Monthly Archives: April 2012

Querying?

You finished your manuscript, hooray! The hard part is over right? Don’t be so sure. The querying process can be discouraging, but luckily there are a few great sites out there that will help walk you through it. By visiting these sites and learning how to master query writing, I have gained more requests and less denials. Receiving a request for a partial or full manuscript is one of the most exhilarating moments for a writer. I have received requests that were later denied but I know thanks to everything I learned from the sites I am about to list, I got a little closer to my dream becoming a reality.
Good luck querying. You never know when your query will end up at the right place at the right time.

Literary Rambles-Spotlighting Children’s Book Authors, Agents, and Publishing. Casey McCormick does a great job with her blog. I have used her blog most often when querying. I love reading the agent interviews. At the end of each interview she lists what genre the agents are willing to represent, what their yearly sales have been and how other writers feel about them as agents.

Guide to Literary Agents Blog. This writer’s digest blog hosted by Chuck Sambuchino is inspiring and informative. Chuck features new agent alerts, agent interviews and agency news. When I want to be inspired, I read his successful queries posts. The post lists actual queries that earned writers their agents. At the end of the queries, he interviews the agents and asks them what about the particular query grabbed their attention.

Miss Snarks First Victim Another great blog for writers. Miss Snark offers advice to writers, critiques query letters and partial manuscripts. She is visited by anonymous agents who also offer their help. You will also find lots of fun contests on her blog.


Agent Query
– For seven years in a row, this site has been recognized by Writer’s Digest to be one of the best websites for writers. This free site offers a ton of information. You will find informative pieces, searchable databases, agency profiles, publishing news and e-publishing help. If you have not visited this site, race over now.

Query Tracker This fabulous site allows you to organize and track your query submissions. It also offers agent statistics, comments from others who have or are in the process of querying and an online community. They also have a category dedicated to the top ten. You will discover which agents are most likely to request, which ones are known for not responding and who are the hardest ones to land.

Query Shark– A blog offering help for fiction queries. All queries must be submitted to the Query Shark for consideration. If your query is chosen, The Query Shark may offer a critique and instructions on how to make it stronger. Reading the revised queries are great for inspiration. You are also allowed to offer comments.

What sites or materials do you refer to when writing a Query letter?

 

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under character building, query, writer's life, writers, Writing

Perseverance

If you really want your writing to become something then you have no choice but to persevere. When I began writing, I thought, How hard can this be? Write a few stories, submit to some major publishing houses and instantly become discovered. Ten years later, I look back at my younger self and think, Wow are you naïve. Sure, a few things happened early on that made me think no sweat, but the prize I’m searching for has not yet been found.
I am proud of the recognitions I have received along the way but I still have hopes for more. The goal at this point in my life is to land an agent and see my manuscripts in print. Currently, I have possibilities which completely excite me but if for whatever reason they get denied, I plan on persevering.

For today’s a to z challenge I have decided to list a few of my favorite perseverance quotes. Which was one is your favorite? Do you have one you would like to share?

• “Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another.” Walter Elliott

• “All great masters are chiefly distinguished by the power of adding a second, a third, and perhaps a fourth step in a continuous line. Many a man has taken the first step. With every additional step you enhance immensely the value of your first.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

• “Success seems to be connected with action. Successful men keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.” Conrad Hilton

• “For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again.” [Proverbs 24:16] Bible

• “In order to get from what was to what will be, you must go through what is.” Anonymous

• “What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight – it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” General Dwight Eisenhower

• “Don’t let life discourage you; everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was.” Richard L. Evans

• “Perseverance is a positive, active characteristic. It is not idly, passively waiting and hoping for some good thing to happen. It gives us hope by helping us realize that the righteous suffer no failure except in giving up and no longer trying. We must never give up, regardless of temptations, frustrations, disappointments, or discouragements.” Joseph P. Wirthlin

• “Defeat is simply a signal to press onward.” Helen Keller

• You may not receive what you hope for today, but tomorrow may bring the reward you weren’t expecting. Keep writing for tomorrow because it will eventually come. Maribeth Graham (aka me)

3 Comments

Filed under books, Inspirational, life, rejections, story writing, writer's life, writers, Writing

Obstacle Course For Writers

I’m sure you have done an obstacle course at least once in your lifetime. An obstacle course is defined as a series of challenging physical obstacles an individual or team must perform while being timed.
Today, I present to you an obstacle course for writers. It will be more mentally challenging than physical but you might find it effective. Instead of racing to get done within seconds or minutes, you will be allowed hours, let’s say three to be exact.
Each task will be allotted a time slot of one half hour. I’m sure you will find that in some cases a half hour is not enough but that is what a challenge is all about.
This course will involve reading, brainstorming, writing, editing, visiting and platform building.

Ready, Set, Go!

First 30 Minutes- Read– You can choose to read anything, a favorite book, the newspaper, a magazine (save blogs for later when visiting). Reading for thirty minutes will jump start your brain and hopefully inspire you to write something of your own

Second 30 Minutes-Brainstorm- Start jotting down anything that comes to mind. Random thoughts can become great pieces of work. Write down story ideas, blog topics, favorite words, character descriptions or outlines. Write whatever comes to mind.

