Web Blog of Connie Vines, author or multi-genre fiction. Awards: H.O.L.T. Medallion (Honoring Outstanding Literary Talent), Orange Rose, Award of Excellence--Contemporary Romance; Independent eBook Award, Dream Realm Award. National Book Award and Frankfurt Book Award, nominee--YA Historical Fiction. Blog includes guest bloggers and snippets of WIP.
It's Friday and time for another six paragraphs from Discovery, my short story collection. There's nothing like a short story to fill the time in the doctor or dentist's office, and you can quite often finish and feel satisfied that you can move on to the next when you have a chance. I love short stories, and I hope you enjoy the offering today.
"Who in the world would be out in this weather?" Linda mumbled. On her way to find out, she stubbed her toe on the leg of the coffee table and groaned. The pain intense,she stumbled on into the foyer.
She turned the doorknob and the wind's force caught the door and heaved it inward. The blast blew her off balance, but she steadied herself and used her weight to keep the oak portal partially closed to the blowing rain. Someone in a yellow parka huddled on her doorstep.
"May I help you?" she asked, whisking a wayward hair away from her mouth, her tone unwelcoming.
A face materialized from beneath the slicker. Masculine eyes, dark as onyx peered at her. "I was wondering the same."
He swept back his hood, allowing his ebony hair to dance in the blustery current. His square jaw and tanned face softened with a smile. "I'm your neighbor from down the street. I thought perhaps I might be of assistance My sister, Marcie, tells me you live alone. If this storm notches itself up a bit, we're in for a turbulent night."
Against warning bells about strangers, she sought escape from the elements. She knew his sister...maybe, the name rang vaguely familiar. "Please,come in." Linda gestured but kept a tight grip on the door to keep it from slamming into the wall. Her heart thudded. Would her murder top the evening news? She could see the headline now, "Stupid woman opens door to stranger during storm."
So...will the handsome strange murder her, or has he really come to help? Linda didn't expect a Hurricane in her new home, but she didn't expect a caller in the midst of a storm, either. Want more? Discovery is available on my amazon page.
I know you're thirsting for more great reads, so hop on over to the links below and see what grabs your attention. Don't forget to leave a comment. We love when we know you've visited.
Have you considered the power and
failure of a group of three or more?Don’t forget there’s a reason we generally think ‘two is company and
three’s a crowd.’But this kind of triangle
can work to your advantage . . . two best female friend now fall in love with
Alex, the third member of their group.Relationships can get complicated and the more complex, the more
interesting.Think about it, people act
differently in a group and that can be good as far as being safe, and it can be
bad when it turns into the ‘mob mentality.’
Remember one thing about groups and that is relationships and
alliances shift, depending on incidents, accidents, and situations. It’s important to be careful not to over
defend, vindicate, or rationalize relationships.
Keep in mind that in every good person there is a bit of
evil. In every mature, savvy adult there
is a bit of a child. In hatred there
might be a spark of love. Consider
creating a character with a delicate soul, and make him agonize and grieve an injustice
that would push anyone over the edge.
Your reader is hooked.
Opposites attract – but also cause conflict. Give your characters opportunities to
experience perilous situations, make the scene, relationships, and outcome all
believable. Don’t let your heroine get
stabbed twenty times and then have her show up scenes later . . . barely hurt .
. . falling into the hero’s arms. She
might get stabbed once and be able to survive – as long as she wasn’t stabbed
in the heart. Believability and strong
characters will grab your reader every time.
No two characters are the same because we all lead different
lives, with different experiences, and with different sensitivities and
reactions. If you spend time learning
about your character’s relationships – you’ll find yourself creating some of
the most developed characters ever.
Expose what they’re made of – and the reader will care.
If you’d like to read a great book that shows how to create strong characters, craft
believable dialogue & get the attention of agents read The Writer’s Little Helper the Big Fiction Advice from a Little Book
There is nothing little about the
dynamic fiction-writing advice inside The Writer's Little Helper. With
big ideas, time-saving tips, and revision-made-easy charts, James V. Smith, Jr.
offers effective guidance in short, easily checklists, Q&As, and practical
This book gives you everything you
Create great characters
Maintain a compelling pace
Craft believable dialogue
Expand your creativity
Revise your work to perfection
Attract agent's and editor's attention
And much, much more!
