Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Holidays and a Blog Break

This will be my last post of 2012. Writing wise I had a good year. I wrote a lot. The query process taught me several useful lessons which I hope to incorporate in my next lot of books. I took part in a few blogfests, made lots of blog buddies. I learnt a lot from the online writing community. And hopefully I was able to share something useful.

Forgot to tell you all that I won loads of books; the hard copies as well as the ecopies.  I even managed to read quite a few of them.

Next year I want to pursue my goal of publishing more seriously. I want to think of the other options available to writers. To be honest, I need to spend some time thinking of these options. I have decided to talk with other writers and find both the pros and cons of these options.

Can you believe it, I did not end up on Santa’s Elf Pete’s Nice person list. Not one of my dear writer friends nominated me. Sigh. I hoped atleast one person would put my name there. Well, I will try hard to be on that list next year.

I plan to catch up with my reading in the next few days. I will ofcourse be writing. What are your holiday plans? Reading? Writing? Travelling?

Wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

See you all in the first week of January 2013.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

HELP THE ELF: I Found Santa’s Missing Nice List!

When I read about this blogfest on my dear friend Angela and Becca's blog: The Bookshelf Muse, I knew that I just had to take part in this.

Hi everyone! As you may remember, a few weeks ago PETE the Elf had a touch too much Eggnog at the Holiday Christmas Party and as he stumbled home, he lost Santa's NICE LIST.

The North Wind scattered the papers to all four corners of the world, and The Bookshelf Muse put out a call to help find them in order to SAVE CHRISTMAS.

Ever since I read about it, I've been on the lookout. And then today, EUREKA!

Yes that's right...I found part of Santa's missing NICE LIST. There it was, fluttering in the wind, half caught under the corner of my welcome mat. And shock of all shocks, I recognized the names, and I bet you will too.

My heart swelled with happiness when I saw the name of my two awesome crit partners, it did not come as a surprise to me, as I always knew that these two are angels in disguise and there is no way they will not feature on Santa's nice list.

Here it is below:

NAME: Mark Noce

LOCATION: Mark Noce Stories

NICE LEVEL: 95.63%


OBSERVATIONS: Mark is a great critique partner, he is very generous with his time and he always catches any mistakes I make in my stories. He is critical without being harsh or rude. He is always eager to read any stuff that I write and rewrite. And he gives awesome and insightful feedback. He is a sweet and adorable guy and typical of a guy: he is a man of few words. But each word is worth its weight in gold.
 Psstt..let me tell you a secret. Mark and his wife are going to become parents around Christmas. I am super excited for them.

RECOMMENDATION:     a) Coal                   b) Gift

The second person is:

NAME: Kim Koning

LOCATION: Dragonfly Scrolls

NICE LEVEL: 95.63%


OBSERVATIONS: Kim is a wonderful critique partner, she is a very warm and affectionate person. She is eager to help people she considers her friends. Once you win her trust, she will be your friend for life. She is also very undemanding and selfless. She also has the patience of a saint as she has read my book three times and will not think twice before reading it again.
Pstt...let me tell you a secret. Most people mistake her for a model or an actress.

RECOMMENDATION:     a) Coal                   b) Gift

~ ~ * ~ ~

Because poor Pete is dashing all over the place trying to hunt down the rest of Santa's missing Nice List, I decided to take care of this one myself. Mark and Kim, I feel so blessed to know you! Enjoy the gift I sent to your inbox and have a wonderful Christmas! Hugs from me.

Photo credit:
assorted gold baubles ( / CC BY 3.0

How about you, Readers? Is there someone you'd like to say Happy Holidays to, or tell them how much they mean to you? JOIN US! There's plenty of days left until Christmas, and sometimes a kind word can lift people up in a way that they really need. It's as easy as sending a free ecard or email note, posting on a Facebook wall or sending out a tweet. So go ahead and spread some kindness and cheer!
Do take out time to check the other people on the nice list at The Bookshelf Muse.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Dishing out Delicious Dialogues

I just read a book three days back, it was a MG book about a small boy who finds a monster underneath his bed. The book was dialogue heavy. Infact, I could say that the entire book was like a conversation between the boy and his monster. Many people have told me that they prefer a book that has pages filled with dialogues.

