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My Writing Process: Why I Write

  Posted by Joe Stephens in My Train of Thought, 21 November 2014 · 2 views



If I recall correctly, the first post I made to this particular blog was about the question of how I know if I'm a real writer. I've long since answered that question in my mind. Even if I hadn't recently published my first novel, I know I'm a real writer. Why? The answer is rather esoteric: because I write. 

The next logical question should probably then be why do I write? I could go in a circle and say because I'm a writer, but that would just be silly. And not in a fun way. So why do I write? For a few reasons.

First, I write because I don't think I can not write. Asking why a writer writes is like asking a runner why he or she runs, but maybe even more basically it's like asking a human why he or she breathes. How could I not? I'm unable not to write. Yes, I can hold my breath for a short time, but my body will force me to breathe at some point. In the same way, I may get busy and not write for a few days, but I can't keep it up forever. Before I know it, I'm here in front of the keyboard, neglecting some urgent task, in order to mentally and spiritually respirate. 

Second, I write because it's the one place where life makes sense. As people who actually know me are aware, my life has been pretty out of control in the last several months. My marriage of 28 years is over in every way except legally, and that part comes soon. At the age of 51, I'm in the process of moving in with my parents (only until the end of the school year or until the perfect apartment comes along, whichever comes first). But when I write, people do what I want them to. The good guy wins. The distressed person gets rescued. The bad guy pays for his crimes. The couple stays married, and not just legally. Even if real life is a bad banana with a greasy black peel, to borrow from the great Dr. Seuss, the world I create when I write is perfectly ripe. Not green anymore, but not mushy and gross. Just right. Why would I not do that?

Finally, I write because I want to make a living writing. And I definitely won't do that if I don't write--well and regularly. The more I write, the more I increase my chances that I can actually make meaningful money at it. That's not as romantic as the other two reasons, but most writers, high-minded working-on-my-art statements aside, want to be able to write full-time, and that can only happen if you're independently wealthy (I'm not--If I were, I would've been Batman a long time ago) or you get people to give you money in exchange for your writing. I'm hoping that will work out, but it definitely won't if I don't keep writing. 

So how about it--want to give me some money in exchange for my writing? Go here


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Friday Freeday: Revision update

  Posted by DebsBlueRoses in The Writer Ambitious, 21 November 2014 · 5 views

Good morning!

So, I'm on revision 1,049.2 (lol), and this time around, I'm focusing on giving Ghuli a little more personality (she fell a little flat according to my last beta partner, and she was right) and making her a little more active in her own destiny before she actually needs to. Doing the latter actually helped the former because one of the issues that comes up later but that has always been there, according to supporting charry Cyan, is that Ghuli hardly listens to him. So, there are more moments of them bumping heads, and actually just more of them interacting altogether.

Even adding these moments, I've lost about 1,500 words, so I'd like to see if I can lose a few more. It's pretty nice. :)

That is where I am. I hope you all have a good weekend! I'll see you just before Turkey Day. ;)

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Book Talk: VIVIAN DIVINE IS DEAD by Lauren Sabel & Giveaway!

  Posted by bigblackcat97 in Writer, Writer Pants on Fire, 21 November 2014 · 8 views

My book talks are coming at you from a librarian, not a reviewer. You won't find me talking about style or craft, why I think this could've been better or what worked or didn't work. I only do book talks on books I liked and want other people to know about. So if it's here I probably think it won't injure your brain if you read it.<br /><br /><a href="https://d.gr-assets....7l/18651963.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1383148517l/18651963.jpg" width="211" /></a>Six months after losing her mother to a brutal murder, Hollywood teen-star Vivian Divine is trying to piece her life back together amid paparazzi, an absentee father, and a cheating boyfriend. When a mysterious package arrives with a death threat, Vivian's bodyguard trusts no one. With a new haircut and no makeup, Vivian jumps on a bus for the border,<br /><br />But Hollywood sets never prepared her for real life, and Mexico is more than she bargained for. When her bag with her passport, money, and instructions for meeting her next handler disappear after the bus breakdown, Vivan has no choice but to attach herself to the only English speaking person she can find. Not that she minds. Nick has a better body than her movie star boyfriend, and even though he mocks her American princess ways, she can't help but notice he's sneaking looks at her ass every once in awhile.<br /><br />With a mysterious scarred stranger on her heels, and a dead FBI agent in her wake, Vivian tries to keep a low profile while she makes her way across the Mexican desert to reach her cemetery meet-up point by The Day of the Dead.<br /><br /><a class="rafl" href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b88/" id="rc-2071810b88" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><br /><script src="//widget.rafflecopter.com/load.js"></script><br />

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Fall 1st Hop Critique 8

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs in Michelle4Laughs: It's in the Details, 21 November 2014 · 7 views

I'll give a shot at some first page comments. Keep in mind that feedback on a first page is subjective by nature. What does and does not catch the eye is going to vary by person. Each writer must weigh the comments they get against their own judgement and make the changes that resonate with them.

The hop is now closed. Be sure to finish up your critiques. Writers at the beginning and ending of the list should critique each other. If you have a revision, you can ask for feedback on the #Fall1stHop hashtag. 
Query Hop coming in December so stay tuned!
The random number generator picks 9! We seem to be hitting a lot of low numbers.

Here is the first page without comments:

YA/Paranormal Revision #2: Updated 11/10/14 
“I Fold.” Spence set his cards down on the table. It was Ms. Edith and me now. I gave her my best poker face, not wanting to reveal the pair of aces resting in my hand. Ms. Edith, squinting at her hand, was moving it close to her face, and then farther to get a better view. I cleared my throat and pointed to the eyeglasses that rested neatly on top of her silver curls.

 “Raise a quarter,” she challenged. I pondered her face, and then my own hand.

 “Fold, let’s see ‘em.”
Ms. Edith lay her full house down “pay up Felix,” she stopped short, looking at a spot behind me. Spence and I turned to look.

A light, growing brighter shimmered in the air. Now it was our turn to squint. “Well, it’s about darn time!” Ms. Edith grinned and stood up. Shoving her pile of cash toward Spence and me, she straightened her skirt and walked toward the light. “Bye fellas,” she waved and stepped into the light and disappeared, leaving me gaping after her in shock.

“What just happened?" I asked Spence.
“Edith moved on to a better place,” he said.

"Moved on, how?" I hadn’t seen any spirits move on before, which made me curious; how did we move on and where do we go?
“When we have fulfilled our purpose in the afterlife, we move on to our final place.


“Final place, as in heaven and hell, those are real?”“Wow kid, I figured you knew.”  