The unique format of the book allows
you to read from start to finish or to focus just on areas where your fiction
needs work. With valuable and surprising tips on every page, The Writer's
Little Helper is sure to become your biggest fiction writing aid.
“Home is not necessarily where you belong,” Cry said, “but where you were born, the faces you first saw around you, and the place where you only cry when you are hurt, physically or emotionally. Tell me a story, Alyx. Tell me your story.” “My father owned a farm in Kentucky,” she began. “It joined my grandfather’s farm and our house fronted the Green River. My mother was a slave; bought at auction. Her father was white. Her mother had a white father. All my grandmothers going back to 1733 or 1734 when there were slave uprisings in Jamaica—four, maybe five generations back had white fathers.” “That would have to make you white, then…” “It makes me a slave,” she said. “Five, six, or seven generations back or maybe even before that, my mother said I had a grandmother’s family and they were found living east of the Shannon river when Cromwell invaded Ireland. His quest was for the Irish Revolutionaries and their families who dared oppose the British. The English had seized Jamaica to set up British plantations. The punishment for my family’s crime, living where they pleased, was either death or slavery for women in the West Indies and death, banishment, or imprisonment in New Zealand or Australia for the men. I don’t know the woman’s name, but she was Irish. The masters on their island, English plantations made white Irish female servants like her sleep with a black to get pregnant or marry one so she and her children would become black Irish slaves. He looked at Alyx. Even in the dress they had given her at the slave market before the sale that never happened because Nathan Bedford Forrest bought every slave, horse and mule, she was beautiful. Guilt flooded through him again like a river out of its banks. He could not imagine how she must feel knowing she was neither black nor white—knowing she had no possessions of her own except the dagger…
Journeys is a novel about a young man who goes to Nashville before the Civil War to buy a horse for his father. It is also a story about the horse and a young slave woman. The young man, Cry, gets recruited by General George Thomas. As a member of General Thomas' intelligence network, Cry gives the reader an accurate, historical account of one of the most successful Generals of that conflict. Amazon.Buy Link
A lame plot will kill your story
every time.There’s something even more
threatening that will kill your story before the reader ever gets a chance to
grasp the plot . . . dead characters.Yep . . . they may be talking and walking – but if they aren’t exciting,
demanding, flawed, emotional, physical, and even devious, your reader won’t
waste their time.
While plot is important, good characters can make or break your
book. The bottom line is our characters must be realistic and believable. Even if your plot is a bit wavering – good
characters will carry the story through every time. Readers care about characters
they believe in, pull for, sympathize or empathize with. The interaction between your characters,
relationships, and their challenges together or against each other create
energetic, active and dynamic stories.
There are endless categories of relationships you can use in
your book. For example; romance,
siblings, best friends, child/parent, human/God, employee/boss,
caregiver/receiver, aggressor/victim, and on and on . . .
It’s all about relationships and what goes wrong/right with
them. Steer clear of the cliché
relationships; boss and secretary, father and his precious daughter, housewife
and her handsome neighbor, etc. Today’s
characters are sharp, savvy, vocal, adventurous, competitive, jealous,
vindictive, controlling, etc.
A clever tool to use when developing your characters is introspection. It’s a self-examination or analysis, a sort
of reflection or soul-searching that reveals so much about your character. How? Have
your character ask, “Why do I hate him so much?
How can I get past this jealousy?
Why am I so attracted to him?
These questions motivate your character as the story develops.
If you’re writing about a woman who doesn’t trust men – what
happened to create this wariness? What
torments, sufferings, and anguishes did she go through and how is she handling
Character flaws or strength can be the catalyst of your story. Remember, flaws are good – no one is
perfect. Does your character fight for
the land of his ancestors and maybe lose his temper whenever oil company
representatives show up in town?
