you have to understand is this is my childhood home that I grew up in.  The reason the house is being rebuilt is my father is getting older, oh, he's still young now, but we are thinking down the road a bit.  You  see, I live two hours away in Rhode Island, my sister lives a good forty five minutes away in New York.  Basically we wanted someone to be there for him if he needed it.  The obvious choice was my sister since she lives in the same state and is forty five minutes away compared to my two hours.  So she is moving him with her family.

They are getting close to being able to finish the inside in the next few months.  They are supposed to be moving in by the end of October.  Believe it not, but that is not to far away.  I know I know.

My husband and I drove down with the kids on the 18th of August.  We went to the Bronx Zoo, and had a great time.  I'm always amazed at how large (250 acres) and well maintained it is.  We saw the seals, the bears, the tigers, the birds, the monkeys, everything.  We walked all 250 acres of that zoo.  We got there when it opened at 10am, and left after closing 5pm.  Then we took the short drive on the sprain brook to my father house.

As we pulled up the street I saw the house in the distance and the tears started to come.  It was beautiful, it was horrible.  It was different.  It was no longer my childhood house.  My son asked me if I was okay, why was I crying.  My husband brushed it off and told the boys mommy was just a little emotional right now.  He knew to leave me alone and I would be fine once the initial shock was over.

I walked up the driveway and decided there was no way I could go inside. I saw my sister walk inside, but I wasn't ready to see her.  I wasn't ready to see anyone, especially the house.  So I walked outside the house to the backyard.  The backyard was gone. Not that it had a big yard in the first place.  They extended the house so what yard there was is now even smaller.

I finally got myself to walk into the house.  I was okay at this point.  I said hello to my sister and my nieces, six and three.  They are so cute and so excited about their new house and to be living with Grandpa.  I was given the tour of the house by my sister, then my Dad.  I told them honestly I was upset that my bedroom was gone.  It took some getting used to.  But it had to be done, and I was the one who encouraged them to do it.

The house looks great and when it is finished it is going to be gorgeous!  I hope they spend many years to come in it. I'm so envious, but I also know that my time will come.  After all, she got the house in New York, but I have the cabin on the pond!  I'll keep the pond. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Are you Ready? She's Coming!



Like many people I have been following the track of Hurricane Irene.  I should, I have two young boys, and I have honestly never been through a bad hurricane.  My husband has and he knows better then me what type of supplies we need.  This morning before either of us went to work he went to the grocery store to stock up.  He also bought water, batteries, and other supplies. He is now at our cabin on the pond tying down the boat and moving anything that might fly away into the shed or house.

Last year Rhode Island was hit with the 100 year flood.  That was fun.  I thank God that our house on the pond is on a hill so we didn't have water damage, but many people did on the pond. A good friend of mine had to redo her whole house because of it.  Many people had to call FEMA for emergency funding.  I was lucky, we didn't have too, my basement did get flooded though just like many others and they did have to call FEMA.

My boys are asking a lot of questions.  I answer the ones I know, others I either refer them to their father who has been though it, or tell them to watch the news, or look it up on the Internet (chaperoned of course).

Rhode Island is a small state, it is also surrounded by water.  There is a reason why it is called the ocean state, and as of now it looks like it is going to be bad.  School starts on Monday.  In my eyes it can't be a good omen to have the first day of school cancelled before it even starts.  It makes me wonder how bad this winter will be.

I have to admit, as nervous as I am, part of me doesn't think it can be THAT bad, can it?  I'm also a tiny bit excited, this is new to me.  New is scary, but it's also exciting.

Are your kids asking questions?  Are you nervous about the coming Storm?  Share with me, I'll be running errands making sure all our medicines are filled and we have soap, toothpaste, and deodorant.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

!!Liebster Awards!!



Morning World.  I'm excited this morning because I just received the Liebster Blog Award form Doralynn over at My Publishing Diary. If you haven't check out her site it is a must.  According to the rules this award goes to those site that have less then 200 followers.  I have to say this has been a good week for blogging.  I have gained 10 new followers this week alone!  You guys are great! Thank you so much.  I can't wait to share the love!

The second rule is I have to name my top five blogs to give the award to:  Here they are!