With my crazy comments:
YA/Paranormal Revision #2: Updated 11/10/14 
“I Ffold.” Spence set his cards down on the table. It was Ms. Edith and me now. (Maybe combine these? Spence set his cards on the table, leaving Ms. Edith and me.) I gave her my best poker face, not wanting to reveal(cut words and use 'to hide'?) the pair of aces resting in my hand. Ms. Edith, squinting at her hand cards(to avoid repeating 'hand'), was moving it them closer to her face, and then farther to get for a better view. I cleared my throat and pointed to the eyeglasses that rested neatly on top of her silver curls. (Here you could give a hint that she's a ghost, which I learned at the end. glowing, silver curls?)

 “Raise a quarter,” she challenged. I pondered her face, and then my own (I have a hard time cutting the word 'own' too, but it isn't needed.) hand.

 “Fold, let’s see ‘em.”
Ms. Edith lay her full house down.pPay up, Felix,” Sshe stopped short, looking at a spot behind me. Spence and I turned to look. (Looking can be assumed.)

A light, growing brighter shimmered in the air, growing brighter. Now it was our turn to squint. (I think I'd put a paragraph break here.) “Well, it’s about darn time!” Ms. Edith grinned and stood up. Shoving her pile of cash toward Spence and me, she straightened her skirt and walked toward the light. “Bye, fellas.,Sshe waved and stepped into it the light and... disappeared, leaving me gaping after her in shock. 

“What just happened?" I asked Spence. 
“Edith moved on to a better place,” he said.  (You can take off this tag.)

"Moved on, how?" I hadn’t seen any spirits move on before, which made me curious (This is understood.); how did we move on and where do we go? (Here it would be great to get a little more information. Just a sentence or two of quick background information. Does he know many spirits? How long has he known about spirits? Is this something he deals with everyday? Is Spence his mentor/boss what?)
(This needs it's own paragraph. And now you need a tag.) “When we have fulfilled our purpose in the afterlife, we move on to our final place," Spence said.

“Final place, as in heaven and hell?, Tthose are real?”“Wow, kid, I figured you knew.”  

I like how this piece starts with a card game and I love the surprise ending. But I think it suffers from a lack of exposition that could make it so much richer! 

We don't know anything about the character here. Is Spence the boss/mentor of Felix? Felix already knows about ghosts, but yet doesn't know specifics. It's interesting and I wanted more in the 1st page to inform me a little about what was happening. And also maybe a hint that the lady was a ghost.

Pretty good first page and I liked the surprise. Hope this helps. 



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One reason why I write: Fighting off guilt amid a busy life

Posted by Selene Bell in Confessions of a Binge Reader, 20 November 2014 · 21 views

I’ve read six books in the past week. I don’t say that to brag. I also watched Maleficent and the first season of The Blacklist and, of course, new episodes of The Walking Dead, The 100 and The Originals. I’m desperately trying to not think about writing. The problem is, I’ve finished a new manuscript and I need to let some time pass before I pick it up to edit. But when I’m not actually writing, new stories and new characters come knocking on my brain. And I can’t start a new story (as tempting as it is) without finishing my last one. I can’t! (Especially when it’s a dystopian! No writing a dystopian!)

Ahem.

But as I’ve tried to fill up my time, this desperation and frustration have gotten me considering why I write. Because not only am I trying to distract myself, I’m also battling this sinking feeling that I’m failing to get stuff done that as an adult, wife and mother I should be getting done. I mean, yes, I’ve folded the laundry, cleaned the bathroom, worked 40+ hours at the newspaper, planned a birthday party for a soon-to-turn 5-year-old, carted around said kid, made food, spent three hours at the eye doctor. And yet…

I don’t really feel like I’ve accomplished enough. Maybe that says something about my judge-y personality, or maybe it says something about being a working mother, or just a mother. Or maybe it’s that I’ve put all of these hours into watching or reading stories, and what I have to show for it is nebulous. How do you value reading fiction? Do you need to justify it to yourself? Those around you? I’ve discovered new authors this week whose work I love. I watched this beautiful movie that’s sure to inspire how I picture scenes, and the zombie show that makes me shiver. All of that feeds my creative process, I’m sure, as would getting some sleep have done. But it’s like the brainstorming process that happens in my head—there’s not really anything concrete to show for it. Does it count if there’s nothing to show for it?

My gut says yes, but when (it feels like) I’m stealing that time from all these important other things that need my attention, I feel guilty. Maybe my daughter would be reading by now if I put my focus there. Maybe my husband would be happier. Maybe my house would be cleaner and I’d be better rested and my puppy would come when I call her. Or maybe not. I have this need to create stories (dystopian or not) and maybe if I deny it or ignore it, all I’d be is a frustrated, desperate person. But how should time chasing writing pursuits rank on my list of priorities? How do we weigh that?

I’m not sure, but what I do know: When I’m writing or editing, my progress via page count is measurable and concrete. That makes me feel like I have real evidence to justify how I spent (or didn’t spend) my time. Like, the living room’s a mess, but I wrote 10 pages. I only got four hours of sleep, but I edited a chapter. That feels more like justifiable accomplishment—and I feel less guilty.

www.selene-bell.com

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W.O.W. – Writer Odyssey Wednesday with Gina Ciocca

  Posted by Amy Trueblood in Chasing The Crazies , 19 November 2014 · 35 views

    Inevitably when an author talks about their writing journey we always hear about querying and “the call”, but one of the things I always ask  about in interviews, and feel is incredibly important, is the critique process.   As today’s featured writer, Gina Ciocca points out, critique partners and beta readers are critical to the process of writing, “You […]

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Interview on GRAB THE LAPELS

  Posted by LucidDreamer in LucidDreamer's Blog, 19 November 2014 · 26 views

I am linking to this interview about me and my writing — http://grabthelapels.weebly.com/ By the way, this is a great blog/website for finding books, reviews, articles, and other valuable info. about women authors.

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Manga Review: Spice and Wolf Vol. #9

  Posted by Sakura Eries in Sakura Eries' Blog: Keeping It In Canon …mostly, 18 November 2014 · 26 views

Spice and Wolf is a wildly popular light novel series that has spawned off an anime, an Internet radio show, and a manga series. While its European medieval setting is typical of high fantasy, this series has  a unique bent to it. Rather than swordfights and magic, the plot focuses on economics, trade, and peddling in a way that skillfully blends adventure and romance.

Yen Press has recently released the ninth volume of the Spice and Wolf manga, and you can read on for the review. (For my reviews of previous Spice and Wolf releases, click here.)

The Review

Eve, whom we only caught a glimpse of in Volume 8, gets introduced in earnest in Volume 9, and she is, if nothing else, complicated. While shepherdess Norah and clergywoman Elsa were both interesting in their own right, their respective occupations weren’t too terribly unusual. Eve, however, is a merchant, which is such an anomaly for her gender that she dresses as a man to conduct business. On top of that, she’s former nobility. She’s no shrinking petunia though. She’s bold enough to literally sink a ship for profit and so successful she’s no shortage of people wanting to partner with her.