Consider giving your character flaws that can be fatal. Maybe the oil representative is innocent of
swindling land, and is now facing your character’s fury . . . will he kill a
Have you considered the intensity of your story comes from the responses,
sentiments, reactions, views, sympathies, and even love the character might
have for or against one another? We
associate with these reactions and that’s what makes us care about the
characters in a story. We might identify
with their love and maybe even their hate.
I read once, “Let your characters gossip among themselves.” Now that’s some great advice and a super way
to get to know your character and those around him.
We feel a strong connection for a character who is willing to
sacrifice everything for another. This
character will keep you pulling for him, because we admire such a trait.
Let’s talk more about writing better characters Thursday.
Most writers will actually laugh when
they talk about writing their first novel.
Hmmm . . . I’m no exception. I
think I created every sin possible in that first book. It’s the only book I haven’t dusted off and
rewritten to sell. You know- now that I
think about it, I really should do that.
Why do published writers laugh about their first book? It’s the learning curve! Compare the experience to the first time you
rode a bike . . . you fell off more times than you stayed on. Thing is, we are always learning ways to
improve our writing (or we should be).
You’re not the only one with problems. Your characters should face one quandary,
predicament, and dilemma after another, each gaining momentum and heading toward
the climaxing end. What you’ll find is
the deeper into the story you write, the more you’re getting to know your
character’s desires, fears, dreams, and even secrets. You’re excited, invested, and even proud of
You’re moving forward in great strides – then suddenly your
characters take a break . . . the story slows . . . you flounder as to what’s
going to happen next. Your characters
were headed in the right direction with such urgency and they knew exactly what
they wanted to accomplish. Where did
they go? The main plot driving the story
is suddenly looking more like a subplot.
How could this happen? Come on
characters – speak to me!
Suddenly you question whether or not you’ve got what it takes to be a
writer. The self-doubts creep in . . .
and panic grips you. Maybe you decide
you don’t’ need the stress and your life would be so much easier if you just
stopped putting yourself through this.
No matter what anyone says – you’re convinced it’s time to hang up your
Yep, we all hit this stage – some of us more than once. My husband is usually the one who snaps me out of it. He asks, “Would you be happy if you
never wrote another word? Would the
stories just stop coming to you? I’ll
tell you right now, you’re always in a better mood when you’re writing.”
Hmm, he’s right. I could
no sooner stop the ideas coming to me – than I could stop air from coming into
my lungs. You should know times like
this happen to writers. You’re not alone
– so just relax and take a breather (the rest of the afternoon or evening).
Remind yourself – your work-in-progress is just a draft. Keep writing – but don’t stop. Your story will quickly pick up speed and
take off. I always stop and think my
story through overnight – like a movie – it seems my mind works through the
stall and usually the next day I’m back to writing with fervor.
If you still can’t seem to incite your story – think about what
intrigued you to begin this book. Review
your notes. Ask yourself, “What am I
missing that has silenced my characters?”
There is a reason your story is stalling – you just have to figure out
what. Read your story from start to
finish (where you stopped) . . . that just might be enough to ignite the action
and get your fingers moving. If not,
then be honest and ask, “What is missing?”
Maybe your character(s) are telling you you’ve missed a key scene – then
can’t go on until you’ve given them the motive they need to continue.
You can’t force this – you must excite yourself and then your
characters. Maybe the story is ready for
a real shocker . . . something you nor your characters expected. Like what?
Well, how about your character is struck with snow blindness in the
middle of the Beartooth Mountains. Maybe
your heroine is ready to walk down the aisle and receives a phone call from the
fiancé she thought was dead. Maybe your
neighbor’s dog comes running onto your porch and drops a human hand at your
Ask yourself, “What can possibly go wrong in my character’s life
– that will literally set the story on fire.”
You want your story charged with intensity. The strange thing here is once that happens,
you the writer will equally be stimulated.
Your characters are suddenly charging forward and you can’t type fast
Its Friday and time for six paragraphs from Discovery, my short story collection. I hope you enjoy the ones I've chosen to share with you:
"You want me to what?" Olivia Wilson stared at Doctor Ray. The paper on the examining table crinkled with her shocked movement.
