Dramaquill's All Things Writing

October 11, 2014

The Collapse of my digital publisher – what should I do?

During the summer, my digital publisher of my suspense novel, When Love Won’t Die, disappeared. The website disappeared. Messages to the CEO (both phone and email) unanswered. My book vanished from Amazon, B&N, RRP and all the other sites where it was being sold.

Still no correspondence from the publisher and no formal announcement as to the status of the company.

My contract states that if the website goes down for anything other than technical reasons and if the publisher appears to no longer be in business, then all rights revert back to the author…me.

So what to do next?

What do my loyal readers think I should do?

1. Query agents
2. Re-sub my book to other publishers
3. Self-publish my original book and query agents and/or
publishers for my sequel and other suspense novel?
4. Hold off until I hear something from my publisher

I’d love to hear what you think as I continue to ponder my next steps.

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August 11, 2014

Writing conferences: Online or in Person?

I’ve attended conferences both online and in person in the past five years.

Online has the 24 hour convenience of being able to read, write and participate any time of day or night.  You can wear anything because nobody can see you.  If you get interrupted, you can come back and pick up right where you left off.  You can meet new people, including editors, authors, publishers and even agents.

Going to a conference in person allows you the excitement of seeing people in person and interacting with them during lectures, workshops and even meals and coffee breaks.  You can make eye contact and banter back and forth.  And yes, you can meet new people, including editors, authors, publishers and even agents.

Online conferences don’t cost as much and in fact, many are even free.

Going in person means packing, traveling, staying in a hotel and making a commitment to a block of time set aside for the conference.

To me, both have their pros and cons.

I like the convenience of the online conference but the interaction in person cannot be replicated in the online venue.

Whichever you choose, writing conference do teach, excite and inspire us to be better.

Which do you prefer:  Online or in Person

July 3, 2014

Top Five Questions to ask yourself about your current WIP

Filed under: Writing — dramaquill @ 1:55 PM
Tags: , , , ,

1. Is this my very best version or do I need to do more revising?

2. Am I passionate enough about this WIP to keep going until it’s
finished?

3. What do I want to accomplish by writing this?

4. Is this something I think others will want to read?

5. Am I setting aside time everyday to work on it?

June 25, 2014

Should you work on more than one manuscript at a time?

My business closes every summer for six weeks. As much as I love what I do, this holiday time allows me the luxury of working on myown personal writing projects, rather than the writing I do for work during the school year.

Currently, I have a finished draft of my second suspense novel. It has gone through a round of critiques and I am ready to do one more revision before it’s ready to sub out to publishers and agents.

I have about half of a third suspense novel that I started last summer.

I also have three quarters of my YA novel completed and a game plan for how the book will end.

I recently completed the first chapter of a new novel, with a quirky character, that I think has great potential.

So which one do I choose to work on?

It would seem that I should focus all my energy on revising the completed suspense novel so that I can start subbing it out. And for the most part, I believe that is exactly what I am going to do for the next six weeks.

But what about those days when my head just isn’t in the right zone for suspense? Or when I’ve hit an obstacle and aren’t quite sure how I want to handle it yet?

For me, it’s very healthy to turn to something else. My creativity may still be flowing, just not in the direction of my first project. I love having the option of opening up a completely different world and writing new words.

Revisions are necessary in order to ensure that you have the best manuscript possible but revising can be tough. When my head isn’t cooperating in revision mode, I switch to writing mode.

I know what you’re thinking. A lot of folks who jump from one manuscript to another end up with a computer full of unfinished projects. I do agree that this can certainly be a possibility.

We all work differently. For me, having the option of switching to something else is sometimes exactly the jump start I need to get back to the original project.

I’ve worked like this all my life. I’ve finished three full length plays, several one acts, an adult suspense novel, numerous articles and maintained this blog. So for me, working on multiple projects at the same time keeps my creativity flowing.

Do you work on more than one manuscript at the same time?