A complex personality indeed, and thanks to her, Lawrence gets to speak to the Jean Company regarding the strip mining book that could threaten Holo’s homeland. Of course, it’s not charity on Eve’s part. She’s involved in the Kerube dispute, acting as the Northerners’ “mercenary” in negotiations with the Southern moneylenders. While land and massive amounts of money are involved, this Spice and Wolf conflict is less an economics lesson and more a behind the scenes power struggle. Unfortunately, so many nuanced details are involved that the intrigue is difficult to follow, and I still haven’t figured out what Lawrence means when he laments to Holo that Eve is being used as a “scapegoat.”

However, everything changes when a ship just happens to catch a narwhal in the middle of the negotiations. The timing is extremely convenient, but at least it simplifies the town conflict to “the side that gets the narwhal wins.” As a result of this unexpected development, Eve finds herself needing Lawrence’s assistance and dangles the strip mining book as bait. Unfortunately, siding with her would put him at odds with his guild, a position no sane merchant would dare take. All in all, it’s a tricky situation for Kerube and Lawrence.

Fortunately, the waif Col offers some simplicity amid all the machinations and back room talk. He has yet to discover Holo’s wisewolf secret, and dialogues involving him are refreshingly straightforward. We even get the secret behind the copper coin manifests introduced in Volume 8, and Koume-sensei’s illustrations of Col’s explanation are a hundred times clearer than the all-text version in the light novel.

Extras include a world map, story thus far summary, and creators’ closing remarks.

In Summary

The search for the strip mining text embroils Lawrence in a citywide property financing dispute and a vixenish merchant’s scheme. Eve is an intriguing new addition to the cast, but it is difficult to discern the role she is playing in the Kerube marketplace conflict, which is less about economics and more about machinations driven by greed and power. Holo seems to tease Lawrence excessively regarding his interactions with the female merchant, but that aside, it is interesting to watch the maneuvers of a human woman who appears a match for even Holo’s wits.

First published at the Fandom Post.




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Train Tracks

  Posted by Professor VJ Duke in The Punchy Lands!, 17 November 2014 · 29 views

Now this is true: The Punchy Lands will have another sort of “off” week, if that makes sense. Some things need finished up this week. But everything should resume regularly next week. And, yes, there will be a PL Special for Christmas, I think.

Unless, the professor gets covered in snow, or slips on the ice that is supposed to form.

But the analysts doubt that.

I should leave you with a few great pictures.

DSC00621

 

I think this is the track for the Polar Express. Or, rather, the Polar Express uses this track every so often.

DSC00622

 

There is a professorish car in this picture; though, sometimes, I have trouble finding it myself.

DSC00620

 

Wouldn’t this be a lovely place for a video?




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The Secret to Writing a Retelling

  Posted by SC_Author in SC Write--Writing, Publishing, and Harry Potter, 14 November 2014 · 47 views

So sorry for the long wait to post! I've been taking a nice and relaxing break after the craziness and awesomeness of Nightmare on Query Street. This break has been so...nice. I feel  relaxed and energized and ready to start anew.

I posted on Twitter that I wanted to do a post on retellings and I got a good amount of positive feedback.

There's been a  surge of fairy tale and fable retellings in the market today, and as a consequence, as a contest host, I've seen a lot of retellings being submitted to the contests. Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, etc.

The hook of writing a retelling is that it already has a high concept story angle. Yes, the same high concept that many agents are saying they want. I think this high concept is what attracts a lot of writers to retellings.

But here's the catch. Anyone can retell as story. Not everyone can retell a story.

Yes, yes, confusing! But here's what I mean. There are a lot of tips about retelling a story so I'm only going to share my personal view on the 'secret' to a successful retelling.

The Secret to a Retelling lies in the word 'retell' itself. Meaning, you must REtell the story, completely changing it to become your story. Don't just retell it, we know the original story. REtell it.


  1. Do NOT let the original story cripple you. 
    This
    story you're writing is YOUR story. Not the original writer's. Not the mass media's. Do you really want to spend possible/probably years on a novel that isn't yours?

    I've seen this in some stories where in order to 'fit' the original story, the writer stretches themselves and breaks their narrative to fit some things in. Let's take, for example, Snow White. You know the whole apple thing. What if you're writing a retelling and, in this mythological world of yours, apples exist only in a faraway country? Will you do the equivalent of stopping the narrative, take the characters on a trip to the country just for the apple? Screw the damn apple if it doesn't fit in your narrative! Let the apple rot!

    I beta-read for this one amazing author who wrote a retelling I'm still in love with. Her story was mainly because of her love for the original story. Iconic scenes from the original story forced their way into this retelling and did nothing but stop the narrative and check off another box on a hypothetical list of 'famous parts I must retell.'

    Now, this does get into tricky territory. The question you must ask yourself is this: Where am I going to draw the line between taking inspiration from the original story and creating my own ideas? If I were ever to write a retelling, I'd stick mainly/only with that initial 'spark'; the reason I want to write the story in the first place. What part of the original story do I love? What arc of the story is the arc I want in mine? The similar arc would be my retelling.
  2. Predictability.

    This is a biggy. Since most probably know the original story, you must come up with an unexpected ending. This is almost a must (I say almost because I don't like talking in 100%s). How you'll make the ending unexpected is up to you. Keeping the same ending as the original story but pointing all clues towards the idea that you won't be ending it the same way? Changing the ending completely (but also making that unpredictable because if the ending is Snow White doesn't need a man's kiss, she can revive herself, we're all expecting that as well)?
  3. Originality.

    Create your own characters. The hard part, for me, is wondering if I like the retelling because of the retelling itself or because I like the original story. Sort of like loving a stranger who looks a lot like a deceased loved one - do you truly love the stranger?

    Separate yourself from the original story. Take an axe to it. Proclaim to the reader, "This is my story!" and you'll have it. This is hard to do ("But I love the original story, I must treasure it and respect it in my retelling!") but crucial. Don't give a reader the same story; they might technically like it but it'll be boring for them. Add something new to the narrative. Find your twist, and make that twist huge.
These are my tips. Especially for retellings, I'd STRONGLY recommend you thoroughly plan out (yes, plan, even you pantsers!) what your story is going to be about. It's crucial to have a story that is planted with the same seed as the original story, but sprouts to become a totally different, more ambitious, and (hopefully) better story than the original. After all, why are you retelling the story if you don't want to push it to new extremes?

Hopefully this helps! Any other tips you think would be helpful? 


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First Draft Frenzy

  Posted by Jemi in Just Jemi, 10 November 2014 · 47 views

Thanks so much for all of your kind words in my last post. Dealing with grief is tough, but we're coping. Mostly :)

I'm having a blast with my new NaNo draft. As of October 31st, I didn't have a clue who my characters were or what their story was, but it's flowing!

Writing first drafts is my absolute favourite part of the writing journey. And, as an added bonus, I'm getting better at them. Usually I have a bit more of a foundation to start with. I don't outline, but I generally have a solid idea of who my characters are, what drives them, what's holding them back, and how they need to grow.