Third 30 Minutes- Write- Writing will be different from brainstorming. Now you are going to take those ideas and turn them into something. A half hour is plenty enough time to write a rough draft for a blog, start a new paragraph for an existing manuscript or outline an idea that’s been walking around your mind.

Fourth 30 Minutes- Edit- Take this thirty minutes to edit something entirely different from what you just wrote about. Pull up something that has been sitting in a desk. Looking at it with fresh eyes will allow you to discover errors. Are you in a critique group? This would be a great time to edit a fellow writers work.

Fifth 30 Minutes-Visit– Take a break and surf the web. Stop by your favorite blogs to say hello. Visit an author’s page and let them know what a great job they are doing. Pop into a writer’s chat room and join the conversation.

Sixth 30 Minutes- Platform Building -Now it’s time to get your name out there. Head on over to Twitter and tweet some thoughts. Check your facebook page to see if you can add any updates. Join writer groups. Get yourself known.

Three hours might sound like a long time, but I assure you they will fly by. This obstacle course is sure to exercise your mind.
Is there anything else you would include?

5 Comments

Filed under audience, books, random, story writing, Uncategorized, writer's life, writing, Writing

Nobody Said It Would Be Easy

I am disappointed in myself. When I stumbled upon the a to z blog writing challenge, I was thrilled. It was exactly what I needed for my blog. Immediately I jotted down each post title in my journal. There was nothing going to stop me from completing this challenge. I should have known some bad luck was lurking ready to strike. It was the day of the F challenge. I flipped open my laptop and immediately panicked when all I saw was black. I jiggled the cord of the charger, hoping it was the culprit. Nothing. I pressed my ear to the screen. The motor was running. Remembering this happened to me once before, I turned the laptop upside down and took out the battery and waited. I was sure when I put back the battery everything would be fine. Once again, nothing happened. Hysteria was setting in when I thought about all my documents. I wasn’t sure if I backed them all up. Luckily, I e-mailed myself my middle-grade and Ya novel, the two that mean the absolute world to me.

My husband thought maybe he could connect my laptop to his and get the screen to come up on his computer but I had no such luck. During this time, I came down with Bronchitis (I am convinced I was a hair away from pneumonia). I failed the challenge. There was nothing I could do. I couldn’t type every blog from my phone. It just wasn’t happening.

As of today, I am back up and running. I might not have completed every letter. I still might go back and blog the letters I did miss but for now I will continue from this point on.
I’m dusting myself off. I constantly feel like I am being tested. Like someone somewhere keeps throwing obstacles at me such as rejections, malfunctions, and responsibilities just to see if I will go back to writing. My reply is, throw it at me, no matter what comes my way, I will never stop writing. When I made the decision to write, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy.

1 Comment

Filed under random, story telling, writer's life, writers, writing, Writing

15 BOOKS I’VE READ RECENTLY

My computer is on the fritz and I have been sick all day. I’m writing this post from my phone so forgive any mistakes. I had something else planned but I decided to go simple because of the circumstances. I’m listing 15 books I have read recently.

1. The Hunger Games
2. Catching Fire
3. Mockingjay
4. Hush Hush
5. Fallen
6. Divergent
7. Heaven is for Real
8. The Magician’s Elephant
9. The Help
10. Water for Elephants
11. The First Fifty Pages
12. Bird by Bird
13. Paranormalcy
14. Tales of Mystery and Imagination
15. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children

6 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

E.E. Cummings and My Father

This coming June will be four years that I have been living without my father. My father was such a wonderful man. He was everything I aspire to be. He treated all people the same. He was well respected, intelligent, wise, simple and extremely loving. During his illness, my family and I traveled to Philadelphia to support him while he underwent open heart surgery. The night before he went into surgery, I read him my favorite poem by E.E. Cummings I Carry Your Heart with Me. I will forever carry his heart. He was my biggest cheerleader when it came to writing. He was the first one to believe in me. I believe he is on the other side pulling as many strings as he can to help further my career.

I Carry Your Heart with Me by E.E. Cummings

I carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

Do you have a favorite poem? Who does it remind you of?

7 Comments

Filed under emotions, life, writer's life, writers, Writing

THE TEN D’S ALL WRITERS NEED

1. Diligence – You must push forward, even when you don’t want to.

2. Determination- Believe in yourself. Trust that others will see the beauty in your written word.

3. Dedication- Once you commit to becoming a writer set aside time each day to hone the craft.

4. Drive – A writer with drive and passion will eventually get noticed.

5. Desolation- Find solitude so you can create without interruptions.

6. Daily Routines- Writing should be done every day. If you set a routine, you will be less likely to break it.

7. Deadlines- Give yourself deadlines. Eg. Chapter one must be finished by Monday. The short story has to be completed by Saturday.

8. Dreams- Dream big. Never let anyone make you feel that your dreams are not possible.

9. Desire- You must want to write. If writing doesn’t feel like a necessity it might not be your passion.

10. Decision making abilities- Chapters need to be edited. Word counts need to be cut. Favorite sentences need to be chopped. It’s not always easy making decisions as a writer but it is required. Characters need to love, get hurt, evolve and occasionally die. You have to be able to make those decisions in order for your masterpiece to appear.

4 Comments

Filed under character, editing, Inspirational, story telling, story writing, writer's life, writers, writing, Writing