"A lot of people wear one and eventually get used to it."
"But what if I don't want to?" She eyed the contraption he dangled in the air that looked like something he'd snatched from a scuba diver.
"If you'll recall, when you agreed to the overnight study, we discussed sleep apnea which I suspected caused your constant fatigue, and the tests prove me right. People who suffer from the disorder often stop breathing for ten seconds or longer during sleep. The problem can be mild to severe, based on the number of times each hour you fail to take a breath or how often your lungs don't get enough air This may happen from five to fifty times an hour and can be fatal. Your results fall within these parameters."
"You mean I could die? She swallowed hard.
"Possibly, unless you use the CPAP machine and wear this mask. He extended his arm. "Here, try it on"
So....what will be the outcome of this opening scene? Will Olivia wear the mask? Why is she so worried? If you want to know, you can find Discovery on my amazon page.
Now, link with my friends and see what they have to share today.
We all want to finish that book – or we wouldn’t be reading
articles on writing – I get it.But
there’s always that insecurity that nags at us – can I really write a book, and
if I do will anyone want to buy it?
No one can really answer that question until you just do
it. Finish that book, rewrite, have it
edited and then sent your baby out in the world. That’s the only way you’re going to know for
sure – right?
So many people have written a book because the one they were
reading disappointed them to the point they believed they ‘could do
better.’ Whatever motivates you – hang
on to it! Let it drive you to writing the
best book you can.
But, here comes some hard truth.
It’s not all that easy. Once you’re sitting in front of that blank,
white screen – reality hits. There’s
more to writing than one could imagine.
You might consider studying the art of writing – come on – I’m
serious. Do you think a dancer gets out
on the stage without watching successful dancers, going to dance lessons, and
Do you believe you’ve studied the craft and are ready to start
typing? Well, develop your story plot;
give it a tentative beginning, middle, and end.
You’ll never create a well-thought out plot if you don’t do a little
planning. Know you can give your
characters license to change things as the story unfolds, but a bit of guidance
along the way will give you a great first draft.
Don’t polish it as you go – don’t second-guess yourself - right now you want to get that story down on
paper, type to the finish as fast as you can.
If you get stuck, that’s okay.
You might ask yourself; ‘What would I do –if I was in this predicament?’
You might do what I do. I
go to bed and let it workout while I sleep.
Yep, I go to bed and think about my story. I run it through my mind like a movie. It may sound strange, but when I sit back
down at my desk to write – my fingers fly across the keyboard. My characters have worked out the problem and
have thought of more interesting challenges to face.
Keep your chapters about the same length. I find my pacing is around fifteen pages per
chapter – you’ll find your own pacing the more books you write. Keep in mind when you end a chapter, it should
prompt the reader to keep reading. You
don’t want them to put the book down – even for a night. End those chapters with cliffhangers and keep
Whatever you do, treat your writing time with the same respect
as you do your full-time job. You’re in
charge of what you do in a day, right?
You’ll never finish your
book unless you set goals and stick
to them. Keep writing – and I promise
you’ll be soon typing ‘the end.’
The self-gratification you’ll feel - will be like nothing you’ve
ever experienced. You did it! Celebrate . . . then start the rewrites!
They must be surfers, was all I could think as I ran toward the three squirming bodies. Who else would be in the water this early in the morning? But even for surfers, this was pretty early. They’d have to have been surfing in the dark. That didn’t make any sense. Were they crazy? I knew some surfers at school, and they were definitely nuts sometimes, but surfing before the sun rose seemed extreme even for them.
Well, crazy or not, they didn’t deserve to be caught in an oil slick. I crashed down to my knees beside the bodies and dropped my gear. I started to reach out my hand to tap them and see if they were all right without even stopping to get a good look at them. But before I touched any of them, my arm recoiled back to my side.
"Dad!" I screamed. "Oh my God! Dad!"
My dad rushed up behind me. "Are they alive?" he asked, trying to catch his breath.
Words didn’t come. I couldn’t formulate a thought. I was too startled. These three figures lying in the sand in front of me weren’t surfers at all.
They weren’t even people.
