Friday, June 29, 2007

Quotes to Live By

“Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you. Love me and I may be forced to love you.”

“A true friend knows your weaknesses but shows you your strengths; feels your fears but fortifies your faith; sees your anxieties but frees your spirit; recognizes your disabilities but emphasizes your possibilities.”

“Do more than belong: participate. Do more than care: help. Do more than believe: practice. Do more than be fair: be kind. Do more than forgive: forget. Do more than dream: work.”

“Four steps to achievement: Plan purposefully. Prepare prayerfully. Proceed positively. Pursue persistently.”

“Leadership is based on inspiration, not domination; on cooperation, not intimidation.”

“We must be silent before we can listen.
We must listen before we can learn.
We must learn before we can prepare.
We must prepare before we can serve.
We must serve before we can lead.”

“Greatness is not found in possessions, power, position, or prestige. It is discovered in goodness, humility, service, and character.”

“We can throw stones, complain about them, stumble on them, climb over them, or build with them”

“Before you speak, listen.
Before you write, think.
Before you spend, earn.
Before you invest, investigate.
Before you criticize, wait.
Before you pray, forgive.
Before you quit, try.
Before you retire, save.
Before you die, give.”

William Arthur Ward, American scholar, author, editor, pastor and teacher

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Don't Worry ~ Be Happy

I've just completed my very first proposal targeting a Christian agent/market. Interesting experience, to say the least. I was challenged when it came to identifying the uniqueness of my book and my marketing plan. I'm not sure how one goes about finding comparison books or the why of comparison books, but I gave it my best shot. How could I not want to mention my name and Terri Blackstock's in the same paragraph? :)

After looking over the 50+ pages--again and again and again, I realized I was stressing. I started asking myself why I was putting myself through such an ordeal when the completed manuscript has already been requested by an editor. Time to back up, pray, ask for guidance. And that's when I remembered why I was preparing a detailed proposal for an agent: I want guidance.

There are a lot of us needing guidance when it comes to our writing. We need to back up and pray. Remember this song? "Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in his wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace."

Worry and stress is of this world. Worry and stress should not be attached to the stories written to glorify His name. Let's turn our eyes toward Jesus and trust Him with our writing future. He's the authority on guidance!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

On Second Thought...

Another suggestion has been made:

A principal unknowingly endangers her school when she tries to clear the name of a former classmate she sent to jail ten years ago.

What say you? Are you wondering how and why she sent him to jail? The word sent bothers me. And what you may not know is that 10 years ago they were seniors in high school and she squealed on him when she heard that he had plans to 'harm' their school. That's how he ended up in jail. Today she's the assistant principal of a very small private school. Do these unknowns make a difference? They do to me but we have to keep our one-liner short so every word must paint a picture.

I'll be out of pocket for several days so put your thinking cap on and help me out here. :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Proposal is . . .

A suggestion was made regarding my one-liner. Now all I have to do is the following:

Cover sheet

Hook: School terrorism sends a principal in search of truth about the man she accused of a similar crime ten years earlier.


Uniqueness of book: (This includes comparisons)

Credentials of Author:

Marketing Plan:

Chapter by Chapter Outline:

Sample Chapters:

And we do this for every single book until we're rich and famous. :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Let me Count the Ways

Some people call it a tagline while others call it a hook--a one-liner describing your novel that should grab an agent or editor immediately and not let go. No matter what you call it, writing one isn't easy. The one-liners below don't really describe my novel. They don't capture what I need to capture to pitch to an agent. They don't even grab me by the throat so I know they aren't going to interest an agent.

By reading the ten one-liners below, you have the essence of my story. Do me a favor. Find one you sort of like and rework it so that it sings. :)

1) The woman who sent him to jail is his only hope to clear his name.

2) A middle-school principal puts her school in danger when she tries to clear the name of a man she unjustly accused of terrorism.

3) Alex Hamilton, unjustly accused of terrorism, must find the person who framed him.

4) Middle school principal Miranda Smith tries to help the man she falsely accused of terrorizing her school.

5) Accused of a crime he didn't commit, Alex Hamilton falls for the woman who sent him to jail.

6) Alex Hamilton and Miranda Smith join forces to clear his name of the crime he didn't commit.

7) Alex Hamilton must prove his innocence of a ten year old crime, but he's being framed all over again.

8) Ten years ago a southern town is rocked by scandal when teenager Alex Hamilton is accused of a terrorist act against his school. Today, it's happening again.

9) Two old classmates join forces to find out who is terrorizing their school.

10) A middle school principal falls for the old classmate she accused of terrorizing their school.


Writing, Selling or Sailing?

Here are two of my favorite quotes. I've posted them before. This evening I'm revisiting and thinking about what they mean.

"To fall in love with a first draft to the point where one cannot change it is to greatly enhance the prospects of never publishing." ~Richard North Patterson

I believe a first draft of a book must be akin to a wedding cake without the icing. I can only imagine baking such an important cake, stacking the various layers, icing the entire monstrosity then placing the perfect little bride and groom on top. If we glob on too much icing and fail to make it smooth and creaseless, if we don't place the toothpicks in strategic places, our cake might topple over or appear unbalanced. It seems so much like taking that first draft and adding sensory detail, description, emotion, all those perfect, final touches that make it a book, a story that will grab hold of someone's heart (and head) and not let go until they turn the last page. We have to have just the right mix of all those final touches.

Oh my goodness, rewriting is horrible and wonderful and exciting and scary... . How do we know when the end is really the end? Is there anyone knowledgeable enough to tell us we've done all we can do, that it's time to send it on to an agent or editor? Unfortunately no, there's no one who can offer that kind of assurance. A critique group can only do so much. An agent can only offer his or her expert opinion and some may not be experts at all. The editor has the last word within the guidelines of her publishing company. Her last word may be an acceptance or a rejection. And if it's a rejection . . .

"Success is a finished book, a stack of pages each of which is filled with words. If you reach that point, you have won a victory over yourself no less impressive than sailing single-handed around the world." ~Tom Clancy

To keep our sanity, we have to look at those stack of pages and believe that we've truly done our best, and because we've succeeded in finishing a book, in some small insignificant way that's significant. Make sense? :)

Realistically, the reader has the last word. S/he might throw our finished product against the wall and vow never to read us again. Thankfully, we never know it unless we get a nasty letter or read about it on

Sailing single-handed around the world sounds easier than writing and selling a book, and satisfying thousands of faceless readers. - Custom comment codes

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

And The Good Times Rolled for Crit 3

Have you ever had problems following someone's directions?
Turn right at the Blue Barn.
Barn? What Barn?
The blue metal building?
The blue garage?
The blue shop?
No, the Blue Barn!

Do you see a blue Barn?
(I was only twenty minutes late--just looking for the blue BARN.
Okay, thirty!)

Meet the Crit3 girls: Sandra, Marcia, Jess standing, Lisa & Janelle seated. One of us is fearless. One of us can handle anything that slithers. Can you guess which one?

For a detailed report of our writers' slumber party, check out Sentiments of the Soul

To learn who is the bravest of us all, check out Janelle's Jottings

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Let The Good Times Roll

What happens when six writers get together for a slumber party? Stay tuned for details, and pray for us. :) - Create custom images