I will share nuggets about dialogues which I have gathered from several sources, including my own insights from the books I have read  and liked and also from the assignments of my students: why I liked some dialogues more than the others.
1.  Dialogues should be as natural as possible. For this we have to be good listeners. We should listen to how people talk. Stilted and forced dialogues hampers a great scene.  

2.  Long Dialogues are boring. Just like long descriptions can put readers to sleep so can long dialogues.

3.  Dialogues with too much information can grate on the nerves. It becomes obvious that the author has made the dialogue a dumping ground for information overload. Add the information little by little.

4. Overdoing of dialogue tags detracts from the actual dialogues. Sometimes  “ she said,  he replied, ” are better than fancy dialogues tags which distracts the readers’ attention from the actual dialogues.

5.  Whenever there is a dialogue between two people, dialogue tags can be done away with. The reader is intelligent and is capable of understanding which character is saying what.

6.   Dialogues should always be authentic and real. We should do our research to check for the authenticity of dialogues: will a doctor talk like that, would a policeman say this, will a teacher speak in this way, will a teenager use that word?

7.   Dialogues should always be broken with action. This way our readers will remember that our characters are real people engaging in some action.

8.   Racial stereotypes and slang must be avoided, unless its the character's trait that he/she speaks slang.

9.   Dialogues should and must contribute to the plot.

10.  The purpose of the dialogue is to advance the story, flesh out the character and ofcourse provide the reader a welcome break from long descriptive paragraphs. And the dialogue should do all that.

11.  Dialogues should suit the occasion and the scene. You can’t have people cracking jokes with a dead body lying around, unless they are the murderers.

12.  Dialogues can identify characters. It would be fun to make certain characters speak in a certain way. I like the way Hagrid spoke in the Potter books.

 Dialogues are the fun part of my manuscripts. One of my dialogue sins is overdoing on dialogue tags (I hate to repeat a dialogue tag, I prefer to add variety). I also have a tendency to write long dialogues. What about you all?  How do you all tackle dialogues? Any dialogue guilts that you would like to admit?  

Friday, December 7, 2012

Make Believe Blog Tour

Today, I want to highlight one of my earliest writing friends online: Lynda R. Young, is a warm, approachable and a wonderful person, as well as a super blogger and writer.  Lynda and I met while blogging and she ended up becoming a great friend.

Let me share a secret with you all. I won a prize on Lynda’s blog. It was a 10 page critique of a manuscript. After several reminders by Lynda, I hesitantly sent her the 10 pages. It was the first time I was opening myself up for critique by another writer. Lynda was gracious and generous with her feedback. Infact she urged me to find critique partners who would help me with their feedback. She told me that geographical location would not be a problem, as I could find crit partners anywhere in the world. Thanks to her insistence I have two wonderful Crit Partners.

I am thrilled and excited for her. Lynda’s short story titled Birthright, published by J. Taylor Publishing in the Make Believe anthology, launched on Monday 3rd December! Make Believe is currently available in e-book format and includes Paranormal Romance and Fantasy stories inspired by the image on the cover. Congratulations, Lynda!  

Birthright by Lynda R. Young 
Christa can mask the pain and hide the scars, but running from a birthright is impossible. 
She’s tried to escape her grief by fleeing to a small town in Florida. Much to her frustration, the locals think they recognize her even though she's never been there before. To make things worse, a man named Jack spouts outrageous theories about her. 
Both spur Christa to bolt, to start fresh yet again, but there’s something about Jack that intrigues her enough to stay. The only problem? Someone else wants her to leave, and they won’t stop until she’s dead. 

About Lynda R. Young: 
Lynda R. Young lives in Sydney, Australia, with her sweetheart of a husband who is her rock, and a cat who believes world domination starts in the home. She writes speculative short stories and is currently writing novels for young adults. In her spare time she also dabbles in photography and all things creative. You can find her here: Blog, Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads.

Purchase Make Believe: J Taylor Publishing, Amazon and Barnes and Noble. 

Lynda, way to go! You are an amazing writer and a dear friend and I couldn’t be more excited for you.