From their facial features and upper torsos, they looked kind of like women, but all three of them had silver-colored skin. They were bald, with strange ridges marking their skulls. None of them seemed to have ears, only holes in the sides of their heads. No nose was visible, not even a bone or nostrils filled that space between their eyes and mouths. Although their mouths seemed to be moving, they were actually breathing through what looked like gills in their necks.
And if that wasn’t weird enough, instead of legs, their upper torsos stretched out into long, scale-covered, silver fishtails. If I had to say what these things stranded in front of me, splattered with oil, appeared to be, I’d say mermaids. And no, they didn’t look like they’d start singing songs or granting me wishes. They looked a little bit scary—but fragile too. Most of all, they looked like they were going to die, and no handsome prince was there to kiss them and keep them from turning into sea foam.
"June," my dad whispered. "Do you think they’re real?"
"Yes," I whispered back. "Strange but very real."
"You don’t think they’re costumes?" he suggested. "Maybe some costume party on a yacht last night—they fell off."
Sometimes my dad’s brain worked even more off-kilter than mine. I shook my head. "Those are not costumes, Dad."
Those beings lying there in the sand were not wearing anything that was cut or stitched together. What I saw wasn’t material. It wasn’t a lycra suit like on Catwoman, nor was it some kind of make-up like that chick from X-Men. Make-up would’ve been washed away.
What I saw was real skin. Or some kind of skin, if skin could be silver. And those were real scales, not some kind of pointy sequins. I’d been around enough fish to know the difference. Besides, if these were a couple drunk, rich women in costumes, they’d be dead already. I knew these creatures weren’t dead, because the one closest to me suddenly opened its eyes and focused them right at me.
So you’ve received a rejection letter – and you’re in the middle
of writing yet another book.Suddenly
you’re in the slumps and wonder if all this work and upset is worth it.You stop writing – and now you just don’t
feel like going back to your office and continue with your work in progress.
Hmmm . . . sound familiar?
It’s not an easy profession, is it?
We have our highs – and oh so many lows.
It’s not easy to receive a rejection letter on one of our books. It’s deflating. It’s frustrating. It’s depressing. Yet, after you cry, throw a tantrum, crumple
the rejection letter and toss it in the trash – you take a deep breath – and
ask yourself – “Should I keep writing – or quite?”
I’ll bet everyone who has written a book, whether published or
not, has asked themselves that very question.
It’s hard work to be a writer.
Life has a way of pulling at us – whether fun or work – and it take
determination, fortitude, self-discipline, and most of all passion to be a
So back to the ultimate question; do you really want to
write? It’s not all that easy
to answer when you’re starting at a rejection letter. Are you willing to give up the movies, TV
shows, shopping sprees (great way to save money), and other activities that
take up your time.
Having said that, I don’t think you have to give up anything –
time management is the key. But we still
haven’t answered the question; do you really want to write?
You heard me say it before, and I’m going to say it again. I write for me, no one else. I’d dream of seeing my name on the cover of
my book for years – and it seemed like nothing more than a dream. When I was brave enough to share that dream
with others (besides my husband – who believes I can do anything I set my
mind to), most people reacted as though I’d lost my sense of reasoning. A mother of two, holding down a full-time job
and sometimes another part-time job just to make ends meet – had no right to
consider the possibility of becoming a published author.
Why? I really don’t know–
but – I would venture to guess many of you don’t find that strange at all,
because you can relate – that attitude is familiar to you.
The best advice I can give is, if you really want to see your name on the cover of your book – never give up that dream. Only you can make it happen. Take the encouraging, supportive, and
positive comments – and ignore the rest.
If you can’t stop the stories from forming in your mind, the
plots just keep coming, as do terrific book titles – jot it all down in
notebooks and keep the dream alive.
Whether you get one sentence, one page, or one chapter done in a
week or even month – you’re that much closer to ‘the end.’ If you really know this is your destiny- make
Your primary character’s point of
view can only be real if you empathize and understand them inside and out.You want your reader to see the story through
the eyes of your character.