Shellie over at Chapter Writer

Emily over at Write About Nothing

Steph over at Steph Schidt

Stacy S. Jensen

Abby over at Something To Write About.

Check out these blogs. You will be so glad you did!

Congratulation's fellow blogers!  Now it's your turn to share the love!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Rach Writes is having a Campaign!

Normally I'm not one to follow in the footsteps of others, but when a great opportunity comes along to learn something new, and meet great people, then hey, how can I refuse?  I can't that's why this time around I am joining so many other in the Platform-Building Campaign!

 Rachel over at Rach writes is hosting.I have to be honest I'm nervous as anything, why, I haven't the slightest idea.  New is scary, but new is good.  It's time for me to get out of my comfort zone.

If you want to join me and others hop on over to Rach Writes now.

 Don't forget to sign up for my Labor Day Blogfest going  on September 6th. 



Monday, August 22, 2011

Does Your Synopsis and Query Stand Out?


I've been researching tons of blogs lately and I have noticed everyone has some type of free feature to offer their readers.  I decided I wanted something to for my readers as well,  It seemed like everything has been taken though, until I sat down and really thought about what I haven't seen.  I've seen poems, critiques, book reviews, polls, and so much more, but the one thing I haven't seen is anyone posting on synopsis's, and only a few on query's.

We all have to do them, even authors who have been published, and everyone can use help in fine tuning them so agents, and publishers are impressed and eager to read our books.  So today I'm introducing a new feature called Stand out Synopsis/Query. I'll add my feed back and please in the comments add yours!

Here are the rules:
1) Send me your paragraphs with "Stand Out Synopsis/Query" in the subject line to enter your synopsis ( 3 paragraph max)
2) Comment on the synopsis featured that day. They will be picked randomly. No rude comments, this is to help each other in our craft.
3) Spread the word it's fun and it helps everyone.

Synopsis/Query's will be posted on Mondays if we get enough people to join in.  I'll keep you updated on the outcome. Check out the side bars to find out how to send them in to me.

Add Note:   Please put Stand Out Synopsis/Query in the  subject area.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Labor Day Blogfest


Labor Day Blog Fest


Labor Day is just around the corner and in honor of Labor day I am hosting a Blog fest.  September 6th is the day of the blog fest.  I'd love for everyone to join in.  It's easy to join in on the fun.  Just follow the instructions listed and let the good times roll.



 Here are the rules:

 1) You must follow this blog.

2) Spread the word. Mention this Blog Fest on your blog, the more who join in the better. Make sure you visit others who are joining in as well.

3) Sign up on the Link below.  If the link doesn't work (I'm new at this tech stuff) Please leave your name and link to your site in the comments.

4) On Tuesday September 6th post on your blog the American Flag and your State Flag with five American Historical sites you have been to or wish to see. 

 If you are not in the United States, please post your country flag and five American Historical Sites you have visited or wish to visit. 

The more people involved the more places to visit will be posted.  Who knows you just might want to take a vacation to one of the places posted.



To Join in the Blog Fest: and add your name to the list.  Make sure to visit other participants as well!

Monday, August 15, 2011

School? Really?



The first day of school is only days away for my boys.  I can't believe that my oldest is going into 5th grade and my youngest will be in 3rd.  I'm a little torn about the first day of school; part of me is looking forward to the boys getting back on a schedule of homework, piano, and CCD classes, but the other part of me still wants to enjoy the lazy days of the summer (although they haven't been very lazy).

Over the years I've learned to enjoy both.  Yes, I actually enjoy coming home from work and watching the boys get off the school bus, running inside grabbing a snack and sitting down with them to go over their spelling words, vocabulary, and reading with them.  Math?  Sorry, go to Daddy for that one.  Math was never my strong subject, never will be. 

There was a time when this part of the day was the witching hour in my house; tired, hungry, cranky boys in dire need of some food and down time.  As they have grown older though I have noticed the witching hour has moved closer to bed time.  Well, at least for my youngest it has.  You know the routine, "I'm not tired, I don't want to go to bed", then bothering the other one after you leave the room and then chaos begins.