May 20, 2014

Writing contests – 2014

Writing contests can be a terrific way to get your manuscript seen by those in the publishing biz. Often, prizes include publication.

If you do choose a contest with an entry fee, make sure that the prizes warrant the fee charged.

Here’s a short list to get you inspired:

http://client.writersrelief.com/writers-classifieds/writing-contests.aspx

http://www.freelancewriting.com/creative-writing-contests.php

http://www.placesforwriters.com/?cat=41

http://www.writermag.com/writing-resources/contests/

Remember to read all contest info. carefully before sending your manuscript.

Now what are you waiting for?

May 12, 2014

Summer Writing Retreats and Workshops

Spring has finally arrived and with it comes the anticipation of those wonderful long sunny days of summer.  Writing outside is one of my favorite summer activities.  I’m inspired by the fresh smell of the wind, the sun on my face and the extra hours of daylight.

Thinking about taking a writing vacation this summer?  Somewhere where you can do nothing but write?

Here are a few great resources:

http://www.newpages.com/writing-conferences/

http://www.awakeintheworld.com/#!2014-retreatthe-place-the-program/c1waj

https://www.awpwriter.org/programs_conferences/directory_conferences_centers

http://www.workshop-directory.com/writing.php

http://www.writerscircle.com/2014/03/5-amazing-summer-writing-retreats.html

http://www.aspenwriters.org/summerwords/2014/writing-workshops

Where will you be writing this summer?

 

March 15, 2014

2014’s 100 best websites for writers

Filed under: Writing — dramaquill @ 3:43 PM

I’ve felt much like a hermit this winter. It’s been the coldest and snowiest winter in decades. For most folks it’s been a problematic winter. For writers, it’s been a gift. What better excuse for staying home and writing than the weather.

I finished my second suspense novel, Amorous Obsession, thanks to this awful winter. I’m currently deciding which book manuscript to pick up and finish next.

I’ve also had more time to surf writing sites, read articles, read e-zines and even do some research.

I found this gem that I’d like to share with everyone:
http://thewritelife.com/100-best-websites-for-writers-2014/

Check it out! I’m going to do that right now.

February 10, 2014

What the Olympics can teach you about Writing

Filed under: Writing — dramaquill @ 3:34 PM

Like so many folks, I’ve been watching the Olympic Winter Games and enjoying learning about the different athletes and their different sporting events.

As I sat in front of the TV, (not doing any writing) I thought about what so many of the athletes said in their interviews – how difficult getting to the Olympic games had been for them. And yet, there they were, despite all sorts of obstacles.

It got me thinking about writing and the many difficulties writers face:
*writers block*
*submission guidelines*
*finding an agent*
*marketing and promotion*
*revising/rewriting*
*finding time to write*

The athletes train everyday.
Writers need to write everyday.

The athletes are all part of a team. (even those in solo events have a team of coaches and supporters encouraging them)
A writer’s team consists of critique partners, editors, publishers, agents etc.

The athletes work toward goals.
Writers need goals too (contests/deadlines/# of words per day)

The athletes take care of themselves physically, mentally and emotionally.
Writers who take breaks for exercise, eat healthy foods and get enough sleep will be able to think more clearly and accomplish a great deal every day.

The athletes devote their time to their sport, making whatever sacrifices they need to in order to train.
Writers often complain that they don’t have enough time. Take a look at little things that can be removed from the day-to-day routine:  get up 30 min. earlier or go to bed 30 min. later/watch less TV/let your
phone screen calls when you’re writing.

The athletes keep a positive attitude.
It’s easy for writers to get discouraged and feel like giving up. How badly do you want it? Don’t let those rejections stop you.

The athletes push themselves and their boundaries outside of their comfort zone.
As a writer I find it stimulating to try writing in genres outside my comfort zone just as creative exercises or to query a new publication, even if it’s one that’s known to be difficult to get an acceptance from.  