I also usually know (in the loosest sense of the word) my ending. Definitely a bonus (for me) of writing romance is I know the end goal before I write a single word. I want my characters to grow enough to be able to trust another person with their heart.

Sounds simple, which is where the internal and external conflicts come into play - and where the fun is to be had!

So, I'm having a fabulous time watching both of my characters work hard to hide their pasts and shield their hearts, knowing it's not going to do them a bit of good in the long run!

What's your favourite thing about the writing stage you're at right now? Are you a first draft fan too? If you're doing NaNo too, I'm jemifraser over there if you want to buddy up!

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Release Day : Arcadia (The Wonderlust Chronicles #1) by Hope Christine

  Posted by Lora Palmer in Lora Palmer's Blog, 07 November 2014 · 56 views


Ever since Sky Captain Lemise Holdif was a boy, he’s been faced with the End of Days. For decades an unknown enemy has been systematically wiping out life in the galaxy, starting with the most advanced societies. Now Arcadia, a world built from the trash of an entire galaxy, is the only planet left capable of distant space travel, and the next target. Lemise is desperate to save his home world, but his plans are interrupted when an alien visitor transports onto his ship.
Lead Specialist Paelae Madison is the last of her kind. The only survivor of the First Attack, and bent on revenge for the destruction of her people. In desperation, she teleports onto an Arcadian ship and offers aid in the coming war. Arcadia sees her as a hero, but Lemise is weary to trust a stranger who’s survived over five hundred previous battles.
Together the two fight to defeat an enemy far more advanced, and far more cunning than Arcadia has ever known. But extinction lurks around every corner, and The Enemy isn’t the only one threatening to destroy the world.


Buy Links:


Take a Peek at Arcadian Culture:

Arcadia is a junkyard planet but it collects more than just broken ships. Before it was a recognized planet, it had been a place of refuge for lost voyagers. Eventually it began to collect people like it collected trashed technology. Some were refugees, others were stranded after running out of money for their journey, and some were simply shunned from their own worlds.

With so many different people there’s a lot of borrowed pieces of culture that has been meshed together to form the Arcadian way of life. For example: they love to refurbish or repurpose technology but it is the highest crime of their court systems to help create or aide in the creation of cyborgs: part human, part technology. Don’t improve what man did not make.

The law developed from their belief that a soul cannot find the World Beyond unless the body is whole. It makes navigating the Field of Stars, a type of purgatory, difficult because a partial soul would have to wait for a whole soul to help guide them. This belief was stolen from the Monks on the planet Maldeen who had a very different lifestyle, rarely traveling into space.

Paelae is the outsider on Arcadia, she comes from a more crisp and clean way of traveling space. It’s like taking Captain Picard and putting him on the Serenity. She has a hard time adjusting to their way of life but as you read it from her perspective you begin to pick up on where all those bits and pieces of Arcadian society came from.

Lemise, who is born on Arcadia and has had little contact with other races (since most just fire at them for scavenging the graves of the dead) sees Paelae’s past life on the Imladian ships as very excessive and wasteful. In this way, as well as others, they tend to clash.

As the story progresses you can really see how Paelae’s and Lemise’s culture begin to shape who they become from a young age. 

Read an Excerpt:

Officers stumbled over each other in preparation for the day ahead. As soon as the first rays of purple sunshine peaked over the city, a line had started to form for the bathrooms, and Paelae was thrust back into the world of the living with a jolt. Sweat covered her face, and her breathing was too rapid.
Despite the cramped space, the other women gave her a reasonable berth, some eying her while checking their weapons.
Had she screamed in her sleep? The nights had grown increasingly rare when she didn’t have a nightmare.
“Hey.” Paelae sat up and tugged the clothes out of her trunk. She ran a hand over the purple and black jumpsuit provided for her; it felt wrong, wearing the colors of another people. It was the first time anyone offered her a uniform. She preferred the Imladian one; it was familiar.
“Hey.” This time she looked up, noticing that the one-word sentence had been directed to her.
A woman stood at the end of her bed, arms crossed and legs apart as if at ease. “Name’s Benni. I’m your guard.”
Of course, the woman from the ship. 
Benni was a head shorter than Paelae and bore the markings of a low rank.
“I’m Paelae,” she said and stood to greet Benni with a hard stare. “I’m your…” She searched for an appropriate word.
“Ally,” Benni finished for her. “Sky cap’s waiting outside for you.”
Paelae took the cue and began her attempt to navigate out of the barracks, jumping over beds and weaving around people until she reached the metal door. Outside, the world was tainted purple as the sun filtered through Arcadia’s atmospheric shielding, a product of too many chemical bombs. What had once been a rushed patch job to keep air on the planet had since evolved into a last line of defense worthy of acknowledgment. It was one of few things Arcadians boasted about among the planets—when the planets still existed.
Captain Lemise stood just outside the barrack doors, looking across the miles of asphalt designated for intergalactic travel. Bordering the west side of the airfield and encroaching fast upon the north, were piles of rejected technology and broken spaceships tossed out by hundreds of different races. 
That’s how Arcadia had started, as a junkyard, but then lost voyagers found a home on it, attracting others—from those shunned by their own people to travelers broken down with no funds to continue on their journey. Eventually, it became a home for those who had nowhere else to go, and scavenging became more than an act of survival; it became a trade.
Most of the north and east were surrounded by low-class, brick apartment buildings, meant for the soldiers and their families.
“You’re not in uniform.” Lemise deduced upon seeing her. “If you want on my Chasers, you wear my uniform.”
Paelae shrugged. “Bathroom line was too long to change.”
Lemise began to walk away. “Then wake up earlier.”
Paelae walked close behind with Benni in tow as the sky captain began to explain. “Miss Demitri is our chief innovation and engineering specialist; with a screwdriver and a handful of computer chips, she could change a toaster into an engine. You will work beside her under close supervision. I want a particle shield by the end of the week.”
She almost laughed. Particle shields were difficult with the right materials, but with makeshift metals and roundabout wiring, he would be lucky if it turned on in three weeks.
“In exchange, you will work beside me in the evenings,” he continued.
Lemise didn’t expand any further on her evening expectations, but Paelae suspected they would be dull at best until Lemise began to trust her better.
“Unless there are complications. Then I will jettison you out of an airlock in EWAN territory. Am I understood?”
“Yes, sir,” she said. Centuries of military training had drilled the habit into her.
He led them to a jeep, and another soldier drove them east to a warehouse that stood ten stories tall. Behind it, a mesh, wire gate separated civilian from soldiers. Paelae watched as a group of young boys tossed a ball back and forth to each other, running down a deserted street to throw it in a trash can.
They used to play a similar game on the cityship as trainees. It was one of the few bits and pieces they had smuggled from the Earthen culture, played in secret when the officers had left.
Once, General Amir had caught them midgame when he came to get Paelae for sparring lessons. Anything Earthen was not to be spoken of or remembered in any way, but she had been rebellious as all teenagers were those days. Everyone had frozen in place. The terror coursing through their bodies made them forget to even salute. Trying to run would have been devastating.
Amir had walked between them, assessing the trainees. He had been furious, but his anger hadn’t been displayed in shouting or beating; it had filled the silence that spread between moments in time.
“Madison,” he addressed with a calm, collected demeanor, turning to look at her. “Why do we not register Earth as a planet in our systems?”
She didn’t reply.
“Madison!” This time the words were forceful, bringing her back from the past. Lemise and Benni had already departed from the vehicle and waited for her.
With a sigh, she shook the memory away, letting it dissipate into the morning air and jumped out of the jeep.
Lemise led them through an open garage door. Inside, the warehouse resembled a miniature junkyard. As Paelae looked closer, she could tell that the piles had been organized to some degree. One had wire, another had chips, and a third was weaponry.
“Demitri!” Lemise called. A clatter of metal followed, and the sky captain took that as a cue. They wove in and out of large piles and then climbed over smaller ones until the ground could be seen again. A giant square of cleared floor sat under an open roof, and near the opposite end, a young woman drew up schematics on a metalwork table.
“Demitri,” Lemise called again as they walked up to her.
Demitri glanced up through layers of grease stains and smudges of dirt. Bright red hair fell in a tangled mess past her shoulders, held back by a set of goggles. Deep, blue crescents were visible beneath her eyes, as if the woman had been bruised. 
“Did you sleep here last night?” He didn’t address her as a soldier, nor did she wear a uniform. Instead, brown overalls adorned her skeletal frame, and a belt of odd tools kept it hanging up.
Demitri gave him a confused look. “No. I’ve only just arrived.”
“You were supposed to be in an hour ago,” Lemise said as the military eased back into his speech.
“I was delayed,” she said and threw her arms open. “It’s not like I don’t stay past midnight anyway. Every genius needs sleep. Is this the Imladian?”
Lemise pinched the bridge of his nose and took a deep breath. “This is Madison.”
Demitri stepped around the table and snatched Paelae’s arm up, pushing back the black leather sleeve. After a moment, Demitri let out a whistle. “That’s a particle shield all right. I’ll need the big guns for those supplies.”
“One week,” Lemise said.
Demitri laughed before realizing he was serious. “Two weeks, sleep, free meals, and you throw in that glass plating I need to fix the Mirage.”
“One week, no sleep, free breakfast, and you fix the Mirage because it’s your job, not a bargaining chip.”
“Two weeks, no sleep, and lunches.”
“A week and a half, sleep, and no food.”
Demitri was about to throw in another bargain when a little girl ran out from behind a pile of piping. She held up a colored picture with evident pride, tugging on Demitri’s pants and grunting to get her attention.
“A week and a half, no sleep, and forget this happened,” Demitri said as she placed a hand on her daughter’s head. “The daycare was filled, and Pops is working cross-continent. I wouldn’t bring her unless it was my only option, I swear.”
Lemise knelt down to the girl’s level. “Hello, Demi.” He smiled.
Demi held up her picture of colorful stick figures, grunting as she pointed in stunted movements at each one.
“I see.” Lemise took her picture and gave it a further inspection. “It is a beautiful picture. Will you draw me one?”
Paelae watched in mild horror. Demi was broken. On the cityship, they considered it a mercy to chloroform such children at birth, if they made it that far without detection; and it shocked her that all those years she never thought twice about it. Never before had she encountered one on other planets, though she’d heard stories.
Lemise stood, turning back to Demitri. “Will she be okay around new faces?”
“Yeah, she’s better with it now.” Demitri cracked her knuckles in anticipation.
“A week and a half, no sleep, and lunches,” he offered.
“Deal.”
They shook on it.
“I’ll leave you to it then,” Lemise said and left, disappearing behind piles of trash.
Demitri pulled a chair up for her daughter to continue drawing, and then lounged back in one of her own.
“You named her after yourself,” Paelae stated when the silence had extended beyond comfort.
“Of course I did. She’s a Devonian.” Demitri fiddled with the lenses on her goggles.
Paelae nodded, though she didn’t know what that meant. “Should we get started, then?”
Demitri tossed her a pencil. “Copy your arm, please.”
She looked at the writing instrument with amusement. Once, this had been the only way to transcribe thoughts, but it had been centuries since she used one. “I don’t know how to use this.”
That caught Demitri’s attention. “You don’t know how to use a pencil?”
“Not anymore, no.”
Demitri laughed. “Aliens, sometimes you get too advanced for your own good. Come here. I’ll do it.” Another pencil was pulled from the depths of her ponytail. “Please tell me you can at least use a welder.”

About the Author:
Hope Christine was born in Arizona and raised in Colorado. Her youth was spent in Narnia and her teenage years in Middle-Earth. Like most, she grew up with reluctance and then attended college for multiple degrees before settling on Linguistics.
Today she studies Middle-Eastern languages and works in retail.
She’s opinionated, blunt, loves to bike, and bares an extreme hate of peaches.








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On a ROLL….

  Posted by mlebleek in Bleeker Street, 06 November 2014 · 56 views

cat-on-a-roll

If you are a writer then you know that inspiration doesn’t always come at the most convenient times. We’ve all hit those moments in our writing where it’s suddenly like you are walking through a tub of goo. During these times the words come out awkwardly and all the parts of the story seem to almost fit but not really like when you are putting together a 1,000 piece puzzle and some of the pieces are upside down and backwards. During those times of blockage it seems like all those “inspirational” writing quotes that flash by on twitter and Facebook come out to mock me. Images that advise things like:

or

(To this one I always want to say- “YEAH, it was only 500 words and will probably need a complete overhaul but, yeah, I wrote today. *eyeroll*)

Then there are the relatable ones that make me want to ask the person that made it to be my best friend:

writers-block-motivational-poster1

There are lots of ways to deal with writer’s block but sometimes it just takes a “pushing through” phase. It reminds me of a 24 hour road trip I took from Chicago to Yellowstone with three little boys ages 4, 3 and 1 (don’t ask me what we were thinking). The trip seemed to fly by until we South Dakota. Suddenly we were speeding down these looooong barren roads with warning signs that read “Last Chance” because there wouldn’t be a gas station for another 50 miles.

These were the hours where Joe and I sang loudly to ska music and gave the kids ANY food that would keep them happy. It felt like we would NEVER get to our stop in Montana. Then, hours later, exhausted and almost our of gas we stopped just outside of Billings to fill up. As we pulled into the dilapidated gas station I was all up in my head, dreading changing the kids into their pjs in what was sure to be a gross gas station bathroom. But, as Joe filled the gas tank and I crossed the empty parking lot with three little boys in toe, I noticed the sun setting over the mountains just west of us and how it reflected off the rims that encircled the city. The natural beauty of that sunset stunned this girl from the flatlands of Illinois and suddenly I was grateful for the long, rocky roads of South Dakota, because they got me there, to that sunset.