We get to know our characters by asking them questions . . .
like you would a new acquaintance or perhaps a new family member you’ve never
met. So what kind of questions can you
ask that will give you the understanding you need to get to know your primary
·Do you believe in marriage?
·Are you inclined to believe man is destroying the world?
·Do you have a good relationship with your parents?
·Were you ever married or have you had a serious
·Are you angry about any issue?
·Find out if your character has a chip on his shoulder.
·The list goes on and on. . . .
But remember, not everything you know about your character has
to go into your story. You need to know
your character so you’ll understand how he’ll answer, act, behave, react, and
maybe even defy.
There’s one thing you must always consider when writing . . .
and it involves your POV character . . . the five senses; smell, hear, touch,
taste, and see. Which of these senses
are your weaknesses and strengths?
Does your character notice perfume? That could be important. Does he hear a certain tone/voice annotation
that triggers a clue? Does the clamminess
of skin reveal anything? Does the
bitterness of the wine warn it might be poisoned? Or did he notice the man slip a piece of
paper into the pocket of the man in front of him. Perception is key in any story.
Your POV character may have strengths and weaknesses of the
senses, too. They could be key to their
personality as well. Think about the
blind person and his other heightened senses.
Use sensory focus to create personality in your primary characters.
What follows in this wheelhouse is intuition – when your
character can sense the emotion, anxieties, objective, and fears of
others. It’s an extra sense that can
create mood and make your protagonist believable. Characters such as cops or doctors who must make snap judgments for the good of others
display this sense.
Note here that your character’s profession will reveal a type of
sensory perception. Take for instance a
teacher will perceive things in a logical, even checklist sort of way. An electrical engineer perceives things in a planned,
even logical way. A lawyer would be the
negotiator, talker, or even judgmental type – he’ll be the one asking questions
and hopefully listening. This character
has a sense when someone is lying or hiding the truth . . . or telling the
truth. You can do this several ways and
the reader will recognize the trait; his hands grow clammy, his eye twitched,
his stomach knots, or maybe goose bumps chill his arm (the old cliché – hair
rises on the back of his neck – please don’t use it … but you know what I
You have to decide what your primary character is all about –
his traits are vital to a realistic character.
You might have a competitive character – life is but a game – and
everyone is out there trying to beat him.
Maybe your POV character is materialistic and is looking for the
richest man she can find – she calculates – no matter who it’s going to hurt –
how she can get him to marry her?
There are so many perception types of
characters – and it’s worth your time to decide what type of character you're writing
about. As in most cases, less is
more. You can use the five senses, but
adding perception will evoke that something extra to your primary character.
Take note that a character using perception strengthens a
reader’s investment in the story and reveals information about the character
you wouldn’t otherwise be privy to.
Usually Friday Freebits runs through Monday when Rita takes over, but I have a beautiful new cover to reveal and some exiting news. Sarah's Heart and Sarah's Journey have been combined into one book, a new cover designed, and is now listed with Baker & Taylor and Ingrams. I received news yesterday that some orders have already been placed by retailers. Whoot!
First Degree Innocence has been given a new look and another edit to make it as perfect as possible and is being added to the catalog as well. I'm very excited to see my best-seller, make the grade, and I hope I can soon snap a photo of one of my books in a brick & mortar store without having to smuggle it inside. *lol* I did that, you know?
Anyhow. Thanks to Michelle Lee for such a beautiful job on the new covers and to Books We Love for helping me realize what has been a dream for a long time. The new versions of these books are already for sale on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and hopefully coming to a retailer near you, soon. Ask them to order the products from Books We Love, and you won't go wrong.
Some years back I read
and kept an article by Mary E Demuth that I felt was worth keeping.Why?Because it reminds us ‘being humble’ is a virtue.I told my family and friends if I ever start
acting like I’m ‘just a bit too good’ to snap me out of it!The last item here says, “above all, be
Mary E. Demuth
I’ve seen authors in
financial crises who berate their agents because they need their advance
checks—now! When that doesn’t work, they’ll call the publisher directly,
ranting. I’ve also known novelists who take it upon themselves to detail every
failure of a publishing entity and e-mail it to an entire company. These are
examples of High-Maintenance Authors, or HMAs, and the last thing any author
wants is to place himself in this category.
can ruin their chances of further publication through bridge burning, preening
and defending every intricacy of their prose. Here are 18 practical tips that
both established and newbie writers can implement to become the kind of author
that agents and editors love.