I'm expecting those nights to increase a little bit now that school is around the corner, but not to worried because I've always made sure during the week they have gone to bed at a reasonable hour.  No, the part I'm not looking forward to is the school shopping.  I can't decide what is worse, buying the supplies that they never, or hardly use, or fighting with them that no they really don't need new sneakers.  Clothes I don't mind,  my boys love getting new clothes, as long as they can pick them out and I don't make them shop longer then an hour and a half.  That's okay, I can compromise.

School time also means less time for writing though.  If I'm strick with myself I can get it in after bed time, or just before while they are watching Johnny Test, iCarly, or Victorious.  I've done my query so now I  have to do my synopsis, and edit, I'm close to closing the book on this one and sending it out to agents; I can't wait.  My boys keep asking if they can sell my book in school.  I'm glad they are as excited as I am.  I like to give them updates and I enjoy their interest, who knows maybe some day they will be writing a book report on one of their mother's books.  Wouldn't that be cool?

What do you look forward to at the start of the school year?  What do you dread?  Check in and let me know.  I'll be trying to convince my son his back pack in fine for one more year.

Make a Killing Grillen

It's summertime in New England and summer time in New England means Sea Food.  Many people think sea food and New England mean fried.  I have to be honest here, yuck.  I'm am not a fried sea food person.  I loved sea food, but I prefer either baked in the oven or grilled.  Grilled is best so to convince many of you how good grilled sea food can be I hopped over the The Food Network to see what yummy recipes they had for me to share with you.  And I have to tell you there are some scrumpious sea food recipes for you to try.  I found some great ones, give them a try.

Grilled Salmon Sandwiches


Ingredients
  • 2 pounds fresh salmon fillets
  • Good olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

For the sauce:

  • 1 cup good mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 12 fresh basil leaves
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped scallions, (white and green parts)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 teaspoons capers, drained

To assemble:

  • 6 fresh white or brioche rolls (4-inch round)
  • 1/4 pound mesclun mix or fresh basil leaves

Directions

For the salmon, heat coals in an outdoor grill and brush the top of the grill with oil. Rub the outside of the salmon with olive oil, salt, and pepper, to taste. Grill for 5 minutes on each side, or until the salmon is almost cooked through. Remove to a plate and allow it to rest for 15 minutes.

For the sauce, place the mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, basil, dill, scallions, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process until combined. Add the capers and pulse 2 or 3 times.

To assemble the sandwiches, slice the rolls in 1/2 crosswise. Spread a tablespoon of sauce on each cut side. On the bottom 1/2, place some mesclun salad and then a piece of salmon. Place the top of the roll on the salmon and serve immediately.


Grilled Shrimp

Ingredients
  • 16 jumbo shrimp, deveined in shell, raw
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, about 1/2 cup for brushing
  • Coarse salt and black pepper
  • 2 lemons, halved

Directions

Preheat griddle or grill pan over high heat.

Butterfly shrimp by slicing almost through lengthwise, but leave shell on shrimp, this will keep the shrimp tender while grilling over such high heat.
Brush shrimps with oil, season with salt and pepper and grill 2 minutes on each side, until shells are hot pink and shrimp is opaque.

Place lemons on grill the last minute. The heat will release the juice from the lemons. To serve, squeeze grilled lemon wedges over shrimp.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Skateboards + Bones = X-Rays!



These past two weeks have been a whirled win for me. Between work, blogging, birthdays, and getting ready for the coming school year, I am behind in everything.  I haven't been home enough to clean, or do laundry, so you can imagine what my house looks like right now.  Tonight I'm hoping to get some of it done because tomorrow we are off to New York for my niece's 3rd birthday party.  (She's so cute!).

In the mist of all of this running around last Thursday I got a call from Tiffany. (You remember Tiffany from my previous post). She called to tell me that my youngest boy fell off his skateboard. (Yes he was wearing a helmet.) He landed on his hand and bent it all the way back. Och. She put ice on it but 15-20 minutes later he was still in pain. My youngest is not a Drama King so I was debating on whether I should worry.  I decided to worry and left work to check him out.  I told my boss I might be going for x-rays, and I'd call to let him know.  He told me to do what I have to do, and don't worry about it. Have I told you I have a GREAT boss? Well I do.