Sometimes when we write we need those long, seemingly never ending roads of hunkering down in order to get to the “sunset over the mountains” pay off. It’s sticking with it through those rough moments that make it even more satisfying when love the words come easily, the story all seems to click together like it popped into your brain fully formed and the characters become as real (in your mind) as your best friend or next door neighbor.

Right now *knock on wood* I’m enjoying that “on a roll” stage in my current WIP. I feel a little weird declaring it like that, like I’m bragging or jinxing myself but I think after working so hard to get here, it’s worth celebrating. It’s a trick I learned while running. As soon as I could see a hill ahead of me I would force myself to get  excited for it and to run extra fast to get to the top because I knew for every up hill I struggled through there was ultimately a downhill following it. Well, unless you start at the top of the hill and end there too…but that messes up my analogy so I’m ignoring that option.

How are all you writers feeling right now? Are you on a roll, going slow and steady or maybe stopped off at a rest area? If you are stuck on a hill, take a moment to savor the burn because it’s making you a better writer and soon you’ll be running downhill so fast your feet (or your fingers) won’t be able to keep up with you!




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Madness With a Side of IWSG

  Posted by K McClelland in Teardrops On My Book, 05 November 2014 · 34 views

It's that time again...time for NaNoWriMo!

No, that's not really what I'm going to write about, well, technically I'll mention it, but I really mean it's time for another Insecure Writers Support Group post. AND I'm on time, YAY! (Well, it may not be early like I prefer to post, but hey, it is the first Wednesday so I'm getting better.)


Before I go on, make sure you're in the know when it comes to the wonderful awesomeness that is Alex J Cavanaugh. Also check out the IWSG website.

I've been crazy busy because I started my kids in an online homeschool program, but I started NaNo. I haven't made as much progress as I would like to have at this time, but I've made progress and that's what counts for me.

That's all I'm going to say about NaNo though.

Since I haven't been writing much, I haven't thought much about insecurities or securities. I have been a little worried that I won't be able to get NaNo done. I've already started three different WIPs because I stalled on each one. I shouldn't have done that though because now I've got three ideas going and I'm not sure which one to work on. It makes me have really mixed up, weird, nonsense dreams because all my ideas are merging together when I sleep. Which doesn't help when I wake up because then I have a hard time serparating the ideas. And there's no mixing these up so they need to stay separated.

But my indecision didn't stop me from writing 1223 words last night. It may have been a combined total from two different WIPs, but it was all during the 1k1hr I was working on. Idk, maybe I should just WIP-jump for now and see where it takes me. I haven't really written anything before now in so long that maybe I need to just get back in the groove of things and one WIP will stand out against the three.

I guess that's my IWSG post for the month. Maybe I'm a little of both, maybe my crazy non-writer life is making it hard to feel insecure or secure. I think I'm just happy that I haven't completely lost my mind in general so everything else is just proof that I'm still functioning in all the madness.

Anyway, hope this post makes sense, and if not I'm sure my ramblings are to be expected anyway. Have an awesome Wednesday, maybe I'll get it together and see you again before the month is up. :)




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A NaNo Lament

  Posted by From The Write Angle in From The Write Angle Blog, 31 October 2014 · 53 views

by Jemi Fraser

'Tis the week before NaNo,
And all through the 'verse
Writers are mumbling, and cursing,
And swearing, and worse.

November is on us,
How'd it get here so fast?
The last time we checked,
Summer barely had passed!

We need time to start plotting,
We need time for a plan!
We need time to develop
Our characters...oh, man!

The outlines are bare
No settings are made,
The backstory's blank
No foundations are laid!

At From the Write Angle,
We writers are tough,
But it's that time of year,
So we're screaming, "Enough!"

NaNoWriMo is calling,
We must heed its call,
So we'll be back in December,
With more posts for you all!

Jemi Fraser is an aspiring author of contemporary romance. She blogs  and tweets while searching for those HEAs.

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An Interview by Fiona Mcvie

  Posted by Deb Borys in Debra R. Borys, 29 October 2014 · 56 views

Finoa Mcview has one of the most prolific author interview sites I’ve ever seen.  If you want to find new authors to follow, or learn more about some of your favorites, I suggest you visit her blog, “Author Interviews.” She … Continue reading

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Memory Lane

Posted by JordanTheNinja in JordanTheNinja's Blog, 22 October 2014 · 110 views
writing, publishing, english

I sit, staring off into space during ninth grade English. It’s October, leaves falling and cold air nipping at me as I go through the courtyards to reach my other classes. I was young, incredibly naïve, but with a dream that still has yet to vanish. We talk about literature and I find myself becoming excited at the idea, that, maybe one day, I could rank myself up there with The Greats –J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, all of those people that seemed to grace their way up the NY Times list. But this is merely a daydream, a fantasy, and I immediately stop imagining this kind of life because, realistically, it wasn’t likely to happen. But I still imagined; still dreamed. I’d caught the writing bug, and there was no way I was going to cure myself of it—I couldn’t even if I’d wanted to. Being young, I still knew that rooted inside me was the seed of determination. That, even if the likelihood of me becoming this “legendary writer” was just a far off daydream, I still strived, still would keep going. It’s hard, when you’re 14 with this forced pressure of being good, of trying to perfect your writing, of constantly going back to the drawing board. I was so cocky, but at the same time so scared: how in the hell was I going to pull this off? Was it just an impossible feat for someone as young as myself to write something that would affect a reader in the same ways The Greats have affected me?

My teacher continues onto Shakespeare and poetry and I find myself zoning out again, reliving another daydream filled with interviews and book signings, movie deals and money. This is where I learned that you won’t get anywhere without working hard. To me, this meant constant revision, constant changes. I knew virtually nothing about what “markets” are into; I just figured that if someone liked the things I wrote, they could publish them. It was almost as if I lacked any fear, but the real answer was I lacked knowledge. I didn’t know anything about the publishing word really. All I had to go one was some vague ideas and misconceptions. I was currently finishing up my first novel that year. I was proud of that, because I’d really put work into it and created something that would be my own. But I was biased; in reality, the writing was nowhere near as good as what that same novel is today. But I loved it because I’d made it.

I used to get so annoyed, so frustrated with this whole thing. I was impatient (still am), I was confused as to why an agent wasn’t responding or that I didn’t already have a book deal. I figured this thing would be so easy. My character flaw was pride, and that had taken several blows over the course of it all. When you’re young, it’s easy to feel trapped. It’s easy to feel afraid. Easy to be manipulated by what you see or read or hear.