Athletes strive to win races and medals.
Writers strive for acceptances and contracts.

Watch the Olympic games today. Maybe you’ll get that inspiration you need for your writing.

January 18, 2014

Tips for Writing Suspense

Filed under: Writing — dramaquill @ 7:57 PM

All writers want to keep their readers engaged in page turn after page turn.  Writing great suspense can be very difficult.  Check out these links for great ideas from some of today’s best suspense writers:

How does Stephen King create suspense?
http://www.writersdigest.com/writing-articles/by-writing-goal/improve-my-writing/the-3-steps-stephen-king-employs-to-create-suspense
http://keepmeinsuspense.blogspot.ca/2007/01/stephen-king-on-writing.html

Where does Mary Higgins Clark get her inspiration for all those different stories?
http://www.writerswrite.com/journal/may00/clark.htm
http://www.creativewritingsoftware101.com/articles/writing-style-of-mary-higgins-clark.php

What did Agatha Christie do to become the best selling novelist of all times?
http://www.faithmortimerauthor.com/5/post/2013/05/researching-the-agatha-christie-process.html
http://www.rebawhitewilliams.org/suspense.htm

Why did Janet Evanovich switch from romance to mystery and suspense?
http://www.goodreads.com/interviews/show/545.Janet_Evanovich

Do you follow John Grisham’s Ten Commandments of how to write a thriller?
http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/the-10-commandments-of-how-to-write-a-thriller

What’s the best way to improve your own suspense writing?  Learn from the best.

 

December 31, 2013

Make 2014 your year

Filed under: Writing — dramaquill @ 5:03 PM

Instead of making resolutions (and feeling like a failure if you don’t live up to them), why not just look to 2014 as the year you will devote as much time as possible to your writing career…period.

If life gets in the way, then deal with the hurdles.

If you don’t work on one project, work on another one.

If you really want to get an agent or to get a traditional publisher, polish up those query letters and sub them out.

If you don’t feel confident in an area of your writing, read books, take courses, find information and perfect that flaw. (Personally, I’m still working on voice again this year)

If you want clips, target some publications, write you best material and submit it.

If you want it, then go get it!

Make 2014 your best year yet!

Happy New Year!

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December 11, 2013

Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine

Love writing a good mystery but not sure you want to write a novel?

Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine is a monthly digest filled with stories dripping with mystery and suspense in all its genres and sub-genres.  It’s been around since 1956 and continues to provide readers with page turning short stories, plus a book review, a puzzle and more.

If you’re not familiar with the magazine, I recommend reading a few issues or at the least, ordering a sample copy to get the feel for the style of the magazine and the types of stories included.

Writers’ guidelines can be found here:  http://www.themysteryplace.com/ahmm/guidelines/

 

November 29, 2013

Writers – What Are You Thankful For?

Filed under: Writing — dramaquill @ 11:40 AM
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Yesterday was Thanksgiving in the United States. That got me to thinking. As a writer, what am I thankful for?

1. The internet
It no longer matters where you live. You can write from
anywhere and be connected to publishers, editors,
agents, critique groups, book clubs, ezines…anything you
need.

2. A computer
Although I do love writing with pen and notebook, being
able to create my documents on a computer and email
them, rather than print and mail them, is not only handy
but also saves me money.

3. Brick and Mortar Book stores
As much as the world seems to moving into a more
digital direction, nothing is more of an indulgence than
wandering through a store with shelves brimming with
books of all kinds.  Book stores are definitely one of my
guilty pleasures.

4. My Day Job
Yes, I’ve been known to complain that I don’t always have
enough time to write my books because I have to go to
work, but I’m also very lucky because part of what I do
in my job is writing (playscripts & business correspondence).

5. My Followers
Being online can sometimes feel very impersonal and
blog posts can seemingly be lost out in cyberspace
somewhere. How thankful I am for my blog follwers.
Some comment. Some contact me. Some simply read
my posts. But…I know you’re out there and that keeps
me motivated to keep blogging.