By the time I got to Tiffany's my son's hand was starting to swell.  Off we go to get x-rays.  Turns out he has a buckle fracture.  A what?  I've never heard of it.  When he landed on the ground the tiny round bones in the wrist pushed down to far pushing the other bone down causing a buckle to form on the bone.  I saw the x-ray, it was kind of cool.  It will straighten out on it's own but he has to wear a soft cast. At first he was excited to wear the cast, but as always the novelty has worn off though.

He had a check up on it today and the doctor is really happy with his progress, but he has to wear the soft cast for at least one more week though.  I told my son, at least it happened before school started.  Any one else have an exciting ending to summer yet?  Let me know, I'm a curious bird and I like to know I'm not in the boat alone.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

So Then, What is a Story? Written by Mary Ellen Blackwood for Reader Digest

I received this article via my writing group, RIRW. The article was written for Reader's Digest, by Mary Ellen Blackwood.  I thought you would appreciate it.  Give it a read. 


*So then, what is a story?*

Centuries ago, Aristotle noted in his book Poetics that while a story does
have a beginning, a middle and an ending, the beginning is not simply the
first event in a series of three, but rather the emotionally engaging
originating event. The middle is the natural and causally related
consequence, and the end is the inevitable conclusive event.

In other words, stories have an origination, an escalation of conflict, and
a resolution.

Of course, stories also need a vulnerable character, a setting that’s
integral to the narrative, meaningful choices that determine the outcome of
the story, and reader empathy. But at its most basic level, a story is a
transformation unveiled—either the transformation of a situation or, most
commonly, the transformation of a character.

Simply put, you do not have a story until something goes wrong.

At its heart, a story is about a person dealing with tension, and tension is
created by unfulfilled desire. Without forces of antagonism, without
setbacks, without a crisis event that initiates the action, you have no
story. The secret, then, to writing a story that draws readers in and keeps
them turning pages is not to make more and more things happen to a
character, and especially not to follow some preordained plot formula or
novel-writing template. Instead, the key to writing better stories is to
focus on creating more and more tension as your story unfolds.

Understanding the fundamentals at the heart of all good stories will help
you tell your own stories better—and sell more of them, too. Imagine you’re
baking a cake. You mix together certain ingredients in a specific order and
end up with a product that is uniquely different than any individual
ingredient. In the process of mixing and then baking the cake, these
ingredients are transformed into something delicious.

That’s what you’re trying to do when you bake up a story.

So let’s look at five essential story ingredients, and then review how to
mix them together to make your story so good readers will ask for seconds.

*Ingredient #1: Orientation*
The beginning of a story must grab the reader’s attention, orient her to the
setting, mood and tone of the story, and introduce her to a protagonist she
will care about, even worry about, and emotionally invest time and attention
into. If readers don’t care about your protagonist, they won’t care about
your story, either.

So, what’s the best way to introduce this all-important character? In
essence, you want to set reader expectations and reveal a portrait of the
main character by giving readers a glimpse of her normal life. If your
protagonist is a detective, we want to see him at a crime scene. If you’re
writing romance, we want to see normal life for the young woman who’s
searching for love. Whatever portrait you draw of your character’s life,
keep in mind that it will also serve as a promise to your readers of the
transformation that this character will undergo as the story progresses.

For example, if you introduce us to your main character, Frank, the happily
married man next door, readers instinctively know that Frank’s idyllic life
is about to be turned upside down—most likely by the death of either his
spouse or his marriage. Something will soon rock the boat and he will be
altered forever. Because when we read about harmony at the start of a story,
it’s a promise that discord is about to come. Readers expect this.

Please note that normal life doesn’t mean pain-free life. The story might
begin while your protagonist is depressed, hopeless, grieving or trapped in
a sinking submarine. Such circumstances could be what’s typical for your
character at this moment. When that happens, it’s usually another crisis
(whether internal or external) that will serve to kick-start the story.
Which brings us to the second ingredient.

*Ingredient #2: Crisis*
This crisis that tips your character’s world upside down must, of course, be
one that your protagonist cannot immediately solve. It’s an unavoidable,
irrevocable challenge that sets the movement of the story into motion.