Then I came across AQC. And you guys really put me in check. You put a stop to my cockiness and shredded my queries to bits (for that, I’m eternally grateful; I wouldn’t have been steered in the right direction had you not) and I came to know a community that was just as driven and determined as I was. We all rejoice the good news, and lend a helping hand when things aren’t going so well.
I know I’ve come a long way since my pompous, gangly, 14 year old self, and I know I still have a lot to go from here, but I’m glad that I’ve made some friends and have made some changes along the way. I’m curious to know what the future holds for me.

One thing though, I’m still channeling my 14 year old phantom, because that was when I started to be determined, to enjoy the beginnings of an adventure through writing.

That is one thing that will never change.

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Lakers Reversed Jazz, Kobe Bryant 26 Points for Coming Back

Posted by oolorres in oolorres' Blog, 20 October 2014 · 66 views

Lakers Reversed Jazz, Kobe Bryant 26 Points for Coming Back Oct. 20 NBA preseason, the Lakers vs. Jazz, results in 98-91 reversal opponent, ending three-game losing streak. The Lakers trailed by 22 points in the second quarter, but Bryant led the team to 31-5 wave of attacks hit the go-ahead score, and ultimately difficult to win. Bryant shot 7 of 22 contribute 26 points, five assists and four rebounds, Jeremy Lin (microblogging) and Nash injury continued truce.

Game review: Jazz end the Lakers with 22 points reversed three-game losing streak

Opening, Bryant feel bad, before three shots were wide of the basket, but the Lakers rely Price and Hill scored, the first gain an advantage. Since then, the Jazz back attack feeling, Hayward pointers and free throws to help the team go-ahead score. Bryant promptly force, consecutive field goal, the Lakers biting score. But before the end of the first, Bryant end, the Jazz took the opportunity to play a 10-5 wave of attacks, will expand the advantage to double digits, a single to lead the Lakers 32-20.

Second section, the Lakers lineup rotation poor performance, was jazz played 11-2 offensive. See the team behind as many as 21 points, Kobe Bryant can go it alone, he forced two consecutive third shot hit, three-point play and later succeeded in his marker. Under section 9 points Bryant single stimulus, the Lakers finally play some improvement, Boozer storm and free throws. Before the end of this section, the Lakers answered with a 8-2 offensive half to 38-54 behind the Jazz.

Ex situ battles, Jazz let Hayward, Favors two main early break, the Lakers continued the second last paragraph of section excellent condition. Bryant free throws, three and CIC quickly scored six points, Carlos Boozer and Johnson, who also lend a helping hand. Only 6 minutes, the Lakers finished 23-3 offensive surge, in one fell swoop to 61-57 go-ahead score. Since then, the Jazz finally found the feeling, the use of long shot and breakthroughs up points, to stabilize the situation. Three kick, jazz advantage almost gone, only the Lakers leading 72-69.

Distal, the Lakers up is a 7-0 attack wave, again ahead score. Since then, both teams refused to give the Jazz hit two three-pointers, the Lakers will rely on rookie Randall cut points, his scoring range jumper in the rapidly contributed 8 points. Call of Duty, Bryant played again, and assists Davis layup after Ellington hit third, the Lakers lead six minutes. Since then, the Jazz offense sluggish, Bryant made ​​two free throws to seal the victory. The Lakers defeated after three consecutive games, finally ushered in returning to the victory.

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Exactly about Sports Gambling Traces

Posted by haiiroe in haiiroe's Blog, 16 October 2014 · 221 views

Individuals who have recently been followers regarding sports would certainly are planning to help make the ability regarding observing the particular game titles a lot more advantageous. Quite often, they are going to check into the particular sports gambling traces for your newest media in terms of their particular clubs and also participants. Getting up to date will be everything that is made for these. At times, if they are misplaced inside the dialogue of these close friends, they might lookup the net when they go back home. The net is a superb destination for a remain up to outlet sale date in terms of sports. It is possible to head to legitimate sporting activities sites and even the state internet site with the clubs to learn just what they are carrying out. When you can find virtually any revelations in regards to the method or perhaps the particular enjoy, there exists a possibility you will initial examine that right now there. It really is really great to stay the particular realize regarding existing activities, specifically if it is in regards to the sports activity you adore.

Folks can question an individual regarding media and will also be capable of offer that in their mind. Sports gambling traces are usually constantly available in order to guess normally when you need. Way more, you can even guess although game titles remain continuous. Contact friends and family to assist you using this to enable you to determine correctly.

Which is aware, friends and family furthermore desire to guess. The harder gamble, themerrier. When possible, an individual also also can separated the particular payout between her and also head out to get a handle. That is one thing you may not arrive at carry out each day. Besides gambling, you can even make an effort to study about making the gambling a lot more successful. Folks will get trapped with all the current pleasure at times in which they cannot also look at the probabilities should they can acquire or perhaps not necessarily. Provided that they will guess, which is that for the kids. They should be mindful also, due to the fact gambling also can result in these several problems making use of their funds occasionally. Sports gambling traces are usually definitely the following to keep. They've got produced any indicate inside the lifestyles of men and women as well as the sporting activities planet at the same time. Remember to own entertaining observing the particular game titles and possess several helpful gamble together with several the best close friends. In case an individual drop, usually do not sense negative. Right now there can constantly appear an occasion which you will have to become around the shedding conclusion. Which is aware, within your subsequent guess, you may come out the winner following your extended hold out. More visit http://outletsalecheap.wordpress.com/

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OF MERMAIDS AND CENTAURS Query Critique

Posted by jadah in The Query Faerie, 13 October 2014 · 92 views

OF MERMAIDS AND CENTAURS Query Critique


Or


A Tale of, Er, Um, Mermaids and Centaurs?


Hey, hey, Lords and Ladies of the written word! Happy Monday to ye all. It’s been a while since I’ve done a query critique, and I have to say I am out of practice! Nothing better than taking a break from Doctor Who on a lazy, rainy Monday night to fire up the ole lasers.

I would like to make one announcement before we get down to business, if you’ll pardon the interruption. I’d just like to say that my short story, Letters to Jennifer, was published in this month’s edition of Blue Lake Review. It was inspired by a family member’s death this past summer, and it’s only 1,500 words, so I’d love if you took a moment to read it! You can find it at bluelakereview.weebly.com.

Anyway, enough of that!

Without further ado, off we go to Query Faerie land:

Original:

Dear Agent:

They were gods once. Gifted with magic and long life, thousands of Sapiens walked our world. But that which was, no longer is. And that which now is has only come to be because of their downfall.

I am Alexys Elizabeth Rothschild. Five ancient codices scribed in three lost languages, I was the key to unlocking their secrets. The translated result of my efforts is OF MERMAIDS AND CENTAURS.

Another world existed before the one you now know, but we humans in our native, virgin skin have been too blind to find it. We are so clever in so many ways, yet are clueless as to the true nature of our ‘myths’. Nearly everyone knows of grand creatures such as mystic Sapiens, Centaurs, Arachna Majora, Mermaids, and Gryphons, but know nothing of how they came to be, the lives they lived, their heroes and heroines, villains and villainesses, some obvious, most not, who ensured that each misstep of the East down a perilous staircase carved by the West brought Terra Australis ever closer to war.