1. HONE YOUR VOICE. The more confident you are of your own voice, the better you’ll
be able to discern when an editor’s squelching that voice.
2. MEET DEADLINES EARLY. Send in your manuscript early—and shock and please your editors.
3. WRITE THANK YOU NOTES. You’ll endear yourself to your agent, editors and friends in
the business if you pen thank you notes. Make your thanks specific and genuine.
4. JOIN A CRITIQUE GROUP. Find a group that understands you and is ruthless in editing
5. PUT DOWN THE PHONE. Don’t call editors unless they’ve given you the go ahead. A
quick heads-up in an e-mail is easier to respond to and less intrusive.
6. RELAX ABOUT FINANCES. Hounding your editor or agent for payment comes across as
desperate and unprofessional. Of course, if things are wrongly delayed, you
should ask. But don’t pester.
7. HEED YOUR EDITORS. Particularly when you’re new at this writing gig, you’ll have
to bend a lot to editorial direction. Chalk it up to learning the ropes. Later
when you’re more confident in your writing, you can decide which editorial hills
to die on.
8. DON’T HIT SEND. Before e-mailing a grievance, let it sit and percolate.
Remember that e-mails can take on a terrible life of their own.
9. SEND COMPLIMENTARY E-MAILS AT WILL. On an up note, e-mails that praise something
specific in a publishing house or magazine make the rounds too.
10. DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Instead of pestering an editor about his publication needs,
research it. Study the magazine or publishing house you’re querying. Be
informed. Simply knowing the writers’ guidelines will endear you to an editor.
11. BECOME A LIFELONG LEARNER OF THE CRAFT. Go to conferences. Read great books. Read
outside your genre. Go to lectures. Take a class. Try new things. Grow, grow,
12. NETWORK WIDELY. An author with a large network of professional relationships
will positively build his career. Remember, though, if you’re seen as an HMA
right out of the gate, it’s hard to change first impressions. Though the
publishing machine may seem behemoth, it’s really a small industry.
13. HOLD YOUR TONGUE. If you didn’t like the way a particular editor treated you, go
through the proper channels with her. Don’t spread your angst around the
industry. If you spew, other editors will think, Hmmm, if he slanders that
editor, will he slander me too?
14. BE PROFESSIONAL. When you’re in industry settings, dress the part. If your
publishing house asks you to put up a website to promote your book, make it
look professional. And hire a photographer to take your picture.
15. DON’T KISS UP. People know when you’re being nice for the sake of getting
something in return. If you want to scratch an editor’s back, go ahead, but not
with the motivation of getting something in return.
16. BE PATIENT. Editors and agents are terribly busy and often won’t get back
to you on your timetable. Accept that. This goes for editorial direction too.
If you receive edits that initially make you angry or defensive, wait and write
back when your emotions are in check.
17. START SMALL. Everyone has to begin somewhere. If you’re new to publishing,
revel in not having pressing deadlines. Use this time to become a better
18. ABOVE ALL, BE HUMBLE. Here’s an irony: Usually those bursting with themselves are new
authors thinking they’re God’s gift to the literary world. Established authors
have learned that success in publishing is hard to measure, that talent takes
guts and work and sweat, and that when they heed editorial feedback, they’ll
“I believe The
Wall Around Your Heart is one of the top 5 books every believer
should read. ‘We hurt people and they hurt us. Read it,’ I tell friends.” Bekah
struggle to forgive others? Has bitterness taken root after someone you trusted
hurt you deeply? Are you tired of living a walled off life? The Wall Around
Your Heart is a guidebook that’ll help you finally, totally, truly let go of
all that pain.
walking through the Lord’s Prayer–a prayer that will revolutionize your
relationship with God and with others, even those who have hurt you.
amazing, un-walled life awaits! What’s holding you back?