Typically, your protagonist will have the harmony of both his external world
and his internal world upset by the crisis that initiates the story. One of
these two imbalances might have happened before the beginning of the story,
but usually at least one will occur on the page for your readers to
experience with your protagonist, and the interplay of these two dynamics
will drive the story forward.

Depending on the genre, the crisis that alters your character’s world might
be a call to adventure—a quest that leads to a new land, or a prophecy or
revelation that he’s destined for great things. Mythic, fantasy and
science-fiction novels often follow this pattern. In crime fiction, the
crisis might be a new assignment to a seemingly unsolvable case. In romance,
the crisis might be undergoing a divorce or breaking off an engagement.

In each case, though, life is changed and it will never be the same again.

George gets fired. Amber’s son is kidnapped. Larry finds out his cancer is
terminal. Whatever it is, the normal life of the character is forever
altered, and she is forced to deal with the difficulties that this crisis
brings.

There are two primary ways to introduce a crisis into your story. Either
begin the story by letting your character have what he desires most and then
ripping it away, or by denying him what he desires most and then dangling it
in front of him. So, he’ll either lose something vital and spend the story
trying to regain it, or he’ll see something desirable and spend the story
trying to obtain it.


His deepest fear will be abandonment. You’ll either want to introduce the
character by showing him in a satisfying, loving relationship, and then
insert a crisis that destroys it, or you’ll want to show the character’s
initial longing for a mate, and then dangle a promising relationship just
out of his reach so that he can pursue it throughout the story.

Likewise, if your character desires freedom most, then he’ll try to avoid
enslavement. So, you might begin by showing that he’s free, and then enslave
him, or begin by showing that he’s enslaved, and then thrust him into a
freedom-pursuing adventure.

It all has to do with what the main character desires, and what he wishes to
avoid.

*Ingredient #3: Escalation*
There are two types of characters in every story—pebble people and putty
people.

If you take a pebble and throw it against a wall, it’ll bounce off the wall
unchanged. But if you throw a ball of putty against a wall hard enough, it
will change shape.

Always in a story, your main character needs to be a putty person.

When you throw him into the crisis of the story, he is forever changed, and
he will take whatever steps he can to try and solve his struggle—that is, to
get back to his original shape (life before the crisis).

But he will fail.

Because he’ll always be a different shape at the end of the story than he
was at the beginning. If he’s not, readers won’t be satisfied.

Putty people are altered.

Pebble people remain the same. They’re like set pieces. They appear onstage
in the story, but they don’t change in essential ways as the story
progresses. They’re the same at the ending as they were at the beginning.

And they are not very interesting.

So, exactly what kind of wall are we throwing our putty person against?

First, stop thinking of plot in terms of what happens in your story. Rather,
think of it as payoff for the promises you’ve made early in the story. Plot
is the journey toward transformation.

As I mentioned earlier, typically two crisis events interweave to form the
multilayered stories that today’s readers expect: an external struggle that
needs to be overcome, and an internal struggle that needs to be resolved. As
your story progresses, then, the consequences of not solving those two
struggles need to become more and more intimate, personal and devastating.
If you do this, then as the stakes are raised, the two struggles will serve
to drive the story forward and deepen reader engagement and interest.

Usually if a reader says she’s bored or that “nothing’s happening in the
story,” she doesn’t necessarily mean that events aren’t occurring, but
rather that she doesn’t see the protagonist taking natural, logical steps to
try and solve his struggle. During the escalation stage of your story, let
your character take steps to try and resolve the two crises (internal and
external) and get back to the way things were earlier, before his world
was tipped upside down.

*Ingredient #4: Discovery*
At the climax of the story, the protagonist will make a discovery that
changes his life.

Typically, this discovery will be made through wit (as the character
cleverly pieces together clues from earlier in the story) or grit (as the
character shows extraordinary perseverance or tenacity) to overcome the
crisis event (or meet the calling) he’s been given.

The internal discovery and the external resolution help reshape our putty
person’s life and circumstances forever.

The protagonist’s discovery must come from a choice that she makes, not
simply by chance or from a Wise Answer-Giver. While mentors might guide a
character toward self-discovery, the decisions and courage that determine
the outcome of the story must come
from the protagonist.