A Mermaid Queen and Gryphon King seeking to dominate all, a Witch Queen hoping to break free the ‘mythical’ gem that is the Soul of Terra Australis from its haunted prison, and with it, unleash the ancient prophecy to transform all, a Centaur Chiron and Arachna King doing their best to withstand all; amidst this subtle chaos, a Centaur polymath named Adamarcus fights to keep the malice festering deep inside his forbidden love, Evagoria – young daughter of Queen Diedrika and the ‘Gift from Poseidon’ – from beating everyone to the punch and destroying all.

Script and hieroglyphs upon copper plates deciphered, a select few of us deserving enough to hear them gathered; I stand ready to tell the tale. Terra Australis at its peak – our story will begin but twenty years from its end. Will it begin without you? A simple, sweeping choice is now yours to make: Hurry with great haste to West Antarctica and embark on a great discovery or keep firm your blissful ignorance.

A completed historical fantasy at 297,000 words, OF MERMAIDS AND CENTAURS is a departure from most fantasy works. Similar to the movie TITANIC, the novel uses a present day timeline to set up the historical one. In addition, it introduces major characters with a variety of ethnicities such as Nubian, Huaxia, and Olmec. OF MERMAIDS AND CENTAURS is gender balanced and contains as many female as male characters.

Cordialement,

Dr. Alexys Elizabeth Rothschild
P.S. Please direct all correspondence to my liaison in the States, REDACTED


My critiques:

Dear Agent:

They were gods once. Gifted with magic and long life, thousands of Sapiens walked our world. But that which was, no longer is. And that which now is has only come to be because of their downfall.

Right away this is very vague. You’ll need a stronger hook to draw an agent in. This opener leads to a lot of questions, and not necessarily the good kind. Who were gods? What was? What is now? What downfall? This paragraph confuses more than it intrigues. You’re better off starting with specifics, such as the main character and introducing us to the conflict right away.

I am Alexys Elizabeth Rothschild. Five ancient codices scribed in three lost languages, I was the key to unlocking their secrets. The translated result of my efforts is OF MERMAIDS AND CENTAURS.

So, is Alexys the main character? First person queries can be done, but this doesn’t work for me. The main character talking to the reader feels a bit gimmicky. Also, this paragraph leads to more questions. Ancient codices? What secrets? Why is she the key? If OF MERMAIDS AND CENTAURS is what she’s transcribed, is this a book within a book? Bookception?

Another world existed before the one you now know, but we humans in our native, virgin skin have been too blind to find it. What purpose does this sentence serve? Does it introduce any plot to the reader? I’m keen to say that it doesn’t. Let me keep reading. We are so clever in so many ways, yet are clueless as to the true nature of our ‘myths’. Nearly everyone knows of grand creatures such as mystic Sapiens, Centaurs, Arachna Majora, Mermaids, and Gryphons, but know nothing of how they came to be, the lives they lived, their heroes and heroines, villains and villainesses, some obvious, most not, who ensured that each misstep of the East down a perilous staircase carved by the West brought Terra Australis ever closer to war.

Okay, now that I’ve read it I can say that whole entire paragraph is fluff. It’s unnecessary. It can be cut and I won’t miss it, and good thing too, because this query is heavy by about 100-150 words. That paragraph is cumbersome to read, and almost ambling. As in, if you read it to yourself, does it tell us anything about the plot? You used 100+ words to tell us mankind is clueless and name off a few races.

A Mermaid Queen and Gryphon King seeking to dominate all, a Witch Queen hoping to break free the ‘mythical’ gem that is the Soul of Terra Australis from its haunted prison, and with it, unleash the ancient prophecy to transform all, a Centaur Chiron and Arachna King doing their best to withstand all; amidst this subtle chaos, a Centaur polymath named Adamarcus fights to keep the malice festering deep inside his forbidden love, Evagoria – young daughter of Queen Diedrika and the ‘Gift from Poseidon’ – from beating everyone to the punch and destroying all.

This is information overload. I forgot it as soon as I read it. It’s a general rule to mention no more than three characters to avoid turning a query into character soup. It seems like you’re naming off all the characters of the book…without even giving them names. Who are these people? How will I know which ones are the MOST important? There is a hint of plot in this paragraph: a witch queen breaking free a gem from a haunted prison. But for what? What’s the plot here?

Script and hieroglyphs upon copper plates deciphered, a select few of us deserving enough to hear them gathered; I stand ready to tell the tale. Terra Australis at its peak – our story will begin but twenty years from its end. Will it begin without you? A simple, sweeping choice is now yours to make: Hurry with great haste to West Antarctica and embark on a great discovery or keep firm your blissful ignorance.

Please cut that entire paragraph. It doesn’t make any sense to me and adds nothing to the query.

A completed Is this adult, YA, MG, etc? historical fantasy at 297,000 Holy Jesus. You do realize that’s three long novels, right? And by reading the query, I’d imagine a good one third of it could be pared away. words, OF MERMAIDS AND CENTAURS is a departure from most fantasy works. Similar to the movie TITANIC, It’s not really typical or advised to use a movie as a comparison for a novel. the novel uses a present day timeline to set up the historical one. In addition, it introduces major characters with a variety of ethnicities such as Nubian, Huaxia, and Olmec. OF MERMAIDS AND CENTAURS is gender balanced and contains as many female as male characters. Pointing out the balance of ethnicities and ratio of men to women character seems like a really strange thing to showcase. They’re interested in the merit of the plot and writing, not the balance of men to women.

Cordialement,

Dr. Alexys Elizabeth Rothschild
P.S. Please direct all correspondence to my liaison in the States, REDACTED

By your closing I can now tell that you’ve written the entire query in the first person POV of your main character. I encourage you not to do this. In some cases it does work, but not this case. This reads as gimmicky.

I’ve read approximately 400 words and I have no idea where the plot is in these 300,000 words. Let me take a moment to comment on the word count. Novels with high word counts like this need to be spectacular, especially for a breakout novel. I’ll tell you why. More words means more ink and paper. More ink and paper means it costs more money to print the novel. Being published is already an exception to the rule. Don’t try to make yourself an exception to the exception to the rule.

I’d say you’re better off starting over and telling me 1) Who the main character is 2) What the main character wants 3) What stands in the MC’s way 4) What must the MC do to overcome that obstacle, and 5) What are the stakes for the MC if they cannot overcome it? This last one is very important. Why should I care about this person? Why should I read THEIR story when there are millions of other stories I could read?

From reading the query it seems like the story may focus around several story arcs, several characters. Pick a similar BOOK to use as a comparison.

Hope this has helped, and feel free to contact me with any questions.


Love,
The Query Faerie

P.S. Damn folks, I still got it! ;)

Thanks for reading!

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