Writers – What are you thankful for?

November 22, 2013

Chuck Sambuchino’s Guide to Literary Agents

A few years ago I received an email from a fellow named Chuck Sambuchino, inquiring about an article I had written on the business of playwriting.  He wanted to publish it in the Writer’s Digest Market Book, “Screenwriter’s and Playwright’s Markets” (both 2009 and 2010 volumes).  Of course I was thrilled and with some editing and tweaking a new article was born.

This was the first time I had heard of Mr. Sambuchino and I soon found that he had an amazing web presence and a vast knowledge of the writing biz and in particular, agents.  I’ve been following his blog and newsletter ever since.

Today, I’d like to share his links with my readers.  Whether you’re actively seeking an agent right now or you’re interested in knowing more about what it takes to get one, I’m sure you’ll find lots of valuable information in his blog, articles and books.

http://www.chucksambuchino.com/

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents

https://twitter.com/ChuckSambuchino

http://www.amazon.com/Chuck-Sambuchino/e/B001U4VC84

November 18, 2013

Barbara Park, Junie B. Jones author, dead at age 66

Before I settled into writing novels in the adult suspense genre, I dabbled in writing for children. Several of my poems were published in Hopscotch for Girls magazine, WeeOnes online, Dragonfly Spirit and My Friend Magazine.

I also enjoyed writing stories for kids and at one point thought about taking the adventures of some of my characters in chapter books, MG novels or even YA.

For research, I read a lot of books in the kidlit field, but I must say that the Junie B. Jones series, by Barbara Parks, was one of my all time favourites. June B is a hilariously charming and funny girl who’s take on life’s ordinary occurrences entertains adults as much as the children who read the books.

Today, as I checked my emails and ezines, I read about the passing of Barbara Park, the Junie B. Jones author. She was only sixty-six years of age.

It got me to thinking  not only about myself ,but about so many other writers who complain that they don’t have the time to sit down and write.

Well, we’d all better make the time. We never know how long we’ll be lucky enough to grace planet earth with our existence.

Whether you’re a Junie B. Jones fan or not, Park’s success with this series proves that great writing sells books.

Check out this article from NYdailynew.com:
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/junie-b-jones-children-author-barbara-park-dies-article-1.1520219

If you really want to write, make the time –  for tomorrow is not guaranteed to any one of us.

November 8, 2013

Show, Don’t Tell: It’s a matter of sense

Having just attended the Humber College writing intensive last weekend, I’m still energized after having spent two full days talking nothing but writing.

One of the great struggles many writers face is using too much telling in their writing. “Show, don’t tell,” is a criticism many writers receive but some find difficult to correct.

Joe Kertes, the Dean of Humber’s School of Creative and Performing Arts, facilitated the workshop and offered us some great insights into the craft of writing, including what I found to be a very helpful and easy way to think about *show – don’t tell*.

Instead of telling your readers what’s happening, use the characters’ senses. What do they see? Smell? Taste? Hear? Is there something to touch and what does it feel like?

Instead of saying “John stepped outside and it was very cold” (which is very telling), let the reader experience the cold the same way John would. Perhaps your sentence would read something like this: “John stepped outside and immediately felt the icy stab of wind on his bare skin. He pulled the zipper of his jacket up all the way, tucking his neck inside like a turtle, taking refuge in his shell. He hadn’t thought to wear gloves so he shoved his hands deep into his jacket pockets, bracing himself against another gust of arctic air as he made his way to the subway station.”

Now you can really feel how cold it is outside and so will your readers when you use the senses as a way to show, rather than tell.

Here’s a sentence for you to try. Feel free to post your *show* versions in the comments section of this post.

Stacey was afraid of the dark.

I can’t wait to read your *show* versions of this sentence.

For more information about Humber College’s creative writing programs, check out their website:  http://www.humber.ca/scapa/programs/school-writers

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