In one of the paradoxes of storytelling, the reader wants to predict how the
story will end (or how it will get to the end), but he wants to be wrong.
So, the resolution of the story will be most satisfying when it ends in a
way that is both inevitable and unexpected.

*Ingredient #5: Change*
Think of a caterpillar entering a cocoon. Once he does so, one of two things
will happen: He will either transform into a butterfly, or he will die. But
no matter what else happens, he will never climb out of the cocoon as a
caterpillar.

So it is with your protagonist.

As you frame your story and develop your character, ask yourself, “What is
my caterpillar doing?” Your character will either be transformed into
someone more mature, insightful or at peace, or will plunge into death or
despair.

Although genre can dictate the direction of this transformation—horror
stories will often end with some kind of death (physical, psychological,
emotional or spiritual)—most genres are butterfly genres. Most stories end
with the protagonist experiencing new life—whether that’s physical renewal,
psychological understanding, emotional healing or a spiritual awakening.

This change marks the resolution of the crisis and the culmination of the
story.

As a result of facing the struggle and making this new discovery, the
character will move to a new normal. The character’s actions or attitude at
the story’s end show us how she’s changed from the story’s inception. The
putty has become a new shape, and if it’s thrown against the wall again, the
reader will understand that a brand-new story is now unfolding. The old way
of life has been forever changed by the process of moving through the
struggle to the discovery and into a new and different life.

Letting Structure Follow Story

I don’t have any idea how many acts my novels contain.

A great many writing instructors, classes and manuals teach that all stories
should have three acts—and, honestly, that doesn’t make much sense to me.
After all, in theater, you’ll find successful one-act, two-act, three-act
and four-act plays. And most assuredly, they are all stories.

If you’re writing a novel that people won’t read in one sitting (which is
presumably every novel), your readers couldn’t care less about how many acts
there are—in fact, they probably won’t even be able to keep track of them.
What readers really care about is the forward movement of the story as it
escalates to its inevitable and unexpected conclusion.

While it’s true that structuring techniques can be helpful tools,
unfortunately, formulaic approaches frequently send stories spiraling off in
the wrong direction or, just as bad, handcuff the narrative flow. Often the
people who advocate funneling your story into a predetermined three-act
structure will note that stories have the potential to sag or stall out
during the long second act. And whenever I hear that, I think, Then why not
shorten it? Or chop it up and include more acts? Why let the story suffer
just so you can follow a formula?

I have a feeling that if you asked the people who teach three-act structure
if they’d rather have a story that closely follows their format, or one that
intimately connects with readers, they would go with the latter. Why?
Because I’m guessing that deep down, even they know that in the end, story
trumps structure.

Once I was speaking with another writing instructor and he told me that the
three acts form the skeleton of a story. I wasn’t sure how to respond to
that until I was at an aquarium with my daughter later that week and I saw
an octopus. I realized that it got along pretty well without a skeleton. A
storyteller’s goal is to give life to a story, not to stick in bones that
aren’t necessary for that species of tale.

So, stop thinking of a story as something that happens in three acts, or two
acts, or four or seven, or as something that is driven by predetermined
elements of plot. Rather, think of your story as an organic whole that
reveals a transformation in the life of your character. The number of acts
or events should be determined by the movement of the story, not the other
way around.

Because story trumps structure.

If you render a portrait of the protagonist’s life in such a way that we can
picture his world and also care about what happens to him, we’ll be drawn
into the story. If you present us with an emotionally stirring crisis or
calling, we’ll get hooked. If you show the stakes rising as the character
struggles to solve this crisis, you’ll draw us in more deeply. And if you
end the story in a surprising yet logical way that reveals a transformation
of the main character’s life, we’ll be satisfied and anxious to read your
next story.

The ingredients come together, and the cake tastes good.

Always be ready to avoid formulas, discard acts and break the “rules” for
the sake of the story—which is another way of saying: Always be ready to do
it for the sake of your readers.


--


*writing as Mary Ellen Blackwood*
*"And She lived happily ever after" stories*
**
"WHAT IF the *hokey pokey* is what it's all about???"

Friday, August 5, 2011

Contest Time Again. Revise-Third time a Charm Righ?

 Okay guys, I've reworked the first paragraph more.  I still left the last 3 sentences. I kind of need them so it flows with the next.  I fixed up the stars part, who and argue when so many agree.  Thanks so much for your opinion.  I really appreciate it!  Scroll down and let me know what you think.

Gabriela Lessa sent me an email to let me know she's holding a contest.  This contest is a great one. All the judges are from Sourcebooks, how great is that? All you have to do is enter the first paragraph of your work of art with a pitch.  The first paragraph is easy, that part is already done.  What I found out is the pitch is a lot harder than I thought.
So. I'm posting my entry for you to critique.  Here goes:  Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Name: Cynthia

Title: Light Weight 

Genre: YA

Manuscript word count. 74,091

Judge: Leah Hultenschmidt

One sentence pitch: When Tony is given the chance to win a college scholarship and leave the life of the gang, he finds that following his dreams has deadly consequences.

First Paragraph:

Chapter One The Fight#



I never saw it coming. The impact sent lighting bolts of pain through my jaw. I saw stars as the tunnel vision blocked my sight. Then I felt my body smashed against the brick wall behind me. I needed to defend myself. I lifted my arms to block my face. I knew I couldn't stand much more. I thought about how I got here. It was stupid really, if you thought about it. All I did was try to do something right for once.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

My Creation

  Writing has been slow going for me these days.  I have been trying to squeeze it in between work, kids, laundry, piano, and everything else that life throws you.  It isn't very often these days I get a chance to work in piece and quiet.  Usually the TV is on or the boys and my husband are playing Wii, and don't forget the puppy wants to play with me. That means the progress I have made has been slow going, but I have been making process and I thought I would share a small excerpt with you. Feel free to tell me what you think.
Light Weight- (working title)
      I packed up my things after practice and was about to call Michelle when I saw Mark and Brad walk towards the office. The look on their faces worried me. Something was up, something was wrong. I knew it wasn't Kevin, he was talking to one of the other guys on the other side of the gym. I dropped my bag and followed them. The door closed just as I got to the hallway, I put my ear against it.
When did you get the call?” I heard Brad's voice.
Just now. The drop is going down in an hour. It will take us a half hour to get there.”
Why so out of the way? It's not like the Scorpions to make a drop so far from their territory.”
Apparently it wasn't their idea, it was King's idea.”
Who the hell is King?” I said out loud, then cursed myself.
He's making a drop with King? Shit. So that is how he's getting the guns. What else did you find out?”
That was all I could get before my informant hung up.” I noticed that Mark stressed the word informant. He knew I was listening. So much for ease dropping. Just then the door swung open.
And don't even think about asking to come along.” Mark frowned at me in the doorway.
I..I... I stammered.”
I wasn't going to ask.” Brad finished for me.
No I wasn't.” I managed.
Good, because you're not coming.” Mark said letting Brad out of the office and closing the door behind him. They walked down the hall and never looked back. I had no intention of asking, I was following.
      It wasn't easy keeping up with Brad and Mark. They drove fast and weaved in and out of lanes on the highway. It was almost as if they knew I was following. The car I borrowed, okay stole didn't have as much pick up as I liked, but I knew it got me to where I needed to go and that was the important part. When I they finally got to the drop off I circled around and parked the car about a block away. There was no way I was going to let myself be seen so I kept to the shadows. Brad and Mark were no where to be seen. I spotted George with Hugo and Philippe sitting on Miguel's car talking. Miguel had to be close, I ducked even though I knew they couldn't see me. Just the thought of Miguel here made me nervous and angry. I took a deep breath and looked up again. Hugo gave something to Philippe, but I couldn’t see what it was; then they walked towards the warehouse and disappeared inside.
What the hell are you doing here?” I knew that voice. I turned and stood up facing Miguel.”
I didn’t want to miss all the fun.” At least it wasn’t a total lie. I smirked.
I should have had your ass a long time ago. Who are you here with?”
No one.” I gasped.
Tico tell you where to find me?”
What? I haven’t spoken to Tico. Why can’t you get that through your thick head? I have no idea where he is.”
No?” Miguel looked me over and for the first time, I was really scared.
We’ll see.” Miguel grabbed my arm and pulled me towards